Odds & Ends @ The End of the Week

If you get up reeeaaallly early on Sunday, you may be able to see the last-ever nighttime launch of the space shuttle. According to Space.com, if the sky is clear, the 4:39am launch should be visible from most of the eastern US.

After the solid rocket boosters are jettisoned, Endeavour will be visible for most locations by virtue of the light emanating from its three main engines. It should appear as a very bright, pulsating, fast-moving star, shining with a yellowish-orange glow. Based on previous night missions, the brightness should be at least equal to magnitude -2; rivaling Sirius, the brightest star in brilliance. Observers who train binoculars on the shuttle should be able to see its tiny V-shaped contrail.

If you miss it Sunday morning, you’ll still have a chance to see both the shuttle and the International Space Station as they orbit the earth; during this 13-day mission, they’ll be visible before dawn across North America and Europe.

You’ll want to get up early on Sunday, anyway, if you’re looking to buy tickets to see James Taylor and Carole King at Tanglewood this summer. The shed has already sold out, before the shows have even gone on sale to the general public. If you want to score lawn tickets, you’d better by trying at 8am this Sunday, February 7.

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Web entertainer (and Nippertown native) Ze Frank posted a phone number online, asking people to call and leave a message if they were feeling emotional distress. 53 people responded.

He then turned the messages over to a group of musicians and DJs, asking them to extract sound samples from them using any method they wished, so long as they were unrecognizable. He received back 138 samples, which he posted and invited people to use to create new musical works. Now he’s posted some of the songs that he’s been sent.

This Metafilter thread discusses the morality of this, but personally we think this quote by Chris, one of the DJs who chopped up the samples, sums up the both the intent and the message of the project:

…I felt a responsibility to do each person’s pain justice by making something crazy cool out of it, and I felt like crap when I couldn’t. It was as if I failed to console them.

It makes me consider what kind of impact more empathy would have on our culture.

The Hapi drum, available in standard and custom tunings.

Previously: Hang Drum Solo

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