July 7, 2011
One of the most dramatic categories of evidence that the U.S. landed men on the Moon is the detritus and other stuff they left behind. Now we have satellites orbiting the Moon that can send back images of the landing sites with an amazing amount of detail.
Around the 4th of July somebody usually wonders how those flags left behind, are doing.
CBS News reporter Jim Axelrod asked around; you can see his report at YouTube (CBS disallows embedding of these reports, so you’ll need to click the image a couple of times to go to the YouTube site for CBS):
(720 views of this report when I posted this; come on, news hounds, flag fliers and Moon and history buffs, you can boost that total.)
July 7, 2011
In a letter to the Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate, the President wrote:
This letter is to ask for your help and support, and that of your colleagues, in the passage of an increase in the limit on the public debt.
As [the Treasury Secretary] has told you, the Treasury’s cash balances have reached a dangerously low point. Henceforth the Treasury Department cannot guarantee that the Federal Government will have sufficient cash on any one day to meet all of its mandated expenses, and thus the United States could be forced to default on its obligations for the first time in history.
This country now possesses the strongest credit in the world. The full consequences of a default — or even the serious prospect of default — by the United States are impossible to predict and awesome to contemplate. Denigration of the full faith and credit of the United States would have substantial effects on the domestic financial markets and on the value of the dollar in exchange markets. The Nation can ill afford to allow such a result. The risks, the costs, the disruptions, and the incalculable damage lead me to but one conclusion: the Senate must pass this legislation before the Congress adjourns.
I want to thank you for your immediate attention to this urgent problem, and for your assistance in passing an extenstion of the debt ceiling.
True then. Still true now.
Letter from President Ronald Reagan to Senate Majority Leader Sen. Howard Baker, R-Tennessee, November 16, 1983. The Treasury Secretary at the time was Donald Regan.
Tip of the old scrub brush to mainstream media pillar, The Washington Post, where a .pdf of the letter is available.
July 7, 2011
Dick Feynman taught in Rio de Janeiro for a while. He was frustrated at the way Brazilian students of that day learned physics by rote, instead of in labs. In a lecture he looked out from the classroom to the sun dancing on the waves of the Atlantic, and he realized it was a beautiful, brilliant demonstration of light refraction, the topic of the day. Sadly, the students didn’t understand that the beauty before them was a physics problem. (Was that story in Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman, or What Do You Care What Others Think?)
Here, a marriage of physics, moonlight, spring runoff over a cliff, and modern photography, in Yosemite. If you don’t gasp, call your physician and find a new sensei:
(Programs and maintenance of this park are threatened by Republican budget writers, BTW.)