The Rock n' Roll Romper Room Magazine

a coupla songs and some stuff

Space Shuttle Lands In Washington DC

April 20th, 2012

NASA Transfers Shuttle Discovery to National Air and Space Museum

Focuses on Bold New Era of Space Exploration

Space Shuttle Rides a Jet to the Air and Space Museum

Space Shuttle Rides a Jet to the Air and Space Museum

WASHINGTON, D.C. — NASA transferred space shuttle Discovery to the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum during a ceremony Thursday, April 19, at the Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.

“Today, while we look back at Discovery’s amazing legacy, I also want to look forward to what she and the shuttle fleet helped to make possible,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “As NASA transfers the shuttle orbiters to museums across the country, we are embarked on an exciting new space exploration journey. Relying on American ingenuity and know-how, NASA is partnering with private industry to provide crew and cargo transportation to the International Space Station, while developing the most powerful rocket ever built to take the nation farther than ever before into the solar system.”

National Air and Space Museum Director, General John “Jack” Dailey said, “Discovery has distinguished itself as the champion of America’s shuttle fleet. In its new home, it will shine as an American icon, educating and inspiring people of all ages for generations to come. The Museum is committed to teaching and inspiring youngsters, so that they will climb the ladder of academic success and choose professions that will help America be competitive and successful in the world of tomorrow.”

In this new era of exploration, NASA will build the capabilities to send humans deeper into space than ever before. NASA is using the space station as a test bed and stepping stone for the journey ahead. The agency is changing the way it does business and fostering a commercial industry that will safely service low Earth orbit, so NASA can focus its energy and resources on sending astronauts to an asteroid by 2025 and eventually to Mars in the 2030s.

The space station is the centerpiece of NASA’s human spaceflight activities in low Earth orbit. It is fully staffed with an international crew of six, and American astronauts will continue to live and work there 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, as they have for more than 11 years. Part of the U.S. portion of the station has been designated as a national laboratory, and NASA is committed to using this unique resource for scientific research.

The station is testing exploration technologies such as autonomous refueling of spacecraft, advanced life support systems and human/robotic interfaces. Commercial companies are well on their way to providing cargo and crew flights to the station, allowing NASA to focus its attention on the next steps into our solar system.

For more information about NASA, visit:

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Gummi Bears: Expert Says Global Warming May Be The End

April 16th, 2012

WEST CHESTER, PENNSYLVANIA, USA — Will human induced climate change cause the extinction of the Gummi Bear? An expert from West Chester University says, “Yes.”

Stay tuned for the gooey details.

More from the experiment “Human Induced Climate Change”


April 4th, 2012

Is there really a place called Timbuktu? Yes, though it has fallen into mayhem. No one knows who is in charge any more.

“”Omg! Just found out Timbuktu is a real place!”

The news that the city of Timbuktu has been seized by ethnic Tuaregs has had some tweeters scratching their heads, unaware up to now that it even existed.

While some people will be familiar with the Tuareg people, almost everyone will recognise the place name Timbuktu, even if they think it’s mythical.” — BBC

Opels Lose Their Luster

March 23rd, 2012

Australia’s historic opal industry dying off

By Brigid Andersen

Updated March 22, 2012 01:40:41

Opal miner Branko Brankovic checks his conveyer next to his opal mine. Photo: Opal miner Branko Brankovic checks the conveyer at his opal mine in the Queensland outback town of Opalton. (Mick Tsikas: AAP)

As the mining boom roars on, a small, historic part of the industry has been forgotten.

The vast, arid gem fields of South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland are some of the few places in the world where opals can be found.

But this iconic piece of Australian history is being killed off as tourism figures decline and the number of people taking up the opal mining trade plummets.

Kev Phillips has been mining opals in Queensland since the 1980s and says he is struggling to see a future for the industry.

“It’s a very colourful industry; we’ve got people from all walks of life, doctors, teachers, immigrants, it’s classic,” he said.

It’s not an occupation, it’s a vocation. It’s very seldom people in their life can find something that they love.

Opal miner Kev Phillips

“It’s a fantastic sort of industry and it’ll be a tragedy to lose this iconic way of life and the people involved.

“But it is happening.”

He jokes of how he was born with a natural love for gems.

“As a child I’ve had a genetic interest – coming from a long line of criminals – in gemstones,” he said.

He says it is love not money that moves people to some of the hottest, remote parts of the country to dig for opals.

“It’s not an occupation, it’s a vocation,” he said.

“It’s very seldom people in their life can find something that they love.

“You wouldn’t do it for the money.

“I’d earn more money working for the coal seam gas companies.”

Opal miners near Quilpie Photo: A couple of opal miners take a break in the gem fields near Quilpie. (Kev Phillips)

He says young people interested in opal mining are now lured away by the fat pay cheques offered by big mining companies.

And Mr Phillips says many of the older opal miners have been forced out of business by a mountain of fees and paperwork imposed by state governments.

“In this term of the Bligh Government we have seen fee increases and legislation pushed through without any consultation whatsoever,” he said.

“They’ve imposed these costs and now we have to just live with them, which is deterring small scale mining from progressing and being a substantial part of the economics of regional Queensland.”

Mr Phillips, who is also head of the Queensland Small Miners Council, says opal miners have been unfairly restricted by laws aimed at the coal seam gas industry.

“We’re only very low impact operations generally, we have to rehabilitate our sites,” he said.

“We had an interest in being involved in this new legislation but the Department didn’t even contact us to see how these new laws for coal seam gas would affect our industry.

“We met with (Queensland Environment Minister) Kate Jones and she more or less implied to us about our concerns that we were environmental vandals and put us in the same boat.

“We were astonished.”

He says unless legislation is wound back, the future for all small miners is bleak.

“It’s not only opal, it’s sapphires and small gold miners,” he said.

“For us it’s been a way of life.

“It’s a lifestyle that’s historical part of Queensland’s identity since day dot.

“What’s happening is the Government is slowly taking away that right in favour of large mining with unionised staff.”

The Hammonds opal mine Photo: The Hammonds opal mine near Quilpie is over 100 years old and is still operational. (Kev Phillips)

Away from the rough mining camps of inland Australia, the opal trade is also struggling on the tourist glitter strips of the coast.

Marketed as Australia’s national gemstone, opals have always been a hit with overseas visitors.

I’ve been doing this for 25 years and this is definitely the toughest period that I’ve seen.

Opal retailer Scott Coggan

But with tourist numbers dropping since the global financial crisis, the economies of tourist centres like Cairns and the Gold and Sunshine coasts are hurting.

Scott Coggan, an opal cutter and manager of Opals Down Under on the Sunshine Coast, says times are tough for opal retailers.

“I’ve been doing this for 25 years and this is definitely the toughest period that I’ve seen,” he said.

Mr Coggan says the industry is facing a massive change.

“It’s a different type of tourist that we’re getting through. For us here on the Sunshine Coast the Americans that are not travelling here at the moment, that’s certainly made a big dent,” he said.

Coober Pedy opals Photo: Opals for sale in Coober Pedy, South Australia (Emma Pedler)

“We’ve had to change tack and look at other avenues. We’re predominantly targeting a lot of the interstate markets – a lot of Sydney, Melbourne people, the younger market.”

He is confident the industry can survive the retail slump, so long as the mining trade can attract some young blood.

“The biggest challenge for the industry is getting some incentive for young people to get into the mining sector,” he said.

“Anyone that was doing that has now headed off to the resources boom. They can get a steady $100,000 pay cheque without risking their lives underground.”

Mr Phillips agrees.

He says unless the Government steps in, the colourful existence of the opal miner will be consigned to Australia’s history.

“For the small battler like myself that came through the ranks and had an interest in gemstones as a child and got into it as a hobby and then a career path – for it to be over-regulated as it is is just taking that right away,” he said.

“It’s a tragic day for our country when that happens.”

Topics: mining-industry, industry, business-economics-and-finance, mining-rural, states-and-territories, tourism, opalton-4735, qld, australia, quilpie-4480

Heavenly View of the East Coast

February 10th, 2012
The East Coast of the United States from Space

The East Coast of the United States from Space

This Jan. 29 panorama of much of the East Coast, photographed by one of the Expedition 30 crew members aboard the International Space Station, provides a look generally northeastward: Philadelphia-New York City-Boston corridor (bottom-center); western Lake Ontario shoreline with Toronto (left edge); Montreal (near center). An optical illusion in the photo makes the atmospheric limb and light activity from Aurora Borealis appear “intertwined.”


February 3rd, 2012
Special Picture Of Earth

Special Picture Of Earth


Go here to view an image that explains how composite images like these are created:

Responding to public demand, NASA scientists created a companion image to the wildly popular ‘Blue Marble’ released last week (January 25, 2012).

The new image is a composite of six separate orbits taken on January 23, 2012 by the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite. Both of these new ‘Blue Marble’ images are images taken by a new instrument flying aboard Suomi NPP, the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS).

Compiled by NASA Goddard scientist Norman Kuring, this image has the perspective of a viewer looking down from 7,918 miles (about 12,742 kilometers) above the Earth’s surface from a viewpoint of 10 degrees South by 45 degrees East. The four vertical lines of ‘haze’ visible in this image shows the reflection of sunlight off the ocean, or ‘glint,’ that VIIRS captured as it orbited the globe. Suomi NPP is the result of a partnership between NASA, NOAA and the Department of Defense.


For more information about Suomi NPP go to:

NASA image use policy.

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center enables NASA’s mission through four scientific endeavors: Earth Science, Heliophysics, Solar System Exploration, and Astrophysics. Goddard plays a leading role in NASA’s accomplishments by contributing compelling scientific knowledge to advance the Agency’s mission.

Will the New Owners of FaceBook Be Responsible?

January 28th, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA: The word on the street is FaceBook may be going public (in an IPO) as soon as this coming week.

Will the new owners of FaceBook, those people who buy shares, be responsible for my privacy and security? Is it possible for individual shareholders to be accountable for what their company does?

At one point in time, people believed the corporate umbrella might shield them from illegal activities. Then, board members and executives found they were the defendants in civil and criminal suits. They thought a new type of insurance would protect them. It does not.

Geomagnetic Storm Watch

January 23rd, 2012

As the strongest Solar Radiation Storm (S3) since May, 2005 continues, the associated Earthward-directed Coronal Mass Ejection is expected to arrive about 1400 UT (9am EST) Jan 24. SWPC has issued a Geomagnetic Storm Watch with G2 level storming likely and G3 level storming possible, with the storm continuing into Wednesday, Jan 25. All of this activity is related to a moderate (R2) Radio Blackout x-ray flare that erupted Sunday night (11pm EST).

Geomagnetic Storm Photo of the Sun

Geomagnetic Storm Photo of the Sun

NOAA Updates

Google and Wikipedia Blackout Protest Over U.S. Internet Legislation

January 18th, 2012


If you go to today, you get a black page asking you to protest. If you to Google today, you will find their logo blacked-out and a plea to protest., The and have also *blacked-out* in support of the protest.

What has Internet intellectuals all in an up-roar?

Millions of Americans oppose SOPA and PIPA because these bills would censor the Internet and slow economic growth in the U.S.

Two bills before Congress, known as the Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House, would censor the Web and impose harmful regulations on American business. Millions of Internet users and entrepreneurs already oppose SOPA and PIPA.

The Senate will begin voting on January 24th. Please let them know how you feel. Sign this petition urging Congress to vote NO on PIPA and SOPA before it is too late.

Tell Congress: Don’t censor the Web

Fighting online piracy is important. The most effective way to shut down pirate websites is through targeted legislation that cuts off their funding. There’s no need to make American social networks, blogs and search engines censor the Internet or undermine the existing laws that have enabled the Web to thrive, creating millions of U.S. jobs.

Too much is at stake – please vote NO on PIPA and SOPA.

– Google

Wikipedia Homepage Blackout Protesting USA Legislation

Wikipedia Homepage Blackout Protesting USA Legislation

Google Homepage Blackout Protesting USA Legislation

Google Homepage Blackout Protesting USA Legislation

President Obama Signs Indefinite Detention Bill Into Law

January 3rd, 2012

by the American Civil Liberties Union

WASHINGTON, DC – President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law today. The statute contains a sweeping worldwide indefinite detention provision. While President Obama issued a signing statement saying he had “serious reservations” about the provisions, the statement only applies to how his administration would use the authorities granted by the NDAA, and would not affect how the law is interpreted by subsequent administrations. The White House had threatened to veto an earlier version of the NDAA, but reversed course shortly before Congress voted on the final bill.

“President Obama’s action today is a blight on his legacy because he will forever be known as the president who signed indefinite detention without charge or trial into law,” said Anthony D. Romero, ACLU executive director. “The statute is particularly dangerous because it has no temporal or geographic limitations, and can be used by this and future presidents to militarily detain people captured far from any battlefield. The ACLU will fight worldwide detention authority wherever we can, be it in court, in Congress, or internationally.”

Under the Bush administration, similar claims of worldwide detention authority were used to hold even a U.S. citizen detained on U.S. soil in military custody, and many in Congress now assert that the NDAA should be used in the same way again. The ACLU believes that any military detention of American citizens or others within the United States is unconstitutional and illegal, including under the NDAA. In addition, the breadth of the NDAA’s detention authority violates international law because it is not limited to people captured in the context of an actual armed conflict as required by the laws of war.

“We are incredibly disappointed that President Obama signed this new law even though his administration had already claimed overly broad detention authority in court,” said Romero. “Any hope that the Obama administration would roll back the constitutional excesses of George Bush in the war on terror was extinguished today. Thankfully, we have three branches of government, and the final word belongs to the Supreme Court, which has yet to rule on the scope of detention authority. But Congress and the president also have a role to play in cleaning up the mess they have created because no American citizen or anyone else should live in fear of this or any future president misusing the NDAA’s detention authority.”

The bill also contains provisions making it difficult to transfer suspects out of military detention, which prompted FBI Director Robert Mueller to testify that it could jeopardize criminal investigations. It also restricts the transfers of cleared detainees from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay to foreign countries for resettlement or repatriation, making it more difficult to close Guantanamo, as President Obama pledged to do in one of his first acts in office.

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