It was sheer fun watching the coverage of the Falcon 9/Dragon launch. That is, for me it was sheer fun. It must have been incredibly tense for the people in charge of the launch. Their joy and relief at news of success was wonderful to behold. I never get tired of watching these sorts of control-room celebrations. (Another sample--listen to the soundtrack as the solar arrays deploy.)
One thing about the SpaceX launch that struck me was the contrast between the control room (personnel and furniture) and those of the International Space Station control room. The Falcon 9 control room looks like it was built from conference room tables and off-the-shelf computer monitors; the young staffers look right at home in that setting. The other place looks far more "establishment." However, neither location resembles the Cape Canaveral blockhouses of the 1950's and 1960's.... The only woman visible in the Explorer I launch (1958) is the teletype operator.
Another recent space celebration took place earlier this month, when the Mars rover Opportunity left its winter perch and (remarkably) began yet another season of exploration. If you have only been vaguely following this amazing story, you might be surprised how much time has gone by: Opportunity landed on Mars in January 2004 with an anticipated life of 90 days.
Another speed record rather shocked me: the speed with which tour groups pass by Rembrandt's stunning Return of the Prodigal Son in St Petersburg's Hermitage collections. This painting was one of the things that drew us all to the city and the Winter Palace, and I found myself almost physically unable to leave the painting for an hour. But organized tour groups seemed to be able to sweep by in 30 seconds or less. The exceptions were groups carrying little folding chairs--they could stay for a couple of minutes.
This school year, ending in just a few days, seems to have set a speed record of its own. With finals to grade before tomorrow afternoon, I'll add a few links and say goodnight.
"My day at the NATO protests." "Justice is comprised of acts big and small, and God is never short on ideas."
Roland Allen's classic book Missionary Methods: St Paul's or Ours, which in turn inspired Christianity Rediscovered:An Epistle from the Masai by Vincent J. Donovan, is now available for download in several formats from archive.org. (Thank you, Bible and Mission, for the link.)
Jeremy Mott brought this newspaper editorial about my hero Gordon Hirabayashi to my attention: Hirabayashi, who died earlier this year, will receive the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom this month. Here's the White House announcement.
I've gotten a bit behind in following my favorite blues podcast, The Roadhouse. The 377th podcast, from May 12, featured winners of this year's Blues Music Awards. But I especially liked no. 378, through which I found out about the latest Mannish Boys release. I've already downloaded a couple of wonderful tracks.
More from Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi and their great band: