Sunday, November 23, 2008

Google - Life

Google never ceases to amaze me. This past week they announced a deal to put Life’s image archive on the web… 10 million photographs… of which 97% have never been seen before now. Photos include now famous photographers like Gordon Parks, Margaret Bourke-White and Dorothea Lange. You can check out the stunning collection here.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Dark Side of Star Wars...

An important milestone in Star Wars history managed to slip past me this year... It was 30 years ago this past Monday that the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special aired on CBS (Nov 17, 1978). Think of a Star Wars variety hour... with a troupe of 70s stars filling in where the script ended... Bea Arthur, Harvey Korman, Art Carney, Diahann Carroll and Jefferson Airplane mixing it up with Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher... in an uncomfortable affair that would give new meaning to Newton Minow’s “vast wasteland” speech.

"...when television is bad, nothing is worse.”

It was the first and last time it ever aired on US television, although fans have been able to satiate their appetite by buying, trading and downloading copies for the last 20 years.

Even though I missed the official date, I was able to unknowingly take part in the festivities by NOT watching it again.

For those of you who can't get enough of the special, check out the unofficial headquarters for all things Star Wars Holiday Special related, including some brand new interviews and pictures.

More NASA...

While the recovery and restoration of the Lunar Explorer tapes has been a great success, we must not forget about the missing Moon landing footage. In 1969 NASA had live images of the Moon landing broadcast around the world. To accomplish this, they had the image transmitted, processed, re-transmitted, re-processed and broadcast. The results were poor quality, ghostly images of what was mankinds greatest achievement. However, NASA did record the raw lunar footage at their tracking stations, which is much crisper and sharper than anything you or I have ever seen. Unfortunately, NASA boxed up the tapes, shipped them back to their headquarters and then proceeded to lose track of them. They’re now in their 2nd year of the search. You can read a pretty good summary of what happened, and an appeal for help here.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Earthrise Revisited

In 1966 and 1967, NASA flew five Lunar Orbital missions around the Moon to find potential Apollo landing sites and to map the Moon's polar regions. These missions were incredibly successful and managed to record 99% of the surface. The analog data streams, which contained audio, photo and telemetry information were recorded to magnetic tape back on Earth and largely forgotten. Forty-three years later, the retired caretaker of those tapes is working hard to get the data transferred from a antiquated media and discovering some pretty amazing stuff in the process. NASA just posted a press release on the effort on Thursday. You can read about the recovery effort, and see pictures as they're recovered, on their website, Appropriately, the first recovered photo they released a newly found copy (twice the resolution of the one released in the 60s) of the iconic Earthrise photo. I can't wait to see what else they find on these tapes.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Jim Haislop

Do you recall those cheesy wrestling and body-building magazines in the 60s and 70s? As a kid I remember flipping through issues trying figure out how I was going to sculpt my 75 pound skeleton into a man of steel. Dreaming was about as close as I ever got. Well, what’s one more unrealized childhood dream? I guess we can toss it on the stack alongside power of invisibility and the ability to freeze time.

I recently uncovered a neat commercial for Lestoil (less toil… for those who have pun detection turned off) which featured the 1969 Mr. America Jim Haislop. From what I understand, Jim now resides in Florida, has retired from body-building and occasionally judges competition.