Blog Profile / The e-Astronomer

Filed Under:Academics / Astronomy
Posts on Regator:138
Posts / Week:0.3
Archived Since:March 16, 2008

Blog Post Archive

Deadlines. We love ’em

Happy New Year all. Virtual Handshake. Just discovered a groovy new web comic called Toothpaste for Dinner thanks to Tweeter @Mariancall via @CatherineQ. Well, its new to me anyway. This one is The Creative Process and will cause both giggles and nods from anybody who does anything creative which involves a deadline. This includes […]

Am I a dog? Vote Now

When I wasn’t trying to solve the fiendishly difficult Easter Clue Hunt my kids set for us, I spent a pleasant hour or two re-discovering the original wiki, started by Ward Cunningham in 1995. It still feels fun and anarchic and useful. Another day I will start a rant on what is and isn’t a […]

The Truth is Out There … isn’t it?

Its disconcerting reading/watching the news from Ukraine. Not just because of the fear of decades of war to come, but the temptation to slide into relativism. Statements and stories from various quarters vary from the vaguely inconsistent to the baldly contradictory. Its tempting to think “well, they are all lying”, or “hmm.. it all depends […]

Concrete Science Epiphanies

The title is a kinda cultural reference to Musique Concrete, don’t you know. Maybe should be read in French.  Sea-onss kon-krett. Pretentious, Moi? Anyhoo. I have always loved that moment when Jane Public looks through a real telescope and sees the rings of Saturn. Suddenly its real. Not on TV. Seen with her own eyes. […]


I thought maybe a Bruce Willis style title was needed. Well, if I’d written “A report on an RCUK workshop I attended concerning possible adjustments to the Pathways to Impact process” its just possible there might not have been so many click-throughs. So. Anyhoo. Some things surprised me and some didn’t… (1) Pretty much everybody […]

Restart Miscellany

Some chums complained I have written no blog posts for about eight million years. I blame teaching. Anyway. Lets see. How do you do this thing? Scrapes off rust. Here are a few bits. (1) At last the STFC Programmatic Review emerges!!! Get it here. I have tried to wade through it, but it looks […]

Deadlines. We love ‘em

Happy New Year all. Virtual Handshake. Just discovered a groovy new web comic called Toothpaste for Dinner thanks to Tweeter @Mariancall via @CatherineQ. Well, its new to me anyway. This one is The Creative Process and will cause both giggles and nods from anybody who does anything creative which involves a deadline. This includes […]

Book fever

I am terribly excited because my book just came out. Three years in gestation, but finally got there. Its called “Astronomical Measurement – a Concise Guide”, its published by Springer, and it even has a Kindle version. I am not expecting you all to rush out and buy it, because like most textbooks it is […]

Do The Right Thing

Like millions of others, I have been welling up listening to people on radio and TV recount their memories of Nelson Mandela. I’ve never even been to South Africa, but during my youth and early manhood, the struggle against apartheid was the great cause for anybody with a heart and a political head, the rotten […]

Marginal solution

Okey dokey. Better reveal the solution to the stat-geek marginalisation quiz. There were sixty two votes. The popular winner was the economics/marginal profits idea, with 31 votes. Plausible but wrong. The second most popular was the “marginal interest” idea. Well… this is what the term has more or less drifted into meaning, because (almost) everybody […]

A quiz of marginal interest

Two things we know. (1) Scientific terminology is burdened with the baggage of history, which now makes no logical sense. So… early type galaxies are the ones with late type stars? Errr… And which of these terms relates to a sequence in time? Neither. Right. Very helpful. (2) When you have to teach something, you […]

Borders Meltdown

I do like to keep up to date. So here is a link to a 2009 blog post about the US Republican Party. George Djgovsiki Dvosrgksji Djorgiojski me old mate George from Caltech just posted a link to this on Facebook. It’s based on a book called Albion’s Seed which I have been fond of […]

The Art of Scientific Knowledge

I find myself musing again on the links between Art and Science. No, not the fact that the latest Booker prize winner apparently has an astrological structure, sigh. No, not even The Falling Sky, intriguing blend though it is of academic angst and lesbian lust. No. Umm. Where was I? Oh yes. Art. Grayson Perry […]

Specially for Tim

I have been putting on the nosebag tonight. The ESO Committee of Council is here in Edinburgh; the first time we have hosted it for ten years I believe. Anyhoo, I am not on said august body, but as a local astro-big-wig was invited to the nosh. All the chat was about ELT and Brazil […]

Higgsteria : tension builds

We’re all a bit tense here in Edinbrrr.  Peter H is understood to be in hiding and quite right too. He’s done more than his duty over many months waving the flag for Physics in general, for UK science, and for Edinburgh University. Adrian Bird didn’t get the Medicine Prize today, so the Edin.Univ. Powers […]

Women and Strange Powers in Wallachia

If you are a British or American astronomer, you have done this many times. You are at a meeting and wander over to a table full of Italians. Or Germans. Or Brazilians, or whatever. They are happily chatting away, but as you sit down they switch seamlessly into English. We Brits radiate a strange field […]

Truth, Belief, and Action

My daughter is doing a medical degree. At dinner the other day, I mentioned that a few years back everybody seemed to think that doctors would be replaced by expert systems. Did that happen? Oh no, she said, that’s never going to happen. Its the doctor’s job to decide. Hmm. I see a scientist’s job, […]

Celebrity Leakthrough

My exchange with Dr E over intersecting with Amanda Palmer reminded me of a post from a few years back, where I described minor connections with celebrity – living across the road from Norman Wisdom’s Aunty, knowing someone who had his boots stolen by Donovan and so on. Sometimes I get the feeling of a […]

The Information Arms Race

This GCHQ / NSA / Snowden thing is confusing. Part of me is shocked and horrified. Another part of me is jadedly unsurprised. (Is “jadedly” a word?) I think I already assumed that they know everything they want to know. As Scott McNealy maybe did or didn’t say “you have no privacy, get used to […]

Creepy Covers

Cover versions of songs are fascinating. Maybe we should do cover versions of scientific papers. Well … maybe I could name a few that look like this already, but that might be considered provocative. So there  I was listening to  Amanda Palmer Performs The Popular Hits Of Radiohead On Her Magical Ukulele.  I know […]

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