The first picture of the Dragon spacecraft as it floats in the ocean awaiting recovery ships. (SpaceX)
At 8:42AM Pacific/11:42 AM Eastern this morning, SpaceX completed an historic mission as the business end of the Dragon capsule splashed down safely in the Pacific ocean, to be recovered by boats and head for land. From the SpaceX announcement:
Last week, SpaceX made history when its Dragon spacecraft became the first commercial vehicle in history to successfully attach to the International Space Station. Previously only four governments – the United States, Russia, Japan and the European Space Agency – had achieved this challenging technical feat. Dragon departed the space station this morning. This is SpaceX's second demonstration flight under a 2006 Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) agreement with NASA to develop the capability to carry cargo to and from the International Space Station.
More analysis in this previous BB post from this morning's event. Read the rest
In the Vintage Ads group, Man Writing Slash has posted a set of three Otis Elevator ads that were themed to tie in with the 1964 New York World's Fair. Man Writing Slash is just about my favorite poster in the group -- he's got a remarkable eye and fabulous taste.
Otis Elevators & the New York World's Fair, 1964
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Last weekend I sunk into the depths of chiptune music at Blip Festival. I quickly noticed that a lot of the bands had the same visualists managing the projected artwork behind the stage. It turns out that there's a substantial shortage of visualists for chiptune shows, so the best ones are highly sought after and hard to find. I grabbed three of the most interesting ones from the festival and asked them to tell me how they're making their images. Read the rest
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A reader photography contest at National Geographic yields this photograph by Sarah Deutsch, of "a magical moment of love between a cat and a ram." If interspecies love is not your thing, try this trio of dancing ostriches.
(thanks, Marilyn Terrell) Read the rest
You know the odor of retirement homes, synagogues on high holidays, churches on crowded Sundays, and, perhaps, your grandmother's house? Turns out that "old people smell" seems to be a real thing, according to a new scientific study. Neuroscientist Johan Lundström of the Monell Chemical Senses Center led the study that involved people of various age groups wearing underarm pads as they slept. Then, a separate group of young adults smelled bits of the pads (ewww!) and consistently identified those that came from the 75-90 age group. From CNN:
The root cause of the old person smell is still a mystery, but the study notes that long-term changes to the skin glands may be involved. Lundström suspects it also may be related to an accelerated rate of cell decay. "As cells die at a faster pace, they might give off a different odor that is unique to people with old age," he says.
Another possibility is that the scent indicates an undiagnosed illness. Although the study participants were all outwardly healthy, some may have had underlying ailments that come naturally with old age, Lundström says.
"Scientists confirm existence of 'old person smell'
" Read the rest
At Poynter, Craig Silverman writes about FourAndSix, a new photo forensics tool now in beta. The idea is to create tools that "sniff out digitally altered images." Two of the people behind it: Kevin Connor, former VP of product management for Adobe Photoshop, and digital image forensics expert Dr. Hany Farid. (via Erin Siegal) Read the rest
I bought this tiny video camera
because my kids and I want to strap it to our cat and see where she goes when she wanders around outside. We are trying to design a safe and comfortable harness for her.
That's why I was interested to see this article about the history of pigeon camera photography on Twisted Sifter
In 1907, German apothecary Julius Neubronner invented an aerial photography technique known as pigeon photography. By affixing a lightweight time-delayed miniature camera to an aluminium breast harness, Neubronner attached his design to homing pigeons who would then be able to capture aerial photographs during their flight.
In 1903, Julius Neubronner, an apothecary in the German town of Kronberg near Frankfurt, resumed a practice begun by his father half a century earlier and received prescriptions from a sanatorium in nearby Falkenstein via pigeon post.
He delivered urgent medications up to 75 grams (2.6 oz) by the same method, and positioned some of his pigeons with his wholesaler in Frankfurt to profit from faster deliveries himself.
When one of his pigeons lost its orientation in fog and mysteriously arrived, well-fed, four weeks late, Neubronner was inspired with the playful idea of equipping his pigeons with automatic cameras to trace their paths.
The history of pigeon camera photography Read the rest
On Something Awful, Rich "Lowtax" Kyanka's seven-year-old daughter Lauren has a guide to Minecraft for budding players and pros alike:
A Seven-Year Old's Guide to Minecraft (Mindcraft 3?)
Read the rest
Three EU committees rejected ACTA this week
; good news for a bad treaty. Previously
. [Ars] Read the rest
At the NYT, Michael M. Grynbaum reports on Mayor Michael Bloomberg's plan to abolish sales of large bottles or cups of soda outside of grocery stores.
The proposed ban would affect virtually the entire menu of popular sugary drinks found in delis, fast-food franchises and even sports arenas, from energy drinks to pre-sweetened iced teas. The sale of any cup or bottle of sweetened drink larger than 16 fluid ounces — about the size of a medium coffee, and smaller than a common soda bottle — would be prohibited under the first-in-the-nation plan, which could take effect as soon as next March.
Presumably, refills and the purchase of multiple smaller sodas will also be banned, in order to demonstrate that this isn't empty hot air that just happens to increase the price- and profitability-by-volume of soda. Read the rest
The Clarion Foundation has announced its annual write-a-thon, which is a sort of "home-game" edition of the famous Clarion science fiction and fantasy writing workshop, a boot-camp for budding writers held annually at the La Jolla campus of UC San Diego:
What is a write-a-thon, anyway? It's just like a walk-a-thon. But instead of walking, we're writing, and instead of making pledges per mile, we're making pledges per word, chapter, or story. Writers get support, encouragement and motivation, and the option of joining a team with a writing mentor! Those who care about the writers in their life get a way to show their support. And money is raised for a literally fantastic cause -- the Clarion Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers' Workshop. All donations are made through The Clarion Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, EIN #20-3114945.
Writing begins officially on June 24, and ends on August 4, same dates as the 2012 Clarion Workshop. Just by signing up, you'll get the bonus of providing moral support for this summer's Clarion Workshop students.
(Disclosure: I am pleased to volunteer on the board of directors of the Clarion Foundation, which is a 501(c)3 charitable organization)
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A rainbow during storms in Haikou, the capital of China's Hainan province. Photo: China Daily/Reuters Read the rest
To this marvelous photo of something odd going on in Manhattan, Jane-Claire Quigley appends an explanation
(of sorts). [Animal NY] Read the rest