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Awesomeness Round-up – 6/7/10

We’re starting a new weekly feature wherein we round up the cool things floating around the internet that we thought might be interesting to you, our tech- and NASA-savvy audience. We’re planning on running this feature on Mondays, recapping all of the awesome things we saw… last week.

The World Science Festival was celebrated in New York City, June 1-6, 2010. There were lots of events all over Manhattan. The James Webb Space Telescope was represented by Northrop Grumman’s full-scale model, which was constructed in Battery Park over a period of five days preceding the festival.

We have a time-lapse video showing it being set up:

There’s another shorter video showing the model during the festival – it looks particularly nice at night!

Goddard’s own Dr. John Mather, project scientist on the Webb telescope, and recipient of the Nobel Prize, gave a talk during the festival and also signed autographs. We’ve met him (actually, we’ve interviewed him!) and he’s a really nice guy.

John Mather signing autographs

Image courtesy of @worldscifest

Nearly everyone has seen the rock band OK Go’s Rube Goldberg video for their song “This Too Shall Pass” – but did you know that NASA engineers helped them build it? Four people from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) were a part of the group of more than 40 people (which also included some circus clowns!) that spent several months designing, building and perfecting the Rube Goldberg machine used in the video. Ultimately 60 takes were done to create the video, which we’ve embedded below.

NASA interviewed the four JPL folks about their work on the video.

Donald Olsen, a physicist at Texas State University practices forensic astronomy with classic art and literature. He’s analyzed Van Gogh’s “Moonrise” painting, for example.

Here’s an interview about his latest project, examining Walt Whitman’s “Year of Meteors (1859-60)” poem.

Sure it was done at MIT already, but we still love that some Minnesota students turned their college’s observatory into R2-D2!

You know what happens when you drop a Mentos candy into a bottle of coke? Well, did you know you could power a car with it?

Check out this video of the Coke Zero/Mentos rocket car! If you’ve got the dorky glasses, you can also watch it in 3-D!

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