Happy Moon Day!

To celebrate Moon Day — the anniversary of the first Moon landing — this year, I made a rhombic triacontahedron with colored images of the Moon on each face. I got the image of the Moon from its Wikipedia page, and made this polyhedral image using Stella 4d, a program you can try for free right here.

A Brief Visit to the Eighth Planet, Assisted by Tonight’s Crazy Arkansas Weather

The sky bursting full of rapid and illuminated clouds, rushing bright blue against an indigo background, made me feel I was looking up at the planet Neptune, stretching from one horizon to the other. I went inside, to get my phone, to snap a picture, but, when I got back out, the eighth planet above had been replaced — by a stormy-but-normal third-planet sky. I came back inside with no images, except in memory.

(Image source: NASA / JPL / Voyager 2 / this website.)

I’m Walking on an Active Volcano at Yellowstone National Park

At the time my wife took this picture, I did not yet realize that we were walking around on an active volcano when we recently visited Yellowstone National Park. The outgassing behind me, which I had just walked through, should have clued me in, since it had a strong smell of hydrogen sulfide mixed with hydrochloric and sulfuric acids. At a gift shop, I found a book by Greg Briening called Super Volcano: The Ticking Time Bomb Beneath Yellowstone National Park. It explains the science of Yellowstone, and makes a strong case that the volcano that created Yellowstone will blow up again, possibly soon, with cataclysmic consequences worldwide.

“Spiders Aren’t Animals!” Well, Actually….

spider 240px-Kaldari_Phidippus_audax_01

Over the years, literally hundreds of people have told me that spiders are not animals. This seems to happen the majority of the times that the topic of spiders comes up in conversation.  When I reply that spiders are, in fact, animals, the usual response is “Spiders are insects!” This gives me headaches, because (1) spiders aren’t insects, and (2) insects are also animals.

Spiders happen to be my favorite animal, so this is quite confusing to me. Hopefully, this screenshot from my Google-search for “animal definition” will help spread the word that spiders are, indeed, part of the animal kingdom.


[Spider image from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phidippus_audax. Also, I added the red arrow and ellipse to the Google-screenshot, using MS-Paint.]

The Moon Unit Proposal

moon unit

I propose that 384,400 km (238,855 miles), the average distance from the Earth to the Moon, be called a “moon unit.” Example: “The mileage of my car is over one moon unit.”

The C-320 Fullerene Polyhedron

The duals of the geodesic domes are polyhedra with hexagonal and pentagonal faces. This particular one has 320 vertices, with those vertices representing carbon atoms in the molecular version of this solid. Here is C320 as a polyhedron.

C320 Dual of Geodesic Icosa

The next image shows this molecule as a ball-and-stick model.

C320 ball and stick.gif

Finally, here it is as a space-filling molecular model.

C320 space filling.gif

All three images were created with Stella 4d: Polyhedron Navigator. This is the page to visit if you want to try Stella for yourself: http://www.software3d.com/Stella.php.