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Neville Ridley-Smith
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Really don't like this new layout for Google+. What's wrong with a single column of reverse chronological news? This two column layout feels like a mess.

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Kind of scary - and these are college students presumably studying physics!
A question posed to a classroom of college studentas aged between 18 and 22.

Approximately how far have humans traveled from the surface of the Earth in your lifetime? [e.g., since 1980 or so]

a) 600 km (low Earth orbit, 0.1 times the Earth radius)
b) 6,000 km (about the radius of the Earth)
c) 36,000 km (geosynchronous orbit; about 6 Earth radii)
d) 385,000 km (about the distance to the Moon; 60 Earth radii)
e) beyond the Moon

Out of a total of 109 students responding (one group in 2006, another in 2010), only 11% got the right answer: low Earth orbit. 52% thought humans had been as far as the Moon since the 1980′s, and 20% thought we had been farther than the Moon. Some were indignant on learning the truth: “What do we use the space shuttle for, if not to go to the Moon?!” I can only guess that some students imagined the International Space Station as a remote outpost, certainly beyond the Moon, and likely strategically located next to a wormhole. How disappointing it must be to learn that it merely hugs the globe. http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2011/10/why-not-space/
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Here's one for the next ForceCast. Original Star Wars props are up for auction. The Star Wars stuff starts on page 255. https://www.profilesinhistory.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Hollywood53FINAL-updated-121012lo.pdf

The most expensive thing is "the only painted and finished X-Wing Fighter we have encountered from the original 1977 Star Wars film" going for around $100k.

I can only imagine Steve Sansweet must be drooling and figuring out which items he can afford...

Where's Kitster!

Where's Kitster?

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Woo hoo! Transport for NSW launched on Google Maps! That's +Mickey Kataria at the podium.
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