Daily Archives: March 21, 2012

Space, an uncovered treasure

I found this image on Tumblr today.

The cover of a book written in 1956, by Albro Tilton Gaul, who as it turned out, wrote several books of this type.  The book was targeted at young boys and girls and even suggested that the first astronaut was, at that time, already as old as ten.  Here’s some more from the introduction of the book.

Space travel is already here. Flying saucers are probably indicative of space travel by a race other than ours. We are slowly solving the problems of man’s own survival in space. It is only a matter of a few years, and many, many dollars, before our first space pilot will launch himself into the last frontier of exploration, adventure, and commerce.

We read much about space stations, the small man-made satellites which will be designed to circle the earth at an altitude of several thousand miles. Actually, these space stations will be very useful, even if space travel never develops any further, and we should know about them too.

Although much has been written about space travel, much of this material deals with the mechanics of ship construction to get us into space.

It is the purpose of this book, on the other hand, to show that space travel is also a biological problem, even perhaps to a greater extent than it is an engineering problem. Moreover it is the purpose of this book to describe, to the best of present knowledge, what we expect to encounter when we get to space. This is important, because the success of man’s greatest adventure will depend upon being well prepared.

For me, this wasn’t my introduction to space travel and the wonders of the cosmos.  Mine didn’t come around until the early 1980’s.  You know, after I was done with dinosaurs (though, not really, because I read Jurassic Park, watched all three movies and still take in as much information as I can about said interest that comes along).  No, this was the book that introduced me to space.

It came with a stellar map, and how you could see the stars in the sky at what time, what day, what month.  There was also a small telescope that you could make (it was a kid’s telescope, made from cardboard, but for a ten year old it was awesome), and there was a record that had different sounds discovered from space.

Yes, I said a record.  One of these things…

A 12" record, a 7″ record, and a CD-ROM.

A 12" record, a 7″ record, and a CD-ROM. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…that went on one of these things…

An early 1930s portable wind-up phonograph fro...

An early 1930s portable wind-up phonograph from His Master's Voice. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Seeing that cover of that old 1950’s book brought back a ton of memories from one that I was given when I was ten in 1980.

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Posted by on March 21, 2012 in Fun, randomness


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The science of art; the art of science

Science and religion have often railed against each other.  At least, those who most might consider radical who would claim one is more important than the other.  The same could be said of science and art.  Now, bear in mind, I’m not a scientist, but I have an extreme appreciation for the complexities of the world around me to the point where it’s all staggeringly awe inspiring.  So, it’s rather interesting that I found this quote over on Tumblr.

Richard P. Feynman

Richard P. Feynman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have a friend who’s an artist and has sometimes taken a view which I don’t agree with very well. He’ll hold up a flower and say “look how beautiful it is,” and I’ll agree. Then he says “I as an artist can see how beautiful this is but you as a scientist take this all apart and it becomes a dull thing,” and I think that he’s kind of nutty. First of all, the beauty that he sees is available to other people and to me too, I believe…I can appreciate the beauty of a flower. At the same time, I see much more about the flower than he sees. I could imagine the cells in there, the complicated actions inside, which also have a beauty. I mean it’s not just beauty at this dimension, at one centimeter; there’s also beauty at smaller dimensions, the inner structure, also the processes. The fact that the colors in the flower evolved in order to attract insects to pollinate it is interesting; it means that insects can see the color. It adds a question: does this aesthetic sense also exist in the lower forms? Why is it aesthetic? All kinds of interesting questions which the science knowledge only adds to the excitement, the mystery and the awe of a flower. It only adds. I don’t understand how it subtracts. Richard Feynman on the interplay of art and science – a magnificent intersection.

There is a lot of truth to this, because every aspect that goes into that flower, from how it grows and gains nutrients to how it has to rely on insects such as bees to pollinate and continue the cycle of life for the flower, even down to how it protects itself.

I’ve read the article that is linked as part of the quote.  I encourage any to read it as well.


Posted by on March 21, 2012 in Fun, Life, randomness


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Do you forgive or hold a grudge?

Forgiveness: The Real F-Bomb

Forgiveness: The Real F-Bomb (Photo credit: bangart)

I find it better to let go after a while. Life’s just way too short to continue to hold a grudge, plus it could most likely affect my blood pressure.

I won’t necessarily forgive, mind you. If someone (or in the case of current politics) some figure or organization, does something that affects me (or a large portion of the population) in a damaging way, and I know that what happened was not my own fault, then I can’t forgive. I also don’t forget. In the case of politics, there is the option to get rid of the one who damaged a society by voting them out of office. On the other hand, at the more local level, when it’s just between two people especially if they see each other a good deal of the time, it’s a little more difficult. I won’t hold a grudge, but I necessarily won’t forgive either.

Ask me anything

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Posted by on March 21, 2012 in Life, randomness, Uncategorized


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