Return To Space

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There is a huge lapse in time since my last book report. Not because I didn’t read any books, nor because I didn’t find any of them worth reviewing, but because I had no desire to write articles for my blog. Call it blog overload or blog-o-phobia whatever, it is a loss in interest in the stuff of life. One expert has told me it is a sign of depression. Who me? No!

On Ash Wednesday I began a walking routine which I have maintained for ten days straight. The exercise gurus will tell me that is wrong. I should have had a rest day in there. My idea is that if I don’t establish a habit I’d never make it past the first rest day. Tomorrow will tell the story. The point of this lame tale is that ever since I began walking my spirits have risen, my energy level is higher, my interests are returning, and I feel better.

The book I am reviewing is titled How To Make A Spaceship by Julian Guthrie. The story is true and has an interesting flow. Julian chronicles the lives of several men from the time they were young, very young in most cases, until they achieve goals set early in life. If there is one word to describe these men it is “passion.” None of them let go of the dream, and directed their lives in ways that would give them the tools they needed to reach success.

Here is a short list of the men involved, Peter Diamandis is the central character. Most people have never heard of him unless they are space nuts. In Peter’s course to reach space he runs into men like Burt Rutan a builder of airplanes and a man who flew his design around the world on a single tank of gas. Another is Erik Lindbergh grandson of Charles Lindbergh the first man to solo fly across the Atlantic ocean non-stop from Long Island, New York to Paris. Erik attributes his recovery from debilitating rheumatoid arthritis to inspiration acquired from Diamandis’s enthusiasm to reach space. Paul Allen co-founder of Microsoft, Elon Musk inventor of PayPal, Richard Branson who earned a fortune off Virgin Records and today heads over four hundred company’s under the Virgin Group. Marion Blakey second lady administrator of the FAA, and a gaggle of others who worked to launch the first citizen initiated sub-orbital flight into space.

Authoress Julian did an amazing job of telling a highly charged story of a technical nature into a fascinating spell binding read. This is one book I did not put down, and when I did, I could not wait to start it again. If you are into stories about flight, space, or passionately driven people this is one for you.

Batteries Not Included

Popular Mechanics magazine was a staple in my life for many years. It was always loaded with do it yourself projects that were easily handled by amateurs like me. Somewhere along the line, however, the magazine became a replica of Popular Science. Probably because in this modern world of plastics, and electronics, home-made seemed blasé. I gave up reading Popular Mechanics when that happened.

Recently, I received a solicitation from a young lady named Grace Ann Jean age eleven who was working a school project to raise money by selling magazines. I looked over the list and bought a subscription to Popular Mechanics.

The very first issue I received showed a flying car on the cover. Oh no I thought, not another one. Sure enough the author showed the history of flying car articles in Popular Mechanics since 1957. Up to this point there have been five, and this issue makes six. The article is titled The Future of the Flying Car (For real this time maybe) features a car based on drone technology. It is perfectly plausible. The company that is promoting the car says it will have a twenty-three minute flying time. I guess that is progress.

This morning I spent time catching up on the week’s e-mails and found one from my retired Air Force pilot buddy with a video featuring a lady who remarkably resembles Julia Louis-Dreyfus. I am still laughing. Watch it, and tell me if you don’t react the same way.

A Revolutionary Concept: Earth Revolves Around the Sun

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Finally, I finished reading a book called Galileo’s Telescope. It took a month, but I did it. Whenever it takes me that long to read something it is because it is a difficult read. Three author’s were required to tell this short story of how Galileo’s discovery of Jupiter’s moons became known to the world. The time frame was 1590 through 1620. That alone gives a clue about how hard it must have been to research the events that unfolded.

A Dutchman who made eyeglasses for a living  invented the telescope. The novelty of the device spread quickly across Europe and ultimately landed in Galileo’s lap. The early telescopes were crude devices with poorly made lens but had a 3:1 magnification. People were astounded by being able to see things far away come close. Galileo was a mathematician and immediately recognized the value of studying the heavens with a telescope. He took it upon himself to improve the device. He didn’t believe anyone else but he could do the job. He learned how to grind lens, and sent to Venice for the finest glass available. His math skills enabled him to calculate the lens curvature needed to yield a 30:1 magnification.

He first examined the moon. He learned the surface had mountains, valleys, and desert. He made the first pencil sketches of the moon’s surface. Then he focused on Jupiter and realized that four moons spiraled the planet. He published his findings in a book titled Sidereus nuncios.

The story told focuses on how the world rejected Galileo as the inventor of the telescope which is correct. He never claimed he invented the device. There is a short discussion on how he used the scope, and the rest on how he spread the news.

During that era, the Catholic Church taught that the universe revolved around the earth, and they excommunicated scientist Copernicus for teaching that the earth revolved around the sun. Many people of Galileo’s time warned him to present his findings as a mathematical phenomenon, and not as a Philosophical one for fear of being rebuked by the Church. Jesuits were the renowned philosophers of the time, and they still are today. They set up the Inquisition to keep people from deviating from Holy Doctrine. The current Pope Francis came to mind throughout this reading. He is a Jesuit and has the same stubborn stance on Global Warming as the Jesuits of the sixteenth century had about Earth being the center of the universe.

Anyway, this book  told the story in two hundred and forty-six pages. I would have condensed it into ten (The words in this post are enough for me). The story contains too many difficult Italian names, dates, and places. We won’t see a movie on this one for sure. As hard as it was to read, I enjoyed the story.

Read the Book, Or See the Movie, Not Both

Last week I did it again. I watched the movie after reading the book. The Men’s book club chose Ender’s Game as the month’s selection. I had never heard of it, but what the heck why not? It is science fiction and I am in the throes of writing a book which is fantasy, science fiction, so I thought it might be a great read. As always I began with the Introduction. The copy of the book I had is a new edition, and the author added an introduction. I suffered through it, and thought if this is what the rest of the book is like I am in deep trouble. Thankfully, it was not. The author had me hooked within a few pages, and I couldn’t put it down.

Ender’s Game takes place one hundred and fifty years from now. An alien civilization attacks Earth, and nearly wins had it not been for a courageous warrior who saves the planet. To avoid another attack, Earth’s rulers search for another commander who can take out the aliens in the future. They do so by monitoring little kids from age three on. By the time they are six, Big Brother has an idea of what characteristics the kid will have. Ender is one of those kids. At age six and a half he is taken from his family to go to Battle School. The school is a huge ship in orbit around Earth. Educators teach the tactics of war as a game. To cut this story short, Ender is in command of the entire army by the time he is eleven. The school put him through a relentless grind of battle after battle with little time between, and Ender continues to come up with winning strategies.

I described this scenario to my son and he told me that there is a movie of this story. I found it in the library and thought I would really enjoy it. Although, the movie is well done, the story is way too big to tell effectively in two hours. The author Orson Scott Card wrote the screen play so his story would be told accurately, but he had to cut so much the movie lacked. The visual effects were as good as those in Star Wars, and the action scenes were exciting, but it left me wanting more of what I read. This is one case where reading the book is the better choice over watching the movie. Both stories are good, but I preferred the book version over the film.

Visualize This

It took me a long time to discover the power of visualization, and when I did I kicked myself in the ass for not doing so sooner. I learned how to play tennis in high school, and loved the sport. My biggest problem, I choked in a match. I was so worried about hitting the ball into the net, and losing a point I did just that. In my mind I saw the ball hitting the net. When the visualization thing came to me while listening to a positive thinking lecture my tennis game popped into mind. If only I had visualized the ball going over the net instead of hitting it. Oh well, it was too late to improve my game.

When I saw this image sent by my friend Mike, the visualization process came to mind. This diagram lays out an administration dream team. In my opinion this team would do two things for the USA: first it would set the country back on the correct track to economic recovery, liberty, and all the while staying within the Constitution. Second, the team would set back the Progressive movement about three hundred years.

DSCN4971Let me know what you think, I know what I’m seeing in my mind. The only change I would make is to get the photo of Scott Walker correct, I don’t know whose picture that is, but it isn’t Scott Walker Governor of Wisconsin.

Wonders in Perspective

As usual I got another really great video from a friend. I never heard of this presenter before, but I thoroughly enjoyed his video and audio. The man is Louie Schwartzberg. Watch this seven minute video the time will seem like seven seconds, it is that fascinating and educational. He presents an interesting perspective of the world around us, both big and little.

Confessions of a Public Defender | American Renaissance

This is an excellent essay written by a Liberal Public Defender. I cannot believe he hasn’t been branded a Racist after writing his very candid thoughts about the many blacks he helps. He exposes himself near the end of the piece when he lists what blacks cannot do well.

Confessions of a Public Defender | American Renaissance.

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