I just subscribed to NASA's weekly podcasts, and learned that:
sunspots were first seen by Chinese astronomers around 28 BC,
this year marks a solar minimum (which happens every 11 years) meaning no sunspots for most of the year.
In Year 12 I did a physics experiment involving working out the speed of the sun's rotation, which relies entirely on sunspot measurements. It was really cool to actually draw several pictures of the sunspots (projected onto paper via binoculars) then, through careful measurements (and way more equations than I really needed to use) coming up with an answer very close to the value calculated by real scientists. Would have been a huge anti-climax trying it this year!
I've run out of comedy podcasts to listen to, due to all the walking I've been doing, and so converted to The Science Show a few days back. And I'm loving it. Between the ages of 5 and 17, I loved so many science-y things, particularly astronomy, dinosaurs, nuclear physics and maths. Then I found religion (Antioch) and left my scientific wonder behind.
That last bit isn't actually true at all :)
Through Antioch I made a whole heap of new friends, who I spent every waking hour (i.e. 22 hours a day) with, leaving little spare time to read/listen. My life became more about people than concepts and things (which hasn't been a bad thing). Then uni almost entirely killed my interest in learning the fun parts of science, drowning me in differential equations and mathematical proofs. I happily discarded organised religion again, while keeping my friends, but now focused on finishing my assignments, getting projects done, and learning only what's relevant to my day to day work.
What I've discovered the past few weeks is that my love of science is certainly not dead, and hearing about why "intelligent design" is a load of crap, a 10th planet in our solar system (take 7), the anthropic universe, and growing tomatoes on Mars has been awesome. Along with reading (and thoroughly enjoying) Simon Singh's latest book, The Big Bang, it's great to have something in my spare time other than watching comedy DVDs. Something which actually makes my brain work!
I just realised that I hadn't posted about my specialist visit (probably because I've talked to so many people about it since) but basically the upshot of it is that I'll be getting a gastroscopy on April 5, at 2.15pm. An afternoon appointment which would be fine if I didn't have to fast for at least 8 hours beforehand. No food or water for 8 hours during the day? Hmmm...
Considering that going more than a few hours without a snack currently makes me extremely nauseous (even during the night), I'm not really looking forward to recovering from that fast. Luckily I'm on holidays as of April 1, giving me more flexibility in my sleeping, so I'm planning to stay awake as long as possible in the wee hours of April 5 and sleep most of the time until the appointment.
And then, magically, I'll know what's wrong with me :)
After my craptacular start to the day, it's ended up being awesome. Spending the afternoon with B always jumps up the fun quota, I bought some new shoes (making 3 new pairs in 6 days) and still managed to fit in my evening walk. Add to that ber-T's Bag o' songs 01 which I've been listening to over the past few weeks, and I'm super-cheerful. I'm still feeling almost constantly sick, but it seems that I've finally learned to keep on living even with nausea, the same way I learned to deal with fatigue, crappy knees and baldness.
There are some sounds which are a pleasure to wake up to at 8.30am on a day off. A light rain tinkling on the window, a favourite song, Eliza Dushku saying good morning... What did I get today? My neighbour having their driveway urgently painted. How bad could that be, you ask? What it actually sounds like is a diesel generator running a power drill running a car with no muffler! And it's been going for more than half an hour already!! For a painted FREAKING DRIVEWAY!!!
I've gone for my hour long evening walk on 5 of the last 6 nights (and 9 of the last 14), which I had imagined would have me feeling fit and hearty. It has seemed to help my mood stay on a more even keel, along with the (fool's?) gold promise of some kind of diagnosis of what the hell's wrong with me. Sadly, I still don't have a time for my gastroscoping. I have to wait till Friday just for a consultation with the specialist, and I'll hopefully get a timeframe for the actual test then. In the meantime, I continue with my tuna and rice, try to stay positive, and drag myself through my work days, exhausted despite sleeping well and having some interesting work to do right now and really enjoying my team, which will start breaking up in 3 weeks (when I start my holiday).
I got a letter a fortnight ago warning me my power would be off all day today. Not really a problem, since I had to work anyway. What makes it noteworthy (at least in my thrill-a-minute life) is that the power came back on the instant I walked through the door when I got home. I heard the trill of my answering machine powering on, and the hum of my fridge restarting, and it made me smile, knowing at least 2 good things happened to me today (the other was a work visit from my former 2IC and her new baby).