How Humans first walked on the Moon in Apollo 11

Aldrin Looks Back at Tranquility Base during the Apollo 11 mission

Vox has a terrific video that explains how the Apollo 11 mission worked, and how the astronauts that took part in the mission made their way to the Moon and back.

If you’re into old footage of historical events like this, also be sure to check out the CBS coverage of the lunar landing (also courtesy of NASA):

Earth’s 5 continents

My daughter informed me that, according to her teacher, there are 5 continents:

  1. The Americas (because North and South America are connected)
  2. Africa
  3. Australia
  4. Europe
  5. Asia (no comment on how connected Europe and Asia are)

Antarctica is apparently just a really big block of ice …

The world really has changed since I was at school … 🌎

Update: One of my colleagues pointed out that there are a few ways to count the continents (SPOILER: Each method includes Antarctica).

Scientific papers shouldn’t be published as PDFs

Jupyter notebook examples
Examples of Jupyter notebooks

I enjoyed James Somers’ article in the Atlantic titled “The Scientific Paper Is Obsolete” about how the standard format for scientific papers, namely PDF, is no longer the appropriate format for such data-intensive work.

This is, of course, the whole problem of scientific communication in a nutshell: Scientific results today are as often as not found with the help of computers. That’s because the ideas are complex, dynamic, hard to grab ahold of in your mind’s eye. And yet by far the most popular tool we have for communicating these results is the PDF—literally a simulation of a piece of paper. Maybe we can do better.

The article recounts the history of Wolfram’s Wolfram Mathematica notebook model, and the rise of Jupyter notebooks as an open source alternative that’s also rising to prominence in the space.

I love the idea of more open, more dynamic formats for sharing knowledge, capturing ideas, and promoting access to knowledge.

Taking a park breather

It’s easy to get so caught up in work. I forget how nice it is to take a break, and head to the park towards the end of a day. 🌳

You’d think that I’d get out more given that I work from home, but I seem to do it less frequently.

Modiin-Maccabim-Reut, Center District, Israel

Technically Autumn, and yet

I popped out for a walk after a relatively sedentary morning. It’s technically Autumn, but still pretty hot.

At the same time, those clouds have returned so there is a seasonal change on the way. Thank goodness. 🌦️

Modiin-Maccabim-Reut, Center District, Israel

Gazing up at Mars

I get a kick out of looking up at the night sky, and seeing Mars all the way up there, like a reddish star.

It’s exciting contemplating another planet in our Solar System that Humans will eventually visit.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech 

A preview of the The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History

We visited the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History with our kids today. It’s a remarkable museum, well worth visiting, with or without kids.

We took a train into Tel Aviv to visit the museum during its trial phase. Here’s an explanation about this from the museum’s website:

The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History in Tel Aviv, located adjacent to Tel Aviv University, will open fully this upcoming September.

As of July 2, the museum has been open for a trial run to test crowd flow and to get feedback on the exhibits, according to Professor Tamar Dayan, the Museum’s chair.
“For the trial run, we open for about four hours a day and we limit the number of visitors because we first want to finish the exhibitions properly and then we want to work out any kinks there may be,” Professor Dayan said.

The museum houses over five and a half million specimen.

My wife, Gina, booked tickets a few weeks ago. We arrived around 11:30 for the afternoon round of visitors.

The museum’s exhibits are spread over three levels (there’s a fourth planned, I believe), and it’s a terrific explanation of Israel’s ecology, and natural history. Each section is themed, with explanations in Hebrew, English, and Arabic.

One of the more interesting exhibits is on the third floor. It’s inspired by how birds construct their nests. At least, that’s what I understood from this one. It didn’t seem to have English explanations of several aspects of the exhibit.

We took our own lunch. There’s a deck with both outdoor and indoor seating where you can sit, and eat as you make your way through the exhibits.

The museum is really well thought out. The exhibits are fascinating, and I like how they’re put together. Our kids really enjoyed exploring different facets of Israel’s natural history, and its varied ecosystems.

One aspect of the museum that I really like is how we have insight into the work behind the scenes. The biodiversity section (a fascinating exhibit in its own right) includes windows into the team’s storage area, and even a section where a team member was working on a new extension of an exhibit.

This sort of approach is a great way to involve visitors in what the team’s doing, and a terrific way to show us that this is an evolving project. This was a fun visit, I look forward to visiting again some day.

Klausner St 12, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel

Somehow the clouds make the heat less oppressive

It’s mid-Summer in this part of the world. It’s generally pretty hot, as you can imagine.

Somehow, having some cloud cover makes the heat a little less oppressive.