Saturday, May 21, 2016

Donations: Mario Marathon 2016 and Child's Play Charity

Gets his soapbox out...

I'm a gamer. I love board games and video games, and try to turn life into a meta game whenever I can. Games are fun, and they can make other activities fun.

One of the worst activities I can think of for little kids is being in a situation that is completely out of control and beyond understanding. Being sick and in the hospital for something that you can't begin to understand, or being in a strange place with a parent because it's not safe at home for some reason both fit in this description. This is where Child's Play comes in.

FTFWP: Child's Play seeks to improve the lives of children in hospitals and domestic violence shelters through the generosity and kindness of the video game industry and the power of play.

To sum up: Child's Play is a means for us to get games, toys, activity books, art supplies, and anything you can imagine a kid would want to play with to a group of kids would could definitely use it, the sick and the endangered.

Since 2008 Mario Marathon has hosted a video game play marathon almost yearly in order to bring awareness to Child's Play and drive donations for the charity. After a couple year hiatus, they are back!

Brian, John, and the rest of the MM crew will be hosting on the 2016 Mario Marathon. You guys can watch them play, and donate money to add more levels! Every time you donate, they give away gifts, t-shirts, and various other prizes. The gameplay starts on June 24th and doesn't stop until they've completed all of the levels!

So if you have the time, love games, love gaming, and want to help some kids out, hop over to on June 24th and make a donation!

Thanks Folks!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Transit of Mercury

If you’re reading this between the times of 11:12 and 18:42 UTC (7:12 a.m. to 2:42 p.m. Eastern US time) on Monday, May 9, 2016, then the transit of Mercury is occurring right now.

Check out Phil's (The Bad Astronomer) article on the transit. A transit is when a planet passes between the earth and the sun, and with the proper gear, it can be see. NEVER LOOK INTO THE SUN WITHOUT PROTECTION.

Thursday, January 28, 2016


Today is the 30 year anniversary of the Challenger tragedy. I remember being in early childhood classes and all of us sitting down and watching the launch, mostly because all of the teachers were excited to see another teacher go into space. Things did not turn out as planned.

This is the one event in my life that I sometimes use to differentiate myself from the people younger than me. Those who are a year or more younger (I'm 35) have no recollection of witnessing or what they were doing during this event. It is a tragedy that was watched by many, similar to the assassination of John F Kennedy or the falling of the World Trade Center.

I think this is a good moment for all of us to look back on out lives and think back on the history we've seen during our lives. No links in this article for now, as I'm still on the road, but everything in here is pretty easy to look up on Google. I'll run some edits this weekend of this post and add a bunch of links to various articles that are interesting.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

IMAC and Uranus

I'm at this year's International Modal Analysis Conference (IMAC) , and giving a couple papers on microphone calibrators and low noise microphones tomorrow. It's actually a lot of fun, mostly due to the fact that this community is very tight knit. I've been working in noise and vibration for well over a decade now, and it's great to come to a conference like this and see my professors, fellow grad students, coworkers, and other friends.

IO9 posted today that today is also the 30 year anniversary of the only pass (by Voyager 2) of the planet Uranus. Uranus is the first planet to be discovered. Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn were all known to the ancients, but Uranus was thought to be a star until 1781 when it was discovered by William Herschel. There are a bunch of fun facts about it, not the the least of which are its tilt with respect to its orbit (97.77°) and the naming convention of its various satellites (characters from William Shakespeare).

My busy months are pretty much over now. I'll be writing here more (I hope).

Monday, December 7, 2015

Gone for a Month...

Lots has been happening. Let me catch you guys up:

I was in Paris for the IEC TC 29 (Electroacoustics) standards meeting. This also coincided with the Paris Attack. I am fine, I was staying near Gare du Nord at the time, and my meetings were at AFNOR, which is right across the street form Stade de France. So yeah, I was right in the middle of everything. Pictures to come on Dark...

Yesterday marked Remembrance Day to honor those who fell at Pearl Harbor in 1941.

Today is the 26th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre, in which 14 women were killed... because they wanted to study engineering and science. This atrocity has lent itself to further
thoughtless if less tragic acts performed by the engineering sector, mostly in the name of "recognizing women through science". This has created such things as "Hack a hair dryer", as if women can't think of their own things to hack and make.

Guys (and Girls too!), we need to do better. We need to look at women as equals. We need to treat them as equals. We as engineers need to involve our daughters AND sons in our engineering tinkering. We need to nurture the fact that that little girl can and probably will be just as good as any little boy at any of the stuff we do in our labs, workshops, or on our work benches. We need to stand up for ladies who are being treated unfairly by other engineers, teachers, and scientists. We need to hold them to the same standards that we hold our male brethren, but no higher. We need to be fair with everyone we work with, teach, or guide, no matter if they are male, female, their color, or their origin.

Sorry for my soapbox on this. We need to stop killing each other simply because we disagree with what someone else wants to do with their lives, or what they say. Everyone has the right to pursue their life as they wish, regardless of what any of us, or any of our gods, think.

Monday, November 9, 2015


I'm on the road right now, which is why I haven't been updating lately. Yesterday and today (the 8th and the 9th) mark some pretty important birthdays in astronomy and science.

Edmund Halley was born on the 8th of November in 1656. He was the second Astronomer Royal, succeeding John Flamsteed. He, using he friend Isaac Newton's equations, was the first man to accurately predict the course of a comet in the sky before its return, the comet named for him in fact. From his time on the island of Saint Helena, he deduced that a transit of Venus across the face of the Sun would give an accurate measurement of the size of the solar system, though he would never live to perform the measurement himself.

Carl Sagan was born on November 9th, 1934. His is a legacy of sharing knowledge of the sciences with the masses through his popular series Cosmos. He determined that the surface of Venus is extremely how due to its runaway greenhouse effect. He helped design the Golden Record on Voyager, as well as the Pioneer Plaque, the first intentional physical man made communication with any extraterrestrial life.

These men are titans of modern science, without whom we wouldn't know a great deal about out universe, solar system, and world. Where might we be were it not for people such as them?

Thursday, October 29, 2015

It's been a while, and a lot has been going on...

The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross is now on Twitchtv! Who doesn't love happy little trees!

At 383 days and counting, Scott Kelly has been in space longer than any other American Astronaut.

Someone 3D printed this pretty awesome Turbofan Engine.

and I took this pretty awesome picture of Jupiter, Mars, and Venus in conjunction last week:

Note, the moons of Jupiter... I was pretty excited when I found out I could get that through my 300 mm lens!

Happy Halloween!