Space Opera

While traveling, Jean has a pretty hard time resisting flea markets, and some years ago, we stopped at one that gave me a particular amount of trouble. I prefer to avoid them since my common sense abandons me and I end up with odd things I end up wondering “what was I thinking?”  In any case, I emerged with 2 shopping bags full of trashy science fiction from the fifties, sixties and seventies, including a bunch of Ace doubles.  Ace doubles each generally had two novellas, which were printed from both ends of the book, meeting in the middle.  So each book had two lurid covers, with each side of the book being the front, the two books being upside down relative to each other.  Am I making sense? image of ace double I’m told that in book circles, this is referred to as “tête-bêche”, from the French, “head to toe”.

In any case, it was a lovable gimmick for Ace books, and there is some wonderful stuff in these things.  So I have two of the large paper shopping bags with the string handles full of these things, and I get a funny look from some other guy who was also dragged in by his wife. “It’s my retirement plan”,  I say.

image of space operaWell, this has nothing to do with Ace doubles, but I’ve been enjoying a 1965 Jack Vance novel from the retirement collection called “Space Opera”.  It would make a funny image of Marginalia in Space Oepramovie, set in a fifties sci-fi future with a Margaret Dumont character who wants to bring opera to alien races.  Vance has a gift for inventing cultures and the attitudes that go with them, so of course nothing goes as expected.

One of the previous owners of the book used the flyleaf to  make out a budget.  Maybe I’m more interested in budgets now that I don’t have a paycheck.  It lists Lazarus, a Columbus department store that was destroyed by Federated, but is still a household name in central Ohio. The list is a weird juxtaposition of 1965 reality with a nutty alien vision.   We have expenses for all the expected categories, including church and haircuts.  But I don’t see anything for, um, trashy science fiction…


NGC 2371 aka NGC 2372 or NGC 2371-2 or whatever

Yet another weird entry in the NGC, NGC 2371-2, is a lovely bi-polar planetary nebula that got two names because it visually looks sort of like two separate objects.

NGC 2371-2; 20 x 120 luminance, RGB 10 x 120 binned 2x2.

NGC 2371-2; 20 x 120 luminance, RGB 10 x 120 binned 2×2.

Images make it clear that both objects are part of the same expanding shell of a fine planetary.  This was a really crisp clear night, in the 20’s.  I had real problems with the corrector plate  dewing up and freezing, especially on the RGB frames which were done last.  The image above is cropped.  I measured it in Photoshop to be  about 2.3 x1 arc-minutes.

MacBook Hibernation Weirdness

My new MBP (ML 10.8.2) has an unexpected morning behavior.  Instead of just popping the lid and getting started, I’m now treated to the “wake from hibernation” screen, and it takes a minute or two to get working.
Image of wake up progress bar
Apparently there’s some new power management thing going on,  so it’s time to poke around in the power management settings, if only to understand what’s going on.  You can see all your current power management settings from Terminal using “sudo pmset -g”. You will need to enter your admin password.

Here’s the pmset -g result on my MacBook Pro:
Active Profiles:
Battery Power        -1
AC Power        -1*
Currently in use:
standbydelay         4200
standby              0
womp                 1
sms                  1
hibernatefile        /var/vm/sleepimage
gpuswitch            2
halfdim              1
networkoversleep     0
disksleep            10
sleep                0 (sleep prevented by )
autopoweroffdelay    14400
hibernatemode        3
autopoweroff         1
ttyskeepawake        1
displaysleep         0
acwake               0
lidwake              1

This is all very interesting and worth reading through the man pages (“man pmset”). For my situation, I believe the issue is “autopoweroff” (the man page for pmset is silent on autopoweroff and autopoweroffdelay), which apparently sends the Mac into hibernation, after saving the contents of RAM, after the “autopoweroffdelay”.   The default autopoweroffdelay is 14400 (seconds), which is four hours.  Setting autopoweroff to 0 would turn it off, which I do not think would be desirable.  You want the system to hibernate after a reasonable interval in order to maximize battery power.  But I want more than 4 hours before hibernation, since it takes rather a long time to wake up, especially if you have a bunch of things open when the system sleeps…
open apps
I changed my autopoweroffdelay to 12 hours (43200 seconds), so the system will not be in hibernation after I wake up from my own personal slumber, which is somewhat less than 12 hours.  If the system is inactive for more than 12 hours, it will still save the contents of RAM to the hard disc, hibernate, and save battery power. The command from Terminal is “sudo pmset -a autopoweroffdelay 43200”  I tested this with shorter settings for autopoweroffdelay, and confirmed that this addresses the problem. The -a option for pmset applies the settings to both ac and battery operation; you could be more granular if you like.