Thursday, July 10, 2008

Saving Hubble, Virus, Ancestral Fossils

Last night I watched Nova which is a science programme shown on PBS or the Public Broadcasting System. One segment was on the Hubble Telescope and how they have to effect a very complicated repair to its main camera. If you would like to see the programme, it will be shown on this website beginning some time today at Saving Hubble the repair was compared to a man on a wobbly overextended ladder wearing boxing gloves changing a light bulb in a delicate chandelier. It is all being practiced underwater, that being the nearest thing to weightlessness which can be achieved on earth. The whole programme was fascinating to watch. Apparently the Hubble is the same size and weight as a school bus but a lot more cool. NASA had decided not to spend any more money on repairing the telescope as it is a very dangerous undertaking. However, there was a public outcry and the government overturned their decision. Hubble has sent back such wonderful images and information and has told us things about space which we never new. For instance, confirming the existence of black holes which was previously only a theory. The picture on the left is called Pillars of Creation and is one of the best known pictures from Hubble showing stars being formed in the Eagle Nebula. If you are interested in pictures taken by the Hubble Telescope, the internet is full of them. It is because of all the wonderful pictures and information obtained by the telescope that the astronauts are fully prepared to risk their lives to achieve a repair. Very brave men. There was another segment on a virus which was picked up in Iraq and which is called Baumannii, it is resistant to all current antibiotics and is quite a frightening little thing. It can multiply into billions in a day. It has been brought back to the States with wounded soldiers who are having more trouble surviving it than the wounds they sustained. The segment stated facts on other illnesses at the end of various wars which were horrifying. They didn't mention the Spanish Lady, which was a flu pandemic at the end of World War I which killed off between forty and fifty million people in a few short weeks. A third segment was the discovery of fossilized bones of an almost mouse-like creature which has been found to have existed in the "gap" between the extinction of dinosaurs and the appearance of monkeys and other mammals. Another segment you can follow up by clicking here. It is the first known example of 'grasping' hands and feet. This is also going to be shown from today. I must say I think Nova is a very good programme and I really don't know why I don't watch it on a regular basis. They don't overwhelm you with scientific jargon so it is easy to understand what they are talking about. Our weather the last few days has been pretty hot and humid, I couldn't breathe outside the other day. However, we had a storm Wednesday night which seems to have cleared the air somewhat. We also had idiots setting off fireworks at 2:30 and 3:00 a.m. There was another bang last night around 10:30 p.m. but I didn't hear anything else. Here is another recipe obtained from my on line cooking group. I haven't tried the recipe myself but one of the group thought it good enough to send it to the rest of us. The picture just shows a glazed pork tenderloin. Pork Suzette RecitopiaUK Servings: 2 Ingredients: Pork tenderloin cut into one inch thick medallions and then beaten to half their original thickness Small piece of butter Generous glug of Grand Marnier Zest and juice a lemon (add more if your lemon is a bit dry) Juice of two oranges Heaped tablespoon soft brown sugar Salt and pepper for seasoning Instructions: In a large frying pan (skillet) fry the pork in the butter until well browned on both sides. Flambé with the Grand Marnier, season with salt and pepper and then add the lemon zest, juice, orange juice and sugar. Cook for three of four minutes, remove meat with a slotted spoon and keep warm while you reduce the liquid in the pan to a syrupy consistency. Serve the meat and spoon over the sauce. Have a great day.


  1. What a super program! I wish we had it here.

  2. Do you have a "free" TV programme. We have PBS which is a sponsored broadcast and where you can see all kinds of programming that you can't see anywhere else without advertising interruptions. Science, Opera, Concerts, all kinds of stuff which you rarely, if ever, see on the rest of the zillion TV channels.

  3. It's really magnificent that photo of a star being born.

    I haven't heard about that virus, only ever about Agent Orange.

    As for the Spanish flu pandemic. Two of my Polish grandfather's brothers (twins) succumbed to it.


  4. I hadn't heard about the pandemic until I read about it in a book the other day. Correction, I don't remember hearing about it.

    That Baumannii virus is very scary.