Archive - Dec 30, 2003

Date

Some perspective on our place in the universe

My goal while star viewing Saturday night was to learn to locate the Andromeda galaxy, our nearest galactic neighbor. I practiced finding it for over two hours, so I should have it down now.

Telescopes, because they see such a small part of the sky, are of little use in looking at Andromeda. The galaxy stretches across four moon widths in our view. The problem is everything but the intensely-lit core of the galaxy is too dim to see with the naked eye. With binoculars on a dark night, however, the whole thing becomes much more clear.

Hitler and cigarettes

The other day at Barnes and Noble, I read parts of a book of transcripts of Hitler's dinner conversations during the war. The conversations were one-sided, almost monologues, as you might imagine. Hitler expanded on many subjects, including art, food, history and astronomy.

Hitler was adamantly opposed to smoking. He didn't allow it in his presence. He listed those he knew who were killed by smoking, including his father. He chided those at the table who smoked, saying "You're next!"

Vikings aftermath

People are writing of heartbreak in Vikingsland after their last second loss yesterday. My heart remains intact. I went to the game, yes, but I am not much of a fan. I put the loss out of my mind immediately after the fact. This is not baseball, after all!

Frozen pipes in Tucson

Last night, Tucson hit a low of 19 degrees, which was lower than the low temperature in Chicago, Boston and Anchorage. So, all kinds of advice on the radio today about how to prevent frozen pipes. Apparently there was quite a little trouble last night.

I thought it felt pretty cold at the Vikings game yesterday. I had no idea. No wonder my sinuses are a little funny today. In the sun it can get up to 65 during the day, but as soon as you move into the shade, look out.