Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year, 2014

By the time you read this, the Lemming will probably be asleep. Then again, maybe it would be fun to check in and see if this chap got 'high score' yet:

Oh, right. Earth's gone around Sol again. Happy New Year!

Not-entirely-unrelated posts:

Friday, December 27, 2013

It's Friday Already? Musings of a Rambling Lemming

Sunday happened on Wednesday this week, since that's when Christmas fell this year. It didn't actually fall: not the way Santa Clause would if the jolly old elf tripped over the light fantastic with Fred Astair and Ginger Rodgers.

Gene Kelly was a good dancer, too, with or without an umbrella.

What with one thing and another, the Lemming is discombobulated, which is not to be confused with disco or deltoids. "Deltoid, over the rainbow:" No, that's not how it goes, not even across the yellow brick road.

Sleep. The Lemming definitely needs sleep.

Good night. Or, rather, good morning. Good grief.

Posts, but not the related kind:

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Channel Surfing With the Lemming

Merry Christmas! Or happy holidays, or whatever.

Remember, even if you're feeling down: if you're in Earth's northern hemisphere, days are getting longer; if you're south of Earth's equator, it's summer! Either way, being alive sure beats the alternative.

Vaguely-related posts:

Friday, December 20, 2013

Safety Coffins, Sleeping Beauty, and a Rambling Lemming

Coffins with bells mounted topside that would ring if the occupant pulled a cord aren't as silly as they may seem. The idea wasn't that the dead might want room service.

Safety coffins met a need, or fueled fears, of being buried alive. Back in the 'good old days' of Cholera epidemics, that fear wasn't entirely unreasonable. The Lemming does not miss the 'good old days:' at all.

Then there's the Donora death fog of 1948. Oddly enough, "Happy Days" didn't mention it. Not once. It was set in the 1950s: the sitcom, not what happened in Donora.

Happy thoughts. The Lemming really should think happy thoughts.

Happy wasn't particularly perturbed when a fugitive took refuge in the home he shared with — those miners weren't minors, but were they related, and why didn't Merryweather keep an eye on — never mind.

That was Disney's "Sleeping Beauty:" a heartwarming tale of true love and spinning wheels; or a cautionary tale, chronicling the tragic consequences of Maleficent's hiring practices. Really, couldn't she have found one goon who knew that humans grow?

Growth happens, and so to seasons, which is why trees have growth rings, but folks who study dendrochronology apparently aren't called dendrochronologists. Maybe because they'd get confused with dental hygienists, or start thinking that their job was writing a chronology for some tree.

None of which explains why the Lemming is rambling today. There's an interesting explanation for that, or might be: if the Lemming knew why three days of work abruptly fell into the digital abyss Wednesday evening.

Instead of regularly-scheduled programming, or research, or writing, or whatever it is that the Lemming does to get these posts ready, the Lemming spent most of Thursday doing Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday's work again. A one-to-three compression ratio, or is it three-two-one-we have liftoff?

The Lemming needs coffee. Or sleep. Yes: definitely sleep. There's no question about it, Dave: and the Lemming is not going to get started on HAL 9000's descent into madness.

Utterly-unrelated posts:

Thursday, December 12, 2013

"Young" Martian Mudstone: Only 80,000,000 Years Old

"Erosion by Scarp Retreat in Gale Crater "
(December 9, 2013)

(From NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS, used w/o permission.)

"This mosaic of images from the Mast Camera (Mastcam) instrument on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover shows a series of sedimentary deposits in the Glenelg area of Gale Crater, from a perspective in Yellowknife Bay looking toward west-northwest.

"Curiosity's science team has estimated that the 'Cumberland' rock that the rover drilled for a sample of the Sheepbed mudstone deposit (at lower left in this scene) has been exposed at the surface for only about 80 million years. The estimate is based on amounts of certain gases that accumulate in a rock when it is close enough to the surface to be bombarded by cosmic rays. An explanation for that unexpectedly young exposure age comes from improved understanding of how the layers are eroding to expose underlying layers. The explanation proposes that the mudstone is being exposed by abrasion by windblown sand, indicated by arrows. The role for wind is strongly suggested by the undercutting of the Sheepbed layer below the Gillespie Lake sandstone...."

Calling something that's about 80,000,000 years old "young" may seem odd. Compared to the 4,500,000,000 or so times that Earth went around our sun since the Solar system's inner planets settled down, though: it's very new indeed.

Quite a bit happened since the Sheepbed mudstone started soaking up cosmic rays. Something reset Earth's ecosystem, giving furry little critters a chance to assert themselves; and now Earth is either in the warm cycle of an ice age, or at the end of one.

Either way, the Lemming thinks the next 80,000,000 years should be interesting too..

Related posts:

Friday, December 6, 2013

Starlit Clouds of Rho Ophiuchi, Puritan Privateers, and a Rambling Lemming

"The Colorful Clouds of Rho Ophiuchi"
Image © Rafael Defavari, via apod.NASA, used w/o permission.
(Image © Rafael Defavari, via NASA, used w/o permission.)
"The many spectacular colors of the Rho Ophiuchi (oh'-fee-yu-kee) clouds highlight the many processes that occur there...."

There's more, including a link to a "Free APOD 2014 Calendar in PDF format" that didn't work when the Lemming tried it. Maybe you'll have a less anticlimactic experience. Or maybe not.

Apparently Robert Nemiroff (MTU) and Jerry Bonnell (UMCP) wrote the description of Rafael Defavari's photo; and the Lemming found all of the above on APOD, which has very little to do with Apple's portable media players, oranges, or William III of England, who probably didn't inspire the phrase "to give the willies."

Naturally, that reminded the Lemming of Nassau, Bahamas, that's on New Providence. Old Providence is in the Caribbean, too: but instead of transplanted American loyalists, Old providence got Henry Morgan and Puritan privateers. The Lemming is not making this up. Really.

Allegedly-related posts:
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