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Tech journalist since the dark ages. Windows Secrets, LangaList newsletter, Windows Magazine (NetGuide, Home PC), Byte, Popular Computing, yadda yadda yadda. Google me, if it matters.

This feed is mostly personal interest; it's NOT my professional writing. There's tech here, yes, but also lots of general science and some politics and weird humor thrown in.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Meanwhile, on Mars...

A sunset on Mars, as recreated from photos taken by the Opportunity rover.



(Note how vertical the Sun's descent is: The Opportunity and Spirit rovers landed close to the Martian equator.)

Alternate link:
https://vine.co/v/OQFQI23Jzx5

Hey, remember that "cascade failure" of satellite debris at the start of the movie, Gravity...

schwit1 writesA 20-year-old U.S. military weather satellite apparently exploded for no obvious reason. The incident has put several dozen pieces of space junk into orbit. From the article: "A 20-year-old military weather satellite apparently exploded in orbit Feb. 3 following what the U.S. Air Force described as a sudden temperature spike. The “catastrophic event” produced 43 pieces of space debris, according to Air Force Space Command, which disclosed the loss of the satellite Feb. 27 in response to questions from SpaceNews. The satellite, Defense Meteorological Satellite Program Flight 13, was the oldest continuously operational satellite in the DMSP weather constellation."
http://classic.slashdot.org/story/15/03/01/1859202

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Coast Guard icebreaker spots coyote on Boston Harbor ice

How cold has it been in Boston?




Cold enough that the ice is 4'/1.2m thick in places, and wildlife --- coyotes, deer... --- are using it as a shortcut across the harbor and to the islands. See: Coast Guard spots coyote on frozen Boston Harbor

Cold enough that the surf at Nantucket is a semi-solid slush:


More: http://www.staywildmagazine.com/news/2015/2/24/the-slurpee-waves-of-nantucket

Cold enough that the sea ice between Cape Cod and the Islands is visible from space:


More: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=85387&src=nha

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Boston: Yesterday had first full T service since Feb 1


MBTA track walkers

The T is considering refunding some of the cost of monthly passes.

The Governor has created an advisory panel to "diagnose" MBTA woes  --- as if it's a mystery. Some of the cars on two of the city's main lines date from the Nixon administration, and have never had a major overhaul. They're old designs that short out in deep snow.

Speaking of which: More snow is predicted for tonight.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Boston: Slooooow recovery from the storms

High winds and temps around 0F/-17C temps have added to the fun (WCVB photos; more):




Downtown Boston, waiting for the very limited bus service (Globe photos):


Here's a real map of the T system:




And here's an accurate, ad-hoc edit by a graffiti artist:


Boston Harbor is so ice-choked that a Coast Guard ship ruptured its hull doing icebreaker duty. 



But it's not all bad:
Chillin’: Bostonians Build Snow Lounge with Fire Pit


There's more snow due this weekend. :)



Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Monday, February 16, 2015

This is getting old.

Yesterday:


This is now the snowiest February ever in Boston's recorded history (and the month is only half over).

Last night, when I went to bed, the wind chill equivalent was -30f/-34c (-2f/-18c with 40 mph/64kph wind gusts).

Travel is still very tough. Boston's economy losing close to a quarter-billion dollars a day.

Today, only the underground portions of the T are operating --- most surface bus and train lines are down.

Most people are managing with some grace, or at least stoicism. But some are not: Snowblower thefts are on the rise. Some people are attacking snow plows with shovels, when the plows re-block their cars or driveways. Car owners have had their tires slashed for "stealing" a public parking space that someone else shoveled out.



Some roofs are collapsing.

More snow due tomorrow, and next weekend.

Oddly I find myself rooting for more snow. We're in this far, we might as well hope for an all-time Winter-record snowfall. At least we'd come out of it with a literally unique experience, instead of just a major pain in the ass.