What Dreams May Come – breaker breaker

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I seldom remember my dreams.  They fade as I wake, if I recall them at all.  Today I awoke remembering the dream that just ended, and it starred my old CB radio.

Cobra CAM 88

I own a Cobra CAM 88 Citizen’s Band radio.  It’s a 23 channel, tube type AM transceiver, and I have a Silver Eagle D-104 power mic connected to it.  I bought the radio used in the mid-to-late 1970’s from my buddy Marc Cooper, who I believe got it from his uncle.  It’s probably a mid-60’s radio.

D104In my dream, I was showing the radio to a friend, and hooked it up to try it out. Now, I haven’t even turned on a CB radio in probably ten years or more, let alone keyed one up and talked.  But I did in this dream, and heard distant stations coming in by skip.  (skip is when a radio signal bounces off the ionosphere and travels much farther than normal.  When sunspot activity is high, you can hear stations from the east coast easier than you can hear locals.  High power amplifiers add to the noise factor!)

The odd thing about this dream is More

I’m entering William Shatner’s contest

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I first became aware of William Shatner in 1972.  I was in 8th grade, and  a new local television station was airing reruns of 60’s television programs, including a “Wagon Train to the stars”.  Every day after school I would get home, burn through my homework, and be ready to watch when it came on.  I would have watched it in prime time during it’s time on network television, but Dad had control of the one TV in the house, and he was a western show guy.  I never had a chance back then!

My teen years included daily sessions with Mr. Shatner and the crew, and I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen each episode.  Bill has been a fixture in my life, and I’d love to have a chance to see him in person.

I live in Visalia, California, just down the road from property he once owned (or still does?) in Three Rivers.  I would hear stories from locals who had met him, and was always a bit envious.  (I’ve worked at the Sheriff’s Department 9-1-1 dispatch for 20 years, and got to hear some stories from the resident deputy and his wife.  Having him host a show about 9-1-1 was icing on the cake!)

At any rate, Mr. Shatner, I’d love to meet the man behind the characters.  I’ve heard it’s a great show, and I look forward to being in the audience.

Contact me, Jim Reeves,  at jim.visalia@gmail.com  I’m on Twitter as @KC6YRU, and have been a follower of Mr. Shatner on Twitter for some time now.

(fingers crossed)

Lunar Geek – “Blood” Moon Eclipse

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blood_moon_04142014

A Lunar eclipse occurred last night, with the Moon slipping into the Earth’s shadow.  The refraction of light through the Earth’s atmosphere created the reddish hue, not quite darkening our sister planet. (The Earth and Moon are more accurately a binary planet system, rather than a primary and satellite system.)

The term “Blood Moon” seems to be the result of the media glomming onto a doomsday prophet, ‘end of the world’, God is coming book seller.  It doesn’t seem to have any historical relevance, but since it’s caught the fancy of reporters around the world, we’re stuck with it.  Some have gone so far as to claim it’s a sign from God, warning President Obama (about something… pick a wingnut cause and use that, for all the sense they make).

Several more of these eclipses will happen in the next few years, just as they’ve happened ever since the Moon reached it’s current orbital distance from the Earth.  (the Moon used to be much closer to Earth, but tidal friction and orbital dynamics have been moving it further away ever since it formed.  Using devices left on there by the Apollo missions, we can measure that movement precisely.)

Space Cadet Jimmiejoe contributed to this blog.

Mars Space Geek – Curiosity seen from orbit

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Screen Shot 2014-04-06 at 5.09.58 PM

Curiosity, on Mars, from orbit.  Photo taken by HiRISE.  Just wow.

To give you a sense of scale, here’s the Curiosity’s twin on Earth:

CuriosityRover

 

Science!

(and, as an aside… if NASA can take pictures like this from orbit, and release them, can you imagine what spy satellites are capable of these days? It boggles the mind.  Next time you’re outside, look up, smile, and wave.  It’ll give the CIA and NSA guys something to wonder about!)

This is what an astronaut looks like in space, Sandra Bullock and George Clooney not withstanding

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I’m sorry, but Sandra and George didn’t come close.

“Gravity” works, except when it doesn’t

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Gravity

They say you have to “suspend disbelief” to enjoy some movies, but when a movie is about something you’re really interested in, it becomes more difficult as the filmmakers take “artistic license” to the extreme.  The new movie “Gravity” is one such example.  Where to begin with all that’s wrong with this film?

First, let me tell you what was good.  The technical aspects were first rate.  The visuals, the micro-gravity, most of the movement were spot on.  It looked almost like it was filmed in space!  The scenes of the astronauts in orbit, the Earth, the space shuttle and space station looked incredibly real.  The story line was mostly good, but some really odd things popped in from time to time, making one wonder “what the hell was that?”  (the chinese guy talking with the barking dog and crying baby? huh?)

Now, for the bad…

[SPOILERS ALERT]

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I Love Living In the Future

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Inmarsat-3A few minutes ago, I was sitting in my living room, holding a little piece of plastic and metal to my ear, no wires connecting me to any plugs on the walls, talking to a friend in Virginia as he drove down a highway.  Space Cadet JimmieJoe was jumping up and down in my head again, amazed.

When I was 12, the Space Cadet often daydreamed about the future.  There were spaceships and incredible computers.  Meals would be selected on a screen, and be magically transported to the table by a conveyor. Communication anywhere on the planet would be simple, quick, and complete with video. Super sonic jets would whisk you to anyplace on Earth in a short time, and, of course, flying cars would be everywhere.  Think – “The Jetsons”.

Well, the future is here, but it looks a bit different than Space Cadet JimmieJoe imagined.

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Running the Dunes on #Mars

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February 10,2014.  Mars. Unbelievably freaking cool.

The JPL source page, here.

Mars is a real place.

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Pictures like this just enthrall me.  This is a real place. On another planet.

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Drone Training 101

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Important first steps in training your very own drone.

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