Star Walk, app review

After lingering in the 19th and 20th centuries for far too long, I’ve finally entered the 21st by purchasing an iPhone. This is an amazing device, as the rest of the civilized world already knows. For me, it’s more than a new toy. It is a productivity tool which has already earned its keep in any number of ways. At the same time, there are some things on here that are just plain fascinating and one of them is the Star Walk application. It’s like having an astronomer in your shirt pocket. You fire up the application, hold the iPhone up to the sky (usually at night) and it gives a rendering of the firmament above, complete with stars, planets, satellites, and the moon. Then you tap on a particular star and up pops all the info about it. There’s also overlays of the constellations. And you get a photo of the day, something usually incredible. For the few dollars this app cost, you get an entire astronomy course delivered to your handset. I wish I had this unit during my college years; I would have aced that astronomy class.

What’s your favorite app?

Published in: on November 4, 2011 at 10:29 am  Leave a Comment  
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Antikythera Mechanism of Legos

Legos were one of my favorite toys. Getting a new Lego set was like discovering a pirate treasure, dreams became reality, of a certain scale. I remember when the “expert builder” sets became available. Now there were gears, racks and pinions, even differential mechanisms. Never did I know how far these sets could go until I discovered this video. It shows a reconstruction of the Antikythera Mechanism. You’ll remember from watching the History Channel that the device was discovered by divers off an island in Greece. It was later determined to be a tool to predict celestial events. Now you can see how it works, courtesy of a brilliant engineer and his Legos.

Amazing, no? Absolutely.┬áIt is fascinating to watch, especially from a Lego aficionado like myself. Imagine what you can teach yourself using these “toys.”

Published in: on December 13, 2010 at 10:08 am  Leave a Comment  
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