W is for the WOW Signal

W is for the WOW Signal  (A to Z Blogging Challenge)

From Wikipedia:

The Wow! signal was a strong narrowband radio signal detected by Dr. Jerry R. Ehman on August 15, 1977, while working on a SETI project at the Big Ear radio telescope of The Ohio State University then located at Ohio Wesleyan University’s Perkins Observatory, Delaware, Ohio.[1] The signal bore expected hallmarks of potential non-terrestrial and non-Solar System origin. It lasted for the full 72-second duration that Big Ear observed it, but has not been detected again. The signal has been the subject of significant media attention.

Amazed at how closely the signal matched the expected signature of an interstellar signal in the antenna used, Ehman circled the signal on the computer printout and wrote the comment “Wow!” on its side. This comment became the name of the signal.

Computer Printout


Signal location


















The location of the signal in the constellation Sagittarius, near the Chi Sagittarii star group. Because of the design of the experiment, the location may lie in either one of the two red bands, and there is also significant uncertainty in the declination (vertical axis). For clarity, the widths of the red bands are not drawn to scale; they should actually be narrower.

The Big Ear telescope was fixed and used the rotation of the Earth to scan the sky. At the speed of the Earth’s rotation, and given the width of the Big Ear’s observation “window”, the Big Ear could observe any given point for just 72 seconds. A continuous extraterrestrial signal, therefore, would be expected to register for exactly 72 seconds, and the recorded intensity of that signal would show a gradual peaking for the first 36 seconds—until the signal reached the center of Big Ear’s observation “window”— and then a gradual decrease.

Therefore, both the length of the Wow! signal, 72 seconds, and the shape of the intensity graph may correspond to a possible extraterrestrial origin.

However, the signal has not been detected again.

Jerry Ehman

V is for a space Vacuum

V is for Vacuum  (A to Z Blogging Challenge)

CleanSpace One is being built by researchers in Switzerland to help rid space of thousands of pieces of floating space junk.

Space junk is an enormous problem.  A piece of debris that comes into contact with, for example, a working sattelite can create thousands of new pieces of space junk.

CleanSpace One is not exactly a vacuum cleaner in space.  The Swiss scientists plan to cosy up to a large piece of junk (for example, an old satellite that is not being used), and then use a claw-like instrument to seize the space junk and force it back through the atmosphere.  At that point, the space junk will be destroyed by the heat of friction with the air.


U is for Universal Translator

U is for Universal Translator  (A to Z Blogging Challenge)

A Microsoft researcher, Frank Soong, is close to creating a real Universal Translator.  After about an hour of training, the technology can translate between any pair of 26 languages.








For more information, go to:


T is for Temper

T is for Temper  (A to Z Blogging Challenge)

There once was a little boy who had a bad temper.

His Father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence.  The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence.  Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down.  He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.  Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper al all.

He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper.

The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.

The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence.  He said, “You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence.  The fence will never be the same.  When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one.  You can put a knife in a man and draw it out.  It won’t matter how many times you say I’m sorry, the wound is still there.  A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one.

Friends are very rare jewels, indeed.  They make you smile and encourage you to succeed. They lend an ear, they share words of praise and they always want to open their hearts to us.


S is for the Space Shuttle Enterprise

S is for the Space Shuttle Enterprise  (A to Z Blogging Challenge)

NASA’s space shuttle Enterprise emerged from NASA’s Palmdale facility in 1976.

On hand to greet the Enterprise:

Courtesy NASA

Recently, the Enterprise has been on display at the Smithsonian.

Courtesy Space.com

The Enterprise is now on its way to its new permanent home at the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum in New York City.

For more pictures of the Enterprise:


R is for Roboethics

R is Roboethics  (A to Z Blogging Challenge)

In a recent paper, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology discuss how humans can make sure that robots don’t get out of line.

1. Have ethical governors

2. Establish emotions

3. Respect humans

For the full article, see:


And, science fiction writers do not forget the  Three Laws of Robotics!

Isaac Asimov’s “Three Laws of Robotics”

1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

2. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

Q is for Quizzes

Q is for Quizzes  (A to Z Blogging Challenge)

Livescience.com has a multitude of quizzes to test your knowledge.

For example,

The Greatest Inventions Quiz from "Livescience"






Check it out here:    http://www.livescience.com/18801-greatest-inventions.html


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