Thursday, December 16, 2010

Fire and Ice

It's been what some would call "butt-cold" in Chicago lately - we've been getting February-like weather the last few weeks, which means it's in the teens or single digits Farheneheit most of the time. We went for a run Tuesday evening when it was sixteen outside. I remembered why 15 degrees is my cutoff temperature for outdoor running - I commented to DH that my bad knee was getting iced during the run, and my hands didn't warm up for the rest of the night.

This isn't a complaint. I would take this over crazy-making hot and humid weather any day. But part of what I love about the cold is all the ways one can thaw out: hot beverages, blankets, warm sweaters and scarves, fuzzy socks... and videos of solar flares.

Wait, what?

I don't know. But watching this certainly made me feel warm and toasty. And a little awed.

However, if you're somewhere where you're too warm, reading about the newly-discovered ice volcanoes on Titan will perhaps cool you off. Brr. Back to the solar flares for me.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Toddler Phonics Funnies

Since I:

A) know that one of three readers of this blog is a speech therapist/pathologist/person who helps kids talk good, and:

B) am very much looking forward to hearing the ever-closer-to-words babbling of my niece in the very near future,

I wanted to re-post this story, as it made me laugh.

My friend Eddie (Ed? We called him Eddie in college, but now he's a husband and father and overall adult-type. Sir Edward, then.) writes an occasional blog about his growing family over at the Pluchar Baby Blog (this is one of at least FOUR blogs to which he contributes in his not-at-all-ample spare time).

So head over there for a chuckle. Sensitive readers be warned, there is one mildly explicit word used.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Putting some zzzs in to buzzing

I know I don't function as well without a full night's sleep. Turns out, neither do honeybees.

I'm partial to bees by heredity - my dad is a former beekeeper - so I have to say that I found the methods of this experiment to be a little bit mean. Hopefully the bees involved were allowed to take a nap afterward.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Mini-geek update

Image from here. And only marginally related to the story.

Katie's story was already going viral when I posted about it a little while ago, but it struck a chord with tens of thousands more people after that. Today, Katie's school is hosting "Proud to Be Me Day", and there's an accompanying Facebook Star Wars-geek-pride online happening taking place, too. The only Star Wars shirt I own is not exactly workplace attire, so I'll just say I'm dressing like Chewbacca because my winter coat has a fur collar. I do what I can.

The really cool thing about all the attention this story received is that folks have been sending Katie things like light sabers and Star Wars toys to show their support of her geekdom. She's such a neat kid, she's passing most of the toys along to kids in need, which is only making everyone feel more warm and fuzzy.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Not enough space

Two galactic news bits of late: One which made me laugh, and one that made me marvel:

First, the marvelous one: Some pictures of our planet that "look like art". Maybe it is art.

Second, the crazy: A Spanish woman has claimed ownership of the sun. I'm kicking myself for this lost revenue opportunity.

... oh, and a bonus: alien bacteria. Holy crap.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Actual progress

I wish every session of the Illinois legislature was a lame-duck session!

Yesterday a bill legalizing same-sex civil unions passed the Illinois Senate, and the governor is expected to sign it in to law. This is going to allow radical rights like the ability to visit with a partner in the hospital. Angry hyper-conservatives can hear the fabric of our society tearing, but all I hear is cheering.

And this week the Illinois House Judiciary Committee recommended that a bill abolishing the death penalty be passed. Apparently there aren't quite 60 votes for the bill just yet in the Senate, but it has supporters in the high 50s. There's an actual possibility that the thing might pass, which is kind of mind-blowing. As I predicted a few years ago, if the bill does pass, it will do so because the death penalty is expensive, not because it's wrong. Whatever. As long as the state stops killing people, I'm good.