Back from Florida where I watched the liftoff of the space shuttle Atlantis on mission STS-125 to service the Hubble Space Telescope.
I watched through binoculars, only taking a few quick pictures. We watched from the NASA causeway, and as soon as the main engines ignited, the entire shuttle disappeared in a cloud of exhaust. Then when the solid rocket boosters ignited, you could see their flame through the clouds of exhaust, and seconds latter the shuttle cleared the tower and was off. It was all over so quickly, after waiting in the hot sun for three hours. Didn't see the boosters separate, but as the shuttle moved downrange, you could still see the bright light from the main engines.
Basically, a bunch of stars orbiting a supermassive black hole. Not as glamorous a Trantor, but still pretty cool. You can see a computer simulation of the stars, and watch them as they orbit here. The movie was made from 16 years worth of data from ESO's Very Large Telescope.
Not every robot is so lucky to have a cool job. Some robots don't have the academic background, and find earth-based jobs, most in the auto industry, and some in the security field, like this one: Vigilante Robot fights drug dealers.
It's not just for geometricians anymore. This year, pi day (or 3-14, for those of you wondering what I'm talking about) is also Talk Like a Physicist Day. It's also a nice day to celebrate birthdays, like Albert Einstein, Hank Ketcham (creator of Dennis the Menace), Diane Arbus and Kirby Puckett. See the full list here.
But not any more. Now I have a new mnemonic to help remember the names of the 8 planets and three dwarf planets (Ceres, Eris and the recently demoted Pluto), courtesy of the winner of the Nation Geographic Planetary Mnemonic contest, 10 year old Maryn Smith from Montana. She came up with My Very Exciting Magic Carpet Just Sailed Under Nine Palace Elephants.