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Lone Star

April 14th, 2006

Frequent visitors to oklo.org will have noticed that the new posts have dried up over the past several days. I was out of town to attend the 2nd annual Mitchell Institute Symposium at Texas A&M. This is a conference that brings together speakers from a broad range of sub-disciplines in Astronomy and Physics. Ten gallon hats off to Texas! I had a great time. Warm weather, informative talks, and the Aggies all called me “Sir”. My plan for next week is to get the UCSC Banana Slugs to start up with that tradition.

As part of the conference, I was asked to give a public talk on Extrasolar Planets. It was an all-day scramble on the laptop to get all my slides together into a coherent whole, but the talk ended up being a lot of fun. The audience was highly informed and engaged. The TAMU Physics Department definitely got the word out. I was completely stunned this morning to find that I was on the the front page of the Bryan-College Station Eagle, and I was even recognized at the College Station Airport cafe while I was waiting for my flight out. Unbelievable.

Here’s a link to a quick-time movie, as well as a .pdf file with the slides that I showed during the talk. I’ve also put the sound files (you had to be there to know what I’m talking about) here, here, and here in .wav format. A future oklo post will go into much more detail about what’s being heard in these files, and how they are generated.

If you’re new to the site, here’s a bit of information. Oklo.org is the home base for the systemic collaboration, which is a public participation research project aimed at obtaining a better characterization and understanding of extrasolar planets. Everyone is invited to participate, and details and updates are given regularly in our systemic faq posts.

We have been developing both the oklo.org site, as well as the systemic console using a Mac OS-X platform. We have been testing both the site and the console using Internet Explorer, and we have gotten generally good results, but it is clear that some users are experiencing problems. We are working hard to clear these issues up. We’re astronomers by trade, and, and sadly, at the moment, it’s strictly amateur hour when it comes to website development. As an example, you should see a menu of links directly to your right. I recently saw the oklo.org site on a Windows-IE combination in which the links had been mysteriously pushed all the way down to the bottom of the page. I had to scroll all the way down to even see them.

Also, if you are a Macintosh user, run the console in Safari. There is a still a Java issue with the Firefox on OS X. Firefox should, however, work fine on both Linux and Windows machines if your Java libraries are up to date…

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