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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Your Questions Answered. Space, Science and Sci-Fi News. The Imaginarium

Hello Troops,
Several questions and statements have appeared in my IN box through this blog's "Comments" section that I'd like to answer.  I'm happy to open my email and find comments to Troubadour posts.  It tells me someone out there is actually reading (or at least skimming) through the material.  If you read something you'd like to comment on, please do.  If you read something that prompts a question, please ask. Post to the comments section or send an email  

Questions and Comments to The Troubadour

All but one of the comments and questions below were all sent anonymously.  

Mr Williamson, 
I would give a new fantasy reader the book Name of the Wind because it is very well written, fast-paced, and has very good characterization. It's a book that most everyone will enjoy and doesn't require experience with fantasy to be enjoyed. 
Thank you for the suggestion.

Mr. Williamson,Something you may want to post on the Troubadour for those who want to make a Space Simulator: the Artemis Starship Bridge Simulator.  I haven't actually tried this, but it looks extremely promising, especially for those who don't have the room for a permanent simulator. 

Essentially, it's a video game played over a LAN, where each of the 6 players controls a different station on the bridge of the starship. I believe the current build is $40; ask 5 of your friends to chip in some cash, find some cheap computers, and you're covered.
This is most definitely in the early stages of production, and a fully dedicated simulator like the ones we all know and love would most certainly outmatch it in most respects (immersion being one of them), but I just thought I'd throw it out there.
-Evan P.

Another reader (one of the Space Center's staff or volunteers) sent the following response.

Evan,The CMSEC staff/volunteers actually tried Artemis out last summer. Suffice to say, it was hard to pull them away sometimes. I know there were some good and bad things to say about it.
I, unfortunately, never had the opportunity to play it, so I don't particularly remember what those pros and cons were. 
I do remember, however, though while it seems similar to what we do at the Space Centers, it's not quite right. It misses the human spark that we still hold in high regard. You can only go the way programmed with Artemis, that's not always the case at the many Space Centers. 

Another questions about the Voyager. 
What was the last mission flown on the Voyager??? 

I'm not sure what the last mission flown on the Voyager was.  I know the mission was flown by Jon Parker on the afternoon of Tuesday, July 31, 2012.  It could have been The Children of Perokoi.  I'll have Jon give me a thumbs up or down on that.

We are one week from the one year anniversary of the permanent closing of the Voyager and Odyssey.  The Odyssey was dismantled and removed.  The Voyager is still there, but used for storage and closed to everyone except district personnel. Risk Management insists the spiral stairs are far too dangerous (even though many high schools in the district have spiral staircases in their theaters). There is also the problem of wheelchair accessibility. In the end, it was just too expensive to remodel the Voyager for today's safety standards.  

As stated in a previous Troubadour post, a new Voyager (the Voyager II) will be built at Farpoint.  It will bring with the many of its predecessors strengths while designing out the weaknesses.      

A question for me about what I do in my spare time.
Quick question, Mr. W-have you played Starcraft? 
Troops, I'm 55 years old.  I grew up with pinball machines.  I was in my early teens when the first video game came out.  We got one of the first game consoles for Christmas one year in the early 1970's. It came with two games, Pong and Skeet.  It was the coolest thing anyone had ever seen.  We were amazed we could use our TV as a game!  The entire neighborhood wanted to hang out at our house to play. 

For me, the novelty wore out and I gave up on video games until I got my first Game Cube and discovered Mario Cart.  To date, that is the only game I ever really played well enough to hold my own against the youngsters who have video gaming in their blood.  

So the answer to your question is No, I've never played Starcraft.  
Mr. Williamson, are you making those imaginarium pictures? They look awesome! You should have a competition for who can make the most creative picture. 
No, I don't make the imaginarium pictures.  I'm always on the look out for examples of people taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary.  It is how we improve the world and our place in it.

Have you created or found something you think worthy of The Imaginarium?  If so, send it along.

Mr. Williamson.  Quick Question -- Do Farpoint Cadets/Volunteers get discounts on CMSEC and DSC private missions? 
Good question.  Right now the answer is no, but we shall see if we can't do something about that.

Space, Science and Sci-Fi News

Third Bright Supernova Discovered In Spiral Galaxy M74

The new object, designated PSN J01364816+1545310, was discovered blazing near 12.4 magnitude by the Lick Observatory Supernova Search at Lick Observatory near San Jose, Calif. “PSN” stands for “possible supernova” and the long string of numbers give the object’s position in the sky using the celestial equivalents of latitude and longitude.

Called a Type II supernova explosion, the blast hurtles star stuff into space at up to 45,000 miles per second (70,000 km/sec). More amazing, a powerful supernova explosion can release as much energy as the sun during its entire 10 billion year lifetime. No wonder even small telescopes can spot these cataclysmic events from millions of light years away!

As additional photos and measurements come in, amateur astronomers with 8-inch and larger telescopes will have no problem spying the supernova once the last quarter moon departs the vicinity. It’s located 93″ (1.5′) east and 135″ (more than 2′) southeast of the galaxy’s core. The map and photo will help you track it down. You may want to wait until Tuesday morning or later to look. That’s when the waning moon will finally depart the area. Let’s hope our new guest remains bright.  Read More

First Release of Logo and Artwork for New Star Wars Animated Series

Feast your eyes on the first art from Star Wars Rebels, Lucasfilm's followup to Clone Wars –including the show's logo!  The images were released yesterday at Star Wars Celebration Europe, where executive producer Dave Filoni discussed the enduring influence of original SW concept artist Ralph McQuarrie on the show's aesthetic. Filoni said the series, which takes place between Episodes III and IV, will rely heavily onMcQuarrie's legendary vision of the Star Wars Universe. 



A place for the ordinary to show off the extraordinary


Ever needed something like this?

The driver of this van sees life the right way.
Relax and enjoy

The last piece of candy you'll ever eat.
Whatever you do, Don't put one of these in your mouth!

Heaven for me.  I'm a sauce fanatic

Views from Inside Your Instrument

I'd love to have his job for one day

Photos Needing a Story

Creativity: A

Who wouldn't smile seeing this on the road?

An Imagination Portal

Now how is this suppose to work?
"Thanks Ben"

Ben is one of our Troubadour readers.  The top picture he took at Disneyland
This is his attempt at being creative.  M and M Smores.

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