Walking on the moon

Posted on August 18th, 2009 by george.
Categories: film, future, history, photography, space, technology, youtube.

via WIRED

Ever watch those old videos and wonder why the Apollo astronauts developed a loping gait when walking on the moon?  Turns out the spacesuit, being inflated like a balloon, helped support its own 220-pound weight.  The internal pressure also made it difficult to bend the joints of the suit.  When the knee did bend, however, it would spring back, providing an extra pep in each step.  This combined with the low lunar gravity meant that the transition speed (the point where humans break into a run from walking) for a suited Apollo astronaut was much lower on the moon.  Hence the moonwalkers skipped, bounced and loped across the lunar surface at speeds where we earth-bound humans would simply stride.  With any luck this discovery will be brought to bear on the design of Martian spacesuits.

BONUS:  I just realized the music video for the Police’s Walking on the Moon was shot on location here at the Kennedy Space Center, back when the unused Saturn V rocket was on display outside the VAB, rusting away until it was restored and placed in a dedicated museum down the road.

2 comments.

This will make your day

Posted on March 12th, 2009 by george.
Categories: dreams, film, humor, life, love, music, video, youtube.

Discovered via Devon’s entry on soulpancake.  More on Oren Lavie here.  Funny that among his predecessors is Leonard Cohen.

1 comment.

Pale blue dot

Posted on January 30th, 2009 by george.
Categories: enlightenment, environment, epiphany, film, future, life, music, society, space, synthesis, technology.

Didn’t think I was gonna get a post up in January, didja?  HA!  That’ll show ya.

Here’s a month’s worth of hope in one short film.  Watch it full screen.

2 comments.

Double Feature

Posted on March 10th, 2008 by george.
Categories: film.

If you’re looking to avoid the bland in the recent crop of movies (10,000 B.C., Semi-Pro, and the well-intentioned, somewhat funny, but off-the-mark Be Kind Rewind), allow me to recommend a couple winners.

First up is the new McConaughey/Hudson flick Fool’s Gold, which while cheesy, is a feast for the eyes of sun-drenched tropical locales, big white yachts, gorgeous blue underwater worlds and soaring cinematography.  This could easily be an infomercial for scuba school.  For anyone obsessed with the islands and tropics like me, this is a fun, mindless frolick through happyland.  There are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, more than a little slapstick, and a great cameo by Donald Sutherland as the bumbling but kind multimillionaire.  Hudson plays the post-postmodern American woman to a tee, and it’s always funny to watch McConaughey do his hunky/funny guy routine.  A great popcorn film to chase away the winter blues.

Second is, without a doubt, the best heist film I’ve seen in a decade:  The Bank Job.  Simply named, this flick packs a mean punch.  Jason Statham has made the best script choice of his career.  While Transporter and Crank showcase his gruff, tough-guy, martial arts shtick well, this is the movie he can look back on and say, “Yeah.  I am a real actor.”  It’s a thinking man’s action film, with surprising twists, wonderfully British dialogue and humor, and loads of suspense.  I’m not a fan of violence, but the strength of this plot is too good to be missed.  The fact that this movie is loosely based on true events proves that reality really does make for the best entertainment, and sometimes the little guy can outsmart the system.  Don’t miss The Bank Job.

3 comments.

Dan In Real Life

Posted on November 13th, 2007 by george.
Categories: film, humor, life, love.

I see a lot of movies. No, seriously. A lot. I’d estimate it at about 90% of major releases. One in ten I will refuse to see on principle, but even then, I see a lot of stinkers. And lately, I’m becoming more and more disturbed by violence in movies. Not that they’re getting more violent, which is arguable, but perhaps that I’m becoming more sensitive to portrayals of violence. Every day it becomes harder for me to see the artistic merit in or believe any justification for abusing the suspension of disbelief and inserting powerfully negative images of human depravity directly into the minds of millions of viewers.

Regardless of whether it’s something they “want to see,” or it’s “a reflection of the way things really are,” or “it sells popcorn.” But I digress.

I don’t get to see art films anymore. I saw as many as I could while at school in Knoxville, but now that I live on Merritt Island, the closest arthouse theater is nearly an hour away. I guess east Tennessee isn’t so backward after all, huh? I used to be 15 minutes from a theater that had ten art and independent films going at any one time. Take that, Orlando. But I’m digressing. Again.

All of this is to say: I love film. Really, really love it. I am passionate about it. I sometimes avoid previews so as to experience a movie fresh, with no hype or preconceptions.  I use movies as motivation to get in a six-mile bike ride.  I put up with a lot of dross just to make sure I don’t miss the gems.  I would write reviews if someone paid me to do it.  I’m giving you all this lead-in to prepare you for what I’m about to say.

If you haven’t seen Steve Carell and Juliette Binoche in the new film “Dan in Real Life,” go see it.  NOW.

I could wax poetic about the soundtrack (Sondre Lerche!), the setting and cinematography, the script, the acting, everything.  But I don’t want to spoil it for you.  Trust me when I say this:   this is the best romantic comedy of the past five years.  But even to pigeonhole it into that category is a disservice.  It’s also a family movie…but no.  It’s more than that.  This is one of those movies that defies genre.  This is film at its best:  a reflection of life.  What it is, and how we want it to be.  Projected.  Right there on the screen.

This movie is real.  It makes me want to have family gatherings like that.  It reminds me of the good times I’ve had with my family.  I couldn’t stop laughing at the sometimes delightfully subtle humor throughout the film.  I nearly cried three times.  But most of all, and I’m being completely genuine here:  this movie gave me hope.

I don’t own many DVDs.  I don’t watch many movies more than once.  Maybe 1 or 2%.  This is a film that I will add to my small library.  This is a film I would want my children to see.

Go see it.

9 comments.