Thursday, March 31, 2005

Zero Gravity "Research"

Sometimes there's a fine line between important research and fun stuff. This is not even close to the fine line. I can hear the conversation now in the hanger of the Vomit Comet - "Whadaya wanna do now? Hey! I got an idea. What about takin' some water balloons up and poppin' 'em in zero G. That'd be sweet!"

Here is more results from the "research."

Monday, March 28, 2005

Lurch the Wonder Watusi

Tinselman was kind enough to call our attention to this amazing animal - Lurch the Wonder Watusi. Lurch has very large horns - VERY large horns - like his-neck-muscles-must-be-made-of-iron size horns.

Holy cow seems somehow appropriate.

Here's another shot of Lurch with some friends.

A Prescription for Gallium

Sometimes finding amazing things involves expensive, dangerous, hands-on research by top men here at Wohba. An excellent example is our recent investigation of the rare metal gallium. With a considerable research budget at our disposal, we were able to order 30 grams of the stuff to play with analyze.

Gallium fact: This freakin' metal melts in your hand! IT MELTS IN YOUR HAND! What could be cooler that that! Its melting point is about 86°F so it's a solid at room temperature, but (did we mention this?) - it melts in your hand!

As a kid, Oliver Sacks (yes, that Oliver Sacks) used to cast spoons out of the stuff which would melt when placed into a hot cup of tea.

(The top men at Wohba have to admit that its a bit disconcerting that the toxic properties of gallium have not been comprehensively investigated - but we went ahead and let it melt in our hand anyway. We hope nobody drank Oliver Sacks' tea.)

Uncle Owen's Opportunity

Over a week with no updates of raw images from Mars. Usually there are new images daily. The conspiracy theorist in me always wonders what NASA might have stumbled on that the teaming masses are not ready to see.

And of course it always comes at some critical moment. By this past weekend the Opportunity rover should have completed its trek to Viking crater - a whole new place to explore - but we haven't got to see squat! The last image we got was a tease of tiny hills in the distance and then nothing more.

I'm sure NASA is waiting for some stupid press conference, or someone in the backroom forgot to push the publish button. But maybe, just maybe, Opportunity stumbled across a Martian moisture farm full of vaporators - and got scavanged for parts!

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Back in the Day

One more map related link and then we'll move on to other amazing things.

The thumbnail picture above (taken from a much larger image) is my best guess at where the Space Needle is in Seattle, except that it's not there yet, seein' as the picture is from 1884. (Someone from Seattle can set me straight on the location.) So the amazing part is that this Library of Congress site has high resolution scans of old maps and drawings from all over. Search for your favorite city today.

Friday, March 25, 2005


Okay, last week Wohba brought you the Earthquake map. This week it's the complete U.S. Doppler Radar map. Sometimes it's just amazing how much information we have at our overworked fingertips.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Zoom With a View

You have a civic duty to check out this incredible zoom movie. NASA went to the trouble of spending a huge hunk of your hard earned tax payer money to do this just for you! To show even more civic pride try the really large version. (84 meg)

Oh and don't forget the almost one hundred other great zoom movies that NASA did just for you.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Ring of Power

We all know how useful it can be to be able to keep track of the exact location of every man-made satellite that orbits earth. Unfortunately J-Track 3D will only show you 500 of them. At least the ISS (Space Station) is there, and Hubble, and a few of the stupid, useless Iridium satellites (sorry - bad stock experience.)

The cool thing is to zoom out and see earth's artificial ring of satellites that orbit at 22,237 miles above the equator. That's the magical distance for geostationary orbit, where the orbital speed matches the earths rotation speed - which kind of means they don't move (otherwise you'd have a heck of a time pointing that DirecTV dish.)

Friday, March 18, 2005

Alien Creatures

If someone wrote a sci-fi novel and described an alien creature that was built around a single buoyant gas-filled bone with slimy, slug-like body around it; with two really long retractable feeding tentacles with suckers on the end, and eight short arm-like protrusions, and one bird-like beak; and the ability crawl with its arms, to swim slowly by gently waving its sides, or to jet quickly by shooting water out of its mouth; and the ability to spray a nasty tasting dark brown slime; and the ability to instantly control the color and texture of almost its entire body...

I would tell them to try and think of something that was a bit more believable. Like this.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Dihydrogen Monoxide Balloon

There's just something about slow motion video - the finesse, the grace, the detail, the water balloons. Someday I'm going to get some high speed (slow motion) video of a water balloon hitting someone in the face. I'll capture the sound, too.

I don't want to cross some line of decency, but the effects of a balloon filled with Dihydrogen Monoxide hitting a face would be amazing.

( Here's more slow mo.)

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Aerial Photographs Before Airplanes

So you want to get an amazing aerial panoramic shot of San Fran, but you have a slight problem - it's 1906. It's been three years since the Wright Brothers first flight and photography from planes won't be common for another 15 years or so. Go fly a kite. Wohba, what a kite! Here's the best of the photos, and here's the site that explains it all.

Fun with Liquid Nitrogen

1001 Things To Do With Liquid Nitrogen is a great site full of harmful, dangerous, amazing, stunts with... (wait for it)... liquid nitrogen.

My favorite is the shaving cream can. Freeze it, peel away the can, and drop the solid hunk of frozen, uh... compressed pre-cream in the hot car of someone you love.

I Feel the Earth Move

Keep up to date on all your U.S. earthquake needs with this handy site. It's updated whenever there's an earthquake or every hour. World earthquake info is here.

Ice Age

Finally! Some closeups from the Casini flyby of Enceladus on the 9th - about 300 miles from the surface. What's the world coming to when you have to wait almost a week to get simple high-resolution images from a small icy moon of Saturn. I mean, come on - it only takes light about 84 minutes to make the 935 million mile trip. Let's pick up the pace NASA!

Click here for more info and images.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Lunar Vista

This may be the closest you get to being there. (Especially since you're probably satisfied to just sit on your butt and let the universe come to you via the miracle that is "the internet.") Check out how close to the edge of that crater the Lunar Module landed - looks like it's even tipping a bit.

Check out more Lunar Panoramas here.

How to Grow a Mountain

Mt. St. Helens continues to ooze. This picture shows inside the crater (that blew almost 25 years ago) with an old dome on the left and the new (and growing) dome on the right. I wonder how long before that new dome actually starts adding height back on to the mountains? (BTW - That's Mt. Rainier Adams in the distance.)

Update: Mt. Adams in the distance, not Mt. Rainier (thanks Scotty)

Monday, March 14, 2005

Robo Hawk

Oh how I wish I could get a hawk and attach video cameras and transmitters to its head. Oh sure, I'd say it was all for science or some crap like that. But we all know that it's because mixing technology and creatures in some unholy union to do our bidding is just plain fun.


Some things like the sun - like George Hamilton and corn. Top Men didn't find any amazing video of George responding to the sun, but check out this corn video.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Martian Dust Devil

Here's a first - a shot from Mars Rover Spirit of a dust devil down on the plains of Gusev. This shot came right around the time that Spirit had a miraculous cleansing - dust was blown off solar panels resulting in power levels not seen since a couple months after landing. Do you feel amazed? I thought so.

(You know we see the images from the Rovers at almost the same time that NASA's top men see them. They probably missed this.)