:: Saturday, March 29, 2003 ::
Web Of Government
I saw a new Indiana license plate today, and at the bottom, it actually has, the way many states have the county name, the Web site for the state, www.IN.gov. That's just kind of weird, and means the Internet is now officially no longer hip. Kind of sad, really.
:: David 8:49 PM [+] ::
Eye In The Sky
Shuttles in orbt will be photographed by satellites on future flights, per O'Keefe.
:: David 9:38 AM [+] ::
Coming Tuesday on DVD are The Beatles Anthology, a new West Side Story, and season two of Deep Space Nine.
(This past week saw Who Framed Roger Rabbit and the first season of Futurama, which I may end up getting.)
:: David 9:30 AM [+] ::
Hello, Darkness My Old Friend
Another strip chosen just 'cause it's celebrating its anniversary today. That said, nighttime strips were one of the great innovations of Hatbag. If we ever started a new strip, it should be called, "Things That Keep You Up At Night," and consist only of two people talking on dark panels. Hey... that's actually a pretty good idea!
:: David 9:13 AM [+] ::
:: Friday, March 28, 2003 ::
Lain and I used to play this game where we would go to a video rental place and go through the pre-viewed movie bins, putting together two or three (or more) videos so that their titles form one continuous idea. For example, one of the classics was "'Twelve Monkeys' 'Grease' 'Tarzan.'"
It's also funny with this occurs naturally at your local movie theater, which it does with amazingly regularity. Almost any time you go see a movie, the theater owners have unintentionally juxtapositioned two titles with at least semi-amusing results.
This morning, when I opened my browser to the Apple-Netscape homepage it defaults to, among the listing of trailers I could watch was this jewel, "What A Girl Wants: The Hulk In America."
(I just checked my local movie listing as Fandango to see if they had any good ones, but they list the movies alphabetically, so that cuts down on the potential. They best they had was "Piglet's Big Movie Spirited Away The Core.")
:: David 9:10 AM [+] ::
Ah, sweet eMac
This post is the first done on my new eMac at work. A very nice little machine if I do say so myself.
:: David 1:16 PM [+] ::
You Must Fight The Python
Lain requested that I post this here. Consider it done.
I wonder if the Python she fought was Eric Idle or John Cleese. I'm assuming it wasn't Terry Gilliam, or she'd still be petrified.
:: David 10:02 AM [+] ::
:: David 9:55 AM [+] ::
Whooo, Here's Spock
Leonard Nimoy will be in Huntsville Thursday for the Von Braun Memorial Dinner. Tickets were $125, but it's too late to register anyway. Sorry.
:: David 9:39 AM [+] ::
Remember, since blogs are cool, you know you can always turn to me to find out what else is cool, since I have a blog.
:: David 9:35 AM [+] ::
Skip to Ed Lu
Edward Lu, a member of the ISS Expedition 7 crew that will launch next month (shhh... it's a secret he's part of it, don't tell anybody [again, to me, the single best argument ever against the Moon hoax is that there is no way on Earth NASA would have been able to keep a secret for 35 years]) has a home page.
Some of the info has been updated to reflect post-Columbia changes, other has not.
:: David 9:30 AM [+] ::
Since his name popped up a couple of times yesterday, I thought I'd include this article today:
Was Gagarin killed?
:: David 9:25 AM [+] ::
While analysis work will not begin until this weekend, the process of copying the data from the tape on Columbia's flight data recorder has shown that the signal on the tape is very strong, and the tapes appear to contain information not received through telemetry communications, according to Space.com.
:: David 9:18 AM [+] ::
"Quit Your Jobs And Invetigate Dark Streaks"
According to Space.com, there is growing support for the belief that there is currently flowing liquid water on the surface of Mars, and that it may be supporting microbial life.
:: David 9:15 AM [+] ::
Fear the Power of Flash
According to NewsAskew, the animated Clerks movie is moving ahead.
:: David 9:08 AM [+] ::
The Dark Knight returns?
:: David 9:06 AM [+] ::
New Favorite Question
:: Thursday, March 27, 2003 ::
All right, my new favorite question from my e-mail is, "Dear NASA, how does science work?"
I'm tempted to write back with just one word: "Magic."
:: David 8:48 AM [+] ::
As with all of my blog, this is just Dave's personal opinion, and in no way reflects the opinion of NASA as a whole.
That said, you know how Buzz Aldrin made the news a while back by punching the guy that did the Moon hoax special for accosting him? Ed Mitchell had to physically throw that same guy out of his house.
So here's my idea. They should have a big convention, once a year, where all of the remaining living moonwalkers get together. And anybody who doesn't believe we went to the Moon can go to the convention and have some sense slapped into them by a bunch of septagenarians. I don't know if it would help the Moon hoaxers much, but it would help me a lot.
:: David 3:06 PM [+] ::
Business Week and The Baltimore Sun have both come out with criticisms of Apple's appointment of Gore to its Board of Directors, saying, to put it nicely, there's not much he can offer as a board member...
Perhaps he could help with environmental concerns? Or offer advice on how to make it look like you've won with a smaller market share?
:: David 1:36 PM [+] ::
Questions, questions, questions
I'm in the process of trying to make a very small dent in the backlog of questions I've gotten at the Liftoff and NASA Kids site, and some of these are just great. One person asks when someone will come out with a book about the Space Shuttle, another asks me to please stop the war, and another asks me to explain the existance of the solar system ("In the beginning, the Earth was without form, and void...").
My personal favorite so far, though: "Can I see the Earth up close?"
:: David 1:28 PM [+] ::
The Blue Angels are flying around our building.
:: David 12:48 PM [+] ::
At Your Age...
What kids need nowadays is more self-esteem.
:: David 12:47 PM [+] ::
"What you see is real. I am really that high."
:: David 10:47 AM [+] ::
The two-person Expedition 7 crew will launch for the International Space Station on board a Soyuz from Russia's Baikonur cosmodrome on April 26 at 9:50 a.m. CST.
:: David 10:46 AM [+] ::
Sony is working to try and put robots in people's homes.
In other news, Terminator 3 will be released this summer.
:: David 10:40 AM [+] ::
Right Stuff SE Update
Sorry, don't mean to get carried away about this DVD, it's just that each announcement has gradually better information.
CollectSpace has more details on what exactly will be in the Special Edition features.
:: David 10:37 AM [+] ::
Today In History
The first man in space, Yuri Gagarin, died 35 years ago today in an airplane crash.
:: David 10:35 AM [+] ::
This Week On NASAexplores
The two new stories at NASAexplores this week deal with MISSE, the first experiment to be performed on the OUTSIDE of the International Space Station, investigating how materials hold up in the harsh environment of space, and with microgravity flame research, which has discovered that in space, just about everything we know about fire is wrong.
:: David 10:31 AM [+] ::
I mentioned earlier that Enterprise would be used in the Columbia investigation. Reuters posted an interesting article late yesterday explaining exactly how. Wing material from Enterprise, roughly the same age as the corresponding material from Columbia, will have pieces of foam shot at it with a compressed-gas gun. Even if she never launched, it's kind of cool that Enterprise is still making contributions well over two decades after being grounded.
:: David 10:25 AM [+] ::
According to Nature, there may be five times as much water on the Moon as was previously believed.
Perhaps we should go find out?
:: David 10:18 AM [+] ::
This one doesn't really tie in with anything; I just like it.
:: David 10:13 AM [+] ::
Here's some cool pictures taken by the Hubble of an "erupting" star.
:: David 10:05 AM [+] ::
The CAIB is gradually approaching an answer to the question of what happened to Columbia. Spaceflight Now today has an article that pretty effectively summarizes what is know at this point, and what investigators believe likely happened to the Shuttle.
Further supporting the foam theory, it was announced today that CAIB investigators found flaws in the foam on one of the "spare" ETs at Michoud.
:: David 10:03 AM [+] ::
Meet The Astronauts
For the lady I ranted about in here a while back who complained that she didn't know anything about current astronauts, and that it was somehow NASA's fault, presumably because we don't spam people with astronaut biographies, here's a new feature that may or may not be ongoing in my blog. Of course, it won't actually do that lady any good, unless of course she runs searches on the Internet for herself as lady complain didn't know about astronauts. And, of course, Google crawls my blog so doing a search works.
My coworker, JoCasta, is currently in Philadelphia representing NASAexplores like we did recently in San Francisco. However, unlike S.F., where we had our own booth that was half of a limited NASA presence at the convention, in Philly, JoCasta is working in a large NASA section representing a wide variety of agency education programs. In the booth with her are NASA education head Adena Loston, and Educator Astronaut program heads Debbie Brown and Leland Melvin.
Leland Melvin is an astronaut candidate who was selected at the same time as Barbara Morgan (who will be at the Philly convention later on) in 1998. While he's awaiting being assigned to his first flight, he's working on the EA program, guiding the process that will lead to the selection of teachers to become astronauts. Melvin is a little unconventional compared to how people think of contemporary astronauts--engineers and physicists who wore white lab coats prior to space suits. While that's true of Leland as well, most people don't associate that with also being a professional football player. His honors include both an Invention Disclosure Award for Lead Insensitive Fiber Optic Phase Locked Loop Sensor and being named an NCAA Division I Academic All American.
During EA presentations, Melvin is a great spokesperson for the agency, coming across with great energy and excitement when he talks about spaceflight, though he's not yet been up, himself. JoCasta said he's the same way in person, very nice and charismatic. He even talked with her about Lasik surgery (Jo can't apply for the Educator Astronaut program because she had Lasik surgery. Leland said that requirement may change, they just haven't done enough testing yet [apparently the concern is that the back of the eye is weakened by the surgery, and the eye could suffer significant damage [pop!] during the pressures associated with liftoff and landing]).
So there you go, info about an astronaut. Now, when he is selected to fly, you'll be able to tell people that you'd heard about him back when he was still just a candidate.
:: David 9:53 AM [+] ::
An Entertaining Comic
:: Wednesday, March 26, 2003 ::
Man, somewhere amongst the readership/writership of the this blog is more than enough resources to do this. In all seriousness, anybody that would be interested in working together on this, let me know. We could form our own Ultimate Marvel Team-Up. I'm already halfway through the script for my big Secret Wars of the Gods crossover series. It can't miss.
For more info, go here.
:: David 9:28 AM [+] ::
Bear Is Driving! How Can This Be?!
DeeDee introduced me to the world of Strong Bad, which some of the Brak fans in the audience may enjoy. There's actually a series of Web short features that go with this part, but the Strong Bad e-mails are often hilarious.
In this one, he explains anime.
:: David 6:45 PM [+] ::
Up in the sky
So, how would you make Superman take off?
(And who would be your ideal cast and crew?)
:: David 5:11 PM [+] ::
In A Land Before Time...
Joe's comment below reminded me of this, the funniest movie trailer ever.
:: David 2:46 PM [+] ::
Today In History
The first movie projector was patented on this day in 1895.
:: David 12:44 PM [+] ::
NASA's SLI page has a series of animations showing different possible concepts for the Orbital Space Plane. While these are all completely hypothetical, they're still kind of cool.
:: David 10:53 AM [+] ::
I'm greatly amused by the argument that's been flying around that freedom of speech means that you can't not buy Dixie Chicks albums or not go to their concerts because you disagree with something they said. I would be interested in knowing exactly how people who make that argument believe that the First Amendment is worded. That would be a darned difficult thing to codify.
:: David 10:07 AM [+] ::
Return To Flight Update
All of Michoud is now back in business.
:: David 9:54 AM [+] ::
The Black Hole
This is scientifically interesting, and yet the headline also sounds kind of dirty.
:: David 9:39 AM [+] ::
But they're going to show it to chimps before people...
The Right Stuff DVD will be out June 10. More details are here. This has real potential.
:: David 9:32 AM [+] ::
It occured to me yesterday that since I had the item in my blog about Clonaid, I should have linked to this strip. So I'm doing it today.
:: David 9:28 AM [+] ::
Battle Royale (With Cheese)
So, what exactly would happen if Bad, Bad Leroy Brown decided to Mess Around With Jim?
:: David 9:25 AM [+] ::
Huntsville, we have a movie
:: Tuesday, March 25, 2003 ::
According to yesterday's Huntsville Times, Apollo 13 is coming soon to the dome Imax theater at the Space and Rocket Center here. What soon is, it didn't say.
:: David 9:24 AM [+] ::
Technology is your friend
OK, I'm sitting at my PC at my desk at work, listening to music on Lain's harddrive on his Mac in Athens. That's just kind of cool.
:: David 4:17 PM [+] ::
Maybe they're right, or maybe the aliens just hate cats.
:: David 3:50 PM [+] ::
Perhaps in all of history, there has been no one better at explaining scientific principles than Calvin's Dad.
:: David 1:50 PM [+] ::
Feel The Love
DeeDee had this posted on her blog, noting that, yeah, she feels this way sometimes, too.
I kind of do, except that I dislike people in the abstract, also.
:: David 1:11 PM [+] ::
Adama would be proud
Starbucks will be opening a free-standing shop soon in Arkansas, one of the last states currently without one.
Phase Two begins soon.
:: David 10:12 AM [+] ::
Clone Wars update
Clonaid has released a great picture of their third cloned baby. With evidence like this on their side, who can doubt them? Plus, they said they're going to come forward soon with some evidence showing that the baby is, in fact, a clone. No, really, they mean it this time. Honest.
:: David 10:09 AM [+] ::
Just another way that DVDs are making the world a safer place.
:: David 9:48 AM [+] ::
The hand-cleaned tape from Columbia's flight data recorder is being shipped to Kennedy Space Center today, where it will be copied and engineers will begin the process of analyzing whatever data may be present, according to Spaceflight Now.
:: David 9:41 AM [+] ::
We still don't have to talk about the Matrix
According to NewsAskew, the guy that did the phony Morpheus voice in the Clerks cartoon was tapped to do a voice in the Animatrix short, "Final Flight Of The Osiris."
:: David 9:36 AM [+] ::
Here's a tiny bit of news about Indiana Jones IV.
:: David 9:30 AM [+] ::
I'm a happy, happy man.
As of like five minutes ago, I now have a Mac on my desk at work.
It's an eMac, which I've never used before. Beyond that, I don't know any specs, since it's not hooked up yet. Even though I could have had it running four minutes ago, I have to just let it sit there until ODIN (the NASA computer people) come and set it up (One ODIN guy brought it, but another has to come back and set it up). Argh.
That said, it's not actually mine. It was ordered for one of my co-workers, who does a lot of network maintenance stuff, particularly streaming video. He needed a Mac to be able to check compatability issues with what he was doing, but didn't have any room for it. I, being the team player that I am, made the sacrifice of offering to store it on my desk. That's just the sort of generous guy I am.
So now I'm just praying for ODIN to return soon.
:: David 9:27 AM [+] ::
:: Monday, March 24, 2003 ::
NASA recently held a two-day summit on the Shuttle Life Extension Program, designed to figure out how to best make improvements to the Space Shuttle to keep the fleet flying safely for another 15 to 20 years (or more).
This is one of O'Keefe's policies that came under heavy criticism, which has only increased since the loss of Columbia. For years and years, NASA has been working on a successor to the Space Shuttle, thus far with little to show for it. While O'Keefe didn't stop that effort entirely, he did push it way down the priority list. Basically, it was a huge investment, it showed little return (much of the technology proposed for next-generation shuttles was proving to be not particularly mature), and it wasn't necessary. We already have a Shuttle that has life left in it, we don't need another now.
I fully support O'Keefe's decision, though I would likely go another step further. To me, the question is less "when" NASA needs another Shuttle, but "if" it does. The Shuttle is useful for its original purpose, building the International Space Station. But the Station should be largely finished within the lifespan of the current fleet. It's useful as an orbiting microgravity science lab, but the Station has the potential to be far better at it. The Shuttle is useful for ferrying people to and from Low Earth Orbit (LEO), but the Orbital Space Plane being developed now will be able to do that. So essentially the Shuttle becomes a heavy launch vehicle, a less-powerful Saturn V with return capability.
So why do we need to build a deluxe LEO cargo truck?
In my opinion, what we need to be working on now (or at least in the time frame we would have been working on a next-gen RLV), is something with new capabilities--something to get us out of LEO. Maybe even something that GOES somewhere. But, as usual, they never as me.
:: David 9:22 AM [+] ::
All You Vader-Haters
For anyone who's not yet seen it, "We Got Death Star".
:: David 11:28 PM [+] ::
Hatbag sweatshirts are now on sale at the hatbag store.
:: David 9:11 PM [+] ::
Based on the title, I was really hoping that this site was the antithesis of my blog.
:: David 9:02 PM [+] ::
It turns out Rodney Crouther is alive. I'd not heard from Rodney, another member of the best Daily Mississippian staff ever, for quite some time, and so was glad to hear that he's still out there, somewhere.
Of my comments about the Oscars, Rodney sent me an e-mail asking if I had forgotten everything he taught me.
In reply, I offer this, my final column from Ole Miss (the uncredited advice is from Rodney).
:: David 8:35 PM [+] ::
Country at War
OK, one of the cool side-benefits of this war is the growing hostilities it's invoking in country singers. I've never been a big country music fan, but it's kind of cool getting to take sides in the big country battle. By now, everyone has heard about Dixie Chick Natalie Maines telling a European audience that she was ashamed to be from the same state as Bush. So, now, at a Toby Keith concert in Huntsville last night, Keith blasted Maines, putting up a photo of her and Hussein. Which is just turnabout, since Maines had called Keith's "The Angry American" song and his listeners ignorant. Frankly, I'm hoping this escalates into widespread hostilities and violence in the country music industry, which finally tears it apart.
:: David 8:16 PM [+] ::
According to the commentary track by Nimoy and Shatner on the Star Trek IV DVD, my favorite line in the movie, "Doctor gave me a pill I grew a new kidney," was actually improvised on set during shooting, as was the whole bit with "I love Italian, and so do you."
Since some of the guards on the U.S.S. Enterprise and medical personnel at the hospital in the movie were people who did those jobs in real life, what if that lady was really a patient at the hospital, and to get an effective performance from her, they told her the doctor gave her a pill and she grew a new kidney? That would have been sad, even if she wasn't being treated for kidney-related problems.
:: David 7:55 PM [+] ::
According to Richie, this strip is actually correct.
:: David 9:27 AM [+] ::
Well, Chicago won best picture at the Oscars last night. Interestingly, considering how seriously I used to take the Academy Awards, I have no commentary on this, and haven't even seen Chicago (in fact, LOTR:TT was the only nominee I saw this year).
:: David 9:09 AM [+] ::
:: Sunday, March 23, 2003 ::
New Mexico's legislature has approved Extraterrestrial Culture Day, which I have to say that I have a serious problem with.
I mean, the very name implies that all extraterrestrials share one culture, which is just ludicrous. Someone needs to start a campaign to make New Mexico end its narrowmindedness and embrace nonhuman multiculturalism.
:: David 8:57 AM [+] ::
Let's Roll Out
I had heard about this before, but it's still cool.
:: David 10:51 PM [+] ::
For perhaps the first time in history, also in today's Parade magazine, Marilyn Vos Savant said something I agreed with. Asked her thoughts about the Columbia disaster, Vos Savant wrote, "I think the program should continue as long as astronauts are willing to take the risk. In my opinion, those of us who are less courageos should not intervene on their behalf. Bravery is a beautiful thing, and I wouldn't want to discourage it. Spaceflight isn't a daredevil sport with no reward; it's an endeavor undertaken on behalf of science and our country."
(Normally, I agree with these people about Marilyn.)
:: David 6:31 PM [+] ::
According to Parade magazine, Clinton says he has partial hearing loss from too much loud music.
:: David 6:23 PM [+] ::
I'm easily impressed, but this is a cool invention.
:: David 6:22 PM [+] ::
Movies have the Oscars tonight, and we have these.
:: David 9:16 AM [+] ::