Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Boldly go, where no man, woman, kitty, ferret, dingo...

Say hello to the "water bear".  Or rather tardigrades, as they are more commonly known (by who, I don't know, cause for most I guarantee they have heard of neither term).

Tardigrades are small, water-dwelling segmented animals with eight legs.  The biggest adults may reach a body length of 1.5mm, the smallest below 0.1mm. Freshly hatched larvae may be smaller than 0.05mm.

Tardigrades are able to survive in extreme environments that would kill almost any other animal. Some can survive temperatures close to absolute zero, temperatures as high as 151 °C (303 °F), 1,000 times more radiation than any other animal, nearly a decade without water, and now, even the vacuum of space.

That's right folks, scientists have taken two species of tardigrades and ventured them into the great beyond on an ESA satellite a year ago.  After 10 days in space, the little guys were brought back for study.  It was found that the Sun's UV rays, 1,000 times stronger in space than here on Earth, would oddly act as tardigrade Kryptonite.  Of those shielded from the rays, nearly 70% went on to reproduce successfully.  Of those exposed to the Sun, almost all of them died.  Still, the intrepid buggers are now the first creature ever known to be able to survive in open space.


What's this mean?  It means we're learning, all the time folks.  Dream, people.  Cause it's all possible.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Welcome To Jerry Siegel's This Ol' Fortress of Solitude.

I was about 2 or 3 years old.

And yeah, I was a fan of Superman.

Flash forward 30 years later, and the fanboy is still a fan, though no longer a boy.

Superman was created by Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel, a couple of guys who had no idea at the time, that they created one of the most iconic characters in history.

Sadly, they never got to see the fruits of their labors (they lost battles to keep the copyright of the character for 30 years) until the twilight of their lives.

Folks may hear the name Shuster and Siegel and never bat an eye.  Mention Superman, and they know exactly who you're talking about.  A sad fact but at the very least the creators can take some solace in leaving a kryptonian footprint on the face of this little planet.

And fortunately those who want to embark on a voyage into history can take it upon themselves to go visit Jerry Siegel's house (since Joe Shuster's house was demolished), and soak in a little piece of Americana.

Of course you'll be appalled to find that what you're more likely soaking in is rain water coming from the missing roof since the house has fallen into disarray.  You'll see a house painted red and blue (seriously), owned by a very sweet old couple.  And walking in, you'll be able to see the missing ceiling, cracked walls, missing sheet rock...  Well words don't do it justice...

For shame Cleveland.

The folks over at
Ordinary People Change The World are trying to rectify this situation.  Brad Meltzer and Mike San Giacomo are spearheading the Siegel and Shuster Society in order to try to raise money to restore and save the Siegel house.  The house where Superman was created.

So if you can, please, bid, buy, or donate to the Siegel and Shuster Society.  It's the very least we can do for the guys who gave us the greatest Superhero of all time.

Today was my one-hundred and eleventieth birthday.

Thirty-second, actually.

Alas thirty-two years is far too short a time to live among such excellent and admirable people.

I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.

I, uh... I...  have things to do...

I've put this off for far too long.

I am happy to announce, this is not the end.

I'm going, for now - I bid you all a very fond farewell.