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Maggie Chok

In the Event of Moon Disaster

Presidential speech writer William Safire wrote a memo to White House Chief of Staff H. R. Haldeman suggesting how the administration might react if Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were stranded on the moon. The memo contained a draft speech intended to be read by President Richard Nixon.

To: H. R. Haldeman
From: Bill Safire
July 18, 1969.


Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace.

These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery. But they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice.

These two men are laying down their lives in mankind’s most noble goal: the search for truth and understanding.

They will be mourned by their families and friends; they will be mourned by their nation; they will be mourned by the people of the world; they will be mourned by a Mother Earth that dared send two of her sons into the unknown.

In their exploration, they stirred the people of the world to feel as one; in their sacrifice, they bind more tightly the brotherhood of man.

In ancient days, men looked at stars and saw their heroes in the constellations. In modern times, we do much the same, but our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood.

Others will follow, and surely find their way home. Man’s search will not be denied. But these men were the first, and they will remain the foremost in our hearts.

For every human being who looks up at the moon in the nights to come will know that there is some corner of another world that is forever mankind.


The President should telephone each of the widows-to-be.


A clergyman should adopt the same procedure as a burial at sea, commending their souls to “the deepest of the deep,” concluding with the Lord’s Prayer.

(Source: Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum)

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Luminiferous ether

In the late 19th century, luminiferous aether, æther or ether, meaning light-bearing aether, was the hypothetical medium for the propagation of light and heat, filling all unoccupied space.

In Newtonian physics all waves are propagated through a medium, e.g., water waves through water, sound waves through air. Ether was held to be invisible, without odor, and of such a nature that it did not interfere with the motions of bodies through space. However, all attempts to demonstrate its existence produced negative results and stimulated a vigorous debate among physicists that was not ended until the special theory of relativity, proposed by Albert Einstein in 1905, became accepted. The theory of relativity eliminated the need for a light-transmitting medium, so that today the term ether is used only in a historical context.

(Source: Wolfram Research World of Physics, Image—Doug Wheeler 1973)

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Like you’re in the world, but not of it.

Milkman: Morning. You’re up early.
Rube: Eh, nice time of day…night? (Chuckle) I don’t know what it is.
Milkman: Ah quiet time. Makes you feel a little apart from things, you know? Like you’re in the world, but not of it.

(source: Dead Like Me—’Nighthawk’ episode)

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The Secret History of Thoughts


(Source: Invisibilia Podcast—Episode 1)

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Wild Time

Wilderness was the condition of the world within which mankind lived in perplexed pockets, plotting our little patches of garden plots hard by the great forests of wilderness. But then the human race gigantized in development, exploded in population across the world so that, past a critical point, wilderness and mankind changed places. It is now something we surround; there are pitiful pockets of wilderness dotted across the world; wilderness is now the exception, and mankind the condition of landscape.

This is a model for our relationship with time: for, once, humans were surrounded by wild time and the stretch of time was everlasting, undefined, unenclosed, unnamed, unchartered—and into this eternity mankind was dotted, pitiful with our perplexed pocket watches and our brief lives, plotting our little watches of hours hard by the great eternities of wild time. Then we began to chart time, to clock it, plot it, measure and mark it, buy and sell it. As wilderness and humanity changed places, so too have wild time and mankind now swapped positions. Past a critical moment of moment-measuring, Western society’s peculiar time-marking has become standard, a norm; the Western clock the condition of time and wild time the exception.

(Source: A Sideways Look at Time—Jay Griffiths)

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“Sculpture to be Seen from Mars”, 1947 – Model in sand, unrealized.

Isamu Noguchi (American, 1904–1988)

(Source: MoMA Collection Online)

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Images of Terbium

65 Tb Terbium
Lanthanoid, mass: 158,92 u, 1 stable isotope (159), abundance rank (earth/space): 58/78

Pure terbium, 3 grams. Original size: 1 cm

Terbium is a relatively resistant, sparsely toxic lanthanoid. It has some special technical applications, especially in optoelectronics. Terbium(III)-ions can fluoresce very well in green and yellow, so terbium is used in in CRT television sets, similar to europium.

Terbium1 Terbium2
Terbium(III) sulfate, Tb2(SO4)3, a white salt (right), fluoresces green under ultraviolet light (left).

(Source: Images of Chemical Elements—A Virtual Museum)

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Lesson of Loss

26 “Lost and Found” June 6, 2004

Victoria has lost a necklace she got as a present from her parents a few days earlier, and goads everyone into helping her find it. In search of the necklace, her and her friends discover the Lost and Found Emporium, a storage room for all things ever lost by anyone throughout time. However, they’re not allowed to look for the necklace because whatever lesson Victoria gained by losing the necklace would itself be lost if she were to find the necklace.

(Source: Wikipedia: List of Creepschool episodes)

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The Cambrian Explosion

The Cambrian explosion, or less commonly Cambrian radiation, was the relatively short evolutionary event, beginning around 542 million years ago in the Cambrian Period, during which most major animal phyla appeared, as indicated by the fossil record. Lasting for about the next 20–25 million years, it resulted in the divergence of most modern metazoan phyla. Additionally, the event was accompanied by major diversification of other organisms. Prior to the Cambrian explosion, most organisms were simple, composed of individual cells occasionally organized into colonies. Over the following 70 or 80 million years, the rate of diversification accelerated by an order of magnitude and the diversity of life began to resemble that of today.

(Source: Wikipedia—Cambrian Explosion)

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Bee Inventory


(Source: Sam Droege—USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab)

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