nanila: fulla starz (lolcat: science)
2014-03-18 09:59 pm
Entry tags:

[sticky entry] Sticky: Subscription Meme (I hope!)

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! )
nanila: fulla starz (lolcat: science)
2017-07-20 01:12 pm
Entry tags:

#tbt: Moar space history (pre-2006)

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)
2017-07-04 10:22 am

Glasses mixup

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 )
nanila: (tachikoma: celebratory)
2017-06-30 09:49 pm
Entry tags:

Telstar's Top Tip: Every day is Caturday

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.
nanila: fulla starz (lolcat: science)
2017-06-29 10:41 pm
Entry tags:

#tbt: Some space history from 1996

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)
2017-06-28 05:50 pm
Entry tags:

Drive-by posting

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.]
nanila: little and wicked (mizuno: lil naughty)
2017-06-23 11:37 am

File Under “Unpopular Opinions, #242”

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
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
2017-06-22 10:11 pm

There are potatoes, tractors and plastic dinosaurs, what more could you possibly want

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 )
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
2017-06-21 11:01 am

Somebody’s woke af.

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.]
nanila: (not good with computer)
2017-06-16 09:30 am
Entry tags:

Friday's Unscientific Poll: Sartorial question

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%)

nanila: little and wicked (mizuno: lil naughty)
2017-06-15 10:16 am

TFW you suddenly realise your child understands their parents very well indeed

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.
nanila: (me: walk softly and carry big stick)
2017-06-13 02:01 pm

Loving Day

I had wanted to post this yesterday, as it was the 50th anniversary, but ran out of time. So, a day late, but no less important: Here is my very personal celebration of the Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court decision, handed down on 12 June 1967, that legalised interracial marriage in the USA.

Without it, my parents might have been jailed or permanently separated. Without it, I might not exist. I am grateful that what was just and correct prevailed in the face of popular opinion.

SCAN0174
[Image of my dad, baby!me and my mom, with one of my aunties in the pool at a Honolulu hotel. Photo taken by my maternal grandfather.]

+1 )
nanila: YAY (me: abby)
2017-06-09 09:02 am
Entry tags:

#UKGE2017

Dear 18-25 year old voters,
It's an omnishambles of a result and it's going to take months to sort out. But OMG well done all of you for turning up - an estimated 72% of you - and confounding the initial expectations for this general election. Keep it up. You swung it. I'm so pleased for you.
Love,
Nanila

Dear people in power,
See that letter up above? Start paying attention, start thinking long-term and start putting in place policies that aren't going to screw over their futures.
Kiss kiss bye bye,
Nanila
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
2017-06-03 10:24 pm

Caturday is toe-day

IMG_1592_cr
Telstar ensures that no human may come down the stairs with their toes unmolested.
nanila: me (Default)
2017-06-02 08:39 am
Entry tags:

Friday's Unscientific Poll: GE2017

Poll #18443 UK GE2017 Future Levels of Discourse
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 51


As we have seen, the 2017 UK General Election campaign has reached the Badger Cull level of discourse. What's next?

View Answers

Fox Hunting
8 (16.3%)

Liam Fox Hunting
19 (38.8%)

Mushroom
22 (44.9%)

Current UK Prime Minister Theresa May is Margaret Thatcher's Final Horcrux

View Answers

Yes
45 (100.0%)

Nanila got the response types mixed up in the previous two questions

View Answers

Yes
8 (16.3%)

No
10 (20.4%)

Ticky
23 (46.9%)

Snake
36 (73.5%)

nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
2017-06-01 06:52 pm

Bank holiday weekend photodump

Since I’d best get these posted before next weekend happens, have a selection of photos from the bank holiday weekend.

Photo
This prequel is from work in London on the Friday before the weekend. Everyone’s favourite selfie-loving tattooed physicist ([twitter.com profile] mggttaylor) came to lunch with the Rosetta team. We talked comets and outreach and heavy metal. Beer may or may not have been consumed.

Then I went back to Worcestershire and the weekend proper began.

Avoncroft )

At home )

Pub )
nanila: (tea)
2017-05-31 01:27 pm

Hashtag GE2017 Level of Discourse: Badger

IMG_-np9b2u
I saw this in a derelict shop window on the high street of my local village. It reads: "SAVE BRITAIN: CULL TORIES" and features an image of a badger with a Union Jack painted on its face.

Thus I feel compelled to announce that the UK GE2017 campaigning has attained the Badger level of discourse.
nanila: nellie kim is awesome (purple nellie)
2017-05-25 06:21 pm

Garden addition

Back story: The garden behind our house is a very peculiar shape. It is quite wide at the back of the house for about 10 metres, then narrows abruptly to a very skinny path alongside the canal towpath hedge. It goes along like this for about 5 metres and then ends in a round, fenced-in patch about 4 metres in diameter. The round patch has a concrete pavement in a pretty circular pattern.

We’ve been trying to work out what to do with this odd space since we moved in. It’s a fair way from the house and not visible from the back door. Jacuzzi? Too much maintenance, plus it’s too far to trek on a horrible winter night. Bike shed? Functional but boring, and also bike sheds are ugly. This is a pretty space, ringed by climbing roses and vines.

A few weeks ago we went to the garden centre and found a display of cute playhouses with trimmed roofs and windows, and an interior upper floor reached by a child-sized ladder. The 6’x6’ models were on sale. As we had to carry the children away from them, literally, we thought, perhaps this is the optimal use for that round patch.

Thus far, we have been proved entirely correct, and the expense has been justified. Since it’s been installed, both children come home from nursery, dash through the house and out the back door into the playhouse to draw, play on the tablet or just run up and down the steps and in and out the doors. (There’s an adorable toddler-sized door out the side in addition to the larger front door.) The only things that brings them back to the house in 15-20 minutes are the requests for drinks and fruity snacks, which are then carried back up to the playhouse.

tl;dr version We got the kids a playhouse for the garden. Photos below!

20170523_184119
[Keiki on a wooden chair outside the playhouse. “Oi* shut da door on moi sister!”]

+3 )

* The Black Country is strong with this one.
** There is a whole separate post brewing about how I simply do not understand Danger Mouse.
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
2017-05-25 03:30 pm

I am up to my ears in marking...

...so here, have a photo from yesterday evening instead of hearing me moan about that.

IMG_5yqare
[Humuhumu and Keiki in their swimming costume & swim nappy respectively, eating ice creams in the paddling pool.]
nanila: little and wicked (mizuno: lil naughty)
2017-05-19 10:19 am
Entry tags:

Friday’s Unscientific Poll: Cheeky door label

Our corridor was refurbished several months ago, and new door labels were applied. The admin staff have since added names and roles (e.g. “Lecturer”, “Research Associate”) to about 70% of the doors.

My officemate and I grew tired of waiting for ours to appear and have thus created our own.
Door_sign_2017-05-18_1600
[Blue and white door label reading “Mr [Redacted] & Dr [Redacted]: Purveyors of splendid magnetometer data”]

We’re trying to decide how long it will be before anyone notices.

Poll #18391 Purveyors of splendid magnetometer data
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 81


Someone will notice our door label

View Answers

in a few days
7 (8.6%)

in a few weeks
3 (3.7%)

in a few months
3 (3.7%)

if/when you ever move office & it has to be replaced
27 (33.3%)

straightaway, but no one will say anything - see “You work in the Physics Department”
41 (50.6%)

nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
2017-05-18 10:39 am

On a much more cheerful note

Here is Keiki with our first radish harvest from our garden:
IMG_ndairl
He ate all of his. Humuhumu found them too peppery.

Here are Keiki and Humuhumu eating ice creams. Humuhumu is dressed as a pirate princess (outfit concept all hers). Keiki is dressed in one of the two shirts that don't cause him to start screaming as soon as you put it on him, holey black trousers and a single croc.
IMG_ji34i1

And here is Telstar defeating a stick whilst lounging in the porch of the tent in our garden.
20170507_105420