Playing catch-up

So, apologies for taking so long between posts. For now, I’ll blame twitter and its ADD version of blogging, because that at least lets me point to an interesting meeting that went on last week: the .Astronomy Conference on Networked Astronomy and the New Media. the conference brought together several related strands of astronomical computing, from the grid (the Virtual Observatory), to “citizen astronomy” (Galaxy Zoo, which is apparently being upgraded to “Universe Zoo”, Google Sky, and blogs and podcasts), to hacks and mashups built on top of current bits of distributed infrastructure, not to mention twitter itself. (Connectivity is terrible here, but much of the material from the conference is available from the conference site.)

Unfortunately, I spent that time in a meeting room doing my part on STFC committees to keep the UK physics funding process moving along as well as possible during these still-troubled times.

Now, I’m in the Macedonian Greek city of Thessalonika, lucky enough to have been invited to give a talk at From the Antikythera Mechanism to Herschel and Planck: 2500 Years of Observational Astronomy, organized by one of Imperial’s postdocs. I won’t let it go to my head, but it’s nice being treated as someone vaguely important: lunch with the vice-mayor, nice hotel, and amusing Thessaloniki swag to cart home (although when Ute Lemper came to sing she had lunch with the Mayor himself…). My talk is this evening, but the rain outside is precluding much local exploration, but at least I have some time to finish my talk (and write this).

For me, home for about 12 hours tomorrow night, and then off to a Planck meeting in Rome and then Palermo.

Finally let me also welcome Peter Coles to the astro blogosphere. His current prolixity is putting me to shame.