Saturday, February 26, 2005

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Nothing Venture, Nothing win

Posted by Hippo Bean at 5:27 PM Links to this post
I looked at my rearview mirror and there was this woman driving behind me waving like mad. I thought i t was just another crazy Apple employee. It turned out to be Yin. I worked with her for 9 years! Later I saw Pedraum at the Company Store. It's been 5 years since I've been to the Infinite Loop campus. My life at Apple had left indelible scars on my heart. I've got exciting and risky adventures and had met new fun people since, but still every little glimpse of anything Apple still brought nostalgia. Regrets? Sometimes it seemed so. But if I havent ventured out and away from Apple, I wouldnt have gained any Brave New World - warped colleagues and out-of-this-world clients at Vicinity, a small bittersweet taste of Google, playing There all day long, eye opening NASA, love for Flash. Like Sir Edmund Hillary said 'Nothing Venture, Nothing Win'. A past that was good and memorable, a present that is fun and still challenging, a future promising ... ? The Hippo aint doing too bad! Now fast forward to the next fun ...

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Habitability != Life

Posted by Hippo Bean at 3:52 AM Links to this post
Extreme Environment - Habitability = conditions that may once have been favorable to life. Such as evidence of abundance of water found in the Gusev and Meridiani craters on Mars by the MER rovers Spirit and Opportunity, water that started early and ended early. We're talking about 3.4 -4 billion years ago. Water that smoothed and rounded the tiny rocks the scientists called Blueberries. Then by chance of a 'bounce' rock (that is the rock the rover accidentally hit and gets bounced to another location), Spirit landed inside the Endurance crater and found it deeper than the others, therefore offering more stratigrahpy to sample. More water in more ancient time?

That was the talk given by Dr Nathalie Cabrol, planetary geologist at NASA Ames (SETI Institute). Hippo had always been fascinated by Mars and had followed Pathfinder and now MER progress. The pictures shown by Dr Cabrol were stunning, incredibly detailed and realistic. Sand dunes not unlike the ones we have on earth, vast panoramic of the Columbia Hills with background of a sky with white clouds. One picture especially blew my mind, taken by Spirit at night that accidentally caught sight of a meteor shower passing through from Jupiter, and the one with the meteorite lying right next to Spirit landing site (with the heat shield deployed and not jettisoned!).

What was important for Dr Nathalie was not whether there once was life on Mars but what skills life possessed to survive in an environment of thin air and high UV rays? To attempt to find some answers, Dr Nathalie and a group of scientists went to earth's extreme environment, to volcano Licancabur, high in the Chilean Andes, where the altitude and shallow fast evaporating lakes resemble closest to Mars environment 3 billion years ago.

It is too late for Hippo to ever make it to Mars. But listening to these talks and seeing these pictures and QTVR's is virtually being there. Hail to Mars!

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Shuttle Payloads - Columbia STS-107

Posted by Hippo Bean at 11:59 PM Links to this post
When Columbia exploded in February 2003, the Hippo was still asleep. Tom told me later they saw a streak of light followed by several booms at dawn in Tahoe. Inside Columbia payload bay were containers of lab rodents who survived 16 days in space. That was the bio experiment FRESH-02 (Fundamental Rodent Experiments Supporting Health) managed by Marilyn Vasques, Science Payloads at Nasa Life Sciences Division. Vasques gave us a talk about how a scientific experiment got to be on the shuttle, her work and experience with shuttle payloads. This was the first time I actually heard from someone who knew and worked with the STS107 crew, who was at Columbia's launch, at Mission Control, and again at Kennedy waiting for Columbia to land. She never saw her rats again. Her story brought tears to my eyes. It was one of the most emotional seminars I've attended. Usually the tears were for overwhelming awe. This time I understood what it sometimes took to get us to where we are now.

Ordinary people like the Hippo does not know how the shuttle missions had benefited our lives. These experiments ranged from bioscience to biomedical, physical and space science, agriculture and technology and helped develop new products to use on earth.

Next time you see the shuttle on TV, remember the sunglasses you wear, the flavor in your food and the cosmetic your girlfriend wears.

To Improve Life Here
To Extend Life to There
To Find Life Beyond

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Flashin'

Posted by Hippo Bean at 3:34 AM Links to this post
Cant seem to stop! This is so much fun the Hippo is staying up all night, skiping potty breaks, food (oh no!), sleep, feeding the stuffies ... I've already decided to take the Flash class in the coming quarter. My Flash assignment is finally done after hours working on it, and thanks for the help of the Flash instructor, I finally managed to halt that 12fps for any pause I want. Thanks Greg! So what's next? Sound is next and then finally, the much anticipated iMovie! She just cant wait!!!!

On the internship front, a very fun promising project is coming up. More PHP and perhaps Postgres or should the Hips stick to MYSQL?

And what else? A new Mac box!!!!

How much more fun can this year bring? Oh, there's more fun of course! Il Gatopardo's homeland! Sicilia in Sept!!!!
 

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