Q&A with the pilot
Space is the place. Again.
And SoundCloud is now a place you can find sounds from the US government space agency, NASA. In addition to the requisite vocal clips (“Houston, we’ve had a problem” and “The Eagle has landed”), you get a lot more. There are rocket sounds, the chirps of satellites and equipment, lightning on Jupiter, interstellar plasma and radio emissions. And in one nod to humanity, and not just American humanity, there’s the Soviet satellite Sputnik (among many projects that are international in nature).
That’s one small dubstep for…nah, too easy.
It’s now clear I’m on a Black Hole binge (I can stop when I want, by the way). They’re endlessly fascinating. My recent interest was in particular focused on simulating visualizations of the Schwarzschild geometry. I was preoccupied by the problem of generating a decent accurate representation of how the curvature of such a spacetime affects the appearance of the sky (since photons from distance sources ride along geodesics bent by the Black Hole), for the purpose of creating an interactive simulation
About two and a half years ago an odd email dropped into my inbox out of nowhere. It seemed to be a quickly written email from someone in Ireland. The writer, Liam, said he was asking if I had any stories that I thought might be worth filming. In particular, he was trying to find something under fifteen minutes long that he, and a crew of others from his village in Ireland, could enter into a film competition. And they needed it, like, yesterday.
In the grand tradition of John Belushi and Joe Cocker, we now have Jimmy Fallon and Neil Young.
A Florida sheriff’s office has turned a $500 mistake into a $9,650 windfall for charity.
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s office ordered a new rug, which turned up last week with a typo. The large green rug with the black and yellow Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office logo included the phrase “In Dog We Trust” within one of its crests.
It was supposed to read “In God We Trust.”
The Sheriff’s Office said rug manufacturer, American Floor Mats, would replace it
That could have been the end of the story except Sheriff Bob Gualtieri had an idea.
He decided to auction off the unique item — the “doggone rug,” as he called it — and donate the proceeds to a local rescue.
“The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office will not sweep anything under the rug,” the department said when it put up the item.
Jane Sidwell is the founder of Canine Estates Inc. She figured her shelter would net a few hundred bucks from the sale.
“I knew that the sheriff’s office paid $500 for it,” she told CNN affiliate Bay News 9 . “So I thought well, that’s great. We’ll get $500. But we had no idea it would escalate into what it has.”
Eighty three bids later, the rug was sold — for a whopping $9,650!
At a show in Paris earlier this month Irish singer-songwriter Hozier was treated to a unique surprise. Unbeknownst to him or most of the audience, a radio station and the venue had stationed a 20-member choir as normal audience members in the front row.
“You gotta love Bill Murray. The actor had been invited to the White House along with other cast members of ‘The Monuments Men’ for a movie screening in the Family Theater of the White House. Prior to the screening, the President was to greet some of the cast members in the Diplomatic Reception Room. A White House staff person had told Murray where to stand, meaning before the greet. But when the President walked into the room, Murray stayed put, saying ‘they told me to stand here.'” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
From the Ferguson riots to the school attack in Peshawar, a Missouri ‘firenado’ and hailstones in Siberia: the Guardian’s features picture editor Sarah Gilbert selects the most compelling images of 2014
The Guardian – World Press Photo awards 2014
The Guardian – The 20 photographs of the year
The Guardian – Photographer of the year 2014: Bulent Kilic
The Guardian – Animal photographs of the year 2014
The Guardian – Best portraits of 2014
An excerpt from the book “Sled Driver” by former SR-71 pilot Brian Shul:
There were a lot of things we couldn’t do in an SR-71, but we were the fastest guys on the block and loved reminding our fellow aviators of this fact. People often asked us if, because of this fact, it was fun to fly the jet. Fun would not be the first word I would use to describe flying this plane. Intense, maybe, even cerebral. But there was one day in our Sled experience when we would have to say that it was pure fun to be the fastest guys out there, at least for a moment.
It occurred when Walt and I were flying our final training sortie. We needed 100 hours in the jet to complete our training and attain Mission Ready status. Somewhere over Colorado we had passed the century mark. We had made the turn in Arizona and the jet was performing flawlessly. My gauges were wired in the front seat and we were starting to feel pretty good about ourselves, not only because we would soon be flying real missions but because we had gained a great deal of confidence in the plane in the past ten months. Ripping across the barren deserts 80,000 feet below us, I could already see the coast of California from the Arizona border. I was, finally, after many humbling months of simulators and study, ahead of the jet.
I was beginning to feel a bit sorry for Walter in the back seat. There he was, with no really good view of the incredible sights before us and tasked with monitoring four different radios. This was good practice for him for when we began flying real missions and when a priority transmission from headquarters could be vital. It had been difficult, too, for me to relinquish control of the radios, as during my entire flying career I had controlled my own transmissions. But it was part of the division of duties in this plane and I had adjusted to it. I still insisted on talking on the radio while we were on the ground, however. Walt was so good at many things, but he couldn’t match my expertise at sounding smooth on the radios, a skill that had been honed sharply with years in fighter squadrons where the slightest radio miscue was grounds for beheading. He understood that and allowed me that luxury. Just to get a sense of what Walt had to contend with, I pulled the radio toggle switches and monitored the frequencies along with him. The predominant radio chatter was from Los Angeles Center, far below us, controlling daily traffic in their sector. While they had us on their scope (albeit briefly), we were in uncontrolled airspace and normally would not talk to them unless we needed to descend into their airspace.
We listened as the shaky voice of a lone Cessna pilot who asked Center for a read-out of his ground speed. Center replied: “November Charlie 175, I’m showing you at ninety knots on the ground.” Now the thing to understand about Center controllers was that whether they were talking to a rookie pilot in a Cessna, or to Air Force One, they always spoke in the exact same, calm, deep, professional tone that made one feel important. I referred to it as the “Houston Center voice.” I have always felt that after years of seeing documentaries on this country’s space program and listening to the calm and distinct voice of the Houston controllers, that all other controllers since then wanted to sound like that and that they basically did. And it didn’t matter what sector of the country we would be flying in, it always seemed like the same guy was talking. Over the years that tone of voice had become somewhat of a comforting sound to pilots everywhere. Conversely, over the years, pilots always wanted to ensure that, when transmitting, they sounded like Chuck Yeager, or at least like John Wayne. Better to die than sound bad on the radios.
Just moments after the Cessna’s inquiry, a Twin Beech piped up on frequency, in a rather superior tone, asking for his ground speed in the Beech. “I have you at one hundred and twenty-five knots of ground speed.” Boy, I thought, the Beechcraft really must think he is dazzling his Cessna brethren.
Then out of the blue, a navy F-18 pilot out of NAS Lemoore came up on frequency. You knew right away it was a Navy jock because he sounded very cool on the radios. “Center, Dusty 52 ground speed check.” Before Center could reply, I’m thinking to myself, hey, Dusty 52 has a ground speed indicator in that million-dollar cockpit, so why is he asking Center for a read-out? Then I got it, ol’ Dusty here is making sure that every bug smasher from Mount Whitney to the Mojave knows what true speed is. He’s the fastest dude in the valley today, and he just wants everyone to know how much fun he is having in his new Hornet. And the reply, always with that same, calm, voice, with more distinct alliteration than emotion: “Dusty 52, Center, we have you at 620 on the ground.” And I thought to myself, is this a ripe situation, or what? As my hand instinctively reached for the mic button, I had to remind myself that Walt was in control of the radios. Still, I thought, it must be done in mere seconds we’ll be out of the sector and the opportunity will be lost. That Hornet must die, and die now. I thought about all of our Sim training and how important it was that we developed well as a crew and knew that to jump in on the radios now would destroy the integrity of all that we had worked toward becoming. I was torn.
Somewhere, 13 miles above Arizona, there was a pilot screaming inside his space helmet. Then, I heard it the click of the mic button from the back seat. That was the very moment that I knew Walter and I had become a crew. Very professionally, and with no emotion, Walter spoke: “Los Angeles Center, Aspen 20, can you give us a ground speed check?” There was no hesitation, and the replay came as if it was an everyday request.
“Aspen 20, I show you at one thousand eight hundred and forty-two knots, across the ground.” I think it was the forty-two knots that I liked the best, so accurate and proud was Center to deliver that information without hesitation, and you just knew he was smiling. But the precise point at which I knew that Walt and I were going to be really good friends for a long time was when he keyed the mic once again to say, in his most fighter-pilot-like voice: “Ah, Center, much thanks, we’re showing closer to nineteen hundred on the money.”
For a moment Walter was a god. And we finally heard a little crack in the armor of the Houston Center voice when L.A. came back with, “Roger that Aspen. Your equipment is probably more accurate than ours. You boys have a good one.” It all had lasted for just moments, but in that short, memorable sprint across the southwest the Navy had been flamed, all mortal airplanes on frequency were forced to bow before the King of Speed, and more importantly, Walter and I had crossed the threshold of being a crew. A fine day’s work. We never heard another transmission on that frequency all the way to the coast. For just one day, it truly was fun being the fastest guys out there.
Astronauts on the International Space Station have used their 3-D printer to make a wrench from instructions sent up in an email.
It is the first time hardware has been “emailed” to space.
Damien Hypolite, who by day works for Sciences et Avenir, is also a bit of an Assassin’s Creed fan. Seeing as the latest game is set in Paris, he figured he’d print out some screenshots, take them to the actual spots in the real world they’re based on, and see how they shape up.
I have a long running bash instance (inside a screen session) that is executing a complex set of commands inside a loop (with each loop doing pipes, redirects, etc). The long command line was written inside the terminal – it’s not inside any script. Now, I know the bash process ID, and I have root access – how can I see the exact command line being executed inside that bash?
Street artist DS recently added a couple of paste-ups to a wall in London. It didn’t take too long before a graffiti removal guy removed the paste-ups. Shortly after that, DS was back with a paste up of the graffiti removal guy removing the graffiti. Gold!
Today is a good day. I just had a call from a telemarketer. Did I yell and scream at them, you ask? Certainly not. Like a good IT administrator I put my skills to use for their benefit. Here’s how the conversation went:
Computer: “Press 9 to not be contacted in the future. Press 4 to speak to someone about your mortgage issues”
TM: “Hello, are you having problems paying your mortgage?”
Me: “Hi, this is the IT department. We intercepted your call as we detected a problem with you phone and need to fix it.”
TM: “Oh… ok, well what do we need to do?”
Me: “We’re going to need to fix the settings by pressing 4-6-8 and * at the same time”
TM: “Ok, nothing happened.”
Me: “Are you using the new Polycom phones that we deployed?”
TM: “No, it’s a Yealink”
Me: “Ok, I see. You haven’t had the new Polycom phone deployed to your desk yet. Let me check our technical documentations for the Yealink.”
Me: “Alright, do you see an “OK” button on your phone?”
TM: “Yes I do”
Me: “Alright, you’re going to press and hold that button for 10 seconds.”
TM: “OK, pressing it now”
Me: “Perfect, let me know if you get a password request”
TM: “OK, nothing has popped up ye—-“
That’s right. I made a telemarketer unwittingly factory reset his phone which means he will be unable to make anymore calls until someone is able to reconfigure his phone and that will take at least an hour or longer if they can’t do it right away!
In 2013, a team from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution took a specially equipped REMUS “SharkCam” underwater vehicle to Guadalupe Island in Mexico to film great white sharks in the wild. They captured more than they bargained for.
Charles Cohen is a master synthesizer improviser who has been a central figure in Philadelphia/East Coast experimental, avant-garde, and improvisational scene for the past 40 years. He is one of the few living artists to own and have mastered Don Buchla’s 1973 Music Easel, a rare, performance-oriented portable synth made from two modules of the Buchla 200 series.
Cohen will host a workshop illuminating both his unique creative philosophy and musical practice. He will also present the new re-issue of the original Buchla Music Easel system, produced in close consultation with Don Buchla himself.
The workshop will culminate in a collaborative jam session, during which participants are invited to use their own analogue equipment, as well as the equipment found at Schneidersladen, famous with audiophiles world-wide for its expansive selection of weird and wonderful sound generating devices.
Liang was diagnosed with the tumor at the age of 9, just after he moved to Shenzhen to join his brother and sister, and to attend primary school, Shanghai Daily reports. One day, Liang felt dizzy and the next day had trouble walking, so his sister took him to a hospital where he learned he had a brain tumor.
Before passing away on June 6, Liang told his mother, Li Qun, that he wanted to donate his organs.
“There are many people doing great things in the world,” he said according to China Daily. “They are great, and I want to be a great kid too.”
Wouldn’t it be nice to easily be able to see who’s funding your congressperson? A new browser plugin for Safari, Google Chrome, and soon Firefox, promises to do just that.
The free plugin, called “Greenhouse,” was created by 16-year-old Nicholas Rubin, a self-taught programmer based in Seattle. Greenhouse was designed to expose the role that money plays in Congress by offering “detailed campaign contribution data for every Senator and Representative, including total amount received and breakdown by industry and by size of donation.”
75 years ago, Lou Gehrig — a man who played in 2,130 consecutive games, won six World Series titles, batted a career .340/.447/.632 (and batted .361/.477/.731 in his 34 World Series games) — was only 36 years old and dying from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
He stood in front of over 61,000 fans in Yankee Stadium and delivered this speech.
It’s a historic defeat. Not since the 2004 defeat of Tom Daschle has a party’s congressional majority leader lost an election; I’m still struggling to find a case where a majority leader lost a primary. And while I covered David Brat’s race against Cantor a few times, I joined the vast majority of journalists in assuming Cantor would take this. After all, he seemed to spot the voter unrest early on, and he spent nearly $1 milllion in the final weeks while Brat struggled to spend six figures.
Funding: Cantor: $5.4M; Brat: $207k