Progressive Pioneers

  • This is a cute little post I wrote about the science behind Santa’s Enchantment. There are fictional interviews with three of the world’s leading experts on Christmas Magic.
  • There haven’t been too many famous snowmen over the years, the most recent one is arguably Olaf from Disney’s Frozen movie series. Here’s a quick list: The Abominable Snowman, A.K.A. The Yeti The Wampa of Hoth, from Star Wars, Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back Michelangelo’s famous 1494 snowman for the Medici prince, Piero the Unfortunate Jack Frost, from the 1998 Warner Bros. film of the same name starring Michael Keaton as the eponymous character The Bumble, seen in the 1964 stop-motion animation television Christmas special, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer The aforementioned Olaf And Frosty the Snowman! And this is where our story begins, with Frosty. Arguably no one has done more to raise awareness for snowmen and snowwomen than good Ole Frosty. After all, he was a jolly happy soul. It all began on a temperate winter’s day. The school kids were making a snowman who sported a corn cobb pipe, a button nose, and two eyes make out of coal. They had just finished when one of the children found an old hat to place upon Frosty’s frozen head. Well, there must have been some magic in that old silk hat they found, for when they placed it on his head he began to dance around! From that point on, Frosty was as alive as he could be! However, the sun was hot that day. So they knew that they had to get him to the North Pole before he melted away. It was a sad goodbye, but Frosty said, “Don’t you cry, I’ll be back again someday!” And has come back, many times! One of Frosty’s most famous friends is Santa Claus, who along with the elves up at the North Pole, have given him a great home where he and his snow-family live a comfortable life...
  • November 5, 2020

    Progressive Puppies Ready for Duty!

    And keeping with the “factoid theme” this week, I thought I’d take a quick look at our furry friends who are also Progressive Pioneers—not just limited to humans you know. So here are some great facts about Military Dogs. Fact 1: Dogs have been part of military history for as long as people have been fighting. The Romans, the Vikings, and even in the Revolutionary War, all used dogs during conflicts. Fact 2: The official recognition for four legged soldiers didn’t come until World War II. Fact 3: Originally, dogs in wars involving the United States mostly were used to carry messages. Fact 4: Over 5,000 dogs served in the Vietnam War and many helped the soldiers in different capacities. Fact 5: Sergeant Stubby, a very famous Boston Terrier who was part of the military was the most decorated War Dog in history. He saved an entire group of soldiers from an enemy attack and thanks to his help, everyone made it out safely. He also met three presidents during his lifetime. Fact 6: Another big hero who served with the military was a German Shepherd named Chips. The dog single‐ evenhandedly forced a large group of enemy soldiers to surrender. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star and the Purple Heart after people heard of his bravery. Fact 7: A dog was part of the SEALS special forces team that was known to accompany the unit during the famous Osama bin Laden raid. Fact 8: Rin Tin Tin is the most famous dog military dog of the movies. A German war dog, he was abandoned, then adopted by American troops and brought to the U.S., where he became a movie star after World War I. American soldier, Lee Duncan, brought the dog back to America where he...
  • April 15, 2020

    IDIC Personified

    Today’s Progressive Pioneer comes from far away—not a galaxy far, far away (that’ll be in another TenthSphere.com post)—but from far in the future, about 300 years. Yep! That’s right. I’m talking about the one and only Mister Spock! A Starfleet captain before his retirement, a United Federation of Planets Ambassador to the Romulan Star Empire, and a lauded scientist. Ever since Zefram Cochrane’s first contact with the Vulcans on April 5, 2063 (A.K.A. First Contact Day), humans have been in awe of their outstanding scientific prowess that stems from their almost completely logical minds. Born on Vulcan in 2230, Spock son of Sarek son of Skon, had achieved the level of accolades in the sciences as well as in other disciplines few in the Federation have been able to match. Half Vulcan and half human, Mr. Spock is truly a Progressive Pioneer. Here are some of his more notable accomplishments during his time as first officer of the USS Enterprise (NCC 1701, NCC 1701‐A): Made first contact communication via the Vulcan Mind‐Meld with a remarkable alien species known as the Horta Successfully implemented the Cold Matter/Anti‐matter startup equation saving the Enterprise from certain destruction Successfully plotted time‐travel slingshot path around the sun bringing Humpback Whales back to the future to save Earth Solved inter‐dimensional space crisis rescuing both his commanding officer, Captain James T. Kirk, and the ship Reconfigured Warp Drive engines on refitted Enterprise to enable ship and crew to intercept the VGER threat to Earth Built a quantum computer out of antiquated 1930s technological resources in an effort to restore the prime timeline Survived encounter with giant Space Amoeba in order to take vital readings that in turn helped save the ship and potentially the galaxy Devised a way to beat an attacking rogue Klingon Bird of Prey’s...
  • This week’s Progressive Pioneers  will focus on two very special “other worldly” people who tirelessly worked behind the scenes the make the world a better place. I’m talking about none other than Tia and Tony Malone. And now thanks to WikiLeaks and the Freedom of Information Act, we know the full truth about these two amazing beings, which will blow your mind! Their story is a rich and complicated one that has taken four documentaries to tell! Escape to Witch Mountain Return from Witch Mountain The Blair Witch Mountain Project Race to Witch Mountain And though Digital Batman cannot fully do justice to their story, I’m going to give you a glimpse into their contributions to our society. Escape to Witch Mountain & Return from Witch Mountain documentaries can be currently watched on Disney+. Endless movies and TV shows. Always ad free. The best of Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic. From new releases, to your favorite classics, and exclusive Originals, there’s always something new to discover. Race to Witch Mountain documentary can be currently watched on Netflix. Watch Netflix movies & TV shows online or stream right to your smart TV, game console, PC, Mac, mobile, tablet and more. The Blair Witch Mountain Project documentary can be currently watched on YouTube (embedded below for your convenience). Tia and Tony Malone come from a binary star system some 3,000 light years from Earth. Their world was in the late stages of climate and environmental collapse (much like where our own world is headed). They were part of an advanced group of alien colonists seeking to find a way to reverse the self-inflicted damage done to their planet by studying our own in the early stages of exceeding the nine planetary boundaries. However, things did not go as planned. In 1975, their ship was damaged upon arrival at Earth and the two children were almost...
  • March 13, 2020

    Now for Something Truly Puzzling!

    Chris Ramsay is not your usual nerd. Between his ZZ-Top-like beard, sleeve tattoos, and quotidian hoodie/baseball cap, you would foolishly think that he is not one of the world’s greatest puzzle solvers. And you would be wrong! This guy has built up a massive YouTube subscriber following of over 6.62 million, that’s million with an M, subscribers solving Level 10 puzzles. Level 10 puzzles are the hardest possible puzzles in the world that would drive most of us bonkers trying to solve. But not Chris Ramsay. In fact, he thrives on these challenges. He has spent countless hours attacking some of the world’s most difficult and craziest puzzles such as: The Impossible Excalibur Puzzle The Absolute Hardest Jigsaw Puzzle The Hardest Lock Puzzle in History And many, many others. Even though the amount of time it may take for him to solve one of these could be half a day, his videos are thankfully edited down between 15 and 25 minutes (give or take)—and they are they are truly fascinating to watch. There’s also lot of sped up POV footage and pithy commentary as he tinkers with these mind-numbing enigmas. Another thing to note about Chris is that he’s a very good cinematic videographer as well. Frequently, he’ll introduce a new puzzle video with a sweeping array of lens flared artistic and themed cinematography along with an epic Game of Thrones-style music score. It’s his signature film style, coupled with his happy-go-lucky (and extremely patient) persona, along with his inconceivable ability to solve crazy puzzles that make him a YouTube sensation. If you like real physical 3D puzzles that you can touch, rotate, tinker with, and lose your mind over, then you want to watch Chris Ramsay’s YouTube Channel. He’s also got links to where you can purchase these puzzles yourself for hours of intense eye-hand-brain coordination entertainment that...
  • March 8, 2020

    Sisters of Invention

    In honor of International Women’s Day 2020, this week’s Progressive Pioneers will be a quadfecta of amazing young women who are trying to change the world for the better. All too often the news is dominated by negative stories, and one would think that the world is a sad place. However, that is not the case! For optimistic, creative, inventive, and resourceful entrepreneurs Greta Thunberg, Alaina Gassler, and Anna Stork & Andrea Sreshta the world couldn’t be more full of promise and hope. Here are their stories: Greta Tintin Eleonora Ernman Thunberg is a Swedish environmental activist on climate change whose campaigning has gained international recognition. Thunberg is known for her straightforward speaking manner, both in public and to political leaders and assemblies, in which she urges immediate action to address what she describes as the climate crisis. Thunberg first became known for youth activism in August 2018 when, at age 15, she began spending her school days outside the Swedish parliament to call for stronger action on global warming by holding up a sign saying (in Swedish) “School strike for the climate”. Soon, other students engaged in similar protests in their own communities. Together, they organized a school climate strike movement under the name Fridays for Future. After Thunberg addressed the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference, student strikes took place every week somewhere in the world. In 2019, there were at least two coordinated multi-city protests involving over 1,000,000 students each. At home, Thunberg convinced her parents to adopt several lifestyle choices to reduce their own carbon footprint, including giving up air travel and not eating meat. Her sudden rise to world fame has made her a leader and a target. In May 2019, Thunberg was featured on the cover of Time magazine, which named her a “next generation leader” and noted that many see her as a role model. Thunberg and the school strike movement were also featured in a 30-minute Vice documentary titled Make...
  • January 1, 2020

    Tarzan of Mars

    Today’s Progressive Pioneer is none other than the ultra-prolific planetary romance and adventure novelist Edgar Rice Burroughs (EBR). Burroughs’ work—particularly on his John Carter of Barsoom (i.e. Mars) series—are the unsung inspiration for stories such as Flash Gordon, Star Wars, and even Avatar. All eleven Barsoom novels describe a world so rich in detail, culture, wildly eccentric science and technology (for his time), outlandish and terrifying creatures, and extraordinary complex characters story tellers have been tapping into for over a century. However, Burroughs’ work goes beyond just his Barsoom/Mars books. He is even more known for his Tarzan adventure novel series of 26 books. These stories were so famous during Burroughs’ time that he immediately saw the tech trend value in exploiting them in all forms of media (against so-called experts’ advice at the time). Tarzan became an instant hit on radio, in comic books, and in film. In fact, even Burroughs’ daughter Joan married Tarzan film actor, James Pierce, starring with her husband, as the voice of Jane, during 1932-34 for the Tarzan radio series! However, the most interesting fact about Burroughs’ Tarzan is that not one but two towns were named after the character! Tarzana in California, which started out as EBR’s eponymous ranch in the Los Angeles area, and eventually became incorporated as the American town of Tarzana in 1927. Tarzan in Texas was also formally named in 1927. There’s even an impact crater on Mars named after EBR! Burroughs was born in Chicago Illinois on September 1st, 1875 and died on March 19th, 1950 at the age of 74. He was married twice, first to Emma Hulbert (1900–1934) where they had three children together (Joan, Hulbert, and John); and then to actress Florence Gilbert Dearholt (1935–1942). He passed away in Encino California but he is laid...
  • January 1, 2020

    Ad Astra Per Feminae

    With the 34th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster this past Tuesday, I thought it would be fitting to pay tribute to Christa McAuliffe as the first teacher in space who perished on that fateful day back in 1986. And, I thought it would also be fitting to include Sally Ride, America’s first woman astronaut. Both are Progressive Pioneers who advanced space exploration for generations of future American female astronauts, young women everywhere. Here are their stories: Sharon Christa McAuliffe (A.K.A. Christa) is famously known for being chosen as America’s first teacher in space. Though, she never made it into space due to a tragic accident involving the Space Shuttle Challenger 73 seconds into liftoff on January 28, 1986. Despite the loss of McAuliffe and the other six crewmembers aboard the space craft, which is regarded as a national tragedy, McAuliffe’s life is celebrated and honored all across the country. Schools, scholarships, documentaries, and more have all been named in her honor. She has inspired whole generations of kids since that fateful day to reach for the stars and to achieve their dreams. McAuliffe was born in Boston on September 2, 1948. Her father, Edward Christopher Corrigan was an accountant of Irish descent, and her mother, Grace Mary Corrigan, was a teacher of Lebanese Maronite descent. McAuliffe received a bachelor’s degree in Education from Framingham State College and a master’s degree in Education (supervision & administration) from Bowie State University. She married Stephen J. McAuliffe in 1970, with whom she had two children, Scott and Caroline. She eventually took a teaching job Concord High School (Concord, NH), where she would eventually apply for President Ronald Reagan’s Teacher in Space Project for NASA. Out of 11,000+ applicants, she and teacher Barbara Morgan were the final two chosen in 1985, with McAuliffe earning the top spot. Both McAuliffe and Morgan took a year’s leave of absence to train for the space shuttle mission...
  • December 13, 2019

    The Man Who Captured Lightning in a Bottle

    In modern times, no one man has been more revered as the greatest technological scientist and visionary as Nikola Tesla. This consummate inventor of dreamlike machines, whose reach sometimes exceeded his grasp, has been so highly regarded by society as the scion of invention that whole streets, songs, companies (like Elon Musk’s futuristic electric car company), awards, measures, holidays, places, schools, and more have been named after him. He was even famously portrayed by punk rock legend David Bowie in Christopher Nolan’s 2006 film The Prestige. Of course, in that fictionalized version of Tesla, we find him inventing a trans-dimensional duplicator used by Hugh Jackman’s character for the purpose of inexplicable magic showmanship. However, in real life, Tesla was so far beyond his contemporaries such as Thomas Edison or George Westinghouse that both of them had employed Tesla in their companies at one point. In fact, it is said that Westinghouse even paid Tesla a life-long stipend of a $1000 a month long after he left the company due to his patents making Westinghouse a fortune. Nikola Tesla’s life began in Croatia (the Austrian Empire at the time) on July 10, 1856. His father was an Easter Orthodox priest and his mother was so talented in the making of craft tools and mechanical devices—along with a photographic memory—that Telsa credited her for all of his genius and gifts. Tesla had some troubled years in his youth dealing with a gambling addiction and never completing his engineering studies at Austrian Polytechnic. However, that did not stop him from making his way through Europe, devising patentable inventions, and making a name for himself in engineering circles. Eventually, he would find his way to New York City in 1884 where his advancements in Alternating Current (AC) technology, and an induction motor that was...