Pierre and his Poor Pathetic Page
(Vers version francaise)
Map of this section:
Cutting the space budget really restores my faith in humanity. It
eliminates dreams, goals, and ideals and lets us get straight to the
business of hate, debauchery, and self-annihilation.
-- Johnny Hart
Where is the Pluto probe today?
This site presents a graphic showing where the
New Horizons probe is at this time.
It was launched by NASA on January 19th, 2006,
and is expected to reach Pluto in July 2015.
August 21, 2011
This page from the Astronomy Picture of the Day web site
shows a photograph of a mouthwatering space hamburger,
which is named Gomez's Hamburger.
(This would make a great restaurant name, by the way.)
August 10, 2002
Changing the Earth's orbit
Some astronomers are proposing that we push the Earth away
from the Sun some day, so as to compensate for the increasing
heat that will be emitted by our star during the next
The proposed technique would use the gravitation of a
100 kilometer asteroid.
It would allow us to move other planets, like Mars, into
a position more favorable to the development of life.
February 5, 2001
Astronomy Picture of the Day
This NASA site shows
a different image or photograph of the universe each day.
December 20, 1998
The world's first and only weekly TV series
on naked-eye astronomy.
This series can be seen on PBS throughout
North America since 1976.
April 1, 1998
International Dark-Sky Association
An association that promotes the reduction of light pollution
which prevents people in cities from seeing the stars at night.
If you doubted that there was an association for Everything,
you are now confounded.
Amateur astronomy should be accessible to all,
and it is a shame that inefficient lighting in many cities
prevents people from admiring the spectacle of our Universe.
March 8, 1998
presents shows on astronomy with the help of an old "Zeiss projector"
which stands in the middle of the theatre and would cost 3 million
dollars to replace...
February 1, 1998
SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence)
This institute does serious and scientific research
on the subject of extra-terrestrial life.
See among other things the
answers to frequently
about their project.
October 7, 1997
A few useful notions:
- the angle between two vectors A and B is given by the formula
cos(theta) = <A, B> / (|A| * |B|);
where <A, B> is the scalar product of A and B.
Neither A nor B may be null.
- the scalar product of (a, b, c) and (x, y, z) is (ax, by, cz).
- the projection of B on A is the following vector:
(<A, B> / <A, A>) * A.
A must not be null.
- the vector product of (a, b, c) and (x, y, z) is (bz-cy, cx-az, ay-bx).
- the logarithm in base b of x is ln(x) / ln(b),
or log(x) / log(b),
where ln is the natural logarithm and log is the base 10 logarithm.
Interactive demonstration of the vector product
A browser that supports Java is required.
June 27, 2001
Math Smarts: Nurture Not Nature
This article explains that mathematical abilities are innate
in humans, and thus that anybody can learn them successfully.
February 20, 2001
Most people who find math problems difficult, Devlin said,
haven't mastered the ability to trick their minds into thinking
of math as TV, to fool their brains into making abstract objects
Work reported in this 1972 document was conducted at the
Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, a Massachusetts Institute
of Technology research program supported in part by the
Advanced Research Projects Agency of the Department of Defense.
It contains some little known data which may be of interest to
(Link updated on March 22nd, 2010.)
January 12, 2001
Calculating square roots by hand
A page of the
Web site that explains how to calculate the square root
of a number by hand. It looks like long hand division, but
with a few subtleties.
June 26, 1998
The cubic root is computed with the formula
x3 + 30bx2 + 300b2x
where b is the already computed root and x is the digit to test.
My thanks to Babar for this formula...
"To teach superstitions as truth is a most terrible thing."
-- Hypatia of Alexandria
This site gives the skeptical point of view about a great number
of obscure subjects, like Edgar Cayce, facilitated communication,
November 12, 1998
The Quebec Skeptics Association
This is one of the largest skeptics clubs
in the world and one that is very involved in educating the public.
This club promotes rational and critical thought.
October 6, 1998
The Club is also offering 750'000$CAN to anyone who can
scientifically demonstrate a paranormal phenomenon...
Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal
The Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the
Paranormal encourages the critical investigation of paranormal and
fringe-science claims from a responsible, scientific point of view
and disseminates factual information about the results of such
inquiries to the scientific community and the public. It also
promotes science and scientific inquiry, critical thinking, science
education, and the use of reason in examining important issues.
July 11, 1998
James Randi Educational Foundation
Magician James "The Amazing" Randi
has created a foundation that offers
more than 1,100,000$ to anyone who can demonstrate
a paranormal phenomenon in a scientific test.
Isn't it amazing that certain people are
absolutely convinced that they have supernatural powers
but that none of them seems interested in collecting such
an amount of money?
Food for thought...
December 7, 1997