Wednesday, March 29, 2006

---Democracy in Afghanistan, LockMart Drops Something Else, DIY Spyware, NASA Shifts Focus, PAL Problems 

More “why democracy doesn’t actually work”
FOXNews.com - U.S. & World News - Afghan Christian Convert Flees to Italy
Afghanistan's parliament demanded Wednesday that the government prevent a man who faced the death penalty for abandoning Islam for Christianity from being able to flee the country.”
No government works unless the people in and under it do. Islam is even less compatible as a basis for government than the relative agnosticism (relative to the U.S. government provision of religious texts to terrorist detainees) being forced on Americans by their judiciary. Not a lot less, though....
As a rallying cause for American influence in the Middle East, the spread of democracy, often portrayed as synonymous with freedom, will eventually prove to be a dissappointment. Other things will have to change to avoid a major setback, like people themselves. There's only one way that happens, and it apparently won't---at least not in large numbers---and whenever it does, the other people will try to kill them.
taly has granted asylum to the Christian convert threatened with execution in Afghanistan after the sharia court found him mentally unfit to stand trail. I suppose we’ll see.

LockMart fumbles again
FL Today/Space: Crews do slight damage to shuttle fuel tank foam
Catching up on the NASA news----the day after KSC workers returned to work after a pause to investigate a rash of accidents which inflicted multiple minor dings on the Shuttle Discovery, a worker fell from a roof to his death. The unfortunate trend continues, as LockMart workers managed to put a divot in the infamous insulating foam on the external tank intended for Discovery.

That entrepreneurial spirit conquers all....
FOXNews.com - Technology News - Do-It-Yourself Spyware Kit Sells For $20 on Web
...like common sense, personal judgement....
DIY spyware for $20 USD. Russia mates dis murl a betta pace once again.

Having mastered that....
SPACE.com -- NASA Shifts Tech Focus to CEV, Crewed Moon Missions
NASA shifts its “focus” to Moon exploration, with what is basically a giant version of the Apollo capsule/service module strapped on a booster made with modified STS main engines. Makes me want to sing a little song....but Eddie Murphy beat me to it by about 20 years.

And that....
Spaceflight Now | STS-121 Shuttle Report | Space shuttle engineers assess new wiring issue
Removing the potentially lethal PAL ramp structure from the STS external tank is proving more problematic than wishful thinking would dictate. Managers will get bored....

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Friday, March 24, 2006

---Russians Gave U.S. War Plans to Iraq, MRO First Pictures 

Another shocker from Iraq
FOXNews.com [AP]- U.S. & World News - Pentagon: Russia Gave Saddam War Intel
My Way News [AP]- Russia Spies Operated in Iraq Through 2003

This Pentagon report reveals that a Russian mole in CENTCOM fed detailed information on U.S. plans for the 2003 invasion of Iraq to Saddam and the Iraqi military. Russian duplicity and betrayal is not nearly so surprising, however, as the details of how Saddam’s military managed to suffer a humiliating defeat anyway.
In his eventful life, Saddam Hussein has progressed through the ranks of the Baath party from a pretty good street thug and assassin to become one of the worst military commanders in modern history.

MRO cameras check out
SPACE.com -- Camera Works: New Mars Orbiter Images 'Fantastic'
JPL.NASA.GOV: News Releases

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has returned its first test images from Mars orbit. The detail in the images is amazing, even though MRO’s current orbit is several times higher than the expected final mission altitude.

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Thursday, March 23, 2006

---Sharia to Kill in Afghanistan, Milosevic Mourned, H5N1 in Egypt, Mars Rovers, MS Vista? 

Afghanistan prepares to execute Christian
CNN.com - Death could await Christian convert - Mar 21, 2006
FOXNews.com - Politics News - Rice Calls Karzai on Christian Convert's Fate

Think about it---a confederation of sadistic, medieval charlatans devoid of concern for basic human decency, sort of like a religious version of the U.S. Supreme Court, but with more members and even less restrained by law or common sense--- “separation of church and state” taken to the other monstrous extreme, so that even the civil government of an Islamic country must bow to its decisions apparently without recourse. It’s the Muslim sharia, and it’s decided to kill again.
Much like an earlier incident in Kuwait, a sharia court in Afghanistan, another Muslim country salvaged at the expense of American lives and treasure, has decided that a citizen who converted from Islam to Christianity some 16 years ago must die. The sharia court case seems to hinge on whether to consider Christian belief a capital crime or a form of insanity.
Amid growing outrage voiced by the U.S. Administration and State Department, Congressmen, Amnesty International, and others, and appeals for reason to Karzai, plans to execute the offending convert apparently continue unabated.
What this situation needs is more cartoonists....

Slobo, we hardly knew ye....
FOXNews.com - U.S. & World News - Tens of Thousands Mourn Milosevic in Belgrade
Once again, we see that nothing sells like genocidal megalomania.

H5N1 death in Egypt
FOXNews.com - U.S. & World News - Egyptian Woman Died From Bird Flu, Initial Tests Show
As in most known cases, the woman who died appears to have contracted the influenza strain from close contact with poultry, not by human transmission
Elsewhere, recent studies [.New Scientist Breaking News - Bird flu's human-attack pathway revealed] suggest that the relative lack of human to human transmission in current strains of the virus is due to its tendency to attack cells deep in the lungs, but not in more superficial respiratory pathways where it could be coughed or sneezed out readily. Of course, that could easily change....

Hard to believe, but...
SPACE.com -- Spirit Mars Rover In 'Drive Or Die' Situation
...rover operators are working on plans to preserve the mobile scientific platforms through a second Martian Winter. In the Gusev Crater, the “Spirit” rover needs to climb a slope to a position with maximum Sun exposure, and its balky right-front drive wheel has finally failed entirely.

Vista?! What’s Vista?
FOXNews.com - Business News - Microsoft Delays Release of Vista Until 2007
Microsoft: Vista won't get a backdoor | CNET News.com

Okay, so I’m a little out of the IT “loop”. The successor to Windows XP, which I never bothered to buy, is apparently called “Vista”, or something, and there’s this big flap because it’s going to be too late for Christmas. What everyone needs---in time for Christmas--- is something even more intrusive in normal users' computing lives, more devoted to such draconian practices as “managed” code, and capable of centralizing more control of the industry in MS HQ. Here are some other opinions:
I'm So Excited by Microsoft Vista. Not.
Vista delay is back to the future for Redmond | Tech News on ZDNet

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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

---MRO at Mars, NASA Gets "Reality" Check, Discovery Delayed, and Other Stories 

Where the "Ides of March" are the least of our problems---

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter “comes back around” at Mars
SPACE.com -- Red Planet Arrival: NASA's MRO Spacecraft Enters Mars Orbit
No doubt there’s a collective sigh of relief at JPL, as the new Mars orbiter has safely entered its initial orbit at Mars. The orbiter is expected to provide unprecedented image quality and a much faster data downlink capability than the current orbiters. Over at MSNBC, James Oberg comments [Mars orbiter faces NASA’s ‘Ghoulish’ past - Space News - MSNBC.com] on NASA’s troubled history of Mars exploration.

NASA has a really bad week
Spaceflight Now | Breaking News | Ultrasound on Discovery arm; Endeavour tiles hit
I almost can’t bring myself to think about it---but what would happen if the “3 Stooges” got hired to maintain the STS? First Curly spins around too fast and smashes his inspection light against a railing, showering broken glass into the cargo bay. Then Larry is sent to sweep up the glass, but hits the Canadian arm, denting and cracking it. As Moe begins to berate their incompetence, he drops a film processor off a tool tray onto the body flap insulation tiles. See? It just isn’t that funny---but then, neither were their other movies.

Discovery launch delayed
FOXNews.com [AP] - Science News - NASA Delays Shuttle Launch Until At Least July
NASA decided to delay the next launch until July because of continued problems with the aging backup fuel level detectors in the H2 tank. I thought they decided to relax the launch rules on these things….what’s really going on?

Worlds collide
SPACE.com -- Astronaut Forced Out Survivor's Airlock
Yes, “reality TV”, that unfortunate blending of the worst of soap-opera melodrama and professional wrestling, meets NASA. NASA loses.

The “law”?
FOXNews.com - Moussaoui Mess
Once again, we see that American justice cannot produce what the proverbial “reasonable man” would consider a “reasonable” outcome. I guess we should be glad they didn’t let him out on bail…

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Sunday, March 05, 2006

---Oscar Who?, Dungoline, ATT Buys SBC 

Oscar who?
FOXNews.com - - Oscars
Why are we pretending that this infomercial for an extremist social agenda is a legitimate awards presentation?

…and while we’re on the subject
FOXNews.com [AP] - Science News - Japanese Scientists Refine Gasoline From Cow Dung
They have developed a catalyst that allows manure to be cracked to produce gasoline. No word on how economically practical this method might eventually be.

They’re getting the Bell back together
FOXNews.com [AP] - Business News - AT&T Confirms BellSouth Buy
The deal all but re-establishes the pre-breakup Bell telephone system. Fortunately, there are now plenty of other options for personal communications, so far.

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Friday, March 03, 2006

---Anti-Bush riots in Pakistan, Simpsons "Unconstitutional"?, NASA Budget 

American flag sales to Pakistan Soar!
FOXNews.com [AP] - U.S. & World News - More Than 10,000 Protest Bush's Arrival Across Pakistan
It would be more newsworthy if there were no protests when a U.S. President went somewhere abroad.

Ok, let’s see….
FOXNews.com [AP] - U.S. & World News - Study: More Know 'Simpsons' Than Constitution
…there’s Homer, Marge, Lisa, Bart, Santa’s Little Helper, Flanders the neighbor, the drunk and the bartender whose names I don’t remember, Crusty the Clown, Sideshow Bob. Oh who cares, anyway.
On the other hand, there’s Religion, Assembly, Press, and various other rights that have been treated dismissively by the legislature or systematically vacated by the judiciary in any case. Who cares, anyway? At least the Simpsons is usually sort of entertaining….

NASA sets budget priorities
New Scientist SPACE - Breaking News - Top US scientists fight for NASA science budget
Space scientists complain about loss of funding for various research and analysis grants versus high-profile projects like the Webb and Hubble telescopes. Manned spaceflight continues to dominate NASA priorities, with such stunning achievements as “SuitSat” and improved video of foam chunks raining down on Shuttles. Nobody knows why to explore space, let alone how.

Moe and Barney! That's it! ..and I forgot all about Burns, Smithers, Apu....
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