Sorry Spirit, you’re not returning home

astronomy, comedy

I thought this too good not to post as a comic strip…

Sorry Spirit, you’re not returning home (see the full xkcd comic strip).

You couldn’t find a better tale than that of the Mars Expedition Rover, Spirit!The rover was designed to last only three months, but it kept on going for six years. In that time it has has kept fighting the many problems it has faced; however, it is now official. It’s roving ability has come to an end. This is one challenge the could not beat.
“Spirit is still embedded in the area called ‘Troy’ on the west side of Home Plate. Energy levels for Spirit have been decreasing rapidly as winter approaches.”
See for an update from NASA JPL.

Time sure goes quickly when you’re having fun….

astronomy, comedy, random, rantings, travel

So, the end of another month approaches and the clock is ticking on my PhD. It is still very early days; nearly 4 months in – blimey. My PhD is obviously the largest thing going on in my life at the moment. I’m pleased to say it’s planning out fairly well (at least I think so :-S).

I have some great opportunities lining up. Namely that our proposal for Palomar, California has been secured and we have been allocated observing time for a couple of nights then. This should prove a great experience, not only academically, but a great life experience too. I have never been outside of Europe which may be of a great surprise to many, but family circumstance etc has made this difficult. I can’t wait for the adventures my PhD has to offer over these three years. Travelling is not the main reason why I’m doing my PhD. I love the subject of astronomy. It’s been my passion for many, many years. I have a great fascination for the Universe. Being given the chance to use these great facilities, such as the 200 inch Hale Telescope is something I could only have dreamt of doing from such a young age. I cannot thank my supervisor enough for this great opportunity. I feel very privileged. I know there is much hard work I have to do in these coming months for preparation. These opportunities are quite rare.

I’m so far working through an old dataset collected as part of a programme I will have a large collaboration with as part of my PhD, SEPPCON (Survey of Ensemble Physical Properties of Cometary Nuclei). I shall soon be moving onto another dataset before I perform photometry. There is much work to do between now and then, but I hope to present something at the RAS National Astronomy Meeting in Glasgow in April. With the visit to Palomar at the end of March/beginning of April, that sure is going to be a particularly busy month or so. It might seem as though I’m moaning about the work, but I’m really enjoying it. I really can’t wait to get proper results. This work should go towards my first paper, so quite exciting.

Home is good. Everything seems to be working out really well, despite us all being introduced to one another as complete strangers. The sad thing is that I will need to find another place to live soon. Our contract ends at the end of June, and what with student accommodation turnover I need to consider where I want to live soon. I don’t want to leave it too late. I’m considering Woolf College, but in my mind that is the ‘easy’ option. The easy option isn’t always the best option from my experience. I’d sooner live on my own full stop, settle in a place I can wholly call my own with no worries to have to move for whatever reason and I can have things more how I want them. Of course, naturally, with house-sharing you can’t have things the way you might want entirely. By sharing with other people you do give up that right. I’ve been used to it over these years; it’s not a problem or anything, but it’s simply my feeling that I’m fed up of the hassle of moving. I miss having certain things that I sacrifice to leave at home.. such as my telescopes and my keyboard. I can’t complain. I guess I feel more “at home” in my current house than I’ve felt since the start of my university career, ‘moving away’ in a sense from my hometown of Skegness.

Of course, not everything has been okilydokily‘ – it’s been part of that feeling of school days rearing it’s ugly head I have largely left behind me. Throughout life I’ve learnt there are always people who you simply cannot communicate with; that being due to a number of reasons. Don’t worry, I shan’t bore you with the ins and outs. It’s also the selfishness of some people that perhaps I shouldn’t let get to me so much sometimes, but God darn it… if we are to make an appointment, don’t cancel on me at the last minute for some abysmal excuse. I don’t wish to concern myself over these people, so I won’t.

I’m focusing on the people who matter most in my life. The people who are willing to listen to me when I’m down, and not only use me to rant to and ignore thereafter. Naturally, I have been trying to settle down in Canterbury and meet new people here, but perhaps I should really have thought more about those people who do really matter to me right here and now, rather than depressing myself sometimes over certain social ‘inadequacies’ here. My main focus is my PhD – that’s why I’m here. I’ve just felt let down by representation for postgraduates with very few events held last term to meet those of a similar mentality in a different subject area. My colleagues are great guys, just one thing I’ve always been told about a PhD is that it can be socially isolating – you just need to make the effort. I feel I have made that effort, but that certain representations for postgraduates haven’t helped. That seems to be improving now, anyhoo. 🙂

I want to try to catch up with my old Leicester buddies over the coming months. I miss you guys! Most people are so spread out around the country now, but many do remain in ‘The Shire’. I saw my good friend Karen this week, after her graduation last Friday xx. She came from The States for what is now a rare visit. We visited Britain’s Oldest Brewer in Faversham, about 10 miles away from Canterbury, as well as Canterbury Cathedral and a Roman Bath. There was little time to do anything else. A great shame! I hope to host many more friends – you are very welcome to visit and my door is open (within limits, of course! 😉 ).

I’m looking forward to a few things in the coming weeks… I cannot wait. Next weekend is the European Astrofest held in London. I have tickets to see Dr. Brian May (ex-Queen guitarist and astronomer) and Sir. Patrick Moore (once again :D). I have decided to go visit the Science Museum afterwards to see an exhibit I have been meaning to see for months but have not really got around to it since it’s opening in July; the exhibit of ‘Cosmos and Culture’. The following weekend I shall be attending a Northern lights flight. I’m sure I will have much to talk about. I plan to visit the Royal Observatory in Greenwich at some point in the coming weeks, especially as an old friend presents in the planetarium. Aside those astronomical ventures I hope to book tickets for comedy nights here; perhaps Chr
is Addison and/or Stewart Francis. I await notification with regards to ‘booking’ for tickets for Mock The Week. I don’t mean to sound all egotistical or anything, but the point really is that I actually feel as though I am settling in these parts.

Anyways, I shall end it there now. I feel as though I am descending somewhat into a rant. Best wishes to all my friends and those important people in my life in various parts of the UK and the world.

Hilarious GCSE Answers


I came across this and found this rather funny, I thought I’d share.
God help us if this is the youth of today!

These are apparently genuine answers (from 16 year olds)

Q. Name the four seasons
A. Salt, pepper, mustard and vinegar

Q. Explain one of the processes by which water can be made safe to drink
A. Flirtation makes water safe to drink because it removes large
pollutants like grit, sand, dead sheep and canoeists

Q. How is dew formed
A. The sun shines down on the leaves and makes them perspire

Q. What causes the tides in the oceans
A. The tides are a fight between the earth and the moon. All water
tends to flow towards the moon, because there is no water on the moon,
and nature abhors a vacuum. I forget where the sun joins the fight

Q. What guarantees may a mortgage company insist on
A. If you are buying a house they will insist that you are well endowed

Q. In a democratic society, how important are elections
A. Very important. Sex can only happen when a male gets an election

Q. What are steroids
A. Things for keeping carpets still on the stairs (Shoot
yourself now , there is little hope)

Q. What happens to your body as you age
A. When you get old, so do your bowels and you get intercontinental

Q. What happens to a boy when he reaches puberty
A. He says goodbye to his boyhood and looks forward to his adultery
(So true)

Q Name a major disease associated with cigarettes
A. Premature death

Q. What is artificial insemination
A. When the farmer does it to the bull instead of the cow

Q. How can you delay milk turning sour
A. Keep it in the cow (Simple, but

Q. How are the main 20 parts of the body categorised (e.g. The abdomen)
A. The body is consisted into 3 parts – the brainium, the borax and
the abdominal cavity. The brainium contains the brain, the borax
contains the heart and lungs and the abdominal cavity contains the
five bowels: A, E, I, O and U (What the

Q. What is the fibula?
A. A small lie

Q. What does ‘varicose’ mean?
A. Nearby

Q. What is the most common form of birth control
A. Most people prevent contraception by wearing a condominium (That
would work)

Q. Give the meaning of the term ‘Caesarean section’
A. The caesarean section is a district in Rome

Q. What is a seizure?
A. A Roman Emperor. (Julius Seizure, I came, I saw, I had a fit)

Q. What is a terminal illness
A. When you are sick at the airport. (Irrefutable)

Q. Give an example of a fungus. What is a characteristic feature?
A. Mushrooms. They always grow in damp places and they look like umbrellas

Q. Use the word ‘judicious’ in a sentence to show you understand its meaning
A. Hands that judicious can be soft as your face.

Q. What does the word ‘benign’ mean?
A. Benign is what you will be after you be eight

Q. What is a turbine?
A. Something an Arab or Shreik wears on his head