Tribute to Randy Pausch

This post is a tribute to Dr. Randy Pausch, a professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University, who passed away a few days ago from pancreatic cancer at age 47. He became an internet phenomenon late last year after his "Last Lecture" on achieving childhood dreams (see below) appeared on YouTube and spread virally. I had watched it a few months ago and found it extremely inspirational and moving. He had been aware of his imminent death at the time of that lecture, yet had appeared very full-of-life, passionate and positive - and infectiously so.

The finality of death is an extremely initimidating fact of life to most of us. I've no clue how I respond if I were to suddenly find myself with an expiry date with a definite upper bracket. I hope I manage to make real atleast a few of my dreams before I die... which incidentally, as with Dr. Pausch, does include being in zero gravity! :-D

Partial Solar Eclipse visible in Maldives on 1 August

A solar eclipse will occur on 1 August 2008 with quite a few cities being treated to a full eclipse.

Maldives scrapes the edges of the penumbra and hence is in for a view of a partial eclipse. However, only those islands to the north of Thaa (Kolhumadulu) Atoll will be able to see it and the northern-most atoll of Haa Alifu (Thiladhummathi North) Atoll gets the best show. The eclipse starts at 16:48 MVT and ends 17:23 MVT, with mid eclipse at 17:06 MVT. Remember that looking at the sun without the proper gear can and will damage the eyes, even during an eclipse. Sun glasses and used X-Ray paper aren't effective and should be avoided. The best way to view the eclipse (I would recommend) is to make a pinhole projector - it is cheap and easy to make and allows several people to view it at the same time. I urge Maldivian science teachers to take initiative and expose kids to the phenomena by arranging a group viewing of the event!

For those of us unable to view it and feeling left out (including me :-(), there is a planned live webcast of the view of the total eclipse from an observatory in China.

More info about the eclipse can be found at the NASA Solar Eclipses page. Find out if the eclipse is visible at your location using the interactive map tool found here.