News, Where I’ve Been, Where I’m Headed

It’s Friday, not Monday, which means I’m going to load up part 1 of the “stuff that interests me” from the past few weeks. Since I… I missed a couple of Mondays there.

Obviously, big news in the tech world… Steve Jobs has died. Amanda Bauer’s blog brought his 2005 Stanford speech to my attention, and it’s worth a good read, if you haven’t seen it already.

The Carnival of Space is a rotating round-up of the week’s astronomy and science blogging. Shamefully, I’ve neglected linking to it in recent months, so here are episodes 217 and 218 for your perusal.

I showed you this astronomical eye-candy last week…

…and I’m going to mention it again as my favorite astronomy story of the past few weeks. This is the release of the very first images from ALMA, a radio telescope array under construction in Chile. Listen to super-awesome astronomer Alison Peck describe ALMA’s capability on NPR. Meanwhile, Sarah Scoles rounds up much of the exciting outreach material put out by the NRAO in conjunction with the image release.

Of course there is still plenty going on here on THIS planet, not the least of which is “Occupy Wall Street.” Don’t get OWS? I didn’t either at first. But it’s not hard to find out, despite the reticence of many in the media.

If you are a young person hit hard by these financial times, LifeHacker came up with a great list of things you can do to live on less, without becoming a hobo. I thought I might pick up some good tips, but it turns out that I’m already doing many of these. Being a grad student is like being in a permanent economic downturn.

I got this great link on how to overcome writer’s block from Jennifer Ouellette, whose science writing I absolutely love. It’s technically about fiction writing, but I think it’s pretty useful for non-fiction as well. Speaking of science writing, here is why writing about science is so fulfilling.

Live somewhere around Chicago? Like stars? Like camping? Want to become famous for finally discovering Bigfoot? Then you want to come join Women Thinking Free and me for Skeptics Under the Stars, also tentatively known as “Occupy the ‘Verse.” Get all the details from Elyse over at Skepchick. I am really, really excited. So excited, I included it in my semester-ly progress report for graduate school, including the Bigfoot part. (It’s truly amazing they haven’t kicked me out yet…)

As for where I’ve been and where I’m going on a more metaphorical level…

Between insomnia, having some weird flu-like bug, and preparing for and then having a nice long chat with my thesis committee about my present and future, it has been a hectic couple of weeks. The insomnia, as it turns out, is a side effect of the medicine I take to combat anxiety. The lack of sleep then causes more anxiety. Fun, right? At least the treatment for the insomnia has some benefit in terms of the amusement of others, as Tim discovered when he called me several minutes after I had taken Ambien for the night. Though I have no recollection of this, he related the conversation to me the next morning, some of which is chronicled on my Tumblr. I hope you get a chuckle out of this as well. And, YES, I now realize that turtles are reptiles and NOT amphibians.

As for the nice long chat with the thesis committee, I’m gearing up to finish my thesis project with PAPER which actually has a new website. (It’s sparse, but give us time.) As I’m finishing that, I’m gearing up for the next phase of my career. I am on the job hunt for a position that will let me do what I love best, and that is to share science with as many people as possible. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy as the 14+ hours a day I spent developing my version of the “Life Beyond Earth” course at UVa, or trying to come up with new activities for our eager elementary school students through Dark Skies, Bright Kids. I would jump at the chance to encourage an impressionable young undergrad to give radio astronomy a try, showing them the ropes of data analysis. Oh, and I like blogging about science, if you haven’t noticed. Along those lines, I’ve started some job applications that would let me exercise my educator muscles, though I’m far from pressing “send” on any of them. I’ve even come up with a Twitter hashtag to chronicle my journey, #WillAstronomForNoms, so follow along or give me encouragement or send me cookies or something like that.

That’s all for now. Captain Dreadlocks says, “ARRRR… see you soon!”

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