NASA 50th Anniversary

NASA 50th Anniversary


In this volume, a wide array of scholars turn a critical eye toward NASA’s first 50 years, probing an institution widely seen as the premier agency for exploration in the world, carrying on a long tradition of exploration by the United States and the human species in general. Fifty years after its founding, NASA finds itself at a crossroads that historical perspectives can only help to illuminate.

Emblems of Exploration: Logos of the NACA and NASA

Emblems of Exploration: Logos of the NACA and NASA


This and other cool ebooks from NASA.

Over the course of their histories, the NACA and NASA have developed a wide variety of emblems representing each agency’s illustrious exploration of aerospace missions. This publication concentrates on the rich and interesting history of the conception and implementation of the world-famous NACA and NASA seals and insignias that have been displayed for decades on aeronautics and space research vehicles and facilities, as well as those proudly worn by flight research pilots, astronauts, and the dedicated employees of these two world-class organizations.

30 Years On: Tinseltown In The Rain

30 Years On: Tinseltown In The Rain


I remember exactly where I was when I heard of Blue Nile, at a bar in downtown Charleston, in the quiet area where they showed music videos [what was it called back then, The Arcade maybe, changed names so many times, before I DJ’ed there…anyway]. The song ‘Stay’ came on and I was entranced by the sound. Found the LP the next day. Paul Buchanan has one of those rough yet great voices, in line with Mark Hollis from Talk Talk. The album was recorded by Linn Electronics of drum machine fame to showcase some of their new recording equipment. Even on vinyl, the sparse yet full arrangements came through crystal clear. On CD it is amazing.

The video was ok, very 80’s, remember diving into a pool, but that was all. Never have seen it again until now. Gotta love YouTube [at bottom of post].

The tracks run from songs to sound landscapes, with interesting audio effects and engineering. Not anything you will really hear anywhere else. I do hear some Pink Floyd influences in a way, and maybe Brian Eno too. Either way, an original album.

Paul and co managed to release a new album every 6 years or so, only 4 total, and all are great. ‘Walk’ is my favorite, but their second release ‘Hats’ has their best song ever, but more on that some other time [fyi Headlights on the Parade]…. They have since split up, and Paul’s new LP is an exercise in creative listening, just him and a piano. Some great stuff there too, but a bit too much for some to handle I am sure. Regardless, ‘A Walk Across The Rooftops’ is a sure winner, and gets better with each listen.

Amazon :


Mid Air – Paul Buchanan




Listen on Spotify:

Cassette’s Big Brother

Cassette’s Big Brother


Who knew.  Back in 1958 RCA released along with new Stereo LPs, a reel to reel that was in a cartridge. Very few albums and hard to get players killed off the format, that along with not so hot sound quality and mechanical issues with the player. Still, an interesting footnote before the 8-track and compact cassette came along.



RCA tape cartridge from Wikipedia:

The RCA tape cartridge (also known as the Magazine Loading Cartridge and Sound Tape) is amagnetic tape format that was designed to offer stereo quarter-inch reel-to-reel tape recording quality in a convenient format for the consumer market.[1]It was introduced in 1958, following four years of development. This timing coincided with the launch of the stereophonic phonograph record.

The main advantage of the RCA tape cartridge over reel-to-reel machines is convenience. The user is not required to handle unruly tape ends and thread the tape through the machine before use, making the medium of magnetic tape more friendly to casual users. The same design concept would later be used in the more successful Compact Cassette which was invented by Philips in 1962. Because of its convenience, the RCA tape cartridge system did see some success in schools, particularly in student language learning labs.

Similar to the Compact Cassette, the RCA cartridges are reversible so that either side can be played. An auto-reverse mechanism in some models allows the tape to run continuously. The tape runs at a standard speed of 3.75 IPS. This is half of the top speed of consumer reel-to-reel tape recorders, which usually offer both 3.75 IPS and 7.5 IPS speeds. Such consumer reel-to-reel machines are capable of superior audio performance, but only at the faster speed.

The RCA tape cartridge format offers four discrete audio tracks that provide a typical playtime of 30 minutes of stereo sound per side, or double that for monophonic sound. Some models can also play and record at 1.875 IPS, doubling playing time with a significant reduction in sound quality. This speed is not practical for music, but fully acceptable for voice recording.

With two interleaved stereo pairs, the track format and speed of the RCA tape cartridge is fully compatible with the slower 3.75 IPS speed of consumer reel-to-reel stereo tape recorders. It is possible to dismantle the cartridge, spool the tape onto an open reel, and play it on such a machine.

Unlike the Compact Cassette, the RCA tape cartridge incorporates a brake to prevent the tape hubs from moving when the cartridge is not in a player. Small slot windows extend from the tape hubs toward the outside of the cartridge so that the amount of tape visible on each spool can be seen.

Despite its convenience the RCA tape cartridge was not much of a success. A factor in the mostly failure of the system was that RCA was slow to produce machines for the home market. They were also slow to license prerecorded music tapes for home playback. The format disappeared from retail stores by 1964.

The physical track width and speed of the tape and even the size of the RCA tape cartridge is similar to, though incompatible with, Sony’s Elcaset system, introduced in 1976. That system also failed to achieve much market acceptance and was soon withdrawn.