Tech Net News 04-14-2018

Map projection of Charon
Credit: NASA/New Horizons/IAU

It’s a busy weekend in the world of Ham Radio. The ARRL Rookie roundup will be taking place from 13:00 to 18:59 local time tomorrow, and the Yuri Gagarin International Contest runs until 16:00 local on Sunday. There are also QSO parties taking place for Georgia, North Dakota, and New Mexico.

Our next Lecture and Lab will be about a really fun software-defined receiver. To participate, just bring $20.00 and any computer—even a Raspberry Pi—to the 3rd-floor community room of the Dallas Medical Center at 10:00 am on April 28th. You’ll leave with a  wealth of knowledge and a neat, metal-cased USB receiver with an adapter to connect it to a PL-259. If a USB-powered receiver isn’t your thing, the North Texas Mentorfest will be taking place in Rowlett on the same day; I hope you’ll visit one or both!

In other news:

I’m not quite sure how to describe Art Bell, W6OBB. Late night apostle of the strange? He’s become a silent key.

When pulsars were first discovered, scientists wondered if their extremely regular pulses were meant to serve as interstellar beacons. By staring at one for years, astronomers have finally caught one skipping a beat.

It’s the Year of the Bird, and you know by now that I’ll always want to share a story about my second-favorite science. We all know why birds migrate south for the winter; it’s cold up there in the North! But why do they migrate back north again? It looks like part of the reason might be to avoid tropical diseases.

And finally, it looks like Stanley Kubrick and Arthur Clarke are collaborating again on a project that’s out of this world. One of my favorite authors, Octavia Butler, is collaborating with them, as well. A number of new feature names on Pluto’s moon Charon have been officially approved by the IAU, and some of them are pretty neat.