A 1,000 Mile Per Hour Car? Let’s Do It!


I’m a sucker for gearhead related stuff like this. Slap four wheels on something that includes a Formula-One engine, a Typhoon fighter plane jet engine AND a rocket motor? I’m definitely interested.

ABC News has the clip (pardon any commercials), [Read more...]

Source of Global Climate Change Found! UPDATED

And try as we might, it’s completely beyond our control…

Image Credit: NASA’s GSFC, SDO AIA Team

Smart folks explain, [Read more...]

Neil Armstrong and the Landing of the “Eagle” UPDATED

Over at Mental Floss, there’s a great recap of the life and career of Neil Armstrong. I’ll provide you the link in a moment. But first I wanted to share the following narrative of the landing as told by astronauts Alan Shepard and Deke Slayton (with able help by writers Jay Barbree and Howard Benedict) in their book Moon Shot: The Inside Story of America’s Race to the Moon. This is a lot like an episode from Paul Harvey’s  The Rest of the Story. We begin at 1300 feet and falling… [Read more...]

Curiosity’s 7 Minutes of Terror!!! (Because Catholics Can Dig Science)

It doesn’t get much cooler than this… [Read more...]

When Galaxies Collide! Perhaps We Should Start Panicking Now?

 

Noooooooooooooooo!

We interrupt your normal fears and insecurities with a scary story that our best scientists have concluded will take place shortly. That is, if you consider 4-ish billion years from now as “short.”

Truth be told, if it’s going to happen, it has already happened, in God’s time. Anyway, it’s a really neat looking composite artists rendition of the future “Andromeda Way” Galaxy Corp. Don’t worry, as it will truly be a merger of equals. More like a marriage made in heaven. Did I mention that it will take another 2.5 to 3 billion years to consumate? A snap of the finger, literally. The folks at Space.com have the scoop, [Read more...]

There Are Zombies (For Reals!), and They are Ants…

The photograph above is creepy, ain’t it? But seeing as how the researchers don’t say that these fellows are cannibalistic, ant-eating zombie ants, I think I can still sleep well tonight. Because, as you well know by now, Catholics dig science. NPR (yep, those publicly funded, corporate sponsored, vagabonds) ) have the story.

Zombie’ Ants And The Fungus That Saves Them [Read more...]

Riding the Shuttle Solid Rocket Boosters (Because Catholics Dig Science)

Way back at the end of January and into early February, I was pretending to pilot the Space Shuttle into orbit. Remember those heady days when ya’ll (29,172 of you) signed the little petition that could? Exciting times on the USS Freedom of Concience!

Well, what we have here is the sights and sounds of the launch of the Space Shuttle from the perspective of the reusable solid propellant boosters. [Read more...]

Sign the Petition for the “Life At Conception Act” UPDATED

“Crazy” must run in the Paul family or something. Or is that “keraaayyyzy?” Either way, it’s probably a good thing. You know, back on Saturday, the Gospel Reading was one of the shortest you’ll ever hear being read at mass. It was from Mark’s Gospel. Did you see it? [Read more...]

Because This Makes Me Speechless

And to whom have ye likened me, or made me equal, saith the Holy One? Lift up your eyes on high, and see who hath created these things: who bringeth out their host by number, and calleth them all by their names: by the greatness of his might, and strength, and power, not one of them was missing. (Isaiah 40:24-25)

The awesomeness of the above photograph cannot be denied. That’s the latest shot taken by the Cassini probe to Saturn (and her moons). I just saw it on Yahoo! and had to share it with you.

Here’s a snippet from the article,

Taken by NASA’s Cassini robotic orbiter, the shot was captured from the dark side of Saturn as the Sun’s bright rays illuminated every piece of dust and debris circling the planet. Cassini has offered astronomers a never-before-seen look at Saturn and revealed more information about the planet than any craft before it. The craft has taken so many pictures of the ringed wonder that they were recently made into a short flyby film that looks like it was created by George Lucas rather than a robotic space explorer.

Here is that film,

5.6k Saturn Cassini Photographic Animation from stephen v2 on Vimeo.

Wow! How amazing is that?

When my family lived in California, we used to go check out the free Open House that was held annually at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It was just up the road from us in La Cañada Flintridge. One of those times (I think it was when the Mars rover Spirit had just landed), we got to watch a neat movie about the Cassini mission, and the Huygens probe it dropped on the moon Titan. It was sort of like this,

Learn more about the Cassini mission over at the JPL website.

Because Breast is Best (in honor of International Women’s Day)

Guest post by Allison
Quick: Who said this about breastfeeding? “Mothers need time, information and support. So much is expected of women in many societies that time to devote to breast-feeding and early care is not always available.” The answer: Pope John Paul II.

Most of us don’t expect a priest, much less a pope, to be weighing in on breastfeeding. But the late Pontiff made a compelling case in a 1995 address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society of Britain:

In normal circumstances these (advantages of breastfeeding for mother and child) include two major benefits to the child: protection against disease and proper nourishment. Moreover, in addition to these immunological and nutritional effects, this natural way of feeding can create a bond of love and security between mother and child, and enable the child to assert its presence as a person through interaction with the mother.

After I married, I decided to breastfeed any children I would bear. My mom, born in the 1930s, was part of a generation of American women discouraged by physicians from breastfeeding. To give a sense of the prevailing attitude of those times, one friend’s mom asked her obstetrician about breastfeeding. He told her, “Breastfeeding is for peasants.”

My mom became pregnant six times in seven years, and told me she loved breastfeeding her oldest child for a couple of months and regretted she had not had support to continue with my oldest brother and her subsequent babies.

Pope John Paul II rightly traced the decline of breastfeeding to “a combination of social factors, such as urbanization and the increasing demands placed on women, to healthcare policies and practices, and to marketing strategies for alternate forms of nourishment.”

Before I had babies, I read up on breastfeeding in The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. One of its authors is Edwina Froehlich, co-founder of La Leche League International, the breastfeeding advocacy group that provides education and support to mothers. It didn’t surprise me to learn Froehlich was a devout Catholic, as were all the women in that first La Leche Group. Even the organization’s name has Catholic roots. The group had been intrigued by the first Marian shrine in North America, dedicated in 1598 by Spanish settlers in St. Augustine, Florida. It is called Nuestra Senora de la Leche y Buen Parto (Our Lady of Happy Delivery and Plentiful Milk) (left).

Breastfeeding did not come easily to me. In September 1996, during the early hours of our first son’s life, I eagerly awaited for him to “latch on” and begin nursing. After a few false starts, I thought we both had figured it out. Imagine my terror as I held Gabriel in my arms to feed him and he turned purple and stiff and stopped breathing. I called for the nurse, assuming our baby had just died.

As it turned out, Gabriel was having a seizure, the first of several in his early months. The purple color was vasoconstriction, not a sign of death. (Of course, the breastfeeding had nothing to do with the seizures.) Gabriel spent his first eight days in the neonatal intensive care unit of Saint Peter’s Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey, while neonatologists tried to sort out what was wrong with him. Did he have a cerebellum? Did he have anatomical brain damage? Brain bruising? Mental retardation?

With our son attached to feeding tubes and breathing monitors, I could not breastfeed; I could not hold him; I could not take him home. In fact, neither we nor the physicians knew if he would come home at all.

Thank God the nurses at this Catholic hospital immediately encouraged me to pump my own breast milk. They sent my tiny bags of expressed milk via a pneumatic tube from my hospital room to the neonatal unit, where they were put into his feeding tubes, along with infant formula.

When I returned home from maternity ward, I pumped breast milk every four hours, including through the night, so that I would be ready to nurse our baby when he was ready. This enabled me to nurture Gabriel even while he was in neonatal intensive care.

Throughout this ordeal, it was reassuring to know that my Church “got it”—understood my efforts meant I could nurture our infant. I was able to nurse Gabriel when he did come home—medicated and with a diagnosis of Benign Transient Neonatal Seizure Disorder. (In other words, these benign seizures had no known cause.)

This experience made it clear to me that God designed women’s bodies so we could bear children. What a blessing my body fed my unborn child and through breastfeeding, the son I had just delivered into the world.

As Pope John Paul II put it in his Apostolic Letter on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: “Motherhood implies from the beginning [from creation] a special openness to the new person. . . . In this openness . . . the woman discovers herself through a sincere gift of self.”


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