Saturday, February 10, 2007

Uranus and the Fast Food Connection

Voyager Uranus
Last night I helped out with a middle school astronomy event presented by the Aldrich Astronomical Society - there were several indoor presentations as well as a few telescopes set up outside on a very clear (but unfortunately also very cold) night. My 30 minute presentation (given four times) was called "Exploring Space with Your Computer" and it featured various web sites, the free Stellarium planetarium program, and of course some live Orbiter demos. In addition to my traditional simulated shuttle launch and some quick orbital operations, I also set up a "name that planet" scenario as a way to get the kids more involved in my 3D tour of the planets. Some of the middle school kids were quite good at this, even identifying Uranus in a picture where its rings are quite prominent as shown here with Voyager 2 (most kids quickly shouted out "Saturn" despite the blue color).

I also figured out a possible connection between my seemingly unrelated special interests: fast food. I seldom eat fast food, but last night I was running late for the school event and stopped at McDonald's for "dinner" to go (which I know is not especially healthy but which I otherwise don't mind eating now and then). That's when it hit me what my hobbies have in common. Songwriting meeting? Recording session? McDonald's. Flying lesson? McDonald's (sometimes pizza). Astronomy school event? McDonald's. Tired of Israeli food on a business trip to Tel Aviv? McDonald's. That's really international food fatigue, a bit different.

Maybe these so-called special interests are really a subconscious way to satisfy a secret craving for fast food. Maybe I need help. Or an order of fries.

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