J.D. Salinger — Yes I have read Catcher in the Rye, and…no, I didn’t particularly like it. But there is no questioning that the American literary landscape is poorer now that Salinger has passed away. Hopefully rumors of a huge catalog of unpublished works are true and that we’ll now see some of those works in print.
Jean Simmons — Everyone has a favorite actress from the ‘golden era’ of American cinema. People like to talk about Liz Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, Vivien Leigh, Grace Kelly, or Ingrid Bergman. But for me, it was always Jean Simmons, a great beauty and a great, though perhaps not the greatest, actress of her generation. Ms. Simmons died last Friday at the age of 80.
The Mars Spirit Rover — Anyone who’s read Ragebot! (or before that Blognonymous) knows that I’m a big fan of the Mars Rovers. Without exception, Spirit and Opportunity are the most successful vehicles of space exploration ever built. Designed to last only 3 months, these complex scientific platforms have been trundling across the martian surface, doing their thing, for over 6 YEARS! Well, early this week, the Spirit operations team at JPL announced that their attempts to get the rover ‘unstuck’ from a sand pit were unsuccessful, and that, henceforth, they would concentrate on keeping Spirit alive through the martian winter. It’s roving is over, but hopefully Spirit will live on as a stationary science lab.