There are many who dream of owning the smallest home they can find; a strong reaction to those who dream of owning a two-story mini-mansion. Here is a CNN profile of a young couple who did just that – moving their two kids, cat and dog into a 168 square foot home (on 3 acres of land):
“The things we have are beautiful, enriching our tiny space. We got rid of so much and kept the beautiful things,” Hazi Berzins said. “Freeing ourselves from consumer debt and living mortgage-free has cleared the clutter to help us see what is truly important: our relationships, our happiness, each moment.”
And Mayor Michael Bloomberg agrees – or he wants to improve the city’s studios – as he announced a contest to design and build 1.8 million studios in Manhattan. Each unit is to be less than 300-square feet and contain a kitchen and bathroom.
New Yorkers love their studios, young quirky families love their tiny homes, how about you – do you enjoy your small or large space?
There is big news on the small satellite front. From super-secret agencies to the U.S. military, academia, private firms, world space agencies, and NASA, ultra-small satellites are the big thing.
In sizing up “smallsats,” there are a range of classifications in the less-than-500- kilogram department, be they minisatellites, microsatellites, nanosatellites, picosatellites, palm-size CubeSats, even the diminutive Femto satellite, weighing in at less than 100 grams.
Cornell University has begun to delve into a postage stamp-size “satellite on a chip” design, called Sprite, envisioning a swarm of these tiny probes exploring planetary atmospheres for organic compounds.
“The knowledge of how to make and use smallsats has passed the tipping point,” Matt Bille told SPACE.com. “It exists worldwide and has fostered a global generation of satellite builders and engineers. It used to be only a few organizations could build a satellite. Now, a smart teenager with a CubeSat kit and a soldering iron is a space agency. We’ve only begun to grasp the implications of that.”
“The age of microspacecraft is on solid ground now.”
The NASA Ames Research Center is known for establishing innovative partnerships and Pete Worden, the former Air Force general who serves as the Center’s director, is known as a maverick. Still, the latest joint venture to come to light has caught even some longtime NASA observers by surprise.
Under supervision from NASA Ames, inmates working in the machine shop at California’s San Quentin State Prison are building Poly Picosatellite Orbital Deployers (PPODs), the standard mechanism used to mount tiny satellites called cubesats on a variety of launch vehicles and then, at the appropriate time, fling them into orbit.
Worden got the idea for the partnership with San Quentinwhile he was at a party, talking to the spouse of a NASA employee who happened to work as a guard on the prison’s death row. When the guard mentioned the prison’s critical need to establish innovative education and training programs, Worden, a former University of Arizona professor, said, “How about building small satellites?”
Many Mongolians consider the tomb (of Genghis Khan) an extremely sacred place and believe any desecration of it could trigger a curse that would end the world.
“Using traditional archeological methods would be disrespectful to believers,” Albert Yu-Min Lin says. “The ability to explore in a noninvasive way lets us try to solve this ancient secret without overstepping cultural barriers.
Lin investigates sites with a high-tech tool kit that leverages photographs taken firsthand on the ground, images gathered from satellites and unmanned aircraft, GPS tracks from expeditions, and geophysical instruments. “There are many ways to look under the ground without having to touch it,” he observes. Thermal-imaging systems show what lies below by detecting heat signals and patterns emitted from the Earth. Magnetometry uses the Earth’s magnetic field to pinpoint subterranean clues as microscopic as bacteria in decaying wood. Ground-penetrating radar bounces back images revealing subsurface objects or disturbances. Tiny remote wireless sensors collect data from places no human can go.
“These new approaches could benefit all kinds of projects, from gaining a whole new view of regions like Mongolia to tracking animal migrations to mapping the brain,” notes Lin. “The real trick is synthesizing the vast amounts of information we collect into something that can be understood. My colleagues and I use visualization techniques to sort, relate, and cross-link billions of individual data bits. We program it all into a file that allows us to re-render it into a digital 3-D world.”
In a new twist for HBO, they have posted episode 1 of their new series, Girls, on YouTube. The show, which will only be available until May 14, is about four college graduates struggling to get by in New York City.
A sort-of Sex in the City, the early years. The bio from HBO:
Created by and starring Lena Dunham (“Tiny Furniture”), the show is a comic look at the assorted humiliations and rare triumphs of a group of girls in their early 20s. Dunham wrote and directed the pilot of the series, which she executive produces along with Judd Apatow and Jenni Konner. The cast also includes Jemima Kirke, Allison Williams, Adam Driver and Zosia Mamet. Episodes were shot in New York. The ten-episode season debuts in 2012.