Sunday, July 31, 2005

Operation Cue

August 6 will mark the 60th anniversary of the birth of the atomic age - the bombing of Hiroshima. These videos (left sidebar) from 1955 show the government's attempt to gauge the effects of a bomb on everyday American life. Among other things, they built various styles of houses - furnished and stocked them with food, appliances, and mannequins. It's bizarre and sobering.


Enceladus is cold - a moon of ice. The hi-res mosaic of 21 images from Cassini is amazing. Here is a movie of Cassini's close approach (109 miles) that's not too bad.

Enceladus is the source of Saturn's E ring.

Enceladus is only 310 miles in diameter.

Enceladus' south pole is as much as 50 degrees warmer than its equatorial region.

Enceladus is the smallest body so far found that seems to have active volcanism.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Google Moon

In honor of the first landing on the Moon (which happened 36 years ago today), Google has released Google Moon. Top Men find it hard to believe it's been 36 years.

Make sure to zoom all the way in.

For a more immersive experience, don't forget the Lunar panoramas mentioned previously by Wohba.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Stunning View of Saturn

Cassini continues to send back amazing photos from around Saturn. This one was taken last month. Click on the thumbnail for the full-res view.

The moon is Tethys. More info on the photo is here.

Pit Bull Terrier vs. Porcupine

Wohba and ouch!

Waiting for Snopes to varify this, but enjoy this photo and this photo until then.

Top Men are not sure who won the fight.

UPDATE: Snopes says this one is true. The dog (Inca) had thousands of quills removed from a May 23rd encounter with a porcupine. Her tongue was so covered she couldn't close her mouth. She survived and is on antibiotics and pain medication. No word on the fate of the porcupine.

(Thanks to Gail for the breed correction.)

Monday, July 18, 2005

Space Shuttle: Tiles

You've heard all this before about the shuttle tiles - but Top Men would like you to pay attention this time!

The white ones are the LRSI (low-temperature reusable surface insulation) and they're used where temps don't go over 1200 F. The black ones are the HRSI (high-temp... etc.) and they take care of temps up to 2300 F. They're baked in the worlds largest microwave oven.

Here's the crazy-complicated part. The bottom of the Orbiter is covered with almost 32,000 tiles. 32 thousand! Top Men would like you to get an idea of what that means by checking out this PDF file from NASA. Don't be fooled into thinking the large jagged lines are the tiles - you've got to zoom in to see them.

And did we mention that no two are alike! Oh, and they have to be placed so the gap between them is less than 0.065 inches. (That's only a few times wider than a human hair.)

(Top Men would also like to mention how much they like the term reinforced carbon-carbon. Reinforcing only one carbon would not be good enough for a space shuttle.)


Sunday, July 17, 2005

Space Shuttle: Main Engines

Just a small reminder from Top Men at Wohba of how complex the Space Shuttle is. The three Main Engines on the Shuttle combine hydrogen and oxygen (that's what's in that big orange tank) to generate about 400,000 pounds of thrust each. The temperatures can reach as high as 6,000 degrees F. (For comparison the surface of the Sun is 10,000 degrees F.)

So quick, name something you could build the nozzle of the engine with that wouldn't melt.

Nickel? 2647 F
Titanium? 3020 F
Platinum? 3222 F
Tungstun? 6170 F
Carbon? 6332 F

So carbon or tungstun are probably too close for comfort. Instead the nozzle is lined with more than a thousand 1/4 inch stainless steel tubes. Hydrogen (the second coldest element on Earth) is pumped through the tubes to cool things during launch.

Here's a video of the three main engines lighting up.


Thursday, July 07, 2005

Amazingly Ugly Dog

This photo of the winner of the "World's Ugliest Dog" title at the Sonoma-Marin Fair contest (for the third consecutive year) made Top Men say "wohba that's ugly!" But of course Sam is no monster - just an frail, old, canine companion with not many more years left in him. Here is the larger photo (but you don't really want to see it), and more details at

Tuesday, July 05, 2005


...until July 7.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Deep Impact Bullseye!

Looks like a direct hit for NASA's Deep Impact Mission. The Impactor spacecraft impacted right on target and the Flyby spacecraft took pictures of the fireworks. There should be some spectacular animation of the actual impact from the camera aboard the Impactor craft.

UPDATE: Here is the movie from Impactor.

UPDATE: Here is the movie from Flyby.

Top Men will update Wohba when more is available.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Liquid Man and Falling Girl

The Adventures of Liquid Man and Falling Girl!

Liquid Man oozes toward your cursor and Falling Girl, well... falls... forever. (Caution: It's a bit disturbing, and her clothing is on the not-much-of-it side.) If she gets stuck you can move her around with your cursor.

Hours of holiday weekend fun.