Friday, May 26, 2017

Sally Ride, first U.S. female astronaut, born 1951

Sally Ride, born May 26, 1951, was the first American woman and first known gay astronaut in space.  Her first mission was in June 1983 on STS-7, aboard Space Shuttle Challenger, the seventh flight of NASA's space shuttle program and the second for Challenger.

She returned to space in October 1984 on Challenger again, STS-41-G, the first mission to carry two women (Kathryn Sullivan) and the first EVA for a woman (Sullivan).

Ride was scheduled to go back to space on Challenger in 1986, STS-61-M, but the Challenger disaster in January 1986 cancelled that mission among many others.  Ride was selected as part of the panel to investigate the Challenger explosion.

She passed away July 23, 2012 of pancreatic cancer, survived by her partner of 27 years, Tam O'Shaughnessy.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Happy birthday, Klaus Meine! (The Scorpions)

Klaus Meine, lead singer of The Scorpions, was born May 25, 1948 in Hannover, Germany.  In 2006, Hit Parader ranked him #22 of Top Heavy Metal Vocalists of All Time.  Despite losing his voice in 1981, he came back and continues to sing with them.

My all-time favorite Scorpions song is The Zoo!

Skylab 2 - first manned mission to Skylab launched 1973

Joseph Kerwin, Pete Conrad, Paul Weitz

May 25, 1973, Commander Charles “Pete” Conrad, Jr., Science Pilot Joseph P. Kerwin and Pilot Paul J. Weitz blasted off in Skylab 2, the first manned mission to Skylab, which had been launched 11 days prior.  The unmanned portion was damaged during its May 14 launch.  The micrometeorite shield and one of its primary solar arrays tore loose during lift-off.  The other primary solar array, which was to keep the space station cool, was jammed.

Skylab crew had to train on repairing techniques before they could enter the station. Upon reaching the station, Weitz performed an EVA to unjam the solar array while Kerwin held onto his legs.  This did not work so they tried a hard dock to Skylab, but this failed as well, since the lathes did not work.  

After a total of eight attempts, Weitz and Kerwin performed another EVA and were successful at docking by disassembling parts of the station’s mechanism.  Then they deployed a collapsible parasol through the scientific airlock as a sunshade to cool the interior to livable levels. 

For almost a month, the crew continued to make repairs to Skylab, conduct medical experiments and gather scientific data.  They performed a final EVA to fix the stuck solar panel and increasing electrical power to the station.

They spent four weeks in space and returned to Earth June 22.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Pruitt's EPA to Ohio: F**k you!

The west end of Lake Erie on the Ohio side is experiencing an algae bloom and not for the first time.  In 2014, an outbreak of blooms contaiminated the tap water in Toledo for about 400,000 people.  The algae blankets the surface of the lake with ugly shades of green, which can last most of the summer.  Algae is toxic and is a health threat to people and wildlife.

And it is recurring more often since global temperatures are on the rise.  Algae reached record levels in 2015.  Ohio and Michigan have taken steps to reduce farm fertilizer runoff and municipal sewage overflows that feed the algae, but these measures have not been successful.

Last month, several environmental groups sued the EPA to make a decision and enforce tighter regulations for polluters.  Molly Flanagan, of the Alliance for the Great Lakes said "By any measure, western Lake Erie does not meet the Clean Water Act's standards of fishable, drinkable, and swimmable for significant portions of the year."

Monday, Pruitt's EPA said it would not declare Lake Erie's wasters "impaired".

A search of the EPA's website does not show any mention of the issue, but this shocks no one who has seen the direction the EPA has taken under Pruitt's administration.  Their silence on the matter is deafening.  One cannot imagine Pruitt taking any action against polluters, but it is no stretch of the imagination to think he ignored the science and data behind the studies.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Talequah businesses not accepting gov-issued Cherokee Nation IDs

Once again, Oklahoma proves it is a breeding ground of hatred, bigotry and racism.  Businesses in Talequah, Oklahoma are posting signs in windows stating they no longer accept the Cherokee Nation's ID cards.  A sign appeared at EZ Mart, which stated "state-issued identification or driver's licenses".  According to the article on, Buffalo Wild Wings and a local bar, Ned's, are also refusing the Cherokee Nation's ID card.

Cherokee Nation ID cards have been issued since 2012 and are government-issued.  This is nothing more than racism and hatred.

Way to go, Oklahoma.  We can't even go more than a day without becoming a global embarrassment.

Last episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation "All Good Things" airs 1994

On May 23, 1994, the last episode of one of the best shows on television ever aired.  Star Trek: The Next Generation, which had been on for seven seasons ended its run with "All Good Things".  Fortunately, it was the start of the movie run for the cast, who made 4 movies together.

The final episode brought back Lt. Yar and Chief O'Brien who had left the series earlier for different reasons.

They don't make them like they used to.  All good things...

Monday, May 22, 2017

Our children are doomed...Pruitt's EPA rejects banning harmful pesticide

Researchers at Columbia University began studying the effects of pollutants on pregnant mothers in low-income neighborhoods long ago but only two years into their study, they discovered that chlorpyrifos, a insecticide used to control bugs in homes for decades, caused brain damage in baby rats.  Scientists discovered that children born with comparatively higher levels of chlorpyrifos weighted less at birth.  Between ages 2-3, they were more likely to experience persistent developmental delays, including cognitive, motor and attention problems.  By the time they reached the age of 7, they had lower IQ scores.

Although the study did not prove definitely chlorpyrifos was the exact cause, it did find that the higher a child's exposure to the chemical, the worse effects.

After the initial results proved the brain damage in baby rats, the pesticide was removed from stores and banned from home use although it is utilized widely in agriculture spraying crops.  Ten years ago, environmental groups brought a petition seeking a complete ban on chlorpyrifos.

Scott Pruitt and his EPA have denied the petition stating there "continue to be considerable areas of uncertainty".  WTF?  He said the agency will make a final determiniation on the pesticide in 2022!  He also said the EPA was "returning to sound science in decision -making - rather than predetermined results".  Trumpsters, this is on you again!

How many children have to suffer brain damage or experience developmental problems before Pruitt is ousted?  Decades of exhaustive research do NOT constitute "pre-determined results" but if Pruitt used his brain, which he has shown conclusively he does not, he would understand that.  Of course, banning the pesticide would mean that Dow Agriculture, who praises the ruling, would have less money to line Pruitt's pockets.

So who cares if our children have lower IQs.  It's what Oklahoma has been striving for!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Happy birthday, Dusty Hill!

Dusty Hill, bassist for my guys ZZ Top, celebrates a birthday today.  Born in Dallas, May 19, 1949, he grew up in  the Lakewood area but ZZ Top was formed in Houston when he and Frank Beard moved there and met Billy Gibbons.

One of the best rock groups ever!

Billy Joel releases Turnstiles 1976

Billy Joel's fourth studio album, Turnstiles, was released May 19, 1976.  For whatever reason (Youtube and Wikipedia have different stories), Billy returned to his roots with a strong New York based album, recording in NYC and basing lyrics on the Big Apple.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Apollo 10 launches 1969

Apollo 10, the fourth manned mission in the Apollo program and the second to travel to the moon (Apollo 8 was the first), launched May 18, 1969.  The mission was a "dress rehearsal" for an actual landing on the moon by Apollo 11, two months later.

On board were Commander Thomas P. Stafford (from Oklahoma!), Command Module Pilot John W. Young, and Lunar Module Pilot Eugene A. Cernan.  The Command Module was given the nickname Charlie Brown and the Lunar Module was dubbed Snoopy.

During the descent stage in the Lunar Module (Snoopy), the craft began to roll because Stafford and Cernan made duplicate commands in the computer.  Snoopy rolled over eight times before they brought it under control, just 2 seconds before crashing onto the moon's surface.

Also, the crew of Apollo 10 reported hearing strange music on the far side of the moon.  Some suggested aliens but most likely, it was interference between the lunar and command (Charlie Brown) modules.

Helen Sharman, first Briton in space 1991

Dr. Helen Sharman, a food chemist for Mars Company in England, answered a radio advertisement to be the first British astronaut, no experience required.

Who knew being an astronaut was a walk-on job?

A mere 18 months after being selected, Sharman blasted off with fellow cosmonauts Anatoly Artsebarsky and Sergei Krikalev in Soyuz TM-12 May 18, 1991.  She spent 8 days in space, conducting medical and agricultural experiments, taking pictures and talking on the radio to school children.  She returned on Soyuz TM-11 with cosmonauts Viktor Afanasyev and Musa Manarov.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

More Oklahoma schools closing, eliminating teachers, because the House cannot pass a budget

Once again, our fearless leaders in the Oklahoma House of Representatives rejects a revenue package that “would have injected $342 million into next year’s budget”.  The package would have given Oklahoma teachers a whopping $1000/year raise.  It would hardly make a difference to teachers but it is better than nothing.  However, since the package failed, teachers will get nothing.

Now, school districts across the state are forced to make more major cuts to their budgets.  Enid school board has slashed next year’s budget by $1.8M.  Tulsa plans to close three schools to cut $12M, by consolidating five schools and eliminating 37 teachers.  Woodward and Muskogee are eliminating summer school and reducing staff to save $1M.  Fort Gibson is delaying hiring due to a $400K reduction in their budget.

House Bill 2414 includes a provision for gross production tax on oil and gas wells, but it only applies to new wells and will not affect next year’s budget.  Other proposed tax hikes were on cigarettes and gasoline, putting the onus on Oklahoma citizens to fix the budget.

Nothing is changing.  Legislators are still more concerned about oil and gas, and not education and students.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Venera 5, Russian probe, lands on Venus 1969

Venera 5 entered the Venusian atmosphere May 16, 1969, just one day before its sister ship Venera 6 arrived. The Soviets had constructed Venera 5 and 6 to be more rugged, based on the data received from Venera 4.  Venera 5 was equipped with smaller parachutes although heavier than Venera 4 so it could enter the atmosphere quicker and send back more data.

Entering the dark side of the planet, Venera 5 successfully transmitted information on the Venusian atmosphere for 53 seconds before failing.

Monday, May 15, 2017

L. Frank Baum, author of "The Wizard Of Oz", born 1856

Lyman Frank Baum, born May 15, 1856, is best known by his pen name L. Frank Baum.  He is also well-known for his series of  books based on The Wizard of Oz, which included 18 novels altogether, the final three installments, The Magic of Oz (1919), Glinda of Oz (1920) and the Royal Book of Oz (1921) were published posthumously.

He passed away May 6, 1919 at age 62 after suffering a stroke and slipping into a coma the previous day.  Over a hundred years later, his legacy of The Wizard of Oz shows no sign of stopping.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Def Leppard releases "Slang" 1996

Not one of their best albums, Def Leppard released Slang May 14, 1996, but I really like the title song.  Their sixth studio album came after the band went through some hard times and it seems those troubles came through the recording.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Daphne du Maurier born 1907

Daphne du Maurier,  born May 13, 1907 in Cornwall, England, gave us some unforgettable novels of romance and suspense.  Among her best known are Rebecca and The Birds, both made into movies by Alfred Hitchcock.  Although she is reagarded as a romance novelist (which she did NOT like), her stories seldom had the "happily ever after" ending and were usually more somber.

She passed away in Cornwall her birth place, April 15, 1989.

Donna Summer releases "I Remember Yesterday" 1977

Donna Summer, disco queen diva of the universe, released her fifth studio album, I Remember Yesterday, May 13,  1977.  It opened with the title track which was an electronic mix of pop and 40's style music.  The last song was the heavy disco/dance track I Feel Love.

The album was certified Gold having sold at least 500,000 albums.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Star Trek: The Next Generation airs "The Host" 1991 - First appearance of the Trills

Star Trek: The Next Generation airedd "The Host", the 23rd episode of the 4th season, May 11, 1991.  It was the first appearance of the Trills, a race of symbiotic aliens, one of whom would become a major character in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Dax.

In TNG, Beverly Crusher is swept off her feet by Ambassador Odan (Franc Luz), who is on a diplomatic mission to settle a brewing situation between two moons of a planet.  One moon has found a way to tap into the magnetic fields of the mother planet to their immense benefit.  However, this new-found system is having a devastating effect on the second moon.  The moons are about to go to war so the home planet has brought in Ambassador Odan.

Deanna Troi senses strange things in Odan but cannot quite figure it out.  When Ambassador Odan is attacked, he is injured and the true nature of the Trill becomes apparent.  The symbiot can be saved but must be transferred to a new host immediately.  William Ryker is chosen to be the host, despite him not being a Trill.

All of  Odan's past lives are channeled into Will's memories and Odan (through Ryker) manage to resume their courtship.

The joining of Odan and Will takes its toll on Will's body but a replacement host from the Trill world arrives.  As Beverly prepares to meet the new  host, she is dissappointed to discover the new host is female.

As I mentioned before, Trills played a major part in the Deep Space Nine series with Jadzia Dax and Ezri Dax, along with appearances by many of their previous hosts.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Donna Summer releases "She Works Hard For The Money" 1983

Disco queen Donna Summer released She Works Hard for the Money, a single off of her eleventh studio album of the same name, May 10, 1983.  The album followed on June 13.  The single became her first Top 10 hit since 1979, and stayed at #1 on the R&B Charts for three weeks.  Donna was nominated for a Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

The song He's a Rebel won her the Grammy for Best Inspiration Performance.

The video for the title song is one of my all-time favorite videos.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Happy birthday, Billy Joel!

My man the Piano Man Billy Joel celebrates a birthday today!

Happy birthday, Megumi Odaka!

Cute and adorable Megumi Odaka, born May 9, 1972 in Japan, will always be known best as Miki Saegusa, the telepath in Godzilla movies.  She became the first actor/actress to portray the same character in more than one Godzilla film and she has the most recurring role in the franchise.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Pruitt fires half the scientists on EPA's science review board

Continuing his neanderthal promises, Scott Pruitt once again has set the EPA backwards and putting our global environment in jeopardy.  Today, he informed 9 of 18 scientists who sit on EPA's science review board that their 3-year terms will not be renewed.  The email they received said something about carrying out a "competitive nomination process" to find new members, instead of re-instating incumbents.  It remains to be seen, but it is suspected that Pruitt will replace them with representatives from the energy industry.

CNN also just posted about 2 hours ago that The Donald is expected to pull the U.S. from the Paris Climate Deal this week, claiming it is unfair to the U.S.  These moves are expected to pave the way for more restrictions to be lifted from the oil and gas industry.

Happy birthday, Arrow!

Super-sexy and superbuilt Stephen Amell, born May 8, 1981, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, plays superhero the Arrow/Oliver Queen.  He's played Arrow on The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Maiden voyage of Space Shuttle Endeavour launched 1992

Endeavour crew (L-R): Mission Specialist 4, Kathryn C. Thornton, Mission Specialist 2 Bruce E. Melnick, Mission Specialist 3 Pierre J. Thuot, Commander Daniel C. Brandenstein, Pilot Kevin P Chilton, Mission Specialist 5 Thomas D. Akers, Mission Specialist 1 Richard J. Hieb

Space Shuttle Endeavour, replacing the Columbia destroyed in 1986, launched on its first voyage May 7, 1992.  It was the first mission to have 3 astronauts performing EVAs simultaneously.  It was also the first space shuttle mission to have 4 EVAs.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Michael O'Hare born 1952

Actor Michael O'Hare, born May 6, 1952, is probably best known for his role as Commander Jeffrey Sinclair on Babylon 5 with Claudia Christian, Jerry Doyle, Andrea Thompson, Bill Mumy, Richard Biggs and Mira Furlan.  He had to leave the show after the first season due to his battle with illness.  He passed away September 28, 2012 from a heart attack.

Friday, May 5, 2017

First U.S. space flight Alan Shepard 1961

Alan B. Shepard became the first American in space when he flew on Freedom 7, launched May 5, 1961.  His flight lasted about 15 minutes, reaching an altitude of 115 miles and experiencing 5 minutes of weightlessness.  His historic flight  came less than a month after Russian Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Pointer Sisters debut album released 1973

Their debut album, self-titled the Pointer Sisters, was released May 1973.  It gave my girls hits such as Yes, We Can Can and Wang Dang Doodle.  It reached #13 on Billboard 200 was certified Gold in February 1974 by RIAA.

It is nigh impossible to stay still while listening to them rock out to Wang Dang Doodle!

Happy birthday, Randy Travis!

Country music super-star Randy Travis, born in North Carolina May 4, 1959 as Randy Bruce Traywick, was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2016.  Despite having suffered health issues in the past few years, he was able to perform "Amazing Grace" at his induction ceremony.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

My favorite movies 1980-1995

1980: The Empire Strikes Back

1980 (Runner-up): Airplane!

1981: Raiders of the Lost Ark

1982: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn

1982 (Runner-up): E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

1983: Return of the Jedi

1984 (Tie): Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

1984 (Tie): Amadeus

1984 (Honorable Mention): Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

1985: Real Genius

1986 (Tie): Aliens

1986 (Tie): Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

1987: Predator

1988: Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

1988 (Guilty Pleasure): Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood

1989 (Tie): Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

1989 (Tie): Steel Magnolias

1990: Home Alone

1990 (Guilty Pleasure): Tremors

1991 (Tie): Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

19991 (Tie):  Beauty and the Beast

1992: Aladdin

1993: Jurassic Park

1994 (Tie): Star Trek VII: Generations

1994 (Tie): Ed Wood

1995 (Tie): Toy Story

1995 (Tie): Apollo 13

1995 (Guilty Pleasure): Cutthroat Island

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Happy birthday, Hercule Poirot!

David Suchet, born May 2, 1945, is best known for his portrayal of Agatha Christie's super-sleuth Hercule Poirot.  He played the character from 1989 - 2013, making him an actor with one of the longest running characters on television.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Mercury Program Astronaut Scott Carpenter born 1925

Malcolm Scott Carpenter, born in Boulder, Colorado May 1, 1925, was one of seven original astronauts chosen for NASA's Project Mercury program in 1959.  He became the 4th American in space and the 2nd to orbit Earth, after John Glenn and the first to eat solid food in space.

This was his only flight as he received an injury from a motorcycle accident in 1963, which grounded him.  He was hospitalized in September 2013 after a stroke and passed away October 10, 2013 in Denver.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Happy birthday, Capt. Janeway!

Beautiful and talented Kate Mulgrew who won the hearts of many Trekkies as Captain Katheryn Janeway on Star Trek: Voyager, was born April 29, 1955 in Dubuque, Iowa.  In 1998, she won a Saturn Award (Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films) and a Golden Satellite for her work on Star Trek: Voyager.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Emergency! Save Oklahoma from science!

The congress of babboons in power in Oklahoma - oops, I apologize for that reference.  Babboons are far more intelligent than those morons - have passed Bill No. 393, which allows "teachers to help students analyze certain scientific strengths and weaknesses".  The bill goes on to say that it wants to encourage students to "develop critical thinking skills and respond appropriately and respectfully to differences of opinion about controversial issues."

According to Doc Hoc, previous versions of this bill listed evolution and global warming as controversial.  Despite this watered down revision, it is a thinly disguised effort to weaken the importance of teaching science and scientific facts.  Teachers are to "help students understand, analyze, critique and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in the course being taught." (The emphasis is mine.)  Global warming and evolution aren't theories, folks.  They have been proven.

By dumbing down Oklahoma's education, which is in serious trouble anyway, industries and businesses will look elsewhere to find an educated workforce.  Oklahoma has a lower-than-national-average college graduation rate.

But Gov. Scary Failing will most likely sign this bill into law.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

My favorite movies 1979

My favorite movies from 1979, another year with some great films, too many to choose just one so I picked several favorites and one guilty pleasure.

Alien starring Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt and Veronica Cartwright.  It was the first horror movie that I sat through and enjoyed.  It created a monster (no pun intended) as now I enjoy horror films.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture starring everybody from the original series.  We had waited so long for a movie version of our favorite television show and finally got this.  Not bad but it wasn't good.  I often suspect they got someone who didn't like Star Trek to write the script.

1941 starring everybody.  I love this movie even though it's generally considered to be not funny.  And it's the only non-science fiction movie on this list!  Wow!

Walt Disney's The Black Hole starring Maximillian Schell, Yvette Mimieux, Tony Perkins and Ernest Borgnine.  I think Disney tried to capitalize on the whole Star Wars trend, and this was the result.  However, I like the non-Roddenberry, non-Lucas approach to space travel/exploration.

Guilty pleasure: Meteor starring Sean Connery and Natalie Wood.  I know it was a huge star-studded flop but I'm a sucker for disaster movies.  Now it's campy fun!

Columbia (STS-55) launches for 14th Mission 1993

First row (L-R): Pilot Terence T. Henricks, Commander Steven R. Nagel, Mission Specialist 2 Charles J. Precourt
Second row (L-R): Mission Specialist 3 Bernard A. Harris, Jr., Payload Specialist 2 Hans Schlegel, Mission Specialist 1 Jerry Ross, Payload Specialist 1 Ulrich Walter

Space Shuttle Columbia blasted off April 26, 1993 on its 14th mission and the 55th overall mission for NASA's Space Shuttle program.  She carried 5 Americans and 2 Germans.  The mission conducted 88 experiments, ranging from biology to observations of Earth, sponsored by 11 different nations, only 4 of which were NASA's.

The mission surpassed the 365th day in space of the Space Shuttle Program and the 100th day in space for Columbia.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Happy birthday, Bjorn!

Bjorn Ulvaeus, born April 25, 1945, is probably best known for the Swedish 70's super-group ABBA.  He began his music career with the Hootenanny Singers.  Later he met Benny Anderson and soon the two formed ABBA.  The band lasted about 10 years but made history in such a short time with hits like Dancing Queen, Waterloo and Take a Chance on Me.

After ABBA, Bjorn has continued to collaborate with best friend Benny, writing musicals such as Chess and producing the movie Mamma Mia!

Monday, April 24, 2017

"Godzilla Raids Again" released in 1955

Only 6 months after the original Godzilla aired, Toho Company released its sequel Godzilla Raids Again April 24, 1955.  Riding on the wave of success of the first, Toho rushed the production of the second movie to capitalize on the popularity.

It was originally released in the U.S. as Gigantis: The Fire Monster to give American audiences the illusion they were seeing another monster, but that antic failed.  Still, Godzilla Raids Again was another success.  It pitted the G-Man against Anguirus and destroyed Osaka.

It was also George Takei's first film as he provided voice-over work for the American release.  He also did work for Toho's Rodan.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Soyuz 1 launched 1967

Soyuz 1, launched April 23, 1967, carried cosmonaut Colonel Vldaimir Komarov.  He became the first in-flight fatality in any space program.  Komarov knew the Soyuz 1 capsule had many flaws but decided to fly it anyway, because if he refused, his best friend Yuri Gagarin would be assigned to it.

Komarov was killed when the capsule became tangled in its parachutes and he plummeted several miles to Earth.  His last words were cursing the men who built the Soyuz capsule.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Fashionistas in space!

When many of us hear the word ‘fabrics’, we immediately think of avant-garde, haute couture dresses, the latest fashions from Paris, or ‘who-is-wearing-who’ on the Red Carpet.  In space exploration, however, fabrics have more applications than for just snazzy clothes, like antennas, spacesuits and shields for spacecraft.

Raul Polit Casillas, a systems engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, is the son of a fashion designer from Spain, so he grew up familiar with fabrics.  Now he is applying his knowledge and skills to develop woven metal fabrics for applications in space.

The fabrics that Polit Casillas and his colleagues are not hand-sewn but are 3-D printed, using a technique called additive manufacturing, which is cheaper and can be used to create unique materials.   This could also help reduce the costs of building complex, expensive spacecraft.  Fabrics can be manufactured for reflectivity, passive heave management, foldability and tensile strength.  For example, one side of a fabric reflects light while the other absorbs it.  It can be folded and cut into necessary shapes. 

One of the most important applications could be for spacesuits for astronauts.  A fabric that has heat-generating properties can be printed to keep astronauts and spacecraft warm.  It could also be used to help explorers walk on uneven terrain and not melt the ice underneath them.

I previously reported in a post that structures on Mars could be 3-D printed, and now fabrics and materials can be created with similar technology. 

But at first, clothes will be have to be manufactured for substance, rather than style. Sorry, fashionistas!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

My favorite movies - 1975-1978

1975 - The Hindenburg with George C. Scott and Anne Bancroft.  Nominated for 3 Academy Awards and awarded an Oscar for Special Achievements.

1976 - Murder by Death starring everybody.  I loved the snarky humor and the spoof of whodunits.

1977 - Star Wars. Duh.  It is ranked by as the 20th most popular movie of all time.  It won 6 Oscars: Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Costume Design, Best Sound, Best Film Editing, Best Effects, Visual Effects and Best Music, Original Score (to John Williams).

1978 - Superman starring Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder. John Williams was nominated again for Best Music, Original Score but lost to Giorgio Moroder for Midnight Express.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Surveyor 3, third lunar lander, launched 1967

Surveyor 3, launched April 27, 1967, was the third lander of the Surveyor program.  It landed on April 20 in Ocean Procellarum.  Actually, it bounced a couple of times before making a soft landing.  Surveyor 3 performed soil samples using a scoop, digging trenches that were photographed and transmitted to Earth.  The first lunar nightfall came on May 3 and when dawn came 14 Earth-days later, Surveyor 3 could not be reactivated.

Apollo 12 used Surveyor 3 as a target, landing within walking distance. Commander Charles Conrad Jr and Alan Bean, Lunar Module Pilot collected several components from Surveyor 3 and returned them to Earth, to study the long-term effects of exposure to the lunar environment on human-made stuff.

"Gamera vs Barugon" released 1966

The second film in the Gamera series, Gamera vs Barugon, released April 17, 1966, is the only film not to feature a child or pre-teen as a main character.  It takes place six months after Gamera, who was last seen trapped in a spaceship and launched.  A meteor collides with his ship and he returns to Earth with a vengeance.

Meanwhile, a large opal has been discovered and it turns out to be an egg.  It is exposed to infrared light and eventually, Barugon is hatched and all hell breaks loose.  Barugon can freeze things (including Gamera) from some sort of "freeze-ray" from his tongue.  He can also emit a rainbow spectrum from his back which can destroy things.

Gamera thaws out, kicks Barugon's butt and saves the day!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Mariner 10 flies by Mercury, 1974

Mariner 10, launched November 3, 1973, became the first spacecraft to encounter Mercury, the closest planet to the Sun. It made ultraviolet observations of Comet Kohoutek in January 1974 and passed Venus February 5. It made its first flyby of Mercury March 29, 1974.  The second was September 21 and the third (and last) March 16, 1975.

It was decommissioned about a week later.

My favorite movies - 1974

1974 is another year that I cannot pick one favorite out of so many good ones, so I chose my top 4 plus an "honorable mention".  In just these five films, I think everybody in Hollywood made it onto the screen.  Each one has a stellar cast, whether comedy, drama or action.  How many actors and actresses can we name that did NOT appear in one of these!

Blazing Saddles starring Mel Brooks, Cleavon Little, Madeline Kahn, Gene Wilder and everybody else.

Young Frankenstein starring Gene Wilder, Madeline Kahn, Cloris Leachman and everybody else.

The Towering Inferno starring Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, Faye Dunaway and everybody else.

Earthquake starring Charlton Heston, George Kennedy, Ava Gardner and everybody else.

Murder on the Orient Express (honorable mention) starring Michael York, Sean Connery, Lauren Bacall and everybody else.

The Donald paves the way for the U.S. to become the world's biggest polluter

Yesterday, The Donald signed an executive order, telling the Environmental Protection Agency to reverse its course on the Clean Power Plan which President Obama put in place to reduce greenhouse gases from power plants.  According to the New York Times, The Donald said coal miners were going back to work.

This was part of The Donald's campaign promises but many say it is not going to work.  First of all, the demand for coal has been declining as (cheaper) natural gas and renewable energy sources are on the rise.  No energy company has plans to build new coal-burning plants, so The Donald's promises are just going to be hot air.  Like many of his other campaign "promises".  The move may save coal mining jobs from being eliminated, but not created.

The U.S. had signed the Paris Agreement in 2015 as part of a global effort to reduce carbon emissions and slow global warming.  The New York Times reports that the U.S. is the second biggest polluter in the world, so what will happen if The Donald takes us out of it?

The U.S. might become the world's biggest polluter!  Is that what The Donald meant by making America "great" again?

Happy birthday, Couselor Troi!

Beautiful and talented Marina Sirtis, born March 29, 1955 in London, is best known to us Trekkies as Counselor Deanna Troi on Star Trek: The Next Generation.  After auditioning for Star Trek, she was planning to fly back to London, but got the call that she had been given the role of Counselor Troi right before boarding the plane.  All about that timing!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Happy birthday, Reba!

Reba McEntire, one of the goddesses of country music, celebrates her birthday today.  Born March 28, 1955 in McAlester, Oklahoma, she graduated from Kiowa High School and attended Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant, before starting her music career.

To date she has released over 30 albums, won 7 Academy of Country Music awards for Top Female Vocalist, and 12 American Music Awards for Favorite Country Female Artist of the Year.

Monday, March 27, 2017

My favorite movies: 1968-1973

My favorite moview from 1968-1973.  I got to 1974 and it's going to be another year where there are so many movies it is going to be hard to choose.

1968: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang starring Dick Van Dyke and Sally Ann Howes

1969: Hello, Dolly! starring Barbara Streisand and Walter Matthau

1970: Airport starring Dean Martin, Helen Hayes, George Kennedy and everybody else.

1971: Bedknobs and Broomsticks starring Angela Lansbury and David Tomlinson

1972: The Poseidon Adventure starring Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine, Red Buttons and everybody else.

1972 (runner-up): What's Up, Doc? starring Barbara Streisand and Ryan O'Neal.

1973: The Three Musketeers starring Michael York, Faye Dunaway, Charlton Heston and everybody else.

1973 (runner-up): Enter the Dragon starring Bruce Lee and John Saxon.

Venera 8, Venus lander, launched 1972

Venera 8, the Soviet lander, was launched March 27, 1972 and made a successful landing on Venus July 22.  It transmitted during its descent and continued to transmit for just over 50 minutes after landing.  It confirmed the high temperatures and high pressures discovered by Venera 7 about a year and a half earlier.

Venera 8 showed that the Venusian clouds end at a high altitude and the atmosphere is mostly clear at ground level.