Musings on optics, physics, astronomy, technology and life

Sometimes I just like to share nifty things that I’ve found online.

First off: continuing the space theme from two days ago, I bring you First Orbit, a brilliantly conceived high-definition film blending Yuri Gagarin’s taped words from his Vostok capsule (with subtitles) with gorgeous modern footage from the International Space Station and a sparkling musical score. Gosh, I would love to see this on a big IMAX screen!

It’s also interesting to hear how many times Gagarin repeated to his ground-based capcoms (when they were in range) that he was “alert” and “feeling great.” It may seem repetitious — until you realize that no one before this had any idea what the experience would be like, whether a human being could survive at all.

Next, the National Science Foundation posted a Web article on the latest results from the international XENON100 dark-matter experiment. After 100 days, the team found no particular evidence for the existence of weakly interacting massive particles, or WIMPs. (I didn’t make that name up!) Now, there is still plenty of observational clues to the existence of dark matter, especially from the motions of galaxies and the orbits of objects around galactic centers. But we still have no idea what this stuff is. Or, rather, scientists have some ideas, and WIMPs seem to be the best of the lot, but it won’t be the best hypothesis forever if the putative particles don’t start showing up in detectors.

I’ve been interested in science journalism since my college days — the first go-round in journalism, never mind the second time around in physics. The Nieman Journalism Lab muses on Quickish, a beta site that is supposed to “cut to the quick” of subjects without totally eschewing long-form stories. Quickish is all about sports, but one could speculate what a Quickish-like site focused on science, technology and health news would look like.

This week I also noticed that the Washington Post is using another beta site/app, Intersect, to allow readers to contribute to a photo project called “Recession Road.” Again, I see the potential for constructing multi-layered, multi-dimensional, multiple-timeline, complex stories. I just hope there are plans to create additional Intersect apps besides the one for the iPhone, because not all of us have iPhones.

Finally, from a Tumblr blogger … just click on these squares and makes some beautiful music of your own. Just play away, for the world needs more delight and dancing.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: