Previews & Reviews that are Z's Views

Doomsday Speeches: If D-Day and the Moon Landing Had Failed

Can you imagine how much different the world might be today had D-Day failed or had or first attempt to land man on the moon ended in tragedy?

The Atlantic recently posted General Eisenhower’s and President Nixon’s prepared Doomsday Speeches: If D-Day and the Moon Landing Had Failed.  The article by Dominic Tierney is well done and definitely worth a read.

6 Ways Movies Get Space Wrong

Continuing with our space theme, Mark Hill  at Cracked presents 6 Ways Movies Get Space Wrong (by Astronaut Chris Hadfield.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the piece which I highly recommend reading…

SPACE WILL KILL YOU IN SURPRISINGLY MUNDANE WAYS!  Luca Parmitano came close to drowning in space when his water supply leaked into his helmet. The crew of the Russian space station Mir had to put out a fire while dealing with malfunctioning gas masks. And we all know the story of Apollo 13, although the true-life incident involved much less Tom Hanks.


GOING INTO SPACE MAKES YOU PUKE, COMING BACK MAKES YOU SHAMBLE LIKE A DRUNK.  …On average, it takes about one to three days to adjust to weightlessness… Once you’re physically comfortable, you’re still a long way off from moving around gracefully…

Returning to Earth is a bigger adjustment, because your bones and muscles atrophy when they aren’t in use. I lost 8 percent of the bone across my hips, and that’s after two hours of exercise every single day in space. I wouldn’t have been able to pass a sobriety test for a week after I returned, and it was four months before I could run properly. In that first week, you’re lumbering around like a guy in a Godzilla costume.



10 Little Known Facts About the Apollo 11 Moon Landing

Eric Newill at Do You Remember posted 10 Little Known Facts About the Apollo 11 Moon Landing.

You’ll probably know some of the facts, but there may be a surprise or two along the way.  These were my three favorites…

The crew originally wanted to call their vessels Charlie Brown and Snoopy, but the bureaucrats in charge thought that would undermine the gravity of the mission. Snowcone andHaystack became the working names, before the more august Columbia and Eagle were decided upon as the final choices.

Armstrong carried on board a piece of wood from the 1903 airplane crafted by the Wright brothers, as well as a diamond-studded pin in honor of the deceased astronauts of the doomed 1967 Apollo 1 mission.

In covering the landing live, CBS anchor Walter Cronkite was not only overjoyed to deliver such good news in a troubled time, but was also famously at a loss for words, rubbing his hands gleefully and saying only, “Whew…boy.” In recognition of his continued enthusiastic coverage of America’s space program, NASA presented him with an Ambassador of Exploration Award in 2006; he was the only non-astronaut or non–NASA employee to receive one.

I hope that someday space flight becomes important again. I would love to live to see a manned expedition to Mars.

The Fury 500 Cap Machine Gun

The Fury 500 cap machine gun is a toy I would have loved to have had as a kid!  Sadly, I never had one, or had even seen even a photo of one until recently thanks to Steve Niles’ Tumblr.

I wanted to find out more about the Fury 500.  The Nichols Cap Gun site had the info! The Fury 500 was produced in 1960 [I was two years old and way too young for that bad boy].  Can you imagine a gun like that today for kids?  Parents and consumer groups would go crazy.

Hey! You’re Getting Old!

If you dig trivia you’ll get a kick out of the You’re Getting Old site.  Plug in your birth date and you’ll discover things like…

  • How many days you’ve lived so far [20,379]
  • The total number of candles on your birthday cakes so far [1,540]
  • The approximate number of people on Earth when you were born [2,972,647,249] and now.
  • How many miles you’ve traveled through space [689,300,000+] since you were born.
  • The famous milestones you’ve been alive to witness.
  • Out of 100,000 people born as the same day as you, the percentage still alive [89%].
  • And more…

Interpreting Dreams

All my life I’ve had interesting dreams often with common recurring themes.

When I was a kid it wasn’t unusual for me to dream of being chased or being on a huge unsafe bridge that dipped into the water.

As an adult I still often dreamed of being chased, as well as seeing a nuclear missiles launched, being hidden or on the run from an invading army, or showing up for a college class unprepared for a test or worse yet at the end of a semester and realizing I had signed up for a class but never attended it.  Oh, and there’s the ever classic dream where I find myself somewhere important but not dressed appropriately.

Usually I can figure out what caused my dreams and what they symbolize.  Buzzfeed posted 9 Common Deam Symbols and What They Actually Mean.  It’s interesting that many people have the same types of dreams.  I guess even when sleeping great minds think alike.

10 Myths About Famous Explorers

When I read 10 Myths About Famous Explorers by Alex Hanton, I was reminded of some facts  that I had forgotten and I learned a few more along the way.

Here’s a taste of three Myths…

Myth: Robert Peary Was The First Man To Reach The North Pole.

  • I knew this wasn’t true and that a black man named Matthew Henson was the first.  Since Peary was the leader of the expedition and Henson was black, Peary got the credit.   What I didn’t realize was that Peary was such a jerk that “he refused to answer Henson’s letters, help him get a job, or return the photos of the expedition that Henson had taken and paid for.”  I also didn’t know that there was another explorer who beat Henson and Peary and his backers used their power and the situation to get the credit!

Myth: Ponce De Leon Was Searching For The Fountain Of Youth

  • He wasn’t.  “The story was made up by Ponce’s enemies in Spain after his death in order to make him look like a gullible, sexually impotent idiot. It worked—the story largely eclipsed his actual achievements, like discovering the Gulf Stream.”

Myth: Christopher Columbus Died in Poverty

  • “The truth is that Columbus died an extremely wealthy aristocrat… The myth probably comes from Columbus’s own bitterness at not getting the insane 10 percent of all gold and silver from the Americas he believed he was entitled to. He spent the last years of his life compiling documents related to this claim, which his descendants used in a famous series of lawsuits against the crown.”

Source: Listverse.


The Mummy That Opens & Closes Her Eyes

Have you heard about the mummy on display in Sicily who appears to open and close her eyes?

Rosalia Lombardo was a two-year-old girl who died of pneumonia in 1920.  Her grieving father had her embalmed and placed in the catacombs beneath the Capuchin convent in Palermo, Sicily.

So how/why do her eyes open?

They don’t.  According to Dario Piombino-Mascali, curator of the Capuchin Catacombs  “It’s an optical illusion produced by the light that filters through the side windows, which during the day is subject to change,”

io9 posted Why Does This Mummy Appear to Open and Close Her Eyes?  and there you can see a video of the optical illusion and more.

58 Facts That Will Blow Your Mind in Only 1 Sentence!

Buzzfeed posted 58 Facts That Will Blow Your Mind in Only 1 Sentence!

There are some really amazing (and mind-blowing) facts listed.  Seven of my favorites are…

  1. Russia has a larger surface area than Pluto.

  2. Oxford University is older than the Aztec Empire.

  3. Mammoths went extinct 1,000 years after the Egyptians finished building the Great Pyramid.

  4. Alaska is simultaneously the most northern, the most western, and the most eastern state in the U.S.

  5. Cleopatra lived closer to the invention of the iPhone than she did to the building of the Great Pyramid.

  6. Will Smith is now older than Uncle Phil was at the beginning of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

  7. The oldest person on Earth was born closer to the signing of the United States Constitution than to now.

32 Incredibly Weird Deaths

Buzzfeed recently posted 32 Incredibly Weird Deaths

You have people killed when…

  • a cow fell through a man’s roof killing the man…
  • a lawyer killed himself when trying to show jurors it was possible to accidentally shoot himself…
  • a man fell 24 stories to his death when he jumped against a window to prove it was unbreakable…
  • a man jumped from the Eiffel Tower to prove a suit he made would allow him to fly…
  • a man died when he fell into the Grand Canyon after pretending that he slipped, and then he actually slipped…
  • the man to die in the first plane crash was in a plane piloted by Orville Wright
  • and many more which you can read about here.