Showing posts from December, 2012

Space Shuttle Endeavour visits Austin, Part Deux

On September 20, the Space Shuttle Endeavour did a fly-over of Austin and I caught a really cool photo of it with the UT Tower. You can see my original blog post about it here.

Shuttle #Endeavour flying next to the UT Tower— Lara Eakins (@LaraEakins) September 20, 2012

The weird thing was that for the next few months, after the initial rush of the first few days, I still saw a trickle of retweets, views, and comments.

Then, I got a tweet from someone at Twitter saying that they would like to use the tweet/photo as part of an official Twitter project. I was intrigued, but figured it would show up somewhere buried in a 2012 wrap-up. Well, I was partially correct, it was in a 2012 wrap-up, but buried it certainly wasn't! Imagine my surprise when it showed up here:

Only on Twitter

And here:

And here:

And in the video itself:

(Below the Curiosity rover and next to Barack and Michelle Obama. Seriously?!?!)

And here's the whole video:

And one…

2012 was a pretty amazing year

I knew going in that 2012 was going to be a pretty busy year for me, and it was! Personally the highlights were the AAS meeting in January, successfully pulling off the very popular public viewing of the Venus transit in June, and seeing the Space Shuttle Endeavour in September (more about that later...). But in the broader world, there was some pretty incredible stuff this year. There were also some sad good-byes and heartbreaking tragedies, and I know it was a rough year for some of my friends and acquaintances, but I want to focus on the good things.

Humans literally went to the extremes - James Cameron solo dived to the deepest part of the Earth's oceans, while Felix Baumgartner jumped from a balloon in the stratosphere. And we got to see both occur live on our computers.

Physicists have probably discovered the Higgs boson, one of the key points of modern Standard Model of physics. (I'll refrain from grousing about how it could have been discovered 15 years sooner and here…

Well... we're still here

Do I get to say "I told you so" now?

I haven't blogged about it much (if at all?) but I have occasionally ranted on Twitter about the questions, usually in phone calls, that I've been getting for YEARS about the so-called Mayan apocalypse coming on December 21, 2012.

I think the first calls started coming around 2006 after one of the many programs that have since been repeated endlessly the on cable channels first aired. I remember in particular a dad who was concerned about his 11 or 12-year-old son who was getting depressed after watching some of these programs. After talking for a while with the dad, I could suss out that there were other family issues (a divorce or separation in particular) and this was probably feeding an already stressful situation. My main recommendation then, after assuring him that the stuff in those programs were mostly nonsense, was to have his son talk with a school counselor. I think I talked with him a couple of times, but I don't …