Blogs

Astronomy: Journey to Palomar on TV

A new PBS documentary about the history of American astronomy premiers Monday, Nov. 10. Entitled The Journey to Palomar, the film is about George Ellery Hale and the building of the giant telescopes at the Yerkes, and Mount Wilson Observatories, and Hale's crowning achievement at Palomar.  The 90-minute program premiers nationwide on PBS November 10.

The filmmakers write, "More than a science film, The Journey To Palomar is the story of America's 'can-do' spirit at its very best. The combination of Hale's dramatic personal story set against the backdrop of American history and humankind's reach into the far corners of the universe creates a film with appeal to viewers of all ages."

Lala.com, a cool music site

Lala.com is a music site that has been around for awhile, but it has changed its model. Here is what it offers:

  • song downloads (mp3 format, DRM-free) for 89 cents.
  • streaming any song in their catalog for free the first time you listen to it.

Sidewalk astronomy: a good night

A sidewalk astronomy event took place tonight, a part of Westlake Porter Public Library's Customer Appreciation Week. Two amateur astronomers from the Cuyahoga Astronomical Association set up their telescopes near the north end of the library's parking lot and invited visitors to take a look at some amazing celestial objects. After dicey late-afternoon cloud cover the sky cleared in time for setup at 7:30 and viewings from 8:00 to 9:15 PM.  Curious visitors got good views of Jupiter, the Hercules Star Cluster (M13), the Ring Nebula (M57), and the great Andromeda Galaxy (M31). The Ring Nebula was very difficult for most viewers to spot in the eyepiece but it was actually presented well in both telescopes. M13 --a globular collection of several hundred thousand stars-- was a beautiful sight. Andromeda Galaxy was its usual fuzz-ball self but not bad at all, the light from its trillion stars a subtle beauty through the telescope. Jupiter, some 492 million miles distant, was best viewed shortly after sundown. Good moments of seeing revealed multiple cloud bands in addition to the two big equatorial belts, and patient viewers got a good look. Seeing was unsteady at lower angles and as the planet sank lower in the sky, occasional good seeing ended and the planetary disk was unsharp. Thanks to those who braved the chilly temperatures for a good night of sidewalk stargazing!

Prescription Drug Safety Information from the FDA

The Food and Drug Administration has launched a single Web page that provides safety information for prescription drugs. The site includes information in a range of categories including:

  • Drug Labeling
  • Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS)
  • Studies and Clinical Trials of Approved Products Required by FDA or Agreed to by the Application Holder
  • Registries and Clinical Trials
  • Latest Safety Information
  • Using Medicines Safely

By launching this single page, the FDA has made this information much easier to find.

Ebooks and Audiobooks: A Presentation

I had the pleasure to give a presentation to the Northeast Ohio PC Club (NEOPC) about ebooks and audiobooks.

I discussed not only the library's Netlibrary service, but also ebook readers and audio book devices.

It's a Mystery 10/07/08

Season's Readings

 

Though we may not be ready, many holiday-related mysteries will soon be appearing in our new book section.  Here is a sampling:

A Christmas Grace - by Anne Perry - Now a holiday tradition, this sixth Christmas mystery, featuring Perry's popular Victorian sleuth Thomas Pitt, tells the chilling story of a storm-wracked coastal village that hides a terrible secret.

Telescopes return Oct. 22

Sidewalk astronomy returns to the library Wednesday night, October 22, during Customer Appreciation Week. Telescopes will be set up outside of the library --most likely next to the parking lot north of the main building entrance-- for viewing of the giant planet Jupiter. We also hope to be able to look at a few other celestial objects perhaps including the great Andromeda Galaxy. The outdoor program is scheduled to begin by 8:00 and end at around 9:15 and is entirely dependent upon the weather; if it's raining or too cloudy the program will be canceled. If you are concerned about whether the program will take place, you can check the library Web site for updates or call the library's main number and ask that evening. The main number is:  (440) 871-2600.

See the Space Station!


See the Space Station tonight!


The International Space Station will be visible in our late evening and early nighttime skies several times in September. Using the list below watch for a very bright, unblinking light to appear in the westerly direction indicated and move briskly eastward across the sky. If the timing is right and you can see the entire passage or transit, you will see the light dim and disappear as the huge assemblage dips into Earth's shadow streaming into space. Each transit takes only a few minutes so be sure to start watching for its appearance before the indicated time!

It's a Mystery 9/18/08

Collaboration

There's a lot of collaborating going on in the mystery genre.  Whether it is bringing together several characters from different series to solve a crime, or authors working together on a novel, collaboration brings an interesting perspective to the story.

Some mystery authors who write more than one series will occasionally bring their characters together on a case.  J.A. Jance united her Seattle detective J.P. Beaumont and Arizona sheriff Joanna Brady in Partners in Crime.  Robert Parker has included both P.I. Sunny Randall and police chief Jesse Stone in Blue Screen and High Profile.

imdb.com now offers free movies and tv shows

IMDb.com (the Internet Movie Database) is offering a selection of full-length movies and TV episodes that you can watch for free.

When you search for a tv series, look for the phrase "episode list." You can click on that to see all available episodes. Not all series are complete, but there are more than 6,000 tv series episodes and motion pictures.