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for February, 2012.
It is going to be an astounding month for planet-gazing and I urge everyone to spend some nice quiet early evening time outside communing with nature. And the really good news is that the planets are, for the most part, bright and easy to find. You’ll probably get at least two more e-mails this month because there are really cool things happening. Because today, 1 March, is a Thursday; that means that public shows are NEXT WEEK.
Keep reading to learn all about them.
Enjoy the night sky this week!
1. Planetary delights
2. Public shows for March
1. Planetary delights
I have a hard assignment for you. I want you to go outside virtually every evening this month and watch the sunset! (See, I told you it was
hard!) As it begins to grow dark, you’re going to see two of the brightest stars you’ve ever seen appear above the western horizon. They aren’t stars. The lower, brighter one is Venus and the upper one is Jupiter.
If you go out and look tonight and then go out and look tomorrow night, you’ll discover that Venus is closer to Jupiter. No, the two planets are still millions and millions of miles apart, but Venus is catching up to Jupiter from our point of view. By the middle of March, they’ll look like two eyes in the western sky so watch every evening that the clouds let you see them!
As it begins to grow darker (around 7:00 p.m.) look below Venus and you’ll see another bright ’star’. That’s Mercury and you can see Mercury in the western sky for the next two weeks or so. It reaches its maximum distance above the horizon next Monday, 5 March.
So you can see three planets in the western sky this week. If you want to see four, just wait until one hour after sunset (7:30 or so); find Venus and Jupiter in the western sky and turn completely around. That very bright red star not too far from the eastern horizon isn’t a star; it’s Mars. Mars makes its closest approach to Earth for this trip on Saturday,
3 March, so go outside and have a look.
Four planets in our early evening sky and all you have to do to see five is look down! Have fun!
2. Planetarium public shows for March 2012 The Chamoru Legends Show 8, 9 and 10 March 2012
6:30 in English
7:00 in Chamoru
If you draw a line from Mercury to Venus to Jupiter and then across the sky to Mars, you’ve just traced the path of the ecliptic; the plane of the solar system. That sky path was important to everybody and the constellations along that path have familiar names like Gemini the Twins and Leo the Lion. Everybody told sky stories but unfortunately, the stories told on Guam about the starry patterns are stories told by people who lived somewhere else, because the Chamorus have lost most of their sky lore. Although I’ve asked many people, no one seems to know any Chamoru stories about constellations or other sky phenomena like eclipses or phases of the Moon.
So we decided to do something about it. This month’s Planetarium show is Chamoru Sky Stories: Old and New. Our first legend is the Chamoru legend of creation and it’s the only traditional Chamoru story I’ve been able to find that deals with things in the sky. The second legend was adapted from a story told to me by a local Chamoru gentleman and it’s a marvelous tale about what happened to ‘The Star that Fell from the Sky’. Our last story starts with the local legend about the big fish that tried to eat through the island and was caught with a net made from some lovely ladies’
hair. We learn, however, that that’s only the beginning of the story in ‘Chief Gadao and the Big Fish’.
Chamoru Sky Stories: Old and New will be presented on Thursday, Friday and Saturday 8, 9 and 10 March at 6:30 p.m. We’ll also present Chamoru Sky Stories at 7:00 p.m. but this one will have a distinct twist because at
7:00 p.m. the stories will be told in Chamoru! So join us this month for a unique cultural experience and learn some new tales you can tell your own children. Celebrate Chamoru month in a totally unique way! See you then!
Welcome to The Deep science and technology column where we cover topics from the deep sea to deep space and beyond.
I thought we’d dip into the technology file today and look at some old and new tech stuff. If you’re a girl, do you remember that talking doll from your childhood? Well, it turns out that talking dolls go back a lot farther than your childhood. Scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California have recovered sound from a ring-shaped cylinder phonograph record made of solid tin that historians believe is the earliest surviving talking doll record. Phonograph inventor Thomas Edison made the record in 1888 in West Orange, New Jersey.
On the recording, an unidentified woman recites one verse of the nursery rhyme "Twinkle, twinkle, little star." The voice captured on the recording has been unheard since Edison’s lifetime and it represents a significant milestone in the early history of recorded sound technology.
The record cylinder is no longer round and it couldn’t be played using conventional methods. The Berkeley scientists used a three-dimensional optical device to create a digital model of the cylinder’s surface and they recovered all but the first syllable of the first word of the recording.
Thomas Edison was searching for a market for his phonograph in 1888 and he decided that talking dolls were the way to go. Since he couldn’t duplicate his sound recordings, he hired women with suitable voices to make as many records as he thought would be needed once his talking dolls were put on the market. This is probably the first time people were employed to do sound recording so these unnamed women may have been the world’s first professional recording artists. But they never received the recognition they deserved.
Edison placed his first talking doll on the market in 1890. By that time, he’d switched to using records made from wax instead of tin. Unfortunately, the dolls were a commercial flop because they broke too easily, mainly because the records were made of wax instead of tin. No one knows why Edison switched from tin to wax records for the talking doll.
The cylinder phonograph record. (Credit: Image courtesy of National Park Service)
So we know what happened to a sound recording that’s over 120 years old, but here’s a question for you. What’s going to happen to the data in your computer in 120 years? An old-school alternative to digital storage may save us from information loss as technology changes and today’s state of the art devices become tomorrow’s museum pieces.
We’ve all seen it. If you didn’t remove Grandma’s picture from that 5 1/4 floppy disc you had it stored on, it’s toast. Your movies on VHS? Ditto for the most part. Reams of data from the Moon landings? Well, maybe. And when they stop using CD’s in five or ten years?? What then?
Well, there are always books and printed photos. They don’t go bad (at least not with the speed of digital data). So, what are we to do? German scientists suggest that microfilm, the format beloved of spy fiction, may be the way to go for "off-line" storage in terms of cost, stability and technology independence.
Microfilm doesn’t require frequent technology updates and future generations can access the information by scanning the microfilm into whatever system they’re currently using and applying optical character recognition to decode the data.
You don’t need tapes, spinning discs or even electronic hardware to store microfilm. You just need a dry, temperature-controlled closet or even just a hermetically sealed box. Sounds like a plan to me!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Tony Winders
Winders Consulting Group
Del Rey Yacht Club
(310) 823-4664, ext. 102
JIM SULLIVAN TO SAIL ENGINELESS ACROSS PACIFIC ON THE 30-FOOT ‘ELUSIVE SPIRIT’;
‘XPAC 8000 EXPEDITION’ TO BRING ATTENTION TO CRUELTY AND CAPTIVITY OF DOLPHINS
Marina del Rey, Calif. (February 23, 2012) – On Sunday, March 4, adventurer and conservationist Jim Sullivan will set sail on an 8,000-mile journey from Marina del Rey to Cebu, Philippines, aboard the 30-foot Elusive Spirit. Dubbed the “Xpac 8000 Expedition,” Sullivan will be the first to attempt sailing non-stop across the Pacific Ocean on such a small vessel without an engine since the 1700s.
A launch event for the Xpac 8000 Expedition will be hosted by Del Rey Yacht Club in Marina del Rey (13900 Palawan Way), starting with a press conference at 10 a.m. on March 4, before Sullivan sets sail at noon. Ric O’Barry, the star of the television series “Flipper” who was featured in the Oscar-winning documentary “The Cove,” is among those scheduled to speak at the event and will ride with Sullivan out of the Marina harbor. The event is open to the public.
Sullivan will use the latest satellite 2-way texting technology to send messages ashore, which will be posted on his website and via Twitter @xpac8000, where followers can also direct words of support and encouragement to Sullivan throughout the three-month journey. Updates about the trip and real-time monitoring of Sullivan’s location via Google Maps will be managed by his web partner Bandacorp and published on the site where Sullivan also hosts his radio program at www.thedeepradioshow.com.
Part personal challenge and part environmental activism, the nautical feat is meant to celebrate Sullivan’s ability to overcome adversity, specifically an ongoing issue with his legs resulting from an injury suffered while in Guam during his last voyage. It is also Sullivan’s passion for educating people about the ocean that drives him, especially his desire to help build awareness of the cruel mistreatment and killing of dolphins.
Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project and the Earth Island Institute are supporting organizations of the Xpac 8000 Expedition. Sullivan has created a “Pennies for Life” program to allow anyone interested in supporting his mission to pledge a penny for every mile he sails. Proceeds will benefit Earth Island Institute.
“This is a very personal journey for me,” says Sullivan. “More than just overcoming a physical challenge and attaining my personal goals, the Xpac 8000 Expedition is meant to educate people about the unnecessary slaughtering and captivity of dolphins worldwide. Instead of bringing these dolphins into our world, part of my sailing engineless is about entering their world to record their sounds and images, which I plan to share with my followers once I arrive in the Philippines.”
Sullivan’s 8,000-mile journey will be tracked online as he sails along the north equatorial current from latitude 33 degrees to 12 degrees North, passing south of Hawaii, north of the Marshal Islands, south of Guam. He is expected to arrive in Cebu in early June, where he will rejoin his fiancée, whom he plans to marry later this year.
Sullivan is staging the Xpac 8000 Expedition at Pier 44 in Marina del Rey, located at 4637 Admiralty Way.
# # #
About Del Rey Yacht Club
Celebrating its 60th year as one of Southern California’s preeminent yacht clubs, Del Rey Yacht Club is home to many yachting, racing and social enthusiasts. Located in Marina del Rey, DRYC offers many types of memberships, casual and fine dining, and all kinds of on-the-water activities provided in a warm, family-oriented environment. The club has participated actively in all forms of angler events and both sail racing and predicted log racing, sponsoring over 25 races each year. Its members have entered such well known international bluewater races as the Transpacific Yacht Race, numerous races of Mexico, the Clipper Cup Series, Sardinia Cup, Southern Ocean Racing Circuit as well as the Pacific Coast Barusch Race, the North American Invitational and DRYC’s own Puerto Vallarta Race. The club prides itself particularly in its many social activities within the club and its philanthropic activities benefiting youth and sailing groups, as well as its renowned Junior sailing program. Del Rey Yacht Club also earned the prestigious “Yacht Club of the Year” award for 2009 and 2006 from the Southern California Yachting Association. We invite you to come see why boaters world-wide call us the friendliest club on the water. Del Rey Yacht Club is located at 13900 Palawan Way, Marina del Rey, CA, 90292, or online at www.dryc.org.
This post has been moved to: www.XPac8000.com
Welcome to The Deep science and technology column where we cover topics from the deep sea to deep space and beyond. Visit our website at www.thedeepradioshow.com
Greetings! I thought we’d dip into the technology file today to see if we can discover what those geeks are bringing into our future. Would you believe chocolate? Read on!
Today’s television programs are designed to appeal to your senses of sound and sight. But what if they could trigger a few more? What if you could smell the cheesy slices of pizza being eaten by your favorite characters on TV? Is it possible? Would audiences enjoy the experience? Would advertisers jump on the opportunity to reach consumers in a new way?
Researchers at the University of California San Diego collaborated with the Samsung folks in Korea to demonstrate that it’s possible to generate thousands of odors with a device small enough to fit on the back of your TV or eventually even your cell phone.
If people are eating pizza, the viewer smells pizza. If a beautiful lady walks by, they smell perfume. Instantaneously generated fragrances or odors would match the scene shown on a TV or cell phone
The scents come from a liquid that forms an odorous gas when heated through a thin metal wire by an electrical current. The solution is kept in a specialized plastic compartment. As the heat and pressure build, a tiny compressed hole in the container is opened, releasing the odor.
The next steps include developing a prototype and demonstrating that it’s reliable enough to release odors on cue and can be sized for consumer electronics like TVs and cell phones. Then, there’s the selling phase where manufacturers discover if there’s a market for bringing all sorts of brand-new smells into your very own home. Smell-o-vision here we come!
So . . . it looks like we’ll soon be able to smell the coffee, but what about the chocolate? The latest news from England is that researchers there have developed a 3-D printer that prints in . . . . chocolate.
3-D printing is a technology that creates three dimensional objects by building up successive layers of material. The technology is already used to produce plastic and metal products but this is the first time the principles have been applied to chocolate.
There have been many challenges. Chocolate isn’t an easy material to work with because it requires accurate heating and cooling cycles. These variables have to be integrated with the correct flow rates for the 3-D printing process. Researchers overcame these difficulties with the development of new temperature and heating control systems.
The researchers used chocolate because it’s readily available, low cost and non-hazardous. And if what you’re trying to make doesn’t work out, you can eat the mistakes! You could make your kid’s favorite toy or give your friend a chocolate bar with their face on it (A little creepy from my point of view).
A consumer-friendly interface to design the chocolate objects is also in development. The researchers hope that an online retail business will host a website for users to upload their chocolate designs for 3-D printing and delivery.
The researchers add that in the future, the 3-D printing process will allow people to produce products like jewelry and household goods, but getting the metals, plastics and other materials to produce them could be a problem.
But getting chocolate is no problem at all and soon the ability to mold your favorite sweet into any shape you want may be coming to your very own home!
Gives a whole new meaning to Valentine’s Day!
Chocolate printer (Credit: Image courtesy of EPSRC)
Cruise on over to the Deep Website at www.thedeepradioshow.com to learn more about chocolate and many other topics. Enjoy!
Jim is, above all, a passionate eco-humanitarian who has developed his own science talk-radio show to inform The DEEP’s listeners about such newsy topics as global warming, shark-finning and reef protection as well as to explore earth’s many underwater and space mysteries.
sailing 12,000 miles and visiting five countries Jim is back here, ready to explore the depths of the ocean to the deepest frontier, space MORE>>
Lady Pam Eastlick is an expert in both the stars
and seas as a graduate of the University of Guam Marine
Lab and the Director of the UOG Planetarium.