Only photograph of Neil Armstrong on the moon

Posted by on July 19, 2015 in Education, NASA Space stuff, Space Travel | 0 comments

Only photograph of Neil Armstrong on the moon

On this, the 46th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, take note of the following space oddity: For all of the beautiful photos from man’s first walk on the moon, interestingly enough there exists but a single still photo of Neil Armstrong on his historic walk. One of his duties was to take photos while Buzz Aldrin set out the experiments. Armstrong of course, is visible in the relatively poor television from the lunar surface, in some movie footage and a reflection off of Aldrin’s helmet visor, but no actual direct still...

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W. M. Keck Observatory Launches App KeckWatch

Posted by on July 17, 2015 in Press Releases | 0 comments

W. M. Keck Observatory Launches App KeckWatch

Kamuela, Hawai‘i – Today, W. M. Keck Observatory launched a new smartphone app to stoke the curiosity and wonder of astronomy. KeckWatch was built by First Light Design – the makers of category definer Distant Suns – and offers mankind’s collected knowledge of the Cosmos on the screen of your iOS device. In addition to being able to easily identify stars and planets with both conventional and Hawaiian names, it offers a unique glimpse through the gigantic eyes of the Keck I and Keck II telescopes, the two largest and most scientifically...

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Weird Shuttle Crap in Mike’s Place

Posted by on June 9, 2015 in Education, Fun | 0 comments

Weird Shuttle Crap in Mike’s Place

The space shuttle’s cockpit layout would be instantly familiar to any airline pilot when it came to the many electro-mechanical displays that it used. With the “8-ball” attitude indicator and HSI, or Horizontal Situation Indicator, not to mention many other meters and gauges, the main control panel was gravid with intricate “old school” instruments. Starting in 1998 with Atlantis, the shuttles went through a period of cockpit upgrades to replace the mechanical displays and green-screen vector CRTs with colorful flat-screen video displays....

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Weird Crap in Mikes place

Posted by on April 25, 2015 in Fun | 0 comments

Weird Crap in Mikes place

Still more weird crap around Chez Mike. The most casual of space collectors go with the basics, that is, autographs of astronauts, mission patches, and maybe some of the paperweights that have small fragments of a document or insulation from one of the missions. The serious space collectors, the aging baby-boomers with a little extra cash in hand go after hardware. Leftover hardware or someone’s souvenirs collected by dad or grandparents who used to work for NASA in the early days, are a huge draw. At the top of the list you will find...

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Weird Crap in Mike’s Place: Twentieth Anniversary Mac

Posted by on March 25, 2015 in Essay, Fun | 0 comments

Weird Crap in Mike’s Place: Twentieth Anniversary Mac

It’s no secret that Apple has produced a number of oddball machines: the spasm-inducing Mac Portable, the original Color Mac, the eMate, and so on. Toss into this hodge-and-or-podge is the Twentieth Anniversary Mac, otherwise referred to as the “TAM.” The TAM was a boutique computer, designed by Sir Jony himself, and celebrated the 20th anniversary of Apple. Released in the spring of 1997, the TAM was initially priced at $7499, and was the first desktop Mac to use a flat screen. Using the PowerPC 603e, the TAM ran at a whopping 250 MHz and...

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My First Computer – the DIGI-COMP 1

Posted by on January 30, 2015 in Fun, Programming | 1 comment

My First Computer – the DIGI-COMP 1

Oftimes those of the computer nerd persuasion like to talk about how they got hooked by these “thinking machines.” The “kids” may talk about their first Macbook Pro. Senior kids will poo-poo that and mention their Gateway 2000, Mac LC or even the Apple IIGS. Othermore grizzled veterans will shake their collective heads and whisper “amateurs” followed boasting about their Woz-signed Apple II, Commodore 64 (The Coleco Adam guys just slip quietly out of the room when this discussion starts). Then there’s me. My first computer was a 3-bit...

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Confessions of a Global Warming Skeptic

Posted by on December 27, 2014 in Essay | 1 comment

Confessions of a Global Warming Skeptic

The predictions were dire. Scientists warned of crop losses that were sure to doom billions to starvation, entire countries would be wiped out and the seasons as we know them would all but vanish. As familiar as these headlines sound, they are not from Al Gore’s latest “documentary” but come from febrile writings scattered across 1890s on through the early 1930s. The enemy in this case was not global warm..I mean, climate change, but was instead global cooling. In the constant sniping of the global warm, er, climate change proponents against...

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Houston we have “Weird Crap” #6

Posted by on November 11, 2014 in NASA Space stuff | 0 comments

Houston we have “Weird Crap” #6

It’s no secret that I have a NASA obsession. That would be obvious the moment you step into World HQ for Global Domination, otherwise known as “my house.” The first WTF is a spacesuit seated in one of my otherwise nice Ethan-Allen chairs. Then there’s the large Soviet-made N1 model, and over in my TV room is something-really-cool-that-cost-more-than-a-Miata-but-not-immediately-recognizable-so-may-be-sold-for-something-else-cooler-looking-in-the-future. This comes from having grown up in the 60’s letting my older sister do the hippie-thing (we...

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Wheels of Clay – Stephen Hawking

Posted by on October 18, 2014 in Essay, Event | 0 comments

Wheels of Clay – Stephen Hawking

It’s no secret that Prof. Stephen Hawking is a “rock-star scientist”, as much as Einstein was in his day. Both have the reputation of being considered about the smartest people who’ve ever trod this veil of tears, even if only a few people can actually understand the substance of their contributions to science. Contributions which are substantial, whether understood or not by the public. Hawking’s reputation is naturally enhanced by his tragic physical condition. Having a disease that slowly eats away at one’s muscular control, rending his...

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Starmus, 2014

Posted by on October 1, 2014 in Event, NASA Space stuff, Observatory, Space Travel, Telescope | 1 comment

Starmus, 2014

I love my “job.” As one who deals in astronomy education it is my sworn duty to go to any odd corner of the world in search like-minded types. And so I undertook a torturous journey to Tenerife in the Canary Islands, owned by Spain but not too far to the east from Morocco. It was on these islands, that the first Starmus conference was held in 2011. The Canaries were chosen as the organizers live there and due to the large number of observatories that take advantage of the excellent seeing. The “mus” stands for music, and “Star” stands for…you...

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