Star Atlas

Astronomy

KStars is getting better with every release. Originally intended as an educational planetarium program, it now includes stars up to magnitude 7 or 8, which makes it already usable as a star atlas for owners of a small sized telescope.

However, if you want to make real deep sky observations, magnitude 8 is just not detailled enough. And that's the only drawback of KStars; you can add different star catalogi, but there are no detailed ones available. For "professional" use, XEphem is the real pogram to use. I discovered this page, where the Tycho2 and Hipparcos catalogi for use with XEphem can be downloaded. It provides you a star atlas with 2 400 000 stars up to magnitude 13.

Pioneer 10 spacecraft sends last signal

Astronomy

The Pioneer 10 spacecraft has sent its last signal to Earth. Pioneer's last, very weak signal was
received on Jan. 22, 2003. NASA engineers report Pioneer 10's
radioisotope power source has decayed, and it may not have enough power to send additional transmissions to Earth.

"Originally designed for a 21-month mission, Pioneer 10 lasted more than 30 years. It was a workhorse that far exceeded its warranty, and I guess you could say we got our money's worth," said Pioneer 10 Project Manager, Dr. Larry Lasher.

Pioneer 10 was launched March 2, 1972 for a flight to Jupiter, making it the fastest human-made object to leave the Earth; fast enough to pass the moon in 11 hours and to cross Mars' orbit, about 50 million miles away, in just 12 weeks. Pioneer 10 was the first spacecraft to pass through the asteroid belt, considered a spectacular achievement, and then headed toward Jupiter. In 1983, Pioneer 10 became the first human-made object to pass the orbit of Pluto, the most distant planet from the Sun.

Following its encounter with Jupiter, Pioneer 10 explored the outer regions of the solar system, studying energetic particles from the Sun (solar wind), and cosmic rays entering our portion of the Milky Way. The spacecraft continued to make valuable scientific investigations in the outer regions of the solar system until its science mission ended March 31, 1997.

Pioneer carries human greetings in the form of a gold anodized plaque with symbolic drawings, an attemp of the NASA engineers to send out a
human greeting card into outer space. Carl Sagan designed the plaque to be universally (in the truest sense) comprehensible, at least to any civilization sufficiently advanced to capture it. However, it will probably be mankind itself which will bring the spacecraft home, as we probably will encounter Pioneer in the future during high speed space
travel.

View Earth from any satellite

Astronomy

Nice pictures viewed from any satellite around Earth.

Ripping streams

Debian

Just as everyone else, I like to listen to music. But I really hate searching hours and hours on Kazaa for some decent music. Sometimes I only want to listen to an online radio station, and rip the music to my hard disk. Now I have found StreamRipper, which does this task for me. The thing rips online music for me, and nicely saves the music per song, so I don't have just one MP3 file of 100s megabytes. Unfortunately, the Unix version has a rather slim Makefile : I stumbled into problems when I kicked the thing into Debian's automated packaging build system.

Only option left was to build a Debian binary package with the bare hands (no fucking way I'm installing binaries with configure - make - make install on *my* system), just like I allways do on Solaris. By following this HOWTO, I managed to get the job done. My first self assembled Debian package ! If I find the time, I'm gonna hack some scripts around it to make it fully automated.

LOTR Engrish captions

Humor

Engrish is a slang word for the English language phrase that arose through poor translation of another language (usually Japanese) into English, or sometimes, poor translation of English into another language followed by good translation back into English. This used to be a frequent occurrence with product manuals, which might say something like "to make speed up find up out document". If you want to find out more about Engrish, check out Engrish.com (and also for a good laugh).

This site celebrates the wonderful engrish subtitles featured in an asian bootleg DVD of Lord of The Rings - The Two Towers. Unfortunaltely, the site seems to be brought down due to a lack of humor of New Line Cinema, but now here's the incredible silly Engrish captions of the Fellowship of the Ring !

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