Saturday, March 31, 2007

Bees in space

NASA has released some pictures of a hexagon in Mars' atmosphere. Probably Saturn is home to some really talented bee-keepers.

Cassini Images Bizarre Hexagon on Saturn

Pasadena, Calif. -- An odd, six-sided, honeycomb-shaped feature circling the entire north pole of Saturn has captured the interest of scientists with NASA's Cassini mission.

NASA's Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft imaged the feature over two decades ago. The fact that it has appeared in Cassini images indicates that it is a long-lived feature. A second hexagon, significantly darker than the brighter historical feature, is also visible in the Cassini pictures. The spacecraft's visual and infrared mapping spectrometer is the first instrument to capture the entire hexagon feature in one image.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Arab leaders convene 2-day summit

Arab Summit

Via the Houston Chronicle we learn:

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — U.S. Arab allies at a summit Wednesday tried to rally other Arabs behind ways to win Israeli and Western support for an Arab land-for-peace offer, despite reluctance from Syria, hoping to build momentum for a breakthrough in the Mideast peace process.

The peace initiative is the centerpiece of the two-day Arab summit, which convenes in the Saudi capital at a time when the United States has shown some progress in maneuvering all sides into place for a resumption in long-stalled negotiations.

Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal and other Arab officials said Israel must snap up the chance and accept the Arab offer.

"If Israel refuses, that means it doesn't want peace. Then (the conflict) goes back into the hands of the lords of war," al-Faisal said Tuesday.

It seems we are not the only ones that think that today is an auspicious day to start a 2-day summit.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Hemingway Preparations Underway

Hemingway preparations are underway.

The committee has heard a rumor that HD won't be around this evening. But, not to worry, if they're as good as he's said they are, they'll be back. (And we're sure there'll be leftovers)...

Who snapped?

Just what sort of pressure must they be under over in the lab?

It's the first great day of Spring

and a Friday, no less...

And MG is out sick. Not feeling well.


Pull the other one.

AZ was one of the winners of our 1st table raffle - we wondered how she was going to get such a big table into such a small car. Turns out we shouldn't have wondered, it fit just fine, really.

Hopefully she didn't have to stop quickly on the way home.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Software Summit Scheduled

SR will be down for a visit next Wednesday and Thursday, just to help tidy up a few odds and ends. We should be code-complete, and in full debug mode by then.


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Computing pioneer John Backus dies

Sad news today:

(AP) -- John Backus, whose development of the Fortran programming language in the 1950s changed how people interacted with computers and paved the way for modern software, has died. He was 82.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Friday Tea

This week, if there's no snowstorm, we'll have a special treat.

Due to HD's suggestion, the committee has decided that we'll be having Hemingways, which consist of a combination of Gin and Campari. HD may have to refresh our memories as to the preferred proportions.

See you at 4:00.

Spring is about to have sprung

The deer have returned to Waltham, and so can Spring be far behind?

No, in fact, it cannot. Spring will arrive at 7:08 PM EDT today - leaving behind the warmest winter on record.

Don't want to celebrate an Equinox? Then today is your lucky day - it's Petroleum Day in Iran, and we don't see any reason not to celebrate that holiday.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Raining (inside)

WL reminds us that we've been remiss here at HSI for not mentioning that our roof has been leaking, and our kitties have gotten wet. They are not amused.

Also, Aaron, I'm sure, is not amused. Training had to be postponed - rather a bother for everyone.

Luckily JT was able to obtain some good tarps, so hopefully there won't be much more damage done.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Internet Cafe Open

Today marks the official opening of our Internet Cafe. Quite a while in the planning stage, construction was relatively sudden.

We hope that it comes in handy for those late-night conversations.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Oh, and by the way...

The rumor is that T is getting married, TWICE...

Way to go T - congratulations - we hope that they're both a blast.

Happy Birthday Al

In addition to this being Pi day, it's also the birthday of Albert Einstein.

Maybe we should celebrate c as well as Pi.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Irrational number

From Wolfram Math World:

An irrational number is a number that cannot be expressed as a fraction p/q for any integers p and q. Irrational numbers have decimal expansions that neither terminate nor become periodic.
So, for example, 2/3 is rational, despite being infinitely long when represented in decimal form, because it repeats...

Tomorrow is Pi Day

Tomorrow is Pi day - WL was kind enough to email this notice (redacted):

π (Pi) day will be celebrated on March 14th.

A variety of pies will be available about 1:30 in the kitchen Wednesday.

True π fanatics should celebrate precisely at 1:59:26 (3.14 1 59 26)
(however, that would make some folks late for the 2PM meeting).


The mathematical constant π is an irrational real number, approximately equal to 3.1415926, which is the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter in Euclidean geometry, and has many uses in mathematics, physics, and engineering. Tastes good too…..

He's not the only one excited to be celebrating Pi day - there's a website devoted to it, and Wikipedia even mentions various "pi approximation" days.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

First Woman in Space Endorses HD plan

Valentina Tereshkova

Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space, has personally endorsed HD's plan for reduction of suffering in the elderly. She's offered to lead the way to the woods by setting off for Mars, and "never return back".

MOSCOW, March 6 (Itar-Tass) - The first woman in space Valentina Tereshkova marks her jubilee and in her 70 years she dreams of flying to Mars.

She said she has only one hobby – “this is a unique and mysterious red planet, which we with Sergei Korolev (Soviet space program leader – Itar-Tass) dreamt of several decades ago.”

“I am ready to fly there and never return back,” Tereshkova told a news conference on the eve of her birthday.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

International Women's Day

Today is International Women's Day!

So if you're an International Woman, congratulations! Celebrate!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Tis a sad state of affairs

It is a sad commentary on the times we live in when a valued member of the team must be hidden - in a drawer, no less - just because we're having a few guests over.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The lion and the moon

If March is coming in like a lion, it's quite a cold one - maybe cold enough to turn that lion into stone.

It's so cold, I got sushi for lunch today, and ended up with fish sticks!

Ah, well, maybe springing the clocks forward this weekend will warm things up...

Friday, March 02, 2007

Triple Anniversary

Yesterday marked the triple anniversary of WL, NR and HD joining our merry band.

Today we shall celebrate - and it's rumored that NR will be joining us! Welcome back from your hiatus!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Natural Gas

There's the distinct odor of natural gas in the software suite today.

DL is paying us a visit.


Eclipse this Saturday!

Thanks to NT, we know that this Saturday there will be a lunar eclipse.

Hopefully we won't be clouded over, like when comet McNaught supposedly flew by.

I wonder if this has anything to do with NT's new haircut... Keep an eye on him - if he starts working on a shroud, we should intervene.