Monday, June 26, 2006

Google Alerts - Surfing less and reading more

I recently read that Ridley Scott, one of my favorite directors, is going to be directing a new film about the Gucci family.

I also found three sites with technology news.

I read one of my college professors is publishing a new book.

The nifty part about all this news is that I never had to search for it.

Google Alerts is probably the most useful tools that Google offers. Properly used and configured, you stay informed every time you open your e-mail.

Alerts have been around for a while, but it was not till recently that I sat down and tweaked the settings to make sure I get the right information.

Part of the trick was using the advanced search operators to narrow my results. By using quotes on certain search terms, I get news about Ridley Scott, not everybody in the whole wide world named Scott.

I've routed my alerts to an e-mail address that the spammers haven't discovered yet. Reading mail from this account is like finding a stack of articles printed out by my own personal assistant.

There are days the articles retreved are ones I've seen before and I delete more links than I read, but that is worth the effort when I find sites and information that would have taken me hours of searching on my own.

Monday, June 19, 2006

China plans to land on the moon by 2024

Is this a new race to the moon?

Maybe this will get things rolling over at NASA?

A 2000 year old computer?

Rachel sent me a link to an article about an ancient device that might be one of the first computers.

Called an Antikythera Mechanism, the true nature of the artifact remains a mystery, but experts suggest that it may have been used to calculate the movements of the planets.

Like modern computers, it appears to have had lousy tech support.

There more on the Antikythera Mechanism over at Wikipedia.

Thanks to Rachel for the link.

Discovery to launch on July 1st

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STS 121 is scheduled to take flight on July 1 on a mission to the International Space Station. After last year's STS 114 "return to flight" mission, and nervous moments concerning loose foam falling off the shuttle's main fuel tank, this mission will be watched closely.

On a personal note, I am happy to know the shuttle sits on the launch pad and the countdown clock is running.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Saturday, June 03, 2006

The six hour spacewalk

Two astronauts aboard the Internatonal Space Station completed a 6-hour spacewalk to make repairs and collect science experiments left outside.

I know that the modern spacesuit takes care of an astronaut's biological needs when they are in space, but what about that annoying urge to scratch an itch on one's neck or back?

Space is dangerous. Cosmic radiation and space debris are hazzards that come with the territory. But, I imagine space walks could be downright annoying if you are trying to scratch an itch, then discover the only thing you can scratch is the outside of your spacesuit helmet.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Giant meteor crater found in Antarctica

Space.com has a story about a 300 mile wide meteor crater, found by NASA satellites under Antarctic ice. Scientists suspect the meteor hit over 250 million years ago, causing twice the impact as the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs.

People were freaking out over chunks of a crumbling comet just a few weeks ago.

Why be scared of comet fragments when you can worry and fret over something the size of Ohio crashing into your house?

I'm joking. No hate mail please.