Spacing Out

It Could’ve Been Worst,
But Keep Your Eyes Open

Done complaining? you’re actually very lucky. While you were asleep the other night, Earth almost got hit by an asteroid nobody knew about; you were closed to turn into confetti. See, things are not that bad. In fact, as you whine, a lot keeps happening right above you.
For instance, an old satellite just woke up from its slumber and began beeping, just like that. And you should also count your graces for not being a soon-to-meet-its-maker astronaut: they could accuse your deceased body of spreading microbes to outer worlds.
All this proves is that life, a train The Famous Pale Blue Dot Photo of Earth, Taken by the Voyager 1, on Feb. 14, 1990always ready to take off, keeps on tracking, and you’d better stand clear of its closing doors. Don’t want to be dragged down to a dark and narrow tunnel, watching riders go about their business inside, while you’re handed your papers outside it.
Speaking of tunnels, you may live in one and may not know about this, but since Tuesday, Nov. 8, a heavy fog came down, and a lot of people seem stunned, walking like zombies and foaming at their mouth. Something to do with some bad new – the 11/9, the say -, but don’t quote us on that.
The point is, you may think that it’s all unacceptable, unfair, and you won’t put up with it one little bit. Well, good luck with that; the next few years will be very depressing, indeed. You’ll find plenty of reasons to wallow in pools of disappointment and drown in wells of sorrow.
Or, after mourning the missing opportunities for a sec, you could lift up your chin up and catch a glimpse of the sky; it’s amazing how things are busy up there. For a change, that sobering realization that you are, after all, small and barely count, does put things in perspective.

THE MOUNTAIN THAT MISSED EARTH
Even your jubilant Uncle Bob, who can’t wait to corner you at Thanksgiving to tell you, ‘I told you so,’ knows that, among the infinitude of worlds out there, there’s a rock with our address and a clear mission: wipe out zealots and bigots and racists and misogynists with one swapping gulp.
That you don’t consider yourself ‘them’ makes not an iota of difference; you know you’ll be gone too. So, asteroids and meteorites usually top anyone’s list of civilization killers. On Nov. 1, a previously unknown one ‘almost’ became it. 2016 VA zapped within 0.2 times the moon’s distance from us.
It does seem far, but the thing is, either way, we didn’t know about it until it was too late to do anything. Now, put that ‘sobering realization’ in the context of your troubles, and you may catch a whiff of our drift here. Happens all the time. So, as the Brits say, chin up old chap.

THE GHOST SATELLITE THAT WOKE UP
Truth to be told, we track a lot of space rocks, but it’s impossible to track them all. As if we weren’t busy enough with that, we also track over 500 thousand man-made debris, all traveling at top speed, that we sent aloft and now are menaces to our survival out there.
Among them, are some of the Lincoln Experimental Satellite series, like the LES1 that almost immediately after launch, in 1965, malfunctioned and went dormant for 46 years, at the wrong (more)
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Read Also:
* Space Droppings
* It’s Fly By Us
* War Lord

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Booking the Summer

Six Reads to Befriend
in the Next Four Weeks

Hard as you may, you won’t find many book reviews on this site. Hardly any. Ok, one or two; at this point, we’re not too sure. Nevertheless (a word people often invoke in the presence of books, for some reason), authors are kind enough to keep sending us some for our consideration.
This being summer’s last month in the North, and summer being a season when even those with idle minds, get themselves a book or so to read, for some reason, it may be as good a time as any to offer you, avid reader, six more items to pack along with your beach gear.
None too soon, to be sure, as August is also known to suffuse with angst some of us who can’t even afford taking vacations, let alone having unrequited thoughts about Labor Day, fall, end of the year, whatever. That, of course, and the year’s biggest Supermoon, mad dogs, and werewolves.
We insist, though, these are no reviews, and if they may, for a sentence or two, resemble one, you’re allowed to call it quits and deny under oath that you’ve read it first here. Regardless (another word that people, etc.), you may take with you the basic info that’ll be provided free of charge.
That, by the way, is exactly our terms for accepting books to write about. Thus, feel free to take your pick among the themes permeating our list. Mystery, adventure, science, personal miseries, and thoughts about the awareness of animals may sound just like what one may seek to dwell on, in these last dog days of heat and sweat.
Finally, you ought to know that we haven’t finished reading some of them. But before you curse at us, let us offer you the tenor of our off-key intent: you won’t be biased neither by our personal take on them nor by commercial pursuit, so you’ll be freer to browse them at your own volition, as you would at a bookstore.
We won’t tell you our favorites either, or which order we’re following reading them. For we’ll be reading each one of them, as you read this. Thus, it’s just like we’ve preceded you at that bookstore by just a few hours, and already grabbed a half dozen tomes, so you don’t have to take time away from that cocktail of yours. Enjoy the reading.

NEW MEXICO ADVENTURE
Jack Purcell, editor of the popular So Far From Heavens blog, puts his THE LOST ADAMS DIGGINGS, Myth, Mystery and Madness, as ‘a study of a legend and the men who believed in it at a time when men were still inclined to believe in such things.’ He spent decades following a century-old trail of a gold and silver treasure, which eluded many an explorer before.
It’s a fascinating account that combines successive searches for the diggings, that preceded him, with his own tenacious path uncovering clues and old maps. What Purcell’s discovered is now up to you to find out, having him as your trustworthy guide. NineLives Press, 2003.
A SPACE ODYSSEY
Edgar Mitchell is a member of one of the world’s rarest communities: he’s one of the 12 men who’s walked on the Moon. His EARTHRISE, My Adventures as an Apollo 14 Astronaut, is an earnest account by the pilot of the 1971 mission’s lunar module, curiously narrated with his Boy Scout sedated voice, not that of a Navy fighter with an Ph.D. degree from MIT.
There are, however, thrilling passages, as during the struggle to bring the plagued Apollo 13 back to Earth, or when he talks about a long-distance Extrasensorial Perception Continue reading

Freaky Friday News

Stardust Wine, Witchcraft in Wales
& China’s Visit-Your-Elderly Decree

A Chilean winery is infusing its Cabernet Sauvignon with a 4.5 billion-year-old meteorite. A Welsh minister is concerned about a thriving witchcraft community stealing his congregation. And a Chinese law demands that citizens visit their elders often, or risk being sued.
Yeah, it’s that overstuffed file again, begging to get raided. Often, its far out contents of odd news and curious trivia deliver a surprising jolt of unexpected vitality to our day. Besides, our second option, the Quadrantids meteor showers, were a no-show this time around.
As it turned out, this annual shooting star festival first observed in Italy, in 1825, has been visible faintly in the West Coast, and way more vividly in Asia and the U.K. Let them have their fun. We’ll beat them in April, with the Lyrid showers, which are supposed to be twice as spectacular.
We’re not complaining, mind you. Last year may have been a terrible one for many, but it was not short of amazing sky gazing events, such as the Supermoon, and the once-in-a-lifetime Venus transit in front of the sun. More showers, eclipses and a couple of comets are also slated to grace our skies in 2013.
Back on the ground, though, things are no less amusing, if you abstract just for a moment the carnage in the streets, the indiscriminate pillaging of planetary resources, and the demise of the two New York football teams. For in the big scheme of things, the week was mercifully short and we’re not quite done with it yet.
METEORITES IN THE WINE
But where were we? Oh, that’s right, in Chile, where you can now kind of taste a piece of rock that fell on earth 6,000 years ago. Or so it’s the idea that Ian Hutcheon had, to combine his two main passions: Enology and Astronomy. In fact, he owns both the winery and a small observatory, the Centro Astrononomico Tagua Tagua.
It’s an unusual combination, but we wouldn’t bet you would taste it in Meteorite, the wooden barrel-marinated Cabernet Sauvignon he produces every 12 months, with the 3-inch meteorite inside. Even without owning the object, he found a novel way to attract attention to his winery, which just between us, is kind of a fad, really.
Apparently, the unidentified owner of the precious piece of rock that probably came from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter doesn’t Continue reading

Cinco de May

The Moon, the Derby
& Those Margaritas

The holiday many think of as Mexico’s independence day coincides this year with the Moon’s annual closest approach to Earth, and the 138th edition of the Kentucky Derby, the Triple Crown horse racing series’ first leg. Since we really have no horse on this race, we can’t tell whether Margaritas or Mint Juleps will prevail in the end either.
For all coincidences, though, things don’t seem quite up to their billing. There’s been serious questions about horse racing after so many died lately, the Supermoon won’t be nearly as close as last year’s, and the Cinco is not such a big deal in Mexico, and neither are Margaritas.
We’re saying this not to rain on your parade, of course. Heaven knows we’re in no position of being picky when it comes to parties, bashes, celebrations and Bat Mitzvahs. It’s just that, more often than not, the hype make us run in the opposite direction. And such Samaritans that we are, we don’t want to just leave you behind, half-drunk at the party, and with no change for the ride back home.
So let us just get you up to speed about this promising Saturday, line up a few trivia, which you may down as you would do with shots, and you’ll be good to go. After all, wherever you may be, the weather rarely Continue reading