One of my favourite NASA clips shows the 1972 Apollo 17 lunar module blasting off, bringing home astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmidt – the last humans to set foot on the moon. The film is presently looping, next to an R-18 rocket engine like the one used in the ascent, at the Huntington Library’s
“in Sensation we believe external Things exist, in Memory we believe they were, in Imagination we neither do the one nor the other” (Erasmus Darwin quoting poet Richard Gifford back to himself in a letter of 1768.) Here’s something to try if you haven’t already done it: make a Google Street View tour of all
With a diameter of 120,000 kilometres and a bright reflective surface, Saturn is an unmissable object in the night sky right now. But at 1.3 billion kilometres away from us, it looks only a hundreth the size of the full moon. Which means the screen width of my Saturn video below represents one third of
It’s many years since that winter weekend I met up with friends in the UK’s Lake District National Park, intent on hiking the slopes of Helvellyn. Helvellyn (Photo: Simon Ledingham, WikiCommons) We’d arrived in groups from various locations, and it was during the traditional kitting-up ritual, managed out the back of our respective vehicles, that
Watching the last episode of Tony Robinson’s ‘Blitz Street’ on Channel 4 this week has prompted a few thoughts and surprising memories. The four-part series revisited the intensive ‘Blitz’ bombing of Britain during the Second World War by recreating a wartime street and subjecting it to progressively larger explosions, simulating the range of bombs and
Gee, I spoil you guys: a blog about a broken screwdriver. Not just any old screwdriver though, because the handle of this one is made from nitrocellulose, and they don’t do that anymore – not since the 1940s. I found the remains in a garage I’ve been clearing out over the past couple of days.
Inevitably, spring cleaning and winnowing of the paper archives throws up blasts from the past – often in the form of faded, pre-digital-age photographs. They waft the embers of dormant memories. This memory concerns a charity drive I made with my brother 19 years ago in support of the British Heart Foundation. The Round