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Showing posts with the label technology

The Webcam’s Back

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Webcam: Sauk Centre MN is back online. And has been for several days.

A bit more at A Catholic Citizen in America.

"One Small Step" in a Long Journey

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"A journey of a thousand li starts with a single step."
(Tao Te Ching," Laozi)

"That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind."
(Neil Armstrong) I figure the journey to Earth's moon began when someone looked up and wondered what this world's "lesser light" might be. Uncounted ages, most likely, before folks like Laozi and Thales of Miletus added their thoughts to humanity's storehouse of knowledge.

Thales of Miletus gets credit for figuring out that Earth's moon is roughly spherical. So does Anaximander, depending on who's talking. Those two lived about two and a half millennia back.

A century later, Anaxagoras said Earth's moon was earthy, made of the same sort of stuff we stand on. He was right about that. Other details in his cosmology, not so much....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Apollo 11, 50 Years Later

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Apollo 11's Lunar Module reached Mare Tranquillitatis fifty years ago this month. I remember hearing Neil A. Armstrong announce the landing site's name: "Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed."

A few hours later, Armstrong opened the Lunar Module's MESA — a storage locker built into the lander's side.

A television camera in the MESA showed us Armstrong's, and humanity's, first step onto another world.

Back on Earth, one out of every five people were watching: at home, in pubs, at cafes, in New York's Central Park and at shop windows. Pope St. Paul VI watched at the Castle Gandolfo observatory....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Fukushima Cleanup: Slow Progress

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A tsunami flooded the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant eight years ago.

Fires, explosions and meltdowns followed.

Folks living within 20 kilometers were told to leave the area.

Radiation levels are dropping. A few folks are moving back. Clearing debris and removing radioactive fuel rods is taking more time than expected....

(More, at A Catholic Citizen in America)

Christchurch: Headcam at the Mosques

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You've almost certainly seen the news by now. Someone killed more than four dozen folks at a Friday afternoon prayer meeting in Christchurch, New Zealand.

One attack was east of the city's center, the other west. Both were about a mile from Cathedral Square....

I noticed familiar angles in today's news and op-eds covering the attacks....

...That's understandable. Even if some outfit managed to get all the facts and discussed how they'd affect — or might affect — everyone, I doubt that anyone would read the result. Maybe a few news wonks, with entirely too much time on their hands.

I've got an angle or two, myself....

(More at A Catholic Citizen in America)

Commercial Spaceflight: Another Step

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The SpaceX Crew Dragon demonstration and test flight has gone well. The spacecraft returns to Earth Friday morning.

Folks may be riding Crew Dragon to and from the ISS later this year.

I found quite a bit about space stations, docking technology and other more-or-less-related topics. But if this is going to be done in time, that must wait until another day.

(More at A Catholic Citizen in America.)

Evolution and Tools

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Finding stone tools isn't remarkable. Folks have been making, and occasionally losing, tools for a long time.

Scientists think folks upgraded their tech to deal with a changing climate.

Or maybe someone else who had done so moved in....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Miami Bridge Collapse

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My wife noted that yesterday's bridge collapse near Miami, Florida was "horrible." I think she's right.

What is certain at this point, Friday afternoon, a bit over 24 hours after the incident, is that a structure collapsed and people died.

Others were injured, but are still alive....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Coming: Robots

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The Texas University robot football squad probably won't go pro, replacing the Dallas Cowboys or Houston Texans.

They're too small, for starters.

But they're helping researchers develop robot office assistants. Smart ones. Maybe as effective as today's human office gofers.

I'll be looking at robots, humanoid and otherwise; tech and attitudes; what I see coming, and why I think we'll deal with whatever happens.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Oxygen, Alien Life

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We haven't found extraterrestrial life. But we're still finding planets circling other stars. Thousands of them.

Some of those planets couldn't possibly support life as we know it. But some might.

Atomic oxygen may be a good biosignature: evidence of life. That's what some scientists said in a recent paper. If they're right, we may be a step closer to finding life in this universe.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Mars and Beyond

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Falcon Heavy's test flight last week wasn't perfect. But I'll call it a success. That's good news for SpaceX. Not my opinion: the largely-successful flight.

The test flight's dummy payload included an actual dummy. "Starman" is that mannequin wearing a spacesuit at the wheel of a red Tesla roadster.

I'll be talking about that, how I see the news, technology, and humanity's new horizon....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Off the Rails

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About 78 folks were on Amtrak Cascades passenger train 501 Monday morning. They'll be late. At best.

I'll be looking at what happened, new and old technology. Also how I see change and progress....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

California Murders: and Remembering

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(From Getty Images, via BBC News, used w/o permission.)
("Police say a number of students had to be medically evacuated from the school"
(BBC News))

I hadn't planned on writing about murder and getting a grip this week. Or next. But another multiple murder is international news....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

The Dream

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He woke, heart racing, breathless, wet with sweat, in the starlit time before dawn. He shuddered when something touched his arm. It was his wife.

"Again?" she asked, rolling her belly onto him. Soon she would bear his first child.

"Again," he gasped. He waited until his breath came more easily. "The same thing. It was awful."

She waited. He would talk soon. Perhaps then he would sleep.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Swatting Fast Flies

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We're a lot smarter than flies, which probably helps us swat them.

But the insects are very good at being somewhere else when the flyswatter or newspaper hits whatever they were on.

I've run into a few reasonable speculations. One was that flies are hypersensitive to air movements, and feel an approaching object. That may be part of the answer.

Scientists found another piece to that puzzle recently. "Recently" by my standards, that is. Flies live a whole lot faster than we do. Or, in a fly's eyes, we move in slow motion....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Wanting Truth

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I think truth is important, so do many others. Some see truth in ways that doesn't line up with my views.

Sometimes I can respect how they reached their conclusions. But I still think I'm right. Closer to what's true, at any rate.

That doesn't make me one of humanity's paragons of candor and acceptance....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

More Disasters

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The good news is that folks on the Gulf Coast probably won't be affected by Hurricane Irma. Not directly.

Cleanup and rebuilding there is taking a back seat to news of this weekend's hurricane and Mexico's major earthquake.

I'll be talking about this week's disasters, and how folks deal with them. Also faith, reasonable and otherwise, and a little science....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Labor Day SETI

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I nearly missed an interesting development in SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. Interesting, and as newsworthy as most Stephen Hawking stories, but probably not significant.

Professor Hawking didn't start chatting with aliens over the Labor Day weekend. That would be major news.

But an outfit he's connected with will be listening to FRB 121102. I think it's likely that they'll collect useful data, and that this isn't a prelude to 'first contact.'

Other scientists say they've spotted several planets orbiting Tau Ceti. Two of them may be just inside that star's habitable zone.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Sane Environmentalism

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I think being concerned about air quality, recycling, and other environmental issues, makes sense.

But I don't think only being concerned about the environment is a good idea. People matter, too. I don't think it's an either/or thing.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Fukushima, Six Years Later

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The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster could have been much worse. But it may have been avoidable.

Meltdowns and non-nuclear explosions at the power plant didn't directly kill anyone.

More than 40 patients who were evacuated from a nearby hospital died later. They had been critically ill. Getting rushed away from a nuclear incident in progress wouldn't have been good for their health.

Three former power company executives now face criminal charges.

The earthquake, tsunami, and meltdowns in 2011 killed nearly 16,000 folks and left many others homeless. Many folks still can't return to their homes. Quakes happen. This one was nobody's fault.

What happened in Fukushima is another matter. I'll be looking at the disaster, what's happened since, and why questioning authority can be a good idea.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.