Thursday, 2021 August 26, 19:02 — astronomy, mathematics

witness on Whidbey

I watched Behind the Curve (2018), a documentary about the Flat Earth movement. In the beginning, Mark Sargent says (I paraphrase), “I know the Earth is not round because I can see Seattle from here [Whidbey Island].”

If I knew the distance from the Space Needle to Sargent’s house, the altitude of that house and the altitude of the lowest part of the Space Needle visible from there, I could put an upper bound on the curvature.

Wednesday, 2013 December 4, 13:03 — calendars, history, neep-neep

do you speak my calendar?

In MacBSD, the command cal 9 1752 shows the shortening of that month in the British Empire. If I reinstall MacOS and choose Italian as its default language, will the shift show up instead in October 1582?

Thursday, 2013 May 23, 22:09 — calendars

calendar reform

Each month shall have 30 days, except within a lune spanning 157°15′57″ (5.242199 × 30°) of longitude, wherein the month shall be extended by one day which shall not affect the cycle of the week. The lune so affected shall shift westward(?) each month by its own width. The phase of the lune shall be such that, in every longitude, the northward equinox shall fall on the last day of March. (During a transition of roughly two years, each month shall have 30 days without leaps, to shift the equinox from March 21 to March 30/31.)

Saturday, 2011 May 14, 19:04 — calendars

Friday thirteen come on Friday this month

Somewhere or other I recently mentioned having heard that, because the Gregorian calendar cycle of 400 years is a multiple of 7 days, the 13th of the month is not evenly distributed and falls more often on Friday than on any other day of the week; but I had not done the math myself and did not have the numbers. Now I’ve done it but can’t remember where to post the followup!

Sunday, 2011 May 8, 13:31 — astronomy

links from spaaace

Average illumination near the Moon’s south pole, showing which crater floors never (or almost never) see sunlight. Unfortunately the text doesn’t quantify what the whitest pixel means, i.e., how much time the most-illuminated point spends in shadow.

Wobbling time exposure of Regulus and Mars, showing ‘twinkle’ in a novel way.

Monday, 2011 January 31, 02:19 — calendars

another thought that I’m never likely to have occasion to apply

If one has the luxury of designing a calendar from scratch, it might be good to put leap day at aphelion, where its angular value is least.

Tuesday, 2009 December 29, 13:04 — astronomy, fandom, mathematics

in memory

Dan Alderson once made a map of nearby stars by mounting little colored spheres on threads strung between holes in two sheets of heavy clear plastic.

It occurs to me that, taking the stars in pairs, he could use half as many threads; each would be oblique and therefore longer, but none would be twice as long as the straight threads.

Such a design would be error-prone in execution, and thread is cheap. But I think Dan would chuckle at the suggestion.

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