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Pulsar B1509


Looks to me like the universe is left-handed. Sinistral. But then there's no up or down in space, nor "palm" or "back of the hand." So it's hard to say.

This is an image from the Chandra X-Ray Observatory. The core object, the neutron star, is only 12 miles across, but this array of material is 150 light years across. From the Chandra people:

"The pulsar is a rapidly spinning neutron star which is spewing energy out into the space around it to create complex and intriguing structures, including one that resembles a large cosmic hand. In this image, the lowest energy X-rays that Chandra detects are red, the medium range is green, and the most energetic ones are colored blue. Astronomers think that B1509 is about 1700 years old and is located about 17,000 light years away.

"Neutron stars are created when massive stars run out of fuel and collapse. B1509 is spinning completely around almost 7 times every second ... "

Now if only we could use these things as substitutes for the internal combustion engine....


A final thought on my kit this morning, per the boodle discussion on editors: One of the things you may lose as media migrates to the Wild West of the Web is the editing/quality control function. A copy editor said to me recently, "All we are is overhead." But valuable overhead, indeed indispensable for those of us whose bacon has been saved -- and whose cliches have been excised -- for decades by the copy desk.

By Joel Achenbach  |  April 6, 2009; 3:33 PM ET
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Next: Whither NASA?


That is a pretty cool picture any guess as to what the hand is holding,or looks to be holding?

Off to work

Enjoy the game tonight and the rest of the day!!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | April 6, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Of course the universe is left handed - the truly special are left handed :-)

Picture is incredible.

Posted by: dmd2 | April 6, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

*faxing ftb a tureen of chicken soup it couldn't hurt, a couple of the "new* Hershey Kisses (truffles!!), closing the shades, lowering the volume of the TV and covering her with a throw so she can take a nap*

OK, that's one really neat pitcher-- but where zackly is the pulsar? The white spot at the base of the palm of the hand? The white spot in the middle of the ruby tiara? Is the tiara a separate galactic structure from the hand?

Why are there no galactic structures shaped like Evangeline Lilly? Instead we get Robert Englund's left hand. Sheesh.

And now, a new, exclusive Achenblog feature: This Day in Mudge History:

1521: Magellan and I arrive at Guam. It's hot and sticky, but I am glad to get ashore and find some antiscorbutics.

1834: Happy Birthyday, Toronto! (Until today, you were known as York. Sorry for burning you down in 1813. Like they say in the Godfather, it wasn't personal, Mikey.)

1836: The Alamo surrenders. I had nuthin' to do with it. I told 'em it was a bad idea to stay there in the first place. Also, I couldn't stand all the bickering and the mulch fires.

1857: The Dred Scott Decision. Another one I had nuthin' to do with. And another really bad idea. (If your beginning to see a pattern that I haven't done well on days numbered March 6, you're right.)

1981: Uncle Walter (Cronkite) signs off for the last time. Ditto not my bright idea.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 6, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

I completely agree, dmd!

Kewl picture. I can even see the hand!

Being left-handed, I sometimes have issues in perceiving stuff that's obvious to right-handers.

Posted by: slyness | April 6, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

It's Jon Lester releasing a devastating curveball, obviously.


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 6, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

The fundamental problem with the news on the web is beyond "Wild West". At least in the old West the sheriff showed up every so often to restore order. Where we're getting to on the Net is tabloid dross that may or may not even be true, let alone have any real research ("reporting") behind it. No, I don't want to be Winston with BB looking over my every move, but I certainly don't want total anarchy either. That way lies total ruin.

Posted by: ebtnut | April 6, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Mudge... it's April 6.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 6, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Slyness thank you, I often have problem perceiving things but I thought it was just me - nope it is being left handed. Of course I think your perception difficulties pale next to mine :-)

It is snowing - Yuck.

Posted by: dmd2 | April 6, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

April 6, Mudge?

You made me laugh out loud.

Posted by: slyness | April 6, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 6, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

There's never a damn editor around when you need one.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 6, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Mudge you had me wondering how bad the Toronto papers were that they wouldn't even print a story about the birthday (#175) today - now I get it.

Posted by: dmd2 | April 6, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Awwwww, thanks Mudge. You are a sweetie. And a gentleman. And a prince (or is that Prince?) among men. The Tylenol kicked in and I feel a bit better. Yep, better living through chemistry, as we used to say in the '60s.

That is an exceptionally kewl picture! My mother once told me that when I was an infant, I kept reaching for things with my left hand, so she started putting things in my right hand (and all those years of therapy, eh? bless her heart). I'm not ambidextrous, but with practice I might get some modicum of parity. Or something like that. I was thinking of comity, but then I started laughing . . . .

I must say that I really cringe whenever I see spelling errors and grammatical errors and wrong word usage in the Post. I seriously do not think that there are any copy editors any more who, if they actually do exist, know when things are wrong. (cringe)

Back to the nap. The truffles were spectacular, Mudgekins.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | April 6, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

1199: Richard the Lionheart dies of an arrow wound before I can get to him with my first aid kit (leeches, potions, a black pill, and some chicken soup). RIP.

1327: Petrarch steals Laura away from me in Avignon, the rat b@st@rd.

1652: Dut6ch sailor Jan van Riebeeck and I establish a base camp at the Cape of Good Hope, at what klater becomes Capetown. If anyone finds my penknife that I lost in the sand dunes there, I'd appreciate getting it back.

1793: Reign of Terror begins in Paris. I get the hell outta Dodge fast as I can.

1862: Sam Grant shakes me awake. "Mudge," he yells, "Johhny Reb's attacking!" Battle of Shilooh begins, and we nearly get annihilated.

1896: First Olympic Games begin. I finish fourth in the javelin throw. Charleyhorse in my leg.

1909: "You stay here with the dogs, Mudge, while Matt [Henson] and I go on ahead," Peary says to me about two miles short of the North Pole. "Bob, you're going the wrong way," I shout, but it's windy as all git-out and he doesn't hear me.

1947: Very first Tony Awards presented. I'm not even nominated. Three-year-old Stephen Sondheim beats me out for best lyrics. B@st@rd.

1973: First use of the designated hitter rule. I am so angry I can't see straight.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 6, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

I'm not a physicist and I don't want to sound too crabby (even if I waited for the bus 15 minutes in a "wintry mix" shower, stood up in the bus all the way and walked my good leather shoes through 1 inch of slush from the bus stop to home), but how one can take the picture of a celestial object that is 1700 years old but located 17 000 light-years away?

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | April 6, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

SCC Wow. I've outdone myself.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | April 6, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

I dont need no steenkinn edditor to excise by bacon either.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | April 6, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the feature, Mudge - I'm with you on the designated hitter rule. I can make a convincing argument that the Designated Hitter Rule led, eventually, to the collapse of the financial system and global economic ruin. See, the Designated Hitter Rule is all about avoiding responsibility. Taking the easy way out. Letting the other guy do it. Changing the rules to benefit the few. Maximizing corporate profit at the expense of rules and tradition. You see where I'm going with this - I'll stop before it becomes a full-fledged rant.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 6, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

As you might suspect, SD, when we say something is so-and-so old, we are speaking of the relative time between what we see now and what we saw previously. In a sense, it is meaningless to say, "Being 17,000 lightyears away, it is really 17,000+1700 years old." You would have to put quotation marks around "really" -- there is no such thing. What it is, "really", is the age at which you are able to detect evidence of its existence, which is bounded by the speed of light. If you wanted to race over there, right now, to see what it is like 'now', the earliest you could get there would be 17,000 years from now (traveling at the speed of light), by which time it would be 2X17,000+1700 = 35,700 years old.

If we saw an event happening right now on a planet of Alpha Centauri A (say, the explosion of a giant nuclear bomb), 4.6 light years away, and we set off a giant nuclear bomb to celebrate, then an alien observer who is in the same direction from Alpha Cen A as us would see the two events occur simultaneously. An alien who is equidistant from both stars would see Alpha Cen A blow up and then we would blow up 4.6 years later; and an alien who is in the opposite direction from us would see Alpha Cen A blow up and then, inexplicably, we would blow up 9.2 years later.

Helpful note: Alpha Centauri is actually a triple star system, composed of Alpha Cen A, B, and C. Alpha Cen C is also known as Proxima Centari, 'the nearby star in Centaurus' = the closest star to our Sun, a mere 4.26 lightyears away, 0.34 lightyears closer to us than it is to the star it orbits. Alpha Cen A and B are far enough away from each other that there is enough room in between for either or both to have its own planetary system.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 6, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Good afternoon, all.

Busy, busy, busy this afternoon and then going out to watch the Big Game tonight with some friends.

Speaking of quality control on the Web and edtorial function: s_d, you caught that 1,700 years old /17,000 light years away just as I caught up with the Boodle - good one.

Joel, are you listening?

Don't know about you guys, but I think I can get Mudge spun up to about 7 rotations/sec... (ha!)

Speaking of Mudge - isn't today Sacagawea's Birthday? How could you have forgotten, sir?

Gotta run.


Posted by: -bc- | April 6, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

In a belated newspaper comment, I have subscribed to the WSJ for several years (never reading the editorials, I want to keep my good blood pressure). I have not been impressed with Murdoch's changes so far. I got a renewal notice today, and they now want !!!$349!!! per year (someone must have told him there was a psychological barrier at 350 which would not be present at 349). This is a significant price increase for something which was always a luxury for me. Well, I'm thinking Mr. Murdoch may not get my !!!$349!!!, much as I support the idea of print journalish. Journalism. Whatever. The news articles are good and I did indeed rely on a lot of the WSJ coverage to understand the recent global financial meltdown. However, I most consistently use the paper as a rabbit cage liner. Looked at that way, it is a pretty expensive sanitation product.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 6, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

I guessed as much Science Tim. Conventions, feh.
I'm happy to see the Centorian A are nuking the living snot out of the Centorian C&B. Those Cs were b@stards.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | April 6, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

{* steps out of rift in time-space continuum *}

Hey everybody. Don't ask. Yinz don't wanna know.

Just wanted to say "hello" and say "cool pic".

Peace out. :-)

{* slips back into the rift *}

Posted by: martooni | April 6, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Mudge knew Petrarch's Laura; wow! May I touch the hem of your coat?

Francisco Petrach saw Laura, fair-haired matron, on April 6, 1327, Good Friday. The setting was the church of Santa Clara d'Avignon. He loved her chastely, inventing the Petrarchan sonnet, as a vehicle to praise her from afar. (Little documentation on Laura, however, she MAY (may only) have been married to a distant relative of the Marquis de Sade.

He corresponded with Boccacio; he loved St. Augustine's books. Of the Confessions, he wrote:

It occurred to me to look into my copy of St. Augustine's Confessions. . . where I first fixed my eyes it was written: “And men go abroad to admire the heights of mountains, the mighty waves of the sea, the broad tides of rivers, the compass of the ocean, and the circuits of the stars, yet pass over the mystery of themselves without a thought.”

From a Letter to Dionisio da Borgo San Sepolcro

Petrach is seen a precursor to humanism. This quote is among the first to reveal a pre-occupation with inner life. Contemplating this inner life lead to a personal rather than communal focus. This move from community toward the individual is part of the undergirding of humanism.

Thanks, Mudge. I will try to find an on-kit comment inside me, JA.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | April 6, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Tonight, Vladimir Putin's very own Russian orchestra will be followed by a quick escape to the official Game site.

I favor copy editing, having done some of it myself.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | April 6, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

bc, direct quote from Chandra site:

"Astronomers think that B1509 is about 1700 years old and is located about 17,000 light years away."

I am pretty sure what they mean is that, 18,700 years ago this star collapsed into a pulsar. Subtract the time for the light to reach us and we're looking at a snapshot of the pulsar 1,700 years after its formation. (But how the heck they can tell its 1,700 years old? From the waistline?)

Posted by: joelache | April 6, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Can you have dexterity in your sinister hand?

Posted by: Jumper1 | April 6, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

That picture is out of this world. And Science Tim is so smart.

Hey, I just bought a MAC laptop--first one and it is so kewl. I deserved it. Now, the other reason I bought one is because, because...I am one of 800 professionals being laid off in my division of the huge company I have worked for these last 6 months. And I had to return their laptop (and BB and air card...DRAT). It's the economy of course. I KNEW it was too good to be true. Remember, I was hired last September. Great timing, huh. All that flying around and stuff. And I had really completed the lengthy orientation and even had some accounts. Hey, they even said they could hire me back when the economy improves and business picks up, How considerate.

But I did get a really good severance package which will last until fall. Oh well. Luckily, I remain marketable. But having to interview all over again. Geesh. I might even have to move. So seasea1 and kb and others..I am joining the ranks of the unemployed.

Note to self: If it don't kill ya it will make you stronger.

Posted by: Windy3 | April 6, 2009 6:20 PM | Report abuse

The heck you say, Martooni. Are you okay?

Posted by: slyness | April 6, 2009 6:21 PM | Report abuse

God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Evening, friends. Just wanted to stop in and say hello. I've been busy today, washing, cleaning, sweeping,ironing, and I have the g-girl. Life is good or at least busy.

Mudge and bc, I read your comments regarding the future and doom of newspaper, and enjoyed them, not the doom, but your perspective. When hearing about the not so good future of newspapers, I think about "video killed the radio".

Ivansmom and frosti, glad you guys are feeling better. It suppose to be spring, but here it keeps falling back to fall and winter. It was so beautiful today, but the morning started out rainy, then the sun came out, and then the wind started, and now it's cloudy again.

I'm tired and ready for bed, and I'm going to convince the g-girl that she's tired too. Got my work cut out there. Have a good evening, all. Sweet dreams.

Posted by: cmyth4u | April 6, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Oh, Windy, so sorry to hear that! Hope you find something soon that's even better.

I may have caught whatever ftb, frosti, and Ivansmom have. No energy, bit of a sore throat, just want to sleep. Which is why I've been reading, but not commenting...and why none of the 1700/17,000 explanations make sense to me.

Posted by: seasea1 | April 6, 2009 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Windy3 sorry to hear your news, hope something newer and better comes around soon.

Posted by: dmd2 | April 6, 2009 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Oh dear. It's Dr. Manhattan getting all grabby.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 6, 2009 6:39 PM | Report abuse

"(But how the heck they can tell its 1,700 years old? From the waistline?)"
I think it's the slow shuffle wearing felt slippers.
Come on, 7 rev per sec is like giving you away as an antique.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | April 6, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

RD: perfect.
Jumper: funny.

Windy, I'm so sorry. I remember the Boodle joy when you got that job. Gosh darn economy (it's the Designated Hitter Rule, I'm telling you).

seasea/ml, I hope you don't have what I had. Hold out for frosti & ftb's illness. It is pretty bad but at least treatable. Ivansdad went to the doctor today and got actual medicine - probly bronchitis, but not pneumonia. Deep relief all around.

Good luck with the g-girl, Cassandra. The Boy is still puny enough that an early bedtime should be easy here.

Good to hear from Martooni.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 6, 2009 7:05 PM | Report abuse

awesome photo JA...

there was a documentary on String Theory but it was so cryptic the way it was presented that it was not possible to understand the point. Looked like the director had no clue on the subject matter--had lots of dramatic murder mystery music and mountain/sky/moving cloud images plus too many commercials.

Joel, maybe you can clarify String Theory to the common layman like myself?

Posted by: MissToronto | April 6, 2009 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Windy, I'm so sorry about your news. As you say, being marketable is a big advantage. We'll be cheering you on.

RD, too funny.

Posted by: Yoki | April 6, 2009 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Windy... sorry to hear about losing your dream job. I'm sure it will turn out to be a blessing... a stepping stone to something bigger and better!

I agree with Ivansmom.. the Designated Hitter rule really was the Beginning of the End.

Hey... has anyone heard from yellojkt?

Posted by: -TBG- | April 6, 2009 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Try wikipedia.

String theory is an argument about how many dimensions the universe has wadded up tighter than a spitwad at the subatomic level.

It's kind of like angels dancing on the head of a pin, though... very difficult to prove any specific model over another.

I'm a fan of M-theory, if only because 11 dimensions are so ridiculous, it's not even funny.

Branes are cool-- they're like rubber sheets intersecting and pulling on each other and forming universes in between... at least that's what my book seemed to say before my brain started deforming from all the math.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 6, 2009 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Windy, sorry to hear that the winds of change are blowing you into an uncertain future-- but I'm glad you have pockets full of cash to do it with.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 6, 2009 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Hey! I know what all you ailing Boodlers have!

It's Recession Flu!

Posted by: rickoshea0 | April 6, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse

I really haven't said this in awhile, and I really shoulda...

HI CASSANDRA!!!! *Grover waves & a cartwheel thrown in for good measure*

Windy, my condolences.

Still catching up on laundry and all, but trust me, the weekend shall be properly accounted for soon. :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 6, 2009 7:47 PM | Report abuse

totally kewl picture. great explanation, scitim, although my head hurts a little.

martooni, how the heck are ya?

seasea, hope you feel better!

windy, sorry to hear about your job.

tbg, i'd like to know yj's ok, too.

Posted by: LALurker | April 6, 2009 7:51 PM | Report abuse

I imagine he's better than just OK, given that he's on vacation in a beautiful country!

Posted by: Yoki | April 6, 2009 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Yoki... this is why we're worried...,0,1185599.story

Posted by: -TBG- | April 6, 2009 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Crazy weather here in the banana belt. 80F here today. Was snowing Saturday.
I think yj was going to look for some italian liquor. or so his last post said.

Posted by: bh72 | April 6, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Jeez. Meat Loaf is guest starring on "House"...and Kutner is dead.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | April 6, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Hi, everyone! Good luck in your job hunting, Windy. The economy has gone beyond making me worried, I'm getting spooked!

About the radon/earthquake thing, I was Googling and found this lovely bit of prose:

"In addition to the serious health hazards related to
radon, God has bestowed on it very unique and special
properties by which it acts as a great friends (1, 2). It can
be used to predict the arrival of an earthquake (3-6) to
locate uranium deposits (7, 8) and oil (9-12). This is
because radon is a radioactive gas and it can be traced
by detecting alpha particles emitted during the decay of
radon and its daughters. It can be achieved by using
alpha sensitive solid state nuclear track deterctors or
some other suitable detectors (1)."

This is, I think, serious science hampered by a language barrier. It's from the Journal of Islamic Academy of Sciences in Pakistan. I love the "radon and its daughters" bit.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | April 6, 2009 8:10 PM | Report abuse

martooni, you building houses for the habitat?

Posted by: bh72 | April 6, 2009 8:11 PM | Report abuse

I knew about that, I just don't think we have any reason to worry that he would have been there and in danger.

Posted by: Yoki | April 6, 2009 8:16 PM | Report abuse

chances are that yj is totally fine, but he is the kind of person who'd venture outside of touristy areas.

Posted by: LALurker | April 6, 2009 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Zackly what I was thinking, LALurker. He's already seen all the normal sights and may have been wandering the countryside.

Posted by: -TBG- | April 6, 2009 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Windy, good luck with jobhunting, I hope you find something else to enjoy, and quickly.

I'm so glad I'm not in the workforce any longer.

Go Heels!

Posted by: slyness | April 6, 2009 8:51 PM | Report abuse

I have the crud too, that others mention. Blecch...but not bed bound.

I just thought that I would mention that the P^rnopolooza this evening at UMCP is taking place in my building, with part of the panel discussions underway in one of my classrooms. Blechhh....again.

Read more here:

Expect big film coverage on the local news. Two of my colleagues had to cancel class because the entire building is a madhouse of students, press, and security.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | April 6, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, yes. Wilbrodog detained me, so I sat down maybe ten minutes after it started and it was "WTF?"

But those suicides do come as a shock. I think this is going to be more than a one-episode arc-- at least, it better be.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 6, 2009 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Windy, good luck with the job search. Sigh. Recession is when job loss happens statistically; depression is when this happens to boodlers.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | April 6, 2009 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Yes, it's hard times all around, but the good news is that jobs do get replaced.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 6, 2009 9:08 PM | Report abuse

A quick thought about newspapers. The Boston Globe is a shadow of its former self in all ways. This morning’s paper had the heft of a Saturday edition. This is making me less upset than I should be about threats of its demise. If all news goes to the web, what might happen if the makers of viruses become even more successful in disrupting the Internet? A bad enough worm or virus attack could cause major problems with access, couldn’t it? I admit I don’t have any technical knowledge so this is just me wondering.

Sorry about your job Windy, something better will come along, but it’s still a lousy feeling.

Hey Martooni! Hi Cassandra, hope you’re enjoying a well earned sleep.

Love the picture Joel. Can just barely grasp the 1700-17,000 light-year thing. My brain is reeling as I spent the evening making reservations for our Nova Scotia trip and wow, the Cat ferry is not cheap! But as someone said earlier today, carpe diem.

Posted by: badsneakers | April 6, 2009 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Ah, but it may not have been suicide, Wilbrod. At least, House doesn't think so.

Did you lose it when Taub did? I almost did.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | April 6, 2009 10:20 PM | Report abuse

I think House will find out if it was suicide, murder, or a mixture of the two.

Taub cried well, yes.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 6, 2009 10:22 PM | Report abuse

*faxing CP chicken soup, sympathy and hugs*

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | April 6, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous...and free of the head stuffed with whatever substance is making my eyes feel like they're going to pop out of their sockets. This is an improvement though, so there is hope for the more recently afflicted.

Windy-sorry to hear about the job. It was easy to tell you enjoyed it.

Maaaaan, sounds like House was really worth watching tonight.

Toodles boodle and sweet dreams.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | April 6, 2009 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Al. We had a busy weekend. Dog show(class ribbon, only), health clinic at the dog show, JROTC Cadet Ball, and Palm Sunday Cantata. Back in the sla mines today. I'm off to Charleston tomorrow with our boy to see the Hunley exhibit, among other things. Day trippin'. Yeah. 'Mudge, I had no idea that today was such an eventful day in history, or that the DH rule was so significant as to cause global economic collapse. I haven't chuckled like that for a couple of weeks. Tanks.

Posted by: -jack- | April 6, 2009 10:42 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: -TBG- | April 6, 2009 10:52 PM | Report abuse


I can't keep my eyes off the game...

Posted by: slyness | April 6, 2009 11:00 PM | Report abuse

As a major nut processor agreed to recall its 2008 crop, the Obama administration warned of stiffer penalties.

Tease to go with the following article. *L* An editor's job is never done.

Posted by: -jack- | April 6, 2009 11:25 PM | Report abuse

When we did a lot of camping, we had a Skamper. The sides folded out and the top had wooden bows to make it look like some kind of '60 Conestoga wagon. My Mom always wanted one of these:,0,4837208.photogallery

Interesting. State is making a run at the Heels.

Posted by: -jack- | April 6, 2009 11:33 PM | Report abuse

Gosh, it's a little early for jubiliation, with still a minute to go...

Posted by: slyness | April 6, 2009 11:46 PM | Report abuse

Congrats, you Tarheels.

I guess I would have worded that time/distance thing a little differently, something along the lines of "Astronomers think that B1509 is 17,000 light years away, and was 1700 years old when the X-rays that made this image began their journey to Earth. Or more precisely, to the Chandra X-Ray Observatory's imaging system." [Does Chandra wear X-Ray Specs? Or an X-Ray Monocle?]

On a side note attaching a crankshaft to a neutron star's axis shouldn't be too bad, since it's only turning at 420 RPM. Your typical rev-limited Formula 1 car engine spins at 18,000 RPM, which is 300 revolutions *per second.* And that's a V-8 not a 1 cylinder rotary like a neutron star.

I'm tired, time for bed.
G'night, all.

I hope everyone that's not feeling well gets some goor rest tonight and are feeling better tomorrow.


PS, RD, ya made me chuckle with the Dr. Manhattan comment.

Posted by: -bc- | April 7, 2009 12:20 AM | Report abuse

It was strange to watch the big game with a small Carolina crowd after a heavy-duty concert by the Russian National Philharmonic. I think this was the first time I've heard Shostakovich's end-of-WWII Ninth Symphony, a snarky, short thing with a bassoon solo at its heart, one that's been taken to symbolize the Weight of Soviet Bureaucracy. Tonight, it sounded like the entire weight of the war.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | April 7, 2009 12:42 AM | Report abuse

Read in the papers that GM Asia can make it as a stand alone and not be affected by its parent company. I have seen a lot more mid-size Chevrolets around compared to last year.

Frosti, Ivansmom, ftb & CP, hope you feel better soon. I have been coughing for over a month now, and I’m still not done yet. And that’s after seeing 3 doctors, drank 6 types of cough medicine (no Nyquil here and Breacol termite flavour cough syrup did help), taken 3 types of pills and 4 types of cough drop. Must be an alien bug that I caught.

Posted by: rainforest1 | April 7, 2009 3:01 AM | Report abuse

Good Morning All
I thought i'd make an appearance on the dawn patrol since I am up and working this morning. Geesh staying up all night aint what it used to be.

Happy to see Carolina win the game,but I was hoping for a more competitive game,basically it was over at halftime.

Reaching for the coffee but it is really a roll of tape,there is a reason I am not up this early.....

Posted by: greenwithenvy | April 7, 2009 5:31 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all. And yes, it IS a good morning at this house. Even if it was a Very Short Night. Mr. T didn't get to bed till after 12:30 but he was up at the normal time - 5:45 - and left on time. We'll both go to bed early tonight!

As one would expect, the Charlotte Observer devoted almost all the front page to the game. That works for me.

GWE, I understand your sentiments, but the score allowed me to watch without have heart palpitations. It was a sweet victory.

Posted by: slyness | April 7, 2009 6:58 AM | Report abuse

Yah! Left handers are special.
Yah! Editors saved my bacon, my ham aqnd my book.

Somali Pirates’ Economic Recovery Plan a Success.

This weekend, pirates seized 8 vessels in the Indian Ocean to finance an economic stimulus package. While naval patrols operate mainly in the Gulf of Aden, Pirates have moved their business operations further south and east.

Yah, Boodle!
Good morning, everyone.

Posted by: Braguine | April 7, 2009 7:01 AM | Report abuse

God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Good morning, friends. Windy, so sorry you're among the unemployed, hopefully something new will come along and you'll be back in the swing of things.

Hey, Martooni, and thanks for the big hello, Scotty.

It is a good morning in the Carolinas. And it is so cold this morning. There is snow in the mountains, and the winds off that snow are blowing here.

I'm about to enter the Olympics of getting ready for school, and you know me, I'm going for the gold. The g-girl has other ideas. Let the games begin!

Slyness, Yoki, Mudge, and all, have a hopefully good weather day. *waving*

Posted by: cmyth4u | April 7, 2009 7:01 AM | Report abuse

So anyway...

The weekend trip got off to an odd start, even before we left the NukeAbode. I was taking the bags to the front door when I noticed NukeFeline #1 crouched in the downstairs bathroom, looking into the corner. I thought she had knocked one of the play mice in there, but I looked again and saw a somewhat foolhardy field mouse had wandered in...

NukeFeline #1 seemed completely befuddled by a mouse moving under its own power, and this was a cat that had moused outside for years before she became an indoor cat. The mouse actually WALKED RIGHT UP TO HER FACE a couple of times, and she just looked at it. When it tried to walk around, she batted at it, but I don't think she even had her claws out. The mouse hid behind the sink support, and NF #1 would glance around the pedestal but not chase. I saw this would most likely end with a rodential cardiac arrest or just plain exhaustion (NF #1 really didn't seem to know what to do), so I gently ushered the mouse outside.

*good-morning-to-all-and-part-2-will-follow-shortly Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 7, 2009 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Morning All.

Good to be back in the comfort of my own little cubicle. Especially one lacking easy access to carbohydrates as I have had quite enough of those for a few weeks.

One thing about that picture. Not to be a killjoy, but realize that this is a false-color image. If you were floating in a bubble somewhere near B1509 you wouldn't actually see this. Heck, I don't know if you would actually see anything.

Which isn't to diminish in any way the beauty of the image, nor the wonder that we possess the sophisticated sensors and signal processing capability to create such an amazing representation of reality.

It is just that I feel a little uncomfortable, sometimes, when I see images of the cosmos that I know have been heavily processed to appeal to the human eye. Of course, such processing is often needed to make sense of the data. Yet, when presented to a technically naive public, these images sometimes seem vaguely dishonest. Like airbrushing a celebrity.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 7, 2009 7:53 AM | Report abuse

They airbrush celebrities? Quelle surprise!

Posted by: badsneakers | April 7, 2009 8:08 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Boodle, Cassandra. Welcome back, RD_Padouk. And nice to see gwe in the Ready Room. I've brought coffee and other good things to share.

Looking forward to the rest of Scotty's report.

Have a good day, everybody. We are supposed to get actual spring-type temperatures. What will I have to complain about?

Posted by: Yoki | April 7, 2009 8:10 AM | Report abuse

S'Nuke, cats leave live prey ro teach their loved ones to hunt. I just hope your cat isn't as disappointd in you as I am ;-)

What, no chorus of "Born Free"?

Posted by: Boko999 | April 7, 2009 8:15 AM | Report abuse

No newspaper again today. The delivery person seems to "forget" the existence of our little cul-de-sac about once a week. I find I can survive this indignity with coffee (of course!), Mika and the awful Joe, the internet, and a sudoku rustled up from various other sources. Eugene Robinson is so often on MSNBC; he's a treat.

Posted by: Jumper1 | April 7, 2009 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Wotta killjoy... :-)

Part 2:

So we left NukeAbode with 2 hours to get to Union Station. Plenny time, even in rush hour, right? Well, it would have been if I had used "Traffic on the 8s" as it was intended. But no, I assumed the tie-up on the GW Parkway South would clear up by the time we got there.

*offering my back to allow everyone to play Pin the Tail on the Dunce*

Since I had WAY too much time on my hands at 1.4 MPH on the parkway, I used the wonders of technology and Amtrak's generous rescheduling policy to get us on the next train. We ended up pulling into Union Station about 5 minutes after the original train would have left, and having to park on the top deck in pouring rain didn't help. The train trip was thankfully uneventful for NukeSpouse's inital experience on the tracks, but the weather hid the ever-impressive sight of the Manhattan skyline peeking over the Palisades before the train hit the Hudson River tunnel.

Once we found a NYC subway fare machine that would process a transaction (the system wasn't accepting plastic at that point), we headed to NukeBro's wonderful townhouse in Brooklyn. There was a thunderstorm warning out, but when we exited the subway it was merely cloudy...

For about the 10 seconds it took me to check the local street map and get oriented.

As soon as we started walking, the skied opened up for our 5-minute scamper. Luckily the baggage repelled enough rain that we didn't have to dry too many clothes.

When NukeBro got home, we chatted awhile and then walked around the neighborhood. At which point he casually noted the single-family house a block from his place. The SFH where a certain actress lives with her daughter from the most recent (and very unfortunately late) Best Supporting Actor Academy Award-winner (that NukeBro had met on the street a few times, BTW). The security cameras and later encounters with papparazzi would have been good giveaways regardless. But no, we didn't see her. And no, the papparazzi didn't want my picture, for some reason.

*still-more-to-come-at-some-point Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 7, 2009 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Morning all, a bit of snow on the ground and it is softly snowing now - while it will only last a day or two - I am not amused - it was mid 50's and sunny Sunday.

Posted by: dmd2 | April 7, 2009 8:31 AM | Report abuse

That may be Alberta's fault, dmd. Sorry about that.

Posted by: Yoki | April 7, 2009 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Well between bh's report that it was 80 yesterday and your report of spring temps I should be thanking you in a few days - so no harm.

Posted by: dmd2 | April 7, 2009 8:45 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. All this beautiful snow falling from the sky. More to come tomorrow.
It' bloody %#@@*% April fur crying out loud.

Scotty, you got yourself a strictly outdoor mouser. Welcome to the club, you'll have to do your own indoor hunting. I'm a veteran deer (mouse) hunter myself. I got an old house too, the mice always find a way in.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | April 7, 2009 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Ice is civilization?

That thought led me to this '06 piece by Theroux

Posted by: Jumper1 | April 7, 2009 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

Another busy day, but couldn't help but note the fact that Gates is proposing ending production of the F-22 per the contract, while we're facing an increasing threat of Canadian incursions into US airspace with Cessna 172s:


Posted by: -bc- | April 7, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Wondering about this subject, the story of the rogue pilot who took a Cessna from Thunder Bay to Missouri.

Here is the Globe story from this morning

And the story in the Post,

At the bottom of the Post story it notes that CNN reports the man's nationality and that he changed his name when he became a Canadian citizen - this was omitted in the Globe story I read.

The mention of his nationality bothered me, as from the story it appears he was having mental health issues and that where he was from it irrelevant.


Posted by: dmd2 | April 7, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. A bit nippy here--it was in the 30s overnight, and is only 42 now. This is the second day of baseball season. Mother Nature is NOT cooperating.

However, it was not entirely such a bad day in This Day in Mudge History (always assuming that it is April and not some other month, like, oh, March, just to pick one out of a hat):

1521: Magellan and I arrive at Cebu in the Philippines, just across from Leyte. Neither of us knows it, but he's only got two weeks left to live.

1776: I'm the bosun aboard the "Wild Duck," purchased by the Maryland Committee of Safety, a brigantine skippered by the great Cap'n John Barry (he was an Irisher, ya know) out of Fulldullfya when we broke through a British blockade yesterday near the mouth of the Delaware River, and went oto capture the HMS Edward today. We changed the Wild Duck's name, of course; you folks may know her as the first USS Lexington. Barry went on to become Father of the American Navy. I went on to become father of several illegitimate spawn of Philly waterfront serving wenches.

1795: France adopts the "metre" as its standard unit of measurement. "'ere, Monsieurs," I sez to the Revolutionary Committee, "wot's the matter with the yard, anyways? And you spelled 'metre' all wrong. It's s'pposed to be 'metere,' ya know." "Oh, bugger orf, Mudge," sez Marat. "'ho cares 'ow it's spelled? Anyway, it's time for my bath."

1805: "Reveille!" I shouts to wake up our camp. "Time we got going! Lewis, c'mon, get out of bed, wouldjer? And Clarkie, grab yer socks and let's go." See, we'd spent the whole winter at this Mandan Indian camp somewheres up in North Dakota, and the spring thaw had come, and I was anxious to get moving, bein' of a somewhat curious and roving nature. "Okay, Mudge," sez Clark. "Which way we goin'?" "Hell if I know, Cap. Yer s'pposed to be leading this outfit, not me. And I ain't never been this far west before." Just then this here French trapper named Carbonneau shows up, and he sez, "Hey, mansewers, my wife, she know le way to le west. Why not put us on le payroll as guides?" So we up and hires this here Frenchie and his smokin' hot young wife, Sacajewea, to lead us west toward some ocean or other they said was out that way. And all morning I wished we had some country ham and biscuits for breakfast, but we didn't.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 7, 2009 9:27 AM | Report abuse

'Twas country venison and hardtack for sure...

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 7, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

looks like a Ring Wraith to me

Posted by: omnigood | April 7, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

I might also note that today is the 40th birthday of the Intertubes, at least according to Wikipedia, which has this to say:

"In computer network engineering, a request for comments (RFC) is a memorandum published by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) describing methods, behaviors, research, or innovations applicable to the working of the Internet and Internet-connected systems.

Through the Internet Society, engineers and computer scientists may publish discourse in the form of an RFC, either for peer review or simply to convey new concepts, information, or (occasionally) engineering humor. The IETF adopts some of the proposals published as RFCs as Internet standards....

"The inception of the RFC format occurred in 1969 as part of the seminal ARPANET project. Today, it is the official publication channel for the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the Internet Architecture Board (IAB), and—to some extent—the global community of computer network researchers in general.

"The authors of the first RFCs typewrote their work and circulated hard copies among the ARPA researchers. Unlike the modern RFCs, many of the early RFCs were requests for comments. The RFC leaves questions open and is written in a less formal style. This less formal style is now typical of Internet Draft documents, the precursor step before being approved as an RFC.

In December 1969, researchers began distributing new RFCs via the newly operational ARPANET. RFC 1, entitled "Host Software", was written by Steve Crocker of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and published on April 7, 1969. Although written by Steve Crocker, the RFC emerged from an early working group discussion between Steve Crocker, Steve Carr, Jeff Rulifson. (The document lists Bill Duvall as having attended only the final working group meeting prior to publication.)

"In RFC 3, which first defined the RFC series, Steve Crocker started attributing the RFC series to the "Network Working Group". This group seems never to have had a formal existence, being rather defined as "this group of people", but the attribution remains on RFCs to this day."

So, according to Wiki, today is the 40th birthday of the Internet. To me, it doesn't look a day over 39.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 7, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

New kit!

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 7, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

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