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Quick Hits

My mind is going in too many directions at once.  So that means Quick Hits time again!


First off, as I said on Twitter, Condolen-gratulations to Vix on being laid off.  She’s choosing to view this as an opportunity, which is really the best possible way to take it.  But it’s still hard.

For those of you keeping score at home, this is by my count the third member of my blogroll to lose a job in the last six months – the second in, what, a week?  And one more was sweating the same just a couple of months back?  Fuck that noise.  It pisses me the hell off when my rosy view of a just and balanced universe gets shit on by shitty things happening to my favorite people.

Wait, I’m being handed a bulletin…oh yeah.  Even I’m not safe as long as this economic swandive continues.  We’ll wait to see what happens with the university’s budget over the next couple of months.  Back to you, Bob.


In other bad news, Teddy Pendergrass passed away yesterday.  I’ve used this as a Monday Music before because it is ridiculously awesome, and to honor his memory, I’m linking to it again:

“Love TKO”

That’s one of my favorite slow-grooves of all time.  Rest in peace, Teddy.


I saw this linked yesterday on Slate, and just reading it was awesome.  I can’t imagine how awesome it would (will, hopefully) be to actually act it out, to put everything to scale.

It’s an illustration of the scale of our solar system, written in 1989 by Guy Ottewell and posted on the web site of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory.  It’s called “The Thousand-Yard Model, or, the Earth as a Peppercorn.”

You should definitely click on the link, but here, I’ll sum it up for you.

If the Earth is the size of a peppercorn…

  • The sun is the size of a bowling ball
  • The moon, Mercury, Mars, and Pluto are all roughly the size of a pinhead
  • Jupiter is the size of a chestnut

Keeping distances in scale with those sizes…

  • The pinhead-sized moon, the farthest distance man has ever traveled, is 2.4 inches from the peppercorn Earth.
  • The bowling-ball sun is 24 yards away from Earth.
  • The nearest planet to Earth, Venus (also the size of a peppercorn) is 7 yards away.
  • The distance from Mars to Earth is 14 yards.  From Mars to Jupiter?  95 yards.
  • Distance from the Sun to Pluto?  A little over 1,000 yards. Over half a mile.

From pinhead Pluto, there would be nothing but a few other pinheads, acorns, peanuts, etc. back to the bowling-ball sun – which, from this distance, can’t be seen even with binoculars.  Nothing but empty space.  And that’s assuming all the planets are in a line, in a single horizontal plane, and on the same side of the sun in their orbits – which they aren’t.

Mind blown yet?  How about this – at the same scale, if you put the sun in Cleveland, the nearest star to it is roughly in Anchorage, Alaska. Four thousand miles in that scale.

I really really want to actually carry this experiment out sometime.


Speaking of things I really really want, ZOMG NOM NOM NOM the 2010 Ducati Desmosedici GP bike!  (Click to view full size)

Somebody bring the mop, it’s Droolopolis over here!!


Boy is off of school for the next three days.  You know, because they just got back from their Christmas break a week and a half ago and they needed a rest.

Wish I was home with ‘im.


OK, that’s it for today’s edition.  Nobody else get pink-slipped this year, okay?

I’m TB.  Stay classy, interwebz.


4 Responses

  1. TB, You HAVE TO go to the Museum of Natural History in NYC. The Universe exhibit is phenomenal, and relates the size of things in the universe to these models along the walkway. Mind blowing.

    There’s a planetarium on campus that relates the size of the solar system – just not the scale of the distances between. That was just damned cool.

    I need to get back to the Smithsonians, too. I don’t think I’ve set foot inside one in a good solid 20 years or more – and Boy is about old enough to go now (and soon he’ll be TOO old!).

  2. Heh. Bill has been looking at the new 929. Did I tell ya he’d view that entry an opportunity to bike shop???

    You mean the 1000 Fireblade? Nice bikes, definitely. I think my next bike is likely to be a Yamahammer. FZ1 most likely.

  3. I am having a hard time imagining that experiment in my head. What can I say, I need pictures. 😉

    Anyway, sorry I haven’t been commenting. I’ve been checking in here everyday, but I guess I went mute for awhile or something. 😉

    No offense taken. I’ve been trying to cut BACK on my commenting a bit to keep from being “that damn guy who has to say something about EVERYthing.”

  4. There is a lot of pressure on everyone to continue making money for these companies even in these tough econimic times…the way to do that s to cut labor and increase the work la on those still working. This will give low level emplyees a good opprtunity to prove themselves…and make the jump up the ladder…only to get cut in the next downturn in the economy. It is how things work, huh?

    It is. I just wish it could be otherwise.

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