Brian’s Links 2012 June 1: SpaceX and the Return of Adventure

SpaceX did it. Off the Earth, up to the ISS, and back again. The era of private spaceflight is really here. And what is SpaceX’s long range goal? Elon Musk wants to go to Mars. Not just his company – him, personally. And, while he’s at it, he’s going to save the world.

If you haven’t heard of Planetary Resources, you should. They’ve got billionaire backing. And they want to gobble up asteroids for their platinum. (Well, and their other elements too.) Between these guys and SpaceX, exploration is actually becoming really interesting again. And why should Christians or ethicists care? (go here to find out) Because, in the words of Alfred North Whitehead “Without adventure, civilization is in full decay.” And I think these folks are proving that we are not nearly dead yet.

Now, from air to water, literally. For areas with fresh water shortage this is brilliant: a wind turbine that condenses water from the air.  It would be perfect for the Marshall Islands, where is is windy, humid, and fresh water is unreliable. And if you were an ancient Greek, this could count as elemental transmutation.

And how about a new kind (not just a new use) of wind power while we are at it?

Every wonder about what the future was supposed to look like? Well here’s a funny one: kids carrying around computers in a museum. A cowboy using at what looks like an iPad. Kids using computers in school (wearing Atari helmets!). All from back in 1982.

Fascinating maps of America’s invisible borders. Like whether a soda is a “pop” or a “coke” (its a soda).

The USCCB’s and CDF’s document on the LCWR.

Ever wonder where ketchup came from? Wonder no longer.

Yes, Chinese medicine can be dangerous.  Lots of medicines can be dangerous. The early chemist and pharmacist Paracelsus (real name: Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim – you can see why he went by Paracelsus) is noted for his phrase “the dosage makes the poison.” But seeing as many forms of Chinese medicine have never actually been scientifically tested to see what they do – in any dosage – taking them can be especially dangerous.

It’s called “Blood Falls.” It’s a blood-red frozen waterfall in Antarctica. Now if only there were monstrous creatures at its source, the story would be complete. But wait! There are!

These next two stories are both from God and the Machine, my new favorite blog for theology and technology. First, a young man finds his lost home and family, a home he lost when he fell asleep on a train when he was 5. How did he find his way home? Google Earth!

Second, someday you will be able to buy your own tricorder, just like in Star Trek.  Seriously.  This guy is making them and they work!

And lastly, poor static dog. Cats have a reputation for getting all the lols, but dogs can do it too.


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