Links for March 1, 2016

New evidence: Easter Island civilization was not destroyed by war

It’s time to chuck our myths about Easter Island and learn what we can from scientific evidence. “I think we often assume that systematic violence between groups is inevitable, and in cases where resources are scarce (such as Easter Island) warfare is going to be almost a certainty. We tend to assume that prehistoric populations must have commonly experienced brutal competition,” [archaeologist Carl] Lipo told Ars. “But when we look more broadly at human history, we find generally that we are pretty good at living in social groups and getting along with one another.”

Astronaut graffiti found in Apollo 11 command module

The writings include numerical calculations, a calendar, labels and notes. One panel to left of the sextant and telescope has figures and other notes copied from Houston mission control audio transmissions.... Some of the notes show how the astronauts had to think on their feet and improvise a little once they were in space. NASA had detailed lists of where everything was to be stored and there are stowage maps on the walls of the command module. The astronauts took liberties with the plans, however, and wrote their own labels on several of the lockers.

USS Enterprise Conservation Begins Phase II

Stardate 1601.28: After a year of extensive research, conservation work on the original studio model of the USS Enterprise is now underway in the Museum’s spacedock. Our goal is to stabilize the model and return it to its appearance from August of 1967, during the filming of the episode The Trouble with Tribbles, which marked the last known modification of the ship during the production of Star Trek.

The team will also build new nacelle domes with LED lights to mimic the spinning effect seen on television. For reference, they will first build a 1:1 mock-up of the original mechanism, which utilized mirrors, motors, nails, and Christmas lights. Conservator Ariel O’Connor explains, “Although the original nacelle dome lights did not survive, we can replicate the original effect in a way that is safe to install on the model. The LED lights can be programmed to match the original VFX footage while eliminating the burnt-out bulbs, extreme heat, and motor problems that troubled the original lights.”

Ocean Wave Simulation