Sunday, June 15, 2008

my cousin's crater

My father's sister's son was the geologist and archaeologist Roald H. Fryxell (frick-SELL). Aside from notable work in finding some of the oldest evidence for human activity in the Americas he was one of the initial geologists to examine moon rocks brought back by the Apollo astronauts.

That's Roald, above on the right, with Neil Armstrong in a picture I took myself at a "space symposium" they were both speaking at in 1972. This was a rare moment when Armstrong was not being mobbed by hand shakers and autograph seekers. So, of course, I shook his hand.

Via the web, I find out that Roald has a crater on the moon named after him! So where is this thing?

One may find it in the perodically visible border area between near and farside of the moon, in Mare Orientale ("Eastern Sea"... oceanfront property!)

A closer view of the Mare with some other named features:

And Fryxell Crater itself:

Sure, it looks remote now, but in 30 years we're all going to be saying "Why didn't we pass some proper zoning laws? Those McMansions have ruined the neighborhood!"

Monday, June 02, 2008

doof, doofuss, doofest

This is why I stopped watching local TV news. The premise of this clip from Washington DC is interesting: some doofuss security guard hassling people about an imaginary security "policy".

But look at the layers of padding it takes to get to that. First, there's the woman in the green dress (standing, I guess, to give an air of immediacy) who tells us what the story is going to be about.

Then, to raise the stakes, she pitches to the reporter in the "control room" set who tells us what it's going to be about again. (Live! This story is so hot he has extra information he didn't have time to put in the video!)

Then we finally get the actual video coverage of the outrage (padded with a profile of the victim to assure us that FOX isn't aiding terrorism).

It's more theater than news really. It's as if every story has to measure up to the Hindenburg disaster or the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and if it doesn't measure up... they'll still present it like it does.

But I do love the security guard. He's like the reporters, pretending to be more than he really is, but obviously lacking the years of broadcast news school that teach you how to pull that off.