Tuesday, September 28, 2010
The mother of one of Annabelle's friends just got back from a trip to Madrid, Spain. She said there is a completely different culture and mindset at work there. They are not as work-obsessed as we Americans. She said that everyone takes at least an hour for lunch during the work day. And everyone drinks wine at lunch. Everyone. And then they all take naps. Some lie down in the park for their nap, others snooze in their cars. And they eat dinner late. Like at 9:00 or 10:00, or much later. Before that, they snack on tapas.
Oh my gosh, what a culture shock this would be. I just don't know if I could HANDLE it. Ha ha ha.
Tapas with wine sounds good at 3:00 in the morning.
Friday, September 24, 2010
Found in cyberspace: a live chat log from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), recorded on May 25, 2008, before the Phoenix spacecraft landed on Mars as part of the Mars Scout Program.
Here are questions that visitors to the chat room asked, with occasional answers from JPL people. Why the mention of peanuts? It's a long-standing tradition at the JPL to eat peanuts before a landing for good luck.
What is the expected lifespan of the lander?
Will the first solar array images show any part of the surface?
How precise did the MERs and Pathfinder land with respect to their precalculated landing ellipses?
Is JPL a circus yet?
Where are the peanuts?! :)
I hear there may be a rough landing
JPL: yer, if you land on a big rock, it's going to hurt
Is the trajectory now set in stone, or is a final correction possible?
JPL: Its all on its own now. Last chance for a trajectory change was this morning.
A friend has asked me if its true they used cork in the manufacturing of the heat shield? Any ideas?
JPL: there is cork
I think cork was really used
Cork was mentioned in one of the NASA videos
JPL: Loonyman, yes cork is used on the heatshield. Now this is really special cork, and this cork is what's going to protect us from the violent atmospheric entry that we're about...
Is it possible for SSI to capture some astronomical images of the Earth, Phobos, stars? Do they plan to do this?
Is there any corrective maneuver that can be done during the thruster powered descent to detect and avoid large boulders or steep slopes?
JPL: No, it just lands. Its luck where it ends up
Is the champagne chilling, just in case Phoenix discovers life?
Will any images be returned by Phoenix as it descends to the Martian surface?
Will you be eating peanuts during EDL? (Estimated landing)
And if the answer is yes, what type?
What's the peanut reference?
Josh: Go buy peanuts RIGHT NOW and start eating. :)
I understand that detecting life is not part of the Phoenix mission, but is there the possibility that during the sample analysis that life could be detected?
JPL: Yes, it has a powerful microscope
I wonder how hard the wind blows
Thanks for the liveblog, it's really interesting to listen to (first-year undergrad in UK)
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
This is one of my favorite songs from the 60's. We had the 45 when I was a kid. I listened to it in the basement again and again. It fascinated me. The lead singer was sassy. "Down by the river....down by the banks of the river Charles...." I pictured people hanging out near a gritty riverfront, not caring if the water was dirty or their clothes were dirty. Even as a young naif, the punk sensibility resonated with me. I sensed something was being expressed that was of value to me --the future me, that I would understand more when I got older.
These guys are doing a lousy job of lip-synching, but it doesn't seem like they care too much.
Monday, September 13, 2010
Sunday, September 12, 2010
She came to me last weekend to help me with this writing contest I wanted to enter. I am grateful she showed up. But she jerked me around a lot. Had me taking off in one direction, then stop, and go another way.
I was sitting in the window, jotting down ideas in a little book, scooping foam off my cappuccino... I started noticing that the music was really good. I sat back and soaked it in. Liquidy guitar, ambient electronics, a warm backdrop of strings--magical. The singer's voice was understated and floaty. I forgot about writing and just listened, drifting on a cloud of happiness. That's when I felt my muse sidle up next to me and tell me that she was going to be hanging around for awhile, so not to worry, it would all come together. I offered her a latte but she declined. My muse is not necessarily always a woman, but this time she was. Like a sharper, more with-it version of myself.
I eventually had to leave my cozy spot, but I know my muse was still with me. Little sparks were going off in my brain. There were ideas to get down. I had walked down the hill to my car, but then I turned around and went back to the Broadway Cafe. I asked one of the baristas the name of the cd they had been playing before. It was Radiohead's cd "In Rainbows." I went back down the hill, stopped in at Streetside Records, where they were selling it for $10.00, and I bought it.
It's always when things are starting to gel that my muse starts getting crazed--jealous of my time, wanting me to do nothing but write, write, write. All the routine obligations of an ordinary day become unbearable to her. No time to wash dishes! You have something much more important to do than cook! Forget about those bills. Bah! Your children will keep. Your man is a big boy. Let it all go to hell! Grab your laptop and tell the rest of the world to bug off!