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Netflix’s Challenger Is a Gripping Look at NASA in Crisis



In the lead up to launch, McAullife was treated as a minor celebrity who seemed able to effortlessly charm talk-show hosts. And according to the documentary, this was exactly the effect that NASA officials hoped to achieve with the civilian astronaut program. They wanted to paint the space shuttle as a reliable mode of human space exploration that wasn’t much riskier than flying on a commercial airliner. If it was safe for a school teacher after only a few weeks of training, it was safe enough for everyone. But according to the testimony of several people featured in the doc, NASA’s public message conflicted with what many of its own engineers knew to be true: Every flight of the space shuttle was risky, and the circumstances surrounding this particular flight made it unsafe to launch.

“I think the most fundamental impact of the Challenger disaster was discarding the myth that the shuttle was safe enough to put ordinary citizens on,” says John Logsdon, a space historian at George Washington University who was not involved with the documentary. “There was a pervasive groupthink in the organization that this is what we’ve promised, and even though we know this vehicle isn’t capable of that, we’re not going to say so.”

The emotional rollercoaster of getting to know McAullife and the other astronauts who you know are doomed is a critical foil to the comparatively dry engineering drama that was simmering in the background. The cause of the Challenger disaster was ultimately determined to be a failed O-ring, a giant elastic band that was used to seal sections of the space shuttle’s two solid rocket boosters. Engineers at Morton-Thiokol, the contractor that manufactured the boosters for NASA, had noticed a disturbing tendency for the O-ring seals to fail during tests if temperatures were below about 50 degrees Fahrenheit. And when a cold snap hit Florida a few days before the Challenger mission, the weather was forecast to be in the low- to mid-30s during the launch.

“Our engineers were concerned that the O-rings were going to be colder than any we’d ever launched and that it might be worse this time than we’d ever seen,” Joseph Kilminster, the vice president of Morton-Thiokol’s solid rocket booster program, says in the film. Brian Russell, an engineer at the company, concurs. “We believed the risk was higher, but we didn’t know how much higher,” he says in the doc. “We didn’t know the point of failure.” But despite these concerns, managers at Morton-Thiokol and NASA decided to forge ahead anyway.

The question, of course, is why? Why would NASA and one of its contractors go against the advice of engineers who were concerned that the cold weather would cause a catastrophic failure? In the aftermath of the disaster, an investigation by a presidential commission found that managers at Morton-Thiokol “recommended the launch … contrary to the views of its engineers in order to accommodate a major customer.”

This is also the conclusion that Junge and Leckart arrive at in their film. “The ultimate deciders had pressures that probably had an undue effect on making what was, in the end, a terrible decision,” says Junge, speaking to WIRED.

NASA press representatives did not immediately respond to WIRED’s request for comment about this assessment. But in the documentary, William Lucas, the director of NASA’s Marshall Space Center, who received the brunt of the criticism for the disaster, says he would still make the same decision today with that data that he had received from Morton-Thiokol. “I did what I thought was right in light of the information I had,” he says in the documentary.


Emma Roberts Stars In Netflix’s New Christmas Rom-Com ‘Holidate’




Christmas is coming early to Netflix with the arrival of the festive rom-com, “Holidate”.

RELATED: New Trailer: Emma Roberts Stars In Sci-Fi Fantasy ‘Paradise Hills’

“We’re The Millers” actress Emma Roberts is set to star in the holiday-themed flick alongside “Point Break” actor Luke Bracey.

RELATED: Dolly Parton, Christine Baranski, Jenifer Lewis And More To Star In Netflix Holiday Movie ‘Christmas On The Square’

The official synopsis for the movie says: “Sloane and Jackson hate the holidays. They constantly find themselves single, sitting at the kids table, or stuck with awkward dates. But when these two strangers meet one particularly bad Christmas, they make a pact to be each other’s ‘holidate’ for every festive occasion throughout the next year.”

RELATED: Emma Roberts Is Reportedly Expecting Her First Baby With Garrett Hedlund

The movie also features Frances Fisher, Kristin Chenoweth, Andrew Bachelor and Jessica Capshaw among its all-star cast.

“Holidate” lands on Netflix on Oct. 28.

RELATED: Emma Roberts Confirms She’s Expecting A Baby Boy With Garrett Hedlund, Cradles Her Bump In Adorable Photos

Other movies set to arrive to the streaming platform for Christmas 2020 include “The Christmas Chronicles 2”, “Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journeystarring Keegan-Michael Key and Dolly Parton’s “Christmas On The Square”.

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12 TV Movies To Get You In The Holiday Spirit

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Eddie Redmayne, ‘The Crown’, Liberty Sage, Trump Mocks Evangelicals, Tennessee Titans, David Beckham’s Honey: HOT LINKS




1,000,000. Global COVID death toll hits grim milestone.

ATLANTIC. Trump secretly mocks his Christian supporters: “In private, many of Trump’s comments about religion are marked by cynicism and contempt, according to people who have worked for him. Former aides told me they’ve heard Trump ridicule conservative religious leaders, dismiss various faith groups with cartoonish stereotypes, and deride certain rites and doctrines held sacred by many of the Americans who constitute his base.”

ONLY A MATTER OF TIME. NFL’s Tennessee Titans face COVID outbreaks. “The eight new positive tests have been confirmed after additional testing, a source told ESPN’s Kevin Seifert. Those who tested positive have been asymptomatic as of Tuesday morning, a source told ESPN’s Dan Graziano.”

BREONNA TAYLOR. Grand juror files suit to release transcript of decision that led to one indictment (of wanton endangerment).

REGRESSION NOT PROGRESSION. Biden campaign slams Facebook over ongoing disinformation campaigns: “Facebook’s continued promise of future action is serving as nothing more than an excuse for inaction. We will be calling out those failures as they occur over the coming 36 days.”

STICKY AND SWEET. David Beckham is selling his honey.

THEY HAD FACES. Khloe Kardashian looks like Beyoncé now.

JK ROWLING. Eddie Redmayne, who played a transgender woman in The Danish Girl, doesn’t support JK Rowling’s transphobic remarks but doesn’t like the “vitriol” aimed at her.

ENDORSEMENT OF THE DAY. Chicago Tribune for Biden: “[Trump] behaves as a bully who cannot control his impulses, offering biting, defensive and childish responses to those who question his tactics. In moments when the country needed inspirational words from a president to unify, Trump could not deliver. Ever the partisan, rarely the statesman, Trump used his bully pulpit for self-aggrandizement, and in so doing often stirred the worst impulses in others too.”

$427 MILLION. How The Apprentice handed Donald Trump a financial lifeline.

BORN. Meghan McCain’s daughter Liberty Sage McCain Domenech.

LESBIANS FOR TRUMP? Inside the mind of one gay Trump voter: “Readers of this newspaper who conjure an image of a Trump voter probably think of people like Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the couple who pointed guns at protesters outside their St. Louis home in late June. But if Trump defies current polling and wins again, it’ll be thanks to a discreet base of support from voters like Chris, who fit into none of the cultural or demographic stereotypes of the Trump base.”

NYC. COVID soars in 10 New York zip codes: “Of 1,769 ZIP codes in the state, Cuomo said 10 are averaging an infection rate of about 15 percent compared with the overall statewide infection rate of 1.5 percent as of Monday. Those 10 ZIP codes account for 25 percent of the state’s new daily cases despite representing just 2.9 percent of the state’s population.”

FIRST LOOK OF THE DAY. The Crown Season 4.

MUSIC VIDEO OF THE DAY. Medina – “In And Out Of Love”.

MUSIC VIDEO OF THE DAY 2. Sigala, James Arthur – “Lasting Lover”.

MUSIC VIDEO OF THE DAY 3. Halsey “929”.


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The First-Ever Video Game Console Was A Beautiful Mess




Did you know Neil Armstrong pooped himself taking his first step on the moon? Or that the Vikings who reached Newfoundland mispronounced Beothuk as “Buttock” for two years before someone corrected them? When you’re the first, you’re bound to make a lot of rookie mistakes. And the same can be said of the makers of the first-ever home video game console, who really nailed the console part. The video game part? Not so much.

The Magnavox Odyssey was — actually, let’s talk about its name first. How did we get from something so lyrical that it evokes epic lo-rez journeys to Playstations and Xboxes, which evoke standing in line at the DMV? The machine itself is also a sight to behold. Despite being the size of a modern console but with the guts of a tape deck player, its exterior nails that beautiful Kubrickian futurism that Sony’s sentient air conditioners can only dream of achieving. 

Not until or since the Dreamcast was a gaming console so beautifully pretentious. 

And that alien beauty is also included in the controller, a ridiculous side-scrolling artifact unburdened by knowledge of Twitch gaming.

Or basic ergonomics, for that matter. 

But when it came to the games themselves, there’s a reason the Odyssey called itself things like a “closed circuit electronic playground” and a “total play and learning experience.” Though my favorite is its title as an “electronic game simulator,” because it does at least try to simulate what an electronic game could be. But with fewer pixels than games (28), and the kind of games you’d find in a funfair slot machine, the Odyssey knew it had to distract players that it had the processing power of a lightbulb. To do so, it filled its box with all kinds of board game knick-knacks, including dice and play cards (with American state trivia!), but also paper money and poker chips.

 For some high stakes Simon Says.

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