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The Final Frontier #

Michael Chabon, Picard Star Trek series writer, in a New Yorker personal history piece about his father:

The episode rises above the banality of a premise as old as Grendel, and some creature effects that are truly risible—even to a ten-year-old in 1973, the homicidal Horta looked like an ambulatory slice of Stouffer’s French-bread pizza—by making an honest effort to imagine nonorganic life and then, in the characteristic turn that gives the “Star Trek” franchise its enduring beauty and power, by insisting that fear and prejudice were no match for curiosity and an open mind, that where there was consciousness there could be communication, and that even a rock, if sentient, had the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Lego International Space Station #

The orbiting laboratory, which for almost 20 years has hosted a continuous human presence in Earth orbit, is being released by LEGO as a toy model. The 864-piece set shrinks the football-field-long space station to the size of desktop display, while still preserving details such as its rotating solar arrays and robotic arm.

Manually Cleaning Boeing 737 Windshield in Flight #

The crew went around, climbed to 8500 feet, depressurized the aircraft, opened the cockpit side window and cleaned the windscreen by hand. The same happened on second approach to Dire Dawa. The crew again climbed to 8500 feet, cleaned the windscreen by hand again and diverted to Addis Ababa.

Quindar Tones #

The beeps you hear in NASA communications such as Apollo 11.

Greta Thunberg: Time’s 2019 Person of the Year #

Greta won’t care, but dictators and wannabe dictators around the world will be upset.

Ad Astra #

David Ehrlich writing about James Gray’s new film, Ad Astra:

In “Ad Astra,” strength isn’t the opposite of weakness — strength is the acceptance of weakness. It’s easier to build a wall than it is to construct a bridge, but only the latter will ever get you anywhere. Gray took that idea and expanded it into a vaguely Oedipal space-age myth about the fait accompli of a man becoming his own father, and the heroism required to set coordinates for a new destination.

It is a moving film, with understated music and wonderful cinematography, starring Brad Pitt in top form as a cool-headed astronaut.

I liked it better than Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time In Hollywood.

Death Stranding Communication #

Hideo Kojima, Metal Gear Solid’s creator, speaking to the Washington Post about his new game, Death Stranding:

20 years ago when I wrote Metal Gear Solid, the Internet wasn’t in full bloom. Back then, I was just predicting what the negative consequences of the Internet could be.

Today, we’re so close together on social media. It’s 24 hours a day, in real time. It may be too close. We’re so close on social media nowadays that people are wearing a mask, saying whatever they want. Because we’ve become so close, people are saying negative things easily. We communicate without considering others, and a lot of that has to do with new technology.

The original meaning of communication is to care and feel for others. Technology and the Internet has sort of carried us in the wrong direction. So in “Death Stranding,” with the indirect connections that the player has, I want people to rethink what communication — and to think about others — is.

But I don’t want the players to just feel like, “Oh, that was fun.” I want them to feel something more, because I feel obliged to do so since I’m taking up so much of their time. So what they learn and feel in the game world, I want them to use in the real world as well.

The First All-Woman Spacewalk #

Congratulations to astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir and to NASA for this milestone in our journey to a better world for our species, where each person can fulfill their potential.

As much as it’s worth celebrating the first spacewalk with an all-female team, I think many of us are looking forward to it just being normal,” veteran astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson said on NASA’s live coverage of the spacewalk.

I think if it signifies anything,” she added, “it is to honor the women who came before us, who were skilled and qualified — and didn’t get the same opportunities we get today because it is so normal.”

Earth and Sun #

Wonderful interactive visualizations of our home in the cosmos.

Experimental Aircraft Association Looks at New Microsoft Flight Simulator #

Longtime Microsoft employee Jorg Neumann was working with developers from Asobo on a project for Microsoft HoloLens, a wearable display that offers immersive “mixed reality” experiences. The project was a virtual tour of Machu Picchu in Peru using imagery from Bing to completely re-create the famous site. This gave Jorg an idea: If they could create convincing real-world scenery of one area, could they do that for the whole planet? If they could, then they’d have the basis for a remarkable and long-awaited return of Flight Simulator.

If we could use a flight simulator to fly over the entire Earth with near real-time scenery taken from recent satellite images, would we be moved to make decisions in our lives that help preserve the natural environment?

See a Satellite Tonight, No Telescope Required #

Wonderful website.

Aircraft Carrier Landing 1986 vs 2019 #

Maybe we do live in a simulation.

Helicopter Flight to Friend’s House #

One of a long series of wonderful videos by helicopter pilot Maria Langer, who also writes extensively.

3D Visualization of Air Traffic #

I like the one showing holding, approach and take off patterns over a small airport. See also Rosa de los Vientos.

Global Wind Map #

A visualization of global weather conditions, which affect runway architecture.

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