Saturday Scenes

Wed 22 June 2011

The Moon is on Fire

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 14:43

On the 18th of June in 1178, about an hour after sunset, five monks from Canterbury saw “fire, hot coals, and sparks” bursting from the moon. They told their story to Gervase of Canterbury whose chronical includes their description of the event.

Gervase reported that the upper horn of the bright, new crescent moon “suddenly split in two. From the midpoint of this division a flaming torch sprang up, spewing out fire, hot coals and sparks. The body of the moon, which was below, writhed and throbbed like a wounded snake.”

Many astronomers believed that the monks had watched a meteorite impact the moon, creating the lunar crater known as Giordano Bruno. However, there are no other records of the event. Even more telling, there’s no historical record of any after-effects, while astronomers say that such an impact would have triggered a “blizzard-like, week-long meteor storm on Earth” which would certainly have attracted notice.

The Mysterious Case of Crater Giordano Bruno – NASA Science

I think they happened to be at the right place at the right time to look up in the sky and see a meteor that was directly in front of the moon, coming straight towards them.

And it was a pretty spectacular meteor that burst into flames in the Earth’s atmosphere — fizzling, bubbling, and spluttering. If you were in the right one-to-two kilometer patch on Earth’s surface, you’d get the perfect geometry. That would explain why only five people are recorded to have seen it.

The five monks really missed out. They should have made a wish!

Meanwhile, on the 18th of June in 2011, these superstars submitted Saturday scenes:

If you are looking for fun people to follow on Twitter, you’d do well to follow these fine folk:

Have you got a camera or a smart phone?

You should take a photograph on Saturday. It’s easy to join us!

Simply send a tweet to @SatScenes with the url and the location and all the rest happens automatically!

I’m looking forward to seeing your Saturday Scene in the next edition!

Thu 16 June 2011

International Surrealism? We have that covered!

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 19:41

On the 11th of June in 1936, the International Surrealist Exhibition opened in London. It was a joint effort between Britain and France and opened by André Breton, a French writer and poet known as the “principal initiator” of Surrealism. Two thousand people arrived on the opening day and the average attendence over the week was about a thousand people per day.

As a part of the exhibition, Salvador Dalí gave a lecture entitled Fantomes paranoiaques authentiques.

London International Surrealist Exhibition – Wikipedia

Dali’s lecture was delivered whilst wearing a deep-sea diving suit. Nearly suffocating during the presentation, Dali had to be rescued by the young poet, David Gascoyne, who arrived with a spanner to release him from the diving helmet.

And this is why you should only deliver art whilst wearing comfortable clothing.

Which is exactly what these people did (to the best of my knowledge) on the 11th of June in 2011:

Not one of these special people suffocated while submitting to Satscenes:

Why don’t you join us? It’s easy:

  1. Take a photograph on a Saturday
  2. Upload the photograph
  3. Send a tweet to @SatScenes with the url

I’m looking forward to seeing your Saturday Scene in the next edition!

Thu 9 June 2011

Why do we never say fork and knife?

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 09:13

On the 4th of June 1704, Benjamin Huntsman was born in Lincolnshire.

He ran a business as a clockmaker in Doncaster but a constant frustration to him was the quality of common German steel, which he considered unsuitable for his clockwork pieces. He experimented secretly and as a result, he invented cast steel. However, his peers in Sheffield disapproved and he exported all of his cast steel to France.

Even after it was clear that both the English and French consumers preferred cast-steel cutlery, the Sheffield manufacturers did not care to use the cast steel but instead attempted to prohibit Huntsman’s exportation to France. As they had no intention of using it themselves, it is likely that Sheffield would have lost the cast-steel industry completely. However, as the parliament refused to prohibit the exportation, the Sheffield cutlers instead tried to learn Huntsman’s secret.

As Huntsman had not patented his process, his only protection was in preserving it as much a mystery as possible. ‘All his workmen were pledged to secrecy, strangers were carefully excluded from the works, and the whole of the steel made was melted during the night.’ It is said that the person who first succeeded in copying Huntsman’s process was an ironfounder named Walker, who carried on his business at Greenside, near Sheffield, and it was certainly there that the making of cast steel was next begun. Walker, disguised as a tramp, appeared shivering at the door of Huntsman’s foundry late one wintry night, when the workmen were about to begin, obtained permission to warm himself by the furnace fire, and when supposed to be asleep watched the process.

After this, cast-steel manufacturers suddenly appeared all over Sheffield. Huntsman’s business remained successful despite this treachery. After his death in 1776, hundredweights of steel were found buried and hidden in various stages of failure as a result of his secret experiments.

Over 300 years later on the 4th of June 2011, people all over the world put down their cutlery (silverware for USians, even if they are cast steel) and took these lovely photographs:

Take a moment to look at the Twitter streams of our SatScene submitters and you’ll find lots of interesting people to follow:

Saturday Scenes is a great way to see the world from someone else’s point of view! Taking part is easy:

1. Take a photograph on a Saturday
2. Send it to @SatScenes on Twitter
3. Wait for the webpage to get updated
4. Oooh and aah over all the great submissions from all over the world!

So take a photograph this weekend and send it to @SatScenes!

Thu 2 June 2011

On a Wing and a Prayer

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 19:31

On the 28th of May in 1987, a 19-year old German flew a Cessna 172 to the Red Square. Matthias Rust departed from Helsinki and gave his destination as Stockholm. Ten minutes after take-off, he turned the plane 180 degrees to the east and turned his radio off. He was tracked by Soviet air defence during his flight from Finland to Moscow but, luckily for Rust, the surface-to-air missiles did not receive permission to shoot him down.

Matthias Rust’s Daring Flight – Iconic Photos

Matthias Rust spent his allowance to take 50 hours worth of flying lessons before embarking on an unauthorized flight from Helsinki to the heart of Moscow. Rust was picked up by radar. A Soviet fighter jet was in pursuit, but it could only communicate on military frequencies that Rust’s Cessna couldn’t receive. The Soviets assumed that he was either on a search-and-rescue mission or a student pilot. Six hours later, he made it to Moscow, and decided to land just outside the Kremlin walls. (He worried that if he had landed inside, the Soviets would arrest him and deny the whole thing). He landed by St. Basil’s Cathedral and taxied into the Red Square. Although he mingled with the people there – who thought he was part of an airshow – the KGB was also on spot to arrest him.

Rust was arrested for hooliganism and disregard of aviation laws. He was sentenced to four years in a labour camp but served his time in a temporary detention center. Mikhel Gorbachev arranged his release as a goodwill gesture in 1988. Matthias Rust never flew again.

In 2009, he described himself as a professional poker player. That makes sense. You’d have to be pretty good at bluffing to carry on flying into Russian airspace with two fighter aircraft flying alongside trying to make contact.

Twenty years later, he told a Danmarks Radio, “I think I would advise everyone to think twice before doing something like that. On the other hand, if someone is convinced about something, they need to do it.”

And on the 28th of May in 2011, the following photographs were taken by wonderful people doing what they need to do to make the world a little smaller:

And these are the daring submitters who won’t stop at anything for Saturday Scenes:

Why don’t you join us? It’s easy:

  1. Take a photograph on a Saturday
  2. Upload the photograph
  3. Send a tweet to @SatScenes with the url

I’m looking forward to seeing your Saturday Scene in the next edition!

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