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June 26th, 2004
U of A
I was looking at University of Arizona (UA) for a possible place to get my second BA/BS degree. I was fairly surprised to see how cheap it is to live in Tucson, AZ compared to where I'm living now. I'd say I pay double for rent compared to rent in Tucson. $370 bucks a month for a 1 bedroom while it's like $800 for same thing in San Diego. I'd save myself less than $500 alone!
I did a lot of research trying to find a public state university that would accept second Bachelor's degrees, a few do, but none of them in Astronomy. That was really disappointing. But I do understand a lot of people apply to universities and colleges in California, so I bet they are swamped and overwhelmed by the numbers. San Diego State University no longer accepts second Bachelor's degrees, while CSU Fullerton, CSU Long Beach, CSU Northridge and San Jose State do not offer Astronomy major. Only CSU Northridge offers Astrophysics and I did compare this major at CSUN and at UA, I realized that UA has far more astronomy courses than CSUN and much less math, too. Just mainly astronomy and physics courses. I know that physics are very tough but if I enjoy them, maybe I'll do okay. Plus, UA has some research opportunities not found elsewhere in Cali. Maybe that'd be a plus.
UA isn't far from California so it's no big deal, and the costs of living are much cheaper, much to my surprise and glee. I look forward to that and I don't mind experiencing another location and enjoy what it offers. But I never been to Tucson, so I have no idea what it's like. Some people said it's nice while others said hate it. I can't really tell. UA looked like a really big university. They aren't opening applications to UA till this Aug. so I look forward to that and apply for Fall 2005. In meantime, I'm going to take refresher courses at community college because it had been a while since I did math. Then take the rest of heavy load math (calculus I, II, differential equations and physics courses) at UA before actually entering Astronomy major.
June 23rd, 2004
10 Stellar Facts
10 Stellar Facts for Astronomy Buffs (from MSN.com)
Astronomy holds a lifetime of fascination for observers of the heavens. Astronomer and author Jay Pasachoff shares ten stellar facts of interest to amateur astronomers and scientists alike.
1. Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune all have rings.
2. The Sun is middle-aged; it's halfway through its 10-billion-year lifetime.
3. Astronomers think that all of the normal matter in the universe makes up only about 5 percent of the contents of the universe. Dark matter is thought to make up about 25 percent, and a strange form of energy known as the cosmological constant is thought to make up the remaining 70 percent.
4. As a result of the greenhouse effect, Earth's average temperature is comfortable rather than freezing, and Venus is a horrid place, hot enough to melt lead.
5. Pulsars are dead stars that have collapsed. Some spin around in as little as 1/500 second, pretty fast for a body that contains as much mass as the Sun.
6. The Sun--as big as it seems to those of us on Earth--is actually on the small side for a star. It's a dwarf star; giants and supergiants are much larger, and neutron stars are even smaller.
7. Earth's galaxy, the Milky Way, contains about 400 billion stars. That's not all: There are hundreds of billions of other galaxies in the universe, some of which are much larger and contain many more stars than the Milky Way.
8. Wherever you are in the universe, distant clusters of galaxies seem to move away from you. The farther away they are, the faster they recede. This leads many astronomers to believe that the universe is expanding.
9. Astronomers have discovered dozens of planets orbiting stars other than the Sun. We know of many more planets outside our solar system than inside.
10. Explosions on the Sun send particles into space, creating luminous displays called auroras that can be seen from Earth.
Learn more about stars, planets, and the rest of the universe in Encarta Encyclopedia's article on Astronomy.
June 22nd, 2004
Astonishing but sad news
Today I was informed that about 8 people on the staff are resigning this summer! Not at the same time, of course, but over the period of this summer. In fact, two people are leaving next week, while the rest probably in August. It was unheard of...8 people out of 24 people working there! That's way too much...and it felt like people were abandoning ship or something
. But I'm guilty as charged...I did want to leave my current job but not right now nor anytime soon. I plan for next year's resignation and I have to put up with this as much as I can while saving as much money as I can so I can have expenses backed up by the time I start school in 2005. It's kinda sad that many people are leaving...but none of this surprised me. It's tough working for a non-profit organization where salaries are small for heavy load work, especially in California where everything's so pricey. Some of them got better job offers so it's no surprise at all...some of them are leaving California in seek of better and greener pastures. I plan on that once I finish my second Bachelors degree (if I do go on this path down the road definitely, otherwise, it's boot!) and relocate somewhere else but where, I do not know yet as long as I get to apply what I learned in school. 8 people...wow. I could see the bosses being affected by all of this and it's killing our morale actually...I couldn't focus on work today...too numb from all of the news! So, my philosophy is this...work your ass off in school and get a good paying job so you don't have to job hop that much or land a plum job that would set you for life even without a degree haha. I don't know...people are so motivated by riches or easygoing life. At first I thought materialism is the way to go...but it's not in my case. I'm more interested in seeking higher learning and knowledge so I can satisfy my curiosity about our world and universe. Unfortunately, I'm not one of those Dionysians that only live for the moment, drink, dance and be frellin' happy with so simple things. I like to be complicated. I like to analyze. I like to philosophize. I like to rant. That's who I am. I like to be non-conformist. In fact, I'm torn by yin-yangs that pull me apart in opposite directions and it amazed me that I can deal with all of this so far.
According to latest (July) issue by Astronomy
, Jupiter possesses water worlds as moons that orbit around Jupiter. One of the moons, called Europa, has the potential to substain human life because it said that it had similar properties as Earth does when it comes to atmosphere and density. It'd be interesting that one day in distant future that people would colonize that planet if they can defeat the cold, ice, and radiation. Right now people don't know how to figure out how to get around these without getting killed or having the right equipment to combat these. But it's fun to wonder and think about the infinite possibilities of colonization and overcoming the space frontier.
I'm thinking that there's almost no frontier on earth anymore. Almost all areas of Earth are touched one way or another. That's why we need to push space exploration forward and make things happen, just like the success of SpaceShipOne on recent news. I was so thrilled it worked and that it went 62 miles into space from ground up. How awesome is that? That means 500,000 feet high, way above earth atmosphere. I can't imagine how the pilot was experiencing and that it'd be fun to be a passenger in that plane. I guess I'm one of many civilians who would love to have this ride into space if the price is right. Oh man, people would've gone for that unless they're afraid of space and don't want to take risk. If so, all the better, leaving the rest of us to explore and experience this for ourselves.
June 20th, 2004
I found this information at New Scientist Mag.
and it's an interesting read. It'd be first civilian flight. That explains why the gov't is not supporting it. Let's see how it goes and if it's successful based on what they have.
Manned interplanetary travel
I always wondered if we're going to experience a first interplanetary travel in our lifetime? Or would it happen after we die? Yes, I am aware that there were unmanned flight several times already, but I mean totally human travel. Since I haven't taken physics, all I can say I understand it takes much more fuel and length to reach wherever astronauts go. I was wondering if there's alternatives to fuel or thermal propulsion system, but according to folks at Bad Astronomy forum, there wasn't. It'd be so cool if we can actually come up with something practical and risks low to travel among the planets and eventually among the stars. It'd be so cool to put Einstein's speed of light theory come true! I know humans are not yet capable of such long, arduous travel especially to Pluto and beyond, but with advanced technology and excellent health practitioners, they can come up with something. Better space suit, too, that distribute oxygen and bodily waste. I really look forward to that day when interplanetary travel becomes a reality, but if not, then I'll be satisfied knowing the day is near.
It's all the more reason why I want to pursue science so I can learn more details of what is involved. Once I take physics course, maybe I can understand better what is involved in powering a spaceship and the exact length and trajectory in numbers. People said you either love or hate physics. So I need to take it and see how much I like or dislike it before attempting to major in astronomy. Yes, I thought about studying CS but I realized that I would have more fun with astronomy and I can still work with computers or physics with astronomy degree. Talk about major career change! However, I need to brush up on math skills and see how I do as I approach Calculus course. Ack!
But I have a feeling I might like physics but I can't predict how I do or if I can stick it out. It might mean I need a lot of tutoring or chat up with teacher to understand the material, to find a niche and visions to understand things.
June 19th, 2004
Child-free by Choice
I thought I'd talk about this. While I admire women who are able to juggle children, career and marriage, I never considered myself as one of those because I don't think I'll be able to put up with such responsibilities of motherhood other than job and relationship. I feel I can manage job and relationship, but not motherhood. Yes, I know children are a joy and pride for many, which I can see the evidence of that, but I honestly do not want to have children anytime soon or ever. Maybe I'm joining the revolution of childfree people. That's why I felt it's important to meet a CF person who would forego children as well. That won't be easy, either. But I plan to do a lot of traveling in the future and wouldn't want to have children hold me down since it's not safe nor cost effective to bring them along. Some families do that, all right, if they have a lot of moola. With the way economy is today, I don't know how things would turn out and if things will improve especially with terrorist threat still hovering us. I like to fly at a moment's notice or skinny stripping in a private beach without children around. That's the freedom and independence I thrive on. I believe in personal happiness, and even children can't make me fully or truly happy no matter how great they are because happiness is a person's duty alone.
I read an article somewhere saying that our numbers are overpopulated and will eventually use up Earth's resources for food and drink and that they are suited for 2 1/2 to 4 planets, not 1 planet! Yet people have children all the time, not just Americans but other countries as well because they have no control over their reproduction plus limited freedoms such as birth control and choice to not have children. Third world countries have that problem, like Africa, Mexico, and some Southeast Asia countries. Becoming aware of those issues it only make me realize I want to make an educated choice and refrain, besides, I never was crazy about kids growing up even if I babysat some of kids in the neighborhood or relatives. I never was struck with the desire. Sure, they're fun to play but at the end of the day, they're back to their parents.
June 18th, 2004
is pretty cool. It has improved its site design and added more contents. It's gonna be one of the sites I'd visit often. Have anyone tracked its progress in the past to present? I love reading about what's new in spaceflights as well as the Mars mission and the next mission they're going to do.
June 17th, 2004
Astronomy's Special Issue
I got both Astronomy regular issue for this month and a special edition from Astronomy which focuses on cosmology. Wow. This special edition kind of blew me away with its theories of dark energy, which is pretty new to me, because I didn't keep up with anything astronomy for several years. It said that our universe is made of visible objects (galaxies, nebulae, stars, clouds, quasars, etc.), dark matter dark energy
. It also deals with a possibility of multiuniverse. I'm gonna read more articles later on since it was a lot of reading material to cover in such short time. With ever advancing technology, astronomers are able to find out what they are looking for, esp. with the original theory of Big Bang, with better clarity and scope even further reaches of our universe. It's really amazing and mind boggling to find out what's out there...but like those astronomers, I was curious about the dark matter and now the dark energy. I took a class in astronomy and really enjoyed it. I used to dream becoming an astronomer since I was a kid but never pursued it due to fear of math and physics, knowing how difficult they can be. Right now I'm typing from work...goofing off a bit. Heh.
I was hit by a quake unexpectedly last Tuesday. It's like a quiet animal sneaking upon you and startle you with a jolt of a bite. Approximately at 3:30, during a bi-weekly meeting, it just hit us right in the middle of our conversation. I didn't think of it at first...I thought it was the floor below carrying heavy objects and causing noises with some vibrations. Then it went on longer and longer, I realized immediatley that it's actually an earthquake
! It amazed me to no end because I didn't think San Diego actually experience strong earthquakes like recently. But it does get me off on my toes and realize life can be puzzling and fragile within that nanosecond. But it's fun to experience something that is only provided by Mother Nature and nothing else. But not everyone in northern parts of California felt it. Oh well.