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Monday, 2008 September 22, 23:45 — astronomy

Martian months

Most proposed calendars for Mars have 24 months, and various systems have been offered to name them. Here’s one more: use the names of the 24 brightest stars, in order of longitude right ascension (relative to the rotation axis of Mars), so that each star is conspicuous at night in the month named for it. ( . . more . . )

Wednesday, 2008 May 7, 21:47 — astronomy

to balance a calendar

A Martian year is 668.6 Martian days; that’s 3.4 less than 24×28. I asked myself, how should the short months be arranged for best ‘balance’? I ran all combinations and this is it:

The three big dots represent the missing days in short months; the small dot represents the sometimes-missing day in leap month; and the diamond, slightly left of center, is the center of gravity of the dots.

Then I thought, what if I were designing a calendar for a world where the number of days in a year is 5¼ off from a multiple of 12?

Friday, 2008 February 29, 12:05 — astronomy, constitution

happy leap day

If I were Pope Gregory’s advisor, I’d urge this: all months to have 30 days until the first (or last) of some month falls on a solstice or equinox; thereafter, alternate 30, 31, 30, 31, 30, 31, 30, 31, 30, 31, 30, 30¼.

Unrelated link: Questioning 7/4

Saturday, 2007 January 13, 11:08 — astronomy, drugwar, eye-candy, language

umbra Saturni

the view from Saturn’s shadow

My latest finding of “dictionary translation”, at a pet store:

ONE-STORY CAT CAVE
UNE CAVERNE À CHATS D’HISTOIRE

I’d make it caverne à chats à une étage.

Funny that I missed this three years ago — Joseph Hertzlinger has a provocative idea about drugs:

I don’t think a suggestibility drug such as marijuana should be encouraged. . . . I suspect that marijuana might be particularly dangerous from the point of view of inducing groupthink. I have not had any direct personal experience but I have noticed that it is defended as reinforcing the approved habits in the social group of the user. [examples elided] If we put that together we can see that marijuana is a conformist drug – probably because of its ability to make people suggestible. (That might explain the thoroughness of the collapse of trendy drug use in the ’80s. Once its use declined, the remaining users would start conforming to the new trend and stop.) . . . Declare that any drug whose use declines will be legalized. That will encourage drug users to keep their friends off the drug and will eliminate the “everybody does it” defense.

Wednesday, 2006 May 17, 19:22 — astronomy, mathematics

things that go round

weird orbits (cited by John Baez)

rotating infrared Titan

Thursday, 2005 November 24, 22:12 — astronomy

Plutinos, Twotinos, Cubewanos

John Baez gives (among other things) a handy summary of transneptunian objects.

Tuesday, 2005 November 15, 21:01 — astronomy

Merlyn the rocket scientist?

J R Stockton collects a lot of useful tidbits about orbital mechanics and the like.

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