Archive for the ‘Space’ Category

The Old Negro Space Program (NASSA)

Thursday, 24 August 2006; 8:49

That last NASA posting had me recall NASSA – The Negro American Space Society of Astronauts, and the film documenting it. It is not a Ken Burns film. Although a tad old, some of you may not yet have seen it. Enjoy.

(And before anyone gets upset, I remind you that my grandfather was a member of NASSA. I will not take kindly to any off-color jokes about the film or NASSA.)

Home page: The Old Negro Space Program
Google Video: The Old Negro Space Program

NASSA SpaceBus graphic


“An Infrared Search for Origins” (NASA)

Thursday, 24 August 2006; 8:28

I grew up in a very small North Carolina town. My high school graduating class numbered approximately one hundred students. (However, I am a high school drop-out. And yes, I’m proud of that. High school was a waste of time.) What wasn’t a waste of time was looking up into the sky at night.

One of my fondest memories from childhood was looking up and seeing the Milky Way very clearly. It was as if someone had taken a paint brush and lightly painted a white streak across the sky from horizon to horizon. The Milky Way was a huge, faint white cloud visible at night, a cloud of stars.

Even before Hubble’s Deep Field photograph and Carl Sagan (…billions and billions of stars), I somewhat comprehended the immense vastness of space. Dear readers, if you have never clearly seen the Milky Way at night, you are missing something truly spectacular. Do try to get away from city lights and see it for yourself one day. You will not be disappointed.

Those memories are stirred by this presentation, An Infrared Search for Origins, made possible by NASA’s Space Infrared Telescope. I will let the universe speak for itself. I hope you enjoy the presentation as much as I.

Home page: An Infrared Search for Origins
Home page: Spitzer Space Telescope
Home page (Spanish): Spitzer Space Telescope
Home page: NASA

Spitzer Space Telescope graphic

Boeing: Integrated Defense Systems

Wednesday, 9 August 2006; 13:21

2005 was a banner year for weapons suppliers like Boeing and its Integrated Defense Systems division. The Distillery can find no joy in that observation.

Home page: Boeing IDS

AH-64D Apache Longbow photo graphic

Coca-Cola – The Hilltop & “Mean” Joe Green Commercials

Sunday, 4 June 2006; 8:47

Yesterday, I found myself talking to a young kid about television advertising. During the course of our conversation, I discovered he had [rightfully so] never heard of, nor seen, the famous Coca-Cola hilltop commercial–nor the one with “Mean” Joe Green. So to fulfill a promise to a future marketing whiz, here are I’d Like to Teach The World to Sing and “Mean” Joe Green.

Thanks for safely warehousing our memories, Library of Congress. Also, please forgive this departure from the regularly scheduled programming here at The Distillery.

1907 Coca-Cola print ad 1963 Coca-Cola rocket print ad

Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide

Wednesday, 24 May 2006; 13:13

Saatchi & Saatchi is one of the most venerable names in advertising. They both sponsor and win advertising awards. However (you expected a complete endorsement?), aside from its own web site I find the majority of their showcased past and present campaigns absolutely boring. ‘Tis no wonder one occasionally hears they have lost another creative genius who has set up shop elsewhere to do more daring work.

Among the several mediocre–but somehow award-winning–ads you will find at their web site, the following are possibly worth a few of your minutes:

Guinness Africa (Quite nice.)
China Light & Power
Lion Cereal (Very good.)
Kilroy Travels (Even better.)
Skol Beer Music Festival
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children

Saatchi Innovation Award key logo Saatchi Innovation Award key logo Saatchi Innovation Award key logo Saatchi Innovation Award key logo

Sea Launch (Boeing)

Monday, 8 May 2006; 13:10

Who knew? Of course we know about Cape Canaveral at the Kennedy Space Center and Vandenberg Air Force Base, but Sea Launch? However, did you really think NASA’s space shuttles were wasting their time with the launching of commercial television satellites? Nah, no way with Iran, Korea, and the so-called Axis of Evil needing every watchful eye (i.e., spy satellites) this administration can muster.

Enter Sea Launch for DIRECTV, EchoStar, and other private ventures. Sea Launch is the world’s only commercial ocean-based space launch platform. With the increasing privatization of space, it may well be not so very far off that we in fact do see Google teaming up with Wicked Lasers to place its well-known words-only unobtrusive ads in the sky.

Sea Launch pic

The Space Elevator (Ester Dyson, GE, CNET)

Thursday, 30 March 2006; 16:03

Everyone agrees that NASA’s space shuttles are now outdated and also possibly too dangerous for much more use. Likewise, Russia’s fleet of rockets are aging and far from anything resembling 21st century technology. Interestingly, the alternative to both that receives a great deal of attention is the space elevator. This interview with scientists by Ester Dyson and sponsored by GE and CNET, New Ideas That Matter: The Space Elevator, nicely explains what may seem only to be far-distant science fiction, but is supposedly a more realistic goal than was placing a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s.

NASA (Patti LaBelle Pays Tribute to Columbia)

Thursday, 9 March 2006; 10:54

At the memorial service for the Columbia space shuttle and its crew of astronauts, Patti Labelle sang “Way Up There”*, a song commissioned by the NASA Art Program. The song was written by Tena R. Clark.

  • High Resolution (12.2 Mb .mov file)
  • * Medium Resolution (1.7 Mb .mov file)
  • Low Resolution (1.0 Mb .mov file)
  • (Comment: Download the 12 Mb video file and keep it. It’s definitely worth having on your hard drive. The video underscores what another great loss Columbia was. We lost a real-life preview of the fictitious Star Trek Enterprise. With the breakup of Columbia, the world lost a crew composed of different nationalities, cultures, races and genders.)

    The Official Frank Zappa Site

    Tuesday, 7 March 2006; 13:49

    Frank Zappa brings back memories of my college years. He did not disappoint then and his official web site does not today. There is much to see so I will let you explore on your own. It is not all multimedia, but it is all Zappa. Enjoy. (And remember, don’t eat the yellow snow. That’s where the Huskies go.)

    “Exploring Space: The Quest for Life” (PBS)

    Sunday, 5 March 2006; 0:30

    Excerpted from Exploring Space: The Quest for Life to be shown on PBS:

    How did life begin? Are we the only intelligent life in the universe? The key to unraveling the mysteries about the origins of life may just exist in space.

    “Exploring Space: The Quest for Life” will trace the links between life on Earth and the rest of the universe-in the most realistic but spectacular fashion. Viewers will zoom through space alongside a meteor the size of a small city and learn how millions of years of cosmic activity have helped to create life on our planet.

    And here is the show’s trailer.

    Canadian Space Agency

    Wednesday, 15 February 2006; 16:08

    Who knew Canada had a space agency? Maybe online content like that found below will change such misperceptions. Click, and find learning can also be captivating entertainment.

    Canadian Space Agency