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

Monday, June 24, 2013

Time for Vacation. I Can Be Reached by Telegram. Space and Science News. The Imaginarium

A Group Shot of us from our last trip to Deadwood

Hello Troops,

We are turning off the lights and locking the doors here at the Imaginarium.   The staff and management are closing for one week for a greatly needed, decade in the waiting, VACATION.  Yes folks, The Troubadour is going silent for a week while we pack up and venture north.  I'll be going to South Dakota.  Why South Dakota?  It's where I'm from.

We are driving as far as Fort Casper, Wyoming where the paved road ends.  The Great Northern Railroad should get us to Sundance (barring any problems with the boiler).  We catch the Deadwood to Bismarck stagecoach in Sundance and roll into the Black Hills and indian country.  I'm not sure the internet has made it that far north, hence the reason for a week with no blog posts.  In case of emergency, I can be reached by telegraph.  Send a Western Union telegram to Saloon #10 on Main Street.  I know the owner.  He'll make sure I get it.  Our Deadwood home is right up from Main Street.

 Have a great week and wish us luck along the trail.

Mr. Williamson  

Space and Science News

Evacuate Earth!

"If we faced a countdown to destruction, could we build a spacecraft to take us to new and habitable worlds? Can we Evacuate Earth? NGC's one and a half hour special examines this terrifying but scientifically plausible scenario by exploring how we could unite to ensure the survival of the human race."

Plants Perform Arithmetic Calculations Throughout the Night to Ensure Their Survival

In order to keep themselves going in the absence of sunlight, plants perform division equations throughout the night to ration their stores of starch until the moment the sun reappears.
By counting their starch and dividing it by the number of hours left until morning they ensure they do not run out until the crack of dawn, and can even adjust their calculations during the night.
Read more

Why Does It Smell So Good After a Rainstorm?

Step outside after the first storm after a dry spell and it invariably hits you: the sweet, fresh, powerfully evocative smell of fresh rain.
If you’ve ever noticed this mysterious scent and wondered what’s responsible for it, you’re not alone.
Back in 1964, a pair of Australian scientists (Isabel Joy Bear and R. G. Thomas) began the scientific study of rain’s aroma in earnest with an article in Nature titled “Nature of Agrillaceous Odor.” In it, they coined the term petrichor to help explain the phenomenon, combining a pair of Greek roots: petra (stone) and ichor (the blood of gods in ancient myth).
In that study and subsequent research, they determined that one of the main causes of this distinctive smell is a blend of oils secreted by some plants during arid periods. When a rainstorm comes after a drought, compounds from the oils—which accumulate over time in dry rocks and soil—are mixed and released into the air. The duo also observed that the oils inhibit seed germination, and speculated that plants produce them to limit competition for scarce water supplies during dry times.     Read more

Alan Turing can easily be called the father of the modern world; conducting some of the first work in both computer science and the philosophy of artificial intelligence. He also aided in ending World War II by cracking the German Enigma machine. 

For more on Alan Turing:

The Imaginarium
The Ordinary, made Extraordinary by simple folks just like you and me....

Kid's Understand this

A Necessary Missionary Training Tool

A Peaceful Day in the Empire

The Worlds' Best Lemonade Stand

Someone asked me what retirement was like

A Few of you Space Center Old Timers will get this.

Heck of a place for the Bible Camp Banner

I think we know who's moving into first place

Look at the shadow.  Its all perspective. Same with Life.   

Saturday, June 22, 2013

A New Star System Discovered in Our Back Yard. New Farpoint Cadets. Former Flight Director Wins NASA Award. Snow Cone Nirvana . The Imaginarium.

Meet Our Farpoint Cadets

Our Farpoint Cadets will play a vital role in the building and operations of SpaceGuard's Farpoint Station at Kepler 62e due to open in the fall of 2014.  Over sixty outstanding young men and women have joined the program, with more applications waiting for review.

Until Farpoint Station opens, the Farpoint Cadets carry out their training at the Discovery Center and the Christa McAluiffe Center - both in Pleasant Grove, Utah.  The cadets learn technical, leadership and communication skills by working in the control rooms of the various starship simulators.  Problem solving and acting skills are emphasised in the simulators where the cadets work as assistant staff and actors.

Do you think you have what it takes to become a SpaceGuard Cadet?  Visit today and fill out an application.  Go Boldly on a learning adventure unlike any other.

Bradyn is pictured above sitting in the Phoenix's 2nd chair station for the CMSEC's Super Saturday.
Bradyn will be attending American Fork Junior High next year.  Bradyn plans on joining Farpoint's Computer Programming Department and helping with the writing of Farpoint's computer controls.

Dakota goes to American Fork Junior High.  He has his finger on the Phoenix Flight Director's keyboard.  
"What will happen if I push this button?" he's thinking.  A good cadet never pushes buttons in the simulators unless asked.  Pushing control room buttons without permission is a bad thing.  Dakota knows this.  You're wondering if he pushed the button.  You'll know if you ever see Dakota again.  

This is Michael.  Michael is an outstanding cadet seen above helping the Magellan Admiral learn his job for Saturday's CMSEC Super Saturday.  Notice how all the other cadets are enjoying the comforts of the simulator's control rooms while Michael is out working with the crew.  Michael sure knows how to impress the boss.

"There can only be one top cadet," Michael was overheard saying to one of the Magellan's staff.  "Those other chumps haven't got a chance."  :)  

This is Victor, also in the Phoenix Control Room's 2nd chair station.  Victor was a long time Space Center volunteer and now a Farpoint Cadet.  He's got a lot of experience both outside and inside the simulators.  He knows how to keep cool in a crisis. Why do you think he chose to work in the Phoenix? He knew the Magellan's air conditioner was on the fritz and, using his seniority, asked Megan if he could work in the Phoenix.

"Who's the Chump now?" Victor chuckled from the cushioned 2nd chair in the luxurious 72 degree control room.

This is Lindsey, one of our outstanding young women cadets.  Lindsey was also assigned to work the Phoenix for the Super Saturday.

"Being the early bird is one of the most important components to success," Lindsey explained when I asked her to sit down for this photo.  "I don't like to sit.  I prefer to stand.  If I'm standing, I can be the first to help someone, or do something the flight director needs done.  First in, last out - that's what its all about."

She reluctantly sat for the photo, but jumped right up after the picture was taken.

Victor is OK with Lindsey's preference for standing.  "I don't have to share this seat with her, and this is the most comfortable chair at the Space Center," he said as he leaned back to enjoy the view of buttons, keyboards, lights and switches.

Daxon and Ethan are good friends and exemplary cadets from Orem, Ut.  They don't have comfortable chairs for the Super Saturday.  

"Stools?  You have to sit on stools for five hours?" I asked.  "Where are the chairs?"

"This control room is too small for chairs," Daxon explained.  He was right.  The Galileo Control room is small, squeezed into the corner of the school's cafeteria.  "Stools are OK.  I'm not complaining."

Ethan chimed in, "The Galileo is my favorite ship so I'm OK with the stools too."

Our Three Newest Cadets

Nick is one of our three newest cadets.  He is seen here at the CMSEC's Magellan 2nd chair station.  Nick goes to Timberline Junior High.

Katie is one of two new cadets added to the cadet corps Saturday afternoon.  Katie finished her last observation and is ready to begin volunteering at both Space Centers.  Welcome to the Farpoint Cadet's Katie!

Jace also finished his last observation today at the Discovery Space Center.  Jace has been a long time fan of the Space Center and has attended many camps.  Jace is seen sitting at the controls of the Atlantis simulator at the Discovery Space Center.

Welcome Nick, Katie and Jace to the Farpoint Cadet Squadron

Quirky's Opens at the Discovery Space Center 

I stopped by the Discovery Space Center yesterday and was greeted by this new roadside sign. 
Quirky's is the newest Quirky thing added to the venues at Stone Gate Center for the Arts and the Discovery Space Center in Pleasant Grove.

How cool is it for a Space Center to have its own concession stand?  The campers and guests can satisfy their cravings anytime with a quick walk across the parking lot to Pleasant Grove's newest Sweets and Treats Palace. 

Are you looking for a cool and refreshing snow cone, soda or treat?  Do you have a buck or two burning a hole in your pocket?  Hop on your bike or get mom to take you to Quirky's .  You get a fantastic carbohydrate boost AND you get to help the good folks at the Discovery Space Center earn money to make the center bigger and better.  

Cadets, be sure to bring a little money next time you come to volunteer and treat yourself to a snow cone.  You'll be glad you did.  I sure was.  I ordered a Tiger's Blood.  The ice was chilled to perfection and perfectly shaved to slip effortlessly up the straw and into you mouth. The staff were not stingy on the juice either, something all of us who enjoy snow cones can appreciate.  The snow cones are served in a styrofoam cup.  You won't find those cheap flimsy paper cones at Quirky's.  

Troops, I'm going out on a limb and giving Quirky's five stars based solely on my delicious Tiger's Blood Snow Cone.  Give Quirky's a try.      

The Bott Family, Proud Owners and Proprietors Quirky's, Pleasant Grove's  Newest Sweet and Treat Palace.

Quirky's staff are standing by ready to serve YOU.
At Quirky's you can expect Service with a Smile.

Former Space Center Odyssey Flight Director Receives NASA's Space Technology Research Fellowship.  Congratulations Thomas! 

Four Utah graduate students have a chance to make their marks on space exploration as part of the latest class of NASA’s Space Technology Research Fellowship.
The program selected 65 students whose research shows potential for use in NASA missions."The program is about engaging academia," said program executive Claudia Meyer. "Universities have long been held up as centers of innovation in our country. The program aims to tap into that."The program has already awarded 128 grants since 2011, including to four Utah students."I’ve been working toward an award like this, trying to get into a prestigious fellowship, for 3½ years," said Thomas Hardin, a Brigham Young University student chosen to receive a grant. "It was a big goal achieved."Hardin is researching how the properties of metal change when the material is bent to make products like spoons and cars. His findings would help NASA predict how durable their machines will be in space.Hardin’s interest in space predates his grad school years. In high school, he worked with the flight simulation machine at the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center in Pleasant Grove."I honestly think that’s why NASA wanted me [for the fellowship], because of my space background," Hardin said. "My research isn’t all that space-oriented."Hardin is joined by BYU’s Ezekiel Merriam, University of Utah student Joe Brink and Utah State University’s Daniel Merkley.Grant recipients are matched with a NASA researcher who will help them with their projects. Students then conduct their research on campus and in U.S. non-profit and NASA labs.Students can be awarded up to $68,000 per year for up to four years. The money covers all the research costs such as the student’s salary and tuition.Grant money also covers perks like health insurance for the student and 10-week summer internships with NASA engineers at professional labs. The internships help students make sure they are developing technologies NASA can use.The grants provide funding specifically for students’ research, giving them the freedom to pursue their own ideas.

It's Summer.  June 21st. The Longest Day of the Year

 This full-disk image from NOAA's GOES-13 satellite was captured at 11:45 UTC (7:45 a.m. EDT) and shows the Americas on June 21, 2012," officials with NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., explained in an image description. "This date marks the start of astronomical summer in the Northern Hemisphere, making it the longest day of the year!"

An Artist Conception of the new WISE Star System.  Our Sun is in the background

Scientists have discovered the closest star system to the sun found in nearly a century.

With a dim duo of "failed stars" known as brown dwarfs at its center, the new neighbor is the third-nearest to our solar system overall, and it could be a good place to look for exoplanets, researchers say.

NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) has discovered a pair of stars that has taken over the title for the third-closest star system to the sun. The duo is the closest star system discovered since 1916.  Both stars in the new binary system are "brown dwarfs," which are stars that are too small in mass to ever become hot enough to ignite hydrogen fusion. As a result, they are very cool and dim, resembling a giant planet like Jupiter more than a bright star like the sun.  Read More

The distance to this brown dwarf pair is 6.5 light-years — so close that Earth's television transmissions from 2006 are now arriving there," Kevin Luhman, a researcher at Penn State's Center for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds, said in a statement. "It will be an excellent hunting ground for planets because it is very close to Earth, which makes it a lot easier to see any planets orbiting either of the brown dwarfs." [The Strangest Alien Planets]

The Imaginarium
Making the ordinary, extraordinary.

Give a Smile, Get a Smile.  The human way to brighten any day. 

My Parent's Bible When I Was Growing Up :)

A great addition to the bathroom light

Quality, Safety, Service ???

The view outside a hospital window

My OCD is kicking in

The Star in Pixar's new movie: Chairs

You have my attention

Hmmm, there's one doctor I won't be visiting at this clinic