Update: Launch scrubbed over problems with Auxiliary Power Unit 1 heaters. Next earliest attempt is Sunday.
As I watch all the fuss over the royal wedding, I can't help but think about the day's other big event... and equally moving love story.
Space shuttle Endeavour is set to launch on its final flight roughly 7 and a half hours after Prince William and Kate Middleton –er, I mean the new Duchess of Cambridge– kiss on the balcony of Buckingham Palace.
Fitting that on a day dominated by the British monarchy, NASA would launch its most British shuttle. Of course I only refer to the name. Ever wonder why the U.S. space agency would use a UK spelling for Endeavour?
Blame the kids...
And by normal, I mean incredible. The maze of trains and subways was as packed and punctual as I had expected. Store after store –make that mall after mall– offered gadgets and fashions I had never seen before. And yes, sushi really does taste better in Japan.
The action wasn't all indoors. People were having picnics in the park under cherry blossoms. We saw at least four outdoor weddings. We spent hours people-watching... gawking at random breakdance battles and crowds in elaborate costumes.
But the trip almost didn't happen. Like many people, I struggled with deciding whether or not to cancel my vacation. The holiday had been booked months before the devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami. FULL POST
But of course I jest. The world’s only ginger Welsh antipodean political leader deserves a party after all she’s been through since she took office.
I am still avoiding my point.
While I wasn’t waiting with baited breath for my own invitation to the royal nuptials – or indeed rehearsing fake delight ahead of the distant chance any acquaintance might be among the chosen few – two words are lodged in my craw. Joss Stone.
I can accept Tara Palmer-Tomkinson. At least she flirts in royal circles and occasionally persuades the world that Duncan from Blue has more to offer us than Eurovision or bisexuality "shockers".
I can even accept Posh ‘n’ Becks. At least they guarantee viewership from the jaded brigade who don’t do royal but refuse to succumb to totally common (yes – you, Katie Price).
But Joss Stone? Really? Not Adele? Not Laura Marling? Not even Amy Winehouse? At least she’d be worth a laugh. A castoff from Jane McDonald’s “Star for a Night” gets to brush past the bouncers at the biggest event of the year?
Fergie might have felt aggrieved if her namesake from the Black Eyed Peas had been asked along. But Joss Stone?!
Joss, sweetheart... This turn of events is not super duper and very few people are diggin’ on it.
We do get some intuitive topical touches. Among them, Barack Obama on Gabrielle Giffords: “a needed voice that cannot return soon enough”. We can appreciate the inclusion of revolutionary figures from El Général to Ai Weiwei to Aung San Suu Kyi. Likewise, we should celebrate the ordinary man excelling in extraordinary circumstances – Japanese doctor Takeshi Kanno.
These people deserved to be honored. But – Obama aside – some of the more curious content comes courtesy of those doing the honoring. FULL POST
Their objectives have not changed since the height of the slave trade: educate, document and mobilize.
By that I mean abolitionists work to spread awareness about the horrors of owning another human being. They record instances of this appalling practice. And they organize others to do something to stop it.
Sadly, slavery still exists today. But the tools to fight it have come a long way. The non-profit group, Not For Sale, utilizes technology to show people that human trafficking exists in their backyard. This online map lets you see instances of slavery near you... wherever you are.
A lot of people are going to hate this blog post. To all those people, I’d just like to take a quick moment to say: “Suck it up, haters”.
Here’s the deal. Some people are lost in space. Some, like me, are lost in space-related conversation. I just don’t get it. I don’t want to get it. I will never get it.
When most of my colleagues watch the Yuri Gagarin video from five decades ago, they gasp in awe. When I watch it, I struggle not to choke on my own vomit.