splef-ty \'splef-te̅ \ adj: nifty, novel, cool or clever.
Sun, 01 Feb 2004

Nobody made you do that!

I took the day off work yesterday (well, mostly) which makes yesterday the 6th day I haven’t put in 10-14 hours since I started working on a project in a Secure Undisclosed Location in late December. (Of course this means today I should be working and not blogging, but I wanted to at least finish off these two half-written stories.)

Our part of Ohio gets invaded by Asian ladybugs every fall. Apparently they are looking for a cave to winter over in, or something like that. The net result is that every sunny, early winter day causes thousands of ladybugs to crawl around on south-facing walls until they find a route inside the house. (My house is not exactly airtight, so getting in is pretty easy for them.) There they attempt to drive me crazy in various ways: landing on my monitor screen, going down my shirt, flying around the light fixture and then bonking into it again and again and again and again…

Now I know from previous experience that they won’t make it, as the house is too warm and too dry for them to overwinter successfully inside. So this year I’ve started to accepting the loss in karma points associated with dispatching them to their maker, and put an end to their ceaseless bonking into the light fixture noise using various techniques that would probably outrage PETA.

But sometimes I can’t take the blame for premature bug death. I’ve been doing some work with dry ice lately, and just after I uncovered my styrofoam cooler and opened up the paper bag containing the dry ice, a ladybug decided to fly down and land right smack on top of the dry ice. Its wings froze before they had time to fully retract.

I wondered if there was some small chance it would return to life when it thawed, but the next day after the dry ice was gone, all I had was a freeze-dried ladybug.


Thu, 06 Nov 2003

Another giant solar storm

flare There’s a great picture of a solar flare ejected yesterday by sunspot region AR10486, the same high activity region that caused the aurora last week. (Elizabeth and I got a good view of the aurora in Oberlin, but my digital camera was not up to the task and the pictures came out solid black.)

Yesterday’s flare made it on to today’s astronomy picture of the day and I also recommend checking out the animations recorded by SOHO.

The sun is really a pretty scary object if you stop to think about it.