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: Your plastic pal who's fun to be with (star wars: k-2so)
2017-09-16 12:17 am

Cassini End of Mission events, Part 4 of ?

[personal profile] emelbe and I set our alarms for 02:30 and 02:35 respectively, just to be sure we got up in time to walk over to Caltech for the end of mission. We dressed and poured coffee into ourselves, made sure we had our badges, and got out the door in plenty of time to arrive before 04:00, the official start of the event and NASA TV coverage.

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Walking up to Beckman Auditorium (aka the wedding cake) from the south.

As it happened. )
nanila: YAY (me: abby)
2017-09-15 08:55 pm

Cassini End of Mission events, Part 3 of ?

Thursday was meant to be a quiet day, since we all knew we had to be up and at Caltech by 4 AM for the thing we’d all been preparing for: the actual end of mission.

In reality, there were some impromptu science meetings at Caltech, one of which I attended in the morning. I slipped out just before noon, because I had someone to meet.

I headed down from Beckman to South Mudd to see my former JPL postdoctoral supervisor, from back in those heady days when I was still a lab scientist, for lunch. I hadn’t seen him since 2006. I eventually remembered where his Caltech office was. I could’ve found the JPL one much more easily, but it would have required me to check in and get a badge, which seemed a lot of faff for lunch. Besides, there are nicer places to eat in Pasadena. Once in the correct corridor, I spotted his technician hovering outside the door, plus another UK person from the physical chemistry community whom I’d never met but knows the bloke pretty well. There were lots of smiles and hugs, and we decided to head down to a restaurant over on Lake Street.

We had a very pleasant hour of conversation, reminiscing and catching up. I had a shock on hearing that their children, whom I remembered as children or young teenagers, were now grown up and had careers of their own. Of course I knew that would have happened in the intervening decade-plus, but it’s not until you actually speak together about these things that they’re driven home to you. They were equally shocked on learning that Humuhumu has started school - and has a younger sibling! The bloke and I had been remiss in our communication, clearly. We talked of science, of course, and of politics and its effects on research direction, and of our worries about the future due to Brexit and the current US administration.

I am still kicking myself for forgetting to take a photo. You must instead picture me with a group of men: one starting to disappear into the frailty of old age, peering out earnestly from large-framed glasses, one solid and grey-haired and mostly silent with twinkling blue eyes, and one cheeky-grinned middle-aged bear of a chap with a shock of brown hair and a beard. All sitting together in a booth of a Japanese restaurant, eagerly shoveling the contents of bento boxes into our faces, occasionally bursting into roars of laughter while cheesy ‘90s music played in the background.

We parted with promises not to let another eleven years pass before we met again. I was left with the warm glow you get from (re)connecting with friendly, kind, intelligent people. It was a lovely way to buffer against the excitement and strain of what was to come on Friday morning.

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Chilling out in my JPL t-shirt before the end of mission.
nanila: fulla starz (lolcat: science)
2017-09-14 05:05 pm

Cassini End of Mission events, Part 2 of ?

On Wednesday morning, [personal profile] emelbe and I saddled up and drove over to the Jet Propulsion Lab for a tour. We put her trusty sat nav on, and I noticed that instead of a car, the little icon was an x-wing. She turned the audio on. “Driven well you have,” said Yoda. “In a quarter of a mile, turn left. It is your destiny.”

It was decided that it was fitting for Yoda to be allowed to direct us to JPL.

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JPL tour badge with Curiosity on the front. We got to keep these.

Tour, with side trips down memory lane )
nanila: fulla starz (lolcat: science)
2017-09-13 03:31 am

Cassini End of Mission events, Part 1 of ?

I flew into Los Angeles on the Sunday before the last-while-Cassini-is-still-in-orbit-around-Saturn Project Science Group meeting began. I was feeling dodgy when I got up at 6 AM, but I napped in the taxi and took some ibuprofen, and hoped that the feeling would go away.

It did not.

I made sure my usual mobile pharmacy (ibuprofen, paracetamol, Rennie) was stocked in my rucksack before I boarded the plane, and was glad I'd done so about three hours into the flight when my fever started spiking. I alternated ibuprofen and paracetamol every two hours. The flight attendants kindly granted all of my requests for cold water/cans of ginger ale, which were frequent. It was one of the most miserable long-haul flights I've ever had.

I spent nearly all of Monday in bed apart from a brief foray out to get a hot Thai curry into my belly for lunch. This paid off on Tuesday, and I was able to spend half a day at Caltech to dial into the penultimate operations meeting. (There will be one more after the crash, but obviously we’ll no longer have an instrument status to report.) I was excited about this, because I had been saving up something for a very long time.

In fine fettle was the other option )

to be continued
nanila: Pokemon Go 2km Egg Hatch (pokemon go)
2017-09-08 09:56 pm
Entry tags:

Apparently this was Mission Sticker Week.

First, I received my Cassini Grand Finale stickers from the delightful [instagram.com profile] marka_design. I put one of them on my 15th and final Cassini lab notebook, and I plan to put the other on my laptop and take a photo of it when I'm at the end-of-mission events next week.

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My red lab notebook with one of the Cassini stickers.

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A photo of a page of ops checks (deliberately blurred) in my lab notebook, with the focus on the two Cassini stickers as received.

There was a JUICE meeting at my institute this week. It was not for our instrument team, but for another that we work closely with. They convinced the project scientist to attend. He gave us an informative and exciting presentation, but most importantly, he brought a small stack of the very first official ESA mission stickers. I actually didn't snaffle one because I went off with my counterpart on the other team for an hour and a half splinter meeting. However, the PI from their team kindly saved us each a sticker.

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The first official JUICE mission sticker, showing Jupiter, the Galilean moons and the JUICE spacecraft. This will go straight onto my new laptop when I receive it. It seems oddly fitting to be retiring one laptop and beginning to use another right at the end of the Cassini mission.
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
2017-09-06 10:30 pm

Sad Batman, happy child

20170901_105145

This is Sad Batman. Sad Batman, a black crayon rendition on orange construction paper who looks a lot like a Christmas tree with a bat head, is sad, "because he lost Wildstyle and Emmett". This is a reference that will make no sense if you haven't seen The Lego Movie and hence will not make you LOL as hard as I did.

On a completely different note, check out who's fashion-ready for the Cassini End of Mission. We were at Marks & Spencer buying school clothes last weekend when Humuhumu spotted this white fluffy jumper with pink sequin ringed planet. I couldn't resist.

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nanila: fulla starz (lolcat: science)
2017-09-01 09:08 am

#tbt: Two more weeks of Cassini, and a momentous occasion

(I meant to post this yesterday but ran out of oomph. Er, maybe it's still Thursday somewhere?)

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I realise this is not the most exciting photo in the world, but my Fun Space History Fact of the Day for Throwback Thursday is that the Cassini spacecraft distributed operations computers OS of choice is...Solaris. Note the countdown clock in the upper right corner of the screen. Only two weeks left.

Side note: I love those weird eye-bendy default backgrounds in Solaris. They remind me that my first experience learning to use *nix properly was on the Sun Sparc 5 workstations in the Von Karman library basement at the University of Southern California.

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Yesterday, we celebrated the retirement of one of my lab colleagues (second from right). He spent 52 years working as a technician in our lab. Power supplies he built for dozens of space missions are scattered throughout the solar system. He is a (largely) unsung hero of space history, Hauksbee Award notwithstanding. Trevor Beek, I salute you. I hope you enjoy many years in contemplation of a job well done.
nanila: YAY (me: abby)
2017-08-30 06:12 pm

Ice cream gang in Devon

Hello, I'm not so good at posting this week, due to it having been a bank holiday weekend which was also possibly the last gasp of summer, the bloke returning home from Nairobi and us turning around immediately afterward to go camping in Devon, and then back to drowning in work. We actually have some hardware in our hot little hands for the Engineering Model of our instrument for the JUICE spacecraft, and orders being placed for more, and that feels good.

I want to write up the camping weekend properly but for now, a preview from the dairy farm's ice cream stand.

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From left to right: S, Humuhumu, Keiki and S's younger brother J*, sitting on a simple wooden bench eating ice cream in cones. Backdrop is the beautiful Devonshire countryside.

* J, believe it or not, is only a few months older than Keiki. He is enormous.
nanila: fulla starz (lolcat: science)
2017-08-24 10:06 am

#tbt: Two Cassini artifacts and a Message to Voyager

It is now just over three weeks until Cassini plunges into Saturn’s atmosphere and the mission (but not the Project) comes to an end. I grow a little sentimental.

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This is the flight spare of Cassini’s fluxgate magnetometer sensor, which will live on. We use it for command simulations on the ground.

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This is a 1:25 scale model of the Cassini spacecraft, with the Huygens probe attached to its side. It includes the magnetometer boom, which is hidden in this view. These were distributed to the payload teams. It's been in our group longer than I have (>11 years).

I recently ordered a big perspex display box for the model, so we can have it on show at the upcoming Imperial Fringe festival, post-mission-end. I’ll be giving a talk at the Farewell to Cassini exhibit. Details to follow (on the Londoners filter) when they’re confirmed and the web site for event registration is live.

Voyager1DSNscreenshot
This is a screenshot of NASA Eyes on the DSN that I took on 4 August. DSS-14 at Goldstone (the antenna in white on the left) is receiving data from Voyager 1 (spacecraft shown on the right). I accompanied this with “We’re still listening” on [instagram.com profile] magnetometrist on Instagram.

NASA has a poll, open until Tuesday 29 August, to choose a 60-character-or-less #MessagetoVoyager, to be sent on 5 September. If you want to vote on a message, go here.
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
2017-08-22 10:36 pm

Amsterdam – Canal Barge & Rijks

On the previously mentioned trip to Amsterdam, the bloke and I stayed on a canal barge in the Westerdok.

This was the much bigger cousin of the holiday barges that pootle up and down our Worcestershire canal. The main bulk of the hull served as the home of the bloke who ran the B&B. We were in the wheelhouse, overlooking the canal. The docks seem to serve as pretty much permanent moorings for the barges in this area. Each one had a small garden, and there was even a floating children’s play area.

It was surprisingly quiet given that the location is a mere 15 minute walk from Centraal Station. We could hear a distant roar of traffic, but mostly we heard the hangry cheeping of two adolescent coots and the occasional quack of a duck. We also found a great crested grebe nesting a few boats down. It was definitely brooding, as we never saw the nest unoccupied.

Urban great crested grebe nest
The nest itself was a rather wonderful construction, being a mix of urban rubbish and plant detritus, with a few hollyhocks artfully arranged around the edges. The grebe had two female mallard bodyguards, who immediately came to circle the nest at a careful distance, giving me the side-eye when I hopped down on to the dock from the pavement to take photos.

The barge proprietor tiptoed in every morning to leave us breakfast on the table next to the wheelhouse. It included a bottle of freshly squeezed orange juice, muesli, yoghurt, and hardboiled eggs nested in knitted cosies. Much as I wanted to sleep in, the prospect of getting that into my belly when I heard his footsteps got me out of bed pretty early both mornings. We received so much food at breakfast that we were able to make sandwiches from the bread and cheese to squirrel away for later. We ate these in the Vondelpark on the first day, and for supper on the second after the lunch at Rijks.

Apart from the sheer pleasure of walking around Amsterdam, we also indulged in a trip to a Michelin-starred restaurant for a very belated birthday treat for me. We spent three and a half hours eating lunch at Rijks, which is next to the Rijksmuseum. The bloke had mentioned that it was my birthday when he made the booking. As a result, in addition to our pudding, I got a white chocolate candle with sorbet and a little message inside. We sampled both white and red wines, all by Dutch winemakers “from everywhere in the world” (e.g. New Zealand and South Africa).

Photos from Rijks behind the cut.

+++ )
nanila: little and wicked (mizuno: lil naughty)
2017-08-18 02:20 pm
Entry tags:

Friday's Unscientific Poll: Spoiler: The correct answer is Yes

Poll #18711 Eye candy
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 50


Which?

View Answers

Vin Diesel
9 (18.0%)

Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock
18 (36.0%)

Yes, yes please
9 (18.0%)

Fast AND furious, hurr hurr
7 (14.0%)

No thanks, fit bald men aren't my thing
15 (30.0%)

I have a really short attention span. What was the question?
9 (18.0%)

Cake, anyone?
23 (46.0%)

Ticky!
18 (36.0%)

nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
2017-08-16 01:27 pm

Vienna: Tiergarten Schoenbrunn

Fish
Keiki squats down to look at the fish in the polar bear enclosure at the Vienna Tiergarten.

The Schoenbrunn should definitely make the top ten of every visitor attraction list of Vienna, if not the top three. It’s the gigantic former summer palace of the Hapsburgs, and the grounds alone merit at least a half-day stroll to explore fully. There are gardens, fountains, hidden playgrounds, an enormous glasshouse full of palm trees, and even a zoo.

Despite having visited the Schoenbrunn grounds many times, I’d never been to the zoo, which is allegedly the oldest in the Western world (founded in 1752). Now, with two small children, one of whom is animal-obsessed, I had good reason to go. The children and I set out early one morning to travel via the Viennese underground to the palace.

Humuhumu was keen to learn how to navigate the transport system. She got very good at spotting the way to the correct train lines, and proudly announced when the next train would be arriving after we got to the platforms.

It took us 45 minutes to get from our temporary abode to the Schoenbrunn and, conveniently, it was just about Cake O’clock when we arrived. We detoured around the palace entrance and stopped off at an Aida Konditorei, a chain of inexplicably pink cafés that serve extremely nice cakes, coffees and hot chocolates (apart from the one near the opera house – avoid that one; everyone who works there is sick of tourists and very grumpy).

We walked into the Aida and chorused “Guten Morgen” at the round-faced, unsmiling woman behind the counter. She broke into a beaming grin and showed us to the table next to a tiny play area containing toys and books, which the children pounced upon. (Throughout the trip, I encouraged the children to greet everyone we met in German, to say please and thank you in German, to order their food using the German words and, when I felt confident in my knowledge of the right phrases, I coached them to make requests in German. I was astonished at the abundance of goodwill toward us that this produced.) Humuhumu ordered her hot chocolate and cake in German, and was rewarded with an additional pink meringue, which she received with an unprompted “Danke schoen”. When we left, Keiki crowing “Wiedersehen” over my shoulder with his dimpliest smile, the server came out from round the counter and gave each of the children an extra biscuit, which, to be honest, they didn’t really need after all that sugar!

Full of energy, we bounded into the grounds of the Schoenbrunn and raced around whilst waiting for the grandparents to join us at the entrance to the Tiergarten (Zoo). As vast as the Schoenbrunn grounds are, they are not big enough to house a comprehensive collection of the world’s animals, so cleverly the Tiergarten is focused on a limited number of species and provided them with luxurious accommodation.

Keiki and Humuhumu loved the place, particularly Keiki. Once he spotted the meerkat enclosure, we couldn’t get him to finish his lunch. Neither could we readily tear him away from the penguins. In fact, Granddad had a bit of a job keeping Keiki from clambering into their pond to join them. We communed with the seals. We watched a polar bear chewing meditatively on a traffic cone. And, of course, Humuhumu found a climbing wall and had to try everything.

It was a wonderful place to spend a sunny afternoon, and we will certainly return to the Tiergarten on our next trip to Vienna.

Further photos beneath the cut.
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nanila: (me: art)
2017-08-15 01:26 pm
Entry tags:

Amsterdam: Stedelijk Museum

In early July, the bloke & I went to Amsterdam for a couple of days for my (very) belated birthday celebrations. His parents kindly looked after the children so we could have our first holiday alone together since they were born.

One of the things we did was go to an art museum and wander around for a couple of hours. This is not a thing you can do with small children, unless you have imprisoned them in a pram, and then there would (not unreasonably) be screaming.

I’d previously been to both the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum. The bloke had never been to the latter, but as it was the height of summer, it was not a good time to go. The place cannot cope with the number of visitors it receives, and unless you book days in advance, you can’t get in. When you do, you still have to queue, and you end up shuffling in a slow-moving crush of people past all of the artwork. It’s not a great experience. We opted, therefore, to go to one we’d never been in: the Stedelijk Museum, which is dedicated to modern art.

I really enjoyed the collection. It was well curated and I now have a little list of new (to me) artists to keep my eyes peeled for in the London exhibitions.

Photographer Zanele Muholi takes photos of LGBTQ+ community members in Africa. I definitely want a book of her work. It was a little irritating to find, at the end of our visit, that of all the special exhibitions on display, hers was the only one without a corresponding product available in the shop. No books, no postcards, nothing. Hmph.

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From her “Brave Beauties” series.

+++ )
nanila: me (Default)
2017-08-12 09:04 pm
Entry tags:

It R Caturday

Telstar
Handsome tuxie sticks his tongue out at you from his sunny perch atop the wood shed.
nanila: me (Default)
2017-08-11 12:08 pm

Friday Five: Fashionista

  1. What is the most outrageous style you've ever rocked?
    Probably this one:

    (That's me in 2003, wearing a green vest, black trousers & boots, sunglasses and very long dreadlocks. I'm carrying the tiny metal box that functioned as my handbag in those days.)

  2. As a teen, were you an emo, goth, punk, grunger, or prep?
    As a young teen, I was trending toward goth, but I didn't go full rivethead until I was at university.

  3. Have you ever had a crazy hairstyle/colour?
    I have worn unnatural shades of hair colour: green, blue and purple. I don't really think of dreadlocks as "crazy".

  4. Do you think we ever really grow out of our teen selves?
    Um, yes, definitely. Thank GOODNESS.

  5. Is there any fashion style you wish you could wear but maybe don't have the confidence?
    I would definitely love to be a bit more goth/rivet still. It's not that I lack the confidence, it's that I don't have the time, the money or the energy to maintain the look. I spend what resources I do have on my kids' wardrobes, not my own. Also, it would be pretty incongruous at my work, which is small-c conservative.


Questions are from the [community profile] thefridayfive community.
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
2017-08-08 04:06 pm

A Center Parcs Anniversary Adventure

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The bloke’s parents with their heart-shaped homemade cake. The chalkboard next to them colourfully reads: “Welcome to Lodge 106. Happy 50th Wedding Anniversary! Have an excellent holiday. 😊”

A couple of weekends ago, we went to a Center Parcs with the bloke’s family to celebrate his parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. Each family stayed in separate lodges, and we joined together for lunches, activities, tea and evening meals.

Going to a big resort-type thing in a forest in the school holidays seems to be a rite of passage for English children. Everyone else in the family (actually being English) had this innate understanding of how things were going to work and what was going to happen. I, on the other hand, was completely in the dark. I didn’t know that the “swimming pool” was going to be a massive indoor waterslide park with separate areas for children of all ages, for instance. Or that bringing our bicycles was not just so we could get some exercise, but so we could pop out to the shop for some milk for five minutes rather than have to walk for half an hour. The place was gigantic and – it being the start of the summer holidays – completely full.

The wildlife, being accustomed to the presence of humans, was very nearly tame. If you left the sliding door to the patio open, the ducks would waddle confidently inside in search of whatever food you had foolishly left out. The squirrels would take nuts from your hands. The muntjac deer would walk up to the patio door and stare in, and not run away until the toddler came outside and tried to pet it.

We had a truly typical British summer holiday experience in that it rained nearly the entire time, so we spent a good amount of time in the water park. Humuhumu was, at first, slightly afraid of the water slides. Subsequent to our first trip to the water park, we bought her some goggles and that flipped the switch. We couldn’t get her off the water slides after that. She went round them so many times that when we went to the changing room to get back into our clothes, she could barely stand, she was so exhausted. I only got the chance to try the water slides once for about ten minutes (during which Keiki apparently screamed for me the entire time), so I went for the biggest one (twice): the Cyclone, which you went down on a rubber raft in a group. I got to go with my niece and her mum, aka the bloke’s sister. I shrieked like a banshee the whole way down. It was fantastic.

Despite the filthy weather, we managed to sneak in some outdoor activities. We played boules. We climbed around the adventure playgrounds. I took Keiki to the pond, where the nearly tame baby moorhens nibbled at his wellies, to his boundless delight. We also found a peacock, with whom Keiki had a half-hour conversation. I turned my back on him briefly and when I looked at him, he had moved close enough to the peacock to stroke its tail feathers. The peacock held itself very still, almost as if it didn’t want to frighten him, when really it should have been the other way round.

The wedding anniversary celebration came off very well indeed. There was a huge, heart-shaped and delicious sponge cake, baked by the bloke’s sister, and a “cheese cake”, which was a mountain of stacked cheeses. The bottom layer, an enormous squishy brie, had to be served separately because it would have collapsed under the weight of the wheel of harder cheese above it. This was not a problem because we devoured it over the course of two days. Most importantly, the bloke’s parents had a wonderful time being surrounded by, but not in the pockets of, their children and grandchildren.

Further photos below the cut, including a series titled “Keiki Points at Things”.

+++ )

In case you’re wondering why there aren’t so many photos of Humuhumu, this is because (1) she wanted to go to the water park pretty much every waking moment, (2) you couldn’t take photos in the water park and (3) Keiki did not want to go to the water park more than once a day, so someone had to stay with him.
nanila: fulla starz (lolcat: science)
2017-08-04 01:02 pm

Friday’s Unscientific Space Post

August is, apparently, the season for Certificates of Appreciation in spacecraft engineering!

First up is the one for Solar Orbiter.
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This has an image of the spacecraft approaching the Sun in the upper right corner. It reads, “This certificate recognises the significant contribution of [nanila] to the development of the magnetometer instrument on the Solar Orbiter spacecraft. In recognition of this contribution, your name will be carried within the memory of the magnetometer instrument on its voyage to explore the Sun and the inner solar system.” It’s signed by the instrument PI (Principal Investigator) and instrument manager (my fantastic colleague and labmate Helen).

My name’s going to the Sun! (TBH I’m glad it’s just name. It’s a bit...lethal-radiation-y out there.)

Second is the one from Rosetta.
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This as, as its backdrop, a stunning close-up image of Comet 67P taken by the OSIRIS instrument. There’s a sketched Rosetta spacecraft in the upper left corner, and a sketched Philae in the lower right. It reads, “European Space Agency presents this certificate to [nanila] in recognition of your outstanding contribution to the ESA Rosetta Mission.” It’s signed by the Director of Science at ESA, the Rosetta Mission Manager and the Rosetta Project Scientist.

Finally, here’s an old one from the Cluster and Double Star anniversaries.
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This one has an image of the Sun and the Earth (not to scale), as well as the Earth’s magnetic field in blue. The four Cluster spacecraft are in formation at the bottom right and the two Double Star spacecraft are closer to the Earth. Also not to scale (“These are small and those are far away”).

The certificate reads “Cluster 15th and Double Star 10th anniversary. ESA and NSSC present this certificate to [nanila] in recognition of your outstanding contribution to the Cluster and Double Star missions.” It’s signed by the Chinese National Space Science Center director, the Cluster & Double Star project scientist and the Director of Science & Robotic Exploration at the European Space Agency.

The Cluster mission is now in its 17th year since the commissioning phase ended and still going strong. The Double Star spacecraft are no longer operational.

I’ve worked on the Cluster mission since 2006.
nanila: little and wicked (mizuno: lil naughty)
2017-08-03 11:11 am

Dear BBC, also please get rid of Gigglebiz, the caricatures are awful. Thank you, A Parent

In which I envisage using contemporary CBeebies shows for sexual orientation and gender identity educational purposes. Honestly, I kind of wish they would.

Octonauts
Episode in which Shellington, aka the walking encyclopedia, comes out as non-binary.
Kwazii: “Shiver me whiskers! Who knew you could be a boy AND a girl at the same time?”
Tweak, biting meaningfully into a carrot: “Duh, Kwazii.”

Charlie & Lola
Episode in which Lola decides to be a boy.
At the end, Charlie reprises the intro: “This is my little brother Lola. He’s small, and very funny.”

Bing
Episode in which Bing discovers his feelings for Pando are different from his feelings for Sula or Cocoa.
Flop: “Queer love: It’s a Bing thing.”

Clangers
Episode in which it is revealed that Clangers are sexually undifferentiated and reproduce via parthenogenesis.
Narrator: “Somewhere, out there in the vastness of space, there is a species whose stories have resisted being shoehorned into heteronormative human expressions of family life. Up until now, this wasn’t one of them.”
nanila: me (Default)
2017-08-01 01:22 pm

Pokémon Go: Week 54 (!) + other games

Yes, even after an entire year, I am still playing Pokémon Go. Not with the regularity that I used to, but both the gym re-vamp and the recent special events revived my interest. You can actually win gym battles as a solitary player again because all the gyms aren’t stuffed full of Dragonites and Gyarados! And the raid battles get you cool stuff! And the coin rewards are way better.

Also, it took 53 weeks, but I finally hatched a Snorlax from a 10km (reduced to 3.3 km during the most recent fest) egg. I love it so much. Adorable cuddly Snorlax.

Perhaps even more unbelievably, I am also still playing Neko Atsume. There was an update recently adding two more Normal and one Rare cat, and also new toys, which are very suited to the Sugary and Café Styles.

Abyssrium has also recently revived my interest with special event fish and the new “fusion fish”. The appearance of the latter interfered somewhat with my goal of finishing off Levels 1 through 3 of the Collections (Level 4 is pretty much impossible until you get to ridiculously high levels). I have just a few more Vampire Squid to make before I’m done with Level 3 and then I can collect the rest of the fusion fish.

I’ve completed Magikarp Jump’s Ultra League, the eighth and last. One of my tiny satisfactions has been ensuring that the Magikarp who win the leagues have appropriate names. For instance, Stitch won the Great League and Lilo won the Fast League. You have one guess who won the Ultra League.

The bloke discovered a game that we both like called Samorost 3, while searching for a replacement puzzle game for the beautiful and creepy “The Room” series that we both completed. The artwork in Samorost 3 is wonderful and the puzzles are possibly even more cryptic than in The Room, although apparently not if you’re four and have been playing touch-screen-based games for your entire life. We got stuck on something and Humuhumu figured it out in about five minutes, thereby making us feel both old and incredibly thick. Thank you, child.

Anyway, Samorost 3 features an elfin creature in a nightcap wandering around through a strangely organically populated space. There are comets and planets and asteroids, but they are all shaped like seeds or bulbs or tree trunks. You run around exploring, using your trumpet to hear music and sounds that give you clues about the puzzle you must solve to keep your spaceship moving and complete the narrative. It’s lovely to look at and very absorbing. It’s also not free. Still, highly recommended.

Gratuitous pictures of gameplay under the cut.

Abyssrium, Magikarp Jump, Neko Atsume, Pok�mon Go )

How's everyone else's summer gameplay going? Anyone else still playing PokéGo?
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).