Column: Worth smiling

Eugene Shoemaker and the Moon as final resting place

shoemaker_198x198Many people dream about making a journey into space sometime, or setting foot on a celestial body. And despite the fascinating images and movie footages we are able to enjoy here on Earth, the wish remains to experience this sight for ourselves. The German scientist and astronaut Ulrich Walter, recently related that the view onto the Earth in weightlessness and the realization not to be the centre, would change the individual thinking in a profound way. »Up there« in space, he was always happy. [read more]

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»New Moon on Monday« by Duran Duran

duran-duran_198x198 In 1984, the song »New Moon on Monday« was released by the British music group Duran Duran. This was deep in the 80′s, when men and women artistically draped their hair and wore gear that makes you chuckle looking at them from today’s perspective. The ambitious music video tells the plot of an underground rebel group called »La Luna«, who fight against a military regime, and who call upon the power of the Moon to help them. Back then, this was shot in the French village Noyers with great efforts during winter temperatures. [read more]

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Moon boots

moon-boots_198x198Who does not know the »moon boots« – these bulky snow boots, which appeared in the 70′s and 80′s and have taken their claim ever since in the winterly fashion scene. The Italian Giancarlo Zanatta designed the shoes, inspired by the moon landing in 1969. Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin wore overshoes with wide soles, which provided the formal inspiration for moon boots. Zanatta took immediate care of the production of the shoes with his company called Tecnica, which is run by his son Alberto Zanatta today, and still sells up to 700,000 pair per year. [read more]

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The Chinese moon goddess Chang’e

chang-e_198x198Chang’e is the Chinese moon goddess. She does not symbolically represent the Moon, like for example the Greek moon goddess Selene, but Chang’e lives on the Moon and is befriended with the well-known rabbit that is very familiar to us. But has she always been up there?

The legend says that she got there some thousand years ago. There are different versions of the story, which we don’t want to elaborate on. In any case, her husband Hou Yi plays a central role, who came to help because of his skillfulness in archery, when ten suns threatened to burn the Earth and he shot down nine from the sky. [read more]

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The song »Fly Me To The Moon«

frank-sinatra_198x198The jazz classic »Fly Me To The Moon«, originally written by Bart Howard in 1954, gained worldwide fame through Frank Sinatra (1915–1998). His version from 1964 accompanied the space mission Apollo 10 to the Moon in May of 1969, and was played when the spaceship orbited the Moon. Further, it was the first song ever that was played on the Moon, when Buzz Aldrin stepped onto the Moon with a portable cassette player during the Apollo 11 mission in July 1969. [read more]

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The moonlight in »How to Train Your Dragon«

train-your-dragon_198x198The film is based on the book of the same title by Cressida Cowell (2003), was released in 2010 in movie theaters and became one of the most successful animations and earned nearly $500 million. Next to its impressive technical quality of the animation, it is most of all about the story of Hickup, a son of a Viking, who flies directly into the hearts of the audience, with his ability to tame dragons, which was a hostile skill to have up until then. [read more]

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Moon trees

moon-tree_198x198Even though the idea would be wonderful: this is not about trees that grow on the Moon, but about trees on Earth that grew from seeds, which orbited the Moon exactly 34 times, in a small canister, during the Apollo 14 mission in 1971. For this joint project by NASA and USFS (US Forest Service), the astronaut Stuart Rosa took hundreds of tree seeds with him on this journey. Seeds of five different species of tree had been chosen: loblolly pine, sycamore, sweetgum, redwood and douglas fir. The seeds survived the weightlessness and also when the canister that contained the seeds, got destroyed in the vacuum of the decontamination chamber. The seeds had to be picked up individually after this incident. [read more]

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Is the Moon round?

moon-orange_198x198When looking up to the full moon, you see a sphere and there is no doubt: the Moon has to be round. And we assume quite simply that a sphere is orbiting our Earth. This is correct indeed, if taking a lax approach in the definition of a sphere. The Moon is spherical, but differs considerably from the perfect shape. On the one hand it is flattened at the North Pole and South Pole, and on the other hand, its reverse side, which is turned away from the Earth, is convexed outwardly. [read more]

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A bath at the full moon

full-moon-bath_198x198Bathing at the full moon or in the full moon light, is a fascinating experience, which one or the other has surely made. Two ways to interpret this is either bathing in the water at the full moon (outdoors or in the bath tub), or bathing directly in the moonlight (when the light of the Moon shines onto your skin, just like sunbathing). [read more]

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»It was dark, the moon was shining bright« – a German poem

old-book_198x198There is a German poem called »Dunkel war’s, der Mond schien helle«, in which the first line has been dedicated to the Moon and which boasts special features. For one thing, nobody knows who wrote the poem, which is quite unusual coming from the »land of poets and thinkers«. For another thing, it is based on the principle of the »oxymoron«. This is a figure of speech that juxtaposes elements that are contradictory or that are created from terms which are mutually exclusive. Straight away, the first line reveals this principle, because it cannot be »dark«, when the Moon is shining »bright«. [read more]

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»Shrek« … the full moon again and again

shrek_198x198Who doesn’t know the bilious green, clumsy and yet endearing ogre with a heart of gold. »Shrek« is a series of computer animated motion pictures, which was the most costly computer animated production with their first part when it was released back in 2001, and awarded with an Oscar for best animation in 2002. The story is based on the children’s book »Shrek!« by the American cartoonist and children’s book author William Steig. The title derives of Yiddish and means »terror«. The movie was so successful that further sequels followed. [read more]

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The movie »Moonstruck«

»Moonstruck« is a romantic comedy from 1987, where next to Cher and Nicholas Cage, the full moon plays a leading part. It can be seen countless times in the film, in the night sky, quite differently compared to »Sleepless in Seattle« for example, where you can only see it on the movie poster. The word  »moonstruck« in the title, refers little to the subject of sleepwalking, but rather to the fact that human behavior can be quite peculiar at times during the full moon. [read more]

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»Sleepless in Seattle« – without the full moon?

Who doesn’t know this movie, a classic amongst romantic comedies? Shot in 1993, with Tom Hanks as the architect Sam Baldwin and Meg Ryan as the journalist Annie Reed, who do not know each other but are still able to find one another thanks to Sam’s son Jonah, who recognizes that Sam and Annie belong together and for that, he leaves no stone unturned.

On the movie poster, you can see the full moon, just above Meg Ryan and we watched this movie for the 137th time to find out whether the full moon is also visible during the movie  – wrong! Neither in the scene where Sam talks to the psychologist on the radio for the first time, while Annie listens in the car, nor in the closing scene in New York, and on the Empire State Building we can see the moonlight shining, although this would have certainly been a gain. Also with reference to the title and the addressed topic of sleeplessness, this would have been an obvious approach. [read more]

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Mooning – displaying the bare buttocks

The human buttocks are being linked to the Moon at times, just like in the case of the so-called sexual position »full moon«. This is due to the large, round shape of the buttock cheeks, which could occasionally remind of the lunar globe when properly lit or observed from the correct angle.

If someone shows their bum publicly, he or she usually does so to break a socially accepted norm and to express their protest or contempt. Or simply because of the fun of it provoking other people. This »baring the behind« is called »mooning«. It derives from the verb »to moon«, which means  »to expose to the (moon)light«. [read more]

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Lunula – Little Moon

After we have already mentioned the lunate bone, one of the eight human carpal bones, which has been named after the Moon, due to its sickle shape, we would like to take another look at the human hand – this time at the fingernails. Lo and behold: here too, the name was inspired by the Moon. The white area of the nail, shaped like a half-moon is called »lunula« (lat. little moon) and incidentally, can be found on toenails as well. The lunula is differently pronounced with every human being, with some you may only see it on the thumb, with others you can see it on all fingers and toes. [read more]

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Dance at the full moon in »The Lion King«

»The Lion King« from 1994, is one of the most successful animated movies, and just like in other works from the house of Walt Disney (»The Lady and the Tramp« and others), we are able to gaze at the full moon up in the sky in nightly scenes.

Particularly well-known is the image, where Simba dances across a tree trunk with his companions, which enables them to cross a large river in front of the backdrop of a gigantic full moon. This motif has also been used for various movie posters and can also be watched in the movie trailer: [read more]

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The »Moon Pie«

We have already reported about full moon delicacies, which are being produced during the full moon. Especially popular are full moon bread, cheese, sausage, coffee, beer and water. But there are also foods that have been simply connected to the Moon via their shape and therefore carry the moon in their name. For example the mooncake at the Chinese festival or the American »Moon Pie«, a sandwich cookie that has been made since 1917. [read more]

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The TV series »Moonlighting«

It’s been a few years ago, since we watched the TV series »Moonlighting« and could accompany Bruce Willis in the role of detective David Addison and Cybill Shepherd as the former top model Maddie Hayes, on a weekly chase of hoodlums. This was 1985, Bruce Willis’s start of his career, who had been chosen out of 1,000 applicants, and had already then an incomparably smug smile (and significantly more hair). The success of this series lies, next to the quick-witted dialogues, of course in the latent erotic relationship of the leading roles, who ingeniously never quite get it together. [read more]

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Will the Moon be sold?

There are stories, they are so odd that they are hard to believe. Just a few days ago we came across this report, saying some multi-billionaires teamed up in order to buy the Moon. The motive for this unusual proposal is apparently an investment into future projects. It has been known for some time that the Moon could be significant for future utilization by people, and it therefore becomes a lucrative economic investment.

This is particularly about possible mineral resources, but also about the feasibility of creating moon colonies. Meanwhile, scientific studies have shown that the cultivation of plants – observed over extended periods of time – could create something like an atmosphere containing oxygen around the Moon. This is how a colonization on the Moon would be conceivable and it seems to be almost for certain that there should be enough volunteers, who would be willing to move away from Earth. [read more]

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The Google Lunar X-Prize

Google is on everyone’s lips and in our computer oriented world there is probably not a day, where we don’t encounter the name of the US enterprise with its famous search engine in one form or another. We google – this is how the Oxford English Dictionaries have it since 2006.

Google has demonstrated more than once, how to change the world with unconventional ideas. Since 2007, there is a project, which continues this tradition: the »Google Lunar X Prize«. [read more]

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