General updates 2011: Jun/Jul

I normally publish these things on the 7th and 21st of each month, so this one is a few days late. But no matter. Here is some information on what I’ve been up to lately.

Podcasting

First, a very exciting announcement! I have recorded my very own episode for the 365 Days of Astronomy podcast, which as you may know presents ten minutes of astronomy each day, and anyone can volunteer to record an episode. Mine airs on August 14. Look it up in the calendar and see for yourself. [Update: here’s the blog post where I announce the episode itself.]

This is the first time I’ve ever recorded a podcast, and also the first time I’ve given a talk about science to a general audience. I am satisfied that I’ve done my best, given my lack of experience with speaking into a microphone. Bob Hirshon was kind enough to give me a plug in the recent July 8 episode. Much appreciated.

Holiday preparations

We are preparing for an upcoming holiday — Germany followed by England for three weeks from August 20, primarily to attend a German friend’s wedding.

I’ve also looked on the Internet for places to visit in England, having been told that when not in London we’ll be based in Southampton (we won’t be roaming all over the country; we’ve done that before). From there, I’ve suggested we could go east to Arundel Castle (more), where the only downside seems to be that they don’t permit photographs inside. I’ve also suggested we could go west to Bournemouth, where we could go on a balloon ride or visit the monkeys. None of these destinations are official (that’s a family decision), but they’re the sort of suggestions I’m putting forward. I’ve not really started on Germany research yet. [Update: here is a more complete draft itinery and a report on the holiday itself.]

I’ve also bought a memory card and spare lithium batteries for my camera. I still need to get my phone battery replaced.

Links

History of calls for civility in skepticism.

Why humans won’t be going to Mars any time soon.

Importance and fate of Indian vultures.

Scientific American has a new blogging network, to which two of the blogs I read regularly have moved. These are Cocktail Party Physics (formerly here) and Science Sushi (formerly Observations of a Nerd, here).

On Catalyst recently, there was a very good article about the Lotus Effect. I first learned about the Lotus Effect in a science magazine article over a decade ago, but the Catalyst piece added some things I didn’t know.

I watched the three-part program “Go Back To Where You Came From” on SBS television, and I really think the world should see it, so that it can be a topic of international discussion. I was disappointed, therefore, to hear that the online videos are not viewable outside Australia.

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