Archive for August 31st, 2008

Weekend Windows Update on Mars

Posted on August 31, 2008. Filed under: Culture, Games, Musings, Science |

(No, not that “Windows”, not that “Weekend Update”, and it didn’t actually take place on “Mars”, but I just had to get some Mars news in, too…)

This is really meant to be an update on several posts I’ve made recently. My “Valance was out of Balance” as I reported in this post. I’d thought, as that adventure was winding down, that I’d obtain store-bought valances, and a really long curtain rod to hang them on and be done with the whole thing.

Then, my stubborn streak kicked in. I’m able to keep that formidable streak in fairly good control most of the time (I patronize it a bit, by telling it what a “nice” streak it is, and how it’s “helped” me on numerous occasions, but this time it saw through my platitudes and stubbornly decided to continue to be stubborn.)

I realized, by examining various woven wood, grass, and bamboo shades in the stores (something I might have considered doing before attempting to make my own valance!) 😳 that the reason my valance was sagging so unattractively and so unevenly, was because, as it was originally designed as a table runner, all the individual sticks that were stitched together were meant to lie on a flat surface (DUH!!!) and therefore were sewn vertically, and that woven shades, meant to be hung (with gravity being the force that it is) were sewn horizontally. Hah! What a discovery! Undaunted, I took the valance down, put it on the floor, lined up all the little individual sticks once again—and then proceeded to drill sets of two small holes every two inches all along the header. I then found a tapestry needle somewhere, and some really strong thread, and went along sewing and tying knots all along the header. I do not sew! I’m in complete denial that I even know the first thing about it! See what stubbornness can drive a person to?

So, for now, anyway, it’s staying straight; looks good. My valance is back in balance.

As for Mars, and in a related story, Biosphere II, I’m delighted to report that the Phoenix Lander is doing so well, and that the weather on Mars is so hospitable, that the lander is going to continue to be able to do experiments for at least another month (earth time). In addition to observing and testing ICE (and therefore WATER), the lander will now explore whether certain areas of Mars could once have been habitable. If so, they may be again, with a bit of terra-forming. Full story here.

Biosphere II is doing some really good work now in its latest incarnation. There is a ten minute interview here, which explains some of the hydrology and biological systems work they’re doing, and what interested me the most is a facility which will be open to the public to view and test which kinds of alternative energy sources would be best for a particular home or business. Here in Arizona we’re having local elections on Tuesday, and some of the candidates are running on a “solar” platform. With 300 days of sunshine a year here, there is no reason (other than the initial financial investments) that most of our power cannot be solar! I’ve read that Germany has more solar power than we do, with many fewer sunny days; but they have government incentive programs to get it done. Wish us luck on Tuesday!

UPDATE: The “Solar Panel” of candidates won in Arizona! Yay! Now, let’s see what they do!

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