Sunday, January 5, 2014

2014 New Years Field Trip

What a great way to start the new year. Alexander and I were invited by my friend Buddy Zapata to go with his family and friends on a special tour of the Jet Propulsion Lab in La Canada, CA. What a lucky break! One of the best field trips this side of Los Alamos. 

Since my son Alexander has been about five years old we've been watching a variety of physics documentaries. It's an interest we share. While he retains the information; worm holes, Quantum Entanglements and the like. I remember their poetic implications.  

Cool factoid: Several insects were taken up to the International Space Station to see how they'd react to zero-gravity. Flys would hunker down and stay in one place (utterly confused). Bee's would have one day of inactivity then figure out they could push off and flutter then coast then flutter to get to a destination. 

Guppies were sent up and they had trouble making schools partly because their bubbles wouldn't float up to the surface. At any rate, baby guppies born in zero gravity were able to form schools right away. So cool how life forms adapt. 

Here our tour guide is using Alexander's hair to demonstrate the width of some of the micro chips being made at JPL, a fraction of the width of a strand of hair. The lab down below is a Clean Room, kept clear of dust particles. I had a vision of him opening one of these windows, and sneezing...

Really cool stuff. Especially the control and situation rooms where all the big stuff goes down with the Mars Rovers and the old Voyager 1 and 2...sheesh, still sending information back from the out-lying regions of the solar system. I believe Voyager 1 is near or approaching the Kyper Belt, which lies beyond Pluto. 

At any rate, all this information was being pumped in as we stood in the control room. I had a flash of what it must have been like to stand in the great lost Alexandrian Library. All that information coming in. It was quite a high. 

(Jimmy Barton, Denise Bonnell, Phil Bloch, Bill, Beth, Alexander, Buddy, me, Henry)

We slept in the next morning at Beth and Buddy's place in Pasadena. I took a 30 minute run down to Pasadena City College, the place where my mother asked my father on a date to the Sadie Hawkins dance in 1948. My humble (feministic) beginnings. And when I got back Buddy had the best tea in the world waiting for me, something from Hong Kong.

Later Alexander, Henry and Bill played a mean game of Monopoly with Jeffrey Philip. 

And finally here was, our very noir christmas tree, now a thing of the past....
Happy New Year friends. Gonna be a better one, me thinks, than the last one. 

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