Donate to join us in making sure it’s always “a day at the beach” for shorebirds!
Hi y’all! As you know…I’m a bona-fide bird nerd, particularly with conservation of coastal species, like shorebirds & seabirds. So two things very near & dear to me are, of course — birds & beaches!
South Africa’s gorgeous coasts support a large number of our beloved birds. They also are the fastest developing regions in the country (& the world!). We are seeing shorebirds disappear around the globe, and alarmingly fast (I’m talkin’ decreases like 40-60% of one of my favorites, White-fronted Plovers, in the W. Cape!), mostly due to habitat destruction and other human-caused issues. Since wildlife like shorebirds can tell us so much about the status of our coasts, finding effective conservation and awareness solutions is becoming incredibly urgent.
I’ve been offered a fantastic project for my Master’s (at Univ. of Cape Town, partnering with The Nature’s Valley Trust — a great South African environmental non-profit) to study endemic shorebirds in high-tourism coastal areas, using the research to balance human activity, reduce impacts of major threats, and keep our beaches healthy.
We’re backed by BirdLife South Africa, Cape Nature, Knysna Toyota, and local conservation & bird clubs as necessary research for the region(and the birds! and communities!).Now I need YOUR help to seal the deal.
Make sure to tag #ShareTheShores when sharing, so we can thank you for being awesome!
Follow & Like for updates, plus you’ll find a ton of rad information there, too!
This is where my (unpaid) blood, sweat, and tears have been focused this entire year (and there’s been a lot of all of that, phew)! I have been painstakingly working to gain the support make this happen — developing the project, networking with appropriate researchers, officials, and groups, applying for countless grants, awards, and sponsorships. I have put everything I possibly can into this, that is how important and necessary I absolutely know this is. PLEASE SIGNAL BOOST THE HECK OUT OF THIS!
This is the shape model of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. From the images taken on 14 July, the OSIRIS team has begun modelling the comet’s three-dimensional shape. The animated gif presented here covers one full rotation of the nucleus around its spin axis, to emphasise the lobate structure of the comet. This model will be refined as more data becomes available – it is still a preliminary shape model and some features may be artefacts.
by the way did I ever tell y’all about the time I got a blank message from nobody, sent on new year’s eve in 1969, when the internet didn’t exist?
because that happened
OKAY KIDS, LET’S LEARN ABOUT THE UNIX EPOCH
So back in the early days of computers, when we were trying to build clocks to keep all our computers in sync, we tried a bunch of different ways to synchronize them in ways that both normal people could use and programmers could utilize.
We just tried saying “The current time is THIS date” and just storing that date as some text, but while that was easy for humans, it was a bunch of different numbers that worked together in funny ways and computers don’t play nice with a bunch of random, arbitrary rules.
Not much worked, until we realized that we needed a BASELINE to compare against, and a way to represent the current time that covers everybody. So we came up with Unix time, because Unix was the style at the time. Essentially, Unix time represents any given time by saying “How many seconds ago was 12:00 AM on January 1, 1970 in Iceland somewhere?”. Recent enough to keep the numbers relatively small, far enough that nothing computer-y would fall before it, and consistent enough that there’d be no discrepancy based on where you are.
So what happens when you see the date “December 31, 1969” on a buggy message like this is that the computer received a bunch of zeroes by mistake and went “Oh, this must be a message!” Then when it tried to interpret it, it got to the date, found a zero, and said “Zero seconds since the Unix Epoch? I’ll round down - this was sent at the last second of New Year’s Eve, 1969! They’ll be so happy to finally get their blank message.”
And then the computer traipsed off on its merry way, because computers are fucking ridiculous.
Rockets often utilize liquid propellants for their combustion. To maximize the efficiency during burning, the liquid fuel and oxidizer must mix quickly and break up into an easily vaporized spray. One method to achieve this is to inject the fuel and oxidizer as liquid jets that collide with one another. For high enough flow rates, this creates a highly unstable liquid sheet that quickly atomizes into a spray of droplets. The animation above shows an example of two impinging jets, but rockets using this method would typically have more than just two injection points. Other rockets use co-axial or centrifugal injectors to mix and atomize the fuel and oxidizer prior to combustion. (Image credit: C. Inoue; full-scale GIF)
Here, we have the Saturn V rocket, housed inside the Apollo/Saturn V Center at Kennedy Space Center near Titusville, Florida, just a few miles from Launch complex 39, where these beasts once roared into the sky.
When we look at the enormous first stage of the Saturn V rocket, called an S-IC, we think “spaceship”. Truthfully, the Saturn V first stage never actually made it into space. The stage only burned for the first 150 seconds of flight, then dropped away from the rest of the rocket, all while remaining totally inside Earth’s atmosphere. The S-IC stage is merely an aircraft.
Even more truthfully, the S-IC stage displayed here at the Apollo/Saturn V Center at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, never flew at all. It is a static test article, fired while firmly attached to the ground, to make sure the rocket would actually hold together in flight. Obviously, these tests were successful, (e.g. she didn’t blow up), and she sits on our Apollo museum today. I wrote more about this particular stage in a previous post, (click here to view.)
The rest of the rocket, the second and third stages, called the S-II and S-IVB stages, did fly into space. The S-II put the manned payload into orbit, and the S-IVB was responsible for initially propelling that payload from earth orbit to the moon, an act called “trans-lunar injection” (TLI).
The particular rocket in this display, except for the first stage, is called SA-514. 514 was going to launch the cancelled Apollo 18 and 19 moon missions.
The command/service module (CSM) in the photos is called CSM-119. This particular capsule is unique to the Apollo program, because it has five seats. All the others had three. 119 could launch with a crew of three, and land with five, because it was designed it for a possible Skylab rescue mission. It was later used it as a backup capsule for the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project.
NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center, in Hancock County Mississippi, was formed in 1961, out of a need for a rocket testing facility with a large acoustical buffer area surrounding the test stands. Back then, it was referred to as the Mississippi Test Facility. Before this facility, rocket testing took place in Huntsville, Alabama, at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, on test stands which I covered in a previous post (click here to view). Once Marshall started testing the large S-IC stage of the Saturn V rocket, the nearby town of Huntsville was suffering broken windows and structural damage. The need for this new facility was obvious.
One critical step in rocket engine development is static testing, where an engine, or the entire rocket stage, is fixed to an enormous test stand, and fired for different periods of time. The data from these tests is analyzed, and used in countless ways to refine design, and prove that these engines will work in their mission.
The third photo shows the A-3, A-2 and A-1 test stands (from left to right), most recently used fire the J-2X rocket engines.
Photos six and seven show the enormous B1/B2 test stand, where the Saturn V S-IC stages were fired during the 1960s, and the Space Shuttle Main Engines were tested most recently. These photos of B1/B2 stand were taken on March 21, 2014. They are pretty exciting, because they show renovation underway, in preparation for testing future SLS Core Stage, which will ultimately bring humans to Mars. When I went to Stennis on September 14, 2013, the cranes, shown in these photos, were not yet present.
Several companies and agencies operate from the Stennis property, including the NOAA oceanic buoy headquarters, and Rolls-Royce, who tests their Trent 1000 jet engine, installed in the 787 Dreamliner.
Wernher von Braun’s office, shown in the second photo, rises above the treetops, for ample viewing of the B1/B2 test stand from afar. I would love nothing more than to go back and time to March 3, 1967, and watch the first Saturn V S-IC-T stage test from this building.
They’ve extended the deadline, *and* the hilarious Comic Sans PowerPoint you’ve been secretly working on about this whole thing can probably be sent as an attachment to their email. Let’s do this thing, people!
Exactly 45 years ago today, after months of preparation, Apollo 11 embarked on its now-legendary mission to the moon. But what exactly does it take to send three men into the great, vacuous unknown? See for yourself.
This 353-page document is the entire Apollo 11 flight plan in all its scientific glory. And if it gets a little confusing it’s because this is one of those rare cases where, yes, it actually is rocket science.
And as an added bonus, NASA has also kindly made available the entire Apollo 11 onboard voice transcription. Yep—you get to be privy to every last word uttered between our three space heroes as they were making history happen.
when i was growing up in new york and connecticut i imagined california as looking like this. palm trees and architecture that looked nothing like the center hall colonials of connecticut or the tenements and skyscrapers of nyc.
and then when i first started coming to l.a i was amazed that this was a CITY but that people primarily lived in houses. and granted, many of the houses in l.a are kind of ugly and beige.
but then there are these perfect little jewel box mid century houses, reminding me of my post-adolescent l.a/california visions. and i guess one could argue that architecturally these mcm houses aren’t as arbitrary as norman castles or swiss chalet in the desert.
i mean, architecture like this opens itself to the outdoors but keeps the sun at bay when necessary. and it has the quasi-privacy screen, sort of saying ‘well, we like our privacy, but it’s ok if you peek a little bit’. the paradox of exhibitionist privacy.