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With all the governmental idiocy going around, here’s something we’re doing right.

Smithsonian turns to 3-D imaging to share its expansive collection | PBS NewsHour

With only 1 percent of its collection currently on display in its museum galleries, the Smithsonian hopes that the high-resolution, 3-D models of its artifacts are printed and housed in classrooms and exhibits. Otherwise, its growing digital archive, including 3-D renderings of the Wright Brothers’ first airplane, a Revolutionary gunboat and a woolly mammoth fossil, is available to view online.

(via Smithsonian turns to 3-D imaging to share its expansive collection | PBS NewsHour)

Boyan Slat, a Dutch teenager, was contemplating how to overcome some of the most vexing physical hurdles inherent in our ocean cleanup efforts. Specifically, Slat remembers wondering to himself: “What if there were a way to turn oceanic currents—which can make it so difficult to collect marine trash—from an obstacle into a solution?”

A 19 year old fixes the ocean.  Gives me hope.

(via Filthy-Minded Teenager | OnEarth Magazine)

I learned so much from Carl Sagan


Happy Birthday Carl Sagan

Carl Edward Sagan (November 9, 1934 – December 20, 1996) was an American astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, science popularizer and science communicator in astronomy and natural sciences. He spent most of his career as a professor of astronomy at Cornell University where he directed the Laboratory for Planetary Studies. He published more than 600 scientific papers and articles and was author, co-author or editor of more than 20 books. He advocated scientific skeptical inquiry and the scientific method, pioneered exobiology and promoted the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI).

We embarked on our journey to the stars with a question first framed in the childhood of our species and in each generation asked anew with undiminished wonder: What are the stars? Exploration is in our nature. We began as wanderers, and we are wanderers still. We have lingered long enough on the shores of the cosmic ocean. We are ready at last to set sail for the stars. -Cosmos

Those worlds in space are as countless as all the grains of sand on all the beaches of the earth. Each of those worlds is as real as ours and every one of them is a succession of incidents, events, occurrences which influence its future. Countless worlds, numberless moments, an immensity of space and time. And our small planet at this moment, here we face a critical branch point in history, what we do with our world, right now, will propagate down through the centuries and powerfully affect the destiny of our descendants, it is well within our power to destroy our civilization and perhaps our species as well. If we capitulate to superstition or greed or stupidity we could plunge our world into a time of darkness deeper than the time between the collapse of classical civilization and the Italian Renaissance. But we are also capable of using our compassion and our intelligence, our technology and our wealth to make an abundant and meaningful life for every inhabitant of this planet. -Journeys in Space and Time, Cosmos

We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology. -“Why We Need To Understand Science” in The Skeptical Inquirer Vol. 14, Issue 3, (Spring 1990)

Every kid starts out as a natural-born scientist, and then we beat it out of them. A few trickle through the system with their wonder and enthusiasm for science intact. -Psychology Today, (01 January 1996)

What an astonishing thing a book is. It’s a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic. -The Persistence of Memory, Cosmos

(via 3D-Print Your Own Ancient Art at Museum Scanathon | Wired Design |

Some of the pieces are old, delicate, and without obvious use, Villamil said. A printed version lets you manipulate it, play with it, and maybe figure out what it was for without damaging the original.

Professional-grade Dimension and Objet printers at the nearby San Francisco TechShop (an Autodesk partner) ran overnight, producing figures like Seated Ganesha, an elephant deity from 13th-century India. Tuesday, over lunch, the artists showed off their printed models, tossing out ideas for further enhancements. Print another Seated Ganesh out of translucent plastic, with a hollow interior, and run an LED up it, Pramuk suggested. Then, connect it to an arduino, and program it to light up when someone enters the room.

(via Dangerous Minds | Robot band plays the B-52s’ ‘Rock Lobster’)

The Bit-52s were the brainchild of a James Cochrane of Toronto, Canada, and hats off to him.

The concept of a mechanized B-52s cover band reminds me of something I was thinking during the show…. how can I say this…. are DEVO and the B-52s diametric opposites? The B-52s and DEVO started around the same time, achieved national success around the same time, they have in common an obsession with the conformist, gee-whiz 1950s and a bent for simple instrumentation—you can program random computer parts to play “Rock Lobster,” and I reckon the same is true of “Whip It.” But their world views … have the B-52s ever commented negatively on the 1950s or conformist America in their music? They named themselves after a beehive hairdo and obviously they’re entirely camp, but their perspective is all “Let’s go to outer space and send the girl from Ipanema to Greenland! Roam if you want to!” It’s all danceable, lovable positivity. DEVO isn’t like that. They’re both great bands and they share some DNA but they’re just real different when you dig a little deeper.

Anyway, the Bit-52s are a-ight but the B-52s were better. 

The new face of education.

14-year-old girl shot by Taliban sent to UK for treatment

Reuters: 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai, a young Pakistani activist who was shot by Taliban last week, has been sent to the United Kingdom for further treatment.

A military spokesman announced the transport Monday. The spokesman said Yousafzai will require long-term care to recover. Yousafzai was shot because of her activism work against the Taliban’s efforts to keep girls from receiving an education.

Photo: A student holds an image of Malala Yousafzai  who was shot on Tuesday by the Taliban, during a rally in Lahore on October 14, 2012. (Mohsin Raza  /  REUTERS)

Could Voyager 1 have finally left the Solar System?



Voyager 1: beyond the edge of the solar system at last?

This graph may hold the tell-tale pieces of data showing that Voyager 1 has left the Solar System. The sudden reduction in the number of charged particles that hit the craft’s detectors signal that it crossed some sort of boundary in September. Perhaps this means that it is no longer being bombarded by the solar wind, and that it has reached interstellar space?

(via Basic Space)

Voyager is my favorite spacecraft. This news makes me happy.

(yes… I am geeky enough to have a “favorite spacecraft”)

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