Meet Graviton!

If you will indulge me for just a moment, I’ve created a superhero in the time between family visits this holiday season.

Graviton is the superhero persona of Dr. Mortimer Albee, an astronomer who was studying a previously unknown gravitational phenomenon five times the intensity of a black hole.  During his night of observations, he noticed something very peculiar.  The phenomenon was highly directional, and, in fact, was traveling right at him!  The effects were focused by the telescope he was using, and his entire body was exposed to the intense gravity phenomenon.

After being realigned on the subatomic level, Dr. Albee found he could “bend” gravity to push objects, regardless of their mass.  What he could push, he found he could pull, too.  In fact, he could even bend light around him to become invisible!

Hello, True Believers!

Reality shows.  Ever since “Survivor” became so popular, I’ve been stuck wondering what people see in them.  I can honestly say I’ve watched only two or three “Survivor” episodes since they came out; all of those viewings were under duress. To me, these shows glamorize the very worst in people. The winning contestants make the grade by manipulating others, forming cliques or “alliances,” dividing others by casting doubt and deception, and victimizing those in the “out” group.

If it is true that there is an exception to every rule, I just watched the final episode of such an exception. “Who Wants To Be A Superhero” was in many ways, an “anti”-reality show. Entertaining enough that both my wife and I were hooked, it was filled with good-natured fun, positive messages, and delightful twists that kept us laughing out loud.

Contestants competed to become the next great comic book superhero, immortalized by Stan Lee (creator of Spider-Man, X-Men, and many more comic book heroes) in their own comic book. They dressed and lived AS the superhero they created. How they competed was what really drew me to the show. Lee told the superheroes right off that he knew he couldn’t judge them on how high they could leap, how fast they could fly, or if they could stop a speeding train. He made it clear that he was going to test them on virtuous character traits that a true superhero would possess on the inside.   Continue reading Hello, True Believers!


NASA Lags in Shuttle Patch Development (AP). AP – When space shuttle flights resume, the astronauts will have putty and other filler to repair cracks and small gashes in the wings, but they will not be able to patch a hole as big as the one that doomed Columbia, NASA said. [Yahoo! News – Reader Ratings]

I’m glad NASA is working on some ideas to reestablish our presence in space.  As I read the above, I thought again of those daring astronauts of STS-107 who were only 16 minutes from home.  What great aspirations they had to tackle such a dangerous job!

Here’s something only a very few of you know about me:  after the Columbia’s final flight, I was so inspired by those heroes as to obtain application materials for the Educator Astronaut program.  It seemed to make sense.  I’m an educator.  I have a degree in physics.  I have a background in astronomy.  I know could execute the assigned tasks aboard the space shuttle and be a good ambassador for NASA’s programs.  I could make a difference in the wake of the Columbia mission.

As I waited for the application materials to come in, I continued to consider the pros and cons of the career shift.  I came the the conclusion that it wouldn’t necessarily be a promotion.   Continue reading Aspirations