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Monday, July 15, 2013

The Myth of Average. A Farpoint Cadet's Story. Space and Science News. The Imaginarium




Hello Troops,
     I once had a student who considered himself average at most things.  And because he was average at most things, he considered himself an average person.  One day we got into a discussion about the word 'average' at my desk.  I told him about our very average star, the one Earth orbits every year.  Our star is nothing special as far as stars go.  You've seen one star like our sun, you've seen a zillion.  Our sun wouldn't even be listed as a place of interest on an alien's Guide to the Milky Way Galaxy.  
     "And your point is?" my student questioned.  
     I explained that BECAUSE our sun is an average, run of the mill star, the conditions were perfect for our planet to develop and support life, and as far as we know, intelligent life may be the rarest of things in our universe.  Our sun's crowning glory was the development of life on one of its eight planets.  Therefore, it has the universe's best bragging rights.   It is the little star that could and did!  
     "Well, that means our sun isn't average then, if planets like Earth are so rare," he thoughtfully replied to my logic.
     "Precisely," I answered.  "Just one thing made our average sun, extraordinary and unique."
     "I get what you're saying.  I say I'm just an average kid, and you're saying that there is something about me that makes me above average."  
     "Yes, that's what I'm saying."
     He looked puzzled.  "Then what is it?"
     "One day you're going to discovery something you are passionate about.  Maybe not this year or next, but one day it will come.  That one thing can make you exceptional if you learn to use it to better yourself and those around you."
     After that day my student was kinder to himself.  Find the things you're passionate about and pursue them.  It is how we make our lives extraordinary.  We use our talents and abilities to better our lives, and the lives of those we care about.   

Farpoint Cadet Nolan W's Story From the Simulators

     It was your average 2.5 hour mission until in mid sentence Jackie said, "the crew has an 18 month child napping in his mother's arms, and there is a little girl.  I can just tell she is going to cry as soon as we go red alert". 
     At first I did not believe her and was not worried until, to my disbelief, a mother holding a small boy walked up to the counter intelligence station in front of me.  She sat down.  The small child curled up his tiny hands and banged viciously on the desk and keyboard. I silently wept for the keyboards that were to be lost on this mission. It didn't help that two other mothers were in the same situation. 
     I left in sadness for whoever would be doing bridge. Andrew told us volunteers to set up a bomb landing part to make the little kids happy. It was like any other bomb away team. The first round was like any other. Then we decided to ease it up a bit. I hid by the chairs and planned on standing up and getting shot. After a few seconds all the other volunteers were shot.  I panicked because the only person doing anything was the eight year old security guard who was the whole reason we did a bomb away team. He started to look around for any other intruders. The young security guard was approaching the desk at the front to double check that he got everyone. He turned around. He made eye contact with me wondering if I was an intruder or just another odd thing in discovery. I was confused.  I couldn't just sit there like a fool for the rest of the bomb scene. I slowly raised the phaser, my finger jerked back  and I fired.  The boy was confused. The bridge officer heard a phaser go off in the room but wasn't sure where it was coming from. It was too dark for her to see me so I fired it again.  She finally saw me and called the boy down. The kid was on a roll and I hated to end it. I felt terrible so I basically just stood up and got shot. 

Nolan W.

(Thanks Nolan for taking one for the team so the little boy could have his moment of glory)

Space and Science News.

Hubble Finds New Moon Orbiting Neptune


In 1989, the Voyager 2 spacecraft was carrying out a survey of Neptune's moons and rings but inexplicably zipped by the planet without registering what would turn out to be truly big news. That finding would have to wait until earlier this month when Mark Showalter, an astronomer at the SETI Institute, was working with images sent back by the Hubble Space Telescope, when he discovered the presence of the smallest moon in the Neptunian system.  Read More



18 Great Careers College Kids Know Very Little About
A grim job market and crushing student debt have many people second guessing their higher education decisions. Nearly half of recent grads regret choosing their school or major.  
recent Reddit thread asked for some great careers that college kids have no idea even exist.
Here are some of the best potential alternatives to spending four years on a degree and racking up student loans, or potential alternative paths to people who graduate and find themselves working in retail.  Read More  






The 16-year-old student from Istanbul spent two years perfecting a way to make a bioplastic out of discarded banana peels that could, in turn, be used for the electrical insulation of cables.
On Thursday, her efforts paid off when Scientific American named her the winner of its $50,000 Science in Action prize, a stepping stone to the Google Science Fair for young inventors in California this September.  Read More





In the Imaginarium's Creative Design Department






What a perfect name for fake butter
Creativity and truthfulness: A











This is how you know to pull or push

Cover a step with a mirror and really freak people out




Someone's Mom has had enough



The cat beard






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