For "Travel Tuesday": Let's see what's going on in Houston, TX, in the Texas Gulf Coast region.
"Home to some of the best beaches in America, the Texas Gulf Coast region draws millions of visitors to this Texas playground. Stretching some 350 miles from South Padre Island & the Rio Grande Valley, all the way to Beaumont & the Louisiana border, this region is renowned for its wildlife & natural beauty, as well as the home of America's space program. Discover the Beaches of the Texas Gulf Coast Region."
Everything is big, from the towering skyscrapers to the city's prominence in aerospace, oil, shipping and finance. Even the architecture makes big, bold statements, like the medical center towers that resemble two giant syringes. A thriving business center, the city has become increasingly cosmopolitan, with an influx of diverse ethnic groups and a strong emphasis on the arts. Opera, ballet, symphony and theater are all top-notch, and museums abound.
The summer midday heat is easily escaped inside the numerous attractions and shopping areas, particularly in the pedestrian-friendly 6.5-mile underground city. Since you're in the place that broadcast man's first step on the moon, you may want to pay a visit to Space Center Houston, where you'll be whisked into outer space through simulations and films. Once back on earth, you can hop on the tram to the complex's NASA/Johnson Space Center to watch astronauts and engineers at work and in training."
"For space buffs, astronauts are intensely fascinating. Only a select few dreamers make NASA’s cut to join the ranks of space travelers. Their mastery of science, aviation, and physical fitness sets them apart. Their explorations are heralded in classrooms, books, and movies.
But at the end of the day, astronauts are flesh-and-blood humans like the rest of us. And many are happy to share their stories with the interested public. Space Center Houston offers that chance with its weekly “Lunch With an Astronaut” program.
Astronaut Leroy Chiao visits with diners at Space Center Houston’s Lunch With an Astronaut.
Space Center Houston launched the program a couple of years ago. Proving to be a popular draw, the center has Friday lunches lined up through 2014. The schedule features retired astronauts such as Leroy Chiao, who participated in four space missions between 1994 and 2005, and Brian Duffy, who took part in four space missions between 1992 and 2000.
“One of the biggest things our visitors have asked us for is having an up-close-and-personal experience with an astronaut,” says Mike Wampler, marketing manager for Space Center Houston.
At the lunches, “the astronaut gives everyone a brief overview of his experience as an astronaut and then he goes from table to table spending time and answering questions. He signs a bio card, and takes photographs with the people at the table,” Wampler explains.
In addition to the Friday lunches, Space Center Houston also offers presentations by astronauts at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Fridays in the center theater.
“Those that really want to take their visit to the next level will plan for a Friday visit, plan to go to the theater engagement, follow it up with lunch with an astronaut, and spend the rest of the day in the building,” Wampler says.
Lunch tickets are sold on a first-come basis. They cost $49.95 for adults and $29.95 for children ages 4-11. The ticket includes entry to Space Center Houston for the day." From: http://blog.texashighways.com/?p=3183
While I didn’t have time for the in-depth NASA Tram Tour or Level 9 Tour, I was able to focus my attention on several areas of the complex: Starship Gallery, which follows the progression of the Space Race from the 1960s through Skylab, complete with some of the actual capsules and equipment; the Astronaut Gallery, a dazzling collection of spacesuits worn by men and women in space; the massive-beyond-words Saturn V spacecraft housed at Rocket Park, and even took in a “Meet the Astronaut” talk given by Michael J. Bloomfield of Shuttle Atlantis and Endeavor missions.
The vivid timelines that accompany the Starship Gallery and the Saturn V rocket brought back memories of seeing Apollo launches on (mostly black & white) televisions in elementary school. Peering into the Mercury capsule in the space-simulated display and imagining myself in that tiny crawl space gave me a claustrophobic chill. I also touched a moon rock and saw how moon artifacts were processed and analyzed. In the Astronaut Gallery, I marveled at the contrast between the enormous “Michelin Man” bubble suit worn during the early days of the Gemini program, and the sleek blue jumpsuit worn on the Shuttle mission by Sally Ride.
Next time you find yourself in the Bay area, don’t discount a trip to NASA for lack of time. You’ll be amazed at how much “space” can be compacted into two hours." From: http://blog.texashighways.com/?p=1094
WE ARE HOUSTON WILDERNESS. IT'S OUR NATURE
"HOUSTON WILDERNESS is a broad-based alliance of business, environmental and government interests that act in concert to protect, preserve and promote the unique biodiversity of the region’s precious remaining ecological capital from bottomland hardwoods and prairie grasslands to pine forests and wetlands.
These ecoregion landscapes decrease repetitive flooding, improve water quality, boost outdoor recreation, ecotourism, and economic growth."
Gulf of Mexico
"The city of Houston is situated in one of the most ecologically diverse major urban areas in the country. The forests, prairies, savannahs, bayous, bottomlands, coastlines and ocean around Houston comprise ten ecoregions, seven of which are land based and three of which are water based. Ecoregions are large areas of land or water that contain geographically distinct assemblages of species, natural communities, and environmental conditions. Click on the links below to learn more about our local natural world:
Download Houston Wilderness' atlas of Biodiversity by clicking on the link to the right: CLICK TO DOWNLOAD (EXTERNAL LINK)
Download Houston Wilderness' List of Ecoregion Sites
More at: http://houstonwilderness.org/
Houston Parks and Outdoors
"Houston rates first among the nation's 10 most populous cities in total acreage of parkland, beating out Phoenix’s 45,020 acres and San Diego’s 47,383 acres, according to a 2011 report by The Trust for Public Land. Houston has 49,643 acres of total park space, with 22 acres per 1,000 residents. The national average is 12.4 acres per 1,000 residents." More at: http://www.visithoustontexas.com/things-to-do/parks-and-outdoors/
The Houston Arboretum & Nature Center
"Located on the western edge of Memorial Park, the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center offers an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life and the opportunity to experience the natural world. This 155-acre non-profit urban nature sanctuary provides education about the natural environment to Houstonians of all ages. It plays a vital role in protecting native plants and animals in the heart of the city where development threatens their survival." More at: http://www.houstonarboretum.org/about
- Arboretum at Night
- Art in Nature
- Exploring Nature
- Green Living
- Health & Wellness
- In the Garden
- Natural Crafts & Food
Arboretum at Night, Comet ISON Celebration
Comet ISON will make an appearance in Earth’s sky in 2013. Join us and view this magnificent event!
Note: As of Tuesday, October 22, astronomers believe that Comet ISON may break up during its late November journey behind the sun. As such, Comet ISON may not be as visible as predicted before sunrise on Saturday, December 14. A decision will be made on Tuesday, December 3 to continue with or cancel this event. If we cancel this event, all registrants will receive a 100% refund.
While it’s hard to predict just how bright the comet will be when it arrives, some astronomers say it could be as bright as a full moon, perhaps even visible in daylight. It’s predicted to be brightest in late November to early December.
Join us for a stroll through the woods to the North Meadow Deck for coffee, croissants and the night sky. Members of the Houston Astronomical Society will be on hand for an opportunity to get a glimpse of this exciting Comet ISON.
Dates: December 14, 2013 Time: 5:30 a.m. – 7:30 a.m.
Pricing: Members: $30 Non-Members: $40; $15 per child with minimum age of 9.
Register for Event: http://www.houstonarboretum.org/event/comet-ison-celebration
Just a few of the things that are going on in Houston, TX.
On This Day:
Archaeologists enter tomb of King Tut, Nov 26, 1922:
"In Egypt's Valley of the Kings, British archaeologists Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon become the first souls to enter King Tutankhamen's tomb in more than 3,000 years. Tutankhamen's sealed burial chambers were miraculously intact, and inside was a collection of several thousand priceless objects, including a gold coffin containing the mummy of the teenage king.
When Carter first arrived in Egypt, in 1891, most of the ancient Egyptian tombs had been discovered, and the majority of these had been hopelessly plundered by tomb raiders over the millennia. However, Carter was a brilliant excavator, and in the first years of the 20th century he discovered the tombs of Queen Hatshepsut and King Thutmose IV. Around 1907, he became associated with the Earl of Carnarvon, a collector of antiquities who commissioned Carter to supervise excavations in the Valley of the Kings. By 1913, most experts felt there was nothing in the Valley left to be uncovered. Carter, however, persisted in his efforts, convinced that the tomb of the little-known King Tutankhamen might still be found.
King Tutankhamen was enthroned in 1333 B.C. when he was still a child. He died a decade later at the age of 18 and thus made only a faint impression on the history of ancient Egypt. In the 13th century B.C., Tutankhamen and the other "Amarna" kings were publicly condemned, and most records of them were destroyed--including the location of Tutankhamen's tomb. A century later, in the 12th century B.C., workers building a tomb for Ramses VI inadvertently covered Tutankhamen's tomb with a deep layer of chips, further protecting it from future discovery.
After World War I, Carter began an intensive search for Tutankhamen's tomb and on November 4, 1922, discovered a step leading to its entrance. Lord Carnarvon rushed to Egypt, and on November 23 they broke through a mud-brick door, revealing the passageway that led to Tutankhamen's tomb. There was evidence that robbers had entered the structure at some point, and the archaeologists feared they had discovered yet another pillaged tomb. However, on November 26 they broke through another door, and Carter leaned in with a candle to take a look. Behind him, Lord Carnarvon asked, "Can you see anything?" Carter replied, "Yes, wonderful things."
It was the antechamber of Tutankhamen's tomb, and it was gloriously untouched. The dusty floor still showed the footprints of the tomb builders who left the room more than 3,000 years before. Apparently, the robbers who had broken into Tutankhamen's tomb had done so soon after it was completed and were caught before moving into the interior chambers and causing serious damage.
Thus began a monumental excavation process in which Carter carefully explored the four-room tomb over several years, uncovering an incredible collection of several thousand objects. In addition to numerous pieces of jewelry and gold, there was statuary, furniture, clothes, a chariot, weapons, and numerous other objects that shed a brilliant light on the culture and history of ancient Egypt. The most splendid find was a stone sarcophagus containing three coffins nested within each other. Inside the final coffin, made out of solid gold, was the mummified body of the boy-king Tutankhamen, preserved for 3,200 years. Most of these treasures are now housed in the Cairo Museum."
Ray brought a drawer with him from his kitchen in my guest house. Shay is so pleased with what we did to the cooktop cabinet, that she asked us to fix a drawer. (I shouldn't have bought those cheap cabinets from Furrows!)
We went up into my attic to find the right thickness of drawer stock for the bottom of the drawer, as the original one was made of cheap cardboardy stuff, and it had bowed. While we were up there, we winterized some of the roof vents. I have to keep my attic from freezing as my water pipes and water heater are up there.
We took the drawer apart on one side, and using the old bottom as a template we carefully cut a new one out of good wooden drawer stock, checking each cut with a builder's square. It has to be very precise to go in the slots, but we made it fit perfectly, and screwed it back together, better than new.
It was still rainy and chilly when we went outside to cover up all my thousands of aloe plants with strips of old sheets and mattress pads. It will be in the 40's during the day, but now we should be ready for the 25-28° nights coming for the next three days.