Monday, January 16, 2017

Ilan Ramon, first Israeli astronaut, launches in 2003

Ilan Ramon, NASA's first Israeli astronaut, blasted off in the Space Shuttle Columbia January 16, 2003. Unfortunately, it would be his only mission, since just 16 days later, Ramon perished along with six fellow astronauts when the Columbia disintegrated upon re-entry.

His mother and grandmother were holocaust survivors, having survived Auschwitz.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Happy birthday, Andrea Martin!

Beautiful, talented and funny Andrea Martin, born January 15, 1947, is one of the funniest comediennes in the world today. She came to the attention of most American audiences during her time in Second City TV, Canada's version of Saturday Night Live. I loved her as Aunt Voula in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, but when she appeared in the Deep Space Nine episode of Family Business as Ishka, Quark's mother, I realized that I would worship her forever.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Happy birthday, Shannon Lucid!

Shannon Lucid, born January 14, 1943 in Shanghai, China, set a record for length of time in space and the longest time for an American woman (the only American woman) serving on the space station Mir.

Her record for longest stay in space held until 2007 when it was broken by another American woman, Sunita Williams.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Our environment is doomed...Sen. Inhofe endorses Pruitt for EPA leadership

I've had this clip in my draft folder for several days now and I have to get it out there.  Sen. James Inhofe, anti-science, has endorsed AG Scott Pruitt for heading the EPA. This is a disaster in the making.  I don't know what pull Inhofe has in the confirmation hearings for the EPA, but he is chair of the Senate Environment Committee.  The fox guarding the hen house.

In his speech, Inhofe said:

Pruitt has seen first-hand the abuses of power at the hands of this agency and has fought back to ensure environmental quality without sacrificing jobs.

What abuses?  Since its inception in 1970, the EPA has managed to lower harmful and toxic emissions from fuel-burning power plants.  The abuses will come at the hands of Pruitt, a global warming-denier, absolutely no background in environmental issues and a total disregard for the Earth.

Dr. Franklin Chang-Díaz, NASA's first Latin-American astronaut, launched 1986

Dr. Franklin Ramon Chang Diaz was the third Latin-American in space and NASA's first when he took off January 12, 1986 in the Space Shuttle Columbia.   He is of Chinese and Costa Rican ancestry, which has got to be a first somewhere.  I'm not sure the Chinese could come up with a mixture like that!

He is a veteran of 7 Space Shuttle flights which ties for the record.  His first mission landed 6 days after launch.  It was the last space shuttle mission for a long time, since the Challenger exploded just 10 days later.

He was inducted into the NASA's Astronaut Hall of Fame May 5, 2012.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Golden Frog: extinct- Global Warming casualty

Global warming claims another victim: the golden frog (or toad).  Last seen in 1989, this small amphibian lived in the mountaintop cloud forests but have been declared extinct due to drought caused by global warming, reports National Geographic.  The deadly fungus chytrid fungus, which has been allowed to propogate because of climate changes, is responsible for countless amphibians.

The golden toad is just one of those species to help keep insect populations in check, such as mosquitos.  Without them, mosquitos could flourish spreading deadly diseases.  Also, animals who feed on the frogs will disappear.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Venera 6, Soviet probe to Venus, launched 1969

The Venera 6 spacecraft, launched January 10, 1969 from the former Soviet Union, reached Venus May 17.  A parachute opened after the main capsule entered the atmosphere to slow the rate of descent. It sent out data every 45 seconds for 51 minutes. It stopped operating due to high temperature and pressure.