Thursday, 28 August 2014

Random Thread: August 2014

Last August, the Curiosity Mars rover looked up into the sun and watched Mars’s moon Phobos cross its surface. Technically, the event was a transit rather than an eclipse, because Phobos is too small to blot out the sun the way Earth’s moon can. Whatever you call it, a year later we still think it’s staggering to see pictures like that from another world. Hail curiosity, and Curiosity!

Users’ Manual: Obey The Rules. Consult The Guide. Have fun!

Welcome, Neophytes!

If you’re new on the blog, please stop by this thread and say pie — er hi.

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The Hare and Hedgepig, v. V

As a Courtesy to Your Fellow Patrons,
Please Leave All Electronic Devices and Projectile Pastries with Our Pie Check Department
Formal Dress Required
Continued from Vol. IV.
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Best of the Blog

Use the comments here to swap tips about outstanding, little known, and/or underutilized parts of MuseBlog. (In four years, we’ve accumulated an amazing number of chasms, subterranean passages, sunken cities, and fossiliferous formations.) Be sure to include the URL (Web address) so others can share your finds.

Warm Fuzzies, v.2014

Continued from the original thread:

When you need a boost, stop by here and your fellow MBers will remind you why you’re wonderful (which, in case you’re doubtful, you are).

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Dispatches from Collegeland, 2014

Back to school, which for ever more of you now means higher education. How goes it?


Kokonilly’s Weekend de Luxe

Kokonilly sent us a fleet of photos from Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, so we decided to move them to their own thread.
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Tom Swifties

As Wikipedia explains it, “A Tom Swifty (or Tom Swiftie) is a phrase in which a quoted sentence is linked by a pun to the manner in which it is attributed.” It was named after the Tom Swift book series which began in 1910.

A few examples may be the best way to explain the format:

  • “It’s freezing”, Tom muttered icily.
  • “I might as well be dead,” Tom croaked.
  • “I don’t have any more flowers,” Tom said lackadaisically.
  • “Pass me the shellfish,” said Tom crabbily.

“Let’s see some more Tom Swifties!” Piggy promptly exclaimed.


Yoohoo, Armada!

If you’re out there, we haven’t forgotten that you share a birthday with MuseBlog. Happy 19th, old-timer!

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Happy Ninth Birthday, MuseBlog!

Nine years — how is that possible? We are uncharacteristically speechless. Say something, somebody!

Style, Fashion, and Costume, v. 2014

Continued from v. 2012.


Geeky TV Shows, v. 2014

Continued from v. 2013.


Random Thread: July 2014

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Random Thread: June 2014

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National Spelling Bee 2014

It’s Bee Week! Tomorrow in Washington D.C. begins the 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee, with 281 spellers competing over three days for the title of National Champion. In years past the blog has proudly rooted for our very own Andrew, emmatheduck, and speller73 (2008 was a real nail-biter). Are there any bloggers competing this year? Will the Society for Simplified Spelling be protesting again?


Round One (Computer-Based Test): Tuesday, May 27

Round Two: Wednesday, May 28, 8:00 – 11:45 a.m.

Round Three: Wednesday, May 28 1:15 – 4:45 p.m.


Wednesday, May 28, 7:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Thursday, May 29, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Championship Finals

Thursday, May 29 8:00 – 10:00 p.m.


Good luck to all spellers!



Books and Reading, v. 2014

Continued from v. 2013.



So, how many of you are about to finish school this year — either secondary school or university? Congratulations to all of you, regardless!


Random Thread: May 2014

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Gaping ChildrenDigital Egg

Egg EmergesBunny Egg Hatching


From the “Digimon Adventure Movie.”



Lizzie Wade Sighting!

Lizzie Wade and Robert

Robert writes:

Last week, my co-worker (and successor as Muse‘s Q&A columnist) Lizzie Wade came to Science headquarters in Washington, D.C., for a big staff meeting. Lizzie is our Latin America correspondent, based in Mexico City, and doesn’t visit us nearly enough. Here we are in the hall outside a conference room. Yes, she really is as much fun as she looks.


Happy 450th Birthday, William Shakespeare!

Don Pedro. Your silence most offends me, and to be merry best becomes you, for out o’ question you were born in a merry hour.

Beatrice. No, sure, my lord, my mother cried, but then there was a star danced, and under that was I born. — Cousins, God give you joy!

Much Ado About Nothing

Also (and actually) born today: Optimatum and Rós þyrnir. Joy to all!

World Domination 102

You can’t stay in WD 101 forever.

More tips and moral support for getting in, getting ahead, or just staying in the game.


MuseBlog and the HeartBleed Bug

Our Web provider, Dreamhost, says we’re okay:

As soon as we learned of the “Heartbleed” OpenSSL vulnerability, we began to patch any and all systems that it may have affected. Fortunately this was a very small subset of our systems and was mostly isolated to a small group of mail machines. As of early yesterday, all of our systems are patched. As a preventative measure, we are also re-keying the certificates on any systems with that bug. We have no reason to believe that any of those machines have been compromised, but in the interest of proactive security, we feel that changing SSL certificates is the best option. was not vulnerable, but the machines that redirected traffic to our actual site were. This was corrected quickly and those machines will also have their certificates re-keyed.

We can confidently say that our shared servers, VPS guests, and dedicated machines are NOT vulnerable to this issue because they run Debian “Lenny” and/or “Squeeze”. The most common version of OpenSSL on our network is 0.9.8o-4squeeze14, and the “HeartBleed” vulnerability in OpenSSL’s heartbeat module exists in versions 1.0.1 and 1.0.2-beta.

Attention, Everybuggy!

Not quite Muse news, but close:

Cricket magazine is having a sort of homecoming for grownup readers. Here are the details, snatched from an email announcement from the publisher:

Remember when you got your first Cricket? Or maybe you rushed to the mailbox for your issues of Ladybug or Spider.

Whichever magazine you loved, we want to hear from you! Tweet: My favorite @CricketMag memory is…#celebratecricket or post it on our facebook page and you may receive a copy of Cricket’s 30th anniversary commemorative book. This delightful treasury of exceptional stories and poems, great art, and reminiscences is illustrated throughout in black and white and contains 20 pages of color reproductions of Cricket cover art.

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Pollyhymnia Sighting!

Robert writes:

Polly Shulman came down from New York yesterday for the retirement party of our friend and frequent editee, the renowned geoscience writer Richard Kerr. Here’s a picture of Polly, Dick, and me in Dick’s strangely bare and reverberant office.

Polly, Dick, and Robert

Polly was her usual ebullient self. Her latest book in the Grimm Legacy series has just gone off to her editor, and she’s pondering new projects — maybe something a little different. More news as it becomes available…


April 2014 Random Thread

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Happy Spring*!

The vernal equinox is occurring right…now! Is everybody ready?

*Or autumn, if you live in the Southern Hemisphere, of course.

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Prime Web Real Estate up for Grabs!

Robert speaketh:

Attention, all cephalo-fans! The domain name, which I’ve owned for a few years but never used, has just expired. I bought it for Squidblog but wound up using instead. So if you’d like it for your very own, any domain registrar will be happy to turn it over to you for $10 to $20 a year.

Speaking of which, April Fools’ Day is coming up. I haven’t had time to cook up anything for MuseBlog this year, so I’m planning to rev up SquidBlog again unless some of you newly empowered Authors can hatch something else between now and then.

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