A microphone has already been landed on Mars - unfortunately there was a risk of data corruption if the camera hardware it was attached to was turned on, so the microphone itself never got switched on...
I travelled with a large external hard disk as well, once - which also got taken to one side and swabbed for stuff. Internal monologue: OH NO MY PRECIOUS DATA
On another occasion, I had fun with my home-made, Arduino-powered dSLR timelapse gadget - it got thoroughly inspected by the TSA. I'd already opted out of the backscatter X-ray whatsit, only for a swab-for-explosives test to give a (false-)positive. Eek. Cue being taken to one side, where they looked in my bag and found the timelapse-o-tron...
To give the screeners their due, they let me go after a few minutes - after I'd heard their complaints about the potential radiation doses they and the passengers were receiving from the backscatter X-ray thingers, and after I'd provided advice on what sort of camera to look into buying for a budding photographer.
Security fun elsewhere: carrying a plastic bag of loose change through the Eurostar security in Brussels (it basically looked like an amorphous, completely opaque lump on the X-ray) - and a random customs check at a UK airport giving a (false-)positive swab for some sort of illicit drugs. Eek.
I guess "fully steerable" means "within ~20 of zenith" to you. But that's not what the rest of the world considers "fully steerable".
Oops. That was in reference to his Green Bank Telescope link - Arecibo being only partially steerable...
The Extremely Large Telescope is a compromise - what they really wanted was the 100m-diameter Overwhelmingly Large Telescope.
Their naming committees are either entirely humourless or gloriously taking the piss.
The worlds largest single dish telescope is still the Green Bank Telescope (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Bank_Telescope), which at 100m is ~6x the size.
I went looking for the largest diameter multi-dish radio telescope. It looks like the biggest terrestrial 'telescope' is the Global VLBI system created by combining the European VLBI Network with the US Very Long Baseline Array - it's like some massive team of superheroes combining to save the Earth from some terrible secret of space. Or whatever. Apparently they can also add space-based telescopes when that just isn't enough. Which, quite frankly, is showing off...
Radio Astronomers: Compensating For Something.
Piwik is a self-hosted web analytics package. In other words, your visit to an EFF page is being tracked by the EFF.
I dunno, I always get a big belly laugh whenever I log into something and see that horrible 1980s B&W X11 desktop, complete with ugly 'X' cursor.
Try flying on a Virgin America plane with the LCD screen inflight entertainment systems in the seat-backs. They'll often mass-reboot the things before or after a flight, briefly revealing that retro-fantastic, monochrome stippled background with 'X' cursor...
Do we have any Mars rovers close enough to the poles to not get sunlight in winter?
The non-roving Phoenix Mars probe landed sufficiently far north that reduced sunlight due to an approaching winter caused its (expected) failure. It most likely got buried by carbon dioxide ice later on anyway - orbital photos showed its solar panels got crushed...
For keeping space probes warm, radioisotope heater units are pretty common. Apparently the Chinese Moon rover has them - but it sounds like it hasn't successfully closed itself up in order to keep heat inside.
It's entering its second lunar night - it landed on the Moon on December 14th.
The Babbage difference engine model is in the Computing section, on the 2nd floor
Definitely still there when I visited in early December last year - loads of Babbage stuff, in fact. Including his brain in a jar!
(The museum did feel kind of tired and empty compared with how I remembered it, sadly - and the Wellcome collection stuff didn't seem nearly as grisly as I thought it was as a ten-year-old. They've got some fancy new galleries at one end, but it's more of the raising-questions public-oriented kind of display rather than the dusty old real exhibits I've really come to appreciate. I did get a bit spoiled by the two branches of the Museum of Flight in Washington DC about a year ago, however. Blimey. Spaaaaaace!)
I always liked the working electromechanical telephone exchange.
If you're ever in Seattle, try the Museum of Communications. Fairly large old telephone exchange with colossal amounts of powered-up electromechanical telephone equipment - place a call on a phone and hear it rattling through the machinery until another phone next to you starts to ring. Loads of old teletypes, UNIX boxes and miscellaneous other hardware to look (and often poke) at.
Basically nerd heaven, yet surprisingly few people round here have heard of it. Makes the equivalent display at the London Science Museum look a bit silly.
Nuclear Resonance Imaging (NMR) was changed because people were afraid of word Nuclear despite it describing the process, unlike its replacement term.
Also, if you arrived at a hospital saying you were there for an NMR, you might have received something other than what you were expecting.
I checked out that link and it looked like I was stepping back into the 90s. That image on the home page looks like it's a 256 colour GIF! Where's the specular mapping? Everything in those shots looks dead, like a bad phong highlighted raytrace.
There's much more impressive stuff going on with path tracing on conventional GPUs - something that, at least for me, is making a definite case for ungodly improvements in processing power for GPU hardware.