Thursday, August 30, 2012

Two Planets ... Two Stars

Two Planets ... Two Stars: Nasa Detects Strange New Solar System (And One Of The Planets Occupies The Life-Supporting 'Goldilocks Zone') -- Daily Mail

* First time that planets have been seen orbiting a two-star system
* 'Theorists will be going back to the drawing board to improve our understanding of how planets are assembled'

Nasa has announced the discovery of a solar system which is home to not one, but two stars.

The Kepler solar system, 4,900 light-years away from Earth, has two stars - called a binary system - orbiting each other in a cosmic dance.

What makes this discovery exciting is the discovery of two planets circling the system - and one of them inhabits the so-called 'Goldilocks Zone', where the planet is the right distance ('not too hot, not too cold') to support liquid water and potentially support life.

Before today, it was unknown whether planets could form around a two-star system.

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My Comment
: Another mystery solved.

How One U.S. Navy Captain Used A Creative Way To Provide For His Family If He Died

Neil Armstrong Couldn't Afford Life Insurance, So He Used A Creative Way To Provide For His Family If He Died -- Business Insider

After all the danger, glory, and fame it's easy to forget that at the end of the day astronauts are federal employees subject to the same General Schedule (GS) pay scale as everyone from typists to CIA agents.

Unfortunately, a federal salary wasn't enough for Apollo 11 astronauts to purchase life insurance.

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My Comment: A small confession .... as a stamp collector, I would pay $5,000 for such a signed postcard.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

How Tall Can Buildings Get?

Is There a Limit to How Tall Buildings Can Get? -- The Atlantic

The race is always on. Within the span of just two years, the world's tallest building was built three times in New York City – the 282.5-meter Bank of Manhattan in 1930, the 319-meter Chrysler Building in a few months after, and then 11 months later the 381-meter Empire State Building in 1931. The era of architectural horse-racing and ego-boosting has only intensified in the decades since. In 2003, the 509-meter Taipei 101 unseated the 452-meter Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur after a seven-year reign as the world's tallest. In 2010, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai far surpassed Taipei 101, climbing up to 828 meters. Bold builders in China want to go 10 meters higher later this year with a 220-story pre-fab tower that can be constructed in a baffling 90 days. And then, in 2018, the Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (below, right) will go significantly farther, with a proposed height of at least 1,000 meters.*

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My Comment: It seems that money is the biggest limitation.

Hover 'Bike' Flies On Pilot's Intuition

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Remembering Neil Armstrong

Neil Armstrong Dead At 82: First Man To Walk On The Moon Passes Away Following Heart Surgery, 43 Years After Giant Leap For Mankind -- Daily Mail

* Former astronaut Neil Armstrong captained Apollo 11 mission to the moon
* He and fellow NASA astronaut Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin spent nearly three hours on lunar surface
* Served in U.S. Navy in Korean War and flew 78 missions during combat
* After lunar landing, took worldwide tour with Apollo 11 crew and met Queen Elizabeth II during 38-day journey
* Famously stayed out of public view following moon landing; friends said he had no interest in becoming a novelty

Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, has died at the age of 82, after suffering complications from heart surgery, his family said in a statement.

Earlier this month, the former NASA astronaut had undergone heart surgery.

He famously uttered the quote moments after setting foot on the lunar surface: ‘That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.’

Read more .....

More News On The Death Of Neil Armstrong

Neil Armstrong, first man to step on the moon, dies at 82 -- Washington Post
Space legend Neil Armstrong dies -- CNN
First Man to Set Foot on Moon Dies at 82 -- Voice of America
Neil Armstrong, US astronaut, dies aged 82 -- The Telegraph
Neil Armstrong, first man to walk on the moon, dies at age 82 -- The Guardian
Tributes pour in for 'man on the moon' Armstrong -- AFP
Man on the moon: moment of greatness that defined the American century -- The Guardian
Remembering Neil Armstrong, A Man of Profound Skill and Preternatural Calm -- Time
Armstrong’s small step a giant leap for humanity -- Washington Times/AP
Neil Armstrong, 1930-2012 -- John Steele Gordon, Commentary
One small step for man, or a man? Armstrong said his famous words from the moon were misquoted -- Washington Post/AP
What happened to NASA’s pioneering astronauts? -- Washington Times/AP

My Comment: After spending the past 2 days camping in the woods .... I fire up my computer to see what is happening in the world .... everything then becomes a blur except this story .... and then an overwhelming sense of loss knowing that something is now gone forever.

I was nine years old when I saw him walk on the moon .... becoming one of those grainy black and white childhood images that has always stuck with me. Over the years he then became the symbol (at least to me) of not what man is .... but what man is capable of doing .... and now he is gone and the world is a lesser place because of it. But I take comfort that even though he is gone .... as long as history books are written .... he will always be remembered as the first man to walk on a different celestial body .... and the first man to look at the earth from a perspective that no one had ever looked at before.