Gratitude (Sep. 13 – 19)

  1. Donated our solar eclipse glasses to Astronomers Without Borders
  2. Giving rides to people for Physics Lunch Club
  3. Taking time to rest (Sep. 14)
  4. Making some donations to Goodwill
  5. Installing audio recording software on my computer
  6. Useful Faculty Development Meeting
  7. Finished reading the book Proof of Heaven
  8. Finished reading There is Nothing Wrong with You
  9. The basic message of There is Nothing Wrong with You is true (II Cor. 5:16-21; Romans 8:1)
  10. M-Week picnic (indoors this year due to poor weather)
  11. Buying plan tickets for an upcoming work trip
  12. Choosing deck colors, railings, etc. for deck repair
  13. My wife’s conference in Orlando occurred despite the aftermath of Hurricane Irma
  14. Her flights were safe and on time
  15. Keeping in touch with her and seeing her beautiful pictures while she was traveling
  16. Seeing Wonder Woman at The Elks Theatre
  17. Faculty and Staff yoga started again (Sep. 19) with a large attendance
  18. Biking to Community Meal
  19. Catching up with friends and celebrating a birthday at the meal
  20. First good measurements with our lab equipment
  21. Beautiful clouds at sunset
  22. A good picture of a would-be passenger on my bike
  23. Straightening and repotting my Dracaena
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Farewell Cassini

Of all the spectacular images returned by Cassini, this one is my favorite.

This beautiful image of Saturn and its rings … is a composite (layered image) made from 165 images taken by the wide-angle camera on the Cassini spacecraft over nearly three hours on September 15, 2006.  The bottom image is a closeup view of the upper left quadrant of the rings, through which Earth is visible in the far, far distance.

Source: A View of Earth from Saturn : Image of the Day

“Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket;
they are regarded as dust on the scales;” – Isaiah 40:15 (NIV)

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Want to Learn About Astronomy?

The Astronomy 101 Five-Week Learning Experience at the Journey Museum starts on Sep. 19. I will be teaching on Oct. 10!

Source: Astronomy 101 Five-Week Learning Experience | Calendar | Journey Museum and Learning Center

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Gratitude (Sep. 6 – 12)

  1. Being informed of and correcting a small problem in our experimental electronics.
  2. The data from the new setup looks like it should
  3. Finding and correcting a mathematical error in our proposal before we submitted it.
  4. Finishing all of my assigned and volunteered tasks for our proposal
  5. Spending time with my wife when I could not sleep
  6. Another interesting discussion of music theory that we sat in on.
  7. The InterVarsity prayer group has started again for the semester
  8. Signing up for staff yoga this semester
  9. A graduate student made chili to share for lunch
  10. Despite missing Physics Lunch Club, my wife and I had a nice lunch at Einstein Bros.
  11. Make final decisions about an exam
  12. New library card
  13. Physics Root beer float social, the first physics social of the academic year
  14. Picking up some workout equipment with my wife
  15. Beautiful sunset while driving to get the equipment
  16. Our van made it through a hailstorm outdoors with no damage
  17. Dinner with my wife at Baan Thai
  18. Cooking over the fire with faculty colleagues at our house
  19. Meeting a colleague’s wife for the first time
  20. Good potluck and discussion at The Well
  21. First recitation of the semester went well and had good attendance
  22. Good friends, conversation, and yoga at community meal
  23. Our friends who invited us to their home to see the aurora (Sep. 7)
  24. Photographing the aurora for the first time
  25. Interesting training on Starfish
  26. A baker for the Faculty Lounge
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Gratitude (Aug. 30 – Sep. 5)

  1. Helping my wife buy exercise equipment and make space for it.
  2. Unpacking and/or removing several boxes left from our move
  3. Preparing to donate some of the things we unpacked
  4. Drafting an important letter
  5. Working with a colleague on a puzzle over lunch
  6. My friends I meet with each Friday morning
  7. My new graduate student finished cleaning up our lab
  8. Getting the first results out of the clean lab
  9. Dinner at Pizza Ranch with my wife
  10. Shopping at the Farmer’s Market, especially finding a new kind of plum (Sep. 2)
  11. Downloading and using an app that allows me to stream recordings from my Entertainment PC to my phone within our home wireless network
  12. Getting the house cleaned for community meal this week
  13. Writing birthday cards for friends and family
  14. Lunch club at Famous Dave’s
  15. Sitting in on part of an interesting music theory lesson for band students
  16. No class on Labor Day
  17. Finishing a draft of my part our funding renewal application
  18. Hosting community meal at our house
  19. Meeting a new faculty member and family at the meal
  20. Reading another chapter of The Cat Who Could Read Backwards with my wife.
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Gratitude (Aug. 23 – 29)

  1. Good meetings with students (Aug. 23)
  2. Lunch club at Murphy’s
  3. More progress in deciding responsibilities for our departmental review
  4. Meeting a colleague’s baby
  5. Our first University Band rehearsal of the semester
  6. We have three tuba players in the band
  7. Watching our SPS team come within one second of winning their round of Pig Wrestling at the Central States Fair
  8. Playing in the “hamster balls,” similar to the ones below:
  9. Good Skype conversation with a friend
  10. Donating to a Boy Scouts rummage sale
  11. My wife’s dedication, expertise, and patience in getting video streaming from our Entertainment PC across our wireless network.
  12. We now have portable access to our recorded TV shows with and open source system!
  13. Good and encouraging discussion about “Circles of Grace” at The Well
  14. Picking up my prize-winning photos and prize money.
  15. I think I have finally found a way to get my household chores done reasonably well.
  16. Paying Faculty Lounge dues
  17. Having lunch with other people in the lounge
  18. Good meeting with postdoc about the radon monitor
  19. Dinner with my wife at La Costa
  20. Starting to clean my lab after construction
  21. My wife’s pasta salad for community meal
  22. Good food, friends, and conversation at the meal
  23. Petting cats and guinea pigs at the meal
  24. My wife’s advice on teaching
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My SD Mines Colleagues Present Real Science At Comic Con

There is a difference between science and science fiction, of course. But the two converge at events like Comic Con.–science_fiction_v_reality–feature_mp3.mp3

Source: Scientists Present Real Science At Comic Con | SDPB Radio

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Gratitude (Aug. 16 – 22)

  1. Seeing a total solar eclipse for the first time
  2. Enjoying it with colleagues and students
  3. Being able to drive people to the eclipse
  4. Having very little traffic on the drives
  5. Fun conversations with people on the trip who were very interested in dark matter and particle physics
  6. Dinner at the Central States Fair with my wife
  7. Finally finding decent fries at the fair
  8. Winning two blue ribbons for my photographs at the fair!
  9. Lots of good food, including turkey legs and funnel cakes at the fair.
  10. Discovering that a child magician performing at the fair is a friend’s daughter.
  11. My wife’s homemade sweet potato soup
  12. Meeting new people at community meal
  13. Good food and conversations at the meal
  14. Planning our writing tasks for our departmental review
  15. Catching up with friends at church
  16. Reading with my wife
  17. Signing up for band again
  18. Starting adult swimming lessons
  19. Buying small but necessary supplies for my lab
  20. Accidentally being an hour early to the Rapid City Community Conversations meeting meant I was able to help set up the room.
  21. Learning a lot during the conversation.


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My Award Winning Photographs

Much to my surprise, I am officially an award-winning photographer! I won two blue ribbons at the Central States Fair in the Open Class Division 15 (Photography) Adult Amateur class (Class A). The photographs are in two different categories (lots) within the division.

Thank you to the judges at the fair, the very helpful staff at Michael’s, the Black Hills Astronomical Society for the trip on which I took the first photograph, and the Dept. of Energy (and thus you the taxpayer) for funding my trip to a conference in Prague on which I took the second photograph. Most importantly, thank you to God for all of the blessings and gifts that allowed me to achieve this and to my wife for her patient help and advice in mounting them.

Lot 213: South Dakota Scenery (Color)

The photograph

The Award

Lot 229: Buildings (Color)

The photograph

The Award

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When I consider your heavens,
    the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
    which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
    human beings that you care for them?

–Psalm 8:2-3 (NIV)

A hole in the sky surrounded by gossamer fire.
A sunset on every horizon.
Stars appearing in the middle of the day.
No pictures could to this justice, so I did not try to take any at totality. I simply enjoyed those 2.5 minutes in Alliance, NE.

I did take a few pictures during the hour and a half leading up to totality.

Image projected on white cardboard from a 15 power spotter scope. You can see the moon starting to cover the sun’s disk and a few small sunspots.

Image projected on white cardboard from a 15 power spotter scope. You can see the moon covering a bit more of the sun’s disk and a few small sunspots.

In a pinch, a straw had can serve as a collection of pinhole projectors.

Tree leaves can be pinhole projectors too.

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