Kepler Observatory Seeks More Earths and Other Beings –

I like the way that Dennis Overbye qualifies the work done by the Kepler planet searching satellite:

These are science-fiction times. Kepler is only the first step in a process that experts agree will take decades. Both NASA and the European Space Agency have laid plans for a multidecade quest — employing ever more sophisticated and expensive spacecraft — for planets and life beyond Earth. (Overbye par. 6)

I believe that we can call all times “science-fiction times,” because the cutting edge of science and technology is estranging to the lay person in the here-and-now.

On a personal note, I hope that the science fictional search for other planets encourages a real human space faring developments. I tend to agree with Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking who advocated for colonization of other planets in order to safeguard the longterm survival of humanity.

via Kepler Observatory Seeks More Earths and Other Beings –

Dish Network Is Not Off to a Good Start

As I mentioned earlier this morning, Y and I are getting satellite tv. Our Dish Network install window was from 8:00am-12:00pm today, but it is now 1:20pm without a technician having shown up yet. The installer did call me earlier, around 9:00am to say that he planned on being an hour late, because his first installation was taking longer than planned. No word from him since then. I hope that after the installation eventually takes place that we don’t have other snags or snafus with Dish Network.

Waiting on Dish Network Installer

Y and I are waiting on our friendly, neighborhood Dish Network installer to come by this morning. We decided to get Dish Network (200 channel package + Taiwan Mega Pack) so that we could watch educational programming, SyFy network, and Taiwanese TV.

The Taiwan programming is really our main concern, because Y can use that to stay on top of what’s going on back home and incorporate new developments into her dissertation.

Having Dish Network will be more costly than using our free over-the-air reception [read about that and my homebuilt antenna here], but we will be able to watch more than Dr. Oz, Criminal Minds, and Steve Wilkos with it.

I wish that I could build my own dish or perform a self-install, but Dish Network is not keen on those things. I do think that it is amazing that with such a small dish and some extra hardware that we can receive so much programming from the skies. I remember knowing folks as a kid who had the huge satellite dishes for TV, and I wished that I had a dish like that, too. I imagined that there must be so much TV zipping around that I could watch if I only had a dish and the coordinates to pick up the signals.

It is snowing outside right now, so I imagine that this will delay the installation some. We have already received a call from the installer, who sounds on the ball, but he has to finish one job before making out to our house. I will report back with the results of the installation soon.