October 22nd, 2008


public radio pledge time

It's NPR pledge time here in the Midwest, so if you enjoy the benefits of this great service, show your support now! I just made my $60 pledge, which gets you a discount card for area businesses (I like this option because it doesn't cost KCUR cash like a tote bag or mug). If KCUR isn't your NPR station, support your local station.

Click the image to donate to KCUR.

Plus, y'know, the sooner the pledge drive ends, the happier we all are.


new helmet time

Riding home Monday night from the University's motor-pool car-park, I figured it was not only time but well past time to buy a new helmet. Why, you ask? Because I could pretty much not see anything through the scratched and pitted shield. That in addition to its having saved my head a couple of times by giving up chunks of itself to various road surfaces. Plus it kinda smelled like bears hibernated in there. Oh, and I have to wear a balaclava to keep the decomposing foam from sticking to my scalp and face.

It's only now gotten cold enough in Kansas to require wearing a full-face helmet, so I'd forgotten just how bad the old Simpson was getting. But the weather isn't getting warmer any time soon. So, yeah, it was time to retire my beloved Arai DS "Darth Vader" helmet.

What did I order? How about a lightweight, full-carbon-fiber sexy thang:

Click the image to see the specs.

Being a bargain-shopper, I made an offer far lower than their list price - and they accepted it! Within days, I'll have my new helmet. Woohoo!

I looked all over teh intarwebs to find a photo of what my dying helmet looks like, to no avail (it's rather, um, vintage). It was really cool, with giant openings for the eyes and an "I'm your father, Luke," vent on the chin. I suspect it'll become part of a Halloween costume at some point, because it's not really good for anything else.

just Chris

Sarah Palin's $150,000 Makeover

You can put lipstick on a pit-bull, but it's still a pit-bull.

The Republican National Committee paid more than $150,000 for clothing, makeup, and accessories in September that apparently went to Governor Sarah Palin and her family... The RNC expenditure forms also documented $4,716.49 on hair and makeup in September [alone].

Republicans never, ever, get to mock expensive Democratic haircuts, ever again.

(Apologies to all the lovely pit-bulls out there.)


Astro-Image of the Day: Why is the Moon's far side more heavily cratered?

I got a question about why the Moon's far side is positively loaded with craters compared to the side we can see. Check it out for yourself - here's a map of the far side:

Click the image to see the story.

Compare that to the near side:

Click the image to see the story.

For one, this variation in cratering is evidence that the Moon has been tidally locked with Earth for most of its life, billions of years. But it isn't the Earth that's shielding the Moon from intense cratering on our side, because the Earth presents only a tiny shield to cosmic cannonballs. Scientists have posed many theories as to why this is the case, but most likely it's because the near side has large basaltic flows (the maria), which are both tougher than the standard lunar regolith and likely covered up a lot of pre-existing craters.

/Astronomy lesson.