Category Archives: Open Culture

2012 In Review


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 7,500 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 13 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

What About Me: An Infographic (November 2012)


 

What About Me: An Infographic (October 2012)


August Photo A Day Challenge (2012)


This is the end result of a Twitter photography project I undertook during August this year. The task was simple: each day, take one photo that fits the theme with a mobile phone and upload it to Twitter. Simple, but daunting. It was a task in and of itself to remember the project and find suitable subjects for each photo. Regardless, I finished the requisite 31 photos and compiled them into a collage that fits the month’s calendar.

What About Me: An Infographic (September 2012)


Starting to collect some interesting data from these infographics generated by Intel, here is number 4 in the series:

“All American” Redux (Final)


Much clearer, and converted to vectors for smooth rescaling!

What About Me: An Infographic (August 2012)


Here is the third installment in what is, definitively, a series. I’ll do these as long as the website is available, then start extrapolating some information after I have at least a year’s worth (or as many as I can manage).

These Google Ads Are Getting Scarily Accurate


For those not already “in the know,” Barbie is very Cuban.

What About Me: An Infographic (July 2012)


I did one of these courtesy of Intel last month, and thought it might be interesting to compare and contrast how things have changed over the course of a month.  I think I’ll continue to monitor these data as long as the site hosting the app stays alive.

2012 Transit of Venus


Sequence of images of 171 angstrom ultraviolet transit composited together to show path of Venus. [NASA]

In case you missed it Tuesday, the 2012 transit of Venus across the sun was one of the very rare astronomical events we “regular folk” can watch and appreciate with little scientific instrumentation.  Like eclipses, transits are one of the few “sciency things” that garner public attention and appreciation any more.  Tuesday’s transit, lasting about 6 hours, was the last time Earthlings will get to see our “sister planet” until December 2117.  Fortunately, our technology has improved a little bit since the last pair of transits, and we have been afforded multiple opportunities to watch the actual event.  I was watching the live webcast from the NOAA Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii.

Events like this always strike me with a real sense of scale and I am imbued with renewed reverence for the Universe itself and for modern science’s efforts to understand it.  Venus is nearly the same size as our own planet, yet it looks so small against the burning disc of the sun.  There are sunspots that look like tiny flecks on Sol’s surface which are, in reality, large enough to swallow our world whole.  Even solar prominences–massive plumes of plasma arcing across the solar surface–that could swallow Jupiter (a planet with a diameter 11 times that of our Earth’s) with little effort.

I think the Warners said it best when they stated that it’s “a great big Universe, and we’re not.

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center released a stunning time-lapse video of the transit that’s available on YouTube and free download from their website.  The footage was shot from the Solar Dynamics Observatory and shows the transit in various wavelengths with varying levels of detail.  From Goddard Multimedia:

The videos and images displayed here are constructed from several wavelengths of extreme ultraviolet light and a portion of the visible spectrum. The red colored sun is the 304 angstrom ultraviolet, the golden colored sun is 171 angstrom, the magenta sun is 1700 angstrom, and the orange sun is filtered visible light. 304 and 171 show the atmosphere of the sun, which does not appear in the visible part of the spectrum.