So April has happened. I left Tasmania on the 1st then called into Melbourne and Canberra on the way home. Other excitement I have managed to rehome my baby guinea pigs Alpha (Pappy), Beta(Gruff), Gamma(Slick) and Delta(Delta). Gruff and Delta went off together to one home. Pappy and Slick to another. So for Rosie and Houdini’s 1st birthday, I halved my herd.
Jeffrey Smart Exhibition – National Art Gallery
On my way home from Tasmania I called in at Canberra and was lucky enough to see the Jeffrey Smart Exhibition at the National Art Gallery. It was a very comprehensive collection of his works throughout his life. Also an amazing selection of his sketches which he used to make his big pieces. Race in and check it out before the 15th of May 2022.
Rocket Lab launch and Helicopter Catch
So this actually happened in May but it was supposed to be in April so I’m adding it to this newsletter as it was very very exciting. I came across an article on the IEEE website about the excitement about the impending recovery of a rocket booster by a helicopter. So of course, I googled and found out more. A small (not so small) rocket company from New Zealand, Rocket Lab, launches microsatellites and other cool things like space junk cleaners into space from its base on the coast of the North Island of New Zealand. Instead of recovering the spent rocket boosters from the sea, they are trying to catch them with a helicopter. Of course, this is super exciting and last Tuesday after quite a few weather delays they did their first attempt. This mission was called “There and Back Again”. It was a semi-successful event. They did manage to catch the rocket booster but the pilot had to ditch it because it was unstable. All the satellites were deployed successfully and the boost was recovered from the sea. If you want to watch the whole event check out the stream on YouTube. They launch regularly so follow them on their YouTube channel.
Before there were electronics there were people. These amazing scientists and mathematicians were called computers. One of the famous computer groups was the Harvard Computers, a group of women who analysed photos of the universe and carried out calculations to create the first modern catalogue of stars. I have read about them before in the amazing book,Forgotten Women by Zing Tsjeng. I was reminded about them in an article, Pioneering Woman of Stellar Astronomy on the Perimeter Institute website. It includes a great line “Legend has it Pickering lost patience with them(his students), exclaiming: “My Scotch maid could do better!” So, he hired her.”. Her name was Williamina Fleming and she went on to lead ‘the computers’ and became the first expert in stellar spectra.
Soyeon Yi – The first South Korean in Space
So yet again I was nerding it up on the IEEE site and I stumbled across Soyeon Yi, speaker for the IEEE Awards evening. A rabbit hole opened and I fell in. Soyeon Yi is South Korea’s first Cosmonaut. She is a biomedical engineer who beat 3600 other applicants to be the first South Korean in space. She travelled to the Internation Space Station in 2008 for an 11-day mission. It is all very cool and an amazing story. The thing that interested me the most was the fact that her grandmother wasn’t allowed to read and write. She was the first female in her family to make it past middle school (year 7/8ish). When she was studying for her PhD she struggled to make people understand that she wasn’t the secretary. Then in her training, she went to Russia not only was she a she, but she was also Asian. Her story is cool. I really love her bit about how she thought all fathers could fix things and was surprised when other people’s fathers could fix things let alone let their daughters help them fix things. This really resonated with me. To learn more check out this article on Half of the Sky (it reads a bit funny but full of story) or check out the Monocle 24 Interview or the museum of flights Oral History.
A poem or two or three
It has been a while. I have slowly gotten back into poetry. This one spoke to me not only for the poem but for the story behind which resonated with me so I thought I would share it. Menapause by C. Prudence Arceneaux. Others that I have recently enjoyed For Mauna a Wākea by Jamaica Heolimeleikalani Osorio and the topical Love in a Time of Covid-19 by Craig Santos Perez
Random Weirdness and very cool
On twitter there is a page called Weird Medieval which is packed full of creatures from medieval texts. So cute and weird. I particularly like these
extremely rotund hedgehog, italy, 14th century pic.twitter.com/CnzAyoz4ca
— weird medieval guys (@WeirdMedieval) May 6, 2022
it’s saturday night, babes! pic.twitter.com/eOJMkoQcMW
— weird medieval guys (@WeirdMedieval) April 30, 2022
So to satisfy my cricket addiction it is very exciting that the Indian Premier League(IPL) is running for April and May. This is the first year that I have fallen into the IPL trap. It is awesome to see players from around the world mixing together to create exciting cricket.
The motorsport season is off and running at full strength, Supercars, NASCAR, F1, F2, F3, MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3, WRC, WRC2, WRC3, Jnr WRC and even the Mini Racing. I am definitely in my happy place.
I also watched the Ultimate Bowls Championship. Yep, I am weird and I love it. In my upcoming retirement, I want to join a lawn bowls team. In May the Bowls Premier League is on, very exciting.
Very quiet this month. I did finish re-reading the whole of the Wombles series. This is a series close to my heart. I was first introduced to the Wombles through the TV show (you have to use a VPN and pretend you are from the UK). If you want a flashback check out the theme song. Then in Year 7, I came across the books in the library at school. I of course borrowed them all and read them. Then when I needed a break from the nerdiness of maths and physics in year 11 I borrowed them again, disappointingly in those 4 years no one else had borrowed them. I should have made an offer to buy them, but I didn’t but when they were re-released in 2010 I snapped the whole series up. Then last year I got the 6 in1 e-book version. I just love these books. The message and the creativity are still amazing and relevant after 50+ years.
Not long now. Semi-final 1 kicks off at 5 am (AEST) Wednesday. You are all still welcome to come to the party on Midday Sunday to watch the replay and eat food. Just let me know. I’ll also be watching the semi-finals and final live on SBS if you want to message me and share the joy of Eurovision.
I finish up at Ausgrid on the 26th of May. I head off to retirement again. Trips to Queensland are confirmed. Plans to visit the Faroe Islands and Iceland and then Japan on separate trips are being planned.
So the rest of this month is focused on finishing up at Ausgrid, celebrating Eurovision and my birthday and enjoying the rest of the IPL.
Thanks for reading this far.