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March 4, 2007

parabolic perspective

This weekend me, Twan and Skip the Evil Veterinarian went out to West Virginia to hit the slopes. On the way there, we stopped at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank, West Virginia, home of the world's largest fully steerable telescope:
National Radio Astronomy Observatory
I was disappointed that the visitor center wasn't directly adjacent to this gigantic miracle of science. They do offer bus tours that go near the thing, however:
Visitor Center
Much of the visitor center was a fine example of pork barrel spending, the interpretive displays never really telling us what the telescope was for. We had fun with the displays though. Do these mirrors make us look fat?
Fun House Mirrors
But I guess the telescope was built to study the Sun, planets and other objects in our own solar system, as well as distant stars, galaxies, and other mysterious objects many millions, or even billions of light-years away.

Twan managed to find a 'crystal radio' at the visitor center gift shop, with which he hoped to turn on, tune in, and drop out.
Crystal Radio
I'm going to use this pic on my BigMuscleBears profile as an alternative to the typical cheesy bathroom mirror shot:
2000 Points of Light
Help me. The aliens' parabolic mirror is burning my hand:
parabola burn
Oh yeah, and we went skiing and snowboarding too. There are no pictures of this because I didn't want to smash my camera in the many wipeouts I performed, or take it out in the wet snow or blizzard.

The conditions were not the best as it had rained in the mountains just as it had in DC on Thursday, so the slopes were icy and the powder grainy. But I didn't know how badly I needed to get out of town until I was away, as usual. I need to remember this. Twan did very well for his first time snowboarding, and Skip the Evil Veterinarian enjoyed his much-needed ski time. I went night 'boarding under a full moon on Friday when the conditions were the best, but Saturday found me pretty tired and the snow was crappy, slushy or icy. The core-body exercise will certainly help me with the upcoming rugby practices, however. Today there was a full-blown blizzard on top of the mountain, but I was sore all over and ready to get back home. My butt still hurts from falling, and not in a good way. But it was a great escape from the city and I enjoyed the perspective of being away for a while.

Posted by jimbo at March 4, 2007 8:18 PM


"pork barrel spending" ahhh yes WV has Senator Byrd to thank for that... many times over

Posted by: Bob at March 5, 2007 11:31 AM

My favorite movie is Contact....so I am drooling.

Posted by: A-Ron at March 5, 2007 11:45 AM

You don't look too happy about being so far from the dish...

Posted by: Jeem at March 5, 2007 2:00 PM

Why, Jimbo, I had no idea you were Claire's mom!

Posted by: Justin Cognito at March 5, 2007 2:58 PM

and as I read this, I sit in one of the many computer laps of Indiana University (Southeast). hehe

Posted by: Chad at March 6, 2007 12:26 PM

You looked like you were moping in the picture and... owait, you were! *tickle tickle*

Posted by: Robert at March 7, 2007 4:11 PM

I had no idea Greenbank had an offical visitor center. I've been through GB several times during travels between Greebrier County, WV & DC.

Posted by: Roger at March 7, 2007 5:02 PM

Jim - we should sit on each other's laps and rub 'Indiana's.

Posted by: Mike at March 11, 2007 4:54 AM