Station Portrait

8 06 2011

I got an email from my friend, astronaut-trainer Rob, yesterday about some new shuttle-station images that just blew him away.  So I went to the link and, sure enough, they blew me away too!

Here’s what you can find there:


This is the Endeavour on its final mission.  NASA has thrown a ton of hi-res images from its May mission up on the web.  Once you go to that link, you’ll see a bunch of links to numbered galleries.  Anything valued higher than where I sent you will show you pictures like the one above — but you should look around at some of the other galleries as well!

Oh, and as I was writing this I got a message from NASA sending me here.  Basically these are the same pictures organized differently, with specific image dimensions for your wallpapering pleasure.

Good stuff!


What do machines owe us?

27 03 2011

Found this little gem while surfing around.  Liked it so much I thought I’d share…

What I want you to do now is to look closely at the image to figure out what’s truly funny here.  Or maybe really sad.  Leave your guess in the comments!

Super Slo-Mo Shuttle

21 01 2011

A little over a month ago NASA released this video:

Here’s how NASA describes it:

Photographic documentation of a Space Shuttle launch plays a critical role in the engineering analysis and evaluation process that takes place during each and every mission. Motion and Still images enable Shuttle engineers to visually identify off-nominal events and conditions requiring corrective action to ensure mission safety and success. This imagery also provides highly inspirational and educational insight to those outside the NASA family.

This compilation of film and video presents the best of the best ground-based Shuttle motion imagery from STS-114, STS-117, and STS-124 missions. Rendered in the highest definition possible, this production is a tribute to the dozens of men and women of the Shuttle imaging team and the 30yrs of achievement of the Space Shuttle Program.

The video was produced by Matt Melis at the Glenn Research Center.

This video has a 720P option.  I highly recommend going directly to the YouTube link, hooking your computer to the largest monitor possible (47″ flatscreen sounds about right), and letting the whole thing play.  Trust me, it’s totally worth your 45 minutes!

Before it’s gone

29 11 2010


Read the reviews.  Add one yourself.  :o)

Life Without TV

7 10 2010

As sort of an experiment, Geneva and I decided to shut off our satellite TV service last month.  A lot of people I know don’t watch much TV and we figured we might try spending our quiet hours doing more reading and getting house-work done.  Also, with this current economy I can’t quite justify the cost of the hefty DirecTV bill.  Those guys are determined to raise rates as often as our power company does!

So how’s it going, you ask?  Well, the toughest part is losing the morning news.  I know that our local stations broadcast for free —  in Hi-Def even(!) — but if you don’t know, I live in the sticks.  So far out live I that signals from the big city are more ‘suggestions’ rather than actual transmissions.  And in this digital age that amounts to pretty much a black screen.  But back to the stuff I miss…  the morning news.  I’ve grown accustomed to finding out what new thing I’m supposed to be fired up about each morning before heading off to work, and now that I don’t have that I feel, I dunno, not very fired up.  I’m sort of a news junkie so getting my morning fix has become — almost necessary.  And yeah, of course the internets could keep me in the know, but i can’t browse whilst putting on my socks.  I need that passive information feed.  Well, I guess I’ll just have to rely on NPR during the drive in to fill that hole.  But they need to learn to talk faster!  Headline news can feed me three news stories every minute.  Ya gotta keep Broca’s brain contextually stimulated.

For my other programming I’ve been taking a page from Wil Wheaton and hitting Hulu and various other video-specific websites.  And through the power of the occasional torrent, I’m able to watch most of the TV that I normally would have suffered through the ads to enjoy — like Rules of Engagement, the Venture Bros., and House.  I also can catch The Daily Show through their own website, which is nice because then I can easily catch all the parts of the interviews they edit out for the TV time-slot.  [But why must they show me the exact same very annoying commercial during every single break?  Can’t the AXE people just make a couple of extra commercials just to make me not spaz every time I see their product in the future?  morons.]

And so the experiment continues.  The boys haven’t complained about missing their daily dose of iCarly, but with school and soccer their schedules are so packed right now they wouldn’t have a 30-min. break in the day anyhow.  And I’m catching up on a couple of books I’m been limping through and working my way through the back-log of movies I’ve been ‘intending to get to’ for far too long.  (Sherlock Holmes is *still* sitting on my DVD player — unwatched!)

For someone who prides himself on  perpetually integrating current pop culture into his vernacular seamlessly (“Twitcher lets you send and receive short messages called ‘twits’. [ding] Why, here’s a twit now!), I’m gonna find it hard to keep up.  And as I’ve learned in the past, it’s not always a sure thing that an internet meme is recognizable by anyone other than those it was intended for.  …or the other 99.99% of the local population.  meh.  Honestly, if I wore a T-shirt with “The cake is a liar.” printed on it, will it actually make me seem any cooler to the general public?  I think not.

So for anyone keeping score:  Having time to do some things that needed doing, 1.  Keeping in touch with the things that keep me sane and make me cool, zero.

Oh, well.  At least I’ll have another $75 in my pocket at the end of the month.


1000 words? More like no words.

8 09 2010

So I don’t make a lot of public comments on politics or international relations, but I found this picture recently and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.  I want you to stare at it until you realize what it is.

I don’t know how old it is or where it came from, so I can’t at this point give proper credit to the owner.  I just hope I’m cool in posting it.  In the meantime I’d like to say a few words about how it makes me feel.

I think the men and women who are over there, fighting an enemy they can’t clearly define, in a land that’s covered in blood, hoping against hope that it helps someone gain a better future, are the most courageous and sacrificing among us.  The rest of us cannot know what a day looks like through their eyes, but we would all do good to strive to stand that tall in the face of fear.  Do they act with honor?  I don’t have the right to judge.  Psshhtt!  I don’t even have the right to wipe the dust from their boots.

I won’t discuss my feelings toward the war in this way.  But I will say that that picture leaves me speechless.  I have never once worried that someone would use an IED against me to make a political statement.  I have never worried that my religion would cause someone else to wish me harm.  When Americans say they are free, they mean that they feel free to live their lives without fear.  I would hope that others in this country would extend those same freedoms upon each other.   It is our highest law that everyone’s freedom of religion, of speech, and of assembly is to be protected.  Is that what we’re doing, or are we making some people here not feel very free?  [okay, I don’t want to get too political, so I’ll quit here.  Be good to each other, especially if the other is different from you, okay?]

The soldier in that picture is the definition of bravery.  And he has something to really fear.  May we all be brave when we have to stand for the freedoms of those around us.  Our country was founded on it.

My Sagan Collection

15 08 2010

This summer brought a miracle of good luck*  when I happened upon two nice collections of Sagan’s work in a silent auction.  I scored enough books that I’m slowly closing in on having his entire published works.

Hmmm, maybe I should alphabetize...

As I’ve written before, I’ve been reading Sagan since high school 20 years ago.  What I enjoy most is his ability to speak to a wide audience.  You can read Cosmos or Contact if you just want a light visual into who we are and how we fit in, while Demon Haunted World or Broca’s Brain can really push you to look within yourself to reflect on what *you* believe.  And, in most every thing, he put his unending belief that nuclear disarmament was vital to our survival as a species.  He’s right, y’know.

However, my collection is far from complete!  For those of you wondering what to get me this Carl Sagan Day (November 7th), I give you this list of wants:

–> Planets (1966)

–> Communication with Extraterrestrial Intelligence (1973)

–> Other Worlds (1975)

–> Murmurs of the Earth (1983)

–> Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (1992)


–> Billions and Billions:Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium (1997)

Of these books, I’m most ashamed that I don’t own the last one; seeing as how it was the last book he ever wrote.  I need to rectify that.

Oh, and if you’ll notice in the picture above, that is an actual paper-bound textbook for Cosmos!  It has 13 chapters that correspond to the 13 episodes, complete with assignments and study guides!  Awesome, huh?

*(irony intended)