The Rovers still rove August 28, 2007Posted by truthspew in All Things Considered, iTunes, last.lfm, Mars, music, NASA, npr, Opportunity, robotics, rovers, Spirit, Steve Squyres.
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Some good news from NASA regarding the Mars Rovers.
I still find it amazing that those rovers were only supposed to be on the surface of Mars for 90 sols (Martian Days). They’ve now been up for 1,271 sols, or 14.1 times longer than they were supposed to be active.
Those rovers are a testament to engineering at its very best. It is nice to see that it still exists somewhere in the U.S. and NASA still pulls it off.
What I can’t imagine is the excess data being sent by the rovers. They had their hands full with 90 sols of info, now they’ve got much more than that. While the Viking landers may have found life, the rovers Opportunity and Spirit may help us get a much more focused picture of what that life on Mars actually happens to be.
So kudos to NASA and Steve Squyres on the re-starting of the rovers. For a while there I thought all was lost but it isn’t.
Things you learn from Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me June 30, 2007Posted by truthspew in Boston Tea Party, Burning of the Gaspee, Grover Norquist, history, hypnotism, Lee Arnold, Nathaniel Greene, npr, Project Management, reading list, telephone, Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me.
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I get the podcast for Wait Wait… Don’t Tell me and listen to it on my way to work, or walking around, or just assuming horizontal position and laughing out loud at the funny bits, which is most of the show.
When listening to it on the way to work or walking around I’m prone to sudden bits of laughter. But today I actually learned something. Apparently in certain parts of Britain it is customary to kiss people full on the lips as greetings.
I didn’t know that but then it got me to thinking. Many parts of what is now the UK were once Roman outposts. And the kiss on the lips thing is definitely Roman in origin.
As I study the Italian language and more about the culture I’m constantly reminded of one common theme. Living life to the fullest is what it’s all about for most Italians. I see a strong streak of that in myself and I’m only half Italian. I love life, I love life, good food, good wine, good beer. I love the sunshine, I love absorbing all I can about a subject.
Speaking of that – I like to walk. I do so pretty much everywhere in the city and notice things that I hadn’t seen before. Today I was up where North Main St merges with Benefit St right near Olney St. Sitting on the corner of the University Heights complex is a fairly large tree and I’d never before noticed the plaque at the base of the tree.
That is the Liberty Tree, planted on July 25th, 1768. Yes, RI was out there on the liberty and independence thing a little less than eight years before the Declaration of Independence was signed by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776.
Of course it isn’t the original tree – this one was planted to commemorate it in 1968. But still, it’s pretty cool to live in the birthplace of the modern Democratic movement. Sure, Massachusetts may have been the bigger star, but some pretty damned important stuff happened in Rhode Island too. For example, there was the Burning of the Gaspee which predated the Boston Tea Party. We also gave Nathaniel Greene to the country.
Sheesh – here I was thinking about the little history lesson Wait Wait had given me, and here I am giving one.
Atheist Brigade on NPR December 17, 2006Posted by truthspew in All Things Considered, atheism, npr.
Oh my, this is good. All Things Considered has published the podcast of their show “Atheist Brigade Takes Arguments to the Tolerant”.
One of the initial quotes in the piece says that Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris wield logic like a bludgeon. A delightful way of saying that both are strident atheists.
Of course an earlier quote says that the new Atheist Brigade uses reason and ridicule, mostly ridicule. Of course religion is ridiculous, how can anyone not see that it is?
Look, belief in a sky fairy is ridiculous. It abdicates responsibility for self.