|September 08, 2012||You Did WHAT With My Toothbrush?||2 comments|
|September 08, 2012||Students! Name That Asteroid!||1 comments|
|September 03, 2012||The Replacements.||1 comments|
|September 02, 2012||Interview With Henri.||2 comments|
|September 01, 2012||The Week In Review.||1 comments|
|September 01, 2012||Purrrr-fect viewing: Thousands attend first-ever Cat Video Film Fest.||2 comments|
|September 01, 2012||It's Caturday!||1 comments|
|August 31, 2012||Purrliminary Result.||3 comments|
|August 31, 2012||Friday Nite Pint.||3 comments|
|August 31, 2012||Memories of the RNC 2012.||2 comments|
NASA astronaut Sunita Williams and Japanese spaceflyer Akihiko Hoshide performed today's spacewalk repair — their second excursion outside the space station in less than a week.
The fix-it job in space was actually an extra spacewalk tacked on to their mission after the stuck space station bolt prevented the astronauts from properly installing the power unit, called a main bus switching unit (MBSU), on the outpost's backbone-like truss last week on Aug. 30.
The International Space Station has f o u r 220-pound MBSUs that harness power from the outpost's solar arrays and distribute it throughout the orbiting complex. Without the use of one unit, the station had been unable to relay power from two of the eight solar arrays on the massive orbiting complex.
"Looks like you guys just fixed the station," astronaut Jack Fischer radioed from Mission Control at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. "It's been like living on the set of Apollo 13 the past few days. NASA does impossible pretty darn well, so congratulations to the whole team."
At the beginning of today's spacewalk, Williams and Hoshide removed the MBSU from where it had been temporarily tied down with a tether last week. The duo then spent several hours troubleshooting the unit and the two bolts that are designed to secure it in place on the space station's truss.
After undoing the bolts, the spacewalkers examined them for possible damage, and inspected the corresponding receptacles on the MBSU for debris that was suspected to be inside.
"I see metal shavings," Williams said as she inspected the MBSU after it had been removed. "Small metal shavings — smaller than last time we saw in the housing." [Photos: Spacewalkers Fix Space Station Power Unit]
The spacewalkers used improvised cleaning tools and a pressurized can of nitrogen gas to clean out the metal shavings from the bolt receptacles.
"I see a lot of metal shavings coming out," Hoshide said as he maneuvered a wire cleaner around one of the bolt holders.
Williams and Hoshide then lubricated a spare bolt and manually threaded it into the place where the real bolt was eventually driven, in an effort to ensure that the receptacle was clear of any debris.
Following last week's failed attempt to install the replacement MBSU, mission managers, engineers and veteran spacewalkers worked around the clock at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston to devise ways to fix the stuck bolt, NASA spokesman Josh Byerly said in his live spacewalk commentary.
Part of their brainstorming included fashioning tools from existing supplies on the orbiting complex for Williams and Hoshide to use to remove debris from inside the bolt housings. One of the cleaning tools used today was made from a spare toothbrush.
As the spacewalk approached the f o u r-hour mark, the astronauts were given the option to proceed with installing the MBSU, or clean it off and bring the unit inside the station for more analysis. The two spacewalkers unanimously agreed to continue on with their work.
"I think we can press," Hoshide said. "Get 'er done."
"Copy get 'er done," Fischer replied.
When Hoshide reported that the troublesome bolt was finally locked into place, the flight managers in Mission Control erupted in applause.
"That is a little slice of awesome pie," Fischer radioed to the crew.
Last week, Williams and Hoshide removed a faulty MBSU and tried to install the spare, but they were unable to drive in one of the bolts that secures the unit to the station's truss. After repeated attempts failed the astronauts were forced to wrap up their marathon spacewalk.
The Aug. 30 spacewalk lasted 8 hours and 17 minutes, making it the third longest spacewalk in history and the longest one ever performed by a space station crew.
With the MBSU secured in place, the spacewalkers went on to remove a faulty camera from the station's Canadarm 2 robotic arm, and replaced it with a new one before returning into the Quest airlock and ending the spacewalk at 1:34 p.m. EDT (1734 GMT).
Today's outing was clocked at 6 hours and 28 minutes, and was a record-setting excursion for Williams. Roughly two hours into today's spacewalk, Williams overtook Peggy Whitson, a veteran spaceflyer and former Chief of the Astronaut Office, as the record holder for the most time spent working in the vacuum of space by a female astronaut, Byerly said.
Today's outing was the sixth for Williams and the second spacewalk for Hoshide, who is only the third Japanese spaceflyer to work outside in the vacuum of space.
The International Space Station is currently home to six astronauts: Williams and Joe Acaba of NASA, Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, and Russian cosmonauts Gennady Padalka, Yuri Malenchenko and Sergei Revin.
The asteroid, currently known as (101955) 1999 RQ36 could pose a threat to Earth when it swings close to our planet 170 years from now. Measuring 1,837 feet (560 meters) wide, asteroid 1999 RQ36 has a 1-in-1,000 chance of slamming into Earth in the year 2182, researchers have said.
NASA is planning an ambitious mission to return samples from the surface of 1999 RQ36. The expedition, called Osiris-Rex (short for Origins-Spectral Interpretation-Resource Identification-Security-Regolith Explorer), is scheduled to launch in 2016. The Osiris-Rex mission is expected to cost $800 million, a figure that does not include the cost of a launch vehicle, agency officials have said.
Samples brought back by the Osiris-Rex mission could help scientists unlock some of the mysteries of the solar system's origin some 4.5 billion years ago, and the organic molecules that may have led to life on Earth. NASA is also planning to launch astronauts to an asteroid by the year 2025.
By soliciting suggestions from students, NASA is hoping to engage the next generation of scientists in astronomy and spaceflight. [Video: The OSIRIS-Rex Mission to 1999 RQ36]
"Because the samples returned by the mission will be available for study for future generations, it is possible the person who names the asteroid will grow up to study the regolith we return to Earth," Jason Dworkin, Osiris-Rex project scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., said in a statement.
The agency's competition is open to students worldwide, under the age of 18. Each participant may submit one name, which can be up to 16 characters in length. Students are required to also include a short explanation for their suggested name.
"Asteroids are just cool and 1999 RQ36 deserves a cool name!" Bill Nye, chief executive officer for The Planetary Society, said in a statement. "Engaging kids around the world in a naming contest will get them tuned in to asteroids and asteroid science."
The deadline for entering the contest is Dec. 2, 2012, and submissions should be made by an adult on behalf of the student, NASA officials said.
A panel of judges will then review the submissions, and a winner will be announced when the chosen name is approved by the International Astronomical Union Committee for Small-Body Nomenclature.
"Our mission will be focused on this asteroid for more than a decade," Dante Lauretta, principal investigator for the Osiris-Rex mission at the University of Arizona in Tucson, said in a statement. "We look forward to having a name that is easier to say than (101955) 1999 RQ36."
Asteroid 1999 RQ36 was discovered in 1999 by the Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research survey at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington. This space rock census is part of NASA's Near Earth Observation Program in Washington, D.C., which aims to catalog near-Earth asteroids and comets.
The clunky name (101955) 1999 RQ36 was designated by the Minor Planet Center, which is operated by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Mass. Once a newly discovered asteroid is characterized, and certain criteria are met to establish its orbit, the Minor Planet Center gives it an initial alphanumeric name.
NASA is hosting the asteroid naming contest in partnership with The Planetary Society in Pasadena, Calif., MIT's Lincoln Laboratory, and the University of Arizona.
For more information about the contest rules and guidelines, and to submit an asteroid name, please visit The Planetary Society's website: http://planetary.org/name
NEW YORK -- Two days before the NFL season kicks off, no talks are scheduled between the league and the locked-out on-field officials.
Both sides met for three days last week, but did not reach an agreement to end the three-month-old lockout. Replacement officials who worked the preseason games will officiate the first week of the season, beginning Wednesday night with the Cowboys at the Giants.
The league and the NFL Referees Association, which covers more than 120 on-field officials, are at odds over salary, retirement benefits and operational issues.
The NFL has said its offer includes annual pay increases that could earn an experienced official more than $200,000 annually by 2018. The NFLRA has disputed the value of the proposal, insisting it would ultimately reduce their compensation.
From The Associated Press
In the meantime here is a look at the replacement refs...LOL!
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — While his fellow film school students dreamed of being the next Scorsese, Will Braden’s artistic vision took a furry twist: "I wanted to pretend to be a depressed French cat online."
Six years later, the Seattle man has parlayed that dream into a series of videos starring an elegant tuxedo puss named Henri, booming merch sales and a book deal with Random House. Making cat videos is now Braden’s full-time job.
And unlike those budding Scorseses in film school, Braden didn’t have to wait long for his Oscar: on Thursday night, in front of more than 10,000 fans at the first Internet Cat Video Film Festival, the filmmaker accepted the Golden Kitty People’s Choice Award for his two-minute opus Henri 2: Paw de Deux.
"I had no idea this was going to be so huge," Braden said, clutching his kitty statuette. "This is kind of a litmus test for a lot of cat stuff… there is a virtual community to it, but if you like it enough to share it, you bring it into the real world."
So it was, on the rolling hill beside Minneapolis’s Walker Art Center, as all those people splayed out under the remains of a scorching day to watch two hours of cat videos together. There were 79 videos to see: short cat videos and long cat videos, cat videos set to music and animated cats.
There were famous favourites — Keyboard Cat, rest its soul, gamely tickling plastic ivories — and cutting-edge creations.
In the swollen crowd, fans showed off cat T-shirts and cat tattoos; they handed out business cards for their own cats. Even a few famous felines came out: on the crest of the hill, a teensy cat with a lolling tongue flopped on the grass while hundreds of fans circled her, camera-phones clicking. "Is that Lil Bub?" one woman squealed.
Indeed it was: New York-based Vice Magazine sponsored the celebrikitty to travel to the festival from Indiana. "She’s just special," owner Mike Bridavsky said, as he cuddled Bub for another marathon photoop. "I get emails every day saying she’s changed people’s lives. She’s raising money for charity. As long as I can maintain a positive message, we’ll keep doing it."
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when cats became the common language of the Internet, the oblivious furry hubs that so much online funny hinges on. Katie Hill isn’t sure either: "I’m not a sociologist," the Walker Center program associate demurred.
But Hill knew that she liked cat videos.
And so, as part of the Walker’s outdoor Open Field experimental art program, she decided to throw a cat video film festival.
The idea was whimsical, but carried a real cultural question: what happens when we turn off our computer screens, and consume an online phenomenon together?
At first, Hill thought the festival might draw hundreds; she never guessed it would bring 10,000 to the field, so many that fans spilled over the street on nearby Vineland Road. But news of the festival went viral, splashed on everything from the Huffington Post to the New York Times. Indeed, at 1 a.m. on Thursday morning, Hill was on the phone doing an interview with British BBC.
"It’s surreal for me," she said, dressed in a T-shirt wearing the festival’s cute clapboard-cat logo. "I guess I hit a vein, somewhat unintentionally. It’s kind of amazing. And I think it raises a lot of really interesting critical questions, to have such a lighthearted program."
From the pop-up bar to the far edge of the field, those questions echoed: why cats?
And why cat videos? It’s because cats are more independent, some fans said; there’s a mystery to them, and to the funny things they do. "It’s sort of inexplicable, which is maybe what’s enticing about it," mused Kate Graham, 29, who came to the festival with her fellow "big cat fan" mom.
Near the top of the hill, 22-year-old Christine Taffe was already over the moon at having met Lil Bub: "She’s the reason I had such an unproductive day at work," she said with a giggle, and mused over the question of why cats like Bub are so entrancing. "The Internet brings a lot of great things into our lives. One of them is enabling us to see the beauty of the everyday."
"Besides," she added, settling on a blanket to watch the videos roll, "cats are just weird."
To see more of the videos, search for #catvidfest on YouTube. Melissa.firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @doubleemmartin More than 10,000 meow-viegoers (and their cats) were feline fine at the first-ever Cat Video Film Fest.
By Melissa Martin
A new study shows that the shape of one's beer glass affects how fast people gulp down the beverage.
"People often talk of 'pacing themselves' when drinking alcohol as a means of controlling levels of drunkenness, and I think the important point to take from our research is that the ability to pace effectively may be compromised when drinking from certain types of glasses," Dr. Angela Attwood, a research assistant at the School of Experimental Psychology at the University of Bristol in Bristol, England, said in a press release.
The study appeared Aug. 17 in the journal PLoS ONE.
Researchers asked 159 social drinkers between the ages of 18 to 40 who did not have a history of alcoholism to drink a lager or a non-alcoholic soft drink from either a straight or curved glass.
On average, it took people drinking beer out of a straight glass 11 minutes to finish 12 oz. Those drinking out of the curved glass only took seven minutes. There was no difference in time for people consuming soft-drinks out of either glass.
"Drinking time is slowed by almost 60 percent when an alcoholic beverage is presented in a straight glass compared with a curved glass," the scientists wrote.
The subjects were also asked to look at partially filled straight and curvy glasses and say if they were more or less than half full. They were more likely to get the answer right when the glass was straight.
Researchers believe that people had a hard time judging and pacing themselves with the curvy glass because of the shape. They suggested that changing the shape of the glass beer is served in may "nudge" people to make better alcohol consumption choices. Attwood told the BBC that the lack of difference among the soda drinkers was probably because they weren't as concerned about how fast they drank the soft drinks.
"Due to the personal and societal harms associated with heavy bouts of drinking, there has been a lot of recent interest in alcohol control strategies," Attwood said in the press release. "While many people drink alcohol responsibly, it is not difficult to have 'one too many' and become intoxicated. Because of the negative effects alcohol has on decision making and control of behavior, this opens us up to a number of risks."
The study only looked at the time to finish only one drink, so researchers are curious to see if the effect lasts throughout a night of drinking.
By Michelle Castillo