Analog Lives, too

Having just posted on the 8-track digital recorder in Voyager 1, I would be remiss in not pointing out that the Voyager spacecraft are also conveying the finest analog technology to the stars: The Golden Record, a gold-plated copper phonograph record that contains both pictures and sounds.

The cover of the Golden Record, with instructions on how to play it:

Photo courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech

 

Some of the music on the record, is, of course, available on Youtube.

Does it Matter which College is Best?

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A photo of Princeton University, because, hey, it’s the best college in America. Source: wikimedia commons.

With U.S. News and World Reports publishing its annual list of the “best” colleges recently, the Atlantic Magazine responds with Your Annual Reminder to Ignore the U.S. News & World Report College Rankings. One reason?

U.S. News is always tinkering with the metrics they use, so meaningful comparisons from one year to the next are hard to make. Critics also allege that this is as much a marketing move as an attempt to improve the quality of the rankings: changes in the metrics yield slight changes in the rank orders, which induces people to buy the latest rankings to see what’s changed.

On the other hand,

For parents and prospective students who know almost nothing about America’s colleges and universities, the ranking provides a rough guide to the institutional landscape of American higher education. Using the U.S. News rankings for any more exacting purpose is about as good for you as eating potato chips and Gummy Bears for dinner. With maple syrup.

Following some of the links in the Atlantic article eventually leads to a review of this book by Jeffery J. Selingo, who, according to the reviewer,

Continue reading

Historic Preservation … on the Moon!

I’m a week or two late with this news, but here it is:

“Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.), the top-ranking Democrat on the House Space Subcommittee, proposed legislation on Tuesday, along with Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Tex), to establish the National Historical Park on the moon under the Apollo Lunar Landing Legacy Act. The designation would protect the site where Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin first touched down on the lunar surface in July 1969.”

The Department of the Interior and NASA would be jointly in charge of protecting the artifacts remaining on the surface of the moon from the Apollo 11 through Apollo 17 missions, which ended in 1973, while the Smithsonian Institute would help ensure an accurate cataloging of the items, which include flags, a memorial to fallen astronauts, lunar landers, a golf ball and a moon car.”

Rest at International Business Times

In case you were worried about the United States attempting to claim sovereignty over the moon, the act would apply only to the artifacts on the moon, not the land itself. The actual bill is pretty short, and you can read it here, where you can see that the park would be composed of:

      “(1) the artifacts on the surface of the Moon associated with the Apollo 11 mission, which landed on the lunar surface July 20, 1969, at Mare Tranquillitatis;
      (2) the artifacts on the surface of the Moon associated with the Apollo 12 mission, which landed on the lunar surface November 19, 1969, at Oceanus Procellarum;
      (3) the artifacts on the surface of the Moon associated with the Apollo 13 mission, which had an instrumentality crash land on the lunar surface April 14, 1970;
      (4) the artifacts on the surface of the Moon associated with the Apollo 14 mission, which landed on the lunar surface February 5, 1971, at Fra Mauro;
      (5) the artifacts on the surface of the Moon associated with the Apollo 15 mission, which landed on the lunar surface July 30, 1971, at Hadley-Apennines;
      (6) the artifacts on the surface of the Moon associated with the Apollo 16 mission, which landed on the lunar surface April 21, 1972, at Descartes; and
      (7) the artifacts on the surface of the Moon associated with the Apollo 17 mission, which landed on the lunar surface December 11, 1972, at Taurus-Littrow.”

Moon photo courtesy of NASA:

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