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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Teaching at Renaissance. The Staff Wanted to Remove Me from My Head, A Post from the Past. Space News. The Imaginarium

Hello Troops,
I met with the director of Renaissance Academy yesterday and discussed several issues regarding the Farpoint project.   We discussed my teaching assignment at the school and the time commitment required to run a classroom and create the simulator / STEM curriculum.  The last time I taught full time and started a Space Center was way back in 1989/90 when the originial Space Center was built at Central School.  That was a rough year both mentally and physically; I was burning the candle at both ends.  This time around should be better; I've got plenty of help from a talented board of directors and the support from the old Space Center staff and volunteers.

Have you thought about attending school at Renaissance?  It is a kindergarten - ninth grade charter school.  Imagine being a student at a Space Center school.  Imagine going into the simulators for missions lasting months instead of hours.  Imagine taking the mission back into your classroom and working through the issues and problems with your teachers.  Imagine attending junior high at a school with a small student body, where you can get one on one attention.  Renaissance Academy is putting students on its waiting list right now.  So, if you're not happy at your present school, consider making a change. Who knows, maybe we can fill the school with fantastic Space Center fans.  Perhaps you'll end up in my classroom.  Wait a minute, that may be a reason NOT to go to Renaissance  :)

What does The Troubadour have for you today?
  • A Post from the old Troubadour.  The Staff Strike Back!
  • Space and Science News
  • The Imaginarium
Let's get to reading.....

An Old Post from the Original Troubadour
Back Story:  This story sprang from my imaginationWriting it was my way of diffusing a nasty situation that had developed at the Space Center between the staff and myself.  The Phoenix needed new computer controls.  The Phoenix Staff (Megan Warner, Dave Daymont, Alex Anderson) were pushing for new controls.  I ignored their wishes and made the decision to use the Odyssey's controls instead.  I made the decision without consulting them.  I was definitely in the dog house.  I faced a staff rebellion.  OK, perhaps rebellion is a bit dramatic; let's go with an obvious cold shoulder and many many heated discussions.   
The Troubadour.   September 7, 2007
It was rather chilly at the Space Center. The temperature at my desk was a good ten degrees lower than the rest of the room.    It wasn’t an atmospheric abnormality that caused the difference but rather a human generated Arctic breeze, like a cold front from Canada, powered by the bitter looks and icy purpose from many of the staff pushed in my direction by the toss of a head or the glance of an eye half covered with a dropped eyebrow. Accompanying the evil eye was a wrinkled nose associated with a putrid smell.
Lately I’ve been afraid to leave the safety of my extended desk. It was my fortress of solitude. I sat at my chair wearing my winter coat and double stitched long johns.    I watched for a drop in foot traffic, hoping to make a dash for the toilet or quench my thirst with an icy Diet Coke from the faculty room.
Friday afternoon I saw a chance to escape; it happened before the overnight camp. I quietly moved from behind my desk toward the door. I took all precautions before making my move. I looked both directions - the coast was clear. I got down on all fours and put my ear to the carpet, listening for approaching footfalls. I heard nothing but found a quarter and two M&M’s.  I stood up, reached for the “Enforcer” (a baseball bat) and walked to the edge of the desk . I licked my finger and held it over my head to detect searching for an approaching cold front.  Feeling nothing, I made my move. I speed around the desk and sprinted for the Briefing Room Door. I rounded the Phoenix simulator's corner and stopped dead in my tracks.  The air air was so cold my breath was visible.  In the doorway stood Megan and Alex.  Behind them stood Dave, Stacy, Matt, and what appeared to be a mob of smaller humans, all wearing black Space Center t-shirts.
“Going somewhere?” Megan asked with an insincere smile. I took two steps backward, then stopped when I felt a chill from behind, indicating my escape was blocked by a human glacier.
“Get Him,” she shouted. Alex moved quickly, diving forward and taking me down with a thud. The back of my head hit the carpeted floor, dislodging several of my senses “Bring Him,” was the next thing I heard in a dazed trauma. I was half carried - half pushed down the hall to Discovery.
“Put him in the docket,” I heard Dave say. My head was clearing. I was able to make out my surroundings. It was the Discovery Room - but different. I was led to a roped off area. At the front of the room I saw a large statue of a blindfolded woman holding the Scales of Justice in her outstretched hand and a sword pointed in my direction in the other.  Along the far wall, half obscured in darkness, sat a jury of twelve staff and volunteers.  I was placed in the defendant's box guarded by two armed members of the Programming Guild. I heard mumbling.   Mr. Daymont emerged from the darkness wearing black legal robes. The white wig of an English Barrister rested awkwardly on his head. I leaned forward to tell him to take the stupid thing off but was cut off when he placed a finger to his mouth, motioning that I should remain quiet.
“I’m your defense attorney,” he whispered. 
“Nice wig,” I replied, forgetting his admonition to stay quiet. 
“Get Serious,” he said while looking sternly around the room trying to find a
sympathetic face. “You are in a lot of trouble, and I don’t think I can get you out of it. Luckily my brother is one of the judges.”
“Its about the new Odyssey controls being installed in the Phoenix, isn’t it,” I asked, already knowing the answer to my question.  He looked at me like I was stupid and nodded his head. “I knew I should of consulted the Phoenix staff and others but ...”  He stopped me from continuing.
“That ‘but’ you were about to add will be your defense, and possibly save you from Madam Guillotine."  He moved from my cage, took two steps forward, and sat at the defense table. I peered across the dimly lit room, trying to recognize the prosecutor. A lamp turned on; it was Megan Warner. Her table was covered by Space Center law books, legal pads and pens.  Only then did I realized my decision to replace the Phoenix Controls with Odyssey Controls had upset so many people. Mr. Mark Daymont sat alone at my defense table, pouring over copious notes while shaking his head in disbelief. I heard a hissing sound as he took in air through clenched teeth.
The room grew quiet. The hour had arrived. Deep in my heart I felt I had made the right decision but executed it poorly. Now it was time to pay the piper. Would the staff let me keep my head Coming from the windows came sound of wood sliding across wood, followed by the sound of a loud CHOP. The ‘Madam’ was being prepared. A few minutes later, two of our newer volunteers entered the room carrying platters of watermelon, freshly cut on the Guillotine outside. Dave Daymont nodded his head, giving them permission to distribute the fruit to the spectators.  Mark Daymont’s head dropped to the table amidst the sound of slurping.  He was admitting defeated before the trial began.
“This is good. Look very few seeds,” Kyle Herring said as he studied his slice. There were a few grunts of agreement from those around him.
“Sometimes the best of intentions can go wrong,” I thought. I leaned back in my seat thinking what I would say in my defense. My thought was interrupted by the sound of the gavel. Everyone sat up and faced he front. The trial of the century was about to start......
Space and Science News

New Detailed Photos of the Star Betelgeuse in the Orion Constellation.

Come on Betelgeuse:  Supernova already.....

Astronomers have released a new image of the outer atmosphere of Betelgeuse -- one of the nearest red supergiants to Earth -- revealing the detailed structure of the matter being thrown off the star.

... Betelgeuse is easily visible to the unaided eye as the bright, red star on the shoulder of Orion the Hunter. The star itself is huge -- 1,000 times larger than our Sun -- but at a distance of about 650 light years it still appears as a tiny dot in the sky, so special techniques combining telescopes in arrays are required to see details of the star and the region around it.  Read More
 The Effects of Space Travel on the Body

Smart Skin for Robots

Nanoscientists have developed an array capable of sensing touch with the same sensitivity as a human fingertip. The technology could be used to create smart skin for robots.
The arrays use around 8,000 touch-sensitive transistors known as 'taxels' which are capable of generating piezoelectric signals independently of one another -- that means when the taxels are put under mechanical stress they emit electricity.  Read More

Astronomy Picture of the Day

This gorgeous spiral galaxy, known as the Bubble Galaxy, is located more than 35 million light-years from Earth, in the direction of the constellation of Leo. Practically a hop and a skip away (in cosmological terms!) The galaxy, known formally designated 'NGC 3521,' is one of the more brightly lit objects seen in our night sky.
One of the more interesting aspects of NGC 3521, is the bubble-like apparition that surrounds the core of the galaxy. This shell was likely created after a series of mergers took place between the primary galaxy and several smaller satellite galaxies, leaving behind a stream of stellar material in a tidal tail, which in turn, has encased the galaxy
The pinkish region near the galactic center is home to several clusters of stars, whose formation sparked after the mergers took place, igniting a star-burst phase, giving birth to a plethora of hot, high-mass blue-white stars. 

The Imaginarium.
Sit back and enjoy the imaginative work of others, then go and make the ordinary, extraordinary.

Imagination in design

The room was designed by Hobus Homes. You can see more images of the room (and several other ones that are just as cool) here:
A Sad Story Indeed

Bake at 120 degrees

We've all been there.

Just because its creative and no one has done it before doesn't mean it should be done.
Use your brain

Is this on purpose? 

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