News

April 18, 2014 - More astronomy news this week with a paper published in Science by the Kepler team. They have discovered yet another Earth-like planet inhabiting its star's "Goldilocks zone" which, although colder and darker than Earth, is still potentially hospitable to life.

April 16, 2014 - The Lyrid meteor showers will be beginning tonight and running for about a week. In any reasonably dark area with clear skies, you should be able to see up to 20 "shooting stars" per hour (the best day for this will be April 22)

April 14, 2014 - There is also going to be a lunar eclipse tonight (aka the blood moon because of its colour) tonight worth viewing. If you have stormy skies (like I do) then Griffiths Observatory is running a live stream of it here.

April 14, 2014 - A few people have been asking me about the Heartbleed Bug in the internet, so I will pass along what I have been told so far. This is a security flaw in the OpenSSL software used by many websites to secure their systems against unauthorized entry. It was discovered last week that the developers inadvertently left a flaw in the system that could allow hackers to access private information (although so far no actual evidence of this has been seen to have happened.) Currently, the Canadian banking websites, PayPal, EBay, and Amazon have all said they are unaffected. It is possible that Canada Revenue Agency, Yahoo, Facebook and some smaller online stores have been affected, but they are still working on determining what was affected. For now, people should follow the instructions of individual websites and watch their accounts for odd behaviour.

April 11, 2014 - I have already had a few requests from friends of family to switch their machines over to Linux. I don't have a lot of free time right now, but if anyone needs help with the installation let me know and I will try to find time.

April 9, 2014 - The LHCb in Switzerland has reported an interesting result to the particle physics community today - they have confirmation of a hadronic particle that doesn't fit into the standard categories. It would appear to be a bound state of at least two quarks, and two anti-quarks, which hasn't been seen before (normally it is one-and-one, or three of one kind and none of the other). The announcement can be viewed here.

April 8, 2014 - A reminder that Mars is in opposition tonight, which means it will be particularly bright and easy to view even from urban areas. It also could be worth looking at with binoculars or amateur telescopes.

April 8, 2014 - It would seem that even though up to 30% of computers are still running WindowsXP, Microsoft has opted to discontinue support for it in favor of their newer operating systems. This would be an excellent time for disgruntled users to switch their machines to Linux ;)

April 3, 2014 - We share 96.4% of our DNA with orangutans, and yet as a society we are destroying their homes for our own benefit. I am encouraging my friends and followers to participate in the Ape-ril fundraiser this year by growing big,bushy ape beards (like mine :) ) or to sponsor those who are, through the Sumatran Orangutan Society webpage, located here.

March 30, 2014 - I must apologize to the students who have been requesting tutorials from me in the last few days, but my schedule for April is now filled. I may still find some spare time, but I cannot guarantee it at this point so I am not able to promise anymore openings.

March 29, 2014 - I have been told that someone has started using one of my old and abandoned e-mail accounts for spamming. It was an account that I deleted a few years ago, but apparently someone has setup a new account using the same username. As always, if you get an e-mail that seems suspicious, do not open it.

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