The Only True to Scale Model of our Solar System

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Our universe is an amazing place. It is an infinitely complex system. Truthfully, it is billions of infinitely complex systems called galaxies. I’m constantly amused and bewildered at people who try to explain the universe’s origin with the “Big Bang” or other theories. The universe is more complex than our human minds can comprehend, so we try to simply explain away it’s complexity tih simple terms and theories.

Today on twitter I found this interesting project a group of guys spent time in the Nevada desert building. They have created an accurately scaled version of our solar system. Their team claims it is the first and only true to scale version of our solar system. Once you see it, it really puts things into perspective. It helps you realize that our solar system is only one of hundreds of millions in the Milky Way Galaxy and that the Milky Way Galaxy is but one of billions of galaxies.

True to Scale Model of Our Solar System

Planets, Stars and Galaxies. Our Beautiful Universe.

Ever since my sixth grade science class, I’ve had a fascination with Astronomy. Although it has ebbed and flowed over time, I’ve my desire to learn more about astronomy and someday own a “monster” telescope has remained.

My parents bought my first telescope for me in 7th or 8th grade. I don’t recall exactly when, but I do remember it being during my middle school years. It was a Celestron refractor telescope very similar to this one Celestron Refractor Telescope. It was a fine entry level telescope especially for a kid.

When I married in 1998, I was pleased to discover that my wife had won a Reflector Telescope at a store drawing. It was big step up from the telescope I had as a kid. After having a few kids of our own, somewhere along the way the kids trashed the tracking gears. It was time for some upgrades. 🙂

After a bit of research and deciding on a budget, I landed on a 12″ Zhumell Dobsonian from telescopes.com. Its quite the telescope standing almost 6′ tall off.

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So why all this fascination with astronomy? If you stop for minute and clear your mind of everything you think of during your daily routine. Seriously, clear out all this distractions. Now…

Ponder that earth is 25,000 miles in diameter and its surface is more smoother than a billiard ball relative to size. Its fascinating. Planets rotate, spin around a sun on a set path, all in synchronicity without colliding. Its fascinating. In our Milky Way Galaxy scientists have discovered 500 solar systems. Our Milky Way Galaxy is said to house some 300 billion stars.  It’s fascinating.

I could go on, but pictures speak louder than words.

NASA daily photo site

Google Galaxy Search Images

I’m still completely baffled that anyone thinks that the universe as complex as it is could every have simply “occurred”. Its the most complex thing that has ever existed. Matter, planets, gravity, thermodynamics, magnetism, planets, stars, DNA, life, photosynthesis, food processing, and the list is endless. God’s design is written on everything.

New Gun Laws in Tennessee

It’s been a crazy few months where firearms are concerned. Sad stories in Colorado, Connecticut and several other places. Unfortunately, some people are using this as an opportunity to push a political agenda. The logic during these times is quite frequently baffling and concerning to me.

Here we have the supposed “best and brightest” running our country which causes me even more concern. I sometimes feel that the local convenience or grocery store manager is as qualified to run the country as our president. I know. That sounds a little ridiculous and I might be a little biased since I grew up as the son of a convenience store manager…but not just any manager. My mom managed 3 stores at a time….and worked 100 hrs a week occasionally, was robbed at gun point 3 times, nabbed several thieves, interviewed, hired and trained dozens of people, managed inventory, conducted product and revenue forecasting and she knew how to turn a profit. You get the point. My faith in our federal government leadership is lacking.

Now, I’ve recently been turned on to Joe Carr, one of our state legislators, and a law that he’s initiated. HB42. is an important piece of legislature. It helps to protect the 10th amendment and our 2nd amendment rights to possess guns. I’d love to see this become law. Good luck Joe!

Safes

I’ve recently been doing research on safes. You never know when you need to protect a few valuables. 😉 In my search, I’ve discovered there are quite a few options available. I’ve grown quite fond of all the useful information that’s available on YouTube and this in depth video on safes was a great resource.

Great Mobile and Digital Info from Mary Meeker

I’m spending some time working on mobile and digital strategy today and came across some work by Mary Meeker. After discovering Mary a few years ago at the Web 2.0 Summit, her research has become some of my favorite to read.

If you’re working in the digital space, this is some great material

Mary Meeker – Internet Trends, 05/2012

Economic Factors in the USA, USA, Inc. Presentation by Mary Meeker, July 2011

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Something Beautiful…The Milky Way Galaxy

Amazing. This video of the Milky Way Galaxy is amazing.

Milky Way Galaxy Video

How can anyone look at our universe in all its complexity and grandeur and still believe that God doesn’t exist? Chance? I think not. Clearly, there is a design to everything that exists.

Milky Way Galaxy

Sewer Children of Russia

You many or may not have heard about the sewer children of Russia. If you have, then your heart has been ripped and changed. If you haven’t, then prepare to have your heart changed forever.

In my research today, I found this article. While I’ve read about the sewer children of St. Petersburg, Russia, this article put it forward to me in even more vivid detail. I commend the writers for the word pictures they have provided. I commend the people and organizations attempting to help these children. I commend these children for fighting to survive in situations that the rest of us in the free world cannot begin to fathom.

The Sewer Children

Contrasting the Adobe/Omniture vs. Amazon/Zappos Acquisitions

First off, let me say this is not going to be some super in depth analysis that looks into financial statements, revenues shifts, profitability or details like that. I’m merely going to make some basic observations and speak to how I as an Adobe/Omniture customer feel. First, some background.

A Little Background
Our company as been an Omniture client since summer 2007. We’ve been a heavy Adobe customer since 2005 (meaning we have 20 creatives now), and before that we were a heavy Macromedia customer. We use their ColdFusion Enterprise servers…several of them since our site handles 1,000,000+ uniques a month. We use lots of Photoshop, some Illustrator, some Dreamweaver, quite a bit of After Effects, some Flex and probably some things I don’t know about.

Since adopting Omniture as our analytics platform in 2007, we’ve been gung ho pushing analytics into everthing we do. We opted for the full time analyst right out of the gate. After 3 years of sculpting, he’s a rock star. We started with Omniture’s Site Catalyst and Search Center. We’re now using Omniture’s…I mean Adobe’s Test and Target powered by Omniture as well as Omniture’s…I mean Adobe’s Discover 2 powered by Omniture. We love the tools and we’ve done some great things with them. The main reason for us moving to their platform was in preparation for the launch of our new website…which I might add went off quite successfully in November 2009…thanks to Omniture’s…now Adobe’s Tools powered by Omniture.

Here’s Where I’m Weirded Out
I may have been in a hole or something since I stay so busy, but this week I started noticing that my beloved Omniture Green is well…gone. Where did it go? I can’t find it anywhere. It’s like we’re entering fall and all the leaves are falling off the trees! It’s disappeared from my regular Omniture (now Adobe) emails. It’s disappeared from Omniture.com. It’s disappearing from the SiteCatalyst tools!

Now honestly one might think. Well, duh. They were just acquired by Adobe. Of course the branding will change. Just being candid, my day is so busy I hadn’t really thought about it much. Now that it’s taking place before me, I’m having some weird attachment emotions. What is this I’m feeling? Well, actually there’s a good answer. Several incredible marketers have written about it. You might know some of them. Seth Godin, Martin Lindstrom, Patrick Hanlon just to name a few. So it’s kind of funny to hear these guys speak for years and read their books then see what they teach actually affect your emotions about a brand you deal with all the time.

Time for a Contrast
The Adobe/Omniture merger went through in late 2009, about 10 months ago. Another big merger happened recently. Amazon and Zappos. Let’s look at where they are after 1 year…roughly the same time frame.

Zappos before Amazon Merger
Zappos before Amazon Merger
Zappos After Amazon Merger
Zappos After Amazon Merger
Omniture Before Adobe Merger
Omniture Before Adobe Merger
Omniture After Adobe Merger
Omniture After Adobe Merger

My only point is I’m basically an Omniture freak and why not. Omniture’s helped move our company forward, move our mission forward. Since 2007 when we moved to Omniture from Google Analytics, our web staff has grown from 35 to 60. Omniture helped us do that. Our revs grew…a lot. We just launched a new website that accounts for 75-80% of our company’s business all based on what Omniture helped us do. I’m a bit touchy when you go messing with one of my favorite brands, it’s colors and it’s employees.

Maybe it’s sophisticated rebranding, but it seems like a miscue when you already have the most successful web analytics brand on the market. Brands are emotional as Martin Lindstrom showed through Buyology, Patrick Hanlon covers in Primal Branding and Seth can’t stop talking about it.  You took away my green…you just gutted part of my emotional attachment to the Omniture Brand. Not a good way to finish out the first year. I know it sounds a little weird, but it’s where I’m at.

Adobe, I hope you get this right. 😉

Nashville Flood – My Sister’s Place

I merrily went into work on Monday knowing that my basement was in good shape. I had a pretty good day at work too. Then 5:17 arrived, and the proverbial pin dropped. I was informed that my sister’s place, a rental place, was caught in the wake of the Cumberland River. Why did it take so long to find out you ask? Well, that’s a good question, and one that I found myself asking.

It turns out that when she left for work that morning there was relatively little water in her yard. Keep in mind this was Monday morning. The rain stopped on Sunday. While at work and unbeknown to her, the Cumberland river was still rising. 50 ft, 51 ft, 52 ft, then finally 53 ft. While that was happening, the Opryland Hotel and Opry Mills mall were overtaken by the advancing water or ad least getting further overtaken. Unfortunately for my sister, the waters found a low spot on Briley Pkwy, and through that access to her house and 5 neighbors. At its height, the water was about 5′ deep close to her house, and fortunately she was on a 2′-3 ft foundation. The water inside her house rose to 2-3′ feet allowing her electronics and the majority of her clothing and pictures to survive.

I also came across some photos of some “unknown” yahoos that took their kayaks out into the flooded Briley Pkwy. Quite an up close and different view than than you get from the news cameras. I have the “full story” on this should anyone be interested.

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