I hate the end of the quarter.
There are a lot of fun-sounding things going on, and I can't go to any of them, because I have to finish my quarter-long-projects.
Review: Downward Dog 1x1 (US: ABC)
5 hours ago
Cheney, Wash. -To emphasize, in case you missed it, they are going to fly Kosuke Imamura (a Japanese gentleman) to Japan where he will (among other things) be introduced to Japanese culture. I'm sure he is looking forward to this exciting once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn about a distant land.
Eastern Washington University is pleased to announce that Dr. Kosuke Imamura has been selected as the 2008 Fosseen-Kusaka Distinguished Professorship Fellow by Mukogawa Women's University in Nishinomiya, Japan.
Imamura, who is an assistant professor in Eastern's College of Science, Health and Engineering, was selected from a pool of several faculty applicants at the conclusion of the fall 2007 open nomination process.
Imamura will travel to Japan in early June where he will be hosted by the Mukogawa Women's University (MWU) Informatics Department. During his one-week stay, he will be introduced to Japanese culture, deliver lectures in his academic field to MWU students and interact with his Japanese faculty colleagues.
Eastern is proud to offer this unique opportunity in association with Mukogawa Fort Wright Institute (MFWI), a branch campus of Mukogawa Women's University, as part of the ongoing partnership between Eastern Washington University and its Japanese counterparts. Eastern has worked with MFWI to foster international exchange and strengthen professional ties between our institutions since 1994.
Out there in the Milky Way galaxy there's a lot of stars. Occasionally one goes nova, rarely supernova, as they explode. There is a sphere of very active radiation leaving such stars. If one went off in our vicinity, up to twenty light years away, say, all higher forms on Earth would be sterilised, at least.Terry Pratchett, The Science Of Discworld, p258-9, abridged.
More worrying still are gamma-ray bursters. Gamma-rays are very short wavelength electromagnetic radiation, such as x-rays. When astronomers managed to develop instruments that could detect such radiation , and put them in satellites, they discovered that two or three times per day the Earth is illuminated by an intense burst of gamma-rays coming from somewhere out in space.
So far, all the gamma-ray bursters we've seen are a long, long distance away. But one could light up anywhere. If a pair of neutron stars collapsed on to each other within a hundred light years of Earth, life might survive in the deep seas and the deepest rocks, but the rest of our planet would be dead.
And we wouldn't even see it coming.
Asteroids and comets give you a bit of notice. We have the capability, given a year's run-up time, to tackle small Earth-crossing asteroids now. We can see them coming and plot their arrival. But gamma-rays are electromagnetic: they travel at the speed of light. They could be on their way now: we couldn't know. As soon as we did know, we and our technology would be dead.
It is curious that the strongest believers in the soul tend to be people who denigrate material things; yet they then turn their own philosophy on its head by insisting that when an evident process -- life -- comes to an end, there has to be a thing that continues. No. When a process stops, it's no longer 'there'. When you stop beating an egg, there isn't some pseudo-material essence-of-eggbeater that passes on to something else. You just aren't turning the handle any more.Terry Pratchett, The Science Of Discworld, p187.