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Screenshot from NASA Tech virtual tour

So yesterday’s post was a bit of a downer… in some ways. Let me now point you in the direction of something totally awesome: a virtual tour of Space Shuttle Discovery on launch pad 39A. With the final liftoff of Discovery scheduled for tomorrow, I thought it perfect today to share this website I discovered via Universe Today. NASA’s Jim O’Connor runs the NASA Tech website and does 360 degree hi-resolution photographic virtual tours, and they’re nothing short of amazing. While virtual tours are nothing new, getting this kind of view (and from as many viewpoints) of a space shuttle is as close as most of us will ever get to actually seeing the full assembly up-close and in-person. It really helps you grasp how big the whole thing is… as much as one can without actually being there. Right now there are several different views of the space shuttle, all of which can be rotated a full 360 degrees. While the website itself is rather hideously designed, the awesome views offered by the virtual tours make up for it. I’d say my favorite is the one from under the orange external fuel tank.

In other news: GET OFF YOUR ASS AND VOTE TODAY!

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It is imperative for the future of NASA that you IMMEDIATELY call your congressman’s Washington office and ask they vote YES on S. 3729- NASA Authorization Act of 2010! If you’re in Nashville then your congressman is Jim Cooper and his # is 202-225-4311. The bill is up for a vote TODAY and the session ends this Friday, so if they don’t pass the bill now, NASA will have NO BUDGET for the next fiscal year, which also starts Friday. Phil Plait explains quite well on his blog why you should do this, but honestly, time is of the essence, please take my word for it: it is IMPERATIVE that this bill get passed! If you’re not in Nashville and read this in time, use this link to find you representative and CALL HIM/HER NOW.

Wes Anderson/weekend stuff

January 15, 2010

First, you must watch this delightful stop-motion award acceptance speech from Wes Anderson. It will improve your day drastically:

(Via Clusterflock)

Now, for what’s going down this weekend….

TONIGHT: I will be at the End taking pics of Jemina Pearl/The Ettes/Daniel Pujol. Also of interest- FREE Glam Rock cover night at Mercy Lounge, featuring members of Superdrag, the Shazam, Matt Friction, Dave Paulson, and more. Also- Natural Child cassette release show @ Springwater, with Diarrhea Planet, Daniel Pujol (guess he’s playing 2 shows tonight?), State Champion, and Giving Up.

SATURDAY: My So-Called Band, Guilty Pleasures, Long Players, Weekend Jimmy & the Easy Party @ Mercy Lounge, FREE. It’s the kickoff to Mercy’s 7-year anniversary bash, featuring 7 FREE shows. (But since the Glam rock night is free too… I guess they’re technically having 8 free shows in a row.) More on that in future posts.

Last but not least, two awesome local independent businesses, Halcyon Bike Shop and Grimey’s New & Preloved Music,  have been nominated for the “To Love a Local Business” competition at Intuit, the company that markets QuickBooks. It’s a competition for a series of $5,000 grants and one $35,000 grant. I’d be more than happy to see either of these businesses get the grant(s). Vote for Halcyon or vote for Grimey’s. I don’t care which you vote for, just VOTE.

I hope everyone enjoyed yesterday’s tomfoolery. Everyone seems to hate April Fool’s but I enjoy all the jokes. I always look forward to what kind of ridiculousness Google will cook up each year. Here’s the Wikipedia page with a history of their pranks.

Photo by Steve Cross

Photo by Steve Cross

Shoot the Mountain have been getting a lot of buzz lately and playing a lot of shows, but everyone’s been wondering when their first release would happen. Well, it’s finally happening on May 16th on Theory 8 Records, and it’s an EP (presumably self-titled?). A release show will happen on that date at the Basement with Totally Snake (WTF?!?) opening. They’re also playing on April 9th at the End opening for Appleseed Cast.

The Features just released details of their upcoming tour with The Dexateens. They’ll be hitting clubs all over the southeast, northeast, and midwest later this month and into May. Oh, and they’ll also be featured in the July issue of Nylon Magazine.

More comprehensive local music news coverage can be found at We Own This Town and Out The Other.

Four Russian cosmonauts and two European astronauts volunteered to be locked up together in a simulation of a spacecraft for 105 days. This is part of an experiment to study the psychological and physical effects of being stuck with 5 other people for an extended period of time in cramped quarters. The experiment will help scientists and engineers plan for an eventual manned-mission to Mars. This will be very interesting to monitor.

I’ve been reading a few different posts and articles over the last week or so regarding a recent vote on science standards for the Texas Board of Education. The board held a vote on several standards for science education and it was mostly a travesty, the biggest of which was the deletion of the statement that the universe is “roughly 14 billion years old.” Sure, there are several different numbers out there that vary by a few million years, but everyone in the entire scientific community agrees that it’s pretty damn close to 14 billion years. A variance of a few million years is NIL when you look at the big picture, and is definitely covered by term “roughly.” There’s absolutely no evidence to suggest otherwise! One faint glimmer of hope is that the board voted down a proposed change that would allow the teaching of “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution. If this had passed, it would’ve been just one more way for Creationism to creep its ugly way into the scientific classroom. This article on the NewScientist blog sums it all up very well. I suggest reading it. I cannot get over the quote of board chairman Dr. Don McLeroy, who is quoted as saying, “I disagree with these experts. Someone has got to stand up to experts.” HA! Yea, you tell ’em Dr. McLeroy! Tell those experts that they don’t know what they’re talking about! Afterall, they’ve spent the majority of their lives studying REAL science, FACTS and EVIDENCE… how could they possibly know what they’re talking about? I find it amazing that this man (a dentist) was able to get through medical school with such anti-scientific beliefs. I sure as hell wouldn’t want someone that dumb working on my teeth.

Ok enough ire for one day. I’ll leave you with this hilarious video clip from a 50’s sci-fi movie. I really hope this is how they dance in the future.

I’m really proud of Nashville for voting NO on the ridiculous English-only amendment. Way to go Nashville!

Cellist Yo Yo Ma and the group of musicians who play Obama’s inauguration pulled a Milli Vanilli on us. They pretended to play the original composition by John Williams, but what you heard was a taped recording. We have to forgive them, though, because it was physically impossible for their instruments to stay in tune due the cold. Apparently they really wanted to play it live, and waited until the very last minute to make the decision.

David Berman is officially putting Silver Jews to rest. He wants to devote his time to other endeavors. If he continues to record he “might accidentally write the answer song to Shiny Happy People.” Ha. Hahaha. Via Stereogum.

We’re All Gonna Die is an amazing 100 meter-wide photograph created by Simon Hoegsberg in Germany. Do yourself a big favor and go scroll through the whole thing. Thank me later. Via Yewknee yesterday and Kottke.org today.

And now for some photo-nerd-gasm: A Nikon D3 rig cut perfectly in half. (Click image to see more.)

Vote NO on #1 and #2

January 13, 2009

This only pertains to people living in Nashville, but for heaven’s sake get out and vote NO on #1 and #2. This is the hotly debated “English Only” law that would require all Nashville goverment forms, business, etc… to be carried out in English only. I don’t have the time nor energy to go into why this is a terrible idea, so go to NashvilleForAllofUs.org and read why you should definitely vote against this law. Early voting is underway NOW and goes until this saturday the 17th. You must go to the downtown election commission office to do so. Go here to see the early voting schedule. The official election is Jan. 22nd.

Related to yesterday’s post about Microsoft Songsmith (and you’ve probably already seen/heard this, but if you haven’t, do yourself a favor)- listen to the songsmith version of “Runnin’ with the Devil” by Van Halen. They took the bare vocal track of David Lee Roth singing and ran it through songsmith. Simply amazing if you ask me. No really. Via Nashville Cream.

Pete Souza was named the official White House photographer for soon-to-be President Obama. His coverage of Obama’s senate years is apparently what landed him the job. I cannot imagine how it must feel to be tasked with documenting the most historic presidential administration in the last 100 years, if not EVER.

Thank God the Heritage Foundation reached their fundraising goal to restore the historic Franklin Theater. The downtown area of Franklin is the only thing left there that hasn’t been completely overrun by ugly, mindless, white-upper-class uniformity and gentrification. Via Nashvillest.

This week the Mercy Lounge is celebrating their 6th anniversary by have 6 nights of free live music, with 6 or more bands each night. My band Tigers Con Queso is playing tonight, along with The Privates, The Effects, The Clutters, Rae Herring, and Vermicious K’nids. Did I mention it’s FREE?

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