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Volume 16, No. 4 - October 12, 2009


Astronaut Kenneth Ham, a space shuttle pilot

Roaring into space

By Francis Byrne in BRISTOL, Conn., U.S.A. --  Can you imagine feeling three times the force of gravity?

Captain Kenneth Ham can, because he’s lived it.

Ham, a NASA astronaut and commander of the space shuttle, recently recounted his space travels in a visit to the Imagine Nation children’s museum.

When the 4.5 million pound shuttle lets out 7 million pounds of thrust, it’s “absolutely fantastic,” he said.

He described it as the feeling you would get when accelerating in the car for a few seconds before regulating – except in a rocket with 3Gs and the feeling of going constantly faster lasting almost 10 minutes.

Ham really seemed to have the statistics down. He said it takes precisely eight minutes and 23 seconds to get into space.  Read whole story


Hanging out with an astronaut


By Francis Byrne in BRISTOL, Conn., U.S.A. -- You wouldn’t think that a full-fledged astronaut would have time to talk to a middle school student, but I just had that opportunity.

I had the privilege of interviewing Captain Kenneth Ham and asked him about his 13-day mission to the International Space Station.

While there, he and six others installed the 32,000-pound Japanese mobile lab “Kobe,” which means hope. 

Ham, a U.S. Navy pilot who has logged over 5,000 flight hours on over 300 different types of aircraft, visited the Imagine Nation children’s museum.

The museum is very colorful and welcoming, with an ice cream bar and a player piano going right in the lobby, which looked like an atrium. Read whole story


NASA photo.

-- REVIEW --

Love, shame and shattered lives in 'The Reader'

By Caroline Nelissen in ERMELO, Gelderland, Netherlands -- Every once in a while, you come across a movie that stops you in your tracks. The kind of movie that forces you to reconsider a lot of things you thought you understood.

Click Here

“The Reader,” by director Stephen Daldry, is that kind of movie. This thought-provoking tale of impossible love, shame and guilt will stay with you long after you’ve turned off the DVD player.

Set in Germany in the 1950s, it all starts when a chance meeting changes the lives of 15-year old Michael, played by the talented German actor David Kross, and the much older tram ticket collector Hanna (Kate Winslet).

 Read whole story


The colorful holiday of Navarathri

Janani Ramachandran/

By Janani Ramachandran in BANGALORE, India “Color” is one of many words to describe my favorite Indian holiday, Navarathri.

The vibrant colors of the dolls that adorn the steps, the dazzling colors of Indian clothes on women coming in and out of houses, the rich hues and colors of the stories and heritage encompassed within the traditions of this nine-day festival mean Navarathri to me.

Celebrating the victory of the Goddess “Durga” over the demon “Mahishasuran,” this festival honors all of the Goddess forms, especially Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswathi.

As India is a nation of diverse sub-Indian ethnic groups, Navarathri is celebrated in different forms in each corner of the country. Read whole story





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