Archive for January, 2010

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Videos of Note: Perspectives

January 21, 2010

Okay, I’m being lazy today … so much I ought to write about, but I’ll just post “‘Me, too!’ like some brain-dead AOL-er.”


Perspective via a sort of palindrome. (Brought to my attention by Paul Weston.)


Homeschoolers versus the Home-Schooled.


The Known Universe: In Persepctive.

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Halo Warthog Cake

January 16, 2010

Nichelle has been experimenting with making custom cakes for the kid’s birthdays. Like most things she attempts, she’s done great right out of the box. She invented some cool new techniques this time, and I was able to lend some engineering expertise.

Halo "Warthog" Cake, made by Nichelle
Halo “Warthog” Cake, made by Nichelle.


Halo “Warthog” Cake, made by Nichelle, with model for comparison.

Here's a ballerina cake Nichelle made for Naomi.

Here's a ballerina cake Nichelle made for Naomi.

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Non-Predictions for 2010:

January 12, 2010

Here are my non-predictions for 2010 (things that are guaranteed not to occur this year):

(1) Popular musicians will realize that Auto-Tune is a waste of time, and rather than sounding “cool,” they sound depressingly similar to every other Reggae-imitating popular musician on the planet. Complex harmonies and skill will mark a new breed of popular musicians.

(2) Political and religious debate, regardless of the slant or extremes of one’s viewpoints, will be thoughtfully and factually engaged in. Conspiracy theorists will look at the hard facts and science, and admit that they were completely wrong about everything from Obama’s birth location to the moon landings to 100,000-mile motor oil.

(3) Everyone filing taxes will check the box on his or her IRS return that reads, “Check here to donate $1 to the Presidential campaign fund.”

(4) Hillary Clinton will apologize for being unjustifiably rude to the student at whom she lashed out in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Rush Limbaugh will admit he is disgustingly pompous and makes conservatives look terrible. Jessie Jackson will promise he will never run for political office or try to get a peace treaty signed in the Middle East.

(5) Congress and the Senate will refuse to allocate pork into any legislation, and will account for every line of every regulation passed, determining to do what is right for the country as a whole.

(6) Peter Ruckman will unequivocally recommend the ESV for adults, and the NLT for younger children.

(7) Hollywood will create films, rather than remake them.

(8) The American legal system will espouse justice; the guilty will be appropriately punished, and the innocent freed. Nuisance and other patently ridiculous lawsuits or compensation claims will be declined by every lawyer who is presented with one, regardless of the fee offered or potential winnings.

(9) NASA will be given more money than the combined budgets of the film industry.

(10) Palestine will be given an independent state; in return, the Palestinian Authority will effectively police its own charges, and terrorist attacks on Israel will cease.

(11) Apple will slash prices on all its products, and open its operating system to run on virtually any computer. Steve Jobs will announce, “Yes, our products are good, but you people are stupid to pay so much for them.”

(12) Massachusetts drivers will become polite and demure.

(13) Soccer will replace American football as the most popular American sport, as millions of American football fans realize that watching an hour of commercials and another hour of people walking around doing nothing is not nearly as exciting as a real game in which the clock never stops.

(14) Sports fans will no longer claim participation in, nor credit for, their favorite teams’ victories. (“We” will not win or lose.)

(15) Americans will stop whining, and realize just how fabulous a country we have. Further, they will universally take an active part in its politics, and realize that political and community participation and individual responsibility should occur far before and in far greater degree than complaining.

(16) StarCraft II will be released. (Just kidding … I think.)

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Jurassic Park Reality: Extinct Ibex Resurrected by Cloning

January 6, 2010

From an article in The Daily Telegraph:

Using DNA taken from … skin samples [preserved in liquid nitrogen], the scientists were able to replace the genetic material in eggs from domestic goats, to clone a female Pyrenean ibex, or bucardo as they are known. It is the first time an extinct animal has been cloned.

Young Spanish ibex (Capra pyrenaica), Sierra de Gredos, Spain  Photo: Jose Luis GOMEZ de FRANCISCO/naturepl.com

Young Spanish ibex (Capra pyrenaica), Sierra de Gredos, Spain Photo: Jose Luis GOMEZ de FRANCISCO/naturepl.com

Just seven of the embryos resulted in pregnancies and only one of the goats finally gave birth to a female bucardo, which died a seven minutes later due to breathing difficulties, perhaps due to flaws in the DNA used to create the clone.

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Space: Video

January 5, 2010

In 2029, the 900-foot asteroid Apophis, will miss Earth by only about 18,000 miles. To put that in contrast, the moon is an average of 238,857 miles away, center-to-center, or about 234,000 miles surface-to-surface. (The moon, of course, has a slightly elliptical orbit, so that’s just an average.) If that doesn’t set up the right mental image, take a look at the animation below, from an article on Wired Science.

Below you’ll see some beautiful video compiled from the STS-129 mission launch. (STS stands for space transportation system, and is the designation for NASA’s own Space Shuttle.

STS-129 Ascent Video Highlights from mike interbartolo on Vimeo.

STS-129 video highlights as compiled by the SE&I imagery team here at JSC from all of the ground, air, ET and SRB assets.