• 2023

  • What does Celsius feel like?

  • For years, I’ve wanted to get a personal handling on what xº feels like in C. For too long have I used Fahrenheit like a plebeian. I’ve come up empty on a solution for a number of years. Until now! I was googling around the web trying to find a chart from science textbook (or an app or something!). Lo and behold, Mr. Eric Carr saved the day! Thanks Eric. This chart is a lifesaver. A few words from his blog post on Celsius:

    For reasons that I’ve mentioned before, I prefer to use SI units whenever possible. For me, it’s about practicality — using SI units makes the math easier, since unit conversion requires few or no “magic numbers” to convert from one unit to another.

  • Introducing NASA’s On-Demand Streaming Service, NASA+

  • From NASA’s beta website:

    Coming soon: our new ad-free, no cost, family-friendly streaming service unlocks our Emmy award-winning live coverage, embeds you into our missions through new original video series and puts the universe at your fingertips.

    Sign me up! 🚀

  • Astrophysics milestone discovery — Gravitational Wave Background confirmed in measuring pulsars

  • In 2016, scientists confirmed the existence of gravitational waves when observing data from two massive black holes merging. These ripples were absolutely tiny but were instrumental in confirming the astronomical theory. Since then, it was believed these ripples should be measurable everywhere in the universe. The idea congealed that some sort of “gravitational wave background” should be detectable elsewhere. But where?

    Theorists believed that pulsars could provide us with additional insights on this background gravitational map of the universe. Scientists had to gather data from several radio telescopes and dig through 15 years of pulsar data to paint this picture. Joel Achenbach and Victoria Jaggard writing for The Washington Post:

    The claim that telescopes across the planet have seen signs of a “gravitational wave background” has sent a thrill through the astrophysics community, which has been buzzing for days in anticipation of the papers that were unveiled late Wednesday. The discovery seems to affirm an astounding implication of Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity that until now has been far too subtle to detect.


    NANOGrav gathered data from 68 pulsars using the Green Bank Telescope in rural West Virginia, the 27 telescopes of the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array in New Mexico, and the now-defunct Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.

    Teams in other countries also observed the same measurable background gravitational waves from these pulsars as predicted. These independent detections affirm Einstein’s general theory of relatively. Huge convergence. This is a historical moment of consilience!

  • Gemini XII Mission Photography

  • I found myself going down a rabbit hole of NASA photography today. Gemini XII was part of the Gemini Space Program that ran between 1961–1966. Gemini XII specifically was a crewed mission, commanded by James A. Lovell (who flew on Gemini VII previously). Buzz Aldrin was the co-pilot. Gemini XII was a special mission. It was the concluding mission of Gemini. Objectives included: docking, extra-vehicular activity (EVA), using propulsion systems to change orbit in order to demonstrate automatic reentry.

    If you think about it, all three of those objectives are tantamount to every orbital mission. But Gemini XII was only the 18th crewed American spaceflight ever. So, this was considered early days! We were still figuring out the kinks to manned spaceflight.

    Now, the Gemini XII was equipped with several cameras. One of which was the Hasselblad Super-Wide Camera 70mm. The other was a Maurer Space Camera 70 mm. Here’s some of the Super Wide photography Buzz and Lovell shot from within the Gemini spacecraft and several photos from outside the craft while conducting EVA.

    I’m particularly taken by the refracted sunbeams visible through Earth’s atmosphere. What a beautiful sight.

    View the rest of Gemini’s (and Mercury or Apollo’s for that matter) photography here.

  • Elon Musk Is So Busy His Private Jet Is Taking 13-Minute Flights

  • Marie Patino, Leonardo Nicoletti and Sophie Alexander for Bloomberg:

    A Bloomberg analysis of the use of primary private planes among some of the richest people in the world finds that Musk comes out on top. For example, his private jet took more than twice as many trips as Ellison’s in 2022.

    ​​The roughly 2,112 metric tons of greenhouse gas emitted in 2022 from flight’s on Musk’s personal jet — not the Tesla or SpaceX corporate jets — is a tiny fraction of the 8.4 million metric tons that Tesla estimates its customers avoided emitting in 2021. But it’s more than 140 times the average American’s carbon footprint and, to make it up, a Tesla Model 3 would have to replace an average premium internal-combustion car for 7 million miles.

    On average, a normal person emits about 4 tons of carbon per year. This asshole contributed over 500x the amount of CO2 in 2022. Some additional context, Musk is infamous for creating problems for himself, micro-manages his teams and can’t seem to figure out teleconferencing. Musk continues to maintain a ridiculous illusion that he truly cares about the environment and is concerned for the future of humanity. It is all a facade. If he truly gave one iota, he could simply adjust his schedule to be more remote-friendly or I don’t know, maybe not take a private flight every day. Musk is and always has self-righteous silver-spooned spoiled piece of of shit.

  • The World’s Smelliest Fruit? Sohla and Ham Try Cooking With Durian

  • Another fantastic episode from NYT Cooking’s Mystery Menu with Sohla and Ham. I was pleasantly surprised that processing durian and cooking it, neutralizes the aromatics, but elevates savory flavors in dishes! Also surprised to see acid and durian making a great pairing. Also, Sohla has explored some variations on the kolar pitha before, but this durian kolar pitha looks so good!

  • Rescuers race against time to find missing Titanic submarine

  • State Farm is no longer accepting property insurance applications in California

  • Don’t freak out, but Supermassive Black Holes can get really REALLY big

  • I don’t want to sound like an alarmist, but these things can get pretty freaking huge. Like, so inconceivably Solar System-swallowing large. Notably, Ton 618. I mean, this mammoth could consume everything in the Oort Cloud and then some. Kind of horrifying.

    Take a look:

  • How to build a wood skyscraper

  • How to break bad habits

  • Saira Mueller at Wired:

    The first step to breaking a habit is the same as building one—make a list of the behaviors you’d like to stop doing and put them into priority order. If you try to do everything at once, you’ll likely just get overwhelmed and give up, says Alana Mendelsohn, a psychiatrist and neuroscientist at Columbia’s Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute. Even worse, when we’re stressed out or tired, we instinctively revert back to our established habits—making it harder to break the ones you no longer want.


    If you’re trying to check your phone less often, David Kadavy, author of Mind Management, Not Time Management, suggests locking it in a lockbox for part of the day. “Make it as hard as possible to actually perform the habit,” he says. While you’re still going to get the cue to check your phone, the effort of going to the lockbox and unlocking it can help block the behavior from triggering. Or, say you’re trying to check social media less often: “Just delete the social media apps from your phone,” says Kadavy. “Block them with the parental controls or, at the very least, don’t have them on your home screen.”

    I’m sure you’re just like me. In search of a way to spend less time on your phone. I’m here to confidently say that these techniques do indeed help.

    Step 1: setup Screen Time on iOS

    ScreenTime on iOS is very effective. There’s really no need to put your phone into a lockbox. However, if you’re trying to kick the nicotine habit, I hear that technique works well.

    Step 2: disable notifications (or delete the app outright off your device)

    I have found that disabling notifications on troublesome apps is pretty effective. Deleting them off your device is 100x more effective. I deleted Twitter off my phone and while I still have an account, I have found myself in a better place mentally. Instagram still vies for my daily attention. Now that it is essentially a WhatsApp clone, full of direct messages, I can’t stay away. Now it’s just a matter of trying to read my DM’s each day before I go over my allotted Screen Time.

    Let’s say you delete all these social apps off your phone. The good news is you can still check your Twitter timeline or Instagram DMs on the web from your computer. When I’m on my laptop I’ve found that I enter into a sort of “GTD mode.” I’m in, and out real quick. Avoid the mobile app timesuck at all costs.

    You’ll quickly begin to realize that the mobile apps are all designed to pull you in and keep you on. Once it clicks for you, it’ll become so easier to stay off your phone and fill that time with shit that actually matters like reading, gaming, exercise, learning or whatever floats your boat.

  • 2021

  • New York has been re-classified as a sub-tropical climate region

  • Measurable climate change has slowly been affecting the coastlines of the Americas for several years now. That’s no secret of course. Rising coastlines, ravaging seas, devastating hurricanes, and superstorms have been battering coastal cities and don’t seem to be letting up. Even, tourist island havens have been completely wiped off the Earth.

    It doesn’t end there of course. Even the Southwestern regions are having trouble keeping up with extreme storm systems. We’re nearing hurricane season, and due to a weakened arctic jetstream, we may see more extreme weather phenomena as more “blocking” events become the norm. Think brutal heatwaves and more and more frequent intense winter storms.

    All of that is separate from the larger story — year over year climate temperatures since 1972, has risen in steadily here New York. So, as a result, the region has now been reclassified as a sub-tropical climate region. As someone who grew up in Texas, it’s wild that NYC and the Lone Star State have climatological patterns in common. Granted, Texas experienced very long humid summers, while NYC’s summers a tad shorter. But that humidity, is particularly rough.

    Here’s more climate types documented across the US:

    Current as of February 2021 according to Wikipedia
  • Snow in the Sahara

  • This past week’s extremely rare snowstorm system was absolutely devastating in Texas. It got me thinking about other regions who rarely experience snowfall or winter storms. It’s fairly rare, but snow does in fact fall in The Sahara. It’s less likely than snowfall in Texas, but certainly striking if not beautiful to behold.

  • Simple Guide to Cloud Types

  • You see these sorts of diagrams everywhere. Wikipedia and Google search results normally have rich photos showcasing each cloud variety. School textbooks normally have little illustrations. Those are my favorite kind of diagrams.

    Source: Reddit
  • 13 Months, 28 days

  • Calendars and time-keeping, is what makes or breaks civilizations. It’s no mistake that the Julian and Gregorian calendar varieties carry their Caesarian namespace. Managing how we catalog time is a pretty political, financially-motivated and generally sensitive topic. We don’t like change. It’s human nature to resist change. It takes serious inertia to introduce new (let alone change) calendar or time formats.

    There once was a time when each local town kept their own time individually. Which was frankly, insane. Train and locomotives carried a lot of sway back then, and then on November 18th, 1863 it become the gold standard. However, it didn’t become law until Congress passed the Standard Time Act in 1918.

    Does it ever piss you off that you can’t calculate what day of the week it will be a month from now? Or schedule an appointment off the top of your head on a day of the week that’s a weekend? Or a weekday? Why do some months have 30 days and others have 31? What’s up with February? The hell is a leap year? The Gregorian calendar is a mess.

    This could all be so much easier. Eastman Kodak did their homework. They realized a more efficient calendar would yield more productive appointments and scheduling. I mean, wouldn’t be amazing if every month was the same format? 13 months, 28 days:

    Image from Bloomberg

    It’s also known as the International Fixed Calendar. There would be 13 months (the 13th month would be called Sol, sandwiched between June and July), and no month would contain a “5th week,” because each month would be comprised of 4 weeks. Incredible. The entire calendar can sit in a beautiful matrix (see above). New Year’s Day would simply be an “magic” day, added as a sort of holiday at the end of the year. Also called “Year Day” or “Double Sunday” as the calendar resets for the new year, it would fall on a Sunday it ends and begins on. The next day would be Jan 1, a Sunday.

    Do you like this concept? Because I sure do. If you like it as much as I do, contact your representatives here! Make your voice heard.

  • Middle Earth

  • You ever wonder why Middle-earth was called Middle-earth?

    Tolkien drew inspiration from tons of places. Buddhism? Check. Judaism? Check. Norse mythology. You betcha.

    Nordic tales had the “land of men” at the center of it all. Of course, in this context, it was really more akin to a racial homeland. Never the less, the Nordic stories and other religions for thousands of years, we literally assumed we were at the middle of the middle of the universe. The greeks believed it. The romans believed it. To be honest… we still fall into these traps today. Maybe not on an astronomical scale anymore (except for the flat-earth fools) but, I think it’s very important to take a step back every now and then and check your egotistical tendencies as a human.

    “Am I being biased?”

    “Am I being ethnocentric?”

    “Am I being selfish?”

    “Am being stubborn or self-centered?”

    Take a beat more when you can. Chill your ego. It’s good for you.