Linkspam Has Food For Thought

Sep. 17th, 2017 09:03 am
jjhunter: Watercolor purple ruffled monster with mouthful of raw vegetables looks exceedingly self-pleased (veggie monster)
[personal profile] jjhunter
Helena Bottemiller Evich @ Politico: The great nutrient collapse
“Every leaf and every grass blade on earth makes more and more sugars as CO2 levels keep rising,” Loladze said. “We are witnessing the greatest injection of carbohydrates into the biosphere in human history―[an] injection that dilutes other nutrients in our food supply.”

Diana Kwon @ Scientific American: Are Some Psychiatric Disorders a pH Problem?
Multiple studies in the past few decades have found that when people with panic disorders are exposed to air with a higher-than-normal concentration of carbon dioxide—which can combine with water in the body to form carbonic acid—they are more likely to experience panic attacks than healthy individuals are.

Cathleen O'Grady @ Ars Technica: Health benefits of wind and solar offset all subsidies
The climate benefits of solar and wind power were hefty, but the majority of the benefit came from air quality improvements.

Frank Viviano @ National Geographic: This Tiny Country Feeds the World
“Water isn’t the fundamental problem. It’s poor soil,” [van den Ende] says. “The absence of nutrients can be offset by cultivating plants that act in symbiosis with certain bacteria to produce their own fertilizer.”

Rosalind Bentley @ Southern Foodways Alliance > Gravy podcast: Hostesses of the Movement
[These women] opened their homes to the architects and strategists of the [Civil Rights] Movement, providing home cooked meals, places to rest and safe rooms for plotting attacks on Jim Crow.
nanila: Your plastic pal who's fun to be with (star wars: k-2so)
[personal profile] nanila
[personal profile] emelbe and I set our alarms for 02:30 and 02:35 respectively, just to be sure we got up in time to walk over to Caltech for the end of mission. We dressed and poured coffee into ourselves, made sure we had our badges, and got out the door in plenty of time to arrive before 04:00, the official start of the event and NASA TV coverage.

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Walking up to Beckman Auditorium (aka the wedding cake) from the south.

As it happened. )
nanila: YAY (me: abby)
[personal profile] nanila
Thursday was meant to be a quiet day, since we all knew we had to be up and at Caltech by 4 AM for the thing we’d all been preparing for: the actual end of mission.

In reality, there were some impromptu science meetings at Caltech, one of which I attended in the morning. I slipped out just before noon, because I had someone to meet.

I headed down from Beckman to South Mudd to see my former JPL postdoctoral supervisor, from back in those heady days when I was still a lab scientist, for lunch. I hadn’t seen him since 2006. I eventually remembered where his Caltech office was. I could’ve found the JPL one much more easily, but it would have required me to check in and get a badge, which seemed a lot of faff for lunch. Besides, there are nicer places to eat in Pasadena. Once in the correct corridor, I spotted his technician hovering outside the door, plus another UK person from the physical chemistry community whom I’d never met but knows the bloke pretty well. There were lots of smiles and hugs, and we decided to head down to a restaurant over on Lake Street.

We had a very pleasant hour of conversation, reminiscing and catching up. I had a shock on hearing that their children, whom I remembered as children or young teenagers, were now grown up and had careers of their own. Of course I knew that would have happened in the intervening decade-plus, but it’s not until you actually speak together about these things that they’re driven home to you. They were equally shocked on learning that Humuhumu has started school - and has a younger sibling! The bloke and I had been remiss in our communication, clearly. We talked of science, of course, and of politics and its effects on research direction, and of our worries about the future due to Brexit and the current US administration.

I am still kicking myself for forgetting to take a photo. You must instead picture me with a group of men: one starting to disappear into the frailty of old age, peering out earnestly from large-framed glasses, one solid and grey-haired and mostly silent with twinkling blue eyes, and one cheeky-grinned middle-aged bear of a chap with a shock of brown hair and a beard. All sitting together in a booth of a Japanese restaurant, eagerly shoveling the contents of bento boxes into our faces, occasionally bursting into roars of laughter while cheesy ‘90s music played in the background.

We parted with promises not to let another eleven years pass before we met again. I was left with the warm glow you get from (re)connecting with friendly, kind, intelligent people. It was a lovely way to buffer against the excitement and strain of what was to come on Friday morning.

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Chilling out in my JPL t-shirt before the end of mission.
nanila: fulla starz (lolcat: science)
[personal profile] nanila
On Wednesday morning, [personal profile] emelbe and I saddled up and drove over to the Jet Propulsion Lab for a tour. We put her trusty sat nav on, and I noticed that instead of a car, the little icon was an x-wing. She turned the audio on. “Driven well you have,” said Yoda. “In a quarter of a mile, turn left. It is your destiny.”

It was decided that it was fitting for Yoda to be allowed to direct us to JPL.

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JPL tour badge with Curiosity on the front. We got to keep these.

Tour, with side trips down memory lane )

Previews

Sep. 13th, 2017 02:41 pm
sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)
[personal profile] sasha_feather
Some previews I saw at the movies yesterday:

Home Again

Reese Witherspoon plays a mom, recently separated from her husband, who hooks up with a younger guy. Events transpire, the younger guy and his friends move into her guest house; she navigates her feelings regarding her husband and her possible new, younger love interest. I think this looks cute. People have been talking about age-difference movies on Twitter, and it's nice to see one where the woman is older.

Mother!

Darren Aronofsky horror film. Not my jam.
Speaking of age differences:
Jennifer Lawrence is 27
Javier Bardem is 48
21 yr age difference

Breathe

Andrew Garfield plays a wealthy man paralyzed by polio. This could be good, or it could be ableist trash? The preview looks promising in that he uses his wealth and privlege to help other disabled people; to develop a wheelchair with a respirator attached; etc.
nanila: fulla starz (lolcat: science)
[personal profile] nanila
I flew into Los Angeles on the Sunday before the last-while-Cassini-is-still-in-orbit-around-Saturn Project Science Group meeting began. I was feeling dodgy when I got up at 6 AM, but I napped in the taxi and took some ibuprofen, and hoped that the feeling would go away.

It did not.

I made sure my usual mobile pharmacy (ibuprofen, paracetamol, Rennie) was stocked in my rucksack before I boarded the plane, and was glad I'd done so about three hours into the flight when my fever started spiking. I alternated ibuprofen and paracetamol every two hours. The flight attendants kindly granted all of my requests for cold water/cans of ginger ale, which were frequent. It was one of the most miserable long-haul flights I've ever had.

I spent nearly all of Monday in bed apart from a brief foray out to get a hot Thai curry into my belly for lunch. This paid off on Tuesday, and I was able to spend half a day at Caltech to dial into the penultimate operations meeting. (There will be one more after the crash, but obviously we’ll no longer have an instrument status to report.) I was excited about this, because I had been saving up something for a very long time.

In fine fettle was the other option )

to be continued
sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)
[personal profile] sasha_feather
My Brother's Husband by Gengoroh Tagame
Funny and poignant with detailed, goregous art. Focused on relationships, day-to-day life; with reflections on homophobia in Japanese culture. Loved this and read it in one evening.

Star Scouts by Mike Lawrence
Adorable, funny, and imaginative story with a satisfying ending. Fairly light-hearted tale of how Avani makes alien friends in Star Scouts, goes to camp, has a rivalry with another scout, and succeeds at her goals. I really enjoyed the art. Avani is South Asian.

Both of these are appropriate for all ages.
nanila: Pokemon Go 2km Egg Hatch (pokemon go)
[personal profile] nanila
First, I received my Cassini Grand Finale stickers from the delightful [instagram.com profile] marka_design. I put one of them on my 15th and final Cassini lab notebook, and I plan to put the other on my laptop and take a photo of it when I'm at the end-of-mission events next week.

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My red lab notebook with one of the Cassini stickers.

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A photo of a page of ops checks (deliberately blurred) in my lab notebook, with the focus on the two Cassini stickers as received.

There was a JUICE meeting at my institute this week. It was not for our instrument team, but for another that we work closely with. They convinced the project scientist to attend. He gave us an informative and exciting presentation, but most importantly, he brought a small stack of the very first official ESA mission stickers. I actually didn't snaffle one because I went off with my counterpart on the other team for an hour and a half splinter meeting. However, the PI from their team kindly saved us each a sticker.

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The first official JUICE mission sticker, showing Jupiter, the Galilean moons and the JUICE spacecraft. This will go straight onto my new laptop when I receive it. It seems oddly fitting to be retiring one laptop and beginning to use another right at the end of the Cassini mission.
frith: Violet unicorn cartoon pony with a purple mane (FIM Twilight power)
[personal profile] frith
The radio informs me that there ought to be northern light visible tonight, or at least they would be, if the sky wasn't overcast.

On the bright side, only 30 more days left until this:

Movie

I should request the afternoon off. October 6th is also a Harmony Day, so I'm going to be at work anyway to dole out the cake and swag. So much excitement for one day. How ever will I cope? ;^)

Sad Batman, happy child

Sep. 6th, 2017 10:30 pm
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
[personal profile] nanila
20170901_105145

This is Sad Batman. Sad Batman, a black crayon rendition on orange construction paper who looks a lot like a Christmas tree with a bat head, is sad, "because he lost Wildstyle and Emmett". This is a reference that will make no sense if you haven't seen The Lego Movie and hence will not make you LOL as hard as I did.

On a completely different note, check out who's fashion-ready for the Cassini End of Mission. We were at Marks & Spencer buying school clothes last weekend when Humuhumu spotted this white fluffy jumper with pink sequin ringed planet. I couldn't resist.

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