Friday, January 28, 2011

World IPv6 Day: June 8, 2011

The world is running out of IPv4 Addresses like, depending on where you are and your requirements – it could be 6 to 18 months before it directly affects you. People who need one or more fixed IP addresses are already being affected.

The World IPv6 Day has been organized to flush out problems with moving to IPv6 so they can be fixed. A number of big sites like Google are enabling IPv6 for their main URL's for 24 hours.

Fortunately, about 10 years ago IPv6 was developed to replace IPv4 with vastly more addresses and improved functionality. However, the improved functionality mostly directly affects the infrastructure providers and people with non-trivial networks.

An IPv6 address comprises 128 bits, 4 times the number available for IPv4. An example of an IPv6 address is 2001:470:1:18::114 - but note that the letters a, .., f can also be used, as the numbers are hexadecimal. Most people will simply use a fully qualified domain name like,, or DNS servers (Domain Name Service servers) convert the fully qualified domain name into an actual internet address - now most of the IPv4 form, but increasingly the IPv6 form.

Unfortunately most ISP's and equipment manufacturers have been somewhat tardy in getting up to speed in IPv6. ISP's need to provide IPv6 capable DNS servers and to allocate people IPv6 prefixes (so people can construct their IPv6 addresses). If you want to know more, there is a lot of detailed information available on the Internet - use your favourite search engine.

To test your IPv6 readiness click on:

For more details see articles like:


Today, Google and major websites are joining the Internet Society to announce World IPv6 Day, a 24-hour test flight of the next generation Internet protocol on June 8, 2011.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Saturn’s hex has people spell bound

The planet Saturn has a very large hexagon shaped structure at it North pole.

Some people insist that the hexagon shaped structure is not natural, even going so far as to say it was constructed by Aliens!

However, someone made a really cool video that explains how such a structure can come about. The key is to realize that Saturn's atmosphere is immense, it is much deeper that the width of the Earth and sits on top of an even deeper liquid layer – there are no continents or mountains to complicate things. It might help if you realize that the Earth has large scale atmospheric structures, but not so obvious from space – such as the jet streams of winds over 300 Kph. Not to mention hurricanes that are very visible. Now just imagine a much bigger planet like Saturn, without the complications of land masses...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Jet Contrail Mistaken for a Secret Missile Launch!

A CBS news chopper filmed what they thought was the exhaust from a 'secret' missile launch, but it was actually the contrail of a jet. The fact that the missile was moving rather slowly seemed not to have caused them to have doubts!

I saw this mentioned first in a Bad Astronomy posting, and more in a follow-up, with a very detailed explanation complete with radar tracking data and 3d visualisation by a site that really specialises in analysing unusual contrails.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Spectacular views of a Comet Nucleus

The solid heart of comet Hartley 2, looks rather like a dog's bone, quite different to what I would have expected a comet nucleus to look like! Conspiracy 'theorists', might think it looks like some kind of weird alien spaceship masquerading as a comet.

For more useful scientific information, and for some spectacular photograph, have a look at the following web sites: one at Bad Astronomy and the other at Astronomy Picture of the Day

The photographs were taken when the EPOXI mission spacecraft came close to it. You can plainly see jets of dust and gas squirting out from the roughened ends of the comet nucleus.

The mission is not just about science and pretty pictures, if a comet was likely to ever impact the Earth, then the more we understand comets, the better we could execute a mission to save the Earth.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Design your own way to get Jupiter & win prizes!

There are a few 'pesky' rules to follow, and to succeed is decidedly non-trivial, but could be interesting for some people.

Note that the ESA is the European Space Agency - NASA is not not the only Western organization associated with Space Exploration.

Mission Analysis and Design
This yearly competition aims at advancing the automation of the trajectory design process. The competition has been taken up by the community after its first edition organized by the Advanced Concepts Team.

To organise the first international competition to find the global optimal of an interplanetary trajectory was a risky idea. We saw it, a bit romantically perhaps, as a sort of "sailing challenge", with our galaxy as the racing waters and mathematical tools as the competing boats. In keeping with this idea, we hoped each successive winner would become the host (and referee) for the next event. The competition was opened to the widest international community including industry, academia and research groups. Still it was far from certain that any of these specialists and researchers would be willing to devote their (usually scarce) free time to such a contest. As it turned out, luck was indeed on the side of those who dare, and not only seventeen different groups participated to the first contest, but the winner also accepted to carry on and organise the next event, thereby fully supporting the original vision.

See also comments on slashdot, one of which related to an existing game called Orbiter, which is a space flight simulator.

Another of the Slashdot comments says:
Also, it's a decent example of the sort of thing possible with HTML5 crap, and it's GPL, so at least it's got that going for it.

Note that Firefox 3.6 has some support HTML5, and Firefox 4 will support HTML5 even better!

Monday, October 4, 2010

UFO alert – Alien spaceship seen masquerading as a moon of Saturn!

The REAL TRUTH will be revealed, once you read the Bad Astronomers blog!

See the photo of the moon like spaceship with full afterburners!

Note how a real Astronomer reacts to this exciting discovery.

Unlike fake photos of UFOs, this is real, and so is the science involved.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Plait Tech-Tonics - Astronomer goes Entrepreneurial

With the recent bad times and consequential budget cuts, Astronomers have had to look for other sources of remuneration to supplement their incomes so that they can properly support their families...

So Bill Plait came up with a new product 'Plait Tech-Tonics', and he states that "With a slogan like "Dark energy, light taste" it can’t lose!"

So never write of Scientists as boring and lacking in Entrepreneurial spirit!