Thoughts

On science and cynicism

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Letter to Local TDs: Will You Support a Referendum?

I was unable to make it to March for Choice today, and someone on Twitter suggested that those of us who couldn’t make it should write to our local TDs. So I did that. All my TDs are men, so in a sense I am writing “as a man”, and I know I’m only touching on some of the complexities of abortion rights; I’ll never experience abortion in the same way a woman will, but I hope I’m helping to give some sort of voice to those who can’t speak out. But here it is, and feel free to use it yourself when writing to your local TDs. Continue reading

Blood Red Moon: Lunar Eclipse on September 28th

In the early hours of the morning of Monday, September 28th, our Moon will pass throw the shadow cast by Earth. This is known as a lunar eclipse, and this particular event will be the last in the current group of four eclipses, which have been taking place since April last year. Weather permitting, we in Ireland will be in a great position to see the eclipse from start to finish! Continue reading

‘Thoughts’ is on the Blog Awards Long-List

So Conor’s Thoughts has been long-listed for the Blog Awards Ireland 2015, in the category for Education and Science! I’m really excited by this and have to thank all my readers for your continuous encouragement in writing about science and astronomy. With your help I hope this blog can make it to the short list, but in the meantime I have some new blog posts coming up in the next while telling you all about current and future space missions and frontier physics experiments. Do you want to know how to build a starship? Or maybe you’d rather know about how teleportation will make our next generation computers even faster? Stay tuned!

Check out my shiny new graphic *smugface*

Check out my shiny new graphic *smugface*

Raspberry Pi Weather Station – Part 2

I’ve been working on a prototype for a Raspberry Pi weather station this last while and recently I made two new additions to the setup: a pressure sensor and an LCD screen.

The pressure sensor is the BMP180, which also gives a temperature reading. I used the Adafruit BMP libraries to control it (you can find the project on Github at https://github.com/adafruit/Adafruit_Python_BMP). There are plenty of guides online in getting this sensor set up, and it’s straightforward to do.

I was already using the Adafruit DHT library to use the temperature and humidity sensor and send data to Google Docs, so I just added in the imports and stuff to its Google upload script so that both the DHT and BMP stuff could be used in one file.

lcd_weather Continue reading

Blog Awards 2015

Thank you all for following my blog: it makes me really happy that so many people are interested in my passions, and I always strive to write something that I think will instill some wonder and reflection, make people think outside of the normal day-to-day matters, and most of all give people enjoyment.

Thoughts is entered in the Best Educational and Science Blog category in this years Blog Awards Ireland, so if you like my blog and enjoy my ramblings,  I would be really honoured if you could consider giving my blog a vote at www.blogawardsireland.com.

I have more posts on the way so thank you again for following and I hope you’ll enjoy what’s coming!

Raspberry Pi Weather Station

I like to play around with my Raspberry Pi and see what I can do with it. Recently I got it to stream video from a webcam and show it on the streaming website www.ustream.com: this will eventually become a home CCTV system. In the next week or two a signal generator I ordered will have arrived, and I’ll use the RPi to control it and encode Morse code onto the signal, which will then be sent to an amplifier, a filter, and finally an antenna to act as a low power QRSS radio beacon.

This week, however, I built a weather station. Continue reading

Rosetta, Philae, and the Importance of Comets

After months of silence from the Philae lander, it was today reported that the craft has finally awoken from a hibernation mode and is now transmitting data from the surface of Comet Churyumov–Gerasimenko, also known as Comet 67P. Philae travelled to the comet attached to the Rosetta orbiter, which still orbits the giant icy body. It was planned to undergo a smooth landing, which unfortunately didn’t happen: a couple of malfunctions meant that the lander ended up bouncing over the comet’s surface over the space of a few hours, before finally resting net to what is presumed to be a cliff-face. While Philae managed to send home some photos before shutting down, we still don’t know exactly where on the comet the lander is located.

The following is a piece I wrote that first appeared in TheJournal.ie in August 2014, prior to the arrival of the mission at the comet, where I talked about the Rosetta/Philae mission and the importance of comets. As Philae is now working again, it looks like the mission can continue, so I felt this is a good time to repost this one. Hope you like it!

Comet 67P as photographed by the Rosetta spacecraft.

Continue reading

The Final Approach to Pluto

In January 2006 NASA launched a spacecraft that would spend the next nine and a half years sailing through the Solar System. It’s currently travelling at over 70,000km per hour, the fastest spacecraft ever launched. In one month, on July 14, New Horizons will make its closest approach to Pluto. Continue reading

Conor’s Thoughts now on Facebook

I’ve set up a new Facebook page for this website so that those who might be more avid users of social networks can get updates of new posts that they might like.

Check out www.facebook.com/conorsthoughts and hit the ‘Like’ button!

We’ve Made History

The counting is still underway, but the results so far are clear: the Marriage Equality Referendum has passed.

There has been a very high turnout for this referendum, very possibly the highest since 1937, when the Constitution was established. The results are looking at approximately a 2:1 result in favour of Yes, with many outlets and commentators considering it a landslide result.

Today is a day Ireland can be proud.

We’ve come a long way over the last few decades and the result of this referendum affirms that change. We’ve matured as a nation, and we’ve learned to love and respect our brothers and sisters, friends and colleagues. We’ve grown to understand that while we’re all different, we are all equal. Love is love, no matter who feels that love.

We still have a way to go yet to eradicate homophobia in Ireland: every day LGBT people still experience discrimination and abuse on the basis of their sexual orientation. This is something we must continue to fight, but the referendum shows that the final nails are being firmly driven into to the coffin of a different age. That age of hate, oppression, and repression is on its way out, and we are now seeing the start of an age of love, acceptance, growth, and opportunity.

Well done, everyone. We’ve made history.

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