The home edition of Mathematica 9 is $207 - down from $295. A very nice piece of software for those with natural science, math or engineering backgrounds - or those who wish to learn. The sale is over on December 2.
SkyTruth became famous during the BP oil disaster. They used satellite radar images to provide better estimates of the spill rate than what was coming out of BP and basically forced the government's hand to study it in more depth. This had an enormous impact on the scale of estimated damages and it was important to do the work while the spill was underway.
They are still active using imaging in defense of the environment and are very involved in fracking surveillance. A fine organization to do some volunteer work for - you can do it from your desk - and one worthy of donations. And their blog is often fascinating.
from their "about" section:
SkyTruth is a nonprofit organization using remote sensing and digital mapping to create stunning images that expose the landscape disruption and habitat degradation caused by mining, oil and gas drilling, deforestation, fishing and other human activities.
Our vision is a world where all people can see and understand the environmental consequences of human activity everywhere on Earth, and are motivated to take action to protect it.
Our mission is to motivate and empower new constituencies for environmental protection through illuminating the issues that impact our planet.
We use scientifically credible satellite images and other visual technologies to create compelling pictures that vividly illustrate environmental impacts, and provide these pictures and supporting data to environmental advocates, policy-makers, the media, and the public.
NASA does a considerable amount of aeronautical research and has a section with free ebooks. A few weeks ago I read Crash Course - describing lessons learned from remotely piloted and autonomous vehicle crashes. some fascinating bits...
(hat tip to Michael for pointing this out month's ago)
Sukie has severe glaucoma and went through a surgery in one eye. Now she has very little vision in the eye that was operated on and finds it is extremely photosensitive. She found very little advice from the eye surgeon or on the web. If you, or someone you know, has problems she offers some coping tricks:
1. Get hats and visors
2. Find the right fit-over lenses or sunglasses. For summer sun the best for me has turned out to be a plum one that cuts out 96% of the light which sounds like things would be dark out there but in sunlight it is not dark: http://www.noir-medical.com/about/evaluation.html
For bright indoor fluorescent lighting I use a polarized blue fit-over pair. It hurts (a lot) in sunlight but for fluorescents like those in many grocery stores which cause blurring glare it works great. Having the plum and the blue recently allowed me to walk to the grocery store during the day and then shop without pain, discomfort, or having my eye close and refuse to open either outside the store or inside.
3. Use task lighting. It will NOT help with things that are too reflective, but using task lighting with dim background lighting can permit a person with blinding glare problems to do things like chop veggies and undertake other tasks safely. My personal favorite for this has been Mighty Bright Vision Craft Light which also has a magnifier that allows me to mince food very finely and preform some other find tasks. I also enjoy this clip on light: Fulcrum 20010-301 Multi-Flex LED Task Light, and find small flashlights and even a headlamp to be useful.
4. Amber plastic sheets placed over clay paper can permit a person with glare problems to read glossy paged magazines, journals, or text books.
5. Cover your worse eye as needed. Use an eye patch over the eye that gets too much glare, like when you are at the dentist's office. You can also make or get sleeves to fit over the lens and side arm of your eyeglasses. If you are in a car for a long trip with the sun shining in on your bad eye fit-overs may not be sufficient and the eye may need to be covered. For that a patch can be used or a long sleeve can be placed over both the lens and the arm of the eyeglasses to block most of the light. Some places only sell flat patches for under glasses but some sell semiconvex which will not press on the eye and will allow it to open and shut but will not work under all types of eyeglasses. Standard convex patches poke out too much for under glasses so then will fold in and press on the eye.
6. Find non-reflective alternatives. For example, I can no longer use things like crimp covers when making jewelry because there is too much reflection and blinding glare so will instead put large hole beads over those areas using an oval jump ring to attach the catch, but mostly my store of reflective components will be used up slowly as minor elements when possible. For most jewelry crafting I will transition -- as finances permit -- to making jewelry with non-reflective elements such as black metal, and antiqued metals.
7. Close the bad eye for some tasks. Some shelves of toiletries are full of items in reflective opalescent plastic. For most people that is just cheerful, but with glare it is blinding and results in just a smudged field without details. Close the bad eye and you will see it better. I do this at times when crafting, too.
8. Expect some things to take much more time than before. A craft project that normally would have taken me two days instead took me two weeks because I had to do it in short bouts.
9. Rest the eye. It may sound surprising but I find that some computer games actually rest my eye well, and some also help me adjust to sometimes using only one eye. BTW, when using one eye with reduced peripheral vision it is not only essential to move your head a lot to get as much field as possible but it is good to keep a trusted companion on the bad side when in crowded areas, to consistently go around bins in stores with your bad side toward the bin to prevent collisions, to always use crosswalks since it is very hard to judge moving traffic with one eye, and to do balance exercises and tossing exercises. Oh, for the computer turn the brightness to a low enough level to reduce glare without eye strain and adjust as needed. Also, consider a program that allows some monitors to have the light go more amber at night. Apple computers and iPads read to me when I need that, and I can adjust sizes of fonts in most things. Kindle books are very good for font sizes and dimmer fields, too.
10. If using the tape to wear an eye guard for sleeping poses a problem and you are able to sleep propped up on on your back consider a cheap pair of amber visors to protect the eye during sleep instead. I like Uvex S0360X Ultra-spec 2000 Safety Eyewear. These will NOT work if you will turn your head, though, so know yourself.
11. Lace curtains, either solid or patterned reduce the harshness of window light.
12. Moisturize if the eye is also dry. I find that the Refresh Optive and Refresh Optive Advanced can be hard to find in local pharmacies so then I use Amazon which usually has at least one merchant selling one or both.
Baker's Dozen Extra: If you are like me your eye will NOT be consistent day to day or even within the same day so be patient and get used to scheduling some tasks when you can best see even if that means mincing garlic in morning for your supper cooking later. I have had to also greatly reduce my time spent with email and web searches because of the inconsistency over the space of a day.
Brian Wansink runs the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell. A social scientist who tries to understand the psychology behind eating, his book Mindless Eating is a fun read aimed at the general public. Here is his TEDx talk:
Sukie is an accomplished cook and I'm an interested amateur. You get to a point where the ingredients are very important. As a vegetarian I find fresh produce important, but also the oils and vinegars can make an enormous difference. The problem is there is an enormous choice and many of the the products aren't inexpensive. What the amateur needs is some guidance. Recommendations on the Internet don't mean very much. What we're looking for is trusted curation.
A young friend who happens to be an excellent chef told us about a great olive oil for general cooking as well as some great vinegars. One can easily find more expensive products that may have a specialized use and some of these just aren't very good. But some become staples. With these recommendations we learned about Eurogrocer.
What you get with Eurogrocer is not only prompt service and fair prices, but - and this is what we really appreciate - a curated list of products..
By the way - the olive oil is Frantonia Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It is likely what you are buying in the grocery store isn't pure olive oil - the regulation is very lax and the good stuff tends to be more expensive. This is a great general purpose oil that is the center of much of our cooking. We use a few more specialized oil, but this is the one where we panic if we drop below a couple of liters.
The white vinegar is Terre Bormane White Vinegar. Amazing stuff that you could drink straight, it has encouraged some serious experimentation. It can be very effective in vegan dishes.
If you're beyond the limits of what local groceries supply one of the best approaches is to find a curated source. That may be other cooks you trust and their sources or your own list put together by trial and error. We were lucky enough to have been pointed to an excellent curated store.
And, the icing on the cake, is the packing paper that sends the ferrets into a wild frenzy for hours:-)