This is a picture from the Japanese geostationary satellite MTSAT showing the view of Earth at 9:30am local Taiwan time on 22 July, near the time in eastern China when the disk of the Moon completely overlapped the disk of the Sun (called totality). This is one of those totally awesome images Ashton has been asking me to find on the intertubes.
This is an onboard picture of the spring which worked loose from Rubens Barrichello’s Brawn during the middle 15 minute qualifying period of the Hungarian F1 Grand Prix. The spring was mostly stationary in the middle of the road as Massa, driving at over 200 km/h, slammed into it. The spring struck his helmet just over his left eye and delivered enough force to give Massa a fractured skull. I beleive Massa was knocked unconscious, and ran his car over the kitty litter and into the tyre wall at considerable speed. He can be thankful that it didn’t strike him square in the visor or he may nat have survived. He was flown by helicopter to hospital and had surgery straight away. According to formula1.com, he might be well enough to walk out of hospital next week. It’s just such a bizarre, freak accident you’d be unlikely to ever see again. F1 cars don’t usually fall apart on the track. But then again, Alonso’s wheel fell off after a pit stop so Renault are serving a one race ban from the European Grand Prix.
Meanwhile, Nicole Scherzinger’s boyfriend went on to win the race which, funnily enough, was his first win of the season despite taking out the championship last year. This all leaves Mark Webber in unfamiliar territory at second on the Drivers Championship leader board, 20 points behind Jenson Button and a real chance at winning. All it’s going to take is a few DNFs for Button and a few more podiums for Webber and it could happen.
Head over to www.firstshowing.net for a nice hi-def advance teaser trailer for the movie “Tron Legacy”. It looks really sweet. Tron is one movie I’ve always wanted to be redone with advanced CGI.
I’d also love the old Battlestar Galactica flight scenes to be redone. The series had the same 5-6 shots over and over again, while cutting to a hand on a flight-stick. The imagery never seemed to match the dialog. They’ve done it with the original Star Trek series and that looks pretty sweet. You don’t want to over-do it, but full flight scenes and some subtle additions to other scenes would make it much more watchable. Star Wars is probably a good example of overdoing it, or doing at least some parts wrong. For example, replacing Seb Shaw with Hayden Christiansen in the final scene made no sense.
Yes! I’m in my element now. The theme for Ashton’s class this term is “Space”. I’ve waited for this for ages, to be able to teach her about the wonders of the night sky. I think we’ll be doing a lot of browsing on APOD and spaceflight.nasa.gov.
My first idea is to go out on to the school oval across the road and build a scale model of our solar system using a 1cm marble as the Earth. I figure that we can at least get the Terrestrial planets and their orbits to scale to fit on the oval, but anything from Jupiter onwards will need to be imagined as “out near Beenyup Rd” and so on. To get all the planets on the oval, Jupiter is going to need to be the size of a grain of sand which is no fun. I want her to get a sense of the size of space. After all, Space is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly hugely mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist, but that’s just peanuts to space.
Then we’ll try and time things so we can see the ISS flying over during dusk. If we are extremely lucky, we might time it for when the current STS-127 is separating from the ISS so we can see not one but two tiny dots.
I have a couple side projects going which I’m putting a little time into in the hopes of making some residual income. My strategy so far has been to develop mostly static reference web pages. I’m into Sci-Fi, so I figure why not go with a booklists (novels, novellas, etc) of favourite Sci-Fi shows. Obvious ones are Star Wars, which has a heap of EU material, and Star Trek, which I’m mostly unfamiliar with but I’ll learn, and a couple others which I’ll eventually work on. Once I have things set up, there won’t be that much work to do; I just have to keep a look out for new releases and include them on my site which will be easy.
Turns out the current book lists for these two shows is more than 100 books each which is going to take plenty of time to colate, so I made the decision to go with a popular series of books called Twilight. There’s only four books, but there’s scope for DVDs, posters, toy action figures and the like.
So I’ve deployed a WordPress blog and developed the site, added content, registered a couple domains, signed up as an affiliate with the likes of Amazon, Poster Planet and even Google Adsense. I’m proud to say that it is paying off! I logged into Google Adsense this evening and found that I have made an impressive grand total of 1c! Woo Hoo! Once I make it to $20, I think, Google sends me a cheque which I bank, thankyou very much.
It’s small fish, right now, of course. I’m not planning on retiring any time soon. I have an idea for a more interactive web site which I want to model on another favourite haunt of mine which is very successful. That will come after the other booklist websites I am working on (see the links in “My Sites” on the right hand nav bar when they come on line). Tweaking the headers and meta tags is probably the hardest thing to do in this whole exercise, and that wasn’t all that diffucult. Search google for “Twilight Book List” and you’ll see me in the top 10 sites. A bit more refinement might see me in the top three. Google Analytics tells me I’m popular in New Zealand and Latvia, of all places.
What are you waiting for!? Check my site out, click the Google Adsense links adverts, and buy some stuff at Amazon.com using my convenient links! Tell your friends and family. You won’t find these books any cheaper!
So, we landed on the moon 40 years ago today. Pretty nifty. It’s been inspirig for me since I was born. I love space, astronomy and space exploration. But I like to put a bit of perspective on this, great though it is, and compare it to the Russian space program which had more firsts than you can shake a Sputnik at. For some reason, the moon landings were when America “won” the space race. I say that it’s only called that by Americans because it was one of the first significant things they’d done that the Soviets hadn’t already achieved. Lets take a look. Soviet firsts are highlighted in red, American firsts in blue:
- Oct 1957: The first satellite
- Nov 1957: The first animal in orbit
- Sep 1959: First Lunar impact
- Oct 1959: First Lunar far-side photos
- April 1961: The first man in space, first man in orbit
- Aug 1962: First dual manned space flight and approach
- Jun 1963: First woman in space
- Oct 1964: First multi-manned crew
- Mar 1965: First space walk
- Jan 1966: First Lunar landing
- Mar 1966: First Lunar orbit mission
- Mar 1966: First landing on another planet
- Oct 1967: First unmanned rendezvous and docking
- Sep 1968: First circumlunar loop
- Jan 1969: First orbital docking and crew exchange
- Jul 1969: First manned Lunar landing (We Win the space race!! USA! USA! USA!)
- Nov 1970: First robotic space rover
- Apr 1971: First space station
- Dec 1971: First probe to reach the surface of Mars
- Aug 1972: First Mars orbiter
After the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975, the American and Soviet space programs would take very different paths. The American Space Shuttle was given approval during Apollo 16 which would mean cheap reusable access to orbit (which is far from the actual truth with each mission costing about half a billion dollars). The Soviets concentrated on long duration missions with the Salyut and Mir space stations. It is telling that 19 of the top 20 people on the “Total Time Spent in Space” list are Soviet/Russian, with #20 being American Peggy Whitson.
Oh, and if you ever get the chance read the book titled “The Last Man on the Moon” by Gene Cernan. Fascinating read. Also, “Two Sides of the Moon: Our Story of the Cold War Space Race” by David Scott and Alexei Leonov.
What a rip. Julie won only because she was the cuddly underdog, the housemum who took on all the pros and beat them by cooking lovely home meals. What rubbish. The show has cut it’s own throat and bled out any credibility it might have had. They will not be able to sell a book on how to cook lamb roasts. Poh’s exotic background, style and looks are more marketable than Julie’s, I think. They let Julie ride right through the whole show when I think she probably should not have been there in the first place.
Not that I intently watched the whole series, mind you. I saw the first couple shows and then lost interest and just caught a few bits here and there. I watched a couple bits from the final 3-4 shows and was surprised to still see Julie. I was convinced about 2 weeks ago they’d already chosen their favourite. She could have served up uncooked dog poo and still won.
So I’ve imported all my old Blogger.com stuff into WordPress, clear on back to September 2000. I spent a bit of time rejigging some of the inline images, titles (blogger didn’t export those) and links. Now you can read about the aliens landing, my daughter being born, and the exact moment I decided to collect what I collect. Anything beyond that lives on only in my hazy memory.
So Triple J had another one of their Hottest 100 of all time countdowns last week. I’m not all that keen on these “All time” themes. Triple J normally have a Hottest 100 for song released during the previous year but a couple times they’ve had an All Time countdown. Which is cool, because they don’t overdo it. Suzanne’s favourite radio station often has X Top Y songs, where Y is some awful theme, and X is in the hundreds or even thousands. They recently had a top “2400 love songs” countdown or somesuch and it went for a week. Good grief.
Anyhow, it turns out I already have 92 of these songs on my iPod, so it’s an easy task to make a playlist. I’m missing some. There’s a few I’ll admit I have never heard of and a few I wish I had. But there’s one song that will never make it’s way onto any iPod I own, ever. That song is John Lennon’s “Imagine”.
Why is this song such an abomination in my eyes (or ears)? Take a look at the lyrics to find out why:
Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Are you kidding me? I can’t imagine there being no heaven, and no loving God dwelling there awaiting our return. Well, yeah, I can imagine it but the world then becomes a pretty sucky place.
In the first “bridge”, I think you call it, he pretty much declares greed and hedonism is a pretty good idea. Do your own thing, don’t worry about tomorrow:
Imagine all the people
Living for today
Lennon goes on to attack nationalism and religion in the next verse:
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
The next bridge is OK, I guess. All the world living in peace isn’t all that bad. This line dilutes the rest of this insidious, repugnant song.
The rest of the song is about having no possessions, a new world order and one world government. I’ll leave it to the reader to research why abolition of property (or abolition of ownership), and socialistic/communistic ideas are bad. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for nothing to kill and die for. I’m all for no hunger and a brotherhood sharing all the world in peace. But there is no earthly power which can govern the entire world correctly.