Wonder Wednesday

How could this not be about the SLS launch last night?  Despite the rocky road to flight (prime being Boeing’s perhaps willful incompetence) and a changing rocketry landscape that now surrounds it, it is always exciting to see a new vehicle leap to the heavens, especially the largest lift vehicle that has ever flown.  Doubly especially one that uses massive solid rocket boosters and their insane flame gouts — when I saw my first Falcon 9 launch, it was daytime and the brightness of the flame was astounding.  This SLS has to be orders of magnitude even more insanely bright.

I was supper giddy and cheering at the livestream as I watched SLS launch.  So exciting to see it soar upwards and help start a new era of space exploration.

Amazing photo of the launch with the moon in the background (click on the photo above to see it, and it’s not composited, this was an actual shot.  You can tell by the pressure waves from the rocket exhaust warping the bottom of the moon).

Great shot of the moment SLS went supersonic!

8 million pounds of thrust….

Liftoff beauty shot…

And a frikk’n amazing tracking shot at the moment of booster separation!

Wonder Wednesday

When I visited the Amager Bakke, the power plant + ski hill (no, really!) in Copenhagen, besides the ski slope not being open yet (we unfortunately visited just a scant month or so before completion), there was this other odd thing they were adding to the side of the building.  I didn’t realize what it was at the time, but turns out it’s a giant climbing wall.  And I do mean giant.  The building is tall enough for a ski slope… so this thing is 85 meters (280 feet) tall!  It’s so tall it’s a 4 pitch lead/sport climb only, and requires a multi-pitch certification just to climb it’s 4 lanes (8 routes total).  Amazing.

Check out more, including route topos, videos, and more at https://www.dbkk.dk/amagernordvaeg/vaeggen and https://www.copenhill.dk/en/aktiviteter/klatring

Philosophy Tuesday

“Everything I had thought was wrong.

Everything I had expected to see was wrong.

I had thought that going into space would be the ultimate catharsis of that connection I had been looking for between all living things—that being up there would be the next beautiful step to understanding the harmony of the universe. In the film “Contact,” when Jodie Foster’s character goes to space and looks out into the heavens, she lets out an astonished whisper, “They should’ve sent a poet.” I had a different experience, because I discovered that the beauty isn’t out there, it’s down here, with all of us. Leaving that behind made my connection to our tiny planet even more profound.

It was among the strongest feelings of grief I have ever encountered. The contrast between the vicious coldness of space and the warm nurturing of Earth below filled me with overwhelming sadness. Every day, we are confronted with the knowledge of further destruction of Earth at our hands: the extinction of animal species, of flora and fauna . . . things that took five billion years to evolve, and suddenly we will never see them again because of the interference of mankind. It filled me with dread. My trip to space was supposed to be a celebration; instead, it felt like a funeral…

[Seeing our precious earth from space] can change the way we look at the planet but also other things like countries, ethnicities, religions; it can prompt an instant reevaluation of our shared harmony and a shift in focus to all the wonderful things we have in common instead of what makes us different. It reinforced tenfold my own view on the power of our beautiful, mysterious collective human entanglement, and eventually, it returned a feeling of hope to my heart.

In this insignificance we share, we have one gift that other species perhaps do not: we are aware—not only of our insignificance, but the grandeur around us that makes us insignificant. That allows us perhaps a chance to rededicate ourselves to our planet, to each other, to life and love all around us.

If we seize that chance.”

William Shatner

 

Philosophy Tuesday

And now for some lynx musings on all types of art! *

  • Art for beauty’s sake is OK.  Not all art needs to have deep, layered, meanings or messages.  Art for pleasure and the visceral experience is a thing, and it can be a great thing.
  • Art that is rife with intended meaning is also a great thing.  Art that causes us to reflect, discover, that shakes our foundations, that leaves us moved, that are profound, are all great.
  • Move around.  Stand close to the work.  Stand far away from the work.  See it in context.  Focus in on a little detail.  Watch the light fall across it.  Whole new experiences can be had just by observing differently.
  • It’s OK to love something.  You don’t need to erect a barrier between you and it through intellect, or identity, or etc.  Think of Anton Ego from Ratatouille – his big transformation comes when he drops his identity as a critic and returns to liking food (and being able to enjoy it).
  • Very importantly adding to the previous: you can like something without needing to define it in opposition to something else.  Avoid that trap.
  • Liking something, and critiquing something, are two different things.  Critiquing is its own and developed skill that requires contemplation and consideration of the work from several angles.  To make a critique is to put yourself on the line, vulnerable.  At the same time, you must also stand outside of yourself;  a critique may include whether you like it or not, but the bulk of the critique is irrespective of that (dis)like.
  • Art is hard.  Ever create something?  From scratch?  It can be HARD.  A struggle, even.  Remember that it is often difficult enough just trying to communicate something to a friend through words, let alone trying to emote or connect to a stranger through artwork.  Remember this before you dismiss a work.
  • If visiting a gallery, remember to pay attention to the gallery itself.  The architecture can be a piece of art in its own right!
  • Variety makes life awesome.  That things exist outside the “ordinary” bounds or definitions – or outside of what you like/find lovely – is vital.  Let diversity flourish, even if its not your thing.  And (at least occasionally) engage with it… who knows, you may find yourself coming around to it.
  • Installation art and spatial art are the best.  (Ok, natch, this one’s not a musing… but I do love them!)

 

* Including painting, sculpture, photography, cooking, architecture, writing, movies…