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The Space Computer and the Beautiful Worlds

Posted By Bill Dunford

30-06-2013 23:31 CDT

Topics: Cassini, pretty pictures, podcasts and videos, Saturn's moons, Saturn

Last year, the xkcd comic published a diagram of a Saturn V rocket. The twist was that the illustration was labeled using only words chosen from among one thousand of the very most common words in English. No jargon whatsoever here. For example, the Apollo lunar module is described as "the part that flies down to the other world with two people inside." The Saturn V rocket itself is called the "Up Goer 5".

Science fans were delighted. Many tried giving their own areas of expertise the "Up Goer 5" treatment, using tools such as Theo Sanderson's Up-Goer Five Text Editor, to see if they could reduce the most complex concepts to child's play. 

Of all these efforts, one of the most beautiful comes from Rachel Klippenstein, a linguist with a life-long love of the planets. That love shines through in every word of her Up Goer piece, a tribute to the Cassini mission at Saturn.

With her kind permission, I've turned her lovely text into a video. 

The Space Computer and the Beautiful Worlds

The Cassini mission to Saturn--described using only the one thousand most common English words, in the style of the famous "Up Goer 5" comic. Images by NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute. Text by Rachel Klippenstein. Video by Bill Dunford. 

See other posts from June 2013


Read more blog entries about: Cassini, pretty pictures, podcasts and videos, Saturn's moons, Saturn


Libbydoodle: 07/01/2013 09:22 CDT

Beautiful. Beautiful is the perfect word for this. Rachel clearly has an amazing grasp of the program to be able to explain it so clearly with those words. I may show this to my students this year. Loved the video. Thanks for sharing it with us like this! Hazel was a rockstar, too. Great reading :-)

Bob Ware: 07/01/2013 08:42 CDT

Rachel is a true wordsmith! The video you put together fit really well! I hope you all allow that teacher (Libbydoodle) and others use this video in their classes. This really can inspire kids and awe those who are not tech savvy.

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