NASA Memory Lane (41)


Aug. 20, 1989.

25 Years Ago, Voyager 2 Captures Images of Neptune

NASA – NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft gave humanity its first glimpse of Neptune and its moon Triton in the summer of 1989. This picture of Neptune was produced from the last whole planet images taken through the green and orange filters on the Voyager 2 narrow angle camera. The images were taken on Aug. 20, 1989, at a range of 4.4 million miles from the planet, 4 days and 20 hours before closest approach on Aug. 25. The picture shows the Great Dark Spot and its companion bright smudge; on the west limb the fast moving bright feature called “Scooter” and the little dark spot are visible. These clouds were seen to persist for as long as Voyager’s cameras could resolve them. North of these, a bright cloud band similar to the south polar streak may be seen.

In the summer of 2015, another NASA mission to the farthest zone of the solar system, New Horizons, will make a historic first close-up study of Pluto. Although a fast flyby, New Horizons’ Pluto encounter on July 14, 2015, will not be a replay of Voyager but more of a sequel and a reboot, with a new and more technologically advanced spacecraft and, more importantly, a new cast of characters. Those characters are Pluto and its family of five known moons, all of which will be seen up close for the first time next summer.

Ferguson: America’s cultural segregation fault lines


BOOK REVIEW

Habits of the Heart (pdf), Author: Robert Bellah.

The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America Is Tearing Us Apart, Authors: Bill Bishop and Robert Cushing.

By Neal Gabler – We don’t live in America anymore. We live in thousands of Americas, many no farther away than our computer screens and the Internet. These are self-identified Americas.

But there is another, more pernicious effect of cultural segregation. It shrinks the world rather than enlarges it — reinforces what already is, circumscribes people within their own worldview.

In a segregated world, especially the virtually segregated world we now have thanks to the Internet, we need never leave our own cultural ghetto. more> http://tinyurl.com/kewk6pl

Why An Anti To-Do List Might Be The Secret To Productivity


By Joel Gascoigne – My approach with the Anti-To-Do List is to have not just a single list each day, as many of us do now (our to-do list), but to have two.

The idea of the Anti-To-Do List is that it is the account of progress for that day. In some ways it’s a “Done” List.

This is really powerful, because you can always look back at your Anti-To-Do List and see how much you’ve got done (even if the items weren’t on your todo list). more> http://tinyurl.com/llr3ag8

Updates from BOEING


The Unmanned Moving Target

U.S. Air Force – The 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron and Boeing Co. conducted the flight, which is the first step in a two year process to phase out the QF-4 full scale aerial target.

“The QF-4 did a good job for many years, but it’s time to turn the page in the aerial target program. This program will bring us into the 4th generation aircraft,” said Lt. Col. Ryan Inman, the 82nd ATRS commander. “And will provide us with a mission capable, very sustainable aerial target to take us into the next 10 to 20 years.”

The first QF-16 was delivered to Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., in November 2012 for operational and developmental testing to ensure their viability for aerial targets. The QF-16 is a supersonic reusable full-scale aerial target modified from an F16 Fighting Falcon. The emergence of U.S. 5th generation fighters such as the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Lightning means American forces need an advanced target, similar to what they would actually find on the battle field. more> http://tinyurl.com/nvrdv94

Surveillance and the Creative Mind


By T.A. Ridout – Throughout human history, those who question conventional wisdom or existing power structures have frequently made those invested in the status quo vengeful, from Galileo, to Martin Luther King Jr., to Ai Wei Wei.

Despite paternalistic assurances that Americans have no reason to fear their own government, caution is warranted.

The pattern of deception by U.S. executive branch officials makes it hard for reasonable people that are paying attention not to be skeptical of their latest pronouncements. Though the risk is not high, it would be naïve to assume there is no danger at all.

Recent U.S. history paints a clear picture of abuses by law enforcement and intelligence agencies, often with the approval of politicians. Arbitrary and illegal exercise of government power happens in the United States, as it does everywhere. more> http://tinyurl.com/lxscm2l

Space Launch System (22)


Back Shell Tile Panels Installed on NASA’s Orion Spacecraft

NASA – Inside the Operations and Checkout Building high bay at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, technicians dressed in clean-room suits have installed a back shell tile panel onto the Orion crew module and are checking the fit next to the middle back shell tile panel. Preparations are underway for Exploration Flight Test-1, or EFT-1.

Orion is the exploration spacecraft designed to carry astronauts to destinations not yet explored by humans, including an asteroid and Mars. It will have emergency abort capability, sustain the crew during space travel and provide safe re-entry from deep space return velocities. The first unpiloted test flight of the Orion is scheduled to launch later this year atop a Delta IV rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida to an altitude of 3,600 miles above the Earth’s surface. The two-orbit, four-hour flight test will help engineers evaluate the systems critical to crew safety including the heat shield, parachute system and launch abort system.

> Engineers and Technicians Install Protective Shell on NASA’s Orion Spacecraft

Image Credit: NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis

Here’s what it will take to trigger the next stock market correction


By Anatole Kaletsky – Sometime in the not-too-distant future, investors are certain to suffer some big and painful losses — even if I am right in expecting equity prices to continue rising in the long term.

What kind of event is most likely to end this bull run, or at least interrupt it with a setback of 20 percent or more?

If stock market valuations are not yet high enough to cause a big correction — and if monetary and economic conditions are likely to remain benign for the next year or two — then the unavoidable conclusion is that equity prices will just keep rising until they really do become over-extended.

At that point, negative news events of the kind that investors can shrug off today as almost irrelevant will prove sufficient to trigger a serious correction. more> http://tinyurl.com/lgsbgyd