New Solar System Mnemonic Needed Soon

According to Bad Astronomy (source of the image below), the International Astronomical Union is expected to announce this week that Pluto is still a planet, along with Charon, Ceres and 2003 UB313 (sometimes called “Xena”).

Here’s my suggestion:

Many Vegans Eat Mainly Corn, Just Sitting UnderNeath Pinetrees Calling “UB313!”

OK, I took some compound-word related liberties there, but it works. See? Simple! Schoolchildren of the future, I accept your thanks.

Our New Solar System?

August 17, 2006 | Posted in: Astronomy | Comments Closed


JupiterLast night Jack came by for some astronomy. I was hoping to get a good picture of Jupiter since it won’t be visible for too much longer this year. The trees in my neighbor’s yards give me a pretty small window of opportunity but I managed to get something. Unfortunately I’m still a novice with the NexImage and the capturing software so I wasn’t able to get the moons into the image. When I turned the brightness down enough that Jupiter was not just a blazing white disk, the moons dropped out of the picture. Oh well. In any case, the image to the left is what I got after running the image through Registax. Not too bad.

After that we decided to try to hunt down M5 since it is in the same area. It took quite a bit of jumping back and forth between Starry Night, the telescope, and a pair of binoculars but we finally found it. It was kind of disappointing because of all the light pollution, but we did see it so I get to cross it off the list. 105 Messier Objects to go!

I definitely need to look into getting a light-pollution filter.

Dead Rising (so far)

I was playing Dead Rising last night and I got killed. The screen comes up and says



I didn’t want to play anymore so I picked “SAVE & QUIT”. Well, guess what. That doesn’t mean what it means in other games. In THIS game, that means “save the PROGRESS of my character, but I want to start the whole game over from the beginning”.

I am back at the beginning of the game again, but 4th level instead of first. So dumb. They should give you some kind of warning! Oh well, at least the beginning of the game will be a bit easier since I have more health and stuff.

Other than that complaint and the fact that there is only one save slot(!) I like the game a lot. It’s in my “sweet spot” challenge wise, not too easy and not too hard.

I like how you unravel the story as you go along. Also, i think the “levelling-up” mechanic is very clever: you’re a photojournalist so the way you level up is by taking awesome pictures.

Putting yourself in dangerous situation and then getting the shot gets you a lot of points. There are also “photo ops” that pop up for just a few seconds, like when 2 people are reunited etc, those are TONS of points if you catch them.

You also get points for taking pictures in certain categories, like funny, scary, erotic, etc. I hit a zombie in the face with a pie and took a picture of it, got tons of points for a funny picture – then I killed the zombie and ate the pie!

Insert Cuckoo Clock Sound Effect Here

So I was walking to work from the subway this morning when a woman turned to me and said “Excuse me?” Thinking she was going to ask directions, I stopped.

In a Caribbean accent she said, “Did you know that Black people can use a wind… I’m not Black by the way,” she said gesturing to herself. She was most definitely Black. She started over: “Did you know that Black people… you know how Spanish people can turn into a snake? Black people can use a wind,” here she made an upward spiraling tornado gesture and repeated, “use a wind to take off the roof of a house.”

I was kind of stunned for a second. She didn’t look homeless or like a crazy person. I rubbed my chin, said “Hmm!” in what I hoped was an interested way, and moved on.

Dead Rising Demo is Out

I just played the demo for Dead Rising and it is great!

It’s basically “Dawn of the Dead, the game”. As a matter of fact there is a big disclaimer at the beginning that says “This game has nothing to do with George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead.” Anyway, there’s hundreds of zombies, and you’re in a mall.

The fun part is that you can pick up just about anything and use it as a weapon. There’s lots of actual weapons lying around for you to find but tons of “improvised” weaponry as well in all the stores. You can throw CDs like shuriken, break open a jewelry case and throw the gems. Pick up a cash register and hurl it. Swing an acoustic (el-kabong!) or electric (spaaang) guitar. You can ride a skateboard or push a shopping cart. I’m sure I only scratched the surface in my time with the demo, but each weapon has a distinct animation and feel to it.

You can also try stuff on in the clothing stores which is pretty funny.

It looks like this game will be a great “sandbox” to just run around killing zombies in, but there is also a story, and the demo indicates that as the game progresses you will be unravelling the mystery behind the zombies.

Definitely getting this when it comes out next week. Braaaaains.

August 4, 2006 | Posted in: Video Games | Comments Closed