TIME Magazine Expert: “You Should Be ‘A Little Bit Worried’ About That Falling Satellite”


Here we go again.  In September 2011, NASA’s Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS), which was launched in 1993 to study climate conditions, was falling to earth.  It was expected to be, by NASA’s own admission, “the largest uncontrolled re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere” in more than 30 years. In the excitement, I penned a Prayer for Just in Case a Satellite Lands on Your Head.  It was a pretty smooth prayer, I thought, helping to put one in the proper mindset for … [Read more...]

Bar Codes in the Darnedest Places!

Sidewalk chalk

When I was a child, we played with chalk.  We signed our names, we sketched daisies and diamonds and puppy dogs.  Left to our own devices on carefree summer days, we personalized our world.  Like the raucous undergrads who sneaked out and painted The Rock on Washtenaw Avenue, near the University of Michigan campus, we altered our environment simply to show that We. Were. There. But in 2012, sidewalk chalk has been trumped by a new, technological signature:  the QR code.  QR codes are … [Read more...]

THE DEADLY “TE DEUM”: Jean Baptiste Lully’s Performance Gone Awry


Jean Baptiste Lully is the only person ever known to have suffered Death By Conducting. The Italian-born composer who became the Surintendant de la musique de la chamber du roi (the Superintendent of Music to the King of France), Jean Baptiste Lully had a humble beginning:  He was born in Florence, Italy, the son of a working-class miller. From Dishwasher to Guitarist Lully was not well schooled; but with the help of a Franciscan friar, he learned basic techniques on the guitar.  After … [Read more...]