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Swimming In The (astro) Pacific

As a newly minted, 1 year old professor, this is the deep end of the astronomy edu cation pool...

The Phantom Of The Laboratory

We are fortune here at Science20 to have come across an early work by Gaston Leroux.  This...

Engineering Roleplaying

Hey, you got simulation in my roleplay! Hey, you got roleplay in my simulation! Wait, it's two...

Stars That Ring Like Bells

Time to ring in a new year with pressure waves.  We can see, but not, hear true sonic waves...

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Alex "Sandy" AntunesRSS Feed of this column.

Read more about the strange modern world of a day laborer in astronomy, plus extra space science-y goodness.... Read More »

"TAU researcher confirms oily "water" on a Saturn moon", so reads the email that crossed my desk.  Then I learned why no mountain or landform on Titan can ever be taller than 6,200 feet.  The reason surprised me, but first, the backstory about the paper.
The Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn has generated many exciting discoveries about the planet and its moons - and now a Tel Aviv University (TAU) researcher associated with the project has determined that Saturn's moon Titan includes a unique population of lakes.
When you think 'geek', is your first thought 'marry one'?  If so, you may enjoy this 'how to' from blogger Leslie Sobol over at AMD (yeah, the processor manufacturers).  If, on the other hand, you are yourself a geek, at least you can be happy discovering there's a cheat sheet on how to date _you_.  Mostly for your paycheck and job security, I suspect, but hey, this makes us mainstream!

And yet, and yet... I find some of the Cosmo-level advice sadly viable.  Not just for geek-bagging, but for snaring any spouse through faked interest and false intentions.
Yesterday's Guardian featured this gem, "This is a news website article about a scientific paper", by Martin Robbins.  It begins: "In the standfirst I will make a fairly obvious pun about the subject matter before posing an inane question I have no intention of really answering: is this an important scientific finding?"

Cosmology has been crossing my transom.  I've been getting press releases from the new online Journal of Cosmology.  Below is a sample.  They have a respectible team and, frankly, a kick-ass background image for their website (shown below).

And, they have a novel economic model-- a $35 submission fees, plus a $150 fee if published.  Given most academic journals are free to submit but have fees upwards of $1000 to publish, it could be seen as a breakthrough in open journals.  However, much as any writing gig that charges a submission fee, I am worried they are more focused on the cash than the science. 

Your thoughts?

The prospective launch of the ambitious and successful Copenhagen Suborbitals rocket received a lot of press. The subsequent launch-abort and delay to spring may not seem an upbeat thing.  In a broad sense, though, it is.
In science, we first verify our procedures and the process by which we got our results.  Then we validate it against reality.  For example, I wrote a code that simulated galaxies colliding.  The main verification was to ensure the subset of physics we were using was properly coded, and that we had sufficient physics and resolution that the results were plausible.  The validation is what tackled the larger issue of whether the results were 'right', whether they were meaningful or not.  This validation was best done by comparing it against astronomical observations of collisional remnants.