Friday, January 19, 2007

---U.N. Buys Nukes for NK, Chinese ASAT, The Surge?, Spanish Flu, Korolev 100th, Huygens 2nd, Independent News from Iraq 

FOXNews.com- U.S. State Department Reveals North Korea’s Misuse of U.N.
Development Program Funds and Operations

Using my natural "genius for oversimplification", I'm going to summarize this revelation. NK leader Kim Jong Il has diverted tens of millions of dollars of U.N. development aid money to whatever purpose he desired, without the slightest effort at accountability by---and in fact, with the obvious complicity and approval of the UNDP, since 1999.
Now that the U.N. has diverted Iraq's aid money into the personal bank accounts of Kofi Annan and his family, sent "peacekeepers" to molest children in the Sudan, aided Hezbollah in its proclaimed goal of the genocidal extermination of Israel and the Jewish people, and---as we now learn---has diverted still more "aid" money---some of it undoubtedly supplied by helpless U.S. taxpayers--- to support NK's fledgling nuclear weapons program, can there be any question that the United Nations has outlived its usefulness?

China Criticized for Anti-Satellite Missile Test - washingtonpost.com [found on http://www.spacetoday.net/]
The Chinese have destroyed one of their old weather satellites with a ground-based missile, leaving a large cloud of dangerous debris in orbit, and insuring further military escalation in low-Earth orbit.
The response of the U.S. National Security Council:
"The U.S. believes China's development and testing of such weapons is inconsistent with the spirit of cooperation that both countries aspire to in the civil space area"
That's telling them...

My Way News [AP] - Casey: 'Surge' Could Go Home by Summer
I think that I'm reasonably well-read---for an inveterate civilian---in military history, technology, and theory, with a history of simulation gaming, but this one has me stumped. Somebody help me out here---what's a “surge”?

My Way News [AP]- 1918 Killer Flu Tested on Monkeys
In 1918, following the unprecedented international scope of WWI, the “Spanish Flu” rampaged around the world, killing an estimated 50 million people, many of the young and apparently
healthy. A sobering experimental result---with samples reverse-genetically extracted from period tissue samples on (only) seven macaque monkeys--- suggests that this feature of the 1918 pandemic influenza resulted from extreme overstimulation of otherwise healthy immune systems. While the study might conceivably lead to better treatment in a future outbreak, it raises the possibility of a pandemic disease that preferentially kills the healthiest among the
population---which isn't very encouraging.

SPACE.com -- Russia Celebrates 100th Anniversary of Space Legend’s Birth
January12, 2007 would have been the 100th birthday of Sergei Korolyov (often phonetically mis-Anglicized to "Korolev"). He was the central figure in the meteoric rise of the Soviet space program, but died in 1966 as the Soviet preparations for a Lunar expedition reached a critical phase. One account is that he died in surgery when his medical team couldn't get an oxygen mask to fit properly because his jaw had been broken by Stalin's interrogators while he was imprisoned in a Siberian gulag. After his death, the Soviet Lunar effort pretty much fell apart, although it isn't clear that the N1---with at least 30 first-stage engines---would have ever worked properly (Spaceflight:The Soviet Race to the Moon ).
The Americans, for their part, have spent the last thirty years snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, failing to ever produce any worthwhile or significant manned spaceflight developments since the lunar missions ended, or to capitalize on the developments of the "space race" in any useful way.

ESA - Space Science - Huygens’s second landing anniversary – the surprises continue
A few of the American unmanned missions, on the other hand, have at least been interesting and/or entertaining. In the two years since ESA's Huygens probe parachuted into the atmosphere of Titan, the data have been assembled into a clearer picture of a really bizarre place. After taking all those smoggy-edged photos and evaluating the wind profiles in the atmosphere, Huygens splatted into a patch of rounded ice “gravel”, apparently an outflow channel of a body of liquid methane-ethane. Other data suggest that Titan is currently active [geo-?]logically, which is surprising in a moon of the outer Solar system.

Michelle Malkin: Back from Baghdad
Malkin has been touring Iraq with the U.S. military, and has posted her analysis.
Michael Yon: Walking the Line 2007: Part 3 of 3.
Another independent perspective on Iraq, from Michael Yon in Anbar Province.


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Friday, January 12, 2007

---U.S. Embassy Attacked, Watching the Congress 

My Way News [AP]- Blast Heard at U.S. Embassy in Athens>
Someone fired a rocket-propelled anti-tank round at the U.S. Embassy building in Athens, damaging a third-floor bathroom, and breaking some windows. No one was apparently injured in the attack. The Greek government has accused its home-grown terrorists in the incident.

dem·a·gogue /ˈdɛməˌgɒg, -ˌgɔg/ [dem-uh-gog, -gawg] noun, verb, -gogued, -gogu·ing. –noun
1. a person, esp. an orator or political leader, who gains power and popularity by arousing the emotions, passions, and prejudices of the people.---

Just keep watching---
Shadegg finds House wage hike a bit fishy - The Business Journal of Phoenix:
This was also on Fox News Channel this morning.
First, Speaker Pelosi stomped all over the authority of House Ways&Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (Yes, Rangel---whose picture should be included in the dictionary beside the definition of "demagogue", as a harbinger of the devastation of the Republic to come, is, in most minds other than Pelosi's, in nominal control of the U.S. House of Representatives) in her effort to keep the pledge to revolutionize Congress and pass a sweeping legislative agenda in “the first 100 hours” (What's-his-name on the Comedy Channel's normally left-inspired comedy news show pointed out that there had to be some understandings about when the “100 hours” starts, since it's been about 150+ hrs.since they all first sat down).
Now Congressman Shadegg (R-Arizona) has pointed out Speaker Pelosi's perceived hypocrisy in demagoguing the sweeping new minimum wage increase, but making a special exemption for American Samoa, which has tuna canneries run by Del Monte Foods, which is based in Pelosi's home district.


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Thursday, January 11, 2007

---Politics As Usual 

dem·a·gogue /ˈdɛməˌgɒg, -ˌgɔg/ [dem-uh-gog, -gawg] noun, verb, -gogued, -gogu·ing. –noun
1. a person, esp. an orator or political leader, who gains power and popularity by arousing the emotions, passions, and prejudices of the people.---
This is important!
Keep your DVR,VCR, or at least a pad of paper and pencil/pen/crayon ready to go, and be prepared to use them for the next two years, at minimum. It will be vital to the political persuasiveness of these people in current control of the U.S. Congress that you quickly forget what they said and did, so they can switch over to whatever position or opinion gets them the most plusses to their power base at the time. Don't forget---your welfare and that of the nation will depend on your ability to remember what they said and did by next week, next month, or next year.
For example, a couple of weeks ago, leading Democrats---now a majority in the U.S. Congress--- were all for an increase in troops to Iraq. Some virtually demanded an increase, which startled some news/political commentators at the time as a complete reversal of pre-election positions:

My Way News[AP] - Reid: Brief Troop Increase OK in Iraq

Now that Bush has been goaded into a "new strategy" in Iraq involving some kind of brief "surge" in troop levels---whatever that means---and the left-leaning power base has to be soothed back into a supporting position:

Democrats to Bush: No more troops to Iraq – CNN.com
My Way News[AP] - Troop Boost Plan Draws Fierce Opposition
“But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., in a Senate speech earlier in the day declared: “In choosing to escalate the war, the president virtually stands alone.””
Remember, don't forget! There will be a test in two years!


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---Ford Funerals, Indonesian 737 Found, Israel vs. Iran, Tuesday, Noodles, Warning Labels, The Pillars of Creation, and Other Stories 

FOXNews.com [AP]- Nation Honors Former President Ford
President Ford was honored over a couple of days in seemingly dozens of venues where he served or lived. He was remembered most fondly for his “modesty and humility” in office, conspicious by comparison with various of his successors.
Political commentary centered on Watergate and its aftermath. If the commentary had been remotely honest, Nixon’s lapses of judgement---and Ford’s peculiar pardon of them---would be seen as inconsequential compared to the steaming wreckage of policy and the credibility of the U.S. Presidency left in the wake of the Clinton administration, which will continue to bedevil the nation for decades to come.
Gerald Ford was 93, and we’re likely to miss him even more in the chaos to come.

My Way News[AP] - Piece of Missing Jet Found in Indonesia
The first wreckage of the Boeing 737, missing off Sulawesi in Indonesia for 10 days, has been recovered by fishermen in the area. The plane carried 96 passengers, including a man from Oregon with his two daughters.

My Way News[AP] - Nuclear Agency Head Dismissed for Lapses

Linton Brooks, chief of the National Nuclear Security Administration, has been invited onward---figuratively speaking---for the failure of his adiminstration to correct a humiliating series of security lapses at the nation's nuclear laboratories, including Los Alamos. In the most recent embarrassment, a drug raid on the home of a former employee also uncovered a stash of classified documents from the Los Alamos lab. This occurred in spite of a multi-million-dollar supposed overhaul of the lab's security.

My Way News[AP] - Israel Denies Planning Iran Nuke Attack
The London Times has published a purported leak from the Israeli military which claims that Israel has plans to use tactical nuclear weapons to disable the Iranian nuclear program.
In an absolutely stunning development, the Israeli government has denied that it is doing any such thing....

FOXNews.com[AP]- Bird Deaths Shut Down Downtown Austin
My Way News[AP] - Explosives Said Detected at Miami Port
KHOU.com: “Sugar Land chemical leak sends 25 to hospitals”
Tuesday was more interesting than many people would prefer. There were dead birds in Austin, Texas, a leak of corrosive chemicals from a tanker truck in Sugarland, near Houston, Texas, and a terrifying attempt to smuggle sprinkler parts onto a cruise ship in Miami. Other than some “shelter-in-place” orders for schools in Sugarland, none of these had any particular lasting significance, as far as anybody knows.

FOXNews.com[AP] - Inventor of Instant Noodles Dies at Age 96 in Japan
The inventor of Ramen Noodles, a dietary staple of college students worldwide, has died. If I figured out what percentage of my graduate career was spent trying to determine how to break the hardened brick of noodles into quarters to obtain the optimum noodle length, it might explain a few other things.

Scientist: NASA found life on Mars - and killed it - CNN.com
At least, that is the conclusion of a scientific paper published this week. It concluded that the life detection experiments included in the Viking landers in 1976-77 were not designed with sufficient imagination. They might have drowned and then overheated Martian microbes, which the investigator speculated would be based on a mixture of water and hydrogen peroxide.
Since I recently indulged in a fairly pointless discussion about cryogenic life forms on Titan, I can't really dismiss the concept out of hand.

SPACE.com -- Faulty Software May Have Doomed Mars Orbiter
NASA investigators have suggested that software recently uploaded to the 10-year-old
Mars Orbiter may have mistakenly caused it to drive its solar arrray away from the Sun, and then point the heat radiator of a critical battery toward it. The resulting loss of power, followed by heat-related failure of the battery, could explain the loss of contact with the veteran spacecraft.
It's like I've been trying to tell everybody for years---software development doesn't actually work.

JPL.NASA.GOV: News Releases:”Famous Space Pillars Feel the Heat of Star's Explosion ”
One of the most memorable images of the Hubble Space Telescope may have reproduced
something that isn't actually there anymore. The famous “Pillars of Creation” in the Eagle Nebula have recently been rechecked by the Spitzer infrared telescope. The new image shows the Pillars being approached by the shock wave of a massive supernova explosion.
In about a 1,000 years, any observers left around would likely see the Pillars being wiped out by the blast about 6,000 years ago as of the Spitzer image. Spooky, isn't it?

M-LAW's Wacky Warning Labels
It's time again for those icons of our lawyer-infested society, warning labels. Added to old classics like the warning to remove your baby from the stroller before you fold it up, are a new crop of inductees warning us not to put people in washing machines, not to use matches to check the fuel level in our gas tanks, and never, never, try to dry our cell phones in a microwave. Forewarned is forearmed, or something like that...

FOXNews.com - War Between Donald, Rosie and Barbara Turns Nuclear
Okay, here's 70¢---enough to call two people. But that's my final offer....


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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

---Year End Review, State of the Weblog, 2006 

Year End Review, 2006

Matthew 12:43-45
When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44 Then it says, 'I will return to the house I left.' When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. 45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation."
Another year, another Winter holiday season---er, Christmas season, since this is hardly a public forum---and it's now a plain old day in January. It's not even especially cold here.

We were faced with the usual choices in that "special" holiday spirit, of the usual government and secular and other religiously indiscriminate charity operations, or whatever recognizably Christian Churches could put together. It is apparently the will of our political and social leadership that we take the charitable impulses of our faith, strip off any merely Christian notions, and just go fix things without really changing anything important, so as not to harm anyones' multicultural diversity, or whatever.

It's not just about Christmas/New Year's, but the general philosophy now applied generally to relief and charity operations worldwide at all times of the year. Even charities that use some variation of "Christian" in their titles have been Spiritually dumbed-down to avoid challenging, let alone offending anyone in the administration of charitable works. They just want the food, not the sermon, just like they did when Jesus was preaching ( John 6:25-27).

Just imagine!---no, let me rephrase that---think about it! What if we could actually set aside all of our political, social, and religious differences, and accomplish what we claim to want for the world? What if we could use our science, engineering, technology, and agri-business economic acumen to end the great evils of human existence, hunger, disease, poverty, and so on (If I left out any of your favorite great evils, leave me a comment). We almost certainly have the means to provide safe housing, stable nutrition, education (I won't dwell on this one, since that would probably make a long weblog post by itself), and proper medical care (ditto) to the entire human population.

Assume! for the moment that we could persuade leaders around the world to lower political barriers, redirect resources from other national interests, and most of all, actually care what happens to the people they govern. Never mind how that would happen, just guess that somehow we could have a brief, golden moment of reason and get all that done. Food and water and medical care, and first-rate technology and political intervention for the Rwandas, the Darfurs, the Indonesias, the Bangladeshes.... Then we clap the dust off our hands in satisfaction and everybody goes home....

Everyone knows what would happen next, if they are being honest about it, because everyone knows how it happened in the first place....

Jesus predicted the outcome with His usual miraculous precision, a long time in advance. Matthew's Gospel concludes "That is how it will be with this wicked generation". It's not just the fate of individuals who are fixed up and left empty, but a whole generation, who will be left vulnerable to even worse things than they were suffering before---caught up in a maelstrom of evil as the endless cycle that has bedeviled every generation of humanity reasserts itself with renewed determination; hatred, violence, reprisal, revenge.

The job of lifting up the poor and the job of teaching the Love of God, the Law to be placed in their minds and written on their hearts, are not separable commissions. There is no solution to evil that does not involve a second Birth, a new Creation, a genuine Spiritual revolution in mind, heart, and soul. Unfortunately for your diversity, there is only one of those....

State of the Weblog, 2006

I have spread out somewhat, and tried several different (free) servers. Strangely enough, the one with the most constrictive and possibly the worst-designed support tools--WordPress, which charges if you want to use CSS or JS, and may actually make your existing weblogs disappear if you try to import them, at least until you can find the archive switch they flipped---also gets the most traffic. I have pooled the archives of HeartBreakLog , HeartBreakLogNews , and The Shining Pasture on the WP log, and used their searchable Categories to distinguish the content.

The hits from SiteMeter and StatCounter come from many interesting places. It seems strange that they often don't agree on where the hits came from. I probably got the most visits to my reposting of my Fall season celebration post, ---Still The Scariest Story Ever Told, especially on the WP version at Savage Utopia . Most recently, I got a few hits from Ask.com searches looking for the "graphic Saddam hanging video", because I used the words "Saddam" and "hanging" in a sentence a couple of months ago. I didn't post a link to the Saddam hanging footage, which has to be considered questionable taste at best.

I have a tiny, but consistent news readership through Feedburner. It appears that someone (or a very sophisticated content 'bot), in Spain regularly clicks through on every post.

Overall, my collection of weblogs remains a tiny, unexplored niche of the Internet, which only gets any real attention when I make someone really angry. Probably just as well....


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