+

On July 20, 1969, Buzz Aldrin became the second human to ever set foot on the moon.

Shortly before exiting the lunar lander, Aldrin radioed back to Earth with a simple request: "I'd like to take this opportunity to ask every person listening in, whoever and wherever they may be, to pause for a moment and contemplate the events of the past few hours and to give thanks in his or her own way."


Neil Armstrong took this picture of Buzz Aldrin on the moon. Image by NASA/AFP/Getty Images.

And with that, his radio went silent for a moment, as planned. But Aldrin, himself, did not.

The astronaut broke out a home communion kit he brought with him, said a prayer, took a bite from a communion wafer, and poured himself a little wine.

During the brief respite from extraterrestrial communications, the astronaut broke out a home communion kit he brought with him, said a prayer, took a bite from a communion wafer, and poured himself a little wine.

NASA kept this a secret for years, fearing that those who objected to the perceived mixing of church and state would complain. (At the time, there was a pending lawsuit stemming from a reading from Genesis as the Apollo 8 mission orbited the moon.)

The idea of alcohol on the moon, however, was fine — for a few years, at least.

As the Apollo missions were ongoing, NASA wasn't just tinkering with space technology. They were also tinkering with space menus.

A NASA food scientist named Charles Bourland was charged with developing a beverage list of sorts. And that included wine — wine that was supposed to be sent up to Skylab, an early space station. Gizmodo explained:

"After consulting with several professors at the University of California at Davis, it was decided that a sherry would work best because any wine flown would have to be repackaged. Sherry is a very stable product, having been heated during the processing. Thus, it would be the least likely to undergo changes if it were to be repackaged.

The winner of the space sherry taste test was Paul Masson California Rare Cream Sherry. A quantity of this Rare Cream Sherry was ordered for the entire Skylab mission and was delivered to the Johnson Space Center. A package was developed that consisted of a flexible plastic pouch with a built-in drinking tube, which could be cut off. The astronaut would simply squeeze the bag and drink the wine from the package. The flexible container was designed to be fitted into the Skylab pudding can."

But, unfortunately for wine-loving astronauts, the special sherry never made it into orbit or beyond.

In the summer of 1972, Dr. Malcolm Smith, NASA's Chief of Food and Nutrition (and Bourland's boss) told the press about the space wine. The public reaction was less than supportive, with many people disapproving of the use of alcohol among their heroes in spacesuits.

About a week or so later, higher-ups at NASA issued the memorandum seen below.

The memo that ended space wine. Image was a faxed response to a FOIA request.

The memo (larger version here) addresses the discussions around the "fruit beverage (wine)," and the administrator concludes the drink won't be available on Skylab. In part, the administrator reached this decision due to the fear of "continued criticism and ridicule throughout the Skylab Program if such a beverage is provided."

Since then, wine hasn't been sent skyward — at least not for drinking purposes.

Dan Lewis runs the popular daily newsletter Now I Know ("Learn Something New Every Day, By Email"). To subscribe to his daily email, click here.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


Dr. Daniel Mansfield and his team at the University of New South Wales in Australia have just made an incredible discovery. While studying a 3,700-year-old tablet from the ancient civilization of Babylon, they found evidence that the Babylonians were doing something astounding: trigonometry!

Most historians have credited the Greeks with creating the study of triangles' sides and angles, but this tablet presents indisputable evidence that the Babylonians were using the technique 1,500 years before the Greeks ever were.


Keep ReadingShow less

This article originally appeared on 08.05.21


Six years ago, a high school student named Christopher Justice eloquently explained the multiple problems with flying the Confederate flag. A video clip of Justice's truth bomb has made the viral rounds a few times since then, and here it is once again getting the attention it deserves.

Justice doesn't just explain why the flag is seen as a symbol of racism. He also explains the history of when the flag originated and why flying a Confederate flag makes no sense for people who claim to be loyal Americans.

But that clip, as great as it is, is a small part of the whole story. Knowing how the discussion came about and seeing the full debate in context is even more impressive.

Keep ReadingShow less
via Tod Perry

This article originally appeared 8.18.21


18-year-old Twitter user Aimee recently took to Twitter to ask something most of us have probably wondered about without even realizing it:

"Serious question, what the fuck is this for?" she asked, next to a photo of that handle on the ceiling of every car that we all knew about and probably wondered about but never thought to even ask for some reason?!?!?!?!?!?

Keep ReadingShow less