December 29, 2011 |
LOS ANGELES - The New Year's countdown to the moon has begun. NASA said Wednesday that its twin spacecraft were on course to arrive back-to-back at the moon after a 31/2-month journey. "We're on our way there," said project manager David Lehman of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which manages the $496 million mission. The Grail probes - short for Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory - won't land on the lunar surface. Instead, they were poised to slip into orbit to study the uneven lunar gravity field.
December 27, 2011 |
While I'm away, readers give the advice. On being unable to reciprocate for lavish gifts: Giving extravagant gifts repeatedly to someone who cannot ever reciprocate can be a form of control - and manipulation. I found myself in this situation nearly 20 years ago. Fast forward, and I'm just ending a costly and bitter divorce from someone who thinks he's given me too much and doesn't think I deserve anything, despite my years of sacrifice for his career and our children.
November 25, 2011 |
Reprinted from Wednesday's Inquirer. It's not hard to see why Martin Scorsese fell in love with The Invention of Hugo Cabret , Brian Selznick's Caldecott Medal-winning graphic novel for kids. For decades, Scorsese has devoted great energy and effort to the preservation of old films, and in Selznick's voluminous fantasy, French magician-turned-moviemaker Georges Méliès not only figures prominently, but so, too, does his work. Among Méliès' dreamlike flights of filmic whimsy to show up in the book: "A Trip to the Moon," that 1902 one-reel gem with the giant rocket flying right into the Man in the Moon's eye. A 3-D spectacle (yes, be sure to put on those 3-D spectacles!
September 3, 2011 |
A thin but fairly diverting entry in the low-fi fakeumentary horror genre, Apollo 18 explains what's really on the moon and why the U.S. space program decided against further study. Why? Because a Blair Witch Project filmmaking seminar set up camp there first, that's why! Spanish director Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego's exercise in "found" footage scares was produced by Timur Bekmambetov, who directed the popular assassins melee Wanted , which I hated. I didn't hate this one at all. Like Blair Witch and the Paranormal Activity pictures, Apollo 18 offers zero characterization and very little narrative.
August 4, 2011 |
WASHINGTON - Earth once had two moons, astronomers suggested Wednesday. But in a spectacle that might have beguiled poets, lovers, and songwriters if only they had been around to see it billions of years ago, the smaller one smashed into the other in a "big splat. " The result: a single bulked-up and ever-so-slightly lopsided moon. The astronomers came up with the scenario to explain why the moon's far side is so much hillier than the one that is always facing Earth. The theory, outlined in the journal Nature, comes complete with computer-model runs showing how it might have happened, 4.4 billion years ago, as a small moon that trailed behind a much larger one got pulled in by gravity at 5,000 m.p.h.
July 31, 2011
The Amazing Story Behind the Most Audacious Heist in History By Ben Mezrich Doubleday. 308 pp. $26.95 Reviewed by Ben Tarnoff In the summer of 2002, three young NASA employees stole a quarter-pound of moon rocks and tried selling them online to a Belgian collector. He alerted the FBI, and together they orchestrated the sting that led to the robbers' arrest. The rocks were returned - lunar samples from the Apollo missions, valued in the vicinity of $20 million - and the ringleader, 25-year-old Thad Roberts, went to prison for eight years.
April 27, 2011 |
The U.S. Department of Energy has come up with a clever rhetorical way to muster support for solar energy. Dubbed the SunShot Initiative, its program has the goal of cutting the cost of solar energy by about 75 percent before 2020. The name recalls the "moon shot" speech of President John F. Kennedy in 1962. Affordable solar energy is the "moon shot of our generation," said Arun Majumdar , the agency's acting undersecretary for energy, at a solar-power conference at the Hyatt Regency Philadelphia on Tuesday.
April 7, 2011 |
A bit of a shuffle is underway in Manayunk. Saturday will be the final night for Mango Moon , the exotic Thai street-fooder that Moon Krapugthong opened in late 2008 at 4161 Main St. In the fall, Krapugthong plans to open Yanako , a Japanese-themed concept, up the street at 4410 Main St., where Mainly Shoes was. Yanako's food will be fresh and healthy with heavy (traditional) Japanese accents but served very simply/delicately, she says - "like the Japanese version of Chabaa Thai ," her other Thai restaurant, at 4371 Main St. in Manayunk.
March 31, 2011
SOME 30 years ago, you could have gotten Duncan Jones' attention by using his childhood name - Zowie Bowie. Jones is singer David Bowie's son, and while he loves his dad, he's worked hard to distance himself professionally from the family name, to make it on his own as a movie director. (David Bowie's real last name is Jones; he changed it to avoid confusion with Davy Jones of The Monkees.) So Duncan is justly proud that his gig directing Jake Gyllenhaal in "Source Code" has nothing to do with Spiders from Mars, and everything to do with "Moon.
February 27, 2011 |
I figure, if something happens once every 372 years, it's worth staying up to see. At least, that was my logic at 3:17 a.m. the night I stood at my window and peered up at the lunar eclipse. Dec. 21 was the first time a lunar eclipse occurred on the winter solstice since 1638. To take you back to eighth-grade Earth Science for a minute: The winter solstice - in December in the Northern Hemisphere, June in the Southern - is the longest night of the year, when the earth is tilted as far from the sun as possible.