Thursday, September 28, 2006

---Clinton Says Stuff, Digging for Apollo, Space News Rundown 

Some of the people all of the time....
FOXNews.com - Former President Bill Clinton Defends Handling of Usama bin Laden in Combative FNC Interview
Blessedly-ex-President Clinton had another spell of finger-wagging, which in the past has usually meant that he was counteracting an outbreak of rampant factuality. Hillary later spoke up in his defense, apparently still paying for her Senate seat. Various news sources are still doubtless admiring Clinton’s mastery of the political process.
Secretary of State Rice and Press Secretary Snow responded negatively to the claims presented by Clinton, before the rest of the current Administration evidently decided that the whole mess was a pointless waste of time.

Still digging
FL Today Space: "NASA hopes archives have map to moon"
NASA is still digging around in un-indexed, dusty archives from the Apollo days to find out how the Moon missions worked. It was the last time anybody in charge at the agency had clearly identifiable goals, and generally knew what they were doing.
The current plan is to go back to the Moon in what looks a lot like an enlarged and upgraded version of the Apollo spacecraft, to be called Orion/Ares. This would apparently require the current management to cede their positions of authority to people who can clearly identify goals---other than career prolongation---and who know how to make stuff actually work. Maybe if the manned space program could be put on hold for a few decades, until all those careers run their courses....
Contrary to earlier reports on the FL Today weblog, those original pre-broadcast recordings of the Apollo landings, possibly the most significant events in the history of human exploration, are still unaccounted for:
Florida Today: The Flame Trench: " Apollo 11 tapes still missing"

Considering the enormous volume of paper---drawings, drawing change drawings, defect correction drawings, flight-rated part de-certification and disposal drawings, and so on--- that was generated for the relatively minor SpaceLab projects when I was at (and/or near) JSC, the enormity of the paper mountain range necessary to document and build the parts of the Apollo-Saturn spacecraft and boosters beggars imagination. Worse, “The research has been complicated by the fact that the collection isn't indexed.” Also, the devices necessary to read, enlarge, and print out the contents of the ancient "arpeture cards" (evidently a micro-fiche-like storage medium) apparently no longer exist.

In other space news:
SPACE.com -- Pluto-bound Probe Snaps Photo of Jupiter
New Horizons tested its camera systems by taking a long-range picture of Jupiter.
Cassini sent back some interesting SARS radar images of apparent ethane-methane lakes in Titan’s northern latitudes from its latest flyby of the Saturnian moon:
Cassini-Huygens: Titan: "Shorefront Property, Anyone?" Cassini-Huygens: Titan: "Titan's "Kissing Lakes""
Hypotheses are developing about methane and ethane circulations toward the poles in the gelid atmosphere, reasons the “lakes” are concentrated toward the poles, and the possibility that the lakes are seasonal. Further flybys are planned to test an idea that the lakes could be a manifestation of huge under-“ground” reservoirs of organic liquids. Beyond any question, even now, Titan is a very wierd place.
'Disappearing' lakes may dot Titan - space - 28 September 2006 - New Scientist Space
MER rover “Opportunity” is approaching the half-mile-wide Victoria Crater:
JPL.NASA.GOV:"NASA Mars Rover Arrives at Dramatic Vista on Red Planet"
The crater is much larger and deeper than craters seen with the rovers before. The images show the serrated rim of the crater, with periodic outcroppings of layered rock.
Mars Exploration Rover Mission: Press Release Images: Opportunity
The latest navigation camera shot shows a seemingly gradual opening into the huge, dune-infested bottom of the crater. They named this area of the rim "Duck Bay", which conjures up memories of a certain---extremely unfortunate---real estate development with a similar name which was also on the edge of a very large hole in the ground near where I grew up, albeit some distance from the nearest Dairy Queen. But I digress....
Meanwhile, MRO is due to return its first ultra-high-resolution photo of Mars from its mission orbit tomorrow:
Spaceflight Now | Breaking News | HiRISE camera to take first close-up pictures of Mars


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Thursday, September 21, 2006

---A Use for the U.N., Pentagon Report on “Able Danger” , Earth Seen From Saturn Orbit, and Other Stories 

The U.N. is good for something, after all!
FOXNews.com[AP] - Chavez Says U.S. Empire Will Soon Fall, Calls Bush 'Devil
For a few golden, peaceful days, it allowed us to know exactly where some of the world’s most dangerous lunatics were located. Chavez and that Iranian soccer star spewed anti-American hate-speech to an approving audience, and Chavez used the forum to advertise his anti-American book club:
FOXNews.com[AP] - Chavez's U.N. Speech Boosts Chomsky Book Sales
Unfortunately, it didn’t last long enough:
FOXNews.com [AP]- Chavez Repeats 'Devil' Comment at Harlem Event
Chavez was soon roaming the country at large. He reappeared in Harlem, offering his discount-oil-for-the-poor program. Several prominent, like-minded U.S. celebrities got all kissy-face with the Venezuelan dictator.
Spaceflight Now | STS-115 Shuttle Report | Atlantis returns from space with predawn landing Despite an eerie encounter with orbital trash flying out of the cargo bay, Altantis made it back to KSC. Griffin, in a post-flight press conference this morning, became sort of surly when asked how NASA was going to deal with its trash problem.
My Way News - Pakistani Clerics Demand Pope's Removal
The conflict of competing heresies continues. Leaders of Islam have apparently determined that they have more widespread authority than most of the rest of the world supposed.
“Able Danger” reviewed:
My Way News [AP]- Pentagon: Secret Unit Couldn't Stop 9/11
Intelligence officers involved in “Able Danger” claimed that the military and others ignored or prevented the transmission of evidence of the activities of Atta and other al-Quaeda operatives well beforre the 9-11 attacks.
This Pentagon report clears the military and FBI of any negligence. It also finds that Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer---who went public with the claims about “Able Danger”---was not retaliated against, although the IG found “..."procedural oversights" in the handling of his office contents and his performance evaluations.”
I’ve commented a few times on what Federal Inspectors General---supposedly the watchdogs guarding the interests of the American people against government corruption---are actually used for.
Of course , if the FBI had gotten the information about Atta and the other hijackers a year earlier, they most likely would have entered it into their “filing system”....
My Way News[AP] - Nelson Cited for Marijuana Possession
When we saw Willie Nelson in Dallas a couple of years ago, he seemed to have occasional problems remembering his lyrics onstage.
At a recent traffic stop in Louisiana, Willie and the band were found in possession of marijuana and various other hallucinogenic substances.
Nelson is one of the most unique and talented vocalists and guitarists around. Tragedy in slow-motion....

Just a routine government overthrow....
FOXNews.com [AP]- Thai Military Launches Coup to Remove PM Thaksin
Yup.... the Thai military overthrew the country’s Prime Minister the other day in an apparently bloodless coup. The leader of the takeover apologized to tourists and others for any “inconvenience”.

FOXNews.com - A New Look for FOXNews.com
FoxNews.com has gone all blue and....informational.
Blessedly, it looks like they’ve also gotten rid of the hellish “dancing baby” insurance ads and other direct personal Flash-driven insults that usually infest the site. At least I think they did---I have been using AdBlocker and FlashBlocker for FireFox, so I wouldn’t see that stuff if it was there anyway.
Instant messaging worm builds menacing 'botnet' - tech - 20 September 2006 - New Scientist Tech
There’s a new worm---“W32.Pipeline”---designed to directly exploit insecure Instant Messaging communications---and unwary users---using fake JPG images and messages to make a system of IM “zombies” or a “botnet” from users’ “buddy lists”. If you get an IM asking to post an attached picture of you on the Internet, just delete it.

Cassini picture of Earth from Saturn
JPL: Catalog Page for PIA08323
There really is an Earth! Saturn passed between the spacecraft and the Sun, allowing Cassini to get a nice picture of Earth from 930 million miles away, free from the Sun's blazing glare. Earth is seen as a bluish dot behind Saturn’s rings. At higher resolution, the Moon can be seen as a fuzzy bulge on the Earth’s disc.
Oh, and Earth evidently is still considered a planet.
ESA - Mars Express - Cydonia - the face on Mars
Another popular bit of Sci-Fi mythology ends in (further) disappointment. ESA’s Mars Express orbiter recorded high-resolution stereo images of the rock formation, which were used to produce 3D projections.
It’s just kind of a lumpy piece of old rock, guys. Maybe we could claim the Martians were just really bad, or maybe sort of indifferent, sculptors....


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Monday, September 18, 2006

---More Muslim Outrage, ISS Smokes 

Oh NO! More Muslim Outrage!
FOXNews.com[AP] - Pope Says He's 'Deeply Sorry' for Reaction to Islam Speech
It actually appears that Benedict was apologizing for Muslim lack of comprehension, but that’s probably not what’s important here anyway. Taking a cue from the usual suspects ([a][b], etc.), it probably wouldn’t matter if Benedict put daisies in his mitre and danced a pas de deux with Arbedube...Armedooda...the president of Iran. This isn’t about our lack of respect for Islam, unless their leaders are politically incompetent to an astonishing degree, or actually want us to think of the Muslim fanatics as a pack of rabid animals. It’s more likely to be about the organized intimidation of governments who resist Islamic domination, especially the ambitions of Iran.
The “reaction” of Muslims continues, including this call for "dialogue":
U.S. Newswire : Releases : "U.S. Muslims Call for Dialogue Over Pope's Comments on Islam..." [found on LGF]
The “call” includes an invitation with web links(!) for people of the West to learn about Islam.

Mission already accomplished, guys! We’ve learned just about everything we need to know about Islam:
FOXNews.com [AP]- Italian Nun Shot by Somali Gunmen Forgave Her Killers as She Lay Dying

ISS Scare
Spaceflight Now | Space Station Mission Report | Oxygen generator problem triggers station alarm
I woke up this morning to frantic news reports about smoke on the Space Station. The alarm was later amended to “bad smells” with only a little smoke, but it prompted the crew to pull a fire alarm.
It was the wretched old Elektron O2 generator again. This time it burped up some of its potassium hydroxide electrolyte (the stuff I used to buy as pellets from Nelson's Drug Store as a teenager to use in my surplus NiCad wet cell to heat glow plugs), and a rubber gasket overheated and released wisps of white smoke. There were no fatalities, and things---including the upcoming reception for a female space tourist---are getting back to normal, whatever that is. Evidently the Elektron system isn’t really being used much, which probably means they are periodically still using the far more potentially dangerous O2 “candles”.
Meanwhile, Atlantis has passed final inspections, and should be headed back to KSC soon.


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Saturday, September 16, 2006

---Annan Leaving Soon, STS-115 Packs Up 

Light at the end of the tunnel?
My Way News - Latvian Joins Race for U.N.'s Top Post
Maybe, if it doesn’t cave in before we get there. We only have to hold out until December for Kofi Annan, the worst U.N. General Secretary in history, to leave. Of course, his replacement is still a matter of speculation. China is getting a lot to say it the selection, demanding someone from Asia. John Bolton, U.S. Ambassador, is suggesting that they look for someone competent. Place your bets....

STS-115 packs up
Spaceflight Now | STS-115 Shuttle Report | Veteran credits rookies with saving the day on station
NASA is exulting over the successful deployment of new solar arrays on the International Space Vega, but EVA veteran Joe Tanner had a more realistic assessment. He pointed out that EVA'ers Burbank and MacLean had to use a large ratchet wrench and a cheater bar to loosen a jammed restraint bolt , applying something like 130-140 ft-lbs to break it loose, with the constant threat of shearing the head off the bolt. Must be kind of like working on the infamous Chevy Vega while wearing roller blades with inflated party balloons on your hands.

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Friday, September 15, 2006

---Muslims Don't Like the Pope Anymore, More on STS-115, Update: Spinach Outbreak 

---Also see "The Thing That Fell" in The Shining Pasture

Oh no! It's Muslim Outrage....

My Way News[AP] - Turkish Lawmaker Compares Pope to Hitler
...again. Benedict evidently quoted a conversation between some Byzantine emperor and some Persian scholar or other, which can be used as a pretext for more stomping, screaming, and effigy-burning. These people need to get professional script writers----this "outrage" stuff is starting to get stale.

Spaceflight Now | STS-115 Shuttle Report | Astronauts prepare for final spacewalk
The last planned EVA of the mission is underway. The EVA'ers have deployed an new radiator and are now replacing an antenna. During egress preparations, the Quest airlock blew a breaker, evidently due to a "spike" of current in the depressurization pump. There were no fatalities, however, and the breaker was reset.
In the course of the complex mission, the Astronauts broke tools, lost bolts, and had to strain and sweat over stuck fasteners and misaligned parts---sounds like working on the old '73 Chevy Vega, which is probably as appropriate a metaphor as any....

In fact, there's probably a cheap Sci-Fi animation subject in that somewhere----"Vegas in Space!" If we give the Vegas primitive, constantly glitching, rusty self-aware computer brains which have been stored in a barn in Idaho for 12 years that help the driver reach his or her full team-oriented potential and maturity barely in time for the next tournament, maybe CN will pick it up. If not, it would certainly make an above-average Cruise film.

Let's see---
I insulted Islam, Catholicism, the Byzantine Empire, NASA, Chevrolet, Cartoon Network, Anime, and Tom Cruise, all in about 6 column inches. I'd say that was a good day's 'blogging....

[This just in....
FOXNews.com[AP] - Ohio, Kentucky Report E. Coli Outbreaks Related to Spinach
Spinach kills. One dead, others sickened over 10 states so far, by contaminated fresh spinach.]
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Thursday, September 14, 2006

---Saddam's Kurdish Genocide Trial, Arab Apology for 9-11, STS-115, MRO, Titan Flyby 

Also see "A Practical Understanding, Part 1" on the HeartBreakLog

Wow! I just got an email message from someone named Hariette Brewer, entitled “We approved yours loan”! Should I check it out, or do you think it’s “spam”?

Just when we all thought they were missing the point....
FOXNews.com[AP] - Saddam's Kurdish Genocide Trial Resumes - Iraq FOXNews.com [AP]- Judge to Saddam: 'You Were Not a Dictator' - Iraq
...we find out that they’ve learned the vital lessons of American jurisprudence after all. Way to go, Iraq! You’re gonna be just like us!

Just when we thought we had them figured out...
ONE ARAB'S APOLOGY By EMILIO KARIM DABUL - New York Post Online Edition: Postopinion
...we find a rare and presumably very dangerous dissent among Muslims. Dabul writes about the 5th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks, calling on Arabs around the world to “...protest against Islamic fascism....” until the “plague of terror has been driven from the face of the earth forever.”

Spaceflight Now | STS-115 Shuttle Report | Space station spreads its new power wings
In spite of two lost fasteners and delays from unspecified software problems that prevented proper engagement of one of the positioning motors, STS-115 got the new solar panels for ISS deployed. They left the arrays partly deployed in the Sun to warm them, to “unstick” the panels from each other before full deployment. This problem has been seen on earlier missions, and probably results in part from the panels being stored in the compressed and folded position for many years.

JPL.NASA.GOV: News Releases:"NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Reaches Planned Flight Path"
The MRO has reached its final service orbit around Mars. Instrument checkout is supposed to be complete by the end of the month.

Titan flyby:
Catalog Page for PIA08737: Crater Studies on Titan
NASA has published new SARS images from the September 7 flyby of Titan by the Cassini probe. This image shows fine detail of one of the relatively sparse impact craters on the Saturnian moon.

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Sunday, September 10, 2006

---Gulf Quake, 9-11 Five Years Later, Atlantis Launches, Goat-Free Roads, and Other Stories 

My Way News [AP]- 6.0 Gulf Quake Felt From La. to Fla.
There was an earthquake in the Gulf of Mexico yesterday?! It was evidently mostly harmless, a geological curiosity.
These are very unusual events for our region.
In 1952, according to the AP story, there were reports that a similar event "interfered with the writing of a parking ticket".

Five Years Later....
My Way News [AP] - Bushes Lay Wreaths at Trade Center Site
It was a monstrous act of unrestrained evil, which the now-deceased principals thought would make God proud of them. If only we could ask them for an update. But as Jesus once said about another evil man, it wouldn’t really do any good anyway.
There are two kinds of people in the world, fools and damned fools. The difference is that regular fools occasionally learn something from their mistakes before being destroyed by them.
A lot of other people, good and bad, died five years ago. A lot of the rest of us wish we could go back and play that move from the last save-game again....
A less constructive part of my consciousness wonders if the Palestinians, in their Hamas-governed homeland, will come to regret dancing at that particular funeral.

I still remember that---even as the President preached to the nation and a joint session of Congress about Islam as the "religion of peace", desperate to avoid a backlash against Muslims in America which never materialized anyway---powerful voices spoke against use of the traditional American request for God's Blessing on our injured country on T-shirts and bumper stickers, preferring instead phrases like "Proud of America". I remember that---as our military began to set up detention facilities for terrorist suspects from Iraq and Afghanistan which included copies of the Koran provided to the detainees at American taxpayers' expense---powerful voices and our judiciary continued the equally desperate effort to completely extirpate all traces of Christian thought from public discourse.
Stop it! If you force us to decide "God or Country", you'll lose! What kind of fools are you?
There is a lot of blame to go around, a lot of people who were looking in the wrong direction, a lot of people who foolishly sought to exploit the misery of others for political gain, and a lot of people who just enjoy blowing stuff up and killing people because they grew up reading the wrong kind of fairy tales.

But now the world is a very different place, and we will have to run this race from where we are now. There are, without a doubt, worse things to come. We just need try to learn something from our mistakes every now and then, without having them run over us in the process. If you let your Father hold your hand, you won't get in front of those moving mistakes nearly as often....

Speaking of...
FOXNews.com - 9/11 TV Film Sparks Clinton Administration Outrage
...playing moves over, former officials of the Clinton era have expressed unprecedented collective anger over the upcoming ABC portrayal of events and decisions leading up to the ultimate failure to prevent the 9-11 attacks. Considering that some of them admit to not having seen the miniseries, it makes one wonder what they might be feeling so sensitive about.

Since I posted...
JWR: Michelle Malkin:"The Theater of Jihad"
...a few remarks soon after the events in Qana, Lebanon several weeks ago, other people have found much more detail about the tragedy. Those unprofessional, out-of-control ‘bloggers have been cutting up the reports and photos from the collapsed buildings. Things don’t add up, of course, from a certain monotonous regularity in the parade of men holding babies' corpses to the peculiar absence of males of fighting age among the victims.

LGF:"Harvard Dean: We Need Dialog with Islamic Fascists"
One of the most prominent of the unprofessional, out-of-control ‘bloggers reports from a Boston Globe story about dean of Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government David Ellwood’s plans to invite former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami to have a “dialog” on campus on the eve of the anniversary of the New York attacks.
LGF is evidently the source of the newly minted term for inconsistencies in “professional” news images----“faux-tography”. Here is a growing list of examples:
lgf: Fauxtography Updates
Here is an extremely sarcastic video clip on the subject:
lgf: All Your Fakes Are Belong To Us


My Way News[AP] - Saudis Consider Banning Women From Mecca
Of course, I never knew that women were allowed into Mecca, nor ever thought to ask. It would be more useful to inquire of those reporting the action, why they keep publishing these stories like they expect this stuff to make sense in the first place?

FL Today/Space: "Atlantis bound for space station"
The “Penguin” finally flew, and the crew is inspecting the Shuttle’s thermal protection.
SPACE.com -- Shuttle Atlantis Likely Unharmed by Fuel Tank Foam
Various pieces
of debris were shed from the External Tank on ascent. The incidents occurred above 300,000 ft., where it is unlikely that they could have struck the orbiter with significant energy.

...and this week’s HeartBreakLogNews “O Brave New World” award goes to:
The “new NASA”, where they now let actual engineers sit in with the MBA’s and lawyers while critical safety decisions are being made, and lifelong black-listing and dungeon time for the dissenters have been dramatically reduced:
FL Today Space:"Engineers' input important in decision"

SPACE.com -- Newfound Object Further Blurs Planet Definition
It’s apparently a “brown dwarf”---a sort of failed star. “Dwarf” is kind of a strange term for something 12 times more massive than Jupiter, but it still isn’t big enough to brew up into a thermonuclear furnace. This one is thought to be too far out to have formed naturally from the “red dwarf” companion’s accretion disc. This is yet another thorny conundrum for the astronomers currently wrestling with the definition of “planet”.

g2zero archive: Examining defects in the Firefox code base [found on BlogsNow]
So...like...Firefox isn’t perfect? No, evidently not. It’s way ahead of IE, but still has nagging problems---mostly unreferenced null pointers and memory leaks. Why does this happen? Because computer programming doesn't actually work....

Amazingly, I have discovered a European, actually an English woman, with a sense of humor---not entirely repeatable or agreeable in all cases, but extant....it’s a start.
...or maybe it’s an end. There is no doubt, though, that chronically unemployed people get some strange ideas. Leaving these opinionated people sitting around with nothing to do---or lose---is probably a bad idea.

BBC NEWS | Americas | 'Goat-free roads made me speed' [found on BlogsNow]
Try this excuse the next time you drive in Europe, or maybe New Zealand, and get stopped for speeding. It should at least be good for a laugh while they write the ticket, and maybe an earthquake will “interfere”.
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No no, you've got it all wrong: it's the English who say "Amazingly, I came across an American with a sense of humour." That's the only way it works. Then everyone says 'Garrison Keilor' and 'Bill Bryson', and we all do that thing when you pretend to die of boredom, because everyone knows they're not that funny.

And no, I'm not trying to start a 'who's funniest' thing - I know a lot of awfully funny Americans (and some Canadians), and like them very much. They're almost as funny as a funny English person.

PS Although I think of myself as European, when it comes to 'funny/not-funny', I am English; for e.g., the Germans are never funny, and the French think Benny Hill is funny.
Ok, you win. I give up....
Oh don't give up!

Oh don't give up!

Too late....
Okay, well, I have to admit that my knowledge of English social behavior comes almost entirely from watching "Dr. Who" reruns---without subtitles.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

---Atlantis [Updated], Titan Flyby 

Atlantis still waiting
Spaceflight Now | STS-115 Shuttle Report | Atlantis launch slips to Friday at the earliest
Struck by lightning, threatened by a tropical storm and returned halfway to its hangar, now suffering a troublesome but not quite rules-invoking dysfunction of one of its three critical fuel cells. Under immense pressure to launch Atlantis on its ISS assembly mission, managers are again talking about waiving this or that requirement to get off the pad. Should they fly with a fuel cell that is “acting funny”? If they have to replace it, which would cause them to miss the window imposed by the Russian Soyuz launch, should they waive daylight launch rules and hope nothing falls off when they can’t see it? After all, what’s the worst that could happen?
The Flame Trench space blog by Florida Today
FL Today’s space weblog has additional details. Workers at KSC have evidently started referring to Altantis as “The Penguin”---->“black and white and never flies”.

[Spaceflight Now | STS-115 Shuttle Report | Atlantis' fuel cell cleared for Friday launch try
NASA has now decided to attempt to launch Atlantis tomorrow, despite the "funny" fuel cell. The fuel cell will fly with the defective phase of its coolant pump's wiring disconnected to prevent further "funny" activity. Dissent to the launch attempt as-is included the manufacturer of the fuel cell's suspect pump. Oddly enough, the pump also flew on STS-93, where it sufferred a short in its wiring. Hale described the launch decision as "almost unanimous", and applauded the "new NASA", in which none of the dissenting engineers has apparently been fired or moved to broom closets.]

Cassini-Huygens: News-Features-Titan Flyby
On a somewhat happier note, the Cassini orbiter at Saturn will make yet another close flyby of the moon Titan today. Titan is proving to be much wierder and infinitely more interesting than any Dairy Queen™ parking lot, in West Texas or anywhere else.

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Monday, September 04, 2006

---Steve Irwin Dies, Al Qaeda Says Stuff, Annan Rebuffed, A380 Takes Off, ESA Lunar Smackdown 

My Way News[AP] - Stingray Kills 'Crocodile Hunter' Irwin
Tragically, Steve Irwin finally seems to have run out of luck, or Providence. After years of jumping on crocodiles, wrestling boas, and generally taking every kind of risk available with all kinds of deadly wildlife, at 44 years old, and he was barbed through the heart by an relatively innocuous stingray.
FOXNews.com - Stingrays Poisonous, but Rarely Kill Humans
When we went to Grand Isle, Louisiana with an Ichtyology class from LSU back in the 1970’s, we were told to drag our feet on the bottom when walking through the surf to avoid stepping on a stingray hiding on the bottom. We were told that if you brush one with your foot, it will generally just startle and swim away, but if you step on it and pin it to the bottom, it will instinctively flick its tail up and barb you. I’ve never heard of a stingray fatality--- I remember horror stories (as told to a bunch of impressionable graduate students) of searing pain and severe secondary infections resulting in muscle wasting , but death?!

Al Qaeda Says Stuff
FOXNews.com [AP] - Al Qaeda No. 2 Releases Tape Inviting Americans to Convert to Islam
I also seem to remember
, waaaay back in the 1980’s, that there was a minor media-induced scandal when then-President Ronald Reagan supposedly sent a copy of the Bible to leaders in Iran. It was short-lived, lasting only long enough for the towering intellectual giants of the news in those days to ridicule the senile old guy for such a laughable gesture.
Now there’s this
...hellish, baby-murdering thugs spewing about Islam, terrorism, and the war. The towering intellectual giants of the news in our time just can’t shut up about it---we have to have all the details of what was said, hushed speculation about whether it represents a “threat”, day after day after day. We can only hope that Tom Cruise will say something even stupider to distract them, and maybe cause a little variety.
[Did you notice? The "American" terrorist cleverly used a "Monopoly" metaphor to show how cleverly "American" he is? It was evidently enough to impress the press for several days.]

My Way News[AP] - Annan Snubbed, Ignored in Iran Meeting
You know, in the best of all possible worlds, maybe even Kofi Annan will finally have to admit that Iran isn’t really taking this very seriously. Naaaaah.

FOXNews.com [AP]- Airbus Superjumbo Jet Takes Test Flight
The Airbus A380 “superjumbo”, which dwarfs the 747, made a flight recently while fully populated with volunteer test passengers. The company continues to suffer business setbacks, management shakeups, and delays.
FOXNews.com [AP]- Airbus Acknowledges Fuselage Problems
The rumors of structural problems with the A380 continue, and the company admits to making undisclosed structural changes to the aft fuselage. As mentioned here earlier, some Airbus aircraft have had a disturbing tendency to lose their composite fin/rudder structures in flight.

Lunar smackdown
FL Today Space: European mooncraft yields rich data
The ESA SMART-1 spacecraft ended its mission by hitting the Lunar surface really hard. The flash of the impact explosion was seen by Earth-based telescopes.

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Friday, September 01, 2006

---Annan Picks Syria to Control Lebanese Border, Plane Fire in Iran 

One moment, please....
FOXNews.com[AP] - Annan: Syria Promises to Enforce Arms Embargo on Hezbollah - The Mideast
...while I try to recover enough composure to get back into my chair and operate the keyboard through the tears and stop making sounds that scare the dogs under the bed. Okay, I think I have it under control---at least I wasn’t drinking milk when I read this.
Why is the U.N. still tolerated, let alone respected as a agency of international policy? Why, exactly, in the uncalibrated charnel pits of hell is Kofi Annan still in a position of power? Doesn't the U.N. Charter include an impeachment procedure?

Just a few hours...
...after a U.S. Boeing 737 suffered a minor fire when a tire blew on landing, resulting in some inconvenience, but no apparent injuries, [FOXNews.com [AP]- U.S. Airways Jet's Landing Gear Catches Fire in Miami; No Injuries Reported] another very similar incident occurred in Iran--- this time the blown tire resulted in an uncontrolled blaze and the deaths of at least 80 people [My Way News[AP] - Plane Fire in Iran Kills Up to 80 People].
The most immediately obvious difference is that the Iranian accident involved the Russian Tu-154, which has a terrible safety record, and is actually banned from the airspaces of some countries: Tupolev Tu-154 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[The estimate of deaths has now been lowered, according to Iranian officials, to 29:
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