Monday, March 24, 2008

Rocking through Easter

So, Courtney and I headed down to Arkansas for the Easter weekend, both to see my family and to attend my nephew's baptism. While we were there, we stayed with my brother, who has a wii and a playstation 3. After a Friday night of playing Guitar Hero, he headed to Sam's on Saturday and bought Rock Band. I learned two things over the weekend: 1) this game is incredibly fun, and 2) I am incredibly talented.

For the uninitiated, Rock Band is an extension of the performance games such as Guitar Hero or Karaoke Revolution, where in a person plays on a play guitar or sings into a microphone and is measured on hitting notes or playing combinations. Rock Band takes it one step further and has a guitar, a microphone and a drum set in one game, and all three are played in concert to complete a popular song.

With the entire family there, it was great fun. Trulie singing, Andrea on guitar, Kin on drums; fantastic. I didn't know many of the songs (I am not much of a music person), but I still had a great time. It seems like the game sort of transcends the normal limitations of video games, and so reaches a much larger audience (much like the wii console). It makes me think that maybe we should buy the game, just for parties and such.

Even if we don't, I'll remember singing Black Hole Sun. I think everyone will remember. Even the neighbors. (If you can't sing well, sing loud.)

Friday, March 21, 2008

I love my iPhone.

So, I was just working on my computer, writing some e-mails, and a notification came up telling me about a meeting I have in 15 minutes. I naturally reached up to my screen and tapped on the button to dismiss the notification, and was momentarily taken aback when my computer did not respond.

I can't wait for a touch sensitive computer. It will be so much more natural in so many instances.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Astronomy away!

So, last night a bit after 11 I submitted a 15 page revised paper to the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. It has taken me a while, but this is the research simulating extrasolar planets that I did under Sara Seager for the final chapters of my dissertation. Even though there was only a little bit of work to do, it hung over my head, so now I feel like I have all kinds of free time. Maybe that will mean some more posts.

Actually, I have decided to begin writing some specific astronomy posts at a new blog, called Space The Nation. If you get bored of reading what I think about the presidential candidates, then you can head over there and read what I think about water in extrasolar planet atmospheres. Perhaps soon I will get around to writing the laymen's explanation of my research that Adam Langley asked for so long ago (I haven't forgotten.)

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Ohio, Texas, Vermont, Oh my!

My friends who know me know that I go to bed around 9:30; maybe 10 pm if I am going crazy. I can't remember the last time I saw Dave, though he is the best. However, here I am, at 11 pm, watching the election results.

I had given up on Hillary, but apparently the people of Ohio hadn't. Only half the state has reported, but she is giving Obama a drumming, 15 points ahead. She has won Rhode Island, while Obama took Vermont. They are neck and neck in Texas, though they say Obama might have a lead in the caucuses there.

How exciting! It really is great when a contest is so fluid and dynamic that it isn't predictable. I am thinking back to Sunday, specifically, when the top story of the New York Times were top Democrats basically asking Hillary to step aside, in order to unite the party. It is conceivable that she will be the big winner tonight, and gain significant ground tonight, but more importantly, take the spotlight off Obama.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Hillary is going to lose

I was wrong. I mentioned earlier that I thought Hillary was going to win the Democratic nomination, and now I am not so sure. Obama supporters are doing a great job keeping the momentum and the spotlight on them. It was a great move today to pull the news coverage towards them by asking Hillary to drop out if she doesn't win some big states on Tuesday. Most people read the headlines to mean that Hillary was basically staying in the same way Huckabee is staying in: without a chance in the world of actually winning. And that means that only two days before the next round of important voting, it looks like Obama has already won.

I don't think Obama should be the democratic nominee. I do like Hillary, but mainly I question giving support to Obama. I question Obama because I think most of the reason he is doing so well is because he is unknown. Though the press has done its perfunctory job of digging into his background, mainly he is a blank slate: one on which people are projecting their own desired candidate traits. Because we don't know how he would react in a specific situation, everyone assumes that he would react with them. He is basically being rewarded because he is an unknown, and I don't think that should be a reason to win.

I should clarify that I don't think that Obama has some skeletons hiding in his closet that are waiting to pop out. In fact I don't think he does, but I don't think he should be ahead simply because Hillary has made bold and public support of certain initiatives such as healthcare for every American.

I remember not so long ago another president promised to reach across the aisle and change politics as usual. He actually even had a pretty good record to show that he would work with the other party (unlike Obama's short record, which basically looks like the Democratic platform, and shows little-to-no work with Republicans.) However, that president has changed his tune, and become one of the most divisive presidents in memory. Oh well.