Daily Archives: 01/13/2004

In Praise of Probes And The Internet

Found a link to this incredible essay published last year in the Atlantic: A Space in Time, by Michael Benson. It is an amazing look at the quantity and quality of astronomical information available on the internet, most of it beamed back to earth by intrepid robot explorers. I’ve never read a finer paean to the possibilities of both the internet and NASA’s unmanned probes. Makes me wonder why we keep spending billions on the space shuttle and space station, our meager toehold claim to a manned space program. Our probes are far less expensive and capable of doing incredible science among worlds untouched by man.

Cassini Images Saturn

Here’s One For All The Hobos Out There

An insightful guide to Bum Wines. Who’d have guessed Night Train and Thunderbird are the product of Ernest and Julio Gallo? That’s a little bit of history I never heard before.

The history of Thunderbird is as interesting as the drunken effects the one experiences from the wine. When Prohibition ended, Ernest Gallo and his brothers Julio and Joe wanted to corner the young wine market. Earnest wanted the company to become “the Campbell Soup company of the wine industry” so he started selling Thunderbird in the ghettos around the country. Their radio adds featured a song that sang, “What’s the word? / Thunderbird / How’s it sold? / Good and cold / What’s the jive? / Bird’s alive / What’s the price? / Thirty twice.” It is said that Ernest once drove through a tough, inner city neighborhood and pulled over when he saw a bum. When Gallo rolled down his window and called out, “What’s the word?” the immediate answer from the bum was, “Thunderbird.”