Archive | January, 2015

The 3 minute miracle

20 Jan

In one of the most thrilling comebacks in the history of the playoffs, the Seattle Seahawks won the NFC championship for the second year in a row.

The Green Bay Packers had the opening drive of the game where they marched right down field until Richard Sherman intercepted the ball in the end-zone. With that turn it looked as though it would turn into another easy game for Seattle but that was not to be. Not long after getting the ball Russell Wilson threw the first of four interceptions. Green Bay quickly scored to start off what would be the worst first half the Seahawks have experienced since Russell Wilson became the starting quarterback in 2012.

In the third quarter the Seahawks finally managed to get on the scoreboard when punter Jon Ryan threw a touchdown pass, on a fake field goal, to back up tackle Gary Gilliam. It seemed to be the one big play to ignited the Seahawks but it was not to be as there no more scoring on either side. The 3rd quarter ended with the Packers leading by 9 points.

Not long into the 4th quarter the game seemed to be getting out of reach as the Packers kicked a field goal to extend the lead to 12 points. The score remained 19-7 for most of the 4th quarter. Then, with less then three minutes left in the game something unbelievable happened. The Seahawks’ offense caught fire and scored a touchdown to close the gap to 5 points. It was thrilling but it looked like a case of too little too late. The Seahawks showed us they had more up their sleeves when they recovered an on-side kick, which is rare, and quickly score another touchdown with a 2 point conversion to take a 3 point lead. It looked like the Seahawks would win in regulation but the Packers tied the game with a last second field goal.

With the game headed for overtime the Seahawks won the coin toss. Seattle received the kickoff where they picked up where they left off. After a couple of quick strikes Russell Wilson threw a 35-yard bomb that landed right in the hands of Jermaine Kearse for the winning touchdown to send the Seahawks to the Superbowl for the 3rd time in team history and the 2nd in a row.

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NASA finds lost Mars rover

17 Jan

In a press conference this morning the ESA (European space agency) confirm that NASA found their Beagle 2 rover that has been lost for over a decade. It was on Monday, Jan. 12, the HIRise camera on NASA’s MRO (Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter) spotted what they suspected was the missing rover. After studying the images over the course of the week it was confirmed that is was indeed the Beagle 2 rover.

“The history of space exploration is marked by both success and failure,” UK Space Agency Chief David Parker said in a statement. “This finding makes the case that Beagle 2 was more of a success than we previously knew and undoubtedly an important step in Europe’s continuing exploration of Mars.”

The story started on June 2, 2003 when the Beagle 2 rover was launched from Balkonur Cosmodrome in Kazakstan. The rover rode on a Soyuz-FG rocket as part of the ESA’s Mars express mission to take soil sample and collect data for signs of life. After a 6+ month long voyage the rover was deployed into a Martian orbit on Dec. 19 and was never seen or heard from again. It was never known if the rover completed the the decent to the planet surface or lost in space.

“To be frank, I had all but given up hope of ever knowing what happened to Beagle 2,” said former Beagle 2 mission manager Mark Sims, of the University of Leicester, in the UK Space Agency statement. “The images show that we came so close to achieving the goal of science on Mars. The images vindicate the hard work put in by many people and companies both here in the UK and around Europe and the world in building Beagle 2.”

Shortly after the rover went missing the conspiracy theories started flying on what could be the reason behind the disappearance. These theories ranged from a cover-up to hid data showing life and man-made structures, the United State destroying it to alien abduction. The truth turned far less dramatic though when the NASA images showed that the rover did in fact make its Christmas land but just failed to open up its solar panels and communication array.

“Beagle 2 wasn’t a failure by any stretch of the imagination,” Sims said. “We trained a whole generation of engineers and scientists in Mars exploration.”

Other articles on this topic:

3 unique tours you will find in Seattle

14 Jan

Most people that live outside of Washington State have some pre-conceived notions about Seattle. They think the only things to see and do there are go to fish markets, coffee shops, the Space Needle and take a ride on ferries. The last thing on their mind is coming to Seattle to go ghost hunting, see and hear about history, ride an old fashioned trolley car and explore micro breweries. Troughs are just some of the things you will experience on some of the unique tours you can go on when you visit Seattle.

The historic underground

The underground tour starts when you enter a restored 19th century saloon. Once inside you you will get a brief history of movers and shakers of Seattle in the 1800s. From there you will travel 8 feet under the streets of the historic Pioneer Square. For the next 70 minutes you will see the ruins of the old city before the fire of 1889. Tour guides will also regal you with stories of the coming and goes of everyday life in a 19th century logging community. When you emerge from the underground you will be in Rouges gallery souvenir shop where you will be able to purchase momentos of your adventures.

Spooked in Seattle

Since 2004 actual paranormal hunters will take you on a 90 minute tour where you visit some of the most haunted places in the greater Seattle area. They will also regal you with tales of actual hauntings. If that is not enough to raise the hair on the back of your neck you will also see & hear some of the actual evidence they have collected on their investigation. Even if you are a strong sceptic of the supernatural you just might become a believer after this tour.

Tour the city on a trolley

For those that would like a more relaxed tour Seattle offers a variety of tours on an old fashioned trolley car. You and up to 34 friends, or strangers that will soon be friends, can tour downtown Seattle, tour the wineries in the neighboring city of Woodinville, tour the Christmas light display during the holidays or a number of other tours. If the offered tours do not appeal to you the trolley is available for private charters.

SpaceX set to launch tomorrow

9 Jan

For the last 3 months NASA has been struggling to get supplies and groceries to the ISS (International Space-station). If all systems are go an unmanned mission with Space X’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule will liftoff from cape Canaveral on Saturday morning at 4:47 am EST. The launch will be the fifth attempt, the third by SpaceX, to get over 5,100 pounds of supplies and groceries to the ISS.

“Certainly, there’s a little bit of disappointment because it had fresh fruit and those types of things that we’re all interested in getting,” Space station commander Butch Wilmore said in an interview with The Associated Press after the postponement. “But they’ll get off the ground here in a couple of days and it will all be great.”

Once the rocket has been successfully launch and the first stage separates SpaceX carry out a feat that has not been attempted with a space vehicle. They will attempt to land the re-usable rocket on a 300 x 100 foot (91 x 30 meter) platform anchored in the ocean just off the coast of Florida.

This would have an impact on the entire industry,” SpaceX Vice President Hans Koenigsmann told reporters.

SpaceX was originally schedule to launch on Dec. 18, 2014 but engine trouble forced them to scrub the mission and reschedule for Jan. 6, 2015. The Jan. 6 launch was scrubbed within a minute of launch because of actuator problems. After that launch was scrubbed it was rescheduled to take place this morning until it was determed that they would not have the problem fixed in time so the launch was pushed to Saturday.

The first two attempts were made by Orbital science Corporation in late October. The first one was called off when a boat sailed into the safe zone around the Island of Virginia where the launch was to take place. The second attempt ending when the unmanned rocket explode just seconds after it liftoff. An investigation determined that explosion was cause by a flaw in an engine used on the rocket.

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8 great books that will keep your mind busy

8 Jan

There is nothing quite like reading a good book to help you relax after a long day. Once you open the cover, or turn on the e-reader, and start reading you are transported to other worlds, a different time or learn about subjects that interest you. What ever genre of book you like it is always a great way to break the daily doldrums.

Reading also offers some benefits for your everyday life. By keeping your brain active it helps with your cognitive skills needed for all aspects of life. A good book can also be beneficial to your health by lowering your stress level.

The following is a list of books that you might not have heard of that I reviewed:

  • Mategual Island is the first book in a paranormal mystery series. In the first book Bill and Karen Anderson take their twin daughters Sophie and Terri to the little Island off the coast of Maine. Not long after the family move into their new home they learn of the Indian legend surrounding the property. Later that evening Sophie and Terri find and old box containing artifacts that seem to fit into the legend and Bill find mysterious symbols in the basement. It is then that events start happening that turn everything upside down for Bill and Karen.
  • Creedor is a wonderful science fiction fantasy that will carry you away into a world of wizards, an epidemic, a political coup and mysterious invaders.
  • Omniverse by Liam Parker is a great trilogy that will take you world where you are caught between fantasy and reality in an eternal struggle of good and evil.
  • For love or loyalty in the first book in a historical fiction trilogy that chronicles the Campbell family. In the first book deals mostly with indentured servitude and young love.
  • Dark biology by Bonnie Doran is a romantic, suspenseful and out this world science fiction novel that will keep the reader well engaged from beginning to end
  • John Smith: The last known survivor of the Microsoft Wars by Roland Hughes is not your typical post-apocalyptic piece of fiction but also a well written piece of philosophy.
  • Fiona Thorn and the Carapacem Spell by Jen Barton is a delightful work of children’s fiction and adventure.
  • Memories with Maya by Clyde Dsouza is a technology thriller, with some romance and erotica, that will take you on an intense journey along with Daniel, Krish and Maya as take virtual reality to new heights.

Reveiw: Return to Mateguas Island

3 Jan

Return to Mateguas Island: a tale of supernatural suspense by Linda Watkins is the second spine tingling book in her Mateguas Island trilogy. The battle that started in the first thrilling book continues but this time the stakes are higher. This time Karen is not only battling for her family but for the future of mankind. Luckily for her she won’t have to make the stand alone as she receives some help from unsuspected places.

This time it is twins Sophie and Terri that are determined to find out what happened that day 10 years ago when their dad disappeared. It is not long before they are transporting us, along with their mom and step-dad, back to that little Island of the coast of Maine. Soon after arriving we find ourselves back on the thrilling roller-coaster ride we experienced in the previous book. This time around there are more characters, twists, and clues that take us even deeper into this mystical realm that plagues the swamp, surrounding property and those that live there. With each page you will find yourself drawn in so deep that you find your heart pounding as you experience these terrifying supernatural events that haunt both Karen and her daughter Terri.

Ms. Watkins does a great job with her uses of with creating an air of mystery around some of characters to make us guess at to just what part they play in the struggle about to unfold. A good example of this was when close to the end of the first book when we find out Maggie is pregnant with Bill’s child and the mysterious time lapse she experiences. Then, some of the things that come out in her thoughts further make us wonder what role she will play and will it be for good or evil.

I would recommend this book for anyone that likes folk lore, supernatural stories, mysteries or want to relive that feeling of when you were younger and would tell scary stories around the campfire.