Saturday, May 22, 2010

Potpourri CXXXVIII

I'm considering sorting future Potpourri entries by topic. My surfing patterns tend to be a little higgledy-piggledy, and I realize that some of my readers only go through this site looking for specific topics. However, cutting and pasting in is surprisingly frustrating, so I'd welcome feedback before I start rearranging the furniture. Thanks for reading!

NASA is setting up the Minority Innovation Challenges Initiative to provide minority students with the opportunity to participate in virtual interactive educational sessions focusing on NASA technical challenges and competitions.

The Spirit and Opportunity rovers have now exceeded the active time of Viking I on the surface of Mars. Not bad for a "90-day" mission.

From Father Dan: 
  • A site replete with photographs from the Civil War.
  • A propaganda video from/for the state of Israel. I really shouldn't gripe. Israelis were in tears on 9/11, Palestinian Arabs were cheering in the streets.
There's a NASA RFI (request for information) out for anyone with bright ideas on developing heavy-lift launch vehicles. That'd be rockets capable of lifting over 50 tons of payload into orbit.

Engineers have created an artificial butterfly.

George Whitesides was described as “vague” on when Virgin Galactic will have its first flight. Well, jeez. They want the things to fly safely. As Wil Whitehorn put it when he was in town, "We'll fly when it's safe to fly."

NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden disagrees with Senator Nelson about whether the agency should continue testing Ares I. However, Nelson and his peers in Congress ultimately have the final say.

From Anika: a BBC biography of Carl Sagan (note: run time is 30:00, so I haven't quite gotten around to watching it yet).

Some warm and fuzzy news from CNBC: Europe to collapse “in 48 hours or never.” Time for Douglas Adams’ “Don’t Panic” button…

From Tracy: a site called "Lexicalist," which tracks how often people are using particular words based, I presume, on how often people look them up. For example, how often has the word "NASA" been used in the last month?

Several links from Brother Allison on global cooling:
  • "This appears to capture the temperature database and observed conditions better than 'global warming'."
  • "New Ice Age 'to begin in 2014'."
  • "Only morons, cheats and liars still believe in Man-Made Global Warming – Telegraph Blogs" (This might be a bit of a stretch...)
NASA and the World Science Festival are hosting a NASA "Tweetup" in New York City on June 5. Chirp away...oh, wait. It's New Yawk. Choip away!

From Doc: the first typewriter he ever used "underneath the grime and gunk of 50+ years in basement storage." I had something similar in my house. That sucker was heavy! Can't say I miss it. I understand now why my dad types with his index fingers only. He learned to type on a manual typewriter, and you had to hit those keys with authority to make sure you'd get ink on the page. Not for the faint of heart or finger.
Insert joke here: Viagra might cause hearing loss in men.
A new book is coming out on space called "Packing for Mars," which covers some of the under-reached parts of the space business. Should be a hoot. I might have to arrange for a "reviewer's copy." Ahem.
From the Down Under Defense Expert (DUDE), in response to my query on whether New Zealand had a space program: "Do we have a space program? Do we ever have a space program!"
From Dar: a fun piece for the enterprising young lady looking for something new in a prom dress. Two words: duct tape.
Did you know that scientists have detected 455 planets outside of our solar system? Here's a useful site: the exoplanet catalog.

NASA might not have the right stuff for STEM education.

Confessions of a former WDW cast member (I hasten to add that these are NOT mine--most of those are not suitable for a family audience).

Star Tours at Disney Hollywood Studios is going to shut down for refurbishment and updating. PLEASE tell me they're not gonna add JarJar...or Hayden Christensen...or Natalie Portman. Yikes!. Anyhow, I might have to make a trip to Orlando for that.

I like this idea: street pianos!

Secrets of a suitcase-packing ninja.

Guess it needed a little work: an artist who designed “anti-death” buildings has died.

Oil Spill Stories:

  • Kevin Costner might have the key to cleaning up the oil spill in the Gulf? Yes. (What the heck, he still needs to make up for "Water World.")
  • The Environmental Protection Agency is ordering British Petroleum to use a less toxic oil dispersant on the mess in the Gulf. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
  • And if that doesn’t work, they could always try to nuke the entire site…you know: just to be sure.
The University of Illinois hikes its tuition 9.5%. Yow! Why is it okay for the education segment of the economy/government to jack up prices and costs like that, but not, say, NASA?

There’s a new wine-tasting experience in downtown Orlando…for those familiar with The Wine Room.

The world’s largest airship has been inflated. Wonder what they’re going to do when the helium supply runs out.

Some new supportive statements are coming out on the Obama Administration’s 2011 budget, including one endorsed by the National Space Society. Don’t blame me, folks. I’m not on the Policy Committee anymore.

Girls in Tech expanding from Silicon Valley to France.

Toyota and Tesla are going to be working together.

Sikorsky is in phase three of testing its 200-mph helicopter, the X-2. Cool!

I wonder if Dar could turn this into a Science for Citizens project somehow: DIY (do-it-yourself) 3-D photography and videos.

From Hu: Since the end of the Cold War, the U.S. Navy has been dismissing a higher percentage of their commanding officers. What's the matter with these kids today?

Charles Krauthammer has some rather pointed things to say about the Obama administration's foreign policy, characterizing it as acting from weakness. Brother Kanigan and I have had a few exchanges on this article. While I'm not in a position to argue the facts, the premise that America is weakening on the world stage is up for debate. All depends on how full you see the glass, I suppose.

Also on the foreign relations front, more good news from the People's Republic of China: they're beefing up their amphibious warfare forces.

Here's a video of Lori Garver continuing to make the case for the 2011 NASA budget plan. I'd feel better about it if a) they kept Constellation (i.e., a destination-driven program) and b) there was some sort of unifying theme to all the projects they want to do. I'm not seeing either, nor am I likely to. Oh, well.

From Martin:
  • There's likely to be an apology coming from some government officials for promoting a safety campaign that features a cute little puppy. Apparently dogs are seen as unclean animals by the UK's Muslim citizens. What's the word on kittens?
  • A man who fled to a rooftop after a high-speed chase in the UK was given KFC to protect his human rights.
What do men and women really want? The results of a recent study don't surprise me.

1 comment:

Sabine said...

This is such a wealth of good stuff. Thank you so much for sharing!!!!!!!