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Thursday
Apr242014

Image of the week - Happy Birthday Hubble

 

 

 24 years ago today saw the Space Shuttle Discovery launch the Hubble Space Telescope and to celebrate we have one of Hubble's best images. This mosaic of a small part of the Monkey Head Nebula in the constellation of Orion lies about 6,400 light years away. 

 

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

Saturday
Apr052014

Why the Beatles are regarded as the best band in the world

Want to know why the Beatles are widely regarded as the greatest music act that ever was? Well you could say it's because they are the highest selling band in the US (over 177 million sales), or because they have more number one albums in the UK and have sold more singles. They have the most number one's on Billboards Hot 100, they have received 10 Grammy Awards, the are rated as the best selling band in history and in 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine rated the Beatles as the greatest artist of all time.

But if that's not enough, here is a fact that no other artist has ever achieved. On April 4, 1964, the Beatles held all top 5 positions on the US Billboard charts. They were;

1. Can't Buy Me Love
2. Twist And Shout
3. She Loves You
4. I Want To Hold Your Hand
5. Please Please Me

They also had another 7 songs in the top 100.

It is also unlikely that any artist will ever again repeat this feat.

Wednesday
Apr022014

Image of the week - Jupiter's Great Red Spot

 

 

Looking at this image, it is easy to see why the planet Jupiter was named after the Roman God of Sky and Thunder. Able to swallow over 1,000 Earths it is a planet that has attracted mans interest as long as he has looked skyward. In 1979 Voyager One took this photo of the planet's Great Red Spot (seen in the upper right). About as large as 3 Earth sized planets, the Spot is a storm that was first observed over 180 years ago and has continued ever since.

Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. Video and images courtesy of NASA/JPL

Thursday
Mar062014

Stories that you wish are true - British V Irish Sea Battle

 

Next in the series of stories that you wish are true is a classic one between the British and the Irish.

This is the transcript of the actual radio conversation between the British and the Irish, off the coast of Kerry in October 1998. Radio conversation released by the Chief of Naval Operations 10 – 10–98.

IRISH: Please divert your course 15 degrees to the south, to avoid a collision.

BRITISH: Recommend you divert your course 15 degress to the north, to avoid a collision.

IRISH: Negative. You will have to divert your course 15 degrees to the south to avoid a collision.

BRITISH: This is the Captain of a British navy ship. I say again, divert YOUR course.

IRISH: Negative. I say again, You will have to divert YOUR course.

BRITISH: This is the aircraft carrier HMS Britiannia!the second largest ship in the British Atlantic fleet. We are accompanied bt three destroyers, three cruisers, and numerous support vessels. I demand that you change your course 15 degrees North, I say again, that is 15 degrees North, or counter-measures will be undertaken to ensure the safety of this ship.

IRISH: We are a lighthouse. Your call.

If true, would love to have the actual audio clip of that one.

Tuesday
Mar042014

Ever seen a square cloud before. How about a hexagon?

Ever seen a hexagon shaped storm before?

Every school student knows about the beautiful rings encircling the planet Saturn. And beneath those rings lie a mysterious gas giant with storm clouds that man is just beginning to understand. Assisting our understanding is the Cassini space probe. The Cassini-Huygens mission is a joint project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency and has been in orbit around Saturn since July 1, 2004. 

In this image taken about 2.5 million kilometers above the planets surface, this amazing cloud formation can be seen above the North pole. As amazing as the image is, what is not apparent at first view is its size. Each of the sides of the hexagon is 13,800 kms! An entire Earth would be smaller than each side.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Thursday
Feb202014

This is the best air safety video you guys will ever see 

The trend for airlines worldwide to make those [boring] pre-flight air safety videos more appealing has been touched on here in the past. Well move over all Betty White as we have a new "most appealing" video, at least according to the red blooded flyers of the skies.

Air New Zealand has partnered with Sports Illustrated® Swimsuit to celebrate 50 knockout years with their latest in-flight safety video. Pay attention to the stunning Christie Brinkley (can you believe she is 60!), Jessica Gomes, Chrissy Teigen, Hannah Davis and Ariel Meredith explaining how to stay safe in the air.

 

Friday
Feb072014

That SD card in your pocket is worth $2.7 million by 1980's standards.

Next time you grab a 8gb SD card for your camera spare a thought for those poor suckers from the 1980's. Suckers like me. My first hard drive was a Supra 40mb for my Commodore Amiga. It was $799 (ouch!) but it relieved me from the annoying task of swapping floppy disks. A hard drive was hi-tech in the late '80's and if you had one attached to your computer, you were a serious geek. 

But $799 for a 40mb hard drive is a bargain compared to the fools that purchased a 10mb drive for $3398. But that was what cutting edge technology cost in those days.

At those rates that 8gb card would cost $2.7 million. 

Thursday
Feb062014

Massive object strikes Mars

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

You are looking at a massive impact crater discovered by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. What is so special about this crater is that the impact took place sometime between July 2010 and November 2012. The crater is approximately 30 meters in diameter and the material that was ejected from the crater was blasted out as far as 15 kilometres.

This is one of the largest impacts ever recorded in the solar system so the significance of this discovery cannot be overstated.