Tag Archive for 'geekery'

Celebrating Carl Sagan Day

Carl Sagan Day Apple Pie, complete with spiral galaxy

Carl Sagan Day Apple Pie, complete with spiral galaxy

This year, in honor of Carl Sagan Day, I took the plunge and decided to make some apple pie completely from scratch. Our plan here in College Station was to celebrate Carl Sagan by watching Cosmos while drinking cosmos and eating apple pie. To begin with, I had to contemplate inventing the universe:

Contemplating inventing the universe

Contemplating inventing the universe

With the arduous task of inventing the universe completed, I could move on to the comparatively easy task of making pie crust, which was still a new and exciting experience for me. Getting the filling in order wasn’t too difficult, and Simon and Matt were kind enough to assist with the peeling and slicing of apples while I took on the crust. This first pie was really for practice (and so that we’d have something to eat right away), but it still needed adornment, so we settled on pi for the pie:

The pi pie

The pi pie

After the pi pie went into the oven, it was time for the Carl Sagan Day pie. This pie was made with Empire apples–the pi pie used Jonagold–in order to really capture all of the upstate New York goodness that should accompany any celebration of Carl Sagan. And to honor his field of astronomy, we decorated the pie with a spiral galaxy:

The spiral galaxy Carl Sagan Day pie

The spiral galaxy Carl Sagan Day pie

Both pies turned out remarkably well for a bunch of first timers. Just look at that delicious pie:

Mmm, pie

Mmm, pie

Simon, Matt, and I dug into the first pie Saturday; we had to make sure that the Carl Sagan Day pie would be acceptable! Tonight was the night our group actually celebrated Carl Sagan Day with some Cosmos, some cosmos, some Symphony of Science, and, of course, some apple pie.

Carl Sagan Day!

Carl Sagan Day!

Happy Carl Sagan Day, everyone!

College Prep 101

It’s the back-to-school season. Not the back-to-school season where little kids clog the aisles in search of a new box of Crayolas, though. No, the back-to-school season I speak of is more of a To-College season, where stores are filled with moms pushing shopping carts with two crates and a desk lamp while their teenage flip-flop-wearing child examines every piece of bedding in the store for the sacred marking “Twin XL”. Those checklists give it all away. That and the fact that they’re spending their time testing different chairs to find the most comfortable one because they fail to realize that whatever tiny room they get shoved into won’t be large enough for them to have said chair or half the crap their checklist calls for. I can understand this eluding the average recent high school graduate, but why Mom and Dad have deluded themselves into believing that their college room was twice the size it really was I don’t know.

This is funny to me partially because I was one of those checklist-toters four years ago. These days, however, I know that I have room for that chair. The question is, rather, do I have the money for it? That remains to be seen.

As I cruise the aisles of these department stores and spot the soon-to-be college kids, I find myself wondering what kind of students they’ll end up as. Sometimes it’s easy. Some people just scream Future State School Frat Boys of America. And sometimes, just sometimes, you can catch people practicing for what they clearly hope to be their future clique.

I stepped into the electronics section at Target today to check for some CD jewel cases only to overhear a gem of a comment. Two guys are standing there contemplating the shelf of hard drives and DVD burners, presumably discussing how impressively large some hard drive is when one says to the other, “They’re making ones now that have, like, tetrabytes of space.” I had to stop myself from laughing aloud because I figured that it would be a little hard to pretend that CD-R prices are that funny. But, wow, kid, you’re not going to fool any geek alive with that stuff.

It’s really too bad that I wasn’t wearing my Google shirt at the time.

English Triumphs Again!

The Gods of the Internet, Lords of the Grammar Nazis, have heard my plea. Or, you know, they got an editor to look at the follow-up to that scramjet article.

This makes [a scramjet engine] more efficient than a conventional rocket engine as it does not need to carry its own oxygen supply, meaning that a vehicle using one could potentially carry a larger payload.

I still protest to rockets and air-breathing engines being compared this way, but I guess that’s why I’m an engineer and not a journalist. (No offense, Greg 😉 )