Posts Tagged ‘NASA’
Visit Here Is Today and, in a few brief clicks, put everything (and I do mean everything) into perspective…
As we realize that we’re late for the Mad Hatter’s tea party, we might recall that it was on this date in 1961, before a joint session of Congress, that President John F. Kennedy introduced the NASA Apollo Program, vowing to land an American astronaut safely on the moon before the end of the decade. The mission was accomplished on July 20, 1969, when Apollo 11′s Neil Armstrong left the Lunar Module and set foot on the surface of the Moon.
Like the ampersand, the “@” symbol is not strictly a mark of punctuation; rather, it is a logogram or grammalogue, a shorthand for the word “at.” Even so, it is as much a staple of modern communication as the semicolon or exclamation mark, punctuating email addresses and announcing Twitter usernames. Unlike the ampersand, though, whose journey to the top took two millennia of steady perseverance, the at symbol’s current fame is quite accidental. It can, in fact, be traced to the single stroke of a key made almost exactly four decades ago*…
The whole story is @ Shady Characters (“The Secret Life of Punctuation”).
* Before it became the domain address marker– and the overall symbol– for email, “@” was used to denote the unit price (or weight) of an item: 10 books @ $1.00 would total $10.00… the symbol is believed to have originated with medieval scribes who used the symbol to eliminate the two extra pen strokes that would have been necessary to write “at.”
As we check our spam filters, we might recall that it was on this date in 1958, in reaction to the Soviet’s Sputnik success the prior year, that Congress passed the legislation establishing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)… the Space Race was on. (ARPA [now DARPA]– the sponsor of the work that spawned the internet and birthed the “@” in the form in which we all now use it– was born the same year out of the same concern over Soviet scientific progress.)
“People who use big forks eat less compared with diners who use small forks…” All three courses of the explanation are at LiveScience.
As we super-size our cutlery, we might recall that it was on this date in 1969 that over 700 million television viewers worldwide watched Neil Armstrong step onto the surface of the moon. “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”
Bureaucratics is a project consisting of a book (ISBN 978-1-59005-232-7) and exhibition containing 50 photographs, the product of an anarchist’s heart, a historian’s mind and an artist’s eye. It is a comparative photographic study of the culture, rituals and symbols of state civil administrations and its servants in eight countries on five continents, selected on the basis of political, historical and cultural considerations: Bolivia, China, France, India, Liberia, Russia, the United States, and Yemen. In each country, I visited up to hundreds of offices of members of the executive in different services and at different levels. The visits were unannounced and the accompanying writer, Will Tinnemans, by interviewing kept the employees from tidying up or clearing the office. That way, the photos show what a local citizen would be confronted with when entering.
- Dutch documentary photographer Jan Banning
Continue the tour through dozens more photos at Jan Banning’s “Bureaucractics.”
[TotH to Flavorwire]
As we feel the need of a coffee break, we might recall that it was on this date in 1959 that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) introduced America’s first astronauts to the press: Scott Carpenter, L. Gordon Cooper Jr., John H. Glenn Jr., Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Walter Schirra Jr., Alan Shepard Jr., and Donald Slayton. The seven men, all military test pilots, were selected from a group of 32 candidates to take part in Project Mercury, America’s first manned space program.
After they were announced, the “Mercury Seven” became overnight celebrities. But the Mercury Project suffered some early setbacks; and on April 12, 1961, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin orbited Earth in the world’s first manned space flight. Less than one month later, on May 5, astronaut Alan Shepard was successfully launched into space on a suborbital flight. Then on February 20, 1962, John Glenn became the first American to orbit Earth. NASA continued to trail the Soviets in the space race until the late 1960s, when NASA’s Apollo program put the first men on the moon and safely returned them to Earth.
The gentlemen with The Right Stuff (source: NASA)
Readers will recall earlier visits to Letters of Note (“correspondence deserving of a wider audience”). That wonderful site now has company– and official company at that.
The letter-of-request above*, and tens of thousands of other historically- and politically-interesting documents can now be found at the Online Public Access Prototype of the National Archives.
* One notes that, while the Vice President’s response to Disney was “schedule too tight,” later President Nixon used Disney World as the venue for his “I am not a crook” speech…
[TotH to GMSV]
As we sharpen our quills, we might recall that it was on this date in 1972 (months before his Disney World performance) that President Nixon signed the bill authorizing $5.5 million to develop the Space Shuttle program– NASA’s main focus from that point until President Obama’s recent redirection.
Nixon with NASA Administrator James Fletcher and a model of spacecraft-to-come (Source: NASA)