Dec 31, 2011

Looking Back; 2011 An Year of Despair, Endings and Beginnings

If I were told to choose 3 words that best describe this year, these would be it. I know, it really sounds awfully pessimistic and all. But no matter what people would say, these would be it.

Starting from the Christmas of 2010 to the beginning of 2011, there was a nationwide activity in Japan that cought the attention of millions of people. Dubbed "the Tigermask Phenomenon"(long story about the origin of the name), it was an act of charity where schools were given school bags by anonymous good-willed people with notes saying, "please give these these to the less fortinate children". It started out like that, but that quickly spread out to all of Japan, and sometimes the bags changed to notebooks and pencils, etc.This was how 2011 in Japan began, with an air of hope.

March 11.

It all happened suddenly. 2:46, the quake. In less than an hour, the tsunami that washed up- no, gobbled up whole towns. Then the Fukushima daichi Nuclear Power Plant's disaster.

Endings. Despair.

A lot of people were thinking, "this country is done for". But the people of the tsunami-hit towns and villages were resilient.
They were back fishing after a few months after the tsunami, even though their homes were washed away and still living in temporary housings. I can only look up to and respect their toughness.


The "ending" and "beginning" holds different meanings too.
This was also an year of revolutions in the Middle East, the "Arab Spring".

Starting with Tunisia, lots of dictators' regimes were ended by the tough protesters, bringing a beginning of a new era to their countries. Gone are Mubarak. So is Gadaffi. (Kim-Jong-Il deserves an honorable mention too I guess.)
It was also the year the space shuttle program ended.

For 2012, I can only hope it will become a brighter and happier year than this.

Provided the world doesn't end in 2012, that is.
Personally I don't think it's gonna end, btw.

Dec 22, 2011

The View from my House is Unnecessarily Beautiful

(click on image to enlarge)
My room is located on the 8th floor in a 11-story apartment building, and the view from it is amazing.
The picture above was taken just after sunset, I thought the gradual change from the evening glow to night (from right to left) looked cool.
This is a time-lapse video of the night view of Shinjuku from my room. The interesting part about it is how the buildings turn off their lights, from the top to bottom.

Dec 19, 2011

This TV ad was Recorded on the International Space Station

A first of its kind, Softbank has released a set of tv ads that have sequences shot in the International Space Station(ISS). Softbank is a Japanese cell phone carrier which, until a few months ago, was the only carrier to sell iPhones in Japan.
These ads featured astronaut Satoshi Furukawa on the ISS. Softbank seems to have used a program that lets people use a part of the ISS commercially(about 10,000,000 yen(128,570 U.S. dollars) an hour, if I remember correctly).

English translation;
Dog(Mr.Shirato)-Love to everyone...(Softbank's motto)
Satoshi Furukawa- Can you hear me, Mr.Shirato? Space is where I am right now, and it's amazing.
Dog- cool!
S.F.- I'm returning to Earth in a few weeks.
Dog- I'd like to go there... Can I? Space...

Cool, huh? The first time I saw this on tv I thought it was filmed on Earth with wires to imitate zero-G or something, but it turns out it was the first ever ad recorded on the ISS.
There's a longer version of it too, where the dog actually goes up there.

Dec 13, 2011

A Night at School

If you've been wondering where I was, not blogging for about a week now. Well it was that the darned exams were keeping me from updating this blog. The one thing I loved about is is that we studied space in Earth science. Some of the questions were like "What's the largest moon in the solar system?" and "What are the two moons of Mars?" (answers are at the end of this post)
So anyway, on the final day of the exams there was a cool event hosted by the Geology Club which I'm in- the "stargazing party". We get to spend the night at school and bring sleeping bags!

Nov 22, 2011

Betelgeuse- The Star that might Explode Tomorrow

I'm not really good at constellations, and one of the few I can distinguish is Orion. One of the stars forming Orion is very famous.

That star is Betelgeuse, the one in the upper left of the constellation. It is the only star that can be seen as a "disk"as opposed to the other stars that can only be seen as a"dot"even with the best telescope.
Though it's far away at 640 light years from Earth, it's huge- 1000 times the diameter of the Sun.
The reason it's so big is that it's in the final stage of a star's life cycle. This is" red giant"is very close to its fiery end, a supernova explosion.

But still, we won't know if it will explode tomorrow or 1000 years later.
If it did, it'd be instantly recognizable to us. It will become the brightest star, and we'll be able to see it even during daytime when the sun's up.

Well let's hope we won't be gone before Betelgeuse does.

Why it was Brighter Outside at 9 PM than in 5 in Tokyo

Last Saturday, I went to a prep school in Shinjuku after school (yes, schools on Saturdays sucks). Class started at 5:30, and it was already very dark outside. It finished at around 9 pm, but when I got outside I felt a little disoriented.

Then I realized what was doing that to me.
Does this look like a photo taken at 9 PM? It really is. (sorry about the quality of the image)
The sky was a lot brighter than it was 4 hours ago!! I was confused and considered all possible suspects; from the" the beginning of the end of the world" to a supernova explosion of Betelgeuse.(well, it's not unthinkable)

(Of course, obviously it's very bright at night in Shinjuku. That was probably the reason, but that's not so interesting as the ones I listed, isn't it?)
So I got home, and something made me look to Shinjuku from my house(on the 8th floor).

Nov 16, 2011

Why Landscapes on the Red Planet are so Huge

Though Mars is a lot smaller than Earth, its landscapes make that of earth look mediocre.
One good example is the Marines Canyon that runs through a huge part of Mars. It's 4000 km long, which is twice as long as the Japanese archipelago. The width reaches 700 km in some places, the and it is 7 km deep. The Grand Canyon is just 30 km wide and 2 km deep. It's so big, you won't even realize you're in a canyon even if you're standing in it!

Nov 10, 2011

All About Curiosity, the Martian Rover

Curiosity is a Martian rover part of NASA's MSL(Mars Science Laboratory ) mission.
The mission's target launch date is November 25th. Its planned mission on Mars is 668 sols,(a "sol" is like a day on Mars-the time it takes for the planet to rotate once) or 1 martian year.The white mini cooper-sized rover is 3 meters long(10 ft) and weighs 900 kilograms. compare that to Spirit and Opportunity, which are 1.5meters(5 ft) long and weigh 174 kilograms. Twice as long, 5 times heavy. Well enough with the data, lets see what's the same and what's not with the other martian rovers.

    mars rover curiosity

1. It is nuclear powered. The former rovers Sojourner, Spirit and Opportunity were solar powered.   But the problem was that solar power is not so efficient.   Also, the watts drop spectacularly when there's dust on the solar panels,  and it can't even operate at night.  These are the reasons why Curiosity is powered by nuclear energy. RTG(Radioactive Thermoelectric Generators), in fact. They have a minimum life span of 14 years, so as long as the hardware doesn't break then it'll work for at least 14 years.

2. It takes HD video. Up till now, we only had spectacular, but still, unmoving pictures of the Red Planet. But there's a camera on Curiosity that takes 720p, 10fps videos. Can't wait to see how it'll turn up.

3.It shoots lasers. No, nothing like Star Wars. To analyse the "ingredients" of a rock, the MSL can shoot lasers to vaporize a bit of it and then collect the spectrum of the light emitted. This lets us look at the rock's elements without even touching it.

4. It  shoots alpha rays, too. Again, this is for analyzing rocks.

5. It will touch down on its wheels. After deaccererating with parachutes, the Curiosity rover pops out, hung off by a "sky crane", and will guide the rover to a "gentle" landing. This method has never been tried before. You've gotta see the video to believe it.
I think this is a bit risky maneuver, because if anything goes wrong during descent, the MSL mission will probably  meet its early end. So thumbs crossed on the landing. It will happen sometime during August 6th and the 20th, 2012.

Nov 6, 2011

The Universe is like Earth

I'm going to write about a difficult topic today, about our 4-dimensional spacetime. "4 dimensional spacetime" means that there are 3 dimensions for the space(x,y,and z axis) and 1 for "time". but the four dimensional space we live in, is twisted in another dimension other than the ones I mentioned about before.

yes, it is REALLY confusing. trying to think about it in a normal way will probably explode everyone's heads, so let's talk about it in lesser dimensions.

for example, think about Earth. the surface of our planet is 2-D(2-D as in space, not spacetime). but the planet itself is a 3-d sphere. if you started from-say- Rome and went westwards and westwards, you'd eventually get back to Rome.

then add another dimension to it. get the idea? this means that if he traveled space in 1 direction for a very long time, we'd get back to Earth. the universe is like the Earth, but only a LOT more confusing.

funnily, this reminds me of a question solved centuries ago-"what's the edge of earth like?" people thought that the edge of our world(which turned out to be earth) had waterfalls and high mountains and the like. but then Magellan went around the world during the 1500s, to prove it was a sphere. the universe is a similar thing. except that there is no Magellan to prove it physically.

Nov 4, 2011

Cordless Mouses are BAD

I start off by saying that cordless mouses are the worst thing ever created since, well maybe Internet Explorer.

first of all, a cordless mouse requires batteries to operate. this was not the case with the mouse with a cord, since it just used power from the computer. but batteries are for hard to find in your houses these days(well at least mine is.) these days we use batteries just for tv remotes. (that's the situation in my house, at least) so once the batteries in my mouse are dead, we can't find the replacement batteries!! if this was the case with tv remotes it was still manageable, because they are controls on the tv itself.but not with PCs. what are we gonna do without a mouse? we can only use keyboard shortcuts for limited things. we become boat rowers without a paddle.

another problem with cordless mouses is that they use radio signals. so even when they got new batteries they sometimes don't work, interfering with another signal or something.of course, this never happens with a mouse with a cord.

and last but not least, a mouse with a cord is easy to pick up when you drop it, whereas with cordless mouses, you need to pick it up by yourself. these are the reasons why I'm using my old mouse with cords right now.

Nov 3, 2011

2011 a Space Odyssey

recently I watched the movie "2001 a space odyssey" and I had to gawk at the movie's scientifical Star Wars the big explosion and a bang is associated when someone blows up the death star. but in" 2001" all the sequences in the vacuum of space are silent. this is scientifically correct because in space, there is no air for sound waves to pass through .I think this is a good example of how much Stanley Kubrick, the director of the movie pays attention to the details. also the spaceship you see in the movies are pretty accurate too. in the "waltz" scene near the beginning, a  Spaceship-1-ish winged ship heads to a massive space station that rotates like a wheel to create artificial gravity. also I'd like to note the artisticness of the sequence. far better than the movie these days. if I went on writing about the great things about" 2001" it's probably going to take a decade , so I guess I'll have to stop here.but I think I will write about HAL9000, the talking and thinking computer that is the "villain" in the film sometime in the near future.

if you're wondering why the beginning of my sentences are not capitalized it is because I am using a voice recognition software that I showed you in my last blog post about voice recognition.

Nov 2, 2011

how to use speech to text in Google Chrome

sorry that I haven't been talking for months now. to make up for that I have an exciting software I want to teach you.
I found a cool way to you dictation on google chrome. I'm writing this by using that software so forgive me if there are any errors in the text. also it seems it doesn't capitalize the beginning of a sentence, either. google chrome supports voice recognition from version 11. I might start logging by using this from now on, it's so awesome.
so here's how you do it.
Check if your Chrome browser's newer than version 11.(click the wrench button on the upper right and then click "about google chrome")

then click the microphone button in the form above. Voila!!! make sure your microphone is plugged in.
by the way, the source code for the voice imput form is this;
<input type="text" x-webkit-speech="" />

happy... talking, I guess.

Sep 15, 2011

The New Rocket from NASA

Ah, it's finally here! A rocket with a booster that's more powerful than the legendary Saturn V. Faster than a bullet, and able to leap long distances with a single ignition( just guessed the last part), the SLS, short for Space Launching System, is NASA's latest rocket. Though it's compared a lot to the Saturn V, and also looks like it too, it actually is a cross between the space shuttle and the planned rocket from the Constellation program. The first few launches will even use the space shuttle's SRB(the white boosters on the sides)
space shuttle

I think this rocket will be be very important in the upcoming major steps in space exploration, and NASA says this will be used to carry people to Mars and asteroids too. But I think it will be better to launch a few smaller rockets with parts of the spacecraft going to the space beyond,

Sep 8, 2011

My Trip to Taiwan

I went to a trip to Taiwan and week or so ago. The count felt very exotic to me, as it was actually my first visit to a country that doesn't use English as a national language. So everything was in Chinese( well, most signs had English and Japanese along with it.) But, you see, most Japanese characters(kanji) come from Chinese, so with a little bit of guessing, I was able to "read"The the Chinese signs and menus and the like.

As this blog is about space, I guess I should write a bit about it here too.

On the 3rd day of the 4-day trip, I went to the Taipei Astronomical Museum.

(By the way, 天文 stands for Astronomy.) As you can see, it's pretty big.
I think this museum is a good place to go to get basic info about space, such as solar eclipses and the Coriolis force. It had tons of hands-on exhibits, and for some reason there was a Haunted Mansion-style ride on the 4th floor. (I didn't go there, btw)
There was a pretty well-made model of the LEM too.

But, the biggest dissapointment was...
The signs were in Chinese. They were at least kind enough to translate the titles of the panels to English, but I had to guess most of the parts.

Sep 6, 2011

Now We Will Go Back to the Moon- at least Domino's Japan will
Domino's Pizza Japan is "planning to open a branch on the moon". The full-flash site they made to promote is has a short introduction clip, you might want to look at it. It's in English.
moon pizza shop
I don't know if they're serious about it, but if you want my opinion, what I thought was "April first was months ago"

Sep 4, 2011

So So How is the New Prime Minister of Japan, Noda?

A new PM of Japan, Yoshihiko Noda took office a few days ago. Hes like, the 7th prime minister in 7 years or something, I lost track. The seat of PM seems to be jinxed or something, everyone lasts only a year or so. Those "annual" PM changes have continued for a while, will he be any different?
Prime minister Noda is the typical Japanese "oyaji"- he goes to a cheap 1000-yen barber, loves drinking and smoking, and jokes a lot.

He seems to be good at making speeches, so that might be why some people think that he IS the solution to all the problems we face in Japan.

But still, my family's "household reputation" of Noda isn't so good. In fact, my dad starts getting cranky every time theres a topic about him on the TV. I guess missing the first few minutes of the seven o'clock news is the best thing to do.
I also wonder if he will give JAXA, Japans space agency, more budget.
He does seem to be a "good guy" at least, but that wont automatically make him a good polititian nor a countrys leader. I think we will have to look carefully at his leadership skills for the next few months. Maybe he will exceed expectations.

But then again, he might not.

Aug 26, 2011

Earthquake Survival 101 -what to do

5 months ago there was that terrible magnitude 9 quake that struck Japan. A few days ago, there was one in the US too. It's becoming really important to learn how to deal with that sudden force of mother nature.

The most important thing is to get away from falling objects. Lamps, dishes, maybe even refrigerators. When an earthquake occurs, the thing you should be doing is to get under a desk. (or anything that would protect you)
After the shaking ends, some say that you should turn off the gas. But that's only the case in a quake that didn't cause much damage.  If your house is in a bad condition, leave it as quickly as possible. 
Some homes in some areas might not be built to withstand a major earthquake, especially where you don't have them so often, so be careful in those places.
If you're at work or school when it comes, unless your house is very, very near it, you sholdn't try to get back there by foot or by car, because the roads will probably be very crowded. The very same situation happened in Japan after March 11th too.
Imagine this on the road, it'll probably take hours to go a mile! The best solution is to just stay where you are till the roads clear.

And, I hope that this will never happen again, but still, watch out for malfunctioning nuclear reactors. The Japanese government didnt do a good job of reporting the news and evacuation from the site didn't go very quickly. I don't know about the other governments, but you should still be aware of this fact that nuclear reactors sometimes just can't withstand an earthquake. 

Aug 25, 2011

How to Demolish a Building

Even the tallest buildings will have to be dismantled at some point. So how do they do it?
The simplest way (also the most exciting) is to use explosives.
But of course, if you did that in Tokyo or Manhattan or any big city with lots of buildings, it would be...
well, they won't do it.

But there's another way, which is called the first" cut-and-down method" . To do this, the lowest part of the building is cut away. then, they lower the WHOLE BUILDING inch by inch and then repeat the process again. Do this many times and you get a roof of a skyscraper.
There's a video of the process on this site, it's very weird to watch. demolishing a skyscraper (it's in the middle of the sidebar on the right.)
Typically, it takes about a week to shorten the building by 1 floor.

But still, it's very silent and safe because all the chaos are happening on the ground, not like the usual procedure that takes it down from the top.

Aug 18, 2011

5 Months After the Quake- and how the Japanese Government Screwed Everything Up

It's already been 5 MONTHS after that sudden and terrible quake, and the revival seems to be going pretty well. Most shelters have already closed, and now a big part of the citizens in the affected area live in temporary houses.
But while the people in Tohoku are fighting for their lives, the government seems to have screwed up everything but good.

We're finally getting close insights into the chaos in the government and TEPCO(short for Tokyo Electric Power Company). A few hours after the quake, they were really optimistic about the condition of the Fukushima Daichi Nuclear Power Plant when it was in a state worse than the most pessimistic scenarios. And as a result of the lack of tension, guess what's happened?

The meltdown and explosion!!

In fact, we didn't even KNOW that a meltdown, the worst case scenario for a NPP. I'm pretty sure TEPCO was up to something with the data that confirmed the meltdown.
In any case, all this was probably human error and could have been avoided.

There was this Electricity Museum in Shibuya which I went to a few years ago. The admission was free, and when I looked the museum up, guess what? It was run by TEPCO. Now that I think of it, I think there was a big model of a nuclear reactor in the museum, with panels telling us how safe TEPCO's reactors were.

Well, they sure weren't.

This example of the government and TEPCO's foolishness, pigheadedness and arrogance is only the tip of the iceberg.
I won't be surprised if a riot like in London happens to Japan, with the rotting government and power company.

Aug 4, 2011

What Is Japan Doing Now With Space?

I think of this as a continuation of this article about the dawn of Japanese space exploration, so you might want to read it if you haven't yet.

Decades after Japan's first satellite, it came by a long way.
Last year, the space probe Hayabusa returned a sample of the rock in an asteroid, Itokawa (told you it would come up later! It was named after the scientist.) and brought that back to Earth! It was a first in the history of mankind, to bring back sand from another asteroid. Not only did it complete a nearly impossible task, it also put to use the newly-developed ion engine and tested its capabilities. They're even making movies about Hayabusa, it was really a nationwide sensation.

There is also the HTV(H-2 Transfer Vehicle) launched from Japan with the H-2B rocket, which is an unmanned resupply spacecraft to the ISS. For now, all the HTVs have performed flawlessly in space. (well, not to mention they have launched only 2 of them yet...)

I think JAXA, the space agency in japan, is ready to develop manned capsules. They have most of the technology needed already at hand. I hope Japan will keep its position as one of the leading nations in space exploration for decades, maybe centuries.

Aug 3, 2011

How Japan Put a Satellite into Space

Japan's involvement with rockets started in 1954 with the "pencil rocket", which is... a pencil sized rocket.
The development of the rocket was supervised by Hideo Itokawa.(remember that name, it will pop out later on!)

(you might want to skip to 1:58)
It was launched horizontally most of the time, because it was made just for tests. Not very exciting.
Then came the "baby rocket" which was slightly long than a meter.
second rocket by japanOh, and that guy is Itokawa.

After that, the rockets got bigger and bigger, and with the L-4S rocket, Japan's first satellite, Osumi, was launched and put in orbit.
l-4s rocketjapan's first satellite

The weirdest thing about the L-4S rocket is that it doesn't have guidance, navigation and control (GNC) built in! It was because some people in Japan said that the technology like GNC could be put into missiles, which they couldn't accept. (the Japanese constitution prohibits the act of war.)
And the engineers did come up with a way. The 1st and 2nd stages used the aerodynamic effects of the tail assembly. The 2nd(again) and 3rd stages used a motor to spin the rocket like a giant gyroscope, thus holding the rocket steady. The 4th stage stopped the spinning, and before it lit the engine did a little bit of maneuvering to put it steady,(and the boosters weren't firing at that time so it wasn't really GNC.) then made the rocket spin again, then finally, put it to orbit.

All this hard work paid off, and Japan became the 4th country(following Russia, America and France) to put a satellite into orbit.

Aug 1, 2011

How to Re-Create a Zero-G Environment in Your House

I went to the martial arts club's 4-day trip a week ago. It was pretty fun. There was this bag with 7 candies in it, and 6 of them were okay, but one was like, really hot and spicy. And when I say hot, I mean it.
There were 7 people in my grade who were there, so as you can guess, we popped one into our mouths on the count of 3. And yes, a few seconds later one of my friends started to choke out "I got the one...."

So be careful on those sort of candy, you might have a 1 in 7 chance of getting sick.

ANYWAY, we used a bus to and from the hotel, and just as I thought, I got a bit of motion sickness on the way. I was all right after a few minutes or so, but I wondered how it felt to be like that in space.
You know, even astronauts get sick from zero-G.

So I got this info from a book that lets you get a feel of being in zero-G.

disclaimer: It doesn't make you float around, and I am not responsible for the health problems induced by this exercise. It might make you look like a fool doing it, and it looks suspiciously a lot like planking.

This is it.

Told you, it looks like planking.

You can do this on a bed or a desk or anywhere you can plank.

It lets you experience the movement of the body fluids in a microgravity environment.

I tried this out, and it felt like a lot of blood was going into my head than usual.

Guess that's why astronauts become "moon-faced" after a few months on the ISS
Not to mention I felt like a fool doing the planking thing.

Jul 31, 2011

The Space Shuttle; before and after it (part 2)

space shuttle launch
part 1, which talks about the "before" and "now" of the space shuttle is here.

So, NASA discontinued the shuttle fleet. But what will come after the shuttle?

I think the retirement of the shuttle will draw a line between 2 types of space exploration- government-led before it and private company-led after it.

Of course NASA will still lead the whole thing, but it's time companies start exploring the final frontier.

They might have creative ideas and years of know-how in engineering, which will lead to safer, more efficient spaceships. There could be competition among the companies, as a result creating low-cost spacecrafts.
red dwarf

Jul 16, 2011

Maybe the "best" Way to Go to Space Cheaply

Currently, there are no private companies that offers commercial spaceflight with a ship of their own. Virgin Galactic's SpaceShip 2 might be ready next year, but the prices are sky-high.(space-high, I mean.)
virgin galactic spacecraft
So hopes are pretty low that this will be the latest family trip.

There's another way, which is to board a Soyuz spacecraft as a passenger. In this case prices are... well I don't even wanna think about it. Only Bill Gates-class people can afford it.

But there's always another way. It's a lot cheaper, though only 2 passengers can board.
plane that goes to space

It looks nothing remotely related to a spacecraft, but it can take you to the edge of space., 
This is MiG-31of the Russian air force. It's very fast, and has an amazing acceleration rate.
After about 30 minutes of normal flight, the pilot steers the plane into an almost vertical ascent. It actually goes over 1 mach when climbing.

here are a few videos;

Jul 10, 2011

The Space Shuttle; before and after (part 1)

During the 1950s~beginning of the 70s, the "space race" between the US and Russia caused some very ambitious missions, such as the Apollo program. This was a "race"- seeing which got farther. America won in the end, but then NASA decided that studying our own planet was more important than going to other wonders of space, at that age. Thus, the space shuttle was born. It was a revolution. It could be reused many times, and there was even a cargo hold to bring heavy equipment to orbit. There was an airlock so everyone didn't have to change to spacesuits every time there was an EVA.
space shuttle

Jul 5, 2011

REALLY WEIRD Revival Minister from Japan

Say hi to Revival Minister Ryu Matsumoto.
His main job is to do rehab stuff for the areas affected by the earthquake.

Most of you are probably gonna think that this is a joke, but it's not. It's completely true.

He was selected minister on June 28th. Things were funny from that point- he had sunglasses on for some reason.
He said "You can call us the 'Team Dragon'(referring to "Ryu" in his name, which means dragon in Japanese). Our one and only goal is to stand together with the victims of this disaster."

On July 3, he visited the mayors of Iwate and Miyagi prefecture.

He kicked a soccer ball into the mayor of Iwate, saying "kick-off!"(the mayor missed the ball. for the video, scroll down.) And then he also "joked" that "he didn't know which city was in which prefecture at all". Remind you, he's the REVIVAL MINISTER!
It doesn't stop there.

When he visited the mayor of Miyagi, he got angry when the mayor arrived at the reception room A MINUTE LATER than him.
He said "That's very impolite. You were in the self-defense force before, right? Didn't they teach you that there?" After that he told the press,

"That was an off-the-record comment. Now, don't write about it, please! If you publish that story, your company is DONE FOR."

So no one published that particular comment.
Of course the press published it! :)

And as you probably guessed at this point, he is going to resign, just 8 DAYS as a "revival minister" or whatever.

Jul 2, 2011

The Lie of "Transformers; Dark Side of the Moon"

This is the official site for transformers: dark side of the moon

First, please watch the trailer.

When I first saw this I thought it was a joke. It's got a lot of historical & scientific question marks.

The new movie seems to start with Neil and Buzz on the moon. Great. They even have the 1/6 gravity environment look pretty convincing. But when Neil's going down the ladder, you can see a jagged hill or something in the back. But Apollo 11 landed on Tranquility Base, where there's a whole lot of... nothing.
Not much geographical features, as this photo of Buzz shows.

OK, OK, I guess that mistake is pretty insignificant, at least compared to this one.

A news reporter says that "the Apollo is on the far side of the moon" and so the transmission is ended. But (in the film) NASA was using that as an excuse to explore a Transformers artifact or something, and "this was the cause of the space race".
The guys at Hollywood got one crucial fact wrong.

The time the moon takes to revolve around the Earth is 27 days and 8 hours. And because of a curious coincidence, the time for the moon to rotate around its axis is ALSO 27days 8 hrs. 

So it turns out that the moon always shows the same side to us on the Earth.

So once the astronauts landed on the moon, there's no way they'll lose touch with Earth because they can't go to the other side. (well they can, if they walked for miles and miles...)

So the whole plot of the new Transformers goes down with it.

I think I'll watch it anyway though, looks interesting.

Jun 13, 2011

The Dilemma with Space Hotels

Hi, and sorry I haven't posted for a while. There were some troubles with the RSS feed of the blog, and as you can see the "visitor counter" doesn't show up like it's supposed to and the "search" thingy is "loading" forever. I fixed the RSS problem, but the other 2 is still not fixed.

Anyway, I had this weird but nice dream of me going to a 3-day visit to a "space hotel" in orbit.
The cabin had a cool wood texture to it(which isn't the crux of the story, but it left a pretty big impression in my mind so I wrote it anyway), but the main problem was this;

Argg!!! Why is the cabin 1-G!?

The ceiling and the floor was curving upwards, so I guess it was artificial gravity made by centrifugal force.
I guess it looked something like this

But the most fun part of going to space should be the ZERO-GRAVITY!! What else? (alien encounters and the amazing view of Earth, I guess)

But still, it just isn't it with 1-G gravity.

But here's the dilemma.

Some people (well, most people maybe) could get sick from being in zero-G for a long time. Even trained astronauts do.

So, we want to enjoy the floating around but still we're worried about getting sick.(and I'm sure that's not a pretty sight...)

Which should we choose? Or, which will the space industries choose?

It's a hard choice.

Jun 5, 2011

Meteorites (part 3- grains in meteorites)

The mineral fair I'm going to(and planning to buy a meteorite) is tomorrow, so I'll have to pack in a lot on this post.
part 1 is here
part 2 here

Stony meteorites with tiny mineral grains, called chondrules(and that's the point where I started getting geeky- even my spellchecker draws a red line on the word. Hey, I've double checked the spelling!) inside are called chondrites, and most of the stony meteorites are these.

These chondrites were actually made  when the solar system was born.

Jun 2, 2011

Japan's -what- 6TH Prime Minister in HALF A DECADE

he's in trouble

Naoto Kan, the current prime minister of Japan,  is being blamed for the delay of emergency procedures at the Fukushima nuclear power plants and a pot of other complicated things.

He's the 5th PM of Japan in 4 years (if I wasn't losing track of PMs)
Weird, right? And normally, PMs stay in office for 4 years.

When Koizumi quit the seat of PM after a long happy 1980 days, Abe took on. (not read "Abe" as in Lincoln's nickname, but sorta like "a- bay")

May 31, 2011

Meteorites (part 2 -rock or metal - or both)

part 1 is here-
There are mainly 3 types of meteorites-
iron, stony, and stony-iron meteorites.

Iron meteorites are made of- you guessed it- iron.

They're the closest to our mental image of "meteorites", so most of the meteorites that landed a long time ago and have been just recently discovered is this.
Of course, there maybe a lot of stony meteorites rolling around everywhere,