Sunday, October 12, 2014

In-Depth Review: Sigma 24-104 f4 DG OS HSM Art

Tech Specs
Focal Length: 24-105mm
Dimensions: 4.3 x 3.5 in.
Weight: 31.2oz.
Maximum Aperture: f4
Minimum Aperture: f22
Diaphragm Blades: 9
Front Element: non-rotating, non-extending
Optical arrangement: 19 elements in 14 groups
Autofocus Mechanism: Sonic Drive
Closest Focus: 17.7 in
Maximum magnification: .22x
Filter Size: 82mm


Background
At Photokina 2012, third party photographic lens maker Sigma has reinvented its business model with a new Global Vision, whose focus is, among on other things, producing optics that can go toe-to-toe with the manufacturer products instead of serving as a poor man's alternative. To that end, Sigma has churned out a lot of drool-worthy gear in the past two years. However, there was a major hole in Sigma's revamped lineup: a fixed aperture standard zoom for full frame. Cue the lens we're reviewing here today: the Sigma 24-105 f4 DG OS HSM Art. With a long history of making fast to semi-fast fixed aperture zooms, Sigma has a lot of background in such optics and, with a new Global Vision, a stronger drive than ever to make class-leading products. So, does the 24-105 f4 OS Art deliver the goods? Well, read on to find out!






Build Quality: 5/5
The Sigma 24-105 f4 OS Art is built to the standards that were, even just a few years ago, reserved for manufacturer optics. Constructed out of Sigma's exclusive Thermally Stable Composite (TSC) material, which feels a lot like metal but whose formula is a closely-held corporate secret, the lens has a decidedly solid feel to it. In addition, the lens is inner focusing, which means that there is no moving/rotating of the front element when focusing, which is good for people who like to use polarizing filters. As for the rings, both zoom and focus rings are rubberized, highly textured, and come across as having that 'just right' balance between ease of movement and lack of slop. For some people, the dual cam inner design may be of a concern but, at least in-hand, there's no wobbling whatsoever. However, I cannot vouch for this lens when shot in harsh conditions as it not marketed as weather resistant.






AF Performance: 5/5
Focus on the Sigma 24-105 f4 OS Art is as fast, accurate, and silent thanks to Sigma's Hypersonic Motor (HSM) technology, which is the company's version of a ring type sonic-drive AF system. As for tracking, the lens had no problems with birds in flight (see samples) on the D700. As with all ring-type AF, the lens has full time manual override, which allows for instantly overriding the AF simply by turning the focus ring, no need to flip switches. In reality, the AF/MF switch is more of an AF/AF Disable switch.



 At 24mm

 At 35,mm.
 At 50mm.
 At 70mm
At 105mm
Optics: 5/5
Sharpness (Note: on DX, consider the mid frame here to be the corner)
By looking at all the test images, a pattern emerges: the Sigma 24-105 f4 OS Art is as good as it will get right out of the gate at f4 across the focal range and frame, which means that stopping down will only increase depth of field as sharpness won't noticeably improve. Needless to say, that's a very, very good thing. For nit pickers, there is some slight softening in the corner of the frame on a FF sensor when viewed at 100%. For the non-pixel peepers out there, this will be impossible to notice in real life shooting and presentation.
Stabilizer Mechanism
The Optical Stabilization (OS) feature is different than everything reviewed here in that there is no absolute way to quantify how well it works since the amount of camera shake is determined, by and large, on the inherent steadiness of the photographer's hand and shooting technique. That said, I was easily getting steady pictures of ½ second long at 105mm. Additionally, the stabilizer is absolutely silent in operation
Vignetting
There is some shading with the Sigma 24-105 f4 OS Art wide open at f4, with it being most pronounced at 24 and 105mm. A stop down, the shading decreases dramatically and disappears by f8. At middle focal lengths, vignetting disappears by f5.6.


Distortion:
There is some distortion here, but nothing out of line as for what one can reasonably expect for such a lens.  
CA
Nil here.




Macro
While anything but a dedicated macro lens (.22x is its maximum magnification), the Sigma 24-105 f4 OS Art is still pretty good for capturing larger macro subjects, like flowers, especially with today's cameras and all of their megapixels, which allow for a lot of cropping. The above images are the full picture (albeit at a reduced resolution) with a 100% crop. 



 Flare/Ghosting
This lens is remarkably resistant to flaring.
Astrophotography
As is with many modern lenses, infinity is not exactly infinity here, which means that you will need to tweak focus a bit to get pinpoint stars (hint: use your live view magnification on a bright star)



Bokeh
With its 9-blade, rounded design, out of focus blur (bokeh) is buttery smooth.


Value: 5/5
Ah, here's the tough one as, at $900 new, the Sigma 24-105 f4 OS Art is not cheap by any means. On the other hand, when one looks at the manufacturer equivalents, this lens looks decidedly economical as the equivalents from Canon and Nikon, (Sony has no equivalent) both are a lot pricier. For both Canon and Nikon shooters, you get a dust seal at the mount on both of your camera makers' lenses (and an extra 15mm for Nikonians) but the question is this: do you plan to shoot in conditions that would warrant the rubber gasket at the mount that will add $250 and $400 to the price of the Sigma, respectively?



Competition
To put it plainly, the standard zoom lens is the most crowded segment on the market for the simple reason that such lenses are just so doggone useful. The direct competitors in the mid aperture stable from the manufacturers already addressed, there are a lot of other alternatives, too. For starters, there are the 24-70 f2.8s that are, again, made by just about everyone (Sigma makes one, too). Obviously, these lenses trade about 30mm of reach for an extra stop of aperture. The extra brightness is often offset with the cost of losing the stabilization, which often results in a wash at the checkout. The exception here: Tamron, which makes a stabilized 24-70 f2.8. Current models aside, there are out of production lenses in this focal range in both f2.8 and f4 versions, some with and other without stabilization, on the used market. Again, there's a tradeoff for that lower price: questionable support from the manufacturer. Long story short, if your old lens breaks, there may not be any parts with which to fix it, which will essentially turn your lens into an expensive paperweight.

My advice: with an AF lens (especially when paying this much), it's safer to buy new and the main consideration should be the f2.8 vs. f4.

Conclusion: 5/5
There's no doubt about it: the Sigma 24-105 OS Art is quite a lens. Sturdy build, excellent mechanics, great optics, and all at a bargain price when compared to manufacturer alternatives combine to make this lens a very attractive buy. In the end, the main consideration when buying a standard zoom comes down to this: a shorter f2.8 or a longer f4 with a stabilizer. If you decide to go with the f4 optic, there's no reason not to buy the Sigma 24-105 f4 OS Art as it really does represent a package that can cover 95% of the photographic applications of the people reading this review. Needless to say, I can't wait to see what Sigma has over the proverbial horizon!

Samples:











Humble Requests:

If you found this informative (or at least entertaining), help me pay my bills and check out my Examiner pages for space news, cleveland photography, national photography, and astronomy for more great stuff.

If you think this was cool, why not tell a friend?

For something even better, follow this blog.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Pictures: October 8, 2014 Total Lunar Eclipse


Well, it's come and gone, the total lunar eclipse of October 8, 2014. Luckily for me, I was able to catch this eclipse in 'full' from my location (full is quoted because the Moon set at totality). Still though, this was the first eclipse not clouded out in Northern Ohio since August, 2007 event (which also set in totality). 

While nowhere near as good as the October, 2004 event (has it been 10 years? I'm starting to feel old now!) thanks to the fact that this eclipse was visible from start to finish and was at totality around midnight with the Moon high in the sky, it was still nice to see an eclipse without having to peer through clouds. 

So, here you go, the total lunar eclipse of October 8, 2014 . . . 















Humble Requests:

If you found this informative (or at least entertaining), help me pay my bills and check out my Examiner pages for space news, cleveland photography, national photography, and astronomy for more great stuff.

If you think this was cool, why not tell a friend?

For something even better, follow this blog.


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Ebola, ISIS, and the Blood Moon Prophecy: Be Very, Very Afraid!



In a couple of nights, a total lunar eclipse will be visible for North America, the second of the so-called 'tetrad' of a cycle of 4 consecutive total lunar eclipses (which is somewhat of a rarity). As many astronomers plan to look up at the sky, prophets of doom are busy predicting the End Times, citing the Moon as a harbinger of death or, at the very least, some upcoming major change.

Reading the news headlines of today, it is not hard to deny that major world-shaping events are taking place in dramatic fashion.

First up: the Ebola outbreak continues unchecked in West Africa and as our oblivious government continues to allow people into our country from this disease-infested region, it is really no surprise that Ebola patients are starting to show up on American soil. Oh yes just go about your lives as normals, there's no danger of bio-terorism. Yeah, right.

Second, the terrorist group ISIS (also known as ISIL ans IS) has just beheaded another hostage in a gruesome video posted online and is again threatening to do the same to yet another captive, this one a retired Army Ranger. The fact that this group that some see as more evil than the Nazis (the Nazis at least realized what they were doing was evil and tried to hide it from the world) continues to run amok is making a lot of people nervous as we continue to debate whether or not we should put more American boots on the ground.

These two headlining stories aside, the usual tales of violence, mayhem, and immorality also continue to fill our local newspaper headlines, begging the feeling that our society is coming apart at the seams.
However, one thing is not to blame for all of this chaos: the Moon.

Starting in 2008, pastor Mark Biltz began teaching that the Second Coming was near. How does he know that? According to Biltz, he has discovered astronomical patterns (which he refuses to reveal) that led him to believe that the next tetrad of eclipses would coincide with the end times. Using technology such as his website and Youtube to spread his message, Biltz quickly built a cult-like following with modern-day doomsday believers, a following that has grown into all-out hype now that the tetrad in in process.

Cue our next prophet of doom.

Writing in his 2013 book 
Four Blood Moons: Something is About to Change, John Hagee notes that the last three tetrads corresponding to the Jewish feasts of Passover and Sukkot (as this current one does) correspond to pivotal events in the history of the Jewish people: the expulsion of the Jews from Spain (1492-3), the founding of modern Israel (1949-50), and the Six Day war (1967-68). As a result, thanks to the “rarity” of tetrads and their past correspondences with important events in the history of the Jews, Hagee predicts that something big is just over the course of the horizon that could mark a dramatic shift in the fortunes of the Jewish people, and, thanks to the global society we now live in, the world as a whole.

Now for facts.

For starters, Tetrads are not all that rare as there have been 62 of them in the past 2,000 years. That equates to a tetrad about every 30 years, meaning that, on average, a person will see two of them in a lifetime. As for tetrads that have eclipses falling on Passover and Sukkot, those are rarer, with only 8 of the 62 falling on such dates. Still, with about 1/8
th (12%) of tetrads having eclipses falling on these two holidays, the whole tetrad-Passover-Sukkot alignment doesn't look all that rare anymore, after all, does it?

As for the other tetrads falling on these two holidays, they took place in the following years: 162-3, 795-6, 842-3, and 860-1.

Now, even with the tetrads not being all that rare in themselves, isn't it still an oddity that they happen to fall on these important Jewish holidays? Well yes, that is until you learn that the ancient Jewish calendar (still used for determining the dates of religious holidays) is a Moon-based calendar! Gee, Full Moons (the only time a lunar eclipse can occur) on dates of major holidays now have a perfectly rational explanation.

Now, as for the implication that a series of 4 consecutive total eclipses leads to pivotal events in the history of the Jewish people, this is an extreme example of the logical fallacy post hoc ergo propter hoc (“after this, therefore because of this” in Latin), which is basically false causal reasoning, an argument based on the assumption that two completely different events are related to one another in that Event A causes Event B. Example: you see a black cat (Event A) on your way to work and have a bad day at work (Event B), so you assume that the black cat caused you to have a bad day at work. Pretty stupid, huh? Well, not according to the millions of people who pushed 
Blood Moons into the bestseller category on Amazon, where it has remained in the top 150 titles essentially since its release.

In reality, there is only a single way that the Moon has any measurable impact of events here on Earth: its gravity. Want to see proof of this? Look no further than the famous 
Bay of Fundy and its tides. Gravity aside, the Moon does nothing for us here on Earth, except scare the gullible, apparently.

Hagee's false causal reasoning exposed for what it is, how about Biltz and his interpretation of the Bible?

For fundamentalist Christians, the Bible is literal truth, case closed. However, even for the most devout Bible thumper out there, there's no denying that the holy book can be very vague at times. Let's take a look at the verses Joel 2:30-31, which state that (30) And I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. (31) The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes.” This is the passage that Biltz uses as the basis for his Doomsday prediction.

Okay, there is no doubt that, if one applies natural events to this “prophecy,” the events spoken of here can only be a solar and lunar eclipse. Problem: eclipses 
occur in cycles
 thanks to celestial geometry. Result: a lunar eclipse at Full Moon is often followed by a solar eclipse at New Moon, roughly 2 weeks later. Bottom line: eclipses often follow each other, though having the perfect alignment for a pair of total eclipses is rarer, it's nothing that unusual. Doing a little math with the roughly 6-month eclipse seasons, that's roughly 4,000 such cycles in the last 2,000 years, which means that such a succession of events is nothing unusual at all.

In the end, what do we have? Well, how about two prophets of doom with theories filled with more holes than a block of Swiss Cheese.

Case closed.

Yes, when it comes to Ebola and ISIS, we have reasons to be afraid, but those reasons have absolutely nothing to do with the Moon.


Humble Requests:

If you found this informative (or at least entertaining), help me pay my bills and check out my Examiner pages for space news, cleveland photography, national photography, and astronomy for more great stuff.

If you think this was cool, why not tell a friend?


For something even better, follow this blog.

Monday, September 22, 2014

NASA's MAVEN Reaches Mars, Curiosity Slammed by Review Board, Opportunity Keeps on Going



NASA's Mars Atmospheric and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) probe has just been successfully inserted into orbit around the Red Planet, thus becoming NASA's latest successful Mars mission at the notoriously hard to reach planet. Thus culminates a year-long, 442 million mile trip for the $671 million orbiting space probe.

Now that MAVEN has reached its destination, it will go through a series of shaker-downs in the next 6 weeks as mission control transitions the craft from a highly elliptical capture orbit that takes 35 hours into its much closer and conventional science orbit, which will last for about 4 ½ hours.

Once MAVEN is ready to go, it will be tasked the following mission objectives:

1. Determine how volatile (chemical elements and compounds with low boiling points) loss has impacted the Martian atmosphere
2. Assess the current state of the upper Martian atmosphere, ionosphere, and interaction with the solar wind
3. Determine the rate of escape for neutral gasses and ions
4. Determine the ratio of stable isotopes in the Martian atmosphere

To help MAVEN achieve these objectives, it is packed with instruments that fall into 3 general categories:

Particles and Field (P&F) Package: 6 instruments
1. Solar Wind Electron Analyzer (SWEA) – measures solar wind and ionosphere electrons
2. Solar Wind Ion Analyzer (SWIA) - measures solar wind and magnetosheath ion density and velocity
3. SupraThermal And Thermal Ion Composition (STATIC) - measures thermal ions to moderate-energy escaping ions
4. Solar Energetic Particle (SEP) - determines the impact of SEPs on the upper atmosphere
5. Langmuir Probe and Waves (LPW) - determines ionosphere properties and wave heating of escaping ions and solar extreme ultraviolet (EUV) input to atmosphere
6. Magnetometer (MAG) - measures interplanetary solar wind and ionosphere magnetic fields

Remote Sensing Package: 1 instrument
Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrometer (IUVS) - measures global characteristics of the upper atmosphere and ionosphere

Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer
Measures the composition of isotopes, neutral gasses, and ions

As for why we should even care at all, scientists believe that Mars was once very similar to Earth at a point in its distant past. However, for reasons that are still unknown, the planet lost its atmosphere and transformed from a habitable, Earth-like world into the barren, cold desert planet that it is today. For us here on Earth, understanding the mechanism of how this happened could not only help us better understand our atmosphere on Earth but, in the future, possible terraform Mars into a world that is once again habitable.



Curiosity Slammed by Senior Review


It's been two years since NASA landed its $2.5 billion Curiosity rover on Mars and, according to a review board at NASA, there's very little to show for it. At the start of this month, NASA's senior planetary review board issued a scathing report on the progress of Curiosity, saying that the mission “lacks scientific focus” and that the team as a whole exhibits an attitude of nonchalance, seemingly secure in the belief that the rover's $2.5 billion price tag protects it from criticism. In short, the panel said that the rover was doing too much driving and too little science and recommended that the team essentially drive around less, do more in-depth science when the rover stops, and articulate a clear science agenda for the future rather than use the rover as a cosmic sight-seer.




Opportunity Keeps on Going


The Opportunity rover, now in its 10th year and 25th mile on Mars (not bad for a robot with a 90-day design life) has just had its memory reformatted and is now ready to get on with its next objective: drive to Marathon Valley and suspected clay deposits. The key here: clay only forms in water and the search for past evidence of water on Mars is a major focus of the mission. The same review panel that slammed Curiosity also weighed in on Opportunity, saying that the rover was still clearly capable of doing science while expressing concern over its computer. Well, software fix complete, it appears that Opportunity has a clean bill of health. Here's to another 10 years and the next 25 miles!



Humble Requests:

If you found this informative (or at least entertaining), help me pay my bills and check out my Examiner pages for space news, cleveland photography, national photography, and astronomy for more great stuff.

If you think this was cool, why not tell a friend?


For something even better, follow this blog.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Nikon D750 vs. D610 vs. D810 vs. DF vs. D700 (and why the Canon 5D Mark III Kills Them All)


Nikon has just announced the D750 which, upon looking at its name, appears to be a successor to the 2008's wonderful (and in my opinion, still unsurpassed for well-roundedness) D700. The only problem here: unlike in 2008 when there was only the D700 for FF half-height bodies from Nikon, now there's more half-height FF Nikons than one can shake a stick at.

So, which is best on the spec sheet? Well, let's have a look!

Generation:
D750: current
D810: current
D610: current
DF: current
D700: 1 past
5DIII: current
The D700 is clearly the oldest

Resolution:
D750: 24Mp
D810: 36Mp
D610: 24Mp
DF: 16Mp
D700: 12 Mp
5DIII: 22Mp
D810 wins, though all have plenty of pixels for 99% of people reading this . . .

Aspect Ratios:
D750: 1
D810: 2
D610: 1
DF: 1
D700: 1
5DIII: 1

ISO:
D750: 50-51,200
D810: 64-12,800
D610: 50-25,600
DF: 100-12,800
D700: 100-25,600
5DIII: 50-102,400
Canon beats the 5 Nikons

White Balance Settings:
D750: 12
D810: 12
D610: 12
DF: 12
D700: 12

5DIII: 6
Easy win for Nikon

Custom White Balance Settings:
D750: 6
D810: 6

D610: 4
DF: 4
D700: 5
5DIII: 1
High-numbered Nikons win

AF Points
D750: 51
D810: 51
D610: 39
DF: 39
D700: 51
5DIII: 61
Canon wins

Viewfinder Coverage:
D750: 100%
D810: 100%
D610: 100%
DF: 100%
D700: 95%
5DIII: 100%

Old loses

Shutter Speed:
D750: 30-1/4000th sec
D810: 30-1/8000th sec
D610: 30-1/4000th sec
DF: 30-1/4000th sec
D700: 30-1/8000th sec
5DIII: 30-1/8000
th sec
Lots of random winners here

Built-In Flash
D750: yes
D810: yes
D610: yes
DF: no
D700: yes

5DIII: no
Again, random winners

LCD Display:
D750: Tilting 3.2”
D810: Fixed 3.2”
D610: Fixed 3.2”
DF: Fixed 3.2”
D700: Fixed 3”
5DIII: Fixed 3.2”
The D750 wins, but who cares?

Frames Per Second:
D750: 6.5
D810: 5
D610: 6
DF: 5.5
D700: 6 (8 with battery grip)
5DIII: 6
Old wins here with a battery grip

Exposure Compensation (+/-):
D750: 5
D810: 5
D610: 5
DF: 3
D700: 5
5DIII: 5
The DF loses here

AE Bracketing:
D750: 2-7 frames
D810: 2-7 frames
D610: 2-3 frames
DF: 2-5 frames
D700: 2-7 frames
5DIII: 2-7 frames
Random winners again

Video Capability:
D750: 1080p at 60fps
D810: 1080p at 60 fps

D610: 1080p at 30fps
DF: none
D700: none
5DIII: 1080p at 60fps
Like it or not, video's here too stay!

Storage
D750: SDx2
D810: SD, CF
D610: SDx2
DF: SD
D700: CF
5DIII: CF, SD

2 is better than 1 no matter the kind of card

GPS:
D750: optional
D810: optional
D610: optional
DF: no
D700: no
5DIII: optional

Old and old school lose


Wi-Fi Connectivity
D750: built-in
D810: optional
D610: optional
DF: no
D700: no
5DIII: optional
D750 wins here

Weather Resistant
D750: yes
D810: yes
D610: yes
DF: yes
D700: yes
5DIII: yes

For the prices, they had all better be!

Weight
D750: 750g
D810: 950g
D610: 850g
DF: 760g
D700: 1074g
5DIII: 950g
D750 is the lightweight

Price (as of September, 2014)
D750: $2300
D810: $3300
D610: $1900
DF: $2700
D700: $1300
5DIII: $3200
Old is always cheap with technology

Now, how does the 5DIII kill them all? Answer: Canon as a single ultimate camera in this price range, while Nikon has 5 now.

In Nikon's lineup, there are several choices here. If speed is your thing, then there's the D750, which has the fastest inherent frame rate of any camera on the list. Do you want ultra-high resolution? Well, there's the D810. Cost a primary concern? Well, there's the D610. Looking for high ISO performance (not to mention a cool look)? Well, then there's the DF. If cost is your primary concern, the venerable D700 is for you. Canon? Well, the answer to all these questions of what to buy for Canon shooters is the 5D Mark III. There's no give and take, here, there's no giving up one feature in favor of another. With Canon, they've put all their eggs (and efforts) into the basket that is the 5D Mark III. Essentially, Canon is doing now what Nikon did with the D700 6 years ago:L building a camera that doesn't force buyers to make compromises on capabilities.


Humble Requests:

If you found this informative (or at least entertaining), help me pay my bills and check out my Examiner pages for space news, cleveland photography, national photography, and astronomy for more great stuff.

If you think this was cool, why not tell a friend?

For something even better, follow this blog.

Monday, September 8, 2014

A Blast From the Past: September 5, 1997 Weekly Reader: Pathfinder/Sojourner on Mars


While rooting through some old junk the other day, I came across a rather interesting historical artifact: a Weekly Reader kid's newspaper from 5th grade that had somehow escaped destruction.

The year was 1997: The front page story: The Pathfinder/Sojourner mission to Mars.

For anyone not familiar with the mission, Pathfinder/Sojourner paved the way for many later missions to Mars, Launched in 1996 and arriving on July 4, 1997, this mission was questionably the most anticipated space mission since Apollo 11 landed on the Moon in July, 1969. The first NASA mission to land on Mars since the Vikings, this mission was the first time a mobile vehicle landed on another planet and the first to employ airbags as a method of landing and an automatic obstacle detection/avoidance system. Though it had a designed lifespan of 1 month, Sojourner lasted for over 3 months on Mars, transmitting a wealth of data, surpassing all mission expectations, and serving as the basis for the more advanced Twin Mars Exploration Rovers (Spirit and Opportunity) and Mars Science laboratory (Curiosity) missions.

As another point to ponder, consider this: much of the class of 2015 (starting their senior year in high school as we speak), was born in 1997. For today's high school seniors, consider that, in their lifetimes . . .



Carl Sagan has always been dead, as have been George Burns, Ella Fitzgerald, Tupac Shakur, JonBenet Ramsey, and Tiny Tim

Cloning has always been science fact

Pokemon has always existed

Computers have always been capable of beating humans at chess

Mad Cow Disease has always been a threat to human health

'Unabomber' Ted Kaczynski has always been in jail

The Keck Telescopes have always been in operation

The Daily Show has always been on the air

Bill Gates has always been the richest man in the U.S. (and the world, depending on the year)

The X Prize Foundation has always existed

The Ramones have always been retired

Steve Jobs' NeXT computer company has never existed

The Big 12 Conference has always existed

The Southern Pacific Railroad has never existed

Fox News has always been on the air

Bosnia and Herzegovnia have always been a single country

There has never been a one term president

The Nintendo 64 has always existed

George Stephanopoulos has never been involved in politics
There have always been parental guidance ratings for TV programs

Prince Charles and Princess Diana have never been married

Interesting stat:
In 1997: Weekly Reader reported that only 46% of schools in America were wired for Internet access. Needless to say, that's hard to believe in 2014, when just about every fast food joint has free wireless internet (wi-fi was in its infancy in 1997).

Failed Prediction:
The article stated that humans may travel to Mars by 2012. As of 2014, the target date for a manned mission is the mid 2030s.

In the News on September 5, 1997 . . . 
The International Olympic Committee selected Athens, Greece to host the 2004 Summer Olympics

Mother Teresa died at age 87

As for Weekly Reader . . .
It ceased production in 2012 (the same year we were supposed to be going to Mars back in 1997) after being bought out by the educational material printing company Scholastic.

Sorry if this makes you feel old, as it does me in a way as this year marks a decade (10 years) since I began my senior year of high school, but it's always fun to look back in time and see where we were X-years back.

Who knows, more time machine posts may be coming in the future . . . 




Humble Requests:

If you found this informative (or at least entertaining), help me pay my bills and check out my Examiner pages for space news, cleveland photography, national photography, and astronomy for more great stuff.

If you think this was cool, why not tell a friend?


For something even better, follow this blog.