nanila: fulla starz (lolcat: science)
( Mar. 18th, 2014 09:59 pm)
I felt the urge to rewrite my introduction so I thought I’d use it as a starting point for a Subscription Meme, as I haven’t seen one going around for a while.

I’ve made a template, which I’ve filled out very wordily below. Please feel free to adapt it to your wishes, and please link this post wherever you like. (Please participate or share? I'm going to feel very sad if this entry sits here alone with 0 comments...)

Subscription Meme template:
<b>People in this journal</b>
<b>About my job</b>
<b>Some random facts</b>
<b>Things I like to do</b>
<b>Fandom</b>
<b>Social media usage</b>
<b>>Subscriptions, access and commenting</b>
<b>What I’d like to get from my participation here</b>


My responses! )
tags:
IMG_20170720_124419_753
[Image of a Cassini spacecraft model inside a black gimbal structure comprised of three concentric rings, mounted on a plexiglass stand and sitting on the corner of a desk.]

Now that I'm back at work, I present another of my Rare Objects from Space History for #tbt. This is a model of the Cassini spacecraft, mounted in the centre of what I can only think to describe as a gimbal. The high gain antenna is pointed toward the bottom of the photo. The model was distributed to instrument teams to aid them with pointing design. It can be rotated around three axes within the gimbal. Each circle of rotation is marked in degrees, so that from a set of numbers indicating its orientation (eg "RA & dec"), an instrument engineer can work out which way the spacecraft is pointing.

I have no idea when it was originally given to our team but it predates me joining the Cassini project (ca 2006).
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
( Jul. 4th, 2017 10:22 am)
We went to the pub last night to sit by the canal and enjoy some celebratory holiday pizzas. After a couple of lime and sodas, everyone got a bit silly and our (eye, not drinks) glasses got mixed up.

20170703_175546
[Humuhumu and Keiki grinning across a wooden patio table at the pub. Humuhumu is wearing Daddy’s sunglasses and Keiki is wearing mine.]

+4 )
My nose, it is tasty
[Telstar licking his nose.]

I have completed the three major data deliveries I wanted to finish before the end of the month.

I completed all but one of the additional tasks on my to-do list.

I am now officially on holiday for two weeks.
IMG_20170629_091456_077
[Image of a fluxgate magnetometer in its housing with its frayed MLI-coated cable curled round it. The destroyed connectors can be seen. The whole assembly is sitting on top of an antistatic envelope. The sensor housing reads: "CLUSTER-FGM SENSOR 08 FM1", where FM means "flight model".]

I gave an outreach talk at an open day this morning, to about a hundred A-level students, their parents and their teachers. The talk was focused on the Cassini end-of-mission science, but I managed to sneak in this bit of space history when explaining what a magnetometer does.

The fluxgate in the photo above actually went into space for a few brief seconds. It got about 5 km up before it was unceremoniously returned to the Earth. The Ariane 5 rocket that launched the spacecraft whose payload it was part of had exploded, showering the swamps of French Guiana with wreckage.

This sensor sat in that swamp for a good few weeks before a French Foreign Legionnaire fished it out.

I'm afraid that being blown up and mouldering in a tropical pond was, in fact, enough to kill it, but it's still a pretty cool object, and the students seemed to like seeing it very much.
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
( Jun. 28th, 2017 05:50 pm)
I'm frantically trying to finish a bunch of work before I go on holiday for two weeks in July, so time for blog is very limited. I'm hoping to have lots of leisurely catch-up time to post things like photos from Vienna and Spain.

Worst thing that happened today: I forgot my glasses on the counter by the mirrors in the ladies' toilets at Birmingham New Street Station. I realised this at exactly the moment my train to London was moving away from the platform.

Best thing that happened today: I received an e-mail alert titled "hggggggfgfg", which I assumed meant, "ALERT: Engineer's Cat Has Walked Across Their Keyboard." It was later claimed that this alert was issued because of "testing", which I can only mean "testing for robustness of cat-proof-ness", a test which the system has surely failed.

In conclusion, I give you the most recent studio portraits that nursery had done of the children (late April).
SCAN0170
[Studio portrait of Humuhumu and Keiki smiling together. Humuhumu has her peach-framed glasses on.]
I’ll never understand the pride people take in saying, “I was born and bred here” or the use of the same phrase to defend one’s perceived superiority or deservingness of housing, health care or other basic human rights.

I mean, what did you, yourself, actually do to influence where you were born or bred? Unless you were a particularly ambitious embryo, the answer is “nothing”. Sure, your parents might have made some kind of effort to select your place of birth. Maybe they strove to move to better housing in a neighbourhood with better services and schools. Maybe they’re even immigrants, like my dad, and they struggled long and hard to learn their fourth language in order to integrate into their adopted country. But you? You didn’t do anything. Why are you so proud of that? Think of the things you've accomplished in your life. Isn't it far more fitting and fulfilling to be proud of those?

And why the obsession with asserting the superiority of a single identity over the others? “I’m English first and then British.” Pro-tip: Most of the rest of the world considers both of those to be synonymous with “ex-colonialist imperialist arsehole” so it doesn’t really matter which one you choose. ^.^

Here is a list of the geographically-linked identities that I consider myself able to lay claim to. I’m proud of some and not others.

  • American
  • British
  • European
  • Hawai’ian
  • Filipino
  • Olympian
  • Seattleite
  • Angeleno
  • San Diegan
  • Londoner
  • Brummie (this is a new one; still feels a little odd)


Today, I think I’m proudest of being European. I earned that identity and that passport, and I’m still very pissed off that some people want to take it away.

Today is also, weirdly, simultaneously:

  • the anniversary of Brexit, aka the Colossal Waste of Time and Money Foisted Upon Us by a Generation That Tore Down Decades of Painstakingly Won Goodwill with Our Neighbours and Won’t Live to Experience the Disastrous Consequences, Thanks a Lot, Dickheads.

    And

  • International Women in Engineering Day


So, to close this post, here is a peaceful photo of a woman doing some engineering.

Scientist at work
I have been outrageously busy at work this week and I don't have the brain to string these together into a proper narrative. My apologies. So: Have a series of happy photos from the past week or so.

20170617_171856
[Keiki with freshly dug potatoes in his fist, ready to deposit them in one of the two white bowls in front of him.]

We ate our first potato harvest tonight. Yum!

+6 )
Humuhumu: “Keiki, are you a boy?”
Keiki: “No!”
Humuhumu: “Keiki, are you a girl?”
Keiki: “No!”
Humuhumu: “What are you, Keiki?”
Keiki: “I’m a KEI-KI.” syllables of name drawn out emphatically

20170620_194627
[Humuhumu and Keiki in the bath, giving themselves bubble beards.]
At the meeting I attended recently, I noticed that one of my colleagues and his elegant wife were wearing their glasses on chains. They're a decade or so older than I am, but it occurred to me that now I'm in my forties, I may have achieved the age of "glasses chain wearing" majority.

Poll #18498 Glasses chains
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 51


Am I old enough to start wearing my glasses on a chain?

View Answers

Settle down, whippersnapper. You've got to put in another decade yet.
18 (35.3%)

You have grey hair and you forget where they are when they're on top of your head, so yes.
33 (64.7%)

tags:
Cars & Daddy on a bicycle
In this drawing by Humuhumu, done in purple pen, you see two cars on the left and Humuhumu's Daddy on a bicycle on the right. These are the things Daddy likes to do: driving, riding bicycles, and driving us to places where we can all ride our bicycles.

Dashi from Octonauts
In this drawing by Humuhumu in the lower left and upper right, you see renditions of Dashi, the dachsund from the BBC children's show Octonauts, in light blue marker pen. The octopod is partially visible in the upper left, as is "Dashi nose practise" in the lower right.

Dashi is Humuhumu's favourite Octonaut. Here is the description of Dashi from the Octonauts web site, emphasis mine. Dashi is a smart dachshund / sausage dog who oversees operations in the Octopod HQ and launch bay. She monitors the computer systems and manages all ship traffic. She's also the Octonauts' official photographer and enjoys taking photos of undersea life.

....Oh. Ah. Huh.
.