The Daily Need
See our illustrated guide to Islamic veils.
For more photos of today’s protests in France, visit Siobhán Silke’s Flickr photostream.
The world’s most advanced climate observer has been on ice for almost a decade. In a feature for Popular Science‘s April 2011 issue, writer Bill Donahue tracks down the earth-monitoring satellite DSCVR (Deep Space Climate Observatory) that was supposed to be launched back in 2001. He finds the $100 million device stowed in a Maryland warehouse — a probable victim of politics and inter-agency bureaucracy.
Standing in a small, carpeted nook, I was able to look through a small observation window into a high-ceilinged, white-walled clean room where a white metal crate was shoved into a corner, beneath a stairwell. DSCOVR sat inside. A green tube supplied the box with a steady feed of nitrogen, to minimize contaminants. It looked to me like forgotten hardware—last year’s cellphone gathering dust in a desk drawer.
DSCVR isn’t the only climate satellite with problems: Donahue’s piece refers to the “delayed” Glory project but doesn’t mention that it actually crashed in a failed launch attempt last month. And in 2009, the OCO (Orbiting Carbon Observatory) satellite similarly succumbed to mechanical defects and was lost before reaching orbit.
A new climate research satellite — the OCO-2 — is slated for launch early in 2013, but given current budget negotiations and a push from House Republicans to slash federally-funded climate change research, OCO-2 may find itself relegated to another government warehouse.
On this day in 1915, Eleanora Fagan, known the world over now as Billie Holiday, was born in Philadelphia to a 13-year-old girl named Sadie Fagan. After an extremely tumultuous childhood, Billie Holiday began to sing professionally at the age of 17 with no formal training, but an emotive voice and a distinct delivery eventually made her one of the most influential jazz singers of all time.
By age 18, she was singing with then up-and-coming bandleader Benny Goodman. As her career progressed through the 1930s and ’40s, she played with Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Artie Shaw, becoming the first female African-American vocalist to work with a white orchestra.
Some of her most famous recordings include “God Bless the Child,” “Lady Sings the Blues,” “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm”, “(In My) Solitude” and “Good Morning Heartache.”
She passed away at the early age of 44 in 1959 after suffering from liver and heart disease, exacerbated by years of drug and alcohol abuse. She was, in fact, arrested on her deathbed for possession of narcotics.