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Saturday, August 1, 2009

A Lazy Summer Saturday

Okay... It's nice outside (mid-80s, when the record for today is 97), but I'll be spending it inside.

First, I must praise Suvudu, the SF/Comics/Fantasy/geek website run by Random House.

Being a big supporter of mainstream publishers publishing comics, I joined their merry band when they first launched. However, it was a distraction among an Internet of distractions, and I did not visit as often as I should.

Recently, they posted a rousing call from the satorial, erudite, and all-around-nice-guy Ali Kokmen. I was so moved, that I had to comment, yet my password was not accepted. Suvudu does not send email reminders, instead asks for a hint. Having just celelbrated the end of my fourth decade on this planet, I of course could not recall. (I'm working on the ear hair. I've started hiking my slacks up towards my naval, but will probably need a different cut of slacks. Preferably in plaid, preferably from Johnny Carson Apparel.)

However, a quick email to the general email address, and in less than an hour, my account was restored, my opinion known, and I added it to my blog reader, so I would not forget them in the future. Currently, they are running video from the Eisner Awards, and talking about zombies.

Let's check my Google News feed...

Bomb scare at Laguardia Airport...

A Chinese cyber attack hits the Melbourne International Film Festival, after Chinese filmmakers left because a Chinese dissident and a documentary about her are to be featured...

The Space Shuttle Endeavour has landed safely. Only seven flights remain before the Shuttle fleet is grounded. Not a bad record for almost thirty years of operation. Too bad they didn't build it this way... (Man! That's a pretty cool history! An origami space station, folded atop a Saturn V!)

NASA is also presenting a challenge: develop an airplane which flies at a speed of at least 100 miles per hour, and flies at least 200 miles per gallon per passenger. (The A380 could reach 80 MPG/P, if filled with 800 (!) passengers.) The prize? $1.653 Million. (Not to mention the numerous contracts from the commercial production of the technology.)

And although the STS-127 patch is in the public domain, I did grab the graphic from, which has an incredible discussion on this and many other patches. (Search and you'll find a future connection between NASA and Star Trek!)

What else? Oxygen was discovered today, in 1774, for the third and last time. As with most product development, it would not be properly named until 1777. Oxygen is a chalcogen. (No idea what the root "chalcho-" means.)

The Swiss Confederation was created today in 1291. It has not been at war since 1815, it has the sixth highest GDP per population, it's an easy place to do business, has low taxes, and high life expectancy due to federally funded health care. And it is practices a form of government which is more democratic than the United States of America.

Oh, yes... almost forgot... MTV began broadcasting today in 1981. The first video played on MTV? The Space Shuttle Columbia preparing for liftoff, which lasted one hour, culminating in the iconic "spaceman" logo and The Buggles. (The original footage is available for viewing at the Paley Center for Media.)

And for more history from today, Try the BBC.

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