When We Left Earth - The NASA Missions, on Blu-ray.

Chronicling the totality of NASA's manned space flight efforts, from the Mercury predecessor X15 Program to the modern day International Space Station, When We Left Earth presents exciting and often never-before-seen footage. The film features restored and remastered archival footage, as well as scenes that were originally filmed in high definition. If you've ever wanted to see the space shuttle launch in high-def, now's your chance. You can also request your copy on DVD.

Looking to get out of the cold?


Don’t forget about the University of Michigan Exhibit Museum of Natural History! The Museum offers a host of programs and exhibits that both adults and kids can enjoy. Look into the Winter Family Reading and Science program where the Museum offers a coordinated series of topical hands-on workshops, family reading programs, and a Discovery Day designed to facilitate science learning within families. Free public tours of the dinosaur exhibits are available on Saturdays and Sundays at 2 pm for the first 15 people to sign up. And so much more! And as an added bonus, be sure to check out a Museum Adventure Pass for a 10% discount in the Museum Store!dinosaurdinosaur

Lookback Time: The Detroit Observatory


In Seeing In The Dark, author Timothy Ferris writes, "Peering far into space means looking deep into time gone by. This phenomenon, known as 'lookback time,' makes historians of stargazers." Historians and stargazers alike can enjoy a look back in time to 1854 by visiting the Detroit Observatory at 1398 E. Ann St. In its day, the Observatory housed the first large telescope constructed in the United States, for years the third largest refractor in the world. It was the training ground for many 19th century astronomers, saw the discovery of 21 asteroids and 2 comets, and remains the most important physical legacy of the University's early scientific preeminence. "I cannot speak of the Observatory without emotion," said former UM president Henry Tappan. "No one will deny that it was a creation of my own." (Historic Buildings, Ann Arbor, MI)

Although the dome is currently not operational, rendering the telescope unusable, the Observatory was fully restored in 1998 and the astronomical instruments remain intact and operational. Read more about the Observatory's legacy and watch for upcoming open houses in conjunction with UM's winter theme semester.

Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads author visits in January

Timothy FerrisTimothy Ferris

Acclaimed author Timothy Ferris will make a special appearance in the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area as part of Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads. His book, Seeing In The Dark: How Amateur Astronomers Are Discovering The Wonders Of The Universe, has been chosen as the focus of the 2009 Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads program.

On Thursday, January 29 from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. in Towsley Auditorium of the Morris Lawrence Building at Washtenaw Community College, he will discuss this book as well as his own thoughts on astronomy and the universe around us. A booksigning will follow and books will be on sale at this event, courtesy of Shaman Drum.

This appearance is a key event for the 2009 Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads program, which this year focuses on the theme The Universe: Yours To Discover.

Dec. 6, 1947 - Everglades National Park, Florida dedicated by President Harry S Truman

"Here are no lofty peaks seeking the sky, no mighty glaciers or rushing streams wearing away the uplifted land. Here is land, tranquil in its quiet beauty, serving not as the source of water, but as the receiver of it. To its natural abundance we owe the spectacular plant and animal life that distinguishes this place from all others in our country." With these words, Truman formally dedicated Everglades National Park. This event culminated years of effort by a dedicated group of conservationists to make a national park in the Florida Everglades a reality. For a fascinating and comprehensive history of this amazing wetland, check out Michael Grunwald's The Swamp: The Everglades, Florida, and the Politics of Paradise. Thinking of visiting the park? Check out Hidden Florida Keys and Everglades or Adventure guide to the Florida Keys & Everglades National Park.

The planets align for Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads


You may already know the theme for the 2009 Reads, "The Universe: Yours to Discover," aligns with UM's 2009 winter theme semester, but did you know UM chose it to align with the International Year of Astronomy (IYA) and the 400th anniversary of Galileo's first astronomical observation through a telescope? UM is planning a galaxy of events, exhibits--even new classes!--and there will be many additional Reads programs.

In the meantime, read the book and brush up on your backyard stargazing with the latest edition of The Backyard Astronomer's Guide, or by attending one of the University Lowbrow Astronomer's open houses at Peach Mountain for a look through their 24-inch McMath telescope. Look for Mercury and Jupiter to align on December 31, just in time for the kick off.<--break!-->

Hands-On Science with the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers

Science experiments mulit-culturalScience experiments mulit-cultural

Join us on Tuesday, November 25 at 6:30 pm for this hands-on science workshop. Learn some science experiments and watch some cool demos based on traditional and new concepts in science and engineering. All kids (by age or at heart) are welcome! It's a night guaranteed to make you want to be a scientist or engineer. Presented by the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) and Proyecto Avance: Latino Mentoring Association (PALMA) from the University of Michigan.

A Smart Cookie--Alex the Parrot

Alex the African Gray Parrot--when he died September 2007, all the major newspapers, news broadcasts covered his death. He was the poster child for animal intelligence studies; his owner-trainer-scientific inquirer-caretaker, Irene Pepperberg claimed he had the intelligence of a five-year old child. Now, Pepperberg has come out with a memoir of her 30 years of working with Alex.

To keep you going until you get your hands on the book, you can read an excerpt of the first chapter from the New York Times.

The World's Biggest Science Experiment


Today, scientists at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, began operating the much anticipated Large Hadron Collider. Known for being the world's largest particle accelerator, this 17 mile long tunnel took 14 years to build and cost 9 billion dollars. If all goes as planned, the collider will accelerate particles at over 99% the speed of light! This amazing capability should theoretically enable scientists to recreate conditions like those immediately following the Big Bang. Scientists hope that the LHC will help solve some of physics greatest mysteries, such as the existence of the Higgs boson and possibly even the existence of other dimensions . If you would like to learn more about some of the exciting questions physicists are hoping to answer with the help of the LHC, you might want to check out The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene or The God Particle: if the universe is the answer, what is the question? by Leon Lederman.

Finally! It IS easy to be green!

If you are like me, you are interested in being more socially responsible, like going beyond simple recycling and doing your part to help save our planet for future generations, but you don't have lots of money and time to devote to "going green". Sound familiar? If so, then you need to get yourself a copy of Renee Loux's Easy green living : the ultimate guide to simple, eco-friendly choices for you and your home. This lifestyle guide is PACKED with information about the simple, affordable choices we can make to avoid toxins, conserve natural resources and generally be more eco-smart. Whether you choose to take tiny baby steps or completely overhaul your wasteful self, you will find the answers you need. One of my favorite easy eco-tips is the following: "About 100 million trees and 28 billion gallons of water are used annually to produce the 5.8 million tons of catalogs and unsolicited wads of preapproved credit card offers and other junk that arrive at our homes - 44 percent of which are thrown away unopened....Stop credit card offers. Go to www.optoutprescreen.com, where the consumer credit report industry lets you opt out of receiving preapproved and prescreened credit card offers." Now imagine if we all did that!

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