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Sunday, December 31, 2006

So anyways, one of my friends commented last week on how I should write more about my personal life besides doing all these journal entries on NASA and movies I’ve seen (what, you don’t find that countdown for upcoming space missions at the top of this page interesting? Don’t answer that). So I’ll do just that. A few days before Christmas, one of my co-workers— let’s call her Nina (since she’s Norwegian)— decided to head back home for about a year-and-a-half to focus on taking classes for acting, which she ultimately wants to do as a career. I won’t say where she lives...except to point out Nina’s home country is at the northernmost part of Europe (if you guessed Norway, you guessed right!). She plans on going to London and enroll at an acting school there. Maybe Nina will take a class taught by Ian McDiarmid, an acting teacher who also happened to play Chancellor Palpatine/Darth Sidious and the Emperor in the Star Wars films! Just felt like going off-topic and being facetious (and nerdy as well as random) there. Anyways, I wish Nina all the best, since she’s one of the nicest, most out-going, socialable, nonchalant (am I being repetitive?) and hard-working persons I’ve ever met. Did I also mention she’s extremely attractive? ‘Cause she is. Nina’s the only female co-worker I know who had a moviegoer go up to her while we were working and try to put the moves on her (saying things like “I think you’re really cute” and “I would like to get to know you better” and all that jazz). Being the gracious person that she is, Nina just politely told the guy that we were busy at work, instead of telling him to piss off and die a miserable death on the way back home. There were supposedly other times where moviegoers wrote love notes to her on the back of questionnaires she collected during theater exit polls she worked at (the company we work for conducts test and press screenings, as well as exit polls, duh, for some of the major movie studios like Fox and New Line Cinema... FYI). And at her going-away party that she had at a pub in Hollywood two weeks ago, Nina got a few kiss on the cheeks by some of the other male co-workers who attended (those f***in’ rat bastards! Just playing... Not really. And NO, she doesn't act scandalous. My apologies to Nina if this last sentence implied that). And at the office Christmas party a week before that, there were lots of people (Yours Truly included) who took pictures with her since we all knew that was the last party we were gonna see her at for a while. That’s popularity for ya.

Anyways, to briefly summarize this journal entry for ya (heheh), I’m very fond of Nina. To see the picture I took with her, go here. That photo doesn’t do justice to how beautiful she really is in person. Oh, and she's actually the same height as I am (she's wearing heels in that pic). Later.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Saddam Hussein getting his hood removed by an executioner.

Saddam Hussein executed... Other than the fact the Iraqis fortunately proved me (and a lot of other people) wrong by actually showing photos and videos of the dictator about to meet his fate at the gallows, I have no other opinion about this. Well, maybe one more: Hussein will finally be able to have a real relationship with Beelzebub.

Saddam Hussein dining with his boy Satan in an episode of 'South Park'.

My blogs don't get anymore mature than this.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

An F-14 Tomcat does an extremely close flyby of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, USS Stennis.

"I feel the need. The need...for speed..." I found the picture above on this website...though you can find it anywhere if you use Google. In this image, the pilot decided to do an extremely close flyby of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, USS Stennis. He was grounded for 30 days afterwards, but the pilot liked this photo so much he thought it was worth it. Apparently, he watched Top Gun one too many times.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

REST IN PEACE...

President Gerald Ford.
1 9 1 3 - 2 0 0 6

The Godfather of Soul, James Brown.
1 9 3 3 - 2 0 0 6

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

TOP 10 APOLLO HOAX THEORIES. For all of you conspiracy theorists out there... "We went to the Moon to beat the Soviets. If the Soviets had suspected that we faked these missions in any way, they would have been screaming at the top of their lungs." (This article is courtesy of Space.com.)

Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin stands before an American Flag erected on the lunar surface

10.) FLUTTERING FLAG: "The American flag appears to wave in the lunar wind."

The Science: If you look closely, you will notice the flag's edges are pulled taut. This effect, which was done purposely as to not allow the flag to just hang flat, was created by inserting a stiff wire into the fabric. The "flutter" was created as the astronauts worked to erect the flag. As the wire was adjusted, "Old Glory" appeared to wave.

An illustration of the Van Allen Belt surrounding Earth

9.) GLOW-IN-THE-DARK ASTRONAUTS: "If the astronauts had left the safety of the Van Allen Belt the radiation would have killed them."

The Science: The Van Allen Belts are created by Earth's magnetic field, and protect the planet from dangerous solar radiation. The Belts collect this radiation, and traps it in a layer surrounding the Earth. But unless you deliberately caused your spaceship to hover within this layer, for many hours or days, the radiation exposure is well below dangerous levels. The Apollo astronauts passed through the Belts in less than four hours total for the trip. "It's not much more serious than getting a chest x-ray," said Phil Plait, an astronomer at Sonoma University in California. Outside the Belt, the radiation drops to low levels that are only dangerous over extremely long periods of time.

An Apollo astronaut sets up an experiment on the lunar surface

8.) THE SHADOW KNOWS: "Multiple-angle shadows in the Moon photos prove there was more than one source of light, like a large studio lamp."

The Science: The astronauts were taking their photos on a hilly, brightly-lit landscape while the Sun was close to the horizon. Imagine taking a photograph of someone on a rolling, uneven field of snow during a full, low-hanging Moon. The contours of the ground would produce shadows of many different lengths.

Buzz Aldrin poses for the camera

7.) FRIED FILM: In the Sunlight, the Moon’s temperature is a toasty 280 degrees Fahrenheit. The film (among other things) would have melted.

The Science: No one was leaving bare film out on the hot lunar surface. All material was contained in protective canisters. In addition, at the time the Apollo missions landed, they were either at lunar dawn or dusk. As a result, the temperature was more easily manageable.

A footprint created by that 'one small step for man...'

6.) LIQUID WATER ON THE MOON: To leave a footprint requires moisture in the soil, doesn’t it?

The Science: Not always. If you take some dry fine-grained dust such as talcum powder and dump it out, it's easy to make tracks in it that hold their shape. The particles hold their positions due to the friction between them.

Leonid meteors entering the Earth's atmosphere

5.) DEATH BY METEOR: Space is filled with super-fast micro meteors that would punch through the ship and kill the astronauts.

The Science: Space is really amazingly big. While there are indeed an uncountable number of tiny pieces of debris traveling through the Solar System at speeds in the neighborhood of 120,000 MPH, the volume of space keeps the density low. The chance of any given cubic yard of space having a micro-meteor passing through it is incredibly close to zero. Additionally, the astronauts' suits included a layer of Kevlar to protect them from any tiny fragment they might encounter.

A Lunar Excursion Module

4.) NO CRATER AT LANDING SITE: When the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM) landed, its powerful engine didn’t burrow a deep crater in the "dusty surface".

The Science: Beneath the layer of dust, the Moon is made up of fairly densely-packed rock. What dust and loose dirt there was though, was "kicked up" as referenced by the astronauts and captured in their landing films.

The ascent stage of a lunar module takes off into space

3.) PHANTOM CAMERAMAN: How come in that one video of the LEM leaving the surface, the camera follows it up into the sky? Who was running that camera?

The Science: The camera was controlled remotely from Earth...by Mission Control at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

An Apollo astronaut cruisin' around on a lunar rover

2.) BIG ROVER: There’s no way that big moon buggy they were driving could have fit into that little landing module!

The Science: The rover was very cleverly constructed to be made out of very light materials, and designed to fold up to about the size of a large suitcase.

Earthrise as seen by the Apollo 11 astronauts

1.) IT’S FULL OF STARS! Space is littered with little points of lights (stars). Why then are they missing from the photographs?

The Science: If you've ever taken a photograph outside at night, you'll notice that faint distant objects don't show up. That's not because the air blocks them—it's because the brightness of the nearby objects washes out the film. In fact if you were standing on the day side of the Moon, you'd have to somehow block the landscape out in order for your eyes to adapt enough to see the stars.

Also, check out any modern-day photograph of a Space Shuttle or the International Space Station in orbit, and you won't see any background stars in those pictures as well. This also applies to images taken by interplanetary spacecraft at Mars, Saturn, Venus and all the other planets.

LEFT IMAGE: Astronauts working outside the International Space Station (July 8, 2006)... RIGHT IMAGE: Saturn in an image taken by the Cassini spacecraft (December 22, 2005)

Monday, December 25, 2006

HOOOWWDY HO, EVERYONE...AND MERRY CHRISTMAS! Since I'm too lazy to post up a longer entry about wishing y'all a Happy Holiday, I'll just post a pic of everyone's favorite feces from the TV show South Park here. Season's greetings!

Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Space shuttle Discovery lands at Kennedy Space Center in Florida...completing STS-116 on December 22, 2006.

TWO DOWN, THIRTEEN MORE TO GO... Actually, it's fourteen shuttle missions if you count the final Hubble Space Telescope servicing flight in 2008. Anyways... Because of bad weather at the primary landing sites of Florida's Kennedy Space Center (KSC) and Edwards Air Force Base in California, White Sands Space Harbor in New Mexico was activated as being the potential site where an orbiter landed for only the second time since 1982 (space shuttle Columbia landed there after mission STS-3). Fortunately, the weather cleared up enough over KSC for Discovery to touch down there instead (on its second landing opportunity. The first try was scrubbed due to rain showers near Cape Canaveral)...and thus complete the third and final space shuttle mission of 2006, and only the fourth shuttle flight since the 2003 Columbia disaster. The next mission, STS-117, will be with Atlantis and is scheduled for launch on March 16, 2007.

The International Space Station's new look as of December 19, 2006.
ABOVE: The International Space Station's new look as of December 19, 2006.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

INTO THE NIGHT... Following Thursday’s launch scrub due to cloudy weather, space shuttle Discovery finally lifted off into space tonight...and is now set to rendezvous with the International Space Station on Monday afternoon. This is the third and final shuttle flight for this year, with more interesting missions to come in 2007 with the planned additions of Europe’s Columbus, (the first component of) Japan’s Kibo and the United States’ Node 2 modules...plus another set of huge solar panel wings. Discovery is scheduled to return to Earth on December 21st. Godspeed, the crew of Discovery...on mission STS-116.

Space shuttle Discovery lights up the night sky on December 9, 2006.

A camera onboard Discovery's external fuel tank captures this footage of the orbiter separating after main engine cut-off following launch.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The UCLA Bruins emerge victorious against USC, 13-9, at the Rowl Bowl in Pasadena, CA.

UCLA: 13, USC: 9... So not only did today's game pose a pain in the ass for me in terms of parking, since I was working right near the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, but the Trojans had to mess things up even more by dashing hopes for a third national title in four years, and losing against the Bruins for the first time in 7 years [this last one would be a bit more forgivable...if it were not for the fact UCLA is already at the top of its game in men's basketball (Number 1 in the nation. Wow)]. Bah! At least USC will be playing against Michigan in the Rose Bowl on January 1st. Then again, SC lost in the two games it played at Pasadena this year (today's game and last January's loss to Vince Young and the Texas Longhorns)...so maybe that isn't much of a consolation prize, after all. Good thing I won't be working that day, obviously. Parking would really be a bitch.