Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A Night at the Theater

ANTIQUE FUTURE:  A few weeks back, we took a tour of Seattle's lovely Paramount Theatre. During that tour, we learned that in March, the theater would be showing some silent films, including Metropolis, the first full-length feature sci-fi film.

Of course, we simply had to go! And so, during rush hour yesterday, we set out for the confluence of Capitol Hill and downtown. Did I mention it was rush hour? Amazingly, traffic was downright light. I have no idea why, but we were amazed and overjoyed. :)

The theater holds about 2,800 people, and it looked to be a pretty darn full house!  I only saw one other kid there, though. I don't understand why more families wouldn't turn out to see "Metropolis" with a live orchestra. ... But I digress.

As previously mentioned, "Metropolis," filmed in 1927 and set in 2026, is a silent movie. Over the years, multiple, varied soundtracks have accompanied the film.  For last night's performance, we had the good fortune of hearing Degenerate Art Ensemble (DAE), a Seattle based performance company. DAE composed an original score for the film, which featured everything from lush, orchestral melodies to pounding, industrial riffs to super synth effects. The 17-piece ensemble's music was spot-on and captivating. I had to keep reminding myself that a live orchestra was performing, it was so seamlessly integrated.

Here's Annabelle's review: 
On March 2, 2015, I went to go see a presentation of Metropolis. Metropolis is a German silent film made in 1927. The film was actually broken apart and had to be salvaged over many years, but they have finally produced an almost complete version of the film, save a couple scenes.
The movie is about a city in the future that has a very lovely and livable above-ground section. Deep below the ground, however, there lies the Worker's City, a place where thousands of people are sent to feed the machines that run the city. One day, a privileged young man named Freder, the son of the mayor, Frederson, finds out about the poor working class and goes on a mission to help them be treated better. Along the way he meets a woman who tells the workers they will soon find a mediator that will allow them to be known as equal to the 'brains' of the city. He soon finds out he is the mediator, while his father sends a search for him. The father finds out about the woman encouraging the workers and asks an inventor named Rotwang to use a machine he has invented to create chaos between the workers and the woman. Little does Frederson know of the inventor's plan to overthrow him.
The movie is filled with suspense and action. It has a good story line and characters, and I personally find it amazing they were able to restore so much. The special effects were also great for its time. I would definitely recommend watching it.
CJ also had some thoughts to share:
Metropolis is a 1927 silent film directed by Fritz Lang, which was the most expensive silent film at the time. However, Metropolis was a box office bomb that lost 5,025,000 Reichsmark upon it's release in 1927. Since its original release, over a quarter of the film had been lost, with the most complete copy currently known missing 5 minutes of footage.
In 2026, Freder Fredersen, a wealthy man in the high class of Metropolis, discovers the Worker's City of Metropolis, which he had been previously unaware of, and the workers in the city being forced to perform hard manual labor with little to no pay.
After this, Freder finds a worker who he agrees to trade lives with, curious about what it is like being a worker in the Worker's City. It is a clock-like machine designed with two long boards that Freder has to turn to match up with certain lights.
The film is quite long, and you can probably find it on YouTube (make sure it's the 2010 restoration made from a copy recovered in Argentina) and in the end, Metropolis is a very interesting film.

You can read all about the newest release of the best to-date restoration of Metropolis on the official Web site: http://fwm-stiftung.de/projekt-metropolis.  OK, so the page is in German, but that's what Google Translate is for. :)

Now here's something CJ and Annabelle didn't write about ... the evening was 'presented' by Trader Joe's. Upon entering the theater, we were all given brown paper bags (think what you'd stick a loaf of French bread in) stuffed with TJ goodies. There was a bag of kettle corn, several individually wrapped chocolates, some trail mix, a fig bar. All good stuff BUT all stuffed individually factory wrapped, and sealed up by machines that apparently like vexing humans. Now, think about having 3,000 biggish, brown paper bags filled with multiple, hard-to-open items in foil-y type wrap, and pair that with a silent movie. AAAAAAAAAARGH. I honestly don't even like going to a regular (couple hundred seat) theater because people are so da*& loud eating regular popcorn out of a tub. Honestly, the sounds last night from people opening food and rustling their bags was SO LOUD. It sounded like hard rainfall, I kid you not.

And don't get me started on the guy to my left who took off his boots. And then his SOCKS, as well. People ... sigh.  

CHARACTERS:  The kids are now taking a movie making class once a week, on Friday afternoons. Their homework from last week was to develop characters for themselves that they would like to play in the film the class cooperatively makes over the next three months or so.

Here's what Annabelle came up with for herself. ...
CJ fleshed out a character, as well. Annabelle's cartoon helps bring "Jonathan" to life.
TAKING A BREATHER:  While we're all doing our thing down here on Earth, Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) continues to toil away on the Red Planet.  Check out this cool photo it took of itself, shortly after. It's a raw color view from its Mastcam, right after it finished drilling at Telegraph Peak on Feb. 24.  
                               Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

However, on Feb. 27, MSL has had a little hiccough, it seems. A fault-protected action occurred while transferring the sample it drilled, and now the roving lab is on a bit of a break while scientists back on Earth do a little troubleshooting.

Monday, March 2, 2015


I'll let CJ tell you a little bit about it. ... 
On February 28th, I went to the Pacific Science Center for the annual Polar Science Weekend event sponsored by the University of Washington.
One of the activities I took part in was a demonstration where I put a cardboard narwhal horn and learned about the fact that often times, to get food, narwhals have to dive the length of the Space Needle down below the arctic water just to get some food. During autumn, the narwhals have to dive the length of 5 Space Needles just to get the fish that they need to eat!

Another activity we took part in was a taste test where I would take different samples of different water and determine which were saltier than the others. The jars that I took samples from (not labeled in order of saltiness) were A, B, C, D, E, and F. They were all from natural lakes, and the saltiest (be glad you didn't taste it) was D, which was from the Red Sea, dividing Africa and Asia.
One other activity I took part in was where about 1000 wood toy boats would be set free in the Arctic Ocean and we could write messages on the wooden boats while they lasted. I don't know if the boats are on their way to the Arctic Ocean yet, but they will eventually be there.             
                             Annabelle's boat was sporting a pony by the time she was done. 

And here's Annabelle's report. ...
On March 1st, 2015, I went to an event at Pacific Science Center called Polar Science Weekend. The event includes many different activites from many different companies and researchers. There are so many things to do, and I can tell you 3 of them.
The first activity was about guessing the size of different waves in the oceans; they had options like the Atlantic and South before they got to the Arctic Ocean. The waves could get huge in hurricanes and storms in other place, but what about the Arctic? They told us that it depended on the ice. The ice melting could provide more open water for waves in the summer, or ice growing could leave less during the winter.
Next was the salinity taste test, where you got a cup and tried water from 6 jugs, labeled A-F. Some water was not salty at all where others made you want to spit it out. After you had tried the water you had to put the right percentage of salt on the right water jug. There were different options like freshwater, soup, blood, the red sea, and more.

Lastly was the narwhal mysteries stand. The stand has you put on a fake narwhal horn and go through the ocean as you learn a narwhal's feeding patterns. A fun fact I learned was that narwhals can dive 8 Space Needles deep on one breath just to get food. The stand was certainly my favorite out of all.
We also visited with folks from Point Defiance Zoo. They have a cool polar bear display there, and they brought a pelt for people to feel.
We also learned about how water (and whatever's in the water) flows up around Greenland and the Canadian Archipelago. 

LAUNCH:  Sunday afternoon, rockets on board, we headed out to 60-Acre Park, some 40 minutes north and east of home. It was our destination because that park is the only one in the greater Seattle area where it's legal to launch model rockets. 

The Northwest Rocketry group was holding a rocket launching session when we arrived. They had a pretty sweet set up for launching rockets one after another. 
We had our own launchpad, however, so we set that up.
We decided to launch an old red rocket we found at Goodwill years ago first.

Unfortunately, we had a few 3-2-1 countdowns with no lift offs. ...

Turns out the contacts in the remote weren't working well, so Christian did a like MacGyvering, as the saying goes. ...

Did I mention the local rocketry club even had a weather balloon? It was very helpful in determining where our rocket would wind up ... if the chute deployed.
Turns out wind was not a 'problem' with our launch of the red rocket, because the parachute didn't deploy. :/

Turns out parachutes don't deploy too well when they are melted together.  

Next up was the rocket CJ built last weekend at The Museum of Flight.

It took off just fine, but it stuck the landing. ...

As in no-parachute, so it stuck into the ground after a rapid descent. Doh!

CJ ran across the field to fetch it. Fortunately, it absorbed the landing well and will live to see another launch.

Sensing a (not-good) parachute trend, Christian added more wadding on subsequent launches. That, and I asked them if they'd used talcum powder on the chutes. I remembered from rocketry class back when I was in fifth grade that's a good idea to help them deploy smoothly.  

None of our chutes on Sunday had talcum on them, it turns out. Fortunately enough, I immediately through of a work around ...
my makeup compact!

Fortunately, the wadding and powder did the trick. Annabelle's parachute deployed nicely!
We saved the SpaceX rocket or last. It lifted off as expected, but we had too-puny a rocket motor on it, so I didn't exactly soar the clouds. Rather, it reached an Apex of about 25 feet before it started descending and its chutes popped. Oh well, next time we'll go bigger!

DATE WITH A DWARF:  This Friday, NASA's Dawn spacecraft will make history when it reaches dwarf planet Ceres, some 257 million miles from Earth (about 100 million miles farther than Mars). Ceres is in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, and it's the largest unexplored world in our inner solar system. 

During its travels to Ceres, Dawn spent a year orbiting Vesta, a giant asteroid, from 2011 to 2012.

This morning, we watched a live news conference from Jet Propulsion Laboratory's von Karman Auditorium. We learned about Dawn's interesting ion propulsion system, which Dawn project manager Robert Mase called "big science on a small budget."

Here's a short, silent movie about Dawn's approach of Ceres: http://youtu.be/LP2zbGFXyk0

And here's a link to the presser from this morning, if you are so inclined: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/59452133.

Friday, February 27, 2015


WE GROK SPOCK:  Several days ago we heard the news that Leonard Nimoy, best known as the actor who played Spock on the original "Star Trek" series, had entered the hospital. 

It worried me greatly that we heard no updates. I knew Nimoy, 83, had been suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPS) for years, and I figured no news was bad news. :(

Today, we learned that Nimoy's energy has transformed. Because, you know that physics dictate that energy can't disappear. It can only transform. Spock is back to stardust, at least for now. ;)

Geeks that we are, we have enough Spock-related shirts 'round here to clothe us for days. As I snapped this picture I asked the kids to flash a Live Long and Prosper (#LLAP )sign. Annabelle asked, "Should we smile? It seems wrong to smile." I told her to smile broadly as we celebrate Leonard Nimoy's life! 

As his parting Twitter message to us, Leonard Nimoy reminded, "A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP

Together, we watched this video where Nimoy, a Jew, explained the genesis of the Vulcan salute that became so endemic to our society. It's a fascinating story (as Spock would say, with one eyebrow arched!).

BUZZED:  This afternoon, I had the distinct pleasure of sharing my love of space exploration with a rapt audience of six-or-seven year olds. :)

Son Kennedy invited me to be a guest reader in his classroom. Upon invitation, I knew that I'd be preaching the gospel of space exploration. ;)

I chose the book "One Giant Leap: The Story of Neil Armstrong" by Don Brown. I wanted to share this wonderful book because it starts with Neil as a young child, rather than an adult  astronaut.  I augmented it with audio clips from NASA of Neil and friends touching down at Tranquility base and then setting foot on the moon. And I also incorporated some 3D models from "Moon Landing" - an intricate pop up book.  

The kids were rapt, and had lots of questions. Thankfully, I had good science- and reality-based answers for all of them!

BARCELONA: For whatever reason, CJ went on a kick this afternoon asking questions all about Spain and Barcelona. I couldn't answer all his questions, but I was happy to be able to share with him an amazing duet of Queen's Freddie Mercury and and operatic soprano Montserrat Caballé.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Thursday Notes

A LITTLE HELP:  Annabelle is enjoying her newish (to her), twice-weekly art class. On Tuesday, the class made "quilt" squares, which were supposed to express ways to be nice to others. 

Apologies for the cruddy cell phone picture above. Hopefully you can tell it's a T-Rex who needs some help reaching something. Thankfully, a compassionate giraffe stuck his neck out to help (ha ha).

BOOKISH:  I've been doing a bad job of reporting which books the kids have had their noses in for the past few months!. Today, I caught Annabelle juggling two books on her lap, one she had just finished (Copper, which was based on a Web comic), and one she was just starting (Zita the Spacegirl, a graphic novel).
She reports Copper had "Calvin and Hobbes"-esque qualities to it.

You can see a trailer for Zita here: 

INSTRUMENTAL: With all the driving we had to do today, we managed to listen to the rest of our Week 7 lectures in our classical music course. Thank goodness for the Coursera app, which allows me to stream them on my phone, and an auxilary input lets us play them through our car's speakers.

One of the topics covered today was the ever-expanding orchestra during the mid- and latter-part of the 19th century. One of the instruments added was the English horn to the mix. It has a lovely, distinctive, almost mournful sound. Once of the pieces of music we listened to today was Dvorak Symphony No. 9 "From the New World" 2nd Movement, which features the English horn (which, ironically, is not English, and not a horn. It's a woodwind, and it came from Silesia, a region in Central Europe which is now mostly within Poland's borders.

Dvorak's symphony featuring the English horn is simply beautiful.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


GAME ON:  We love board games in a big way here at MPA and today we test drove two new-to us ones. 

First up was "The Case of the Missing Mummy," which we 'won' on the wonderful "Buy Nothing" Facebook group we're a part of. If you haven't heard of Buy Nothing, here's how it's described on the Buy Nothing Web site
"The Buy Nothing Project began as an experimental hyper-local gift economy on Bainbridge Island, WA; in just 16 months, it has become a worldwide social movement, growing to over 80,000 members in 9 nations with 415 groups and 500 volunteers."
We're a part of a Buy Nothing group for the Magnolia and Queen Anne neighborhoods on Facebook. Basically, what people do is post things they're ready to be rid of, rather than taking them to Goodwill, trashing them, or posting them on Craigslist. 

To date, we've donated books, toys and more. We've received games, household furnishings, and even a 40-inch television(!). It's an amazing giving community. We'd encourage you to join one in your area, or start one!

We have a practice of leaving a nice note when we pick up a Buy Nothing gift. Here's what we left today when we picked up "The Case of the Missing Mummy." 
The game we played was a cooperative one, which we like, and we four beat the mummy with no trouble at all. Go us!

Next up, we played a science-based game the kids checked out from the library. Called "Power Surge," it has questions about electricity, machines, energy, and magnetism, combined with some "Sorry" game like aspects.
As we were playing it, I was glad we've taken a couple of physics-related classes. :)

ALL ABOUT OPERA: We powered through lecture after lecture today in our classical music course. We were neck deep in Verdi, Bellini, Wagner and Liszt. Speaking of the latter, what a guy, as it turns out.

Ever heard of Beatlemania? Of course you have. Well back before the Fab Four, there was a phenomenon called Lisztomania thanks to a "rock star" before there was rock. I'll let Annabelle tell you more. ... 

                                           "Franz Liszt by Herman Biow- 1843" 
Franz Liszt was a composer of many operatic performances. He was so popular he was considered a "rockstar of the 19th century" and had over 3000 people at some concerts, and even had his own "Lisztomania"! His operas included "Un sospiro" and "Die Walküre", from which his famous "Ride of the Valkyries" came. He also had many Etudes, which are pieces meant for those learning piano, even though his were not of much use for that.
Editor's notes: Liszt's etudes were not good practice pieces because they are almost impossible to play, even for virtuosos. Liszt was known as a 'three handed' pianist because what he played was beyond what the vast majority of two-handed mortals could manage. Apparently many of his concert goers were women, who threw bouquets at him and clamored for a lock of his hair.

One of the most interesting things we learned today was that Liszt was (purportedly) the first  to turn his grand piano sideways during concerts. Reportedly he did this out of vanity, to hide a big mole on his left cheek.  This photo of an elderly Liszt might help bolster that claim. 
We also learned about Richard Wagner. Here are a few things that stuck in CJ's mind from the lectures. ...
Richard Wagner has more books written about him than Beethoven, Mozart, or Bach did, and lived in the same place that Bach did for 27 years. Wagner had to teach himself about music, and was most famous for his composition "The Flight of the Valkyries", which is one of the most iconic pieces of music from the Romantic period. Wagner designed the Bayreuth Festival Theatre, which has a hidden area for the orchestra to play in and had gasoline candles which could be dimmed or brightened for performances.
Turns out Wagner was a revolutionary. We have him to thank for many of the elements of our modern day theater going experiences, like, as CJ noted, theater lights dimming, the orchestra  being hidden (like the audio in modern day movie theaters), not admitting people late to performances (yes! thank you Wagner!), and more. 

Also, Wagner helped re-introduce the 'ring' to more modern storytelling. Unlike his contemporaries, who were enamored of Shakespeare and such, he based his operas on Nordic mythology, and the idea of prequels and rings in storytelling (think Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, etc.). Super interesting and educational

GRAY MATTER:  Yesterday we mentioned Mars Science Laboratory's activities on the Red Planet. Today, NASA released a photo of a recent drilling site. Check it out! 
      Photo: NASA-JPL
Turns out Mars' red is only 'skin' deep. Not all that surprising, of course, but, still, it's fascinating and so cool to see!


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tuesday Musings

            photo: NASA/JPL
MOUNTAIN CLIMBING: We started our morning by appreciating the Martian landscape thanks to a fantastic new "selfie' from Mars Science Laboratory.

Pictured here, "Curiosity" sits atop the "Mojave" site, where its drill collected the mission's second sample from Mount Sharp. If you go to a high resolution version of this photo (http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/figures/PIA19142_fig1.jpg), you can see the drill holes right above the arrow and word "Mojave."

Naturally, the kids wondered how Curiosity took this photo, as you can't see it holding out a camera, even on a 'selfie stick.' The image is actually a composite of dozens of photos taken during January 2015 by MSL's Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera at the end of the rover's robotic arm. The photos don't show MSL's "wrist" motions and turret rotations that were used on the arm allowing MAHLI to acquire the mosaic's images.

The arm was positioned out of the shot in the images, or portions of images, that were used in this mosaic.

In the image, you can see the Pahrump Hills outcrop surrounding the rover. The upper left corner of the shot has an upper portion of Mount Sharp (about the size of Washington's Mt. Rainier) visible.  
You can reads lots more about Curiosity via these NASA sites: http://www.nasa.gov/msl and http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/.
PROPOSALS:  We have finished six weeks' worth of lectures and quizzes for the Magna Carta class we're taking.  The only thing left on the 'to do' list was the final assignment, and a daunting one, at that that. We were tasked with writing a clause for a modern-day Magna Carta "that addresses the pressing issues and defends the rights that matter to you, and a written motion to persuade others that your clause should be adopted. The total length of your submission should be 240-270 words ..."
Sounds straightforward enough, but aye, aye, aye ... proposing an amendment to the cornerstone of democracy? A little intimidating.
We mulled over potential topics for a few days. I ended up settling on wage equality (before Patricia Arquette's speech at the Oscars, might I note). CJ decided on Internet freedom, and Annabelle chose marriage equality.
We each spent 2-3 days re-reading the original Magna Carta, researching other human rights-related documents, and drafting proposals. Yesterday, CJ finished his. Here it is:
CLAUSE: All humans, regardless of gender, age, race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, or sexual orientation, shall have the right to use the Internet without fear of privacy violations or persecution. 
MOTION: The Internet is a borderless, invaluable avenue for advancing human knowledge. Therefore, no government should control, destroy or deny their citizens' access to the Internet.  Fundamental to Magna Carta is the tradition of preventing government from the unlawful seizure of property. This should include intellectual property, inclusive of thoughts and ideas shared via the Internet or World Wide Web. Every person accessing the Internet or World Wide Web is entitled to freedom of expression and distribution of information. Except for activity deemed illegal and detrimental to society by order of judicial officials elected by citizens, no human being should be arbitrarily stripped of their right to use the Internet and World Wide Web and no government should control a person's ability to browse the Internet and World Wide Web, or profit from a person's use of the Internet or World Wide Web. Because the Internet contains the free exchange of information and knowledge, no government owns content that has been submitted to the World Wide Web by a human being. The Internet and World Wide Web should not be used for surveillance of people's actions. An Internet freedom charter is necessary in today's society due to the fact that when the original Magna Carta was written in 1215, there was nothing remotely similar to the worldwide means of communicating or disseminating information today's Internet provides. 
Annabelle finished her suggestion this evening.
Clause: "Because humans have a birthright to freedom, dignity and equal rights, all consenting adults should be free to marry whom they choose, regardless of race, religion, nationality, gender or orientation." 
Motion: The 800th anniversary of Magna Carta is a time to reflect on our rights and liberties and the role Magna Carta has played in helping shape free societies around the globe.  History shows that equal rights ensured by law are indispensible in the on-going campaign to eliminate certain rights from being of benefit only to select groups, for instance, a nation's rulers or a cultural or political majority. Given this, a Magna Carta for today should champion freedom and equality in rights, including the institution of marriage.  The original Magna Carta addressed marriage in multiple clauses, which would indicate the importance of marriage in society's structure.  However, the original Magna Carta clauses addressing marriage are antiquated, pertaining to royal titles, dowries and customs of days long ago. Marriage was, and continues to be, an important part of society, but today's social order requires a different outlook, affirmation and protection under the law. With this in mind, any modern Magna Carta should maintain the rights of any human being to have freedom and equality in marriage, and this right should extend to all humans of any race, culture, nationality, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.  Those who are of consenting age and are acting of their own free will should be, by law, allowed to choose whom they marry. Basic human rights allow freedom of self-expression, which includes the right to love whom we love. 
They both worked hard on their proposals, and learned the value of a good thesaurus along the way. :) Our proposals are submitted and now, we have to wait until the peer review is over (about 10 days) to find out if they're up to snuff. 
GET WITH THE PROGRAM: Because we don't have quite enough on our plates, today we started *another* class: Beginning Game Programming with C#.  Twelve weeks long, it's offered through the University of Colorado via Coursera.
Per the course description, "The Beginning Game Programming with C# course is all about learning how to develop video games using the C# programming language. Why use C# instead of C++, Java, ActionScript, or some other programming language you may have heard of? First, using C# lets us use the Microsoft XNA and open-source MonoGame frameworks, which help us quickly develop games for Windows, Android, iOS, Mac OS, and others. Second, the Unity game engine is very popular with indie game developers, and C# is one of the programming languages you can use in the Unity environment. And finally, C# is a really good language for learning how to program."

Sounds good. ...

I poked around the course Web pages some last night and started feeling kind of afraid upon reading things about physics equations we'll need to know and use to complete the assignments. However, we watched the first two course videos today and we're feeling hopeful, if not downright excited. Our professor is Tim "Dr. T" Chamillard, an Associate Professor in the Computer Science Department at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs.

Wish us luck. ... 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Rockets and Oscars

ROCKET, MAN:  The kids had an amazing Saturday at the National Association of Rocketry national convention at The Museum of Flight. 

They started their day by spending two hours in a model rocket building workshop led by volunteers from the Washington Aerospace Club
Here are the finished rockets. Annabelle chose to leave the factory stickers off hers to do a custom decoration job later.  CJ declared they should have serious 'astronaut faces' for the photo below.
The kids were invited to go launch their rockets at 60 Acres Park next Sunday. If the weather's cooperative, we'll be there!

After the rocket build, the kids got to spend an hour with astronaut and physicist Jerome "Jay" Apt
Incredibly, it was just Christian, CJ, Annabelle and one other little boy with Dr. Apt for the luncheon. So, they had a wonderful opportunity to ask Dr. Apt questions about physics and space travel. 

Here are some of CJ's recollections of the meeting: 
On January 20th, I went to have lunch at the Museum of Flight with Jerome Apt, a former NASA Astronaut who went aboard the STS-37, STS-47, STS-59, and STS-79 space shuttle missions. At the lunch, sadly, there were only four people (not including Apt) who were there, and they were my dad, Annabelle, a young boy who had been dropped off there by his parents, and I.
One of the questions I asked Dr. Apt was the likelihood of the Mars One program succeeding, and he said that it wouldn't happen due to the fact that the people working on Mars One don't have the technology, equipment, or plans to be able to get to Mars.
Another question I asked Dr. Apt was about the possibility of a black hole rocket, a theoretical kind of spacecraft that has an artificial black hole in an area with the Hawking Radiation emitted by the black hole powering the ship. Dr. Apt also said that it was unlikely, due to the fact that Hawking Radiation is hard radiation and that it would be difficult to keep a black hole under control.
And here's what Annabelle has to share:
On February 20th, 2015, I went to the museum of flight to have lunch at NARCON. But this wasn't any lunch; I got to have lunch with astronaut and physicist Jay Apt! The lunch followed a rocket-building workshop and I had fun! Let me tell you what I learned.
As soon as the lunch started, we started talking and asking questions. My brother asked a lot of questions involving science and physics, while the only other boy there was mostly quiet. Some of the questions he gave a surprising reaction to. For instance, when my brother asked if Apt thought the Mars One mission would ever be successful, he responded "no! "My dad even talked to him a little about how correct certain space movies are. I got to ask a couple of questions, but I felt more like listening then asking.
I'm glad there weren't too many people, because that way we got to ask a lot of questions. I was also very glad we were able to have lunch with him. Overall, the lunch was fun and I really liked talking with Dr. Apt!
RED CARPET:  Sunday night brought the Oscars awards. We had an invite to an Oscars party, so we got all dolled up (no photos, drat!) and took some cookies, of course.
 Envelopes, popcorn, Oscar statuettes and movie reels a must, of course ... 
More fun were the best movies cookies. 
The party was fun, and we were glad we 'crammed' on Oscar nominees prior, so we had some background and talking points. :) 

TENNIS, ANYONE?: It was cold, but sunny, this morning, and so we decided to go to court. more specifically, the tennis courts at Discovery Park. Turns out, we were a little rusty. There wasn't a whole lot of serve and volley today. Mostly, it was serve and curse and chase, ha ha. 

TERRIBLE NEWS:  Top of the Seattle Times' feed this evening is news that the amazing Native American themed murals at the former Wilson Pacific School have been horribly vandalized. Awful, awful. :( 

Just last week, we finally toured the site and marveled at the mammoth murals.  We were impressed that they had remained almost entirely untouched in the years since they were installed by artist Andrew Morrison. 
However, this weekend, an idiot or idiots were horrible enough to disrespect and deface them. The only "good" news is the idiot was stupid enough to tag them with his name (we're looking at you DAPKILO). So, it's just a matter of time until the perp is tracked down. Suffice it to say, whatever the fine is for the defacement, it's not enough.