40 years after the first landing on Mars, this NASA scientist looks to resurrect Viking 1’s analog data


It’s been four decades since the Viking 1 lander touched down on Martian soil, the first lasting human presence on the surface of the Red Planet. It beamed its unprecedented data back to NASA, where it was stored on the hot new format of the day: microfilm. Now one scientist wants to bring these analog records into the digital world — for posterity and for science.

“I remember getting to hold the microfilm in my hand for the first time and thinking, ‘We did this incredible experiment and this is it, this is all that’s left,’” said David Williams, a scientist at Goddard Space Flight Center’s archives in Maryland, in a NASA blog post. “If something were to happen to it, we would lose it forever.”

Many of us have surely felt the same way about a shoebox full of 3x5s, and we likely had the same instinct: get this stuff saved digitally ASAP.


So that’s what his team started doing: digitizing the rolls one by one using the microfilm reader — a device old school library users will remember, perhaps not entirely fondly.

It’s not just a sentimental gesture, though: missions to the surface of other planets aren’t exactly thick on the ground, and data from them stay relevant more or less forever. Williams had only looked for the microfilms, in fact, because a biologist had requested the data from them in order to look into certain hypotheses.

Current missions like Curiosity and the upcoming Mars 2020 rover will also want to compare their data with Viking 1’s and all the rest — after all, changes over decades could indicate interesting processes occurring in the soil or atmosphere, which in turn could suggest the presence (or absence) of life, among other things.

“The capabilities of the Viking landers and instruments were very advanced for the technology at the time,” explained another Goddard scientist, Danny Glavin. “Viking data are still being utilized 40 years later. The point is for the community to have access to this data so that scientists 50 years from now can go back and look at it.”

Because I’m curious about the process of digitizing all this cool old analog media, I’ve asked NASA for more details. I’ll update this post when I hear back.

Featured Image: David Williams

from TechCrunch http://ift.tt/29WMib6

Download a Mass of 240+ Free Technical eBooks From Microsoft


It’s that wonderful time of year again. The Microsoft MSDN blog is offering another hefty collection of useful, totally free eBooks for you to download.

Eric Ligman, Director of Sales Excellence at Microsoft, has given away tons of eBooks in the past, including 240 last year, and 130 the year before that. Ligman’s at it again, offering another batch of over 240 eBooks covering everything from Windows 10 to PowerShell. You’ll find books on Office 365, Azure, SharePoint 2016, Exchange, SQL Server, and a whole lot more. They also come in a wide variety of file types, like EPUB, MOBI, PDF, and even DOCX. Ligman notes that some of the books in the collection were favorites from last year, but there’s plenty of new stuff as well. You can download them all at once at the link below.


FREE! That’s Right, I’m Giving Away MILLIONS of FREE Microsoft eBooks again! Including: Windows 10, Office 365, Office 2016, Power BI, Azure, Windows 8.1, Office 2013, SharePoint 2016, SharePoint 2013, Dynamics CRM, PowerShell, Exchange Server, System Center, Cloud, SQL Server and more! | MSDN

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8 Easy Hip Stretches That Can Ease Lower Back Pain In 6 Minutes


hip exercise feature image

After a long day of working, especially at the desk, you might have some extreme lower back pain, with no way to relieve it. Well, I got news for you!

What do you need?

There is a way you can relieve it all on your own. The only equipment you need is an exercise mat. There are 8 hip stretches that will change your life!

How to do?

In the video, Ryan shows you 8 stretches to relieve lower back pain. He demonstrates the lying hip rotation, piriformis hip rotation, butterfly, frog, kneeling lunge, traveling butterfly, squatting internal rotations and pigeon. In each stretch Ryan demonstrates step by step, so you know exactly how to do the stretch without hurting yourself!

How long does it take?

Each stretch takes a minute or less, which makes it easy to fit to squeeze in as your morning routine or after work habit! All together, it takes a little over 6 minutes, for 8 stretches, so it can easily be done even with the busiest schedules!

In conclusion, no matter how busy your schedule is, if you have 6 minutes to spare, you can do these exercises! Whether before work, during a lunch break or even after work once you get home, these exercises can easily become a habit! The more you do these stretches the more flexible you will become, and the less pain you will feel in your lower back!

Featured photo credit: Pablo by Buffer via pablo.buffer.com

The post 8 Easy Hip Stretches That Can Ease Lower Back Pain In 6 Minutes appeared first on Lifehack.

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A Richard Devine soundscape from a crazy modular nest


Richard Devine’s Vimeo account is something special. It’s certainly partly theater – there’s something entirely alien about seeing a nest of gear, tangled in cables and blinking, as if modules have achieved sentience and starting interconnecting themselves. But behind that facade of nerdy chaos is some real thought about how to make sounds by creating unexpected combinations of signal processors. It’s something I’ve been discussing with a lot of people lately – this interplay between stability and instability, automaton and entropy.

Mutant Mesh Drums Patch from Richard Devine on Vimeo.

Richard explains what’s happening here:

Short Patch experiment with a few new modules, including the Mutant BD9, Mutant Snare, Pico Drums x 2, running through various effects. The main CV modulation sources in the patch are the Modcan Quad LFO, and the new Forge which was used to create a fast quick modulation bursts to the Amp decay Pitch etc on the BD9. Drones via the Music Thing Radio Music, playing a feedback drone wave going through the Tiptop Z-DSP “Halls of Valhalla card, program 7.
I ran the BD9 through the new black hole DSP module by Erica Synths, and the Mutable Instruments Clouds running a unreleased firmware, and finally some Rainmaker X 2 for the snare processing, pitch delays. There is also a bit of Z-DSP, Eventide H9, AD Reverb, OWL, and ErbVerb too. Enjoy, download to the audio file below. 🙂
track download: bit.ly/29VjOOS

I love the track, so thanks, Richard.

Actually, maybe what’s really significant about modulars is it makes the otherwise unseen world of signal processing and sound design visible to people. I think that’s wonderful. At the same point, you could easily miss the point here, which is that part of what you’re getting isn’t about the gear at all – not on a superficial level anyway. It’s about the design that went into the individual modules and how they connect to one another, and how Richard thinks about sound design. It’s actually striking to me that there’s a clear compositional link between the sounds and structures Richard is getting with this rig and his voice on software from years ago.

For something with a different feeling, here’s a more melodic groove from just under a year ago – as easy-going and relaxed as the other track is dystopian scifi lounge.

Harmonic Symmetry from Richard Devine on Vimeo.

That also has a download and explanation of signal flow.

It’s nice to see the walkthroughs of how things are routed, too, for the curious.

Lots more:

The post A Richard Devine soundscape from a crazy modular nest appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

from Create Digital Music http://ift.tt/29VDoMa