Jet Skis on the Red River in April!   Leave a comment


April 26, 2015

Summer has come early to Manitoba. It was +22 C (72 F) today in Winnipeg and people were outside in droves. Astonishingly there was a couple jet skis cruising the Red River today.  It is usually mid-June before those water sleds appear on the rivers of The Peg.  But there they were.

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Another sign of summer was the ice cream trike moving down the street. Not exactly ice cream weather, but it was the image that was cool.

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The river walk was inundated west of the Midtown Bridge, but dry east of the bridge. The walk seems to get slightly lower as it nears the Legislative grounds.

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The current on the Assiniboine River was rushingEven the ducks and geese had to stick to the shore.

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Posted April 26, 2015 by markosun in Manitoba, Weather, Winnipeg

Mysterious X-37B Military Space Plane to Fly Again Next Month   Leave a comment


Space.com

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Artist’s illustration of the U.S. Air Force’s X-37B space plane in orbit. The mysterious spacecraft is scheduled to launch on its fourth mission on May 20, 2015.

The United States Air Force’s X-37B space plane will launch on its fourth mystery mission next month.

The unmanned X-37B space plane, which looks like a miniature version of NASA’s now-retired space shuttle orbiter, is scheduled to blast off atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on May 20.

“We are excited about our fourth X-37B mission,” Randy Walden, director of the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, said in a statement. “With the demonstrated success of the first three missions, we’re able to shift our focus from initial checkouts of the vehicle to testing of experimental payloads.”

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The X-37B’s payloads and specific activities are classified, so it’s unclear exactly what the spacecraft does while zipping around the Earth. But Air Force officials have revealed a few clues about the upcoming mission.

“The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) and the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office (AFRCO) are investigating an experimental propulsion system on the X-37B on Mission 4,” Capt. Chris Hoyler, an Air Force spokesman, told Space.com via email.

“AFRCO will also host a number of advance materials onboard the X-37B for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to study the durability of various materials in the space environment,” Hoyler added.

The Air Force owns two X-37B space planes, both of which were built by Boeing’s Phantom Works division. The solar-powered spacecraft are about 29 feet long by 9.5 feet tall (8.8 by 2.9 meters), with a wingspan of 15 feet (4.6 m) and a payload bay the size of a pickup-truck bed. The X-37B launches vertically atop a rocket and lands horizontally on a runway, like the space shuttle did.

One of the two X-37B vehicles flew the program’s first and third missions, which were known as OTV-1 and OTV-3, respectively. (“OTV” is short for “Orbital Test Vehicle.”) The other spacecraft flew OTV-2. Air Force officials have not revealed which space plane will be going to orbit on the upcoming mission.

OTV-1 launched in April 2010 and landed in December of that year, staying in orbit for 225 days. OTV-2 blasted off in March 2011 and circled Earth for 469 days, coming down in June 2012. OTV-3 launched in December 2012 and stayed aloft for a record-breaking 675 days, finally landing in October 2014.

X-37B ORBITAL TEST VEHICLE-3 LANDS AT VANDENBERG AFB

A recovery team processes the U.S. Air Force’s X-37B space plane after the robotic spacecraft’s successful landing at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Oct. 17, 2014. The touchdown marked the end of the X-37B’s third space mission.

If Air Force officials know how long OTV-4 is going to last, they’re not saying.

“The X-37B is designed for an on-orbit duration of 270 days,” Hoyler said. “Longer missions have been demonstrated. As with previous missions, the actual duration will depend on test objectives, on-orbit vehicle performance and conditions at the landing facility.”

The secrecy surrounding the X-37B and its payloads has fueled speculation in some quarters that the vehicle could be a space weapon of some sort. But Air Force officials have repeatedly refuted that notion.

“The primary objectives of the X-37B are twofold: reusable spacecraft technologies for America’s future in space, and operating experiments which can be returned to, and examined, on Earth,” Air Force officials wrote in on online X-37B fact sheet. “Technologies being tested in the program include advanced guidance, navigation and control; thermal protection systems; avionics; high-temperature structures and seals; conformal reusable insulation, lightweight electromechanical flight systems; and autonomous orbital flight, re-entry and landing.”

X-37B Landing

Posted April 26, 2015 by markosun in Military, Space

Assiniboine Forest and Park   Leave a comment


I took a little excursion through the Assiniboine Forest today for the first time by bike.  The forest is one of the largest urban forests in Canada. Trails and paths wind through the thick oak and poplar trees, along ponds and up and down the odd little hill.  Nature at its urban best. The forest is just south of Assiniboine Park and Zoo and covers roughly 400 acres. There are paved bike paths, woodchip covered walking trails and dirt trails for walking and cycling.  Cool area.

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Zoo entrance

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Assiniboine Park

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Extremely uncommon white Bison at the zoo

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Posted April 25, 2015 by markosun in Nature, Winnipeg

Bringing Eye Contact back to the 21st Century with the Texting Hat   Leave a comment


Dangerous Minds

hat

Okay, so maybe this isn’t a real thing yet… but, c’mon, you know it’s coming! With the tagline “Bringing eye contact back to the 21st century” the Texting Hat is here to solve all your phone zombie problems. What a great invention. You look like you actually care when in reality who gives a f#@k!

Right now they’re not for sale, but the Texting Hat website encourages you to just make your own goddamned hat:

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And be careful addicted texters. Your neck is experiencing double the weight it normally should have to deal with.

Posted April 25, 2015 by markosun in Absurd, Technology

World’s most powerful telescope to launch in 2018   1 comment


DAILY MAIL

  • Nasa is on track to launch the James Webb telescope in three years
  • Telescope will be able to see back to 200 million years after the Big Bang
  • It will be 100 times more powerful than Hubble with mirrors 3 times larger
  • Astronomers hope the telescope will help further the search for alien life

 

During its 25 years in space, Hubble has provided the world with unprecedented views of the universe.

But to help it find alien life, Nasa needs an even more powerful tool to peer back into the depths of our cosmos.

The agency hopes to do this with the James Webb Space Telescope, which will be 100 times more potent than Hubble, and will be able to see back to 200 million years after the Big Bang.

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The James Webb Space Telescope will be 100 times more potent than Hubble, and will be able to see back to 200 million years after the Big Bang. Pictured are Nasa scientists completing a series of cryogenic tests on six James Webb Space Telescope beryllium mirror segments

Nasa describes the telescope as a ‘powerful time machine with infrared vision that will peer back over 13.5 billion years to see the first stars and galaxies forming out of the darkness of the early universe.’

The project has drawn scrutiny from lawmakers for its ballooning costs – now at about $8.8 billion, far higher than the initial estimate of $3.5 bn (£2.33 bn).

But Nasa has promised to keep the next-generation telescope on track for its October 2018 launch.

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The space telescope will weigh 6.4 tons. JWST’s main mirror will be 21ft (6.5 metres) in diameter, three times as large as Hubble’s

Inside a massive room that is partially closed off from view, in clean room where no dust can harm the telescope, a team of engineers dressed in white, resembling surgeons, work on building the JWST.

The space telescope will weigh 6.4 tons. JWST’s main mirror will be 21ft (6.5 metres) in diameter, three times as large as Hubble’s.

A joint project of NASA, the European and Canadian space agencies, JWST will carry four instruments, including cameras and spectrometers that can capture extremely faint signals.

Infra-red capability will help it observe distant celestial bodies, and its camera shutter will be able to remain open for long periods, explained Matt Greenhouse, JWST project scientist for the science instrument payload.

‘The Webb will have 70 times the light-gathering capacity of Hubble. So the combination of the large size and the infra-red capabilities will allow us to observe this epic of the universe past,’ he said in an interview.

Even more, the telescope should further the search for life elsewhere in the universe by opening a new window on planets outside the solar system that might have water.

Already, Nasa’s Kepler Space telescope, launched in 2009, has helped astronomers identify thousands of exoplanets. JWST is expected to propel that research even further.

‘Webb is quite big enough to have a high probability of finding bio signatures in the atmosphere of exoplanets, evidence of life,’ Greenhouse said.

‘We have sensors on board, equipment on board that will enable us to study the atmosphere of exoplanets spectroscopically. So we will be able to understand the composition of those atmospheres,’ he added.

‘We can make big progress in the search for life.’

Unlike the Hubble Space Telescope, which circles the Earth, the JWST will go even further, to a place called L2, for LaGrange Point, 930,000 miles (1.5 million km) away in space.

That distance will keep the telescope cold, prevent it from being blinded by its own infra-red light and shelter it from radiation.

‘It will follow the Earth around the sun over the course of the year. So it’s in a sun center orbit instead of an Earth center orbit,’ said Greenhouse.

The heavy telescope is scheduled to launch atop an Ariane 5 rocket, made by the European Space Agency, from French Guiana in October 2018.

‘Just as Hubble rewrote all the textbooks, Webb will rewrite it again,’ said Greenhouse.

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Unlike the Hubble Space Telescope, which circles the Earth, the JWST will go even further, to a place called L2, for LaGrange Point, 930,000 miles (1.5 million km) away in space

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The heavy telescope, pictured here during testing, is scheduled to launch atop an Ariane 5 rocket, made by the European Space Agency, from French Guiana in October 2018

Posted April 25, 2015 by markosun in Space

Hockey Night in Canada signs announcer Bob Cole to a 25 year extension contract   Leave a comment


hockey night

Robert Cecil “Bob” Cole (born June 24, 1933) is a Canadian sports television announcer who works for Sportsnet and former competitive curler. He is known primarily for his work on Hockey Night in Canada.

Bob is the Iron Man hockey announcer in Canada.  At the ripe old age of 81 it appears that there is no stopping this old war horse.  Sportsnet head of hockey operations Jacques Lillypoledeux has said Bob seems to be getting better with age. Lillypoledeux was quoted as saying ” dis hold ockee hanouncer seem to be at de tops of is games dis year, I donts hunderstands hit, but Ockey Night in Canada is prepare to give dis guy bigs moneys for de next 25 year.”  So Bob will ink a new deal in the coming weeks.  Not sure what Bob is drinking, but whatever it is, Newfoundland glacier ice is one suggestion, he keeps calling NHL hockey games like a 35 year old.

Bob in 2014

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Bob started calling hockey games in the old East Coast International League the same year the Korean Was ended, 1953.  Eventually he moved to Montreal and watched the rise of superstars Rocket Richard and Jean Beliveau as they lead the Montreal Canadiens to many Cups. Honing his play-by-play announcing in the American League in the late fifties and sixties, Bob was finally noticed by a hockey Night in Canada talent scout in Erie, Pennsylvania in 1966.

Bob called his first NHL game in the fall of 1966 in a brawl filled game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins at the old Maple Gardens. Bob has never looked back. The most recent figure is 6,228 NHL games Bob has called. Bob’s new contract will extend to the 2040-41 season. Jacques Lillypoledeux figures Bob will perform his duties up until the end of the new contract with all the vigour of a driven tax lawyer.

This computer generated ‘DNA predictech sonic visualizer’ image using blood and saliva samples from Bob is 99.9 percent accurate according to scientists at Cornell university in predicting what Bob will look like at the end of his new contract. 

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Posted April 24, 2015 by markosun in Sports

Winnipeg Crime Stats update Spring 2015   Leave a comment


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All stats are below last year’s rates except for those idiots that try to steal cars.

From the early 1990s to mid-2000s, Winnipeg had a huge auto-theft problem, where the rate peaked at 2,165.0 per 100,000 residents, in 2006. For a comparison, the 2006 rate in Canada was 4.5 times lower, at 487 auto-thefts per 100,000 residents. From 2000 to 2007, the rate only dipped below 1,500.0, one time, very slightly, in 2002 at 1,497.8. These rates were by far the highest in the country. Because of these insanely high rates, Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI), to combat auto theft, established financial incentives for motor vehicle owners to install ignition immobilisers in their vehicles. It now requires owners of high-risk vehicles to install immobilisers. This has proven to be successful as the auto-theft rate has been on a constant drop since 2006 (in total a 562.1% drop). In 2008 the rate was 1,059.6, in 2009; 692.7, 2010; 555.8, 2011; 341.5 and in 2012 the rate was 327.0. 

In the early 2000’s over 10,000 vehicles a year were stolen in Winnipeg.

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Posted April 24, 2015 by markosun in Crime, Winnipeg

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