Some Fun Facts about the Moon and Sun

In a few hours, many of us will get to see a rare total eclipse of the Sun. Total eclipses are rare because a very tight alignment of the Sun, the Moon, and the Earth are necessary. Even then, the alignment is so precise, the shadow of the Moon only cross a small stripe across the planet. As the “Great American Eclipse,” this is very well branded. We have driven to just outside Knoxville, from Maryland, where we will get about a minute and half of totality, during which night will fall. On the drive, the kids and I talked

Is Sewing Engineering?

Last night, Nina spent some time working on a holiday dress for Ducky. There will be another post about this next week, but Nina hit me with a question, How is this not engineering? And I responded, “It is.” But that’s only half the story. As I post on a lot of different subjects, I usually like to make sure at least one of the tags for each post is a top-level subject and for a list, I like to use Wikipedia Outline of Academic Disciplines.1 So I figured that sewing would somehow or another fall under materials science or

Read My Response to What Parents Need to Know about Pokémon GO

There’s been a lot of talk about the Pokémon-based robberies, the Pokémon stabbing, and even a guy who quit his job to play Pokémon full time. There’s often a reaction when something new and different comes out, and we are used to it. Every generation complains the next is going to hell. Today’s edition brings a game that has swept the English-speaking world and will soon take the rest. Amanda Yates of Highya asks what parents need to know about Pokémon GO. While there’s a focus on risks, I told the story of how my children and I play the

Carme Design Alternatives

This week in the Coursera IoT Capstone Course, we had to complete a design document. However, unlike a true design document, the requirements specified a list of options for potential design, along with evaluation and selection. this makes it much closer to a design alternatives document. Anyway, I have posted the design alternatives document to the Carme Project page. Image by Justin Hamel via Wikimedia Commons.

New Balloon Project

I’ve talked about it quite a bit, and even mentioned it here, but the kids and I are planning to build a space robot. We’ve wanted to do this for several years, and have slowly gotten closer to our goal. We began by constructing the “Ground Robot” that is a simple FM beacon described in the link above. Our next goal is to do a tethered balloon flight followed by a free flying balloon flight. At the same time, I am taking the Internet of Things specialization on Coursera. I decided to make the balloon-based system my capstone project. Also,