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Posts Tagged ‘science’

VIDEO CURIOSITY

Shades of Isaac Asimov’s “I Robot“?

–submitted by “Eric”

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Tim says: if you’d like to submit one of your own You Tube “Video Curiosity” discoveries for consideration, use the “Contact” form at the top of the blog. Include the link and your first name only. Email addresses (if any) will not be published.

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VIDEO CURIOSITY

These two animations are the best compilations I’ve seen depicting the amazing processes that have evolved in order to deliver NASA rover missions onto the surface of Mars, safely. The first video shows how previous missions (Spirit and “Opportunity”) of rovers were deployed on the surface, similar to dropping a bouncing beach ball. Can you imagine? The second video details how the most recent Mars lander, Curiosity was set gently down on the Red Planet, August 5, 2012.

Part 1: “Spirit” and “Opportunity” missions.

Part 2: “Curiosity” mission.

–submitted by “Rich”

Hats off to NASA and its dedicated team of employees — What an incredible feat!

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Tim says: if you’d like to submit one of your own You Tube “Video Curiosity” discoveries for consideration, use the “Contact” form at the top of the blog. Include the link and your first name only. Email addresses (if any) will not be published.

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One day Mom and Dad bought me a chemistry set. The outside of the box boasted “101 SAFE PROJECTS FOR CHILDREN”. I think Mom, Dad, and the manufacturer underestimated me.

For my first experiment I decided to make sulfuric acid. Although “How to make Sulfuric Acid” was not listed in the kit’s table of contents, the Athens, Greece library supplied me with more than enough information to get started. I carefully bubbled sulfur fumes through an Erlenmeyer flask containing water I had distilled in the first half of the lab session. This produced a weak solution of H2SO4 (sulfuric acid), which turned the litmus paper the proper color.

Oh, boy!

Mom poked her head into my bedroom. “What are you making?” she asked. “That smells HORRIBLE!”

“It’s just sulfur dioxide, Mom.” I responded. “Smells just like rotten eggs!”

Later, I distilled the weak acid solution, producing a thick syrup. A fresh piece of litmus paper turned bright RED even without submersing it in the fluid. Just the FUMES turned it red.

Oh, BOY!

About a week later Mom noticed a dime-sized hole that had been burned through my bedroom laboratory’s carpet. “What’s THAT?” she asked, pointing the way only mothers can do.

“I must have spilled something on the rug,” I said. “You know, something nasty from that chemistry set.”

Mom was shocked. “Where is the chemistry set now?” she demanded.

“Don’t worry. I threw it away. What I REALLY want is a Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab!”

Quote from above link: “The set came with four types of uranium ore, a beta-alpha source (Pb-210), a pure beta source (Ru-106), a gamma source (Zn-65?), a spinthariscope, a cloud chamber with its own short-lived alpha source (Po-210), an electroscope, a geiger counter, a manual, a comic book (Dagwood Splits the Atom) and a government manual “Prospecting for Uranium.”‘

Sure enough, several weeks later Dad brought home a Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab. He was obviously pleased with my continued interest in science, and possibly hoped for a budding nuclear physicist gracing the family tree.

The first thing I did was put some of the uranium powder into the sample of the sulfuric acid I had made…

Those were the days.

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Galaxies Everywhere: these from a tiny sample of the universe.

The next time you step outside on a clear, starry night and gaze upwards—consider this: our planet circles our sun within what we have come to call the SOLAR SYSTEM. A solar system contains a  sun and its planets. Our solar system, along with 100 BILLION (100,000,000,000) other solar systems, make up something we call a GALAXY. We live in the Milky Way Galaxy. How many galaxies are there? Well, let’s just say there are TEN galaxies out there for every man, woman, and child on the face of the Earth. In other words, there are approximately 170 BILLION galaxies in the known universe, each one containing over 100 BILLION stars.

Think about that for a second.

That’s a LOT of stars. That’s a LOT of planets. And if your mind can expand enough to comprehend the sheer mathematics of it, astrophysicists now believe there may be BILLIONS more universes out there.

I don’t know about you, but my mind bogs down long before it reaches the moon.

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Tim says: I have always been interested in science  and, to a point, following current events as best I can. Unlike science, current events tend to change day to day; it usually takes science a few days to catch up.

Black holes* have always fascinated me. What are they? Where do they come from? Where do they go? How can massive objects — whose gravity is so strong even light and possibly time cannot escape, and which are now believed to be the center of every one of the billions of galaxies scattered throughout the known universe — even exist?

Aquacious monuments.

And what is all this hoopla about global warming? Is it? Isn’t it? Do we know for sure?

“By golly, Tim,” you might now be asking yourself, “what the hell do black holes and global warming have in common, and where are you heading with this?”

Well, you see … more than a decade ago I wrote this really weird poem…

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One Hundred Feet Below Sea Level

Our houses will be reefs someday,
When the poles shift,
Or the ozone fails,
The ice caps melt,
Aquacious monuments,
One hundred feet below sea level.

The continents are old
And ancient movement
Is measured in inches.
What once was here
Will soon once be there.
Snorkeled tourists will float,
Peering downward,
Or sink, bubbles rising,
For closer observation.
Rooftop skylights,
Intimately outlined in coral,
Too far below to own,
But delicately enticing.
Scuba divers
Find riding lawn mowers
Silently locked inside of sheds,
Patios and stone walls
Awash with shadow and distortions.
Ornamental trees, once leafed,
Now skeletal.
Surface tension
Sucks seashores
To the skirts of the mountains,
Where whales sing liquid songs,
Connecting the canyons,
And sightseers once shot
White water on rubber rafts.

The Earth is old
And ancient movement
Is measured in miles per second.
What once was here
Will soon once be there,
Twirling around our sun,
Like continents in motion,
In concert with the system,
Itself minuscule.
Planets within galaxies,
Seas within oceans,
Expanding from a central horizon,
Measured in light years
And tidal action.
Mass and densities
Manipulated by gravitational forces,
Dancing in balance.
Holes within black holes,
Floes within currents,
Light bending so tightly,
That what lies ahead
Is seen from behind,
Until there is nothing,
No seas and no oceans.

Our houses will be reefs someday,
When the poles shift,
Or the ozone fails,
The ice caps melt.
Aquacious monuments,
One hundred feet below sea level.

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* If you have read the “black hole” link in today’s Simply Tim, you have once again used the incredible services of Wikipedia. Wikipedia is a non-profit organization who can use your help. If you by-passed Wikipedia’s “Please Read” section during your previous visit, I urge you to check it out now.

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