Monday, January 24, 2011

Cassandra Skiing in Minneapolis

Cassie skied in the Mayor's Cross Country Challenge in Minneapolis this weekend...

In addition to watching the races on Saturday (Cassie was 3rd for her team and 33rd overall) and Sunday, we ate venison, played Scrabble, entertained the cats, and we watched movies of course.

The Town was much better than I expected.  Director Ben Affleck has a confidence with his material.  He balanced the crime caper action elements with some very interesting character development. 

Coincidentally, Gone Baby Gone, another Affleck film which starred his younger brother Casey, was also in our NetFlix queue.  I'd seen it before but Cassie hadn't.  It's very strong, unflinching stuff, but it's cleverly plotted and has an interesting pace.

We needed something a little lighter so we picked Penelope, a 2006 comedy starring Cristina Ricci, from the Watch Instantly queue.  It was whimsical and visually striking but the story was a little shy of being completely engaging.

That's Astronomy, Not Astrology!

Yes, there is a difference...

image from NASA APOD

Another excellent series of astronomy podcasts are actually recordings of two classes taught by Professor Richard Pogge at Ohio State University. Why these aren't on iTunes U instead of iTunes, I don't know, but these undergrad courses are excellent primers on astronomy. Astronomy 161 explains the local neighborhood - our solar system. Astronomy 162 deals with the big picture, deep time perspective - from the big bang to the heat death of the universe. Professor Pogge supplies copious supporting materials for 161 and 162 at the Ohio State website, but he does such a nice job explaining his topics you can get by without least until you get home.

Astronomy Cast: Watch The Skies!

Fraser Cain and Dr. Pamela Gay entertain and inform...

image from NASA APOD

Fraser Cain is the publisher of the Universe Today website.  Dr. Pamela Gay lectures at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.  Each week they come together to deliver the Astronomy Cast.  I found them on iTunes or you can visit their website where they have an episode archive 243 shows deep.  The average show is around 30 minutes in length and deals with a single topic (except for their fun "listener questions" episodes).  Each 'cast is supplemented by helpful show notes at the website.  Both hosts have voices that are easy enough to listen to at 2x on your iProduct (do MP3 players have variable playback speeds too?) so it will only take you a little over 60 hours to catch up...