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September 14,2008 (WeekendEdition)

Whether it is the fringe effects from Hurricane Ike down South or just typical New England weather,  we have been hit with a few days of on again/off again rain.  While all of this rain is great for the garden, it does make a mess of the vehicles.

Since we don't have garage parking here at the office, everyone just parks their cars out in the open.  The weather, birds, and trees drop a lot of "stuff" on the vehicles, but we have learned to deal with it by covering them up. 

We have covers for both the Porsche Boxster and the Vespa scooter.  With covers, we tend to favor those designed to fit a specific vehicle rather than the less expensive generic covers.  The main reason is they will stay on even when it is windy out.

Our OEM Porsche cover is 8 years old and will need to be replaced before the snow starts.  We will be looking at aftermarket options this time to see if we would get more the money.  If you use a car cover and have had a good experience with it, drop us a note, we will take a look and perhaps share it with other readers of RainyDayMagazine.  If we do end up choosing the one you recommend, we'll send you something from our pile of goodies as a "Thank you!"  [Permalink] - Vehicle covers


September 13,2008 (WeekendEdition)

We have been watching Hurricane Ike's progress on the web.  One of the nicer interactive tools we've come across is this map from MSNBC.

The MSNBC map shows the past, present, and future path of Ike in a clear, easy to understand format.  User can zoom in, pan around, and get the current stats (wind speed, pressure, etc...) of the storm.

For readers interested in photos of Ike from space, we would recommend heading over to the NASA site.  They have some amazing shots of Ike taken from the Space Station[Permalink] - Ike is here


September 12,2008 (FloodFriday)

Ike is just hours away from the coast of Texas.  By tomorrow morning, Galveston may be underwater.  The weather service has been warning residents to get out of town or face "certain death."  Well, the message couldn't be any clearer than that.

However, about 10,000 residents of Galveston have decided to stay and ride out the storm.  While there is always a glimmer of hope that the storm may shift or fade at the last minute, it seems crazy to ignore a clear warning of "certain death."  We wish them luck because it is now too late to change their minds.  [Permalink] - Ike


September 11,2008 (SevenYearsLater)

Seven years is a long time, but the confusion of that day is still clear in our memory like it happened yesterday.  When we had heard a plane had flown in to one of the towers at the World Trade Center, we turned on the TV. 

We remember watching the second plane fly into the tower thinking it was instant replay of what was originally stated as an accident.  We didn't know what was going on, but it was clear it was no longer an accident.  It is now seven years later, we have forgotten some of the details of that day, but we still clearly remember the feeling of relief of makng it home from the office.  For those who were not as fortunate, we dedicate this day to remembering them.  [Permalink] - Seven Years Later


September 10,2008 (WowUsWednesday)

When we say that some of us here are physics geeks, we want RainyDayMagazinze readers to understand the full meaning of our statement.  We read books on cosmology for fun and relaxation.

All of these books were bedtime reading for our editors at one time or another over the years.  So yes, we are quite excited about the particle physics experiments beginning at CERN today.  And no, don't send us any emails about "a blackhole that will swallow up the earth."

For readers who want a quick refresher on the basics of particle physics, Wired magazine has a wonderfully tongue-in-cheek primer in their September issue.  It is not everyday the world gets a glimpse of the mind of God.  Today may be that day.  Actually, it will more likely be the latter part of October as the scientists are just firing up the puppy today.  So there is still time to read up and be ready!  [Permalink] - Particle Physics and Hyperspace


September 9,2008 (BigBangTechTuesday)

Everyone in the RainyDayScience department is eagerly awaiting the results from the Large Hadron Collider experiments tomorrow.

There have been plenty of "the sky is falling" fears and pseudo-science hand-wringing about the LHC expressed on the Net these past few weeks.  It is good to see that CERN has basically ignored these nut-jobs (in case it is not clear, we have little patience for ignorance around here) and will go ahead with their experiments.  We are looking forward to better understand the world around us.  Those out there thinking the world is going to end on Wednesday... well, you should just go have a "farewell" party.  [Permalink] - Large Hadron Collider


September 8,2008 (CGTMountMonday)

When we last left our disabled Celestron CG-5 mount, we were flummoxed as to why our bypass of the power switch did not bring the unit back to life.  Upon closer inspection, we finally understand the problem. 

There was some kind of lacquer around the contacts of the power switch.  It worked when we clamped our bypass to the solder points on the BACK of the board.

Once we confirmed that the power switch was the problem, we had a few options.  Celestron quoted us $35 for the board.  It was a fair price if we wanted to just replace the entire board.  However, this problem could be resolved just by bypassing the switch with a wire. 

What we could not confirm at this stage was whether or not the rest of the electronics were functional.  We had to reassemble the unit and test it with the controller to see.  This is a pretty well laid out mount. Getting the two boards back into the holder and reattaching everything was pretty simple. 

We all held our breath when we plugged in the AC power.  The power LED came to life and the display on the controller started scrolling text.  Yay!!! At least all the electronics appear to be working.

Now that we have confirmed that the electronics are "alive," we need to hook up a telescope to the mount to see if it will actually point to something.  According to a few readers, this mount will also accept a GPS accessory.  It might be an interesting accessory to check out at some point.  [Permalink] - Celestron mount revived


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