Friday, October 13, 2006

---The Next Scandal, U.S. Midterms, Woodward, NK Nukes, Victoria, and Other Stories 

Scandal du jour
MyWay News [AP] House Ethics Panel to Subpoena Documents

C’mon guys, they’re all lawyers! One perversion more or less....

It appears from accounts by some of the usual suspects [a] that the page at the center of the scandal was 18, making it more in the class of the Clintonian misuses of power and government facilities.
It’s thegovernment we deserve”...corruption, scandal, vice, demagoguery and abuse of power are the rule rather than exceptions. Everything potentially decent and constructive has been thoroughly extirpated from public discourse, and nobody anywhere near a microphone is saying anything about it.
It’s theInfinite Monkeys” principle of government, where the assumption is that if power is shared among a sufficiently large number of individuals, one of them will at random produce a good government---whereupon the other monkeys will promptly beat him to death and continue with business as usual.

No problem....
My Way News [AP] - Bush to Campaign for Troubled Lawmakers
The Democrats pronounced their victory in the upcoming U.S. midterm elections far too early. The usual principals---Howard Dean, Nancy Pelousi, Teddy Kennedy, the former co-Presidents Clinton---will never be able to keep their mouths shut until November. By the time this is over, the Democratic Party will be lucky if it doesn’t lose seats.

FOXNews.com - Bob Woodward Defends Claims Made in New Book
Woodward evidently has to make up to one faction or another for crashing the last scandal du jour. The point here---that the Iraq war was a mistake---is a waste of effort. All wars are mistakes---arguments about just whose mistake a particular war is don’t really address the problem.

I’m not a nuclear physicist...
FOXNews.com [AP]- Report: North Korea Nuke Test May Be Less Than Claimed
...never played one on TV, and didn’t stay in any hotels that might temporarily qualify me to comment on nuclear technologies. From early accounts, it sounds like the NK’s were trying to cause critical assembly with a very large amount of conventional explosive, albeit without implosion technology or Plutonium.
NK supposedly has plans for Chinese implosion warheads, but a consensus of web sources seems to conclude that they possess only HE-Uranium, probably from reprocessed reactor rods.
Other opinions berate the NK’s for being possibly the only nation to date to flunk its first nuclear test---producing less than the equivalent of 0.5 KT of TNT in explosive yield, compared to 15KT for the U.S. Trinity device. Alternatively, Kim is possibly pathetic enough to attempt a sham nuclear test with a nothing more than a heapin’ load of conventional explosives.

[Update: My Way News [AP]- U.S.: Test Points to N. Korea Nuke Blast U.S. air sampling after the claimed NK nuclear test did show evidence of radioactive debris. This suggests that the test resulted in a nuclear "fizzle", usually the result of poor containment of the fissionable mass after "assembly" causing it to be blasted apart before significant fission can take place. All this is consistent with a primitive HE-Uranium bomb designed in isolation from outside resources. The NK's (defective) missiles probably aren't going to be launching any kind of practical nuclear warhead anytime soon, unless they get them from someone else. While this is going on, how many of the people of North Korea have died of starvation and readily preventable disease?]

"Victoria Crater" at Meridiani Planum
has returned a nice shot of Mars’ Victoria Crater. The “Opportunity” rover is clearly visible on the rim, along with its wheel tracks and the shadow of its pan-cam mast. Also see: http://marsprogram.jpl.nasa.gov/images/rover-color-close-up2_th265x228b.jp

Back in business....
The Flame Trench space blog by Florida Today
NASA is comfortable enough with its recovery from the Columbia "mishap" to resume launching Shuttles at night, when the careful observations of the ascent phase will be severely limited. They gotta finish that Space Station....

Spaceflight Now | STS-116 Shuttle Report | Station gyro off line; impact on shuttle flight assessed
ISS crew had to shut down one of the control gyrodynes after severe vibrations occurred.
Spaceflight Now | Breaking News | Jupiter's Little Red Spot growing stronger
The “Little Red Spot” is strengthening, and may shed some light on the formation of the “Big Red Spot” that was there when Galileo first pointed a telescope at the planet 400 years ago.
ESA - Venus Express - Complex meteorology at Venus
ESA’s Venus probe has returned detailed IR studies of the planet’s cloud structure, mostly confirming that Venus is a very nasty place.


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