Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Potpourri XXIII

Wow! Another inbox-clearing evening ahead. Let the madness ensue...

My supervisor is a regular subscriber to Connections, the magazine of the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE). Every month they provide a useful graphic showing some aspect of engineering education. You probably have to pay to get the pretty version, but the free data portion is still worth reading.

A good article on "Web 2.0 best practices," forwarded by Darlene.

Here's something I've never heard of before: an "existential coach." Linda Deluca is one of my followers on Twitter. Her site sufficiently interested me that I thought I'd highlight it. Enjoy!

There's a new theory on what makes moon dust sticky in some situations and repellant in others. This is necessary stuff to understand if we're going to spend six months or more there.

A comprehensive index of NASA images can be found here:

The Mars Spirit rover is starting to show signs of age, including amnesia. I don't think anyone on Earth is going to call this a mission failure (except maybe NASAWatch). Spirit and her sister Opportunity were built to rove around for 90 days, and we're now on year five! These are the dudes and dudettes I want designing my next car!

Computer hackers broke into files about the F-35 Lightning II fighter. The Obama administration is proposing $17 billion on the government's cyber-security. It might be worth it.

The Parabolic Arc blog is reporting that White Knight Two has had its fourth flight test. is saying that an Aerospace Corporation report proves that an Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) is capable of launching the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle into orbit. I don't think NASA ever denied that. The reason the agency went with Ares was due to cost issues--how much stuff you have to upgrade or modify to make EELV Orion-friendly. I guess I know what I'll be reading tomorrow.

Harrison Ford, who's a pilot and owner of several fixed and rotary-wing aircraft, is joining a lobbying effort to stop the government from raising fees on private aircraft. I wonder if he voted for Obama.

Apparently I missed Homer Hickam at the Student Launch Initiative this weekend. Darn.

The new Star Trek prequel is getting good buzz from everyone who's attended premieres. The trailers look good, anyway. The movie's director JJ Abrams spoke to a TED forum back when he released Cloverfield. The presentation is an illuminating insight into his directing mind. I also found a Ray Kurzweil TED speech as well. Kurzweil is sort of like Robert Zubrin in that he's very, very bright, and once you've heard his standard stump speech--Kurzweil on the Singularity, Zubrin on Mars Direct--you don't need to hear it again. And I just watched this one by Sir Ken Robinson on education and intelligence--very much worth hearing.

A few links from Father Dan:

  • Need a good workout? Try to keep up with Nancy Pelosi on video as she stands up and claps every time Obama says something.
  • A creepy story on cell phone tapping--not by government, but private citizens with new toys and too much time on their hands.

And others from Hu:

  • The new generation of UAVs is getting several upgrades. The day of the fighter jock is nearing an end.
  • Mike Griffin took a shot at the Office of Management and Budget's treatment of NASA's budget.
  • SpaceX's latest launch has been delayed.
  • Huntsville/Madison County, AL are still good places to work.
  • Folks still questioning the long-term viability of the Department of Defense budget.
  • We've got another "czar" in our government, this one to deal with the southern border.
  • Microsoft has hired someone to help them recover from Vista. Good luck with that. I've got a laptop with Vista on it. One of the most expensive doorstops I ever bought.

This one from Lin, a follower of this site: an Australian news site is reporting that the Antarctic ice cap is growing, not shrinking.

Remember this? The "Stand By Me" Songs Around the World video on is now being sold on DVD. I presume there's more in the nature of bonus features, since Vimeo is free...

And so...

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