50 years ago today, U.S. President Eisenhower signed a very important piece of paper. The paper was legislation that, with the president's signature, brought the National Aeronautics and Space Administration into existence.
I was planning a big post about why NASA is so important, but most anybody reading this blog already knows. Also: Wired beat me to it.
Last year I was lucky enough to visit the Kennedy Space Center. If you're one of the people who doubt the sheer magnitude of NASA's accomplishments, I suggest you do as I did and visit one of the locations where a Saturn V (pictured above) is on display.
UPDATE: The BBC, in honour of NASA's golden anniversary, has posted a collection of videos marking some of the Agency's milestones. Definitely worth a look.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Wow, where have you been the last ten days?
Here we go:
1. Diamonds are life's best friend.
2. Drunk shrews know how to deal with a hangover.
3. Working on Mars time leaves crew astro-jet-lagged.
4. Cooling the ocean 400 million years ago is the reason why the Earth is bio-diverse.
5. Big blimps to the Arctic - let's not talk about the Italia...
6. Leopard vs Crocodile - this is old to the net, but new to me. Check it out.
Friday, July 18, 2008
There are a number of people who have seen the future, and then made everyone else make it.
Moebius, aka Jean Giraud, is one of them.
A French designer, Giraud was one of the founders of Metal Hurlant (Heavy Metal in the English world,) a comic that re-invigorated North American sci-fi art. Throw in his comics Airtight Garage, Arzach and the deeply influential western series Blueberry, and you have the basis for a master of visual art.
He is also the concept artist for Tron, Willow, the Fifth Element, the Abyss and influenced the look of Star Wars and every otherworldly sci-fi film out there.
If you watch animated shows, read comics, enjoy movies or love Westerns, you have seen the work of Moebius.
That's why you should watch this doc on him called Moebius Redux.
Next in this series - Syd Mead
Friday, July 11, 2008
Science to the weeked:
1. A microbe is better than communicating than you are.
2. I hope I don't drown in the water on the moon...
3. NASA to sail into space.
4. Jovian climatic siblicide.
5. Yep, that galaxy's a breeder - 4000 stars a year!
6. The mournful cry of the melting iceberg.
Monday, July 7, 2008
A few weeks ago I went out to catch a Cooper's Hawk.
We ended up catching five.
The Cooper's Hawk is the most common raptor in the Victoria area. Only about the size of a crow, this hawk can often be seen flying over city parks and sidewalks.
Unlike some raptors, like the Northern goshawk, the Cooper's Hawk actually prefers the urban habitat, because our yards, playing fields, gardens, back alleys and rooftops provide an ideal habitat to catch starlings, sparrows, rabbits a rats.
Andy Stewart is the Cooper's Hawk Guru. A retired Ministry of Environment biologist, Stewart started researching Cooper's Hawks as a hobby 14 years ago. And he discovered something incredible - Cooper's Hawks breed very well in the city. So well, that by this year there are at least 28 Cooper's Hawk nests in the city, with all of these nest bearing between three and five chicks.
These are picture of 18 day-old Cooper's Hawks. They are about the size of a rabbit, fluffy, and completely helpless. That was two weeks ago. Now these little demons would be fully feathered, active and very aggressive. And told me that if I was able to hold a fledging hawk, the bird would rip into my hand, attack my face and try to ruin my day.
But when I did this piece for CBC, these little birds made a peep. That's because when a chick is 30-metres up in a nest, the less it moves and the less sound it makes will help hide them from predators.
But not researchers.
Fourteen years into his "hobby," Stewart has found that Cooper's Hawks are breeding fast, successfully, and the population in on the rise.
However, not everything in the city is great - over 40% of dead hawks found died after flying into windows. And traffic hitting hawks on the ground near roadkill doesn't help either.
Stewart is optimistic about the species population, and with his banding of dozens and dozens of birds each year, he knows that there is more to find out about this hawk that is called "The Urban Bird."
Listen to this tape to find out more.
Friday, July 4, 2008
Post Number 500!
Here's to 500 more:
1. Melt water might not speed up the death of a glacier. I hope they're right.
2. Volcanoes discovered on Mercury.
3. Lions use roads to kill giraffes.
4. The ultimate solar system is very oval.
5. Using a clutch to control flagellum - nature and engineers think alike. But don't go thinking god is involved.
6. The ez-bake oven on the Phoenix lander is damaged and might not be able to cook life out of sand after all.
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Still, it’s a great listen.
What you’ll hear about in Episode 01:
New comics, how mainstream is winning, ‘Nam, and how Dan Dare is the father of Red Sonya.
Also, how not to mike a third person.
So, here you go.