More Space Junk

I’m convinced that someday the mother ship is coming for me, so I like to scan spaceward. The International Space Station is the third brightest object in the sky, and Spot the Station provides an excellent resource for following it. I plugged in the hometown and got this:

In addition to the ISS, it’s important to watch the planets. The Hubble Telescope takes photos every year (monitoring Jupiter’s monolith, presumably) and recently uncovered excitement on Saturn:

“In the northern hemisphere of Saturn, it was early autumn when Hubble took this year’s look at the ringed planet. A mysterious six-sided hurricane has reappeared around the planet’s north pole. The storm, big enough to swallow four Earths, was first spotted by the Voyager spacecraft in the early 1980s. Last year it was hard to see but this year it has reappeared.

Farther out, it’s springtime on Uranus . . .”

Solar Parhelion

Also called Sun Dogs, “they can be seen anywhere in the world during any season, but are not always obvious or bright. Sun dogs are best seen and most conspicuous when the Sun is near the horizon.”

Little Wing, Take #2

Sound engineer Eddie Kramer describes Hendrix in studio. Chas Chandler tells Jimi to dial it back a notch and he’s all “ok man, cool.” Apologies for about 30 seconds of unnecessary leader tape. Also: Glockenspiel!

There are a million “How to Play Little Wing” videos. I love this guy because he’s unpretentious, has underlying dread of even attempting the song, and has a typical reaction to Hendrix about 2:00-3:00:
“is there a pattern in this strumming? What’s the pattern? What is happening?”

Half Life: Alyx

It’s no exaggeration to say that Half Life is one of the best, most influential PC games ever made – maybe even the best, period. For my money, Half Life 2 is the best in the series; even though it came out in 2004, it still holds up. (I’m replaying it now, as a matter of fact.)

After HL2, Valve decided that episodic games was the way forward, so fans wouldn’t have to wait years and years for the next installment. Half Life 2: Episode One came out in June of 2006, then Half Life 2: Episode Two was included with several other games in October of 2008. It had a hell of a cliffhanger, and then … nothing.

Fans waited patiently – then impatiently – as rumors came and went. Every interview with Valve was an opportunity to inquire about the status of Half Life: Episode Three, but the company always politely declined to comment. Many years passed, and it never materialized. Interest slowed to a trickle as the game became an Internet punchline. So the announcement of Half Life: Alyx is HUGE.

To be clear, this isn’t Half Life 2: Episode Three. Events in this game are set between Half Life and Half Life 2. Hardcore fans will happily take anything – as long as it’s good – and Half Life: Alyx is the perfect game to launch the company’s VR platform. Rather than posting the short teaser trailer Valve released, I thought I’d include this guy’s take. See what you reckon.