The new Star Wars is Already Full of Fail

🔖 other 

I was waiting in line at the supermarket this morning when I came across this cover of the June 2015 Vanity Fair:

2015-05-22-the-new-star-wars-is-already-full-of-fail.markdown

Immediately something struck me as very, very wrong.

I know we all hope the new Star Wars will be good and make up for the complete travesty of episodes I, II and III. But I’m going to make a quick and uninformed judgment based solely on this magazine cover and say: no, no it won’t.

Read more...

Upgrading Wheezy to Jessie: Nginx and PHP5-fpm

🔖 code 
I just upgraded this VPS from Debian Wheezy to Jessie. The upgrade went pretty flawless, excpet some minor issues with postgres and the new bad systemd smell. However, if you are running NGINX + PHP5-fpm, you may want to read the news that gets displayed during the upgrade: nginx shipped a modified `fastcgi_params`, which declared `SCRIPT_FILENAME` fastcgi_param. This line has now been removed. From now on we are also shipping fastcgi. Read more...

100 Observations Logged on AstroChallenge!

🔖 featured  astrochallenge  astronomy  code 
I created AstroChallenge to scratch my own itch: to have a place to keep an observation journal for astronomy and to share it with the rest of the community. In that I believe I’ve succeeded, check out my profile and journal. Since then the word has gotten out and other astronomers have been logging their own observations. Now, only 2 weeks after making AstroChallenge public, over 100 observations have been logged! Read more...

Feynman on "Computer Disease"

🔖 other 
The following is a excerpt from the book I am currently reading by Richard Feynman, Surely You Must be Joking, Mr. Feynman! that I found amusing. Well, Mr. Frankel, who started this program, began to suffer from the computer disease that anybody who works with computers now knows about. It’s a very serious disease and it interferes completely with the work. The trouble with computers is you play with them. Read more...

Reviving fchart to Create Beautiful Astronomical Finder Charts

🔖 astronomy  code  astrochallenge 

I’ve spent a good deal of time in the last few days searching for a good library to draw star charts (finder charts) that I could use to integrate with AstroChallenge. While there are plenty of utilities to create star maps, they mostly consist of desktop software or websites that are not open source.

2015-02-25-creating-finder-charts-for-astronomy-using-fchart.markdown

Eventually I found fchart which resembled was I was looking for. A set of python scripts with minimal dependencies that would output star maps! This I could use.

Read more...

GraniteMaps: Soquel Demonstaion Forest/Nisene Marks released!

🔖 granitemaps  code  cartography 
After much ado, the latest map from GraniteMaps is now available. This map covers 2 distinct areas; The first is Soquel Demonstration Forest, well known in the mountain biking community as having miles of challenging, technical singletrack. The other is the Forest of Nisene Marks which shares a ridge with Demo and provides trail users of all types some of the most pristine redwood forest trails available in California. This new map is much improved over the last version for Santa Cruz by having a brand new base layer. Read more...

Using Django and PyEphem to Determine the Location of White Fuzzies

🔖 AstroChallenge  astronomy  code 

I’ve been working on new project recently called AstroChallenge. While the details of what exactly AstroChallenge is will have to come later, rest assured, it has to do with Astronomy.

2015-02-19-using-pyephem-to-determine-the-location-of-white-fuzzies.markdown

One of the bits of information I’m interested in is whether a particular celestial object is visible in the sky or not. Given an observer’s latitude, longitude and elevation and an object’s right ascension and declination it becomes a straightforward calculation.

Read more...

How Greece Came to Belong to the Greeks

🔖 greece 

I met Amalia at the Thessaloniki Pythess (Python) meetup (at which I gave one awkward english presentation) which had migrated to a lounge under the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki. I thought the museum looked pretty cool, so I decided I would go the next day. I propositioned the group to see if anyone else was interested in joining me, Amalia was the only one brave enough to to say so.

2015-01-23-how-greece-came-to-belong-to-the-greeks.markdown

We spent a few good hours at the museum and various other historical points of interest around the city. While walking down some buzzing, narrow street Amalia told me a great story about how it is that Greeks came to find themselves in Greece:

Read more...

An unexpected visit to Istanbul

🔖 Greece 

Here I am in Istanbul (not Constantinople) the city on the Bosporus, the ribbon of land separating Europe from Asia and the Black sea from the Sea of Marmara and thus the Aegean to the East. As my plane glided downward and spiraled towards the glittering city I thought about the Golden Fleece and if it had seen a similar view on it’s journey from Greece to Turkey 3 thousand years ago.

2015-01-18-an-unexpected-visit-to-istanbul.markdown

Read more...

Creating nice looking topo maps for use in GraniteMaps

🔖 cartography  code  granitemaps 

The goal of GraniteMaps is to provide accurate and educational maps for people participating in outdoor activities, so a large part of the project is creating maps that are pleasing to the eye.

The map displayed in granitemaps is actually two layers: the “base map” and the trail layer. The base map is is responsible for displaying the details of the map’s area such as land boundaries, rivers/lakes, major roads and elevation. The trail layer is an overlay of the actual trails and points of interest.

Read more...