December 25, 2013 |
Today is the day Christians around the world celebrate one of the central miracles of the New Testament: the birth of God's son on Earth. Since then, the "miracle" bar has been lowered and the label has been secularized, attached by the media to all manner of unexpected and wondrous feats - from rescue workers finding a baby alive in the rubble five days after the devastating Haitian earthquake in 2010 to the U.S. Olympic hockey team's stunning upset...
December 22, 2013 |
The trans-Atlantic eclipse voyage was organized by Betchart Expeditions ( 252-4910, http://www.betchartexpeditions.com ), a California-based company specializing in science-oriented travel. It offers about two dozen science-themed trips a year to destinations around the globe. I'd traveled with Betchart once before, on a trip to Antarctica 20 years earlier, and I trusted the company, the intellectually oriented clientele its trips attract and the experts it chooses for daily lectures.
November 21, 2013 |
Travel through time to Alaska's Gold Rush era on a coastal steamer where crew members, dressed in period costumes, describe events of 1898. A diverse cast of characters, from cannery workers to shipping magnates, talks about the 19th century free-for-all on the steamship cruise between Juneau and Ketchikan. Seattle-based Un-Cruise Adventures hosts Alaska's Golden History cruises, which blend the state's dramatic landscape of glaciers and mountains with living history skits and presentations.
October 13, 2013 |
The day in 1492 when Columbus ran into a cluster of islands blocking his way to India is celebrated throughout Latin America and in Spain. It is now fixed in the United States as the second Monday in October, and Americans too have long commemorated the event, both embracing and vilifying the explorer. Irish and Italian immigrants proudly pointed to Columbus' Roman Catholic religion to fight the prejudice they experienced in their adopted country, and in 1882, they founded the Knights of Columbus, now the world's largest Catholic service organization.
September 14, 2013
Re "NASA confirms Voyager milestone," Sept. 13 Iread of Voyager 1 leaving our solar system with more excitement, pride and soaring emotion than I had expected. I'm a retired teacher, and I remember the excitement that Voyager 1 stirred when it was launched in 1977. It was proof of American ingenuity, a measure of our national resolve to be first in everything we tried to accomplish. My students' imaginations were fired up by America's achievements in space. In fact, two of them went on to earn seats on space shuttle missions.
September 13, 2013 |
You can't spot Voyager 1 as it leaves the solar system's heliosphere, but the National Radio Astronomy Observatory can, and did it just for kicks. Well maybe not for kicks, but scientists were interested in how well their array of 10 radio telescopes, stretching from Hawaii to St. Croix, Virgin Islands, could plot the spacecraft, which is more than 11 billion miles from Earth. Usually, those instruments home in on the faint radio signals from quasars, black holes and the like. They also routinely track NASA's Cassini spacecraft, out around Saturn.