Contact Victor Williamson with your questions about simulator based experiential education programs for your school.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Hello Troops,
We had a good return to work yesterday. There were no turkey hangovers and the kids from Greenwood Elementary School did a fantastic job with "A Cry from the Dark". A special thanks to Kyle Herring, Gordan and Alex for a quick, expedited Phoenix chair repair over the holiday. The floor had to be pulled up and the chair welded and attached to the cement.

The December volunteering and working list is posted. That was my major accomplishment yesterday. We have a pool of fantastic volunteers living along the Wasatch Front and I'm grateful for the time and effort they put into volunteering. The volunteers are the live blood of the Center.

A couple pictures for today.

If it was only that easy

It all starts with Imagination. I've preached it my whole life and will never stop.

And Finally, My Picture of the Day. How Awesome is This!
Bet Mom wasn't too happy about it.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I've Shoveled Too Much Today. Time for a Few Laughs.

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello Troops!

The snow and cold came so fast last night I couldn't keep up with the shoveling, let alone keep track of company. No one noticed Great Uncle Wally was missing until this morning. One of these days Pleasant Grove will have a sewer system, then tragedies like this will never happen again. A sad chapter in our Williamson family history, and what a way to go. Shall we move on?

I'm at my computer. Just finished a Cloverdale Post (stop by and give it a read if you have a minute. The village is all dressed up for Christmas and waiting for shoppers.

What about this snow? I'm sick of shoveling. That's the bad thing about living across from a chapel with three wards. I need to keep the sidewalk clear so someone doesn't have a nasty Sabbath fall. Isn't there some kind of Jewish law about how many steps you can take on the Sabbath day? If so, then I it be enforced on snowy days so we can all stay home and I don't feel so obligated to be out at the crack of dawn to clear my sidewalks before the 9:00 A.M. ward meets. Blah........

How about a few items from the Imaginarium to finish this short but sweet post (yesterday's post was mammoth so I deserve a break today).

Picture 1.
Ever drive over one of these and think you'll suddenly get a burst of speed? My Mario Kart friends out there are all giving me long distant high fives for this one!

Picture 2
Now this is a washing label that finally makes sense. What the heck are all those symbols? Let's see, I'll need to do a Google search and pull up a photo of the Rosetta Stone so I can decipher the hieroglyphics. (Pause while I do my research).

OK, I've reviewed the latest research on ancient Egyptian and am ready to deliver my translation.
  • Take this garment and wash it with no more than 40 other Clothes.
  • Do not place it on a pyramid to dry because that's just stupid.
  • The garment is to be put on with one arm up and then over the head.
  • It is for People, not Animals.
  • Do not put in the dryer.
  • And be careful with the negative charge this garment will develop if you roll around on the floor. It could deliver a fatal static charge if you touch something metal.
What do you think? Not bad for someone with a South Dakota education. Right?

Picture 3

Coming up next on the evolutionary scale - Flying Sharks! So much for being at the top of the food chain. We enjoyed it while it lasted.

Picture 4

The seating chart for my family's Thanksgiving Dinner. (Click to Enlarge)

Picture 5
This from the Department of Cool Bedrooms. Talk about being born with a silver spoon in your mouth. On the other hand, these poor boys may have one of those super clean freak moms. Regardless, wouldn't the Space Center be the coolest place in the world if we had real dorms for our campers that looked like this? Somebody please make it happen. All it takes is money.

The government is printing money as fast as the trees can be cut down to make the paper, so where is my share? There must be something in one of these stimulus spending bills for a Space Education Center / Camp.

I demand a Bail Out! Wait. The Space Center is solvent so it doesn't need a bail out. We spend only what we have. Shocker isn't it? That's what's called financial responsibility.

I demand Hand Out! Yes, that's the ticket :)

Picture 5
I went to see Harry Potter over the break. Loved it. The imagination it took to write the books and make the films is a true testament to the wonders of the human mind. Now I wouldn't recommend you do this except to your own bathroom. But here's an idea that could make you a lot of money. Make a nice old fashioned wooden or metal sign with a painted hand pointing downward saying the same thing and sell it during the Christmas Season. Every Potter fan would buy one and hang it over their bathroom toilets. Do it quickly before someone else does.

And finally, for all the Harry Potter fans that work, volunteer and attend the Space Center. This last picture is for you.

Keep your imagination alive and well. Dream Big then go out and Do!

Mr. Williamson

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Dark Saturday and Photographs of Recent Awards.

Hello Troops,

The Space Center is dark today (using the Broadway definition of 'dark' as in, no programs). The staff have that rare Saturday off to enjoy time with family, friends, homework and the Sandman.

Speaking of the Sandman, its come to my attention that some of my staff and volunteers have been seeing less and less of him recently. Let me emphasis the importance of nurturing your relationship with the Sandman. Keeping his company leads to rested nights and energetic days. Shunning him leads to lapses in consciousness when you need consciousness the most, like driving, taking notes in class, and most importantly - your job! If you and the Sandman haven't been in touch then text him and arrange a reunion.

Get More Sleep before we return to the Imaginarium on Monday for the dispensing of more chills and thrills.

Staff News and Photographs

I'm going to take a few minutes of your time to update you on recently honored Staff and Volunteers.

This is Jordan. Jordan is happy. Jordan received his Year of Service Pin. I'm not really with it and must apologize to Jordan for my stammering and imbalance. This award was given on a Saturday morning after an Overnight Camp. Sleep and I are odd fellows on an overnight camp. Instead of sleep, I would say I drift in and out of mild unconsciousness during the four or five hours I'm laying on my pad.

Jordan is just happy I managed to stab his lanyard and not him.

This is Alex awarding Bronson his Phoenix Pin for Outstanding Performance in the Art of Secondary Flight Directing and Bridge Supervision. This highly sought after award - available only by that name in the Phoenix - was earned after several attempts and several failures, something everyone who has earned a Phoenix Pin will testify to.

Alex is not easily pleased and dispenses smiles of gratitude and praise rarely. You'll see in the photograph above, Alex is still debating whether or not to pair the award with a smile of appreciation. I couldn't wait for the outcome and snapped the photograph anyway. Sorry Bronson - its the best I could do. Anyway, Congratulations on wrestling the pin from Alex's cold, clammy grip.

Well Well Well, here we see someone that not only received her Phoenix Pin but an Appreciative Smile from Alex as well. Her name is Erin. From this point on she will be known as Blessed Erin, the first step to Sainthood.

To become a Saint one must perform several confirmed miracles. This is Erin's first. Erin healed the paralysis that has afflicted Alex's facial muscles the moment her hand touched his. This caused an immediate contraction of both cheek muscles, resulting in a recognisable smile.

A few hours after this photograph was taken, I emailed a copy to Rome for the Vatican's stamp of approval. I'm pleased to report to Erin, and the rest of the Space Center family, that this miracle has been confirmed by the Holy See and a file on Erin has been created.

Don't start calling her Saint Erin yet - Blessed will do fine. Good Luck Erin, we're pulling for you.

Ben was impressed with Nathan's strong grip after awarding his Galileo Pin during our after camp meetings a few Saturday's back. Ben pays attention to a person's grip, believing a firm grip is an indication of strength in personality and a commitment to work. Nathan, wanting to get ahead at the Center by impressing the Flight Directors, spent the last few months building up his hand strength at Orem's Nickel Emporium.

On any given afternoon, you'll find Nathan dropping quarter after quarter into the Grip O Meter The Grip O Meter is a game housed in a wooden cabinet that tests a players strength of grasp by having the player grip the metal pincher's and squeeze them with everything he's got. A moment later, little red lights light up telling you what kind of a man you are based on your strength. In a matter of a few short weeks, and having spent much of his life savings, Nathan went from "Wimp on the Beach" to "Olympian". He knew he was in Ben's league when he offered his hand to his gym teacher and sent him to his knees in pain.

Colton McKay is seen in this photograph receiving his Voyager Pin. I was pleased to present the award. Colton is a high school intern and has been doing a great job in the Voyager running Second Chair and Bridge. Of course, Colton has a long way to go before his lanyard is as impressive as mine. You'll notice my sparkles in pins. Notice Colton has one, perhaps two by now. You'll see how please I look after reminding Colton of that fact.
"Notice how many pins I have and how few you have," I whispered as I leaned in to pin the pin on his lanyard. "Maybe one day Colton - but awesomeness, using me as your standard, is nearly impossible to reach, especially for mere mortals like yourself."

I must say the look on Colton's face is disturbing. He seems to be scheming. Perhaps I should remember the old adage "Uneasy is the head that wears the crown".


Connor scares me. He keeps earning pin after pin and is becoming a regular on these Space Center news updates. You see how my confidence seems to be wavering while his only strengthens. Good work Connor!

This is Natalie. Natalie earned her Year's Service Pin. Natalie is someone who is true, honest and easy going. She works well with everybody. With the exception of working with her brother, Natalie is happy and willing to jump right in where ever needed. Now don't get me wrong. Alex and Natalie can work well together, but I prefer to keep them separated if at all possible. It's just that when they work together Alex drops into his 'Big Brother' roll and is more liberal with his correcting. The Phoenix control room is right next to the Space Center's door so anyone walking by can hear what's being said. I can't afford a misunderstanding if this brother sister working combination deteriorates into anything resembling the 'disagreements' I use to get into with my sisters.

Experience tells me its best to keep siblings apart.

Here we are celebrating Jon and Zac's birthdays. Zac didn't wait for me to finish lighting the candles. You'll see he went right ahead and blew them out as soon as they were lit, leaving Jon standing there looking stupid. Zac later told me he was afraid Jon might get more birthday wishes than him. In reality, I think Zac was upset that someone had referred to him as a girl in one of the post camp surveys read in our after camp meeting. I read the comment out loud, giving everyone a good laugh. Zac's face was beet red. Afterwords I put salt in his wound by publicly reminding him to get a hair cut.

"No one laughs at me and gets away with it," he was overheard mumbling after the singing of "Happy Birthday to You".

We noticed an entire pan of cupcakes disappeared seconds after the lights in Discovery mysteriously went out after the singing. Later that afternoon, Zac was seen walking strangely to his car. It looked like he was hiding something under his jacket.

Zac doesn't like cupcakes, so the disappearance of the cupcakes was his way of reminding us of something he always says, "This Hershey ain't no sweet chocolate. I'm bitter baby, bitter."
Sorry Zac, we will remember that next time.

Jon Parker is demonstrating his new skill to the staff and volunteers during an after camp meeting. Jon was so inspired by the last Karate Kid movie that he now spends up to thirty minutes a day in his bedroom kicking. He's going for height. So far he has managed to tear the inside seam of three pairs of his work pants and made two trips to the InstaCare for pulled hamstrings. His ultimate goal is to kick the bell he has mounted above his bedroom doorway.

If you really want to get on Jon's good side, just refer to him as the "K-Kid". That's a good as it gets for Jon. He is such a special boy, that Jon of ours.

Scott is warning Christine to be gentle as she inserts the Odyssey pin into his Lanyard at the end of a recent Overnight Camp. Christine is dangerous without her glasses. She has stabbed so many volunteers over the last few months that we keep a supply of tetanus shots in the Voyager refrigerator to save our volunteers from unnecessary trips to the InstaCare in Orem.

This is Jake. Jon awarded Jake his Voyager pin in a recent after camp meeting. Jake thanked Jon just before the picture was taken.

"Thanks K-Kid," Jake said.

The room erupted with applause because Jon is one of our special staff and loved by everyone. Jon was moved to the point of tears for the kindness shown and gave Jake an extra warm and hearty handshake.

Thanks Jake for helping us continue to build and strengthen Jon's self esteem. What a nice kid our 'K-Kid' is.

Well, this pin took forever to award and I must thank Zach for his patience. We asked K-Kid to award another Phoenix pin. Jon took the pin, jumped up on a table and shouted, "This is the Starship Enterprise and there is a Klingon," he said pointed to Zach. The room went quiet.

"Did he get his meds," Emily mouthed to me from the back of the room. I shrugged my shoulders.

Jon shouted "Red Alert" and jumped from table to table holding the Voyager Pin overhead pretending it was a starship. He dodged the imaginary photon torpedoes and phasers fired by the Klingon (Zach). A minute or two later, Jon rushed up to Zach and fired the Pin's main batteries directly into Zach's lanyard, thus ending the battle. I motioned to Zach to fall to the floor showing the pin's violent attaching was enough to kill him and thus neutralize the Klingon threat. Jon was pleased, did his kick, and returned to his seat.

If any of you wondered where our Orion Pirates come from then here is your answer. We keep several of them on hand in the school's lowest basement, locked up and on a moment's call to run up the stairs and into the Space Center to attack the younglings. Here you see three of them waiting for the call. They've been on duty for several months now. They pass the time with cards, sleeping and unreliable conversation.

I startled them from sleep for feeding time. Raw steaks and pealed potatoes were on the menu for the night. We feed them once a day to keep them healthy but are careful not to overfeed. An overfed Orion Pirate is useless in the taking of the Voyager's bridge. They loose their edge.

The best pirate is a partially starved pirate. If they take the bridge quickly they get an extra helpings of beef fat along with their steaks. Notice we also keep them unarmed until its time to send them into action. The last time we let them keep their weapons they used them for target practice on the rats that live in the deep dark corners of the basement. The blasts set off the school's fire alarm. Not good at all. Their rations were cut that evening as punishment.

Several teachers unfamiliar with the Space Center's staff reported seeing a mysterious person lurking near the school a few weeks ago. I recognized him the moment I saw the security camera footage.
"That's Jan," I said to the principal.
"Who's Jan?" she asked.
"Why that's Jon's twin brother," I replied. She laughed. Apparently the name touched her funny bone.
"Don't laugh," I said. "Jan is a proper boys name in the Netherlands."
"Oh," she replied. "Then that's OK."

Let me introduce Jan to everyone out there that doesn't already know him. And remember not to laugh at his name. As I said to Dr. Carter, Jan is a proper boy's name in the Netherlands.

This two pictures are test camera shots taken three weeks ago of a new proposed Space Center villian written to take the place of Mad Dog, leader of the Orion Pirates. While Mad Dog still has mileage, it has been mentioned that the character is a bit stale. Let's face it, Mad Dog doesn't illiscit the fear he once did in the hearts of our younger campers.

"Kids these days are desensitized to my Mad Dog character because of the really bad dudes they see in the movies. I mean, how can Mad Dog compete with the Joker from the last Batman movie?" Bill Schuler asked in a conversation we had a month ago over a lunch of sour cream and chive baked potatoes at the Pleasant Grove Wendys.

Our proposed new character is called 'The Sheik". His starship resembles a Persian Carpet. He smells of camel dung and is surrounded by a Harem of beautiful women trained in all forms of martial arts.

Are we worried this new character may be insulting to Islam? Yes, to a degree. Emily and Skyler both pointed out that Fatwahs have been issued for offenses far less insulting to Islam than "The Sheik". So, I've decided to put the character on hold for the time being. I'll let you know of developments.

This is Connor. Conner is receiving his Year Pin (I believe). Connor is an all around great kid and is as trustworthy as a winter day is long. If he walked up to me and said, "Mr. Williamson, I need my ten year pin," I'd believe him (which makes we wonder what exactly it is I'm pinning on his lanyard).

Come on Matt. Its only a Galileo Pin. Why so happy? Why the hugh smile? Oh, perhaps its not the pin............ Let's move on.

Look at Rachel's affect on the Space Center's young men. Ryker was awarded a pin AND overcame his fear of girl's germs (although he still keeps a respectable distance and was sure to use plenty of Purell after the handshake).

My thanks to everyone at the Space Center. And, although I take great liberties in my descriptions of photographs, I want everyone to know how much I appreciate their time and efforts at making the Space Center one of the world's happiest places.

See you all in the trenches on Monday,

Mr. Williamson

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Blizzard that Wasn't. An Embarrassment

I did everything I thought I should do. I watched the weather reports on TV. I read the weather forecasts in two different Utah newspapers. The signs were clear. Northern Utah was going to be hit with a major winter storm. They called it a blizzard - a storm of epic proportions with 60 mph winds and snow. I heard some say the highways would be impassible. So, taking all that into account, and thinking of the best interests of our customers, staff and volunteer, I made the decision to close the Space Center for all private missions Tuesday and Wednesday.

I rushed home after school Tuesday and jumped in the Battlestar to pick up a few needed supplies from Lindon’s WalMart. What a madhouse! I joined hundreds of other shoppers in a frenzied game of shopping cart bumper cars. Each of us feared we would be caught on the roads if we didn't get in and out of the store as quickly as possible. I had a vision of being trapped near the Purple Turtle, stuck in a mammoth snow drift on State Street away from home and family. In my vision I saw the angel of death swirling overhead, its face that of a skull, made of swirling snow caught in gale force winds.

I finished my shopping list and rolled my cart toward the front of the store to check out. The check out stands came into view as I rounded a rack of ladies intimate apparel. Long lines of desperate shoppers stood waiting, each was shifting his or her weight from foot to foot to keep their blood circulating. A saw hopelessness in their gaunt expressions. Many had a wild trapped look about them. They darted their heads back and forth and back and forth looking for a queue with a faster moving line.

Two full shopping carts were left abandoned by their owners near the jewelry department. I'm assuming their owners had given up on the lines and left the store. I knew why. They feared the blizzard would catch them in a Walmart line, unable to be with their loved ones with it struck. I understood. Don't we all want to end life’s journey with family and friends? Who wouldn’t want to be held tightly in a warm embrace and smothered in kisses as the roof collapses above you, burying you and yours in an avalanche of white, carrying you together into eternity?

I stood confused, not able to process my next move. Then it became clear. There, partially hidden by the long lines and magazine racks, was one check out register marked 20 items or less with a short line. I knew I had more than 20 items, but desperate times called for desperate measures. I made my moved and rolled past several others that didn’t see the open checkout.

“Suckers,” I thought to myself with a true sense of satisfaction.

I parked my cart behind an older gentleman purchasing a magazine and flashlight. Other saw what I had done and followed my lead, lining up behind me. I put my 20+ items on the moving counter knowing I had broken the sacred Shopper's Compact. I heard growling laced with mumbling. I felt my fellow shopper's cold penetrating stares. They knew that I knew I had more than 20 items. They knew that I knew I was breaking the Compact. I could read their thoughts.

I’ve always been honest. I’ve always followed the Compact. But today was different, with the storm bearing down upon us it was every man for himself. The very fabric of society was beginning to break apart right there in the Lindon WalMart - and I was a part of it. All it would take was one spark to rip the last vestige of humanity from us, sending us back thousands of years on the evolutionary scale to mere beasts, scavenging through the forest for a carcase to chew on.

The cashier ignored my indiscretion and rang me up. I couldn’t swipe my credit card and sign my name fast enough. I had to get out, away from those people.

I looked up a the sky as I emerged from the store. It was cloudy but still no snow or wind. Cars were coming and going around me. Shopping carts were abandoned everywhere. People were in a hurry. The ship was heading for the iceberg and we knew how this story could end. I put my provisions into the trunk and turned for the car door.

That's when I heard a thump. A woman had just backed into a parked car opposite the sidewalk from where I was parked. She drove forward a few feet, stopped and pulled into another parking place.

“She’s going to do the honorable thing,” I through to myself. She got out of her car and walked over to inspect the damage she’d caused. She stood there for thirty seconds or so then jumped back into her car and sped off.

I thought about following her and getting her licenses plate number, but in the end I didn't. I convinced myself it was none of my business. The Battlestar had rear wheel drive and was worthless in snow. I was in a hurry and didn't do the honorable thing. Am I ashamed of myself now? Yes but ........ there is always a "Yes But". I'll leave it at that.

I got home, put the groceries away and walked out onto my deck overlooking the valley and lake.
“Bring it on,” I said to the sky overhead. “I’m ready for you. I’m from South Dakota and understand you all too well. I know your moods. I know how you work. This is one house prepared for a long siege.”

Blizzards are as common in South Dakota as lime jello at a Utah social. I remember snow so deep we couldn’t open our screen doors to get outside. I remember cold so bitter your words froze, crackled and fell to the ground before the listener could hear them. A Utah blizzard would be laughable to someone with my history - yet, I knew to be cautious. Old man winter had a way of surprising you when you least expect it.


Its Thanksgiving Day. The predicted blizzard bypassed Utah county. We got jack squat. I feel I’ve been played and am not happy. I closed the Center for nothing. I sacrificed my integrity at Walmart for nothing. What's worse, I LEFT WORK EARLY! That's embarrassing and shameful. Leaving work early is disgraceful for a proud Workaholic like myself.

And so, I apologize to my family, friends and coworkers for showing human weakness. I vow it won’t happen again. The Space Center will stay open no matter what. Our lights will burn through fire, flood, famine, tornado, earthquake, blizzard, drought, and pestilence.

And in the words of my hero, Winston Churchill

We shall go on to the end.......
we shall fight on the seas and oceans,
we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be,
we shall fight on the beaches,
we shall fight on the landing grounds,
we shall fight in the fields and in the streets,
we shall fight in the hills;
we shall never surrender.

Mr. Williamson

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Blizzard Warning. Missions Canceled.

Hello Troops,
I've been watching the weather closely and decided to cancel all after school missions today. There is a blizzard warning in effect for late this afternoon and evening into tomorrow. I've been in enough blizzards to know where to be when they strike - home in front of a fire and a good video.

Best to stay home, stay warm and enjoy the snow.

Mr. Williamson

Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday, the Short Week!

Hello Troops,
It's Monday. Its a short week with good eats at the caboose. How about a few thoughts to start the week off right?

Back Then and Today.
Get it?

OK, this is what we do with all those Little Caesar's boxes the staff accumulate
during the course of an Overnight Camp. We create a new alien race - the L'Samarcaesarians.

Who are they and What are They Doing Here?
The Space Center, Home for a wide variety of Juvenile Delinquent's :)
Fancy meeting one of them in a darkened Central School Hallway?

And my last Comment.
Common Sense. So rare these days It's become a Super Power!
Do I hear a few Amen's on this from the Peanut Gallery?

Mr. W.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Music and the Space Center

Hello Troops,
I get to work with scores of staff and volunteers as the Director of the Space Center. Each one is unique in his or her own way, but there are similarities - such as a common love of music.

Those of you familiar with a Space Center mission know it is an interactive play complete with lights, sound, the spoken word and music - lots of music. In fact, music plays almost nonstop in some form or another from the first word of the mission story to the last triumphant celebration or mournful death.

Our obsession with music, and the roll it plays in our missions, stays with us even when we aren't at the Center working a flight. For example, every time I go to a movie, I follow the story and listen intently to the sound track. I'm searching for that next great melody I'd like to use in a mission to convey a feeling or celebrate a victory or loss.

You'll often find the staff discussing music whenever they get together. They share awesome pieces with each other. You'll hear debates on what's good and what isn't and what works and what doesn't. In fact, one can't become a Flight Director without his or her own library of music. Part of their training includes demonstrating they know the correct use of music in flight to transform a room of computers into the bridge of a starship set 300 years in the future.

I'm pleased to see that most of my older staff have quite a good palette when it comes to music. I've heard them use everything from show tunes to classical to Hindu music in their missions (although I've yet to hear anyone use Country music in a mission but that's not to say it won't happen). I'm hoping our younger staff learn from the older and broaden their appreciation of music and the role it plays in our lives and in good storytelling.

I see snow falling on the valley below as I look out my living room window. It reminds me that Christmas is approaching and I'm OK with that. I don't like the snow but who doesn't like Christmas? One of my favorite things about the holiday is its music. Christmas carols, in all their variety, carry some of the best tunes written. They are songs we enjoy singing year after year.

To celebrate this time of year (even though its a bit early) I'd like to broaden the musical experience of my younger staff and volunteers by introducing them to some of my favorite music of the holiday season. This is the kind of music they normally wouldn't listen to, but in my never ending quest to urge them to broaden their choices along the FM dial, I'm going to present a few of them here on the blog in hopes they'll listen and say "That was good. I'd like to hear more."

Today I start with Bach. His Christmas Oratorio is one of my favorites. It was first preformed in Germany during the Christmas season of 1734. Then dismissed until resurrected again in 1834.

And now, Jauchzet Frohlocket - the opening piece of Bach's Christmas Oratorio - sung by the St. Thomas Church Choir of Leipzig, Germany. I chose this rendition of the piece because St. Thomas was Bach's home church and the church where the piece was originally performed in 1734. Bach was the church's choirmaster and sang in the choir as a boy.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Progress in Wars Against Comets

Comet Jets in action.

By Mark Daymont
Space Center Educator
From his Blog: Spacerubble

Congratulations to our scientists who study comets and asteroids. JPL EPOXI mission controllers managed to fly the spacecraft to within 800 miles of Comet Hartley 2 to get some of the best pictures yet of a comet in action, The picture above shows streaming jets of dust and gas coming off of the surface. This time scientists were able to pinpoint jets to particular surface features, something we haven't been able to do before. All I could think of as I saw the pictures come in was, "SO that's what a comet does!" The comet tumbles as it orbits around the sun, the surface warms up and begins spewing jets of stuff out into space, forming a cloud of tiny debris which is blown away from the comet itself by the action of the solar wind. Much later, as Earth moves in its own orbit around the Sun, it encounters remnants of this debris release, and the particles end up entering our atmosphere at extreme speeds, creating our meteor showers.

Japanese scientists made a breakthrough with the Hayabusa satellite, which captured some of the debris left behind either by comets or shattered asteroids floating in the inner solar system.

Asteroid bits captured in gel.

The Hayabusa spacecraft spent two and a half months flying around the astroid Itokawa in 2005. It captured buts of the asteroid floating around it, and made a return course back to Earth. The sample capsule plunged into the Earth's atmosphere and was retrieved. Scientists are now studying the particles to learn the composition of the asteroid.

Celebrations here in the Bunker. Our close reconnaissance of Comet Hartley 2 gives us unprecedented views of the enemy in action. We can actually see in the photos how the rock bomber releases its micro weapons into an orbit which the enemy hopes intercepts the Earth. Such tactical information may be of great use to us as we plan counter-operations.

Kudos to the Japanese who have actually obtained unexploded asteroid ordinance for us to examine. Scientists will use these pieces to begin unravelling the mystery of these enemy weapons which could cause untold devastation if they should happen to smack into our planet.

It's advances like these that keep our hope alive that we may yet find a way to protect ourselves from deadly attacks from the Comet Empire.

I've a Bone to Pick with Harry Potter

"Read All About It, Potter Fans Bring American Industry and Schools to a Halt. Millions Lost in Poor Productivity. Magicians Nationwide Fear Backlash"

Hello Troops,
It has come to my attention that several, and I mean several, volunteers and staff of the Space Center stayed up until the wee early hours of this morning in a darkened theater watching the latest installment of Harry Potter and Gang.

The consequences are obvious. They will arrive at school and work is a semi conscious state and stumble their way through the day. This will make for a very unhappy bossman who will not hesitate to muster my muggle powers of speech to keep you alert and on task.

So, a warning to my Potthead staff. We will be watching you....... Stay on the ball......

And, on a lighter note to try to bring some cheer to this threatening post, how about a bit of fun from Friday's Imaginarium:

Check Mate. Gruesome, but necessary.

The Cloud Factory
From our series of "Where do Things Come From".

And from our Series of "Thinking Out of the Box"
The Imaginarium's Traffic Signals

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Starting Thursday Right at the Imaginarium

And now the answer to the question that has haunted you your whole life. Where do Gummy Bears Come From?

Gummy Bears live in Broccoli Trees found only in the wilds of Wonderland's Dark Forest. They are captured by net, jelled, packaged and delivered to your favorite convenience or grocery store for your enjoyment.

Drats, The Imaginarium's "Imagine That" (our equivalent of your Walkers or 7-11) Hyper Slushey Machine is down and I don't have time Yesterday to pick one up. I'll have to make do with a Diet Coke.

OK, this is what I call the coolest bedroom I've ever seen. This is Imagination at its finest. What do you think!?

Have a Great Day,
Mr. W.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

To Start the Day Amused.

Hello Troops,
I'm looking out the window at the brightening sky. Walking shoes on. Jacket on my back. Ipod at the ready and headphones snug.
the door opens....... I step into the day with fingers crossed that Fortuna has found something curious to play with elsewhere.

Shall we start the day Amused?

See you in the Trenches.
Mr. W.