Thursday, August 31, 2006
Just in! Check out comments from Supreme Fleet Admiral Bossy from The Shining Pasture! This week, the Hero of the Shining Pasture speaks on a newly discovered "short story".
If you couldn't see it coming....
My Way News[AP] - Lockheed Martin Wins NASA Moon Contract
...up 5th Ave., LockMart has been awarded the "Orion" contract, with the notion of getting people back on the Moon by 2020, give or take.....
[Check the LiveTV /Media Channel link at the NASA homepage for a flashy presentation with catchy background music of how th Ares/Orion system is expected to work: http://www.nasa.gov/externalflash/sts115_front/index.html
There are a number of conceptual upgrades from the Apollo days. The mission would be assembled from components sent to orbit in two separate launches, to accomodate the larger crew size and propellant requirements. The components are expected to be adaptable to Mars missions, in case the whole thing doesn't end up like the X-33---the last attempt by NASA and its contractor community to build a newmanned spacecraft.:
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Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Michelle Malkin's Hot Air: "Ambulances for Jihad"
This is really disturbing. Malkin reveals evidence that ambulances and other emergency vehicles belonging to the Red Cross/Crescent and U.N. aid organizations, and often partly funded by U.S. taxes and donations, are routinely used by Islamic terrorists to transport terrorists to and from their kills. There is an account of an ambulance carrrying a child being used to smuggle a “suicide belt” laden with explosives to its intended user.
There are also accounts of using the emergency vehicles as props to “play” a credulous or complicit international new media. Ambulances parading up and down a street at high speed so they can be filmed and depicted as rushing to aid victims of Israeli air strikes (busted by CNN!), popping a vent off the roof of an ambulance and claiming that an Iraeli missle intentionally penetrated the roof exactly at the intersection of the “red cross”, and so on and on and on.... The truth of many of these terrrorist propaganda charades are being revealed more and more often by “amateur” news webloggers after “professional” media sources pass them on to the public as “news”.
I can remember the "good old" Arafat days, when the most notable discrepancy we got to see was a Palestinian funeral procession in which a "victim" of Israeli aggression suddenly fell out of his coffin and hurried away.
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Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Now, about that whole “U.N. Mandate” thing....
Weekly Standard: "What did you do in the war, UNIFIL? "
Evidently, UNIFIL “peacekeeping” forces indulged in public postings of very detailed reports of Israeli Defense Forces troop movements, reinforcements, armament, and location of troop concentrations throughout the recent conflict in Lebanon. These appear to be the documents in question: UNIFIL: United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon - Press releases
Apparently, UNIFIL did not deem it appropriate under its “mandate” to make similar apprisals of Hezbollah terrorist movements, or to pass along information on precise locations of the infamous rocket batteries which might have helped to locate them and so save lives and property of the Israeli civilians under attack. On cursory inspection, the reports do seem to have some references to incidents in which terrorist forces attempted to deliberately draw IDF fire onto UNIFIL positions. The UNIFIL observers, however, apparently remained true even at the risk of their lives to their “mandate”---although what that actually is remains to be determined by the rest of the world---and supported the terrorists to the end.
Spaceflight Now | STS-115 Shuttle Report | Crawler problems add hours to rollback time
The Shuttle Atlantis is in a somewhat precarious position at the moment. After an especially heavy lightning strike to the pad arrestor system---which showed up as surges in some critical STS systems, and the approach of a tropical storm to the Florida east coast, managers decided yesterday to roll the spacecraft back into the VAB. Unfortunately, the crawler allocated to make the move suffered a hydraulic failure and had to be left in High Bay 2, where the stack was to be sheltered. Now NASA is left with a thorny decision; whether to leave Atlantis at the launch pad---with lightning protection---or try to make it all the way around to the other side of the VAB---which will now take three hours longer than originally planned---before thunderstorms approach the complex. If lightning threatens while the stack is in transit, workers could be forced to abandon the largely unprotected spacecraft on the roadway---with the complex and irreplaceable ISS truss assembly on board---and seek safety. Maybe NASA will stay lucky, or maybe not....
[NASA has now decided the the threat from tropical storm Ernesto is manageable, and has ordered Atlantis returned to the launch pad:
Spaceflight Now | STS-115 Shuttle Report | Atlantis returns to launch pad]
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Monday, August 28, 2006
Warning! It’s (evidently) Science Day at the weblog:
Atlantis gets whacked
FL Today Space: "Lightning hit delays launch" Spaceflight Now | STS-115 Shuttle Report | Solid rocket booster tests could be ordered
A bolt of lightning with around 5 times the usual current struck the arrestor system of the launch pad on Friday. The strike was so intense that surges were detected in the Shuttle and associated systems:
“Telemetry showed a very small "spike" in one of the shuttle's electrical buses and a larger surge in the circuitry associated with a launch pad pyrotechnic device used to disconnect a hydrogen vent arm from the shuttle's external tank.”An especially scary thought is that the circuitry associated with the destruct systems in the ET may have been affected.
Compounding the problem is the approach of Tropical Storm ERNESTO[NOAA]
Spaceflight Now | STS-115 Shuttle Report | Rollback preps ordered for Atlantis
The launch of Atlantis/STS-115 has been called for at least another day, and preparations are being made to take the stack back to the VAB if the storm continues to track toward the launch facility.
[The decision has now been made to return the Shuttle to the Assembly Building, as the storm's track continues to veer eastward:
NASA to move shuttle to shelter due to storm - Human Spaceflight - MSNBC.com
Current predictions have the storm returning to hurricane strength after crossing Cuba and passing up the eastern coast of Florida.]
Space station science gets squeezed - Human Spaceflight - MSNBC.com
...more information on the cutbacks to science programs once used to justify the effort to build the ISS. Meanwhile, the current daydreaming about new Moon missions has drawn away a lot of what’s left:
“Some observers say that NASA now sees the orbital outpost as a $100 billion white elephant to be finished, then quickly left behind in America's new push to the moon, Mars and beyond.”
Spaceflight Now | Breaking News | NASA finds direct proof of that dark matter exists
The Chandra X-Ray Observatory and other ‘scopes have revealed evidence (“proof” seems a bit optimistic, doesn’t it?) from the collisions of clusters of galaxies that gas and dust---“normal” matter---has been separated from the “dark” matter---whatever that is---in these galaxies by the energetic collisions. Theories that propose alternative notions of interactions between “normal” matter and gravity---such as the idea that the “constant-ness” of gravity/mass interactions breaks down at extremely large scales such as galaxies---would evidently have trouble explaining the results.
My Way News - Astronomers Say Pluto Is Not a Planet
Tiresome semantic bickering among astronomers and a nearly infinite number of moronic jokes on news broadcasts about the “shrinking solar system”aside, Clyde Tombaugh’s discovery is actually even more significant than the finding of “just another planet”. Pluto was the first known example of a whole new class of solar-system objects and real estate---now known as the Kuiper Belt.
It’s Sony again....
My Way News - Lithium-Ion Technology in the Spotlight
Not apparently wanting to be remembered fondly only for its use of intrusive, pirated rootkit spyware applications to “protect” its music interests from piracy, Sony has perhaps “topped” itself. Sony’s distribution of defective, sometimes burning or even expoding laptop batteries has forced Dell and Apple to recall nearly 6 million computers.
Warning! Incoming Movie Review
I’m way behind on the movie reviews. I just finally saw “Hoodwinked”, an alternative viewpoint of the classic Red Riding Hood tale. In spite of the dated animation (they must have done Red first---she looks like a game animation) it was completely unexpectedly extremely clever, another of those movies not to be watched if you have any cardiac or respiratory deficiencies or while drinking milk.
One of the most stress-testing moments for me was the mountain goat with a collection of interchangable horns who has to sing everything and doesn’t get many visitors, voice-acted by Benjy Gaither, who was raised by Gospel singers.
Unlike the “Shrek” franchise which most critics used for comparison, “Hoodwinked” manages to be hilarious without the ubiquitous, crude humor which has become the industry standard for “childrens’ movies”.
Wolf: “What can I say? I was raised by wolves.”
Wolf: “Those are really bright! What kind of candles are those?”
Twitchy the Squirrel: “Deen-a-mee-tay! Must be Italian!”
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Saturday, August 19, 2006
Looks like it’s government incompetence day at the weblog. Check your Dramamine™ supply; it’s going to get all swirly in here:
Who needs to make computer games?
Washington Post: The FBI's Upgrade That Wasn't[found on BlogsNow]
The big money is in fleecing gigantic, dysfunctional government bureaucracies with less collective technical skill than the fry cook at Wendy’s™ for one-off software projects. Better yet, as a non-cybernetic character in the ancient movie “RoboCop” once said, “It’s for the government---It doesn’t have to actually work!”.
The WP article reveals more details of SAIC’s $170 Million vaporware monster known as the “Virtual File System”. The FBI, under fire in 2001 for botching its surveillance of terrorist activities so badly that it subjected the American people to a horrific attack on their own soil that a playground full of 8-year-olds could have seen through, decided that it needed to upgrade its internal handling of information at least to the level of about 1980 or so. It really needed to catch up on sophisticated computer concepts like “networks” and “databases” that had eluded its collective understanding, and to make its data handling competitive with the average American household...And none of this silly already-existing-technology stuff---it had to be done from scratch. It hired giant government contractor SAIC. Months and hundreds of thousands of lines of bloated committee (or is it “spaghetti”?) code later, in 2005, an audit determined that “the system delivered by SAIC was so incomplete and unusable that it left the FBI with little choice but to scuttle the effort altogether.”
The answer? Start over, over, with a whole new concept “...named Sentinel, that is projected to cost $425 million and will not be fully operational until 2009....”, to be developed by LockMart.
The new candor at NASA only goes so far...
SPACE.com -- NASA Advisers Opposed to Science Cuts Resign
...as far as the point where it conflicts with what the management has decided it wants to hear. Three advisors who opposed the gutting of NASA’s reasonably successful science programs to save funds for construction of the still-almost-entirely-imaginary Space Station have turned in their resignations. Two of the three resignees were apparently “asked” to leave. The NASA press secretary explained, “The administrator is looking for ... members to advise him based on the priority that the agency has and based on what our parameters are.'' I don’t have the management experience to fully explain what that actually means....but I think it's something close to what I already said.
My Way News [AP]- Israeli Troops Criticize Army, Equipment
Returning Israeli troops are revealing more about the conditions in Lebanon which probably contributed to their disappointing standoff with Iranian-trained and -equipped terrorists. The stories include having to drink water from canteens taken from the bodies of dead terrorists, and slow evacuation of wounded. Militarily speaking, the big question would be whether it ever happens again.
My Way News [AP]- Workers Discover Chocolate Virgin Mary
This time it’s a drip. ISINMTU*, they are praying to a little drip of chocolate. It’s a little more tolerable than the sacred ground-water seepage, but not very much more. The AP story may have been unintentionally candid near the end: “this week's brush with the image of a 2,000-year-old idol has left even Angiano star-struck.” But they’re only adoring it---honest.
I have personally seen the benefits of telling the Truth to people affected by these foolish psuedo-Christian fables. Everyone who really wants to know about God is already smarter than this. Freedom from ignorance about God is the beginning of all sorts of good things. As the Apostle Paul said,
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God.... [2 Corinthians 10:5, NIV]
*I Swear I’m Not Making This Up
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Friday, August 18, 2006
FOXNews.com [AP]- Security Up'd After Al Qaeda Letter Threatens to Blow Up Taj Mahal
The actions of “Al Quaeda” haven’t made any real sense over the years, even in the bestial, coldly calculating, perversely predatory sense that everyone expects of them. Why would they attack Russians and Chinese, among their principal military and economic benefactors, and now threaten the Taj Mahal, the finest architectural achievement of the Mughal Dyansty, who were Muslims?
We’ve been misunderstanding the organization all along. We have been trying to see a message, or a coherent political or religious motive behind their actions---when all they really want to do is blow stuff up....
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News media has collective-ADD!!!
I’m beginning to see the problem here----I’ll just call it C-ADD. About a week ago, I watched in horror as Fox News reporters in northern Israel became so bored with waiting for the IDF to launch its much-anticipated upgraded assault into Lebanon that they began to interview each other.
[None of the other TV/Cable news services were doing any better.]
Now the pack has run to the next interesting smell, yapping non-stop 24/7 drivel into their microphones about a celebrated murder case for several days, finally exonerating the family they had knowingly pronounced unquestionably guilty for the last ten years, before having a collective “waaddaminit” moment when it started to become clear that virtually nothing about “confession” of the newly-obviously-guilty “suspect” had been even superficially checked before they started ragging on it. That didn't stop one journalist from reading the vomitous "poetry" of the newly-obviously-guilty "suspect" on the air---which I was forced to hear part of, in accordance with Robinson's Inverse Square Law of Television Programming*. They are now only slowly shaking the cobwebs out of their collective AP-driven consciousness and drifting off to some other stuff that’s incidentally going on in the world.
There is a serious, inherent problem with the 24-hour news “model”---It requires someone to be saying something somewhere, constantly, 24 hours a day, with only brief pauses for commercials, even if there is nothing of any value to say, which unfortunately is the case most of the time. “News bloggers” may be amateurs, but at least they’re unlikely to make the available news commentary worse.
*Robinson's Inverse Square Law of Television Programming:
The quality of televised programming declines as the square of the distance of the viewer from any possible means of controlling the television receiver.
That is: Q α1/dc2 , where Q is program quality, and dc is the distance from the viewer to any non-paranormal [eg. telekinetic] means of control of the television receiver. [ In the example above, I was in the kitchen, approximately 12 meters from the remote control, insuring that Q was so close to zero as to be considered negligible. I do not, evidently, possess any telekinetic powers.]
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Wednesday, August 16, 2006
---Tragedy in America, Airliner Diverted, Typhoon Saomai, Cease-fire in Lebanon, Dell explosions, Pluto Saved, and Other Stories
4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. [NIV]
42,636 dead, 2,788,000 injured!
...in 2004, in automobile accidents in the U.S.. Of fatal automotive accidents in that year (the latest records available from NHTSA), 7,898 involved drivers 15-20 years old. If 42.000 Americans died in Iraq in 2004, we would certainly have a different President now. If thousands of children and teenagers had died in any other way, we would not rest until those responsible were brought to justice, and the horror that killed them was stopped once and for all.
But we continue this wholesale slaughter---much of it alcohol-fueled---as a daily routine which we describe as "transportation". Transportation, as practiced, doesn't actually work. If nobody has a better idea, at least raise the driving age!
FOXNews.com[AP] - London-to-D.C. Flight Diverted to Boston After Passenger Disturbance
My Way News[AP] - Disturbance Diverts London-D.C. Flight
United flight 923 has been diverted to Boston because a woman confronted other passengers. She evidently had Vaseline™, matches, a screw driver, and a note mentioning “Al Quaeda”™, in spite of allegedly heightened aviation security.[Some officials are denying that she had the items now.] Live shots from Boston showed passengers’ baggage spread over several acres of taxiway.
Since nobody seems to have noticed....
My Way News [AP] - Death Toll in China Typhoon Hits 295
...life---and death---continue in the rest of the world. Typhoon Saomai struck coastal provinces of China last Thursday. It was China’s worst typhoon in about 50 years, and the death toll is rising as more dead are discovered on sea and land.
...in fact, as the adage goes, as everyone could have “seen it coming up 5th Avenue”, yet another U.S. administration caved in to international political pressure and sold Israel out to its enemies for short-term political benefit. Both the American and Israeli leaders claimed the horrific disaster in Lebanon as a “victory”, but virtually no one is “buying it”.
My Way News[AP] - Olmert Acknowledges War's 'Deficiencies'
Nobody “over here” will be in a position to speak ill of the steadfastness of the French or other Europeans for a while. By comparison with the lead-up to previous “World Wars”, I guess Lebanon would be the new “Czechoslovakia”.
There isn’t much else to be said about the U.N. mandated “settlement” in the Israeli-LebanoSyrioIranoSinoRussian conflict that hasn’t been covered better elsewhere:
Michelle Malkin: Wave the white flag--and Hizballah's
Malkin’s comments seem almost conciliatory compared to this assessment by at the Jerusalem Post:
Comment: An unmitigated disaster | Jerusalem Post
There are probably more than an thousand Lebanese and Israeli civilians dead, thousands more homeless, the economy and infrastructure of Lebanon has been devastated, Israeli armed forces have suffered hundreds dead and wounded in a demoralizing standoff with an irregular “asymmetric” force which it should have been easily able to destroy in detail, the unprecedented consensus of moderate Arab nations against the extremism of the SyrioIranoSinoRussian terrorists has been frittered away, and the political fortunes of the monstrous Hezbollah terrorists and their national supporters have been made stronger than ever.
Probably worst of all, the Hezbollah political operatives in Lebanon are now in a position to offer consolation and SyrioIranoSinoRussian money to Lebanese civilians to rebuild their homes and businesses. These monsters will be seen by a new generation of young men and boys (and presumably by girls, pregnant women, etc.) as "heroes". By comparison with the lead-up to previous “World Wars”, I guess this would be “making the trains run on time”.
FOXNews.com - Iranian President Gets Personal in New Blog - Iran
Okay, so the comparison is probably inaccurate at best---there were probably some times when that other guy had a coherent thought. As for the introspections of a mediocre soccer player and political sock-puppet of pseudoreligious hell-mouths, I have better things to think about....
A cold day at Dell....
FOXNews.com - Dell Recalling 4.1 Million Potentially Explosive Laptop Batteries - Business And Money | Business News | Financial News
...one of potentially millions of pointless puns involving everyone’s favorite prefabricated computer mill and the recent events surrounding the lithium-ion batteries in many of its laptops. Spectacular images of Dell laptops going off like bombs are all over the web, and now making it to the regular news services:
The Inquirer: Dell laptop explodes at Japanese conference
The problem apparently stems from Li-ion power cells improperly manufactured by Sony, which contain stray metal shavings from the electrode crimping process, which short out and overheat---or go up in flames:
FOXNews.com[AP] - Dell Battery Danger Stems From Manufacturing Defect
FL Today Space: Bolts cause trepidation
Over at NASA, preparations to launch Atlantis on the first of the “hurry up and build” missions to ISS hit a medium snag. The bolts which fasten the KU-band antenna in the upper cargo bay appear to be shorter---and therefore weaker---than the original engineering specification. If the stress and vibration on ascent caused the antenna to tear away, the result would be catastrophic.
FL Today Space: NASA on mission to recover videos
Elsewhere at NASA, it has suddenly been realized that the only copies of the original high-quality videos of the historic Apollo moon landings have been kind of, well, misplaced:
“The tapes are not lost, insists the NASA official put in charge of the search. But he does not know where they are.”
JPL.NASA.GOV: Feature Stories: Cosmic Debate: What's Up With the Planets?
The decision of the International Astronomical Union is in---doubtless to everyone’s immense relief, Pluto gets to stay a planet, and its moon, Charon and the newly-discovered Kuiper object unofficially called “Xena” get to be planets. So, I guess Charon is kind of Pluto’s “co-planet”?
I hope my tax money isn’t paying for this. Oh, I'm unemployed---never mind---knock yourselves out.
New Scientist SPACE - Top 10: Weirdest cosmology theories
Some mind-stretching exercises, now. I particularly like the one where the Universe is a computer simulation and we are all just trapped in it. I’m ready to hit the “quit” button and erase the save-game files, now, if you don’t mind, and get back to my "real" life. Anybody?
Okay, first, I’d like to get the secret cheat codes to make certain people suddenly shrink to 1/10 normal size and get bright red clown noses, then I really want to quit and go do something else. Anybody?
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Wednesday, August 09, 2006
It’s August already....
...and civilization continues to be a devastating disappointment. The current situation in the Middle East seriously threatens to degenerate into another “World War”, which would inevitably involve nuclear---and other weapons of mass death---in the hands of monstrous regimes who feel themselves qualified by religion (or the Communist equivalent) to abdicate all traces of basic human morality or decency:
My Way News - Annan: Israel Raid May Be Part of Pattern
The most corrupt and incompetent head in the history of the failed experiment in international government declared his suspicion that the Israeli air strike on Qana was part of “...a pattern of violations of international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law....”. (Enriching yourself and your relatives and friends at the expense of Iraqi civilians is evidently “cool”.)
Somehow, in the rush of other news lately, the fact that estimates of the death toll at 56 civilians---dragged into a building next to batteries of artillery rocket launchers so that the Israelis would bomb them and cause international outrage---was rather quietly reduced to 28 has escaped widespread notice
The level of international outrage at the Qana attack also quieted rather abruptly as evidence of the complicity of the Iranian terrorists became available. The U.N.’s Lebanese mission still claims, however, that “Israeli forces deliberately attacked the civilian population....”
My Way News - Lebanese PM Now Says 1 Killed in Strike
Hours after weeping openly before “a meeting of Arab League foreign ministers in Beirut” over the deaths of 40 civilians in an Israeli airstrike on Houla, Lebanese Prime Minister Saniora revised the death toll downward somewhat---to one.
My Way News - Israel OKs Expansion; 15 Troops Killed
Faced with pending U.N. action---and probably wondering when the U.S. will finally cave in to international and domestic political pressure and sell them out again, and the continued barrage of shrapnel-laced rockets into their cities---Israel has resorted to what may be considered a full invasion of southern Lebanon. It may be only a matter of time before the SyrioIranian government decides to consider the Israeli troop movements an official invasion and commits regular forces to the conflict.
My Way News[AP] - U.N.'s Mideast Diplomatic Efforts Falter
Efforts to negotiate a cease-fire in Lebanon are falling apart due to resistance of the U.S. and Israel to demands by nearly everyone else that Israel leave the country immediately and let the heavily Hezbollah-infested Lebanese army move in so that the Iranian terrorist brigade can retrain and rearm itself and resume its regular peacetime killing of Israeli civilians.
We must not forget....
...however, that the conflict is also a terrible threat to the welfare of the people of Lebanon. Who knows what this nation might have become if it wasn’t caught for decades in the middle of this conflict? We can pray, however, for wisdom for the powers that persist in bringing this constant warfare to Lebanon and Israel, and for peace and safety for all of the powerless people who are now in harm’s way.
CNN.com - Reuters says Mideast photographer doctored shots - Aug 7, 2006
Okay, so everybody with a weblog is already on this one, but it’s irresistable. Reuters fired free-lance photographer Adan Hajj for “coloring in” some dramatic extra smoke on a picture of Beirut and extra defensive flares on a picture of an Israeli F-16 with Photoshop™. Reuters published the photos, only to have the rather obviously faked shots flagged by amateur bloggers.
FOXNews.com - 6.7 Magnitute Earthquake Hits Vanuatu - Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia
No further reports on damage or injuries have appeared. Vanuatu [Vanuatu - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia] is evidently a very unusual and “happy” place.
It is also home to a surviving example of one of the most bizarre pseudoreligious cult phenomena ever, the “cargo cult” [Cargo cult - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia]. Adherents of the “John Frum” cult---possibly named after WWII U.S. servicemen who described themselves as “John, from America”, and who are said to sit in straw replicas of control towers in wooden headphones trying to conjure aircraft loaded with manufactured goods and riches---are members of the Vanuatu parliament.
A slightly less bizarre cult phenomenon known as “Survivor” is also said to have appeared there.
Clip [rocketmishap.wmv] from “The Flame Trench” blog at FL Today [http://www.floridatoday.com/floridatoday/blogs/spaceteam/]. In 1997, a Delta II carrying a GPS satellite didn’t quite make it to orbit, but did reach the parking lot. The video clearly shows the faulty solid-fuel booster no longer thrusting due to a 17 ft. split in the booster casing---a much smaller casing than the ones on STS, and that didn't get reused after being dropped thousands of feet into the ocean and dragged back and forth to Utah. Oh, well, just wondering....
SPACE.com -- U.S. Space Pioneer James Van Allen Dies at 91
The famous discoverer of Earth’s radiation belts and other things died today.
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Sunday, August 06, 2006
---Iran Admits Long-Range Missiles Given to Hezbollah, Cease Fire?, No Life on Mars?, NASA May Lose DSN, and Other Stories
...also see HeartBreakLog: "The Plan"
Iran admits it gave long-range missiles to Hezbollah
Iran: We supplied Zelzal-2 to Hizbullah | Jerusalem Post
The missiles are capable of reaching Tel Aviv from the Lebanese border. An Iranian official said that the missiles were to be used to defend Lebanon, whatever that means to the Iranian government. It looks like the Israeli air strikes destroyed most of the long range missiles and/or their launch systems early in the conflict. The remainder apparently haven’t been used because the Iranian theocracy told Hezbollah not to. The larger missiles would probably also require larger, less mobile launchers and more sophisticated command systems than the simple Russian artillery rockets that the terrorists have been using, which should make them more vulnerable to air strikes.
Deal for conditional cease-fire in Lebanon progresses in the U.N.
My Way News[AP] - U.N. Draft Breaks France-U.S. Impasse
The deal demands unconditional return of the Israeli hostages, which was the nominal cause of the Israeli incursions into Lebanon over three weeks ago. Hezbollah insists that all Israelis leave the country before it will discuss the deal. A lot of the points of the U.N. negotiations are TBD, such as the exact makeup of an “international force”---decidedly not the impotent UNIFIL “peacekeepers” who spent the last several decades passively watching the terrorists stack ammunition in their bunkers to kill Israelis with.
It isn’t clear how enforceable the prohibitions on arms sale to the terrorists would be, since the deal would allow sales of arms to the “legitimate” Lebanese army, which was prepared to fight with the Iranian terrorists on several occasions. As usual, "after everything is said and done, more will have been said than done".
[My Way News - U.S. Delays Action on Mideast Peace Deal As could have been expected...Lebanon and the Arab nations, speaking on the Security Council through Qatar, demanded that Israel be forced to withdraw immediately after a cease-fire. This would, of course, make the entire bloody episode pointless, since the terrorists would immediately return to their previous positions and rebuild their rocket launching infrastructure while the U.N. quibbles about the "international force". Also not surprisingly, the Lebanese-Arab demands also include a return of land by Israel---something called the "Chebaa Farms". The Lebanese PM also proposed a preposterously small "international force"---about 2,000 men---and 15,000 Lebanese soldiers be used to occupy southern Lebanon immediately. Thus the "international force" can assume the positions of criminal impotence formerly held by the U.N. peacekeepers, the Lebanese can rebuild the destroyed terrorist infrastructure, and the terrorists can comfortably resume training and stockpiling weapons as they return to the more sustainable peacetime levels of random killing of Israeli civilians which Iran clearly prefers.]
In other news:
My Way News[AP] - Israeli Commandos Renew Attack on Tyre
Israeli “naval commandos” attacked a terrorist installation thought to be a command center for long-range missile launches.
Demonstrating its journalistic integrity and neutrality, the AP article notes: “Given the determination of both Hezbollah and Israel to look victorious when the conflict finally ends, the worst of the fighting may still lie ahead....”
...and the difference between very well-armed terrorists and an irregular brigade of a foreign army of occupation specializing in assymetric warfare is....
My Way News[AP] - Missiles Neutralizing Israeli Tanks
...not a whole lot, in the case of the Iranian-controlled Hezbollah “guerillas”. The Iranian terrorists have some of the most sophisticated antitank weapons in the world, according to several sources. These include the Russian-made “Metis-M” and “Kornet-E” missiles, which the Russians helpfully supplied to the Iranian client government in Syria for ease of distribution to known terrorists in Lebanon. Several of the cutting edge Israeli “Merkava” tanks have been struck by these advanced weapons, and many of the unexpectedly heavy Israeli casualties were due to these attacks.
AT-13 Metis-M - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia FAS: AT-7 Metis Saxhorn AT-13 Metis-M
To summarize, the Metis-M is a lightweight, man-portable antitank launcher which uses ATGM’s capable of defeating advanced armor systems, including explosive-based “reactive” armor. To re-emphasize a really important point about this weapon, it is made and exported by Russia to a number of countries including Syria.
Army Technology - Kornet E - Anti-Armour Missile AT-14 Kornet - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Kornet missile system is evidently a bit heavier and more capable. It uses a laser guidance system instead of wires, which makes it somewhat more flexible. This is evidently similar to the missiles that the U.S. Army swears were not in the Iraqi arsenal, and did not disable a couple of M1-A1 Abrams tanks in the last war against Iraq. To re-emphasize a really important point about this weapon, it is made and exported by Russia to a number of countries including Syria.
MissileThreat :: Russia Backpedals Missile Proliferation to Syria, Hezbollah
...and that evidently isn’t all the Russians would love to be selling to Syria, if certain other countries, including the countries most likely to be attacked with the missiles, would mind their own business.
Jane's: Syria "will intervene" in conflict if Israel invades Lebanon
Jane’s press statement quotes Israeli sources on the presence of the Russian anti-tank missiles in Lebanon, as well as sophisticated Iranian-made “signal intelligence” equipment. While the Israeli military continues to hope for reasonable judgment by Bashar Al-Assad, the level of involvement of Iran and its client government in Damascus and their technology suppliers in the terror war against Israel is ominous.
Appalling stupidity at the U.N.....
FOXNews.com - U.N.'s Malloch Brown Questions Hezbollah's 'Terror' Designation - The Executive Branch
...is, of course, hardly even newsworthy, but its implications are at least as ominous as the growing threat in Lebanon itself.
ter·ror·ism n. The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons. (from Dictionary.com)
FOXNews.com - In Iran, Relax and Learn to Enjoy the Bomb FOXNews.com - Ahmadinejad and Bush: The Nuclear Shadowboxers FOXNews.com - Iranian President's Got Game. But Which Game?
This is a series of opinion pieces on public attitudes and the political situation in Iran, among various segments of Iranian society. While the comparison of George Bush to Amindobi....Amenigaba...the Iranian president are mostly silly and unconstructive, the perceptions of the Iranian people of the relative intellectual power of their leader and the status of the centralized theocratic power which actually runs the country are sort of worth knowing about.
Life on Mars fans striking out....
Spaceflight Now | Breaking News | Peroxide snow on Mars may make planet inhospitable
...with the revelation of new data that appear to predict that the formation of hyper-oxides---such as hydrogen peroxide---in dust storms on Mars may do for higher organic constructs what they do for lifeforms appearing in minor cuts on Earthlings’ fingers....sterilize the Martian soil of them.
SPACE.com -- NASA Scrambling to Compensate for Deep Space Network Breakdown
Age and poor maintenance planning for the major elements of the mission-critical Deep Space Network has resulted in the breakdown of one antenna and the possible loss of another to repairs. This could result in loss of scientific data from Mars and Saturn missions in progress. A GAO report criticizes NASA management and questions whether the DSN will be able to keep its commitments.
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