Two photo-related things today:
Passport rules have changed in the past couple of years in Canada, and now children, even infants, must have their own passports rather than riding along on those of their parents. That includes passport photos. For our kids that was no problem, since when we got them passports in 2006 they were already 6 and 8 years old. But I've been to a few photo stores and watched as parents and staff have some difficulty keeping their floppy-headed two-month-olds upright, looking at the camera, and reasonably calm in order to get an acceptable shot.
Yesterday I had some time to kill in the Vancouver neighbourhood of Kitsilano before my wife took me to my latest chemotherapy appointment, so I popped into the main store of Lens and Shutter to do some photographic geeking out. Their infant photography technique is smart: put a big white piece of cardboard on the floor, lie the child down on it, and have the parents stand behind the photographer to keep the kid engaged during the photo process. The little one I saw there was reasonably happy, kept his eyes open, and managed a reasonable passport photo in only a few tries.
My wife suggested I mention this as a useful tip. So if you have baby who needs a passport, go to Lens and Shutter or ask your local passport photographer to try a similar method.
Phil Plait at the Bad Astronomy Blog has posted the 2007 edition of his annual Best Astronomy Photos list. This year features more galaxies and fewer planets than the 2006 version. Look at this example:
NGC 3808A and NGC 3808B are several hundred million light years away, yet still we can see what they were up to back then. Wow.