hobby

Going back to an old standby in the cool department, we get this report from the Galaxy Zoo team:

A new class of galaxy clusters has been identified by volunteers and astronomers of the Galaxy Zoo project, together with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. These clusters are rare, and have apparently gone unnoticed before, despite their unusual linear properties. Astronomers believe the identification of these types of clusters depend on the visual inspection of large numbers of galaxies, a feat which has only recently been made possible by the Galaxy Zoo project, and this may explain why they haven’t been discovered until now. “Space is, after all, really big,” said the Galaxy Zoo scientists, “and full of really surprising things.”

Be sure to read the whole article! The original paper can be found linked from the Galaxy Zoo blog.

Baseball cards just got a whole lot cooler.

Just hold the special 3D Live card in front of a webcam and watch a three-dimensional avatar spring to life — rotate the card and the figure rotates in full perspective. The technology provided by Total Immersion also allows collectors to drop the player into simple pitching, batting and catching games using the computer keyboard. Series 1 cards will cost $2 for a 12-pack while a buck snags a fistful of five.

Be sure you click through to the website for video of this marvel. File this one in “how do they DO that?”

His crime was looking up the truth. Now you too can see our solar system in much the same way Galileo did. You even have the option to get a Galileoscope already built or as a kit to share with your kiddos. If you haven’t been outside with them recently to look at the stars, please do. Astronomy is often a child’s first introduction to real science. I’ll never forget my husband sitting down with our son when he was about three, using a paper plate to explain non-Euclidian geometry with him. Did any of it stick? Nah… But it’s the conversation that counts.

There’s probably going to be lots more really cool stuff coming out this year having to do with astronomy, since it’s the International Year of Astronomy and all. Which is pretty darned nifty in and of itself.

With the end of winter fast approaching, I thought today would be a good time to celebrate the snowflake with a gorgeous image gallery. Naturally, those are professional photots, but I’m assured that anyone can take amazing pictures of snowflakes with the right camera. If that’s a bit beyond your budget, consider this flash game instead.

Or, just head out and enjoy your snow while you still have it. I’ll be sitting here in sunny FL wishing for hot cocoa (with marshmallows) weather and missing the hours I used to spend building snowmen, sledding and ice skating.

What could be more relaxing than wiling away the time building a model ship.  How about taking it down the local pond and sailing it around with a dozen of your closest friends?

Just watch out for these people…

The MWCI is a model warship combat club. They build 1/144th scale replicas of warships, load them full of bb’s and then zip around ponds shooting at each other. They game in shallow ponds so that the ships can be retrieved, patched up, and sent back to the battle.

Sound fun? Events are held year round all over the United States. There are other model warship combat clubs, but I haven’t found anything outside of North America. Canadians might be in luck, although websites for their activities are slim.

update: The Australians are in on it, too.

Brian Koehler has a great page on the hobby, including video from past events and pictures of ship building.

(P.S. Thanks to Kevin Inscoe for reminding me about this. We went to an event years ago but lost track of the local club. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon with the family.)