The Apollo 50th Anniversary Stamp Ceremony

I was able to add the 50th anniversary Apollo stamp to my signed and 1st day issued 25th anniversary stamps!

I was able to add the 50th anniversary Apollo stamp to my signed and 1st day issued 25th anniversary stamps!

Five years ago I wrote a blog post right here talking about my experience of being at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum (at that time twenty years ago) for the unveiling of the 25th anniversary Apollo 11 stamps. Well, now I get to add on to that story just a bit. Unless you have been living under a rock you know that this weekend is the 50th anniversary of mankind making the first boot prints on the Moon. Just like at the Smithsonian 25 years ago, the USPS has issued a brand new set of stamps to commemorate this historic milestone...two Apollo 11 50th anniversary edition stamps. The grand unveiling of these stamps was on Friday July 19th at the Saturn V Center at the Kennedy Space Center. 

I have had a couple of very busy months of work related travel and vacation and my tight schedule continues for the next month. So this past Friday was one of only a few days I would be in the office for a while, so I had already scheduled a trip to the Saturn V center to scout out a location to setup telescopes next week (our KSC astronomy club is supporting an event there next week). But I didn’t realize until the night before that the 50th anniversary stamp event was going to be happening at the same time I had already coordinated our little scouting party for. The coincident continues when I realized that the astronomy club member that was going with me on Friday was a medical doctor for the Apollo astronauts...Doctor Wyck Hoffler. Wyck is one of the founding members of our KSC astronomy club and back when he worked on the Apollo program he was physically on the recovery ships for all but a few of the Apollo missions!

Doctor Wyck Hoffler and I in front of the Saturn V rocket during the 50th anniversary stamp ceremony

Doctor Wyck Hoffler and I in front of the Saturn V rocket during the 50th anniversary stamp ceremony

So Wyck and I scouted out locations for telescope setup for our event next week and we also got to see the stamp unveiling and purchase some of the 1st day issued stamps. But what makes this even more special for me was that I was able to take my 1st day issue 25th anniversary stamps that I had signed at the Smithsonian 25 years ago by the artist that designed the stamps and have as 50th anniversary stamp added to them and have it 1st day issued...all on the same card. I was in Washington D.C. 25 years ago as part of a High School space settlement design competition, so that was before I even started my career. Now about 20 years into my career I got to be part of a similar event with a friend of mine that had a very significant role in the Apollo program. It is days like this where you really have to pinch yourself and ask “did I really just get to be a part of this?”

How To Keep the Shortcuts App From Crashing

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I rely very heavily on the iOS Shortcuts app (formerly known as Workflows). So when the Shortcuts app would crash every time I tried to open it the last couple of days it was beyond frustrating. So I did some searching and found the answer and it turned out to be an incredibly easy fix. Rather than repeat everything here I will just point you to the source. The problem turned out to be a “bug” with how the Shortcuts app was syncing shortcuts with iCloud. Turning off the Shortcuts iCloud syncing and turning it back on again fixed the problem.

Check out the iMore article for the step by step on how to fix this issue (thanks iMore!).

Vincent Award #72: Brian and Patrick Lanigan

Image from @TweeterLanigan on Twitter

Image from @TweeterLanigan on Twitter

This week’s Vincent Award goes to not only Brian and Patrick Lanigan but an entire group of teenagers in New Jersey. Brian and Patrick Lanigan both attend Parsippany High School in New Jersey and live next door to a older woman takes an ambulance on a regular basis in order to get to her dialysis treatments. One night the forecast called for 8 inches of snow the the boys knew the ambulance would not make it to their neighbors house for her regular dialysis trip. The ambulance normally arrived at 6am and Brian had to go to work really early that morning. So Patrick called up a few of his friends and at 4:30am the next morning they were out shoveling out their neighbor’s driveway.

Patrick’s Dad posted a few photos on Twitter of the PHS “snow angels.” Congrats Brian, Patrick and crew and thanks for setting such a good example for the rest of us to follow.

Check out the entire story over at the Good News Network...

Fixing a Noisy Refrigerator

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I wanted to toss this article out there in case others had a similar issue because it was a very simple fix to what could have been a very expensive problem down the road if not quickly corrected.

I woke up one morning and came downstairs to find that the bottom pull-out door to our refrigerator/freezer (the freezer section) had been left open. I shut the door after looking at the contents to make sure everything was still relatively cold and somewhat frozen (in case I had to throw anything out) and the fridge started making a pretty loud humming/grinding noise. Definitely not a normal noise we hear coming from our fridge (which is essentially silent running).

At first I thought it was just the compressor working overtime trying to make up for lost time and chilling down the freezer again. But by later that afternoon it was still making a lot of noise even though everything in the freezer had re-frozen and the temp was back to 0 deg F. Something was wrong. So I did some digging online and the most likely causes to the noises I was hearing was either:

  • Something caught in the blower/fan
  • Bearings in the fan motor going out
  • Compressor going out

The last two items I was not going to attempt to do anything with myself, but the first was a different story. As the fridge was cooling back down the freezer section I noticed a lot of ice that had built up on the surfaces of everything in the freezer. The door was left open long enough for warmer moister air to get into the freezer and the moisture condensed all over the surfaces. This meant that it was likely that moisture had condensed on the fan blades in the blower compartments and re-frozen. Just like on a prop plane, ice accumulation on blades/propellers is bad. It throws off the balance and makes the motor work a lot harder than it should (which could explain the noise I was hearing).

So if there was ice on the fan blades of the blower unit in the freezer how I could I get the ice off? There didn’t seem to be any way to easily gain access to the blower unit and the fan blades. To make things worse there was also no way to just shut off the freezer part of the fridge...it was all or nothing. So what we ended up doing was moving all of the freezer items out of the fridge and into our deep freeze in the garage and then unplugged the entire fridge for a short period of time. Then we opened up the freezer door and put a small space heater in for about an hour to melt and dry out all the ice/water in the freezer section. After that was done we plugged the fridge back in and the fridge was operating just as quietly as it had before this whole open door incident happened.

For reference, the fridge unit we have is a Kenmore Elite model 795.73153.610.

Also, we never did solve the mystery of who actually left the freezer door open. My wife went to work early that morning and said she didn’t get in the freezer and would have noticed if the door was open. My teenage kids all say they didn’t do it, but its rare for any of them to be up before noon. So if they did get up they certainly wouldn’t remember doing it. Maybe it was the dog...

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