We're having a friend's daughter over for a sleepover. Two bedrooms, seven people: one kid on the couch, two on the floor. I told a monkey story (i.e., something from the Journey to the West, which is full of cool stories). Much sleepover-type poking and giggling, but they seem to be quieting down now.
So, links. We flew into Dulles; I used to fly regularly into Washington National, but haven't in years. This fellow explains why that might be a good thing. (That blog has all sorts of neat posts -- I'm still browsing.)
This mini-series looks really interesting. Don't know when I'd ever find time to watch it, though. -- Incidentally, I only just discovered that the Bhagavad-Gita is believed to be a later insertion, added at a time when Hindu elites were anxious about Buddhism, and drafted largely as a response to Buddhism and a critique of it. When I read that, I actually said "of course it is" out loud. The B-G is basically Buddhism given a half twist, and in a way that largely defangs its critique of Hinduism.
Anyway. So I was reading a while back about the Millikan oil drop experiments, which established the magnitude of the charge on a single electron back in 1910. They're pretty awesome: Millikan stared at a bunch of individual microscopic oil droplets through a microscope, tracking them for 60 days, waiting for them to suddenly change their speed or direction. Millikan later got recruited to help found Cal Tech by a guy named George Ellerby Hale, who is now pretty much entirely forgotten, but who was one of the pivotal figures of early 20th century American science. (In part because he helped create Cal Tech. A fair number of the scientists who'd build the atom bomb studied in the house that Hale built.) One biographer calls him "the patron saint of big science (and corporatized science) in America." Hale was a brilliant man who unfortunately also suffered from some form of mental illness, possibly manic-depression; in between steering American science towards greatness and managing the first generation of great US astronomers, he heard voices, had endless sleepless nights, and grappled with multiple nervous breakdowns and collapses. (No, there's no moral to this story. The poor son-of-a-gun seems to have been just bipolar, and horribly overworked.)
Speaking of astronomy, I only recently became aware of the existence of the South Atlantic Anomaly. It's no joke -- there are satellites that can't pass through that volume, because it's too dangerous. No effect at the surface of the Earth, but still: interesting. Also speaking of astronomy, this is one of the better anti-Shuttle rants. (Except it's hardly even a rant. Yes, the Shuttle really was that bad.)
Okay, this was kind of a nerdy collection. I'll try to do better next time.