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Posts posted by Capt_Picard

  1. Astronaut Neil Armstrong, first man on the moon, dies at 82




    By KOMO Staff and News Services | Published: Aug 25, 2012 at 12:32 PM PDT


    Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong (Feb. 2012 file photo)


    CINCINNATI, Ohio - Famed astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, has died at age 82, ABC News reports.


    Armstrong had been recovering from recent heart surgery.


    His wife Carol said in an interview about two weeks ago that he had been making progress after his cardiac bypass surgery.


    Armstrong commanded the Apollo 11 spacecraft that landed on the moon on July 20, 1969, and he radioed back to Earth the historic news of "one giant leap for mankind." He spent nearly three hours walking on the moon with fellow astronaut Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin.


    Armstrong and his wife married in 1999 and made their home in the Cincinnati suburb of Indian Hill, but he has largely stayed out of public view in recent years.


    Good speed...

  2. Touchdown: NASA rover lands on Mars after harrowing plunge

    By ALICIA CHANG AP Science Writer | Published: Aug 5, 2012 at 10:44 PM PDT


    This artist's rendering shows how NASA's Curiosity rover will communicate with Earth during landing. As the rover descends, it will send out two different types of data: basic radio-frequency tones that go directly to Earth (pink dots) and more complex UHF radio data (blue circles) that require relaying by orbiters.

    Photos »


    PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — In a show of technological wizardry, the robotic explorer Curiosity blazed through the pink skies of Mars, steering itself to a gentle landing inside a giant crater for the most ambitious dig yet into the red planet's past.


    A chorus of cheers and applause echoed through the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory on Sunday night after the most high-tech interplanetary rover ever built sent a signal to Earth. Minutes earlier, it had been in a harrowing plunge through the thin Mars atmosphere.


    It was NASA's seventh landing on Earth's neighbor; many other attempts by the U.S. and other countries to zip past, circle or set down on Mars have gone awry.


    The arrival was an engineering tour de force, debuting never-before-tried acrobatics packed into "seven minutes of terror" as Curiosity sliced through the Martian atmosphere at 13,000 mph.


    In a Hollywood-style finish, cables delicately lowered the rover to the ground at a snail-paced 2 mph. A video camera was set to capture the most dramatic moments — which would give earthlings their first glimpse of a touchdown on another world.


    The extraterrestrial feat injected a much-needed boost to NASA, which is debating whether it can afford another Mars landing this decade. At a budget-busting $2.5 billion, Curiosity is the priciest gamble yet, which scientists hope will pay off with a bonanza of discoveries.


    Over the next two years, Curiosity will drive over to a mountain rising from the crater floor, poke into rocks and scoop up rust-tinted soil to see if the region ever had the right environment for microscopic organisms to thrive. It's the latest chapter in the long-running quest to find out whether primitive life arose early in the planet's history.


    The voyage to Mars took more than eight months and spanned 352 million miles. The trickiest part of the journey? The landing. Because Curiosity weighs nearly a ton, engineers drummed up a new and more controlled way to set the rover down. The last Mars rovers, twins Spirit and Opportunity, were cocooned in air bags and bounced to a stop in 2004.


    The plans for Curiosity called for a series of braking tricks, similar to those used by the space shuttle, and a supersonic parachute to slow it down. Next: Ditch the heat shield used for the fiery descent.


    And in a new twist, engineers came up with a way to lower the rover by cable from a hovering rocket-powered backpack. At touchdown, the cords cut and the rocket stage crashed a distance away.


    The nuclear-powered Curiosity, the size of a small car, is packed with scientific tools, cameras and a weather station. It sports a robotic arm with a power drill, a laser that can zap distant rocks, a chemistry lab to sniff for the chemical building blocks of life and a detector to measure dangerous radiation on the surface.


    It also tracked radiation levels during the journey to help NASA better understand the risks astronauts could face on a future manned trip.


    After several weeks of health checkups, the six-wheel rover could take its first short drive and flex its robotic arm.


    The landing site near Mars' equator was picked because there are signs of past water everywhere, meeting one of the requirements for life as we know it. Inside Gale Crater is a 3-mile-high mountain, and images from space show the base appears rich in minerals that formed in the presence of water.


    Previous trips to Mars have uncovered ice near the Martian north pole and evidence that water once flowed when the planet was wetter and toastier unlike today's harsh, frigid desert environment.


    Curiosity's goal: to scour for basic ingredients essential for life including carbon, nitrogen, phosphorous, sulfur and oxygen. It's not equipped to search for living or fossil microorganisms. To get a definitive answer, a future mission needs to fly Martian rocks and soil back to Earth to be examined by powerful laboratories.


    The mission comes as NASA retools its Mars exploration strategy. Faced with tough economic times, the space agency pulled out of partnership with the European Space Agency to land a rock-collecting rover in 2018. The Europeans have since teamed with the Russians as NASA decides on a new roadmap.


    Despite Mars' reputation as a spacecraft graveyard, humans continue their love affair with the planet, lobbing spacecraft in search of clues about its early history. Out of more than three dozen attempts — flybys, orbiters and landings — by the U.S., Soviet Union, Europe and Japan since the 1960s, more than half have ended disastrously.


    One NASA rover that defied expectations is Opportunity, which is still busy wheeling around the rim of a crater in the Martian southern hemisphere eight years later.

    We're back!

  3. Wow.....25 years of


    Seriously, Happy Birthday to you, Matthew! How about coming in here more often?

    I'm trying you old fruit loop, but what little off time I have from work is spent on programming classes and managing a building...


    .... I know, that' life, but free time would be nice once in a while...

    25??? Kor might have socks that old ;)

    I hope not... for his wife's sake!

  4. Nuking the oil spill, a 'crazy' plan that's gathering steam



    You can stop polishing your glasses — you're reading that right. A plan proposed to detonate a nuke to seal off that troublesome oil well is gaining support with each of BP's failures. The Russians apparently used the tactic five times between 1966 and 1981. They went four for five.


    Still, those first four times saw wells successfully sealed off, including one that had been raging for three years (the spill in the Gulf — the worst oil leak in U.S. history — has been at it for over 40 days, by comparison). The method didn't work for the last well, and those responsible wonder if they just had poor geological data.


    The call to go nuclear is spearheaded by voices such as Matt Simmons, a Houston energy expert and investment banker, who claimed the plan was thanks to "all the best scientists." He went on, saying, "Probably the only thing we can do is create a weapon system and send it down 18,000 feet and detonate it, hopefully encasing the oil."


    The government's Energy Department was not as enthralled, as one senior official remarked, "It's crazy."


    Will it ever happen? According to an anonymous source at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico — y'know, the guys and gals who created the Bomb in the first place — no. "It's not going to happen," continuing on with "Technically, it would be exploring new ground in the midst of a disaster — and you might make it worse."


    Would you want to nuke the well if it ensured that it would be sealed? Or is a nuke only going to cause more environmental damage?


    Via NYT

    Disaster movie type of idea anyone?

  5. 'Star Trek' captain now a knight

    By Associated Press

    Story Published: Dec 31, 2009 at 7:46 AM PST | Story Updated: Dec 31, 2009 at 7:46 AM PST


    Patrick Stewart


    LONDON (AP) - There's an especially starry knight in Britain's latest round of royal honors.


    Patrick Stewart - "Star Trek: The Next Generation's" Capt. Jean-Luc Picard - becomes Sir Patrick in Queen Elizabeth II's New Year honors list, which also includes a knighthood for theater and film director Nicholas Hytner.


    "This is an honor that embraces those actors, directors and creative teams who have in these recent years helped fill my life with inspiration, companionship and sheer fun," said 69-year-old Stewart, who recently returned to the British stage following a long career in Hollywood that included playing Professor Charles Xavier in three "X-Men" films.


    Erich Reich, a refugee from Nazi-occupied Europe who organized last year's 70th anniversary of the "Kindertransport," which brought 10,000 children to wartime Britain, also received a knighthood.


    A separate honors list in New Zealand bestowed a knighthood on the king of Middle Earth - "Lord of the Rings" filmmaker Peter Jackson.


    Jackson, 53, was knighted in New Zealand, his native land and the filming location for the trilogy, which collected 17 Academy Awards. The New Zealand award is approved by the queen, the country's head of state.


    Jackson is currently is working on the two-movie prequel "The Hobbit," also based on a book by J.R.R. Tolkien, with Mexican director Guillermo del Toro.


    In Britain, lesser honors went to Rick Parfitt and Francis Rossi of the rock group Status Quo. They were named Officers of the Order of the British Empire, or OBE, in recognition of a four-decade, three-chord career that has seen them score 64 British hit singles, including "Rockin' All Over the World."


    Parfitt, 61, said he'd given up hope of an honor because of his wild past.


    "If they'd reviewed some of my old newspaper cuttings!" he said.


    Phyllida Lloyd, who directed "Mamma Mia!" - the most financially successful British film of all time - was named Commander of the Order of the British Empire, or CBE.


    CBEs also went to artist Maggi Hambling and Olivier Award-winning actress Margaret Tyzack.


    There also were honors for Formula I racing champion Jensen Button, who received an MBE; children's author Dick King-Smith (OBE), who wrote the book which became the film "Babe"; and opera star Sarah Connolly (CBE).


    Hytner, 53, was honored for his work as artistic director of the National Theatre, where his hit productions have included Alan Bennett's "The History Boys" and "War Horse."


    He also stirred controversy by putting on "Jerry Springer: The Opera," a production that attracted protests from some Christian groups.


    Reich, 74, was chairman of the Kindertransport Group of the Association of Jewish Refugees. He also has been credited with inspiring more than 42,000 people in several countries to raise about 60 million pounds (nearly $100 million) for charities.


    Most of the honors reward achievements by people out of the limelight, from civil servants to charity workers.


    This year's list was noticeably short on honors for bankers, criticized by many for taking home hefty bonuses while Britain struggled through a recession and paid millions in bailouts to financial institutions. One of the few exceptions was a CBE for Dyfrig John, an executive with HSBC - one British bank that did not take a government bailout.


    In descending order, the honors are knighthoods, CBE, OBE and MBE. They are bestowed by the queen, but recipients are selected by committees of civil servants from nominations made by the government and the public.


    Knights are addressed as "sir" or "dame." Recipients of CBEs, OBEs and MBEs have no title but can put the letters after their names.

    Way to go!!!

  6. Ted Kennedy dies at 77


    Story Published: Aug 25, 2009 at 10:22 PM PDT

    Story Updated: Aug 25, 2009 at 10:27 PM PDT

    By ABC News


    SEATTLE -- Sen. Edward Moore Kennedy, the youngest Kennedy brother who was left to head the family's political dynasty after his brothers President John F. Kennedy and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated, has died at age 77.


    Known as the "liberal lion of the Senate," Kennedy championed health care reform, working wages and equal rights in his storied career. In August, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom -- the nation's highest civilian honor -- by President Obama. His daughter, Kara Kennedy, accepted the award on his behalf.


    Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, known as Ted or Teddy, was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor in May 2008 and underwent a successful brain surgery soon after that. But his health continued to deteriorate, and Kennedy suffered a seizure while attending the luncheon following President Barack Obama's inauguration.

  7. Related Sections: Art & Design Buildings Green Tech

    Futuristic UN think tank building looks like it belongs on Star Trek




    San Francisco is getting ready to break ground on the Federation Council UN Global Compact Center, which — besides looking like a concept sketch for some sci-fi movie — is made notable because of where it's being built. It will take over the location of the Hunter's Point Shipyard, which has been deemed one of the most polluted sites in the nation by the US Environmental Agency. Step one is clean all that gunk up. Step two? Build a structure that will serve as an example against that kind of pollution, as well as help stop it from ever happening.


    The center itself will act as the site for a think tank that will mull over green technologies and policies to help combat detrimental climate change. The building will ultimately be an 80,000-square-foot center that's LEED certified, cost $20 million and is scheduled to begin construction in 2011. Let's hope that cleanup is effective, but hey — if not, a third eye or grossly enlarged brain could only help the UN thinkers, right?


    UN Global Compact Center, via Inhabitat

  8. If I were to run into someone from here it would most likely be Kor or MrP... Knowing my luck...

    And you would be damn lucky to do so!..... :)

    Says the guy who has a tribble for hair...

    Oh cmon Matthew....don't pretend you don't see me everytime I give your Mom her child support check.........