Greetings and Salutations to anybody still within earshot of this rusty bucket. I wish you a fine Talk Like a Pirate Day, and perhaps even a free doughnut from Krispy Kreme (or so I've heard).
I just re-read my posting from one year ago today, and I'm afraid that nothing has changed. Arrgh! The server is still dead in the water. The executables I have are not even recognized as being in the right format. The database server is still running, and has switched over to mariadb, so we have "memory" of what went before us, (and I fixed a nasty problem that was bogging down the whole machine periodically), but no way forward. I truly did intend to upgrade the software, but I also truly got swamped with so much else to do that it never got done. And it may be that way for a while.
My position at USMA was originally for one year, but they asked me back for another, and I'm greatly enjoying it. Last year I taught introductory classes, and very few of the students were science majors, it was simply one of their many requirements. This year I have a smaller crew of physics majors who are learning Classical Mechanics, which is a beautiful subject that I am enjoying sharing.
I've also gotten myself involved with something else I think is really neat, and some of this crew may think highly of it as well. NASA has given a grant to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City for development of the next generation of software for planetariums. AMNH is collaborating with a very good group of computer graphics experts in Sweden, and the work is already bearing fruit. The software is called OpenSpace, and as the name suggests it will be open source, and in fact it will run on your PC not just some fancy cluster of projectors in a big planetarium. The main project site has opened recently at http://OpenSpaceProject.com and we also have a new page on Facebook, at https://www.facebook.com/OpenSpaceVisualization/. One of the simplest examples of the software in action is this introduction video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDe1yMe38xA. OpenSpace was also used this past summer to model the fly-by of Pluto made by New Horizons, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bc8sGiFtYOI -- you can see the 14 hour wizz past Pluto compressed into about 14 minutes. OpenSpace will also be used to show the recently launched OSIRIS-Rex mission to bring back a part of asteroid Bennu. My involvement in this is small, but as you can see, it's a very neat project.
If anybody is interested in learning more about it and perhaps using the software, and you are proximate to New York, we are holding a "buildathon" at the end of October. Two teams will do their best to model the Cassini and Messenger missions (to Saturn and Mercury, respectively), and the winner gets to go first on the big dome of the Hayden Planetarium. Details are at https://openspacenyc.splashthat.com/. (If anybody is actually reading this, please spread the word.)
So as you can see, just like last year, I've been way too busy to get this rusty bucket back underway. Maybe some day, maybe not, but at least the forums seem to still be working (but must really seem crappy now that Einstein@Home has been upgraded, eh?).
Arrgh, my greetings to ye all on Talk Like a Pirate Day, but that's about all you'll get here, yet again.
-- Eric Myers
"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." -- William Butler Yeats