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Stories by Michael J. Battaglia

Thank you, Mr. Wizard

I am saddened by the news that Don Herbert, aka "Mr. Wizard" died yesterday at the age of 89. His weekly program, on NBC from 1951 to 1965, brought simple science to children—and made it fun...

June 13, 2007 — Michael J. Battaglia

Good-Bye Blue Monday

Good-bye Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., whose resemblance to that other great American satirist, Mark Twain, is almost uncanny. And I believe his literary doppelganger would have enjoyed visiting the Vonnegutian universe populated by Kilgore Trout, Wanda June, Eliot Rosewater, Francine Pefko, Paul Proteus, Billy Pilgrim, Howard Campbell, Jr., the planet Tralfamadore, ice nine, granfalloons, foma, Illium, N.Y., and, of course, the lovely Montana Wildhack.Call him a pessimist, a stoic, or a dark and cranky curmudgeon, Vonnegut, like Twain, supplied what any self-satisfied civilization occasionally needs to keep it honest—a good thwacking from a brilliant satirist.And thwack he did...

April 13, 2007 — Michael J. Battaglia

What the Hex Going On at Saturn's Pole?

When it comes to where the atmospheric action is in the outer planets, move over Jupiter. As if having those gaudy rings weren't enough, Saturn is definitely hogging all the attention by sporting some bizarre atmospheric activity at opposite ends of the planet: polar storms, one with a cyclopean eye and the other shaped like a—hexagon...

March 29, 2007 — Michael J. Battaglia

When the Sky Falls, Where Will NASA Be?

Everybody duck and cover. Last week NASA shrugged and told Congress that it neither has the funding nor the resources to meet its goal of identifying 90 percent of near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) 150 yards or more in diameter by 2020...

March 13, 2007 — Michael J. Battaglia

Red Spot, Jr.

Because astronomy is one of the ancient sciences we have learned much over centuries of observation. This continuity has also given us a perspective that has allowed us to understand that we live on diminutive planet that is part of a dynamic, even violent solar system...

March 23, 2006 — Michael J. Battaglia

Pawning NASA's Crown Jewels

So much in our vast universe seems hopelessly faraway, but with NASA's FY2007 budget even relatively close planetary neighbors like Mars and Europa now seem more distant.

February 8, 2006 — Michael J. Battaglia
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