Thank You, NASA, for the Space Shuttle Program

Today, July 21, 2011, an age of exploration and discovery came to an end.

Rarely does a simple youtube video re-invigorate my imagination and stir my emotions like this great compilation of the NASA Space Transportation System (STS) program by nature video.

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From the summary:

The Space Shuttle fleet delivered the Hubble Space Telescope, the International Space Station, and dozens of satellites, space probes, crew and supplies. Two Shuttles were lost: Challenger in 1986 and Columbia in 2003. The touchdown of Atlantis at Kennedy Space Center marked the end of an era, after 135 missions. This video shows all of them in chronological order. http://www.nature.com/spaceshuttle

As the great astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson put it on July 8, the day of the final shuttle launch:

Many lament the shuttle era's end. But that's misplaced sentiment. Lament instead the absence of an era to replace it.

-@neiltyson (Neil deGrasse Tyson), 8-7-2011 13:30:35

Where do we go from here as Americans? Where do our dreams lie, if not in the great universe around us? Russia and China continue while we stop. What’s next? What will the next generation dream about as children? Will space be a thing of science fiction or a reachable, accessible experience to them?  Will space travel be a product of business? I am completely ignorant of all that lies ahead.

Thank you, NASA, for the Shuttle program. It was grand.

July 21, 2011  |  science and skepticism, twitter, videos  |  1 Comment

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The Nature of Existence – Now Streaming!

For those of you with Netflix Streaming, clear some time to watch The Nature of Existence, a fabulous documentary by Roger Nygard! I had the pleasure of attending a screening of The Nature of Existence here in Chicago.

Roger Nygard travels to the sources of the world’s major philosophies and talks to everyone from physicist Leonard Susskind to Ultimate Christian Wrestling founder Rob Adonis to answer the questions, Why are we here and what are we supposed to do? Spiritual leaders, scholars, scientists, artists, pizza chefs and the guy next door inform this humorously enlightening documentary about the nature and meaning of life.

The film raises many questions about the nature of life, religion, the universe, morality, and our relationships to one another. I especially loved seeing many cultures and perspectives represented in this snapshot of the diversity of ideas. What an adventure and privilege to interview such amazing people. Lucky Nygard; I’m jealous! You can watch a trailer and read more about this film here.

Check it out on Netflix!

Same-Sex Marriage Bill Passes in New York & Then This Happens:

Happy news! New York state passed a bill making gay marriage legal! And in the middle of all the twitter hubub and joyous shouts of happiness, I read this:

After 15 & 1/2 years, I asked my partner to marry me & he said yes. Thank you all for your support! Victory for equality is victory for all.

-@ProfMTH (Mitch), 25-6-2011 02:35:56

Best twitter status of my night! Congratulations to a twitter friend and one of my favorite youtubers, Mitch (ProfMTH)! This should never have been illegal. I am so glad for all the New Yorkers who can now enjoy the proper freedom they so rightly deserve.

June 24, 2011  |  homosexuality, news, politics, society, twitter  |  5 Comments