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John Zolman
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One of these crescents is the Moon. The other is Venus.

Please  Follow: +Interesting Things 
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I want one of these.
 
Check out the iPhone 1g. 

(As seen in Model S P85D.) Thanks to +DragTimes for the original video.
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Beautiful!
 
Not too shabby

“Diamond Nights” Photography by Beth Moon
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How do you escape a room with no door or window? Easy- just step into a higher dimension. Wait- what?
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Today I Found Out:

A Celestial Message in a Bottle

Imagine for a moment that it’s 40,000 years in the future in a solar system far, far, away on a planet thriving with intelligent life. Extraterrestrial beings inhabit this place.  Perhaps they look like the cuddly ET, the blob, ALF, or maybe even  like the dreadlocked beings from Predator;  but either way, they are not human. An approaching speck in space catches the beings’ eyes (assuming they have them). Upon sending a craft to retrieve it, they find a probe containing a disk. Using instructions on the disk, they manage to play it. What they are about to hear and see are the sounds and images from an ancient alien civilization – 1977 Earth.

Flashback about 40 millenia to Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, Earth in January, 1977. A brilliant, 43 year old professor named Carl Sagan is the director of the Laboratory of Planetary Studies there.

In 1975, he had won the Pulitzer Prize for his book “The Dragons of Eden,” a dissertation on the evolution of human intelligence. He helped shape the field of exobiology, the study of the potential for life on other planets. Sagan had also been a key adviser for NASA dating all the way back to it’s earliest days. Working out of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California (the same place that Georges Lemaitre spoke with Einstein in 1933 and where Jack Parson launched the first rocket in 1936) as a visiting scientist, he helped design and manage several space exploration missions, including the Mariner 2’s trip to Venus and Viking one & two’s trips to Mars. Also, in the late 1950s, he was involved in a plan the U.S. had to nuke the moon.

So, when Dr. Sagan received a call to come to the JPL once again to help NASA, this wasn’t out of the ordinary. But this wasn’t an ordinary mission.

In August of 1977, NASA planned on launching twin unmanned space probes called Voyager 1 & Voyager 2. The probes’ original mission was to explore and take pictures of the giants of our solar system, Jupiter, Saturn, plus all of their moons. There was also a hope that if the probe’s instruments continued to operate, the probes could do the same with Uranus and Neptune.

Due to “a rare geometric arrangement of the outer planets” that only happens every 175 years, all four planets were positioned perfectly so that a probe launched into space at the proper angle, time, and speed would be able to pass all of them. Pluto was never part of the mission due to it being elsewhere in its orbit and not part of this geometric arrangement. The probes were built to last five years, but there was considerable optimism, that has since proved founded, that they would last many years more.

There was also a possible additional mission- if all went as planned and they were able to carry it out, they would be the first Earth crafts to leave our solar system and become interstellar travelers. This is what NASA wanted Dr. Sagan for. In less than nine months, NASA wanted Dr. Sagan to compile a team and devise a message in case of contact with an extraterrestrial civilization outside of our solar system, a message that needed to convey what life was like on Earth and be relatively easily understood by those who receive it.

Now, the chances of the probes ever being found, detected, or recovered by an extraterrestrial civilization are incredibly small. The probes are the size of a small car which doesn’t even register as a blip in the vastness of the universe. For that matter, the Milky Way itself is barely a blip on that scale. Additionally, the probes wouldn’t even reach another planetary system until around 40,000 years into the future. At that point, Voyager 1 will be nearing Gliese 445 and Voyager 2 will be close to Ross 248.  Nevertheless, it was decided such a message should be included, just in case.

The decision was made pretty early on that whatever was sent up there needed to showcase Earth – the sights and sounds of our home planet. It had to be a “cultural Noah’s Ark with a shelf life of hundreds of millions of years.” Now, the question was what sights and sounds exactly?

To answer this question, Dr. Sagan compiled his team.  Dr. Frank Drake worked with Sagan on the Pioneer plaque in 1972, which among other things included the location of Earth, mapping it out via pulsars.

Ann Druyan was a friend of Sagan’s (later, his wife) and a young scientific novelist. She was put in charge of music selection. Timothy Ferris (at the time, engaged to Druyan) was a writer for Rolling Stone and would go on to become “the best scientific journalist of his generation.” He helped picked the images that were to be included.

Jon Lomberg had already been Dr. Sagan’s artistic collaborator for several years; his job was to bring color and artistic beauty to what the interstellar beings would see. Finally, there was Linda Sagan, Carl’s wife. She had created the artwork on the Pioneer plaque and was to help produce this project.

Their first order of business was to figure out how they were going to convey this message. The receptacle for this kind of message had to last for thousands of years and be simple to play. Drake suggested the old-school technology of a phonographic record. It was rather simple to play and as long as the physical record itself was protected, it wouldn’t erode over time. The etchings on a metallic phonographic record could last, according to estimations, for hundreds of millions of years with very little degradation.  Additionally, they decided to make it a copper disk coated in gold, further protecting it from magnetic fields and heat, as well as placing it in a protective aluminum jacket.

Coupled with an included needle and cartridge, an alien civilization would be able to play it. They also decided to design it to run at 16 2/3 revolutions per minute, as opposed to the normal 33 1/3 revolutions. This was done so that they could jam as many pictures, music, greetings, and information as they could onto the record. In order to make sure the aliens knew what to do with the disk, needle, and cartridge, symbols were etched in showing how it was to be used.  For instance, to make sure they know what speed to rotate the record at, this is etched in binary arithmetic expressed as a factor of the fundamental transition of the hydrogen atom.

In order to demonstrate how the pictures are to be decoded and viewed, the upper right portion of the cover shows the analog signal that is the start of the picture, and in binary how the first three vertical lines are marked. They further show how many vertical lines to a picture.  On the face is also a carefully chosen picture of the first picture on the record, for calibration purposes.

Next, and possibly the most arduous task, was to determine what exactly would be on this record. The team wanted the golden record to represent what life was like on Earth; the sights, sounds, and feelings we encounter everyday. After much deliberation, 115 images encoded in analog form (including a picture of DNA, human anatomy, Olympic sprinters, an African hut, and a diagram of vertebrate evolution) and an audio “track list” with greetings, sounds, and music were included.

The audio portion began with “Greetings in 55 languages.” The first greeting, in English, was from then-Secretary General of the United Nations Kurt Waldheim. The rest of the greetings included ones in Sumerian (“may all be well”), Zulu (“We greet you, great ones. We wish you longevity”), Czech (“Dear Friends, we wish you the best.”), and even a “whale greeting.”

The next audio section was known as “sounds of Earth.” They included things like a baby crying, a volcano erupting, birds calling, and a train roaring past. The last audio section was the music, overseen by Ann Druyan. Among the tracks selected for this section was Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, a Pygmy girls’ initiation song from Zaire, Peruvian panpipes and drums, and “Johnny B. Goode,” by Chuck Berry. Noticeably absent was any song from the Beatles. While the band wanted their hit “Here Comes the Sun” to be included, they didn’t own the rights to their songs. Their publishing company, EMI, did and they did not allow it to happen.

For everything the team included on this golden record, probably the most unique – and telling – inclusion was an EEG brain scan of a young woman, newly in love. That woman turned out to be Ann Druyan. Druyan had planned on going through “a mental itinerary of the ideas and individuals of history whose memory I hoped to perpetuate,” as well as thoughts of her fiancé Tim Ferris while being connected to the EEG. But two days before the recording, something extraordinary happened. She fell in love with Dr. Carl Sagan.

Days before, they had shared a rather intimate phone call where they ruminated about life when they both realized they loved one another. They hadn’t had a single date nor a kiss or even a romantic moment before this, but they decided to marry, despite them both being in other relationships. As described by Druyan herself, “It was a Eureka! moment for both of us—the idea that we could find the perfect match. It was a discovery that has been reaffirmed in countless ways since.”

As for the brain scan, she stated,

"Earlier I had asked Carl if those putative extraterrestrials of a billion years from now could conceivably interpret the brain waves of a meditator. ‘Who knows? A billion years is a long, long time,’ was his reply. ‘On the chance that it might be possible why don’t we give it a try?’

Two days after our life-changing phone call, I entered a laboratory at Bellevue Hospital in New York City and was hooked up to a computer that turned all the data from my brain and heart into sound. I had a one-hour mental itinerary of the information I wished to convey. I began by thinking about the history of Earth and the life it sustains.

To the best of my abilities I tried to think something of the history of ideas and human social organization. I thought about the predicament that our civilization finds itself in and about the violence and poverty that make this planet a hell for so many of its inhabitants.

Toward the end I permitted myself a personal statement of what it was like to fall in love."

On August 20, 1977 Voyager 2 lifted off into space. Voyager 1 joined its twin 16 days later. Over the next four years, they explored and took snapshots of Jupiter and Saturn. In 1986, Voyager arrived at Uranus. By 1989, it had passed by Neptune. Voyager 1 officially entered interstellar space on August 25, 2012 and as of February 20, 2014, it was 127.25 AU from Earth.  The farthest away of any man-made object.

With perhaps as many as 500 billion galaxies each with billions of stars (for reference the Milky Way has about 300 billion), many of which have planetary objects orbiting them, it seems likely enough we’re not alone in the universe.  The Voyager probes will orbit the Milky Way indefinitely, so you never know.  One of them might encounter an intelligent alien civilization, maybe even long after humans have gone the way of the Dodo bird.

And if that day does come when a Voyager Golden Record is found, first contact may well be dreadlocked Predator-like extraterrestrials listening to Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Good.”

While it’s a long-shot, as Sagan himself noted,

"The spacecraft will be encountered and the record played only if there are advanced spacefaring civilizations in interstellar space. But the launching of this bottle into the cosmic ocean says something very hopeful about life on this planet."

Bonus Facts:

In order to allow the recipients to view certain images in color, three consecutive images were used in these cases, each representing red, green, and blue.  In order for them to determine whether they are calibrating it correctly, a picture of our sun was included.  Using the pulsar map to locate it, the aliens should be able to directly compare our sun’s exact color (which isn’t yellow by the way) with the image included.
As one could imagine, despite the cute love story between Dr. Sagan and Ann Druyan, there were pretty dire consequences due to their secret marriage. They both decided not to reveal it to their partners until the project was completed. But when they eventually did, it led to a eight year legal battle between Carl and Linda, longer than it took the Voyagers to pass by Jupiter.
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These are all the planets discovered this year (2014), compared to the previous two decades. The histogram shows the number of planet discoveries by year for roughly the past two decades of the exoplanet search. The blue bar shows previous planet discoveries, the red bar shows previous Kepler planet discoveries, the gold bar displays the 715 new planets verified by multiplicity.

via: +Universe Today image credit: +NASA 
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Aura hopes to save you from tangled wires with lights powered by a magnetic-field ring at the base of the tree.
Look Santa, no wires! The Aura project on Kickstarter is aiming to deliver a set of Christmas lights without wires that are powered by a magnetic-field ring at the base of the tree.
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In their circles
465 people
Have them in circles
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Ha!
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I love this pic of our planet* from about 900 million miles away. Only about 7 years travel time from Saturn to Earth.
*we are the tiny little dot 

Image credit:
NASA's Cassini spacecraft 
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Apple SWOT Analysis

Here is my revamped version of Apple's SWOT including some groundbreaking decisions and engagements of the company.

The deal with China Mobile, iOS in the car, engagement in mobile payment systems with  Pay, development of disrupting technology with wearables, and the cooperation with IBM are essential parts of the strategy powered by Tim Cook and his excellent engineers.

After Steve Jobs' death many publishing media rumored that Apple's power of innovation would be over. But we must not forget that it was not only Steve Jobs who did the work before 2011. Thousands of highly qualified employees went along with him and still go along with Tim Cook.

Companies that continually create value over the long term—meaning decades or more, learn how to ingrain the ability into their corporate makeup; it becomes part of their culture and DNA. They create value, jobs, and growth because of their ability to institutionalize innovation.
(Andrew Taylor, Boston Consulting Group)

A SWOT analysis is used to evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats in a business venture. It's used in any decision-making situation when a desired end-state has been defined.

SWOTs may look completely different if created from external or involved people.

'Vendor Lock-In' is mentioned by some analysts but I have a quite different opinion. Nearly all other tech companies try to link their customers to their ecosystems as well.


Related links ...

About Innovation
http://iNotes4You.com/2014/07/18/about-innovation

Tim Cook, the job after Jobs
http://iNotes4You.com/2014/08/24/tim-cook

Review of the app INSPIRATION
http://iNotes4You.com/2014/03/20/inspiration


Thanks for your attention.
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Hexagon at the pole of Saturn.
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People
In their circles
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Have them in circles
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My wife and I took our two kids to Orlando and used Dollar's services while we were there. The car was very clean, and had excellent gas mileage. When we rented the car, the salesman's name was Steve, and he was a very cordial guy with an accent (Australia I think), and he was super nice. He asked if we had AAA, and we said yes. He then gave us a bunch of free upgrades for being with AAA, including a size larger than the cheapest- especially with two car seats and a stroller, we needed the extra space. He also allowed both my wife and I to drive the car at no additional charge, which normally is a bit more per day. When we returned the car, to our dismay, those additional services that we were told would be free had accidentally been charged to the tune of a bill that was $60 more than what we had agreed to. I sent an email to the office manager, Brady Warner, and within a week he had responded with an apology and he refunded the $60! Sweet! In my experience, the rental car market is full of slimy salesmen. However, Dollar Rental did the right thing by refunding the amount. As we go to Florida in the future, we will make an effort to give these guys our business!
• • •
Public - 10 months ago
reviewed 10 months ago
My wife and I were SO excited for this experience! We had been looking forward to it for some time, and on a Saturday in June 2012, we went up to Park City to go on a Hot air balloon ride through Skywalker Balloon Co. We had purchased a hotel the night before because we didn't want to make the trip way before the AM. The night before the momentous experience, Will called (the guy who will take you up in the balloon) and told us that it would have to be cancelled. I asked why and he said that the wind speed was too high. So, that night, we checked the wind speed on 4 different websites and all of them said that the wind speed would be 4-8 mph wind. He had mentioned that the wind speed needed to be below 10 MPH to work. Also during our conversation I told him that we were going to be in Park City anyways, because we had got a hotel. He asked me, "which hotel are you staying at?" and I told him we were staying at the one where we were supposed to meet up before going on the hot air balloon ride. He said he'd call me in the morning at 4 AM to let me know if we'd be going. He called the next morning at 4 AM on the dot. He said we were going. I said thank you, and as I was saying thank you, he said in a gruff way, "listen, listen, I have a lot to do to set up. Good bye." I thought it was kind of rude, but whatever. After we went on the hot air balloon ride, the other passengers told my wife and I that they didn't get a phone call the night before, or the morning of. Why did he singularly pick us out and decide we wouldn't be able to go? I honestly think that if I hadn't said that we were staying at the very hotel we were meeting up, that he would have told me it was canceled. The balloon is black, with 2 checkerboard-stripes of gold. We get there with all the other people, set up the balloon, and we were all thinking the same thing: "Will all 7 of us fit in that basket?" Apparently there are different sizes of balloons with different sizes of baskets. Skywalker has a TINY balloon and a TINY basket. I practically sat on the edge of the basket the entire time. My main complaint happened during the flight. I'm a big guy, about 6'3. As I turned around to look at the mountains to the West and the valley to the Northeast, Will freaked at me! He began to treat me in the most unprofessional & condescending way, saying things like, "I will make you sit down one the gas tanks like a scared child." And "Why are you smiling? I'm being serious." I felt so awkward! It turned out I wasn't the only one though, before he yelled at me the group was having fun in a you-are-all-complete-strangers-that-I'll-never-see-again way. We were laughing here and there, asking questions about the balloon, etc. After he yelled at me, the group went silent. I paid good money for an adventurous hot air balloon ride, and didn't expect a side of condescending treatment. Final verdict: If you're thinking about a hot air balloon ride, do it! Just not with this company. Not with Will. Get one that can have more than 7 people ( the other ones we saw could hold 12)
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Public - 2 years ago
reviewed 2 years ago
at how much of a deal Alpine gave me! First of all my wife's ring is beautiful! No other dealer could give us as much bling for the same price. Second of all they hooked us up- I did a 16 month payment plan, and they aren't even charging INTEREST! if my wife wants to clean her ring weekly they do it at no cost. I didn't feel like the sales rep was pushy or anything. I'll recommend Alpine to anyone.
Public - 4 years ago
reviewed 4 years ago