kickstarter'

Now arriving on the CTA: the squirrel truth.

Ads that feature satirical squirrel “facts” began popping up on the Red Line this month after a Chicago comedian successfully raised more than $4,000 through a Kickstarter fundraising campaign.

“Facts” on the ads include: “Squirrels live in trees. Bees live in trees. Are squirrels actually killer bees…in disguise?” and “No squirrel has ever been appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court…yet. Stay vigilant, humans.”

It’s probably because squirrels are THE BEST.

See what I mean?

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Nineteen years ago - almost to the day - we lost three astronauts in a terrible accident on the ground. But we’ve never lost an astronaut in flight; we’ve never had a tragedy like this. And perhaps we’ve forgotten the courage it took for the crew of the shuttle; but they, the Challenger Seven, were aware of the dangers, overcame them, and did their jobs brilliantly. We mourn seven heroes: Michael Smith, Dick Scobee, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Gregory Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe. We mourn their loss as a nation together. 
For the families of the seven, we cannot bear as you do, the full impact of this tragedy. But we feel the loss, and we’re thinking about you so very much. Your loved ones were daring and brave, and they had that special grace, that spirit that says, “Give me a challenge and I’ll meet it with joy.” They had a hunger to explore the universe and discover its truths. They wished to serve; and they did. They served all of us. 
We’ve grown used to wonders in this century. It’s hard to dazzle us. But for twenty-five years the United States space program has been doing just that. We’ve grown used to the idea of space, and perhaps we forget that we’ve only just begun. We’re still pioneers. They, the members of the Challenger crew, were pioneers. And I want to say something to the schoolchildren of America who were watching the live coverage of the shuttle’s takeoff. I know it is hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. It’s all part of the process of exploration and discovery. it’s all part of taking a chance and expanding man’s horizons. The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave. The Challenger crew was pulling us into the future, and we;ll continue to follow them…
There’s a coincidence today. On this day 390 years ago, the great explorer Sir Francis Drake died aboard ship off the coast of Panama. In his lifetime the great frontiers were the oceans, and a historian later said, ‘He lived by the sea, died on it, and was buried in it.’ Well, today we can say of the Challenger crew: Their dedication was, like Drake’s complete.
The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for the journey and waved goodbye and ‘slipped the surly bonds of earth’ to ‘touch the face of God.’”
— United States President Ronald Reagan’s Speech on The Challenger Disaster; January 28, 1986 (photos by Paul Hildebrandt, director/filmmaker, ‘Fight for Space’)

This week, and forever, the crew of Apollo1 AS-204 and Space Shuttle Challenger STS-51-L are remembered and heralded for their achievements in the human spaceflight program. During this time, it’s become routine for many around the space community and amongst our human family on Earth to reflect upon and mourn those relatives of ours who put their lives at risk for the study, protection, and preservation of life on this biologically diverse biosphere we call home. 

However, I can’t help but reflect on the above speech following Challenger’s demise feeling the same sentiments the world did then, while knowing what we know now, and what few were aware of at the time this speech was given. We certainly are explorers, pioneers, as asserted by President Reagan in 1986. But we were involved with an endeavor deserving the best of our energies and skills, as suggested by John F. Kennedy, who initiated this effort.

Apollo 1, Challenger, and Columbia were not accidents, they were (are) examples of human negligence. We ‘should’ have taken proper precautions. We ‘should’ have and ‘could’ have done a lot of things. The United States government was in a competition of superiority - who was going to gain the “high ground” in space - with the Soviet Union. The astronauts involved were not astronauts by definition, they were active/former military pilots — they were soldiers. Their mission, as they chose to accept it, was not to advance a frontier of discovery and human advancement into space with the goal of settlement among new worlds; their mission was to carry out their positions on the front lines of a battle between [U.S.] and them.

Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom, Edward H. White II, and Roger B. Chaffee of Apollo 1 burned alive inside a crammed Command/Service Module — a mock space capsule riddled with mechanical failures, faulty equipment, and ultimately, an extremely dangerous environment overall to even be considered the testing platform for any human to operate with confidence. Seconds before the fire, “Gus” Grissom, exhausted and frustrated, is recorded saying: 

"How are we going to get to the moon if we can’t talk between three buildings?

Watch: 'From The Earth To The Moon' film about the developing Apollo program of the 60’s and 70’s (view Apollo fire scene)

The ‘Challenger Seven’ crew perished 73 seconds into its flight not due to an “accident”, but mismanagement and leadership. The Space Shuttle itself was an extremely sensitive and dangerous vehicle to haul into space. Built for access into Low Earth Orbit only, it was critical that all precautions were taken, as meticulous subsystems on board were necessary for full reliability and service from launch to landing. However, instead of equipment or infrastructure at fault, it was that of the directors responsible for moving forward with the mission itself. 

The day NASA was pressed to launch, temperatures that morning were well below what were suggested by the manufacturer/contractor of the rubber O rings responsible as a seal between the joints of the Solid Rocket Boosters (SRB) that contained the external fuel source, thus the breach and explosion.

A critical figure in the investigation leading up to and beyond the disaster was science communicator and notable physicist Richard P. Feynman, who submitted the most sober assessment of all those involved (and responsible) in one sentence:

For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.

NASA was being pressed and pushed by non-scientists to not delay another launch date, which would draw critique and cost-assessment from Congress and negative press from the media, who grew consistently tired and irritated of assembling their crews to attend launches only to be let down due to some technical information pertinent to a higher percentage of mission success, resulting in grumpy communication to the press, who continually lacked true insight into how this inspirational and massive space program was being coordinated behind closed doors. 

Watch: 'The Challenger Disaster' television film about Richard Feynman's role in the investigation process, bringing the administration’s inner workings into public and political discussion

Space Shuttle Columbia’s fateful reentry was no accident, either, paralleling the prior fates of cargo and crew. The vehicle was vulnerable to exterior damage, as demonstrated by a piece of foam insulation (applied to the external fuel tanks to prevent ice from forming due to the liquid hydrogen/oxygen contained inside) shedding upon launch and puncturing the shuttle’s left wing, which inevitably led to disintegration upon reentry. 

Configuration of the Space Shuttle: strapping precious cargo alongside a very costly and flammable structure, where the slightest malfunction or puncture would amount to a very explosive situation. Prior to this assembly however, the steadily evolving human spaceflight program graduated from the rockets of Redstone (Mercury) to Titan (Gemini), then the true giant leap of our technological capability and prowess — the Saturn V rocket at the height of the Apollo program. 

Watch: 'The Saturn V' film clip from 'Fight for Space'

It worked. It could’ve taken us beyond the moon, and kept astronauts at a much safer distance from the fuel tanks, equipped with a more efficient mechanism to propel a human crew to safety when an abort maneuver was needed than the Space Shuttle ever could. While equipped with this knowledge, the human spaceflight program was downgraded into a joint crew and cargo effort to do what smaller rocket configurations eventually ended up doing, taking over the bulk of NASA’s directive, sending up astronauts to Low Earth Orbit “when necessary.” 

It’s essential and necessary to criticize our efforts. We all realize that the mission to the moon moved so quickly due to the threat of being outperformed by the Soviet Union. But the citizens of Earth didn’t see it this way. Surely patriotism influenced support for these programs, but we saw much more of ourselves when viewing the Earth from space. We envisioned a society with space hotels, spinoffs and everyday marketplace catalysts making their way into our daily lives at an accelerating rate, dreams of venturing off to other worlds, seeing our home planet from afar, being granted a wonderful new perspective on our existence together, and doing bold and risky things for the benefit of an entire planet. 

We associated the term “hero” with those who dove to extraneous depths beneath the sea, rushed headstrong into fires to save lives, and sometimes, rode a behemoth of a launch vehicle into the sky amidst the quiet cold of space to extend our human presence beyond our terrestrial home.

Indeed, we will speak to our children about these incidents, but we will not be coy with them. We will explain the risks involved, the arduous task it is from conception to construction and launch to landing. We’ll illustrate the importance of space exploration alongside the tremendous impact it’s had on shaping our culture, our present understanding of the universe, ourselves, and our future as a species. We will not, however, lie to them about the cause and effect relationship in regards to the decisions that were made, and continue to be made. We’ll explain why space exploration companies like SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, XCOR Aerospace, Planetary Resources, Deep Space Industries, Astrobotic, and countless emerging others are poised to disrupt the political oligarchy whose kept the space program essentially “grounded” from doing what it is capable of.

Indeed, as President Reagan asserted, “the future does not belong to the fainthearted, it belongs to the brave.

And we intend to equip our children with the knowledge necessary to recognize when there’s a problem, meet that problem with the same open mind that propelled us to discover it, and after meticulous scrutiny, extract everything we can from it to gain further perspective. We will tell our children that yes, these new endeavors being explored and performed by multiple space companies are the things we’ve been capable of since the American space program started; but those who direct the funding decided to pull back, even while it was bringing the world together toward a common evolving vision of the humankind’s future amongst the stars.

Today’s ‘space entrepreneurs’ haven’t all had the same coincidental epiphanies. They witnessed the developing space program during their childhood, watched it whither and drift from mainstream news, pop culture, and most notably — Congressional priority. Having learned from a model of what not to do, they’re taking advantage of the plethora of modern scientific advancements along an accelerating exponential growth curve, and applying them toward the development of ambitions worthy of our attention, support, and above all — hope for the spacefaring future of humankind we anticipated not so long ago. The lives lost, accomplishments achieved, technologies developed, knowledge gained…the benefits accumulated throughout our efforts in space should have amounted to more than memories of a brief era of time where we once celebrated human beings worthy of recognition as heroes and explorers. 

The human mistakes we’ve made have since passed, but what have we learned? Instead of steadily investing our funds and potential into a spacefaring future reflective of those who died for it — we’ve retracted, demonstrated by the budget we’ve misappropriated to developing technologies in preparation for warfare:

As we progress forward in an age where we are more digitally connected than ever before, maybe we’ve become victims of our own success. We’ve taken advantage of technologies the space program is directly responsible for, whereby we’re permitted quicker access to witness history unfolding in front of us. The difference however, between the space age of the 60’s/70’s is that the connectivity we’ve gained from those space assets bridged from exploration beyond Earth now allows us to take part in a means of activism and change like never before. 

No longer should we wait for other space entrepreneurs to arise. We have it in our own individual power to #FightforSpace. Our Kickstarter campaign is less than $8,000 away from its funding goal. We can do this. If we change the minds of Congress and/or educate the global citizenry of Earth on the necessity of space advocacy and scientific literacy, the course for our human future can be steered. 

58 hours left and counting. Join in the #FightforSpace and support our Kickstareter for SPACE.

Help Raise the last $2,000! :)

Hello! So this is a fundraiser for a web series about a fantasy world where there are heroes and villains, but they are the background to the four normal villagers who have to live in this crazy land. You can look at the page for a better explanation of the Kickstarter. Please donate anything you can! It’s a super cool project. There’s less than 24 hours so please donate sooner than later! :) 

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We did it! $82,676 and climbing!

Continue to share, raise your donations and spread the word, as we will continue to rally support through this last 48 hours! Sometimes campaign backers will pull their donations moments before the time runs out, pushing us back below the funding goal, so we still need all the help we can get!

Thank you, sincerely, from all of us on the ‘Fight for Space’ team, for your enthusiasm, advocacy, and overwhelming support. We owe this all to you for propelling toward our goal. It went from being within reach to undeniably achievable in the shortest amount of time we ever expected. 

The more we receive over the next 2 days will better speed up the process toward treating the film with the professionalism and care it deserves, rewarding our backers, delivering this film in front of notable individuals and organizations in the space community, and bringing this #FightforSpace to Congress!

Help our first KickStarter Project become successful!

My friend Sofie and I recently decided to launch a KickStarter Project. However our resources are very limited. In fact, it can’t even start unless I get a new laptop, which is the key equipment in making this comic. Just when Sofie asked me if I can illustrate her wonderfully thought out creative story, my laptop decided to stop working beyond repair. (To be fair it was 7 years old and was very slow.)

The image you see above is what I managed to create in Photoshop Elements 9 on a crappy school laptop before my tablet stopped working halfway through. With that painting I was hoping that I’d at least get something done to make our project look presentable enough to attract donations. As you can see, I can’t draw digitally unless Sofie and I get funded. 

You can view how my digital artworks look like by going to my Deviantart gallery. That gallery has not been updated in over a year or two now, though. I’ve made more paintings since Annie Leonhardt and my painting styles have improved since.

In a desperate attempt to at least make our KickStarter Project seem like it’s going somewhere despite our lack of proper equipment, I made a quick sketch of the protagonist, Zara, and posted it as our cover photo on our KickStarter Page.

A pencil sketch doesn’t seem to appeal as much as a coloured, digital sketch would, does it? There is a lot of potential in this project. All we really need is funding.

A short summary of the plot is below:

Zara comes from a long forgotten world in a long forgotten galaxy. The clustered city of Aries floats in the sky above and bathes in perpetual light as a dying sun swells greater and burns brighter ever more. In-between the desert below, in the shadows cast by the city above, creatures stir in the twilight. And, it is in this underworld, that the people of Aries’ strange and beautiful creations dwell. The line between human and machine ceases to exist, and the product of experimenting with life have reality- shattering consequences.
Jump into a whirlwind of futuristic adventure and fantasy as Zara struggles to reconcile a divided world, to save the dying sun and ultimately find what it means to be human.

We have so many ideas we’d want to show people. New worlds, characters and stories we wish to share. We hope that you guys consider backing up this project to support us, or at least reblog this post to get it around to other people who might be able to pledge a little bit of amount into this! Thanks so much for reading up to here, and another thank you to whoever donates! You’re making our aspiration tangible with each pledge, so thank you so so much.

Our Kickstarter Page / Pledge 

The first person to donate will have their own character in the comic, and the person that donates the most will have their own main character.

kickstarter

Exploding Kittens - This is a card game for people who are into kittens and explosions and laser beams and sometimes goats. - http://kck.st/1ukxHcx

WAIT…WHAAAAAAAT???? Over 4 million dollars??? :DDD