Linkfest, 13 April

Here’s some links to catch up with…

Astronomy

McDonald Observatory in West Texas was this week threatened by wildfires but luckily the observatory, staff and telescopes were all safe. There are some impressive pictures on McDonald’s facebook page. The NY Times reports here.

NASA has officially pulled out of gravitational wave observatory LISA, as well as X-ray mission IXO. Sean Carroll talked about it on Cosmic Variance, Steinn Sigurdsson gives his thoughts here (and here).

There’s a good ol’ Pluto fight on Amanda’s astropixie blog in response to her posting the fabulous Pluto video. Inevitable really. If you care, go take a look.

Following the recent SKA-related announcements (congrats to Jodrell Bank!), the Economist’s Babbage blog had a nice piece on Big Astronomy – but only really about radio telescopes.

Science writing

The Guardian announced it’s teaming up with the Observer and the Wellcome Trust to launch the Wellcome Trust Science Writing competition for 2011. The deadline for entries is 20 May, all info here. The Guardian will be running a series of articles by experienced science writers for advice and inspiration. Here’s one by James Randerson, and Tim Radford contributes here.

More from the Guardian: Martin Robbins used Wordle to look at different behaviour on twitter by male and female science bloggers.

Techy

More from the Economist: this interesting article about the business of e-book lending.

What’s the best tool for annotating PDFs? Jane Rigby posted this question on Astrobetter and there’s a great discussion in the comments with lots of tricks to try.

There’s an development competition ongoing to write the best App using data for the city of Amsterdam. I love Amsterdam, it’s definitely worthy of some iPhone or iPad love. If you’re a developer, get coding.

Open science guru Cameron Neylon posted the text for his .Astronomy talk on his blog: “Best practice in science and coding. Holding up a Mirror.”

Misc

A beautiful picture of 100 Macchiatos.

What happens when you anonymously post the first page of Infinite Jest to Yahoo Answers – on The Atlantic.