Wednesday, June 22, 2005

---U-2 lost, Solar Sail fails, "Industrial" Hacking, Deep Impact Mirror Problems, Pacemaker Recall, Iranian runoffs, Driving Young, Saddam Settles In 

U-2 down in Middle East:
FOXNews.com - U.S. & World - U.S. Spy Plane Crashes in Mideast
..or “southwest Asia”. Pilot killed. No word on exactly where, or possible cause of the crash.

Experimental Solar Sail Lost:
Russian Space Agency: Solar Sail Launch Failed
Looks like the 1st stage booster quit early, and nothing got to orbit. Earlier reports had some evidence of the final “kick” stage firing on time, but they must have been wishful thinking.

Intenet Hacking Goes “Industrial Strength”, Millions of Credit Card Holders Compromised by Deficient Processor:
FOXNews.com - U.S. & World - Britain Warns of Massive E-Mail Attacks
Coupled with reports of a “Guinness Book of World Records ”-level theft of credit card information:
"Security Breach Could Expose 40M to Fraud" FOXNews.com - Business - Security Breach May Put 40 Million Credit Card Holders at Risk
...which they assure us isn’t cataclysmic, only catastrophic:
FOXNews.com - Business - MasterCard: Only 68,000 at Higher Level in Breach
...and occurred largely because the processor was keeping unauthorized records in the first place:
FOXNews.com - Business - CardSystems: Shouldn't Have Kept Records
Anything that is useful to anybody---like a near-infinite supply of information or instant world-wide communications across nearly every cultural and national boundary, etc.---is going to be a target for a malicious feeding frenzy. In case you hadn’t noticed, or read about it somewhere, civilization doesn’t actually work.

Another Space Mirror Flaw:
Space camera flaw traced to earthly mirror - Space News - MSNBC.com
From Oberg at MSNBC. The mission to vaporize a chunk of Comet Tempel 1 hit a snag when it was found that the critical imager wouldn’t focus clearly.Difference from the Hubble mirror fiasco? This is a pure focal-length flaw, so it can be corrected mathematically (deconvolution ”) without a Shuttle visit, unlike Hubble’s misfigured main mirror.
The Deep Impact mission seems to be getting back on target, and the first images of the cometary nucleus are now available.

These Recalls are Getting Tougher:
FOXNews.com - Business - Guidant Recalls 50,000 Cardiac Defibrillators
The manufacturer of implanted defibrillators has to take some of them back because of a problem with short circuits.I guess a casket recall would be less convenient.
Iran has Presidential Runoffs:
FOXNews.com - U.S. & World - Iran to Hold Runoff Presidential Elections
...which are almost entirely irrelevant.The country has two parallel governments;the nominal political one, and “the non-elected theocracy that can overrule the president or parliament.” with its sharia enforcers.The runoff will determine the face the outside world talks to, but it doesn’t seem that important.
Oh...and they probably have nuclear weapons.

Is 21 old enough?
FOXNews.com - U.S. & World - Is 16 Too Young to Get a Driver's License?
Okay, so I was 14 when I started driving, and I was blessed with survival to adulthood anyway.Many thousands of American teenagers don’t make it every year.I’m tired of dodging children in expensive, overpowered sports cars they don’t have the brain development for.
Here in Houston, Texas they are planning a 22-lane freewayexpansion as part of a desperate, losing battle to keep the millions of cars that pass through the city every day moving at any speed. We could solve at least two major problems---eliminate the wholesale juvenile slaughter (along with the adults and younger children who are unfortunate enough to be in the way) and somewhat reduce the impossible and ever-increasing burden on our transportation systems---by raising the minimum driving age to 21. At least. Maybe institute a minimum psychological/mental standard for people who want to drive pickups or tractor-trailers while they’re at it.

Saddam: Former Dictator Makes Himself at Home:
FOXNews.com - U.S. & World - GIs Describe Guarding Saddam
Deprived of opportunities for mass murder and with his weapons programs hidden out of reach in Syria, Saddam has had to settle for DoritosTM and laundry folding, chatting up the guards about the Bushes and reading from his bullet-ridden, non-U.S.-Government-provided copy of the Koran.No kidding---just a regular guy.
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