Monday, November 30, 2009

Chelsea Clinton to Marry Marc Mezvinsky
Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of former President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is affianced to long time boy friend Marc Mezvinsky, a Goldman Sachs investment banker and the son of two former members of Congress.
Two Texas Hill Country Diners
Giant alien robots destroy Montevideo in "Ataque de panico!" (Panic Attack)
My review of Going Rogue - an American Life by Sarah Palin is now up.

Lakwood Police Shooting and Mike Huckabee
The Lakewood, Washington, police shooting took the lives of four police officers. The shooting, which took place in Tacoma, very likely also ended any hope that former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has of becoming President.
'Dexter' Season 4, Episode 10: 'Lost Boys'
'Dexter' Season 4 Episode 10 'Lost Boys' ups the stakes in Dexter's cat and mouse game with Arthur Mitchell, aka Trinity. Trinity has taken a ten year old boy and clearly intends to do evil to him. The pattern has started again.
Dan Lester suggests it's time to go to L1 as part of a look but don't touch exploration strategy. Bon Clarebrough looks back to steam ships as a historical model for commercial rocket development. Taylor Dinerman warns about space cooperation with the Chinese.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Ban on Minarets Passes in Switzerland
A popular referendum in Switzerland that will ban the building of minarets at Islamic mosques has passed. Despite the fact that the measure polled only at 37 percent approval a few days before, the referendum passed by a comfortable 57 percent.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Cato is saying that Obamacare will cost six trillion dollars.
Draft Dick Cheney for 2012
A group of people believe that they have hit upon the solution to what ails the United States. So, duly, they have set up a web site to Draft Dick Cheney for 2012. The main problem of this scheme is that Dick Cheney does not wish to be drafted.
Peggy Noonan says no one loves Obama anymore. And with good reason.

Friday, November 27, 2009

This story about the latest scandal from the British health care system reminds me of the scene of Lawrence of Arabia when Lawrence visits a field hospital in Damascus to find injured Turkish soldiers laying around unattended in their own filth and blood. A convoy of British doctors, nurses, and medics show up. They commanders stomps around yelling, "This is an outrage! An OUTRAGE!" Then he puts Lawrence on the ground, yelling, "Filthy wog!" Lawrence giggles uncontrollably.

That expresses my feeling upon reading this and wondering what we may have in store under Obamacare.
Apparently Sarah Palin told a comedian disguised as a reporter that Canada really ought to bring private sector competition into its health care system.

Allahpundit is reporting that some of the lefty blogs thinks this is funny.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

China's second lunar mission will launch next October.

Addendum: More on China to launch Chang'e lunar probe in October, 2010
Dana MacKenkzie writes about the Lunar Exploration Analysis Group (LEAG)that took place recent in Houston here and here. There seems to be a lot of talk about the term "sustainability" in the sense that we need to find a way to make the Moon a destination to where we will go essentially forever, without the fits and starts of political fashion interfering. This usually translates into using ISRU technology to allow people to live on the Moon. There is also political sustainability as well as economic viability
I suppose I should name some names here. Paul Spudis is an especially passionate advocate of the idea that we must think about sustainability when we return to space. I wish I could just copy his whole presentation here, but that would not be very original. He said, “The goal is not to excite the public. The public must see the value in lunar exploration, which is different from making it exciting.” He took issue with the Augustine Commission’s conclusion that the ultimate destination (their words) is Mars. “The goal of returning to the moon is to become a spacefaring species,” he said. I think this is a great mission statement. Mars is not the ultimate goal; the ultimate is to be able to go wherever we want. Spudis would build up that capability on the moon.

Also, Igor Mitrofanov gave a perspective from the Russian space agency: “We will support missions to the moon if we will go there forever. Then we will participate as a nation.” He compared the moon to a new continent: “The first explorers looked for a place for a settlement, a bay, a harbor,” he said. Obviously he is arguing for a base approach rather than a sortie approach.

Many participants in the meeting said that sustainability would have to mean economic viability. Paul Spudis, as usual, formulated the question nicely, by listing three stages of lunar exploration: Arrive, Survive, Thrive. So far we have shown that we can Arrive. The next step is Survival — showing that we can stay for a long time on the moon — but ultimately the point of the whole exercise is to Thrive.
Michaele Salahi and Tureq Salahi Gatecrash White House State Dinner
Michaele Salahi and her husband Tureq Salahi were apparently able to penetrate White House security and attend President Obama's first state dinner with the Indian Prime Minister. Michaele Salahi was incautious enough to boast of it on her Facebook page.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ed Begley Jr. Has a Meltdown on Fox News
Ed Begley Jr. is an actor and has appeared on such films as Pineapple Express and episodes of TV shows almost without number, dating back to the old version of Battlestar Galactica, Adam 12, Mannix, and My Three Sons.
Senator Kent Conrad believes that People Who Don’t Believe in Civilian Trials for Terrorists Should Leave America and ‘Go Somewhere Else’

That's a whole new take on the "love it or leave it" cliche.
Navy SEALs Face Court Martial for Beat Down of Terrorist Prisoner
Recently a team of Navy SEALs captured Ahmed Hashim Abed, the terrorist who murdered and then mutilated three Blackwater security guards in Fallujah in 2004. Now three of the Navy SEALs face a court martial for prisoner abuse.
'V' Episode 4 the last until spring

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

An Adult's Commentary on New Moon
Surprising New Mammography Recommendations
The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) earlier this November issued new guidelines regarding mammograms and breast self-examination which have resulted in recent controversy. These recommendations can be found at the website of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).
The Great Climate Change Hoax's Coming Demise
The scandal surrounding the exposure of the global warming emails could be called "Climategate" (a real cliché), the Great Climate Change Hoax, or just, as Andrew Bolt said of it, "the greatest in modern science."
Thanksgiving as a Boy and a Man

And How Tomato Sauce Came to be...
This is the sort of story that makes one wonder if one is living in the Twilight Zone.
Navy SEALs have secretly captured one of the most wanted terrorists in Iraq — the alleged mastermind of the murder and mutilation of four Blackwater USA security guards in Fallujah in 2004. And three of the SEALs who captured him are now facing criminal charges, sources told

The three, all members of the Navy's elite commando unit, have refused non-judicial punishment — called an admiral's mast — and have requested a trial by court-martial.

Ahmed Hashim Abed, whom the military code-named "Objective Amber," told investigators he was punched by his captors — and he had the bloody lip to prove it.

Now, instead of being lauded for bringing to justice a high-value target, three of the SEAL commandos, all enlisted, face assault charges and have retained lawyers.

Are you kidding me??!!
The 9/11 Never Forget Coalition to Launch December 5th Protest
The decision by the Obama administration to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four of his fellow terrorists has outrage many, but none more so that a group of people who have formed the "9/11 Never Forget Coalition."
On the Republican 'Purity Test'
A group of conservatives on the Republic National Committee are circulating a document they call a RNC Resolution on Reagan's Unity Principle for Support of Candidates and what others are calling a "purity test."
Charles Manson Son a Gandhi-Loving Vegetarian
Matthew Roberts, a Los Angeles disk jockey, is a vegetarian and an acolyte of Mahatma Gandhi, a fervent believer in non violence. Matthew Roberts is also the biological son of one of the most notorious mass murderers of the 20th Century, Charles Manson.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A reader sent me the following. It it is not true, it should have been.
GOD Is Busy

If you don't know GOD, don't make stupid remarks!!!!!!

A United States Marine was attending some college courses between
assignments. He had completed missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. One
of the courses had a professor who was an avowed atheist, and a member
of the ACLU.

One day the professor shocked the class when he came in. He looked to
the ceiling and flatly stated, "GOD!! if you are real
then I want you to knock me off this platform. I'll give you exactly 15
min." The lecture room fell silent. You could hear a pin drop. Ten
minutes went by and the professor proclaimed, "Here I am GOD, I'm still

It got down to the last couple of minutes when the Marine got out of his
chair, went up to the professor, and cold-cocked him;
knocking him off the platform. The professor was out cold. The Marine
went back to his seat and sat there, silently.

The other students were shocked and stunned, and sat there looking on in
silence. The professor eventually came to,
noticeably shaken, looked at the Marine and asked, 'What in the world is
the matter with you? 'Why did you do that?' The Marine calmly replied,
"GOD was too busy today protecting American soldiers who are protecting
your right to say stupid
stuff and act like an idiot. So He sent me."

The classroom erupted in cheers!
Adam and Jamie of Mythbusters fame were up at the White House on the occasion of the roll out of Obama's STEM initiative, encouraging science, technology, engineering, and math education. All very well and good if it becomes more than a photo op, but it's worth looking at just to see Adam in a suit and Jamie at least wearing a jacket.
SNL Obama Skit Lampoons President
It has been said that it is very hard to lampoon President Barack Obama. People who say that really mean that they are afraid to lampoon the President. But the most recent Obama SNL skit seems to have broken that taboo, once and for all.
Global Warming E-mails Rock Scientific Community
Controversy is swirling about the infamous global warming emails that were hacked from the computer at major global-warming advocacy center in the UK and then distributed on the Internet. Accusations of fraud have ensued.
"Look But Don't Touch" now has a new name. It's now called Operation: Plymouth Rock.

Of course the original Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock meaning to stay, not jet pack over and admire it.
A man spent twenty three years trapped in his own skull very much aware but unable to communicate with the outside world. He was misdiagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state and was unable, until technology caught up with his predicament.

This revelation puts some new light on the Terri Schiavo case. Terri Schiavo was another person thought to have been in a "persistent vegetative state" who was starved to death, IMHO, for the convenience of her estranged husband. Was an actual, functioning human being murdered after all?
'Forbidden Planet' remake in the works
Jeff Foust turns his attention to Dysfunctional space advocacy. It is, if anything, worse than what Foust states. Space advocacy is a set of squabbling middle school cliques.

Stephen Ashworth hits back at certain European former bureaucrats who disdain space tourism.

Dwayne Day looks on with bemusement at PETA protests against NASA.

Jim Gagnon calls for a land rush in space.
Dexter Season 4 Episode 9 Hungry Man
In 'Dexter' Season 4 Episode 9 'Hungry Man', Dexter finally comes to realize the true nature of Trinity, the man whom he seeks to use as a role model. Debra understands the importance of family. Angel and Laguerta know their love cannot be denied.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Paul Spudis wine and cheese from lunar dirt. Add it a good fillet Mignon, a green salad with olive oil and wine vinegar and I am so there.
A Burka Barbie for Oppressed Muslim Girls Everywhere
Is the Burka Barbie bad for young girls and their self image? Apparently the famous auction house Southerby's in London does not think so. It has sponsored an auction of a number of Barbies dressed in Burkas for auction.
Patrick Kennedy, Abortion, and the Catholic Church
Congressman Patrick Kennedy, Democrat of Rhode Island, has been denied communion by the Catholic Church because of his pro choice views on abortion. Patrick Kennedy's fight with his own church illustrates the intersection of politics and religion.
Senate Health Care Reform Vote a Political Suicide Bombing
The Senate vote on health care reform proceeded along strictly party lines, with all fifty eight Democrats plus independents Joe Lieberman and Bernie Sanders voting to proceed to debate and all but one Republican voting against.
A Nobel Peace Prize for ISS?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The real Simpsons house. And Robert Heinlein's.
'New Moon' - More Teenage Angst and a Love Triangle for the Ages
'New Moon' continues the adventures of the weird lovers, the human girl Bella, and the vampire boy Edward started in 'Twilight'. The romance becomes a love triangle because of the introduction of Jacob, who is a—well—a werewolf of course.
The Lunar Oasis.
The Blind Side, which I am assured is a feel good movie and hence something I will not see because the heart warming also tends to be stomach turning, has a cheap, partisan shot at George W. Bush.
John McCain is in a spot of trouble in Arizona and may need none other than Sarah Palin to get him out of it. This will cause the incompetent campaign staffers who have felt the wrath of Sarahcuddah to grind their teeth. My advice? Drink your wormwood like good little boys and girls.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Silence of the Turkeys - Another Thanksgiving Haiku
On Thanksgiving Day - A Turkey Haiku
Peter Homer wins Astronaut Glove Centennial Challenge for second year running
Is Mary Landrieu's Vote Being Bought for $100 Million of Our Money?
Senator Mary Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana, is considered a swing vote in the battle concerning health care reform. Mary Landrieu is considered a moderate, representing a red state, and is up for re-election in 2010.
The wet side of the Moon
PICTURE a habitat atop a hill in warm sunlight on the edge of a crater near the south pole of the Moon. There are metal ores in the rocks nearby and water ice in the shadows of the crater below. Solar arrays are set up on the regolith that covers the Moon’s surface. Humans live in sealed, cave-like lava tubes, protected from solar flares and sustained by large surface greenhouses. Imagine the Moon as the first self-sustainable human settlement away from Earth and a high-speed transportation hub for the solar system.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sarah Palins favorables are up. Be afraid libs. Be very afraid.

Addendum: Palin more popular than Obama?
40 years ago, the third and fourth men to walk on the Moon landed as part of Apollo 12. One astronaut, Pete Conrad, was the most colorful of all astronauts and went on to command a Skylab mission and be a flight controller for the DC-X. His partner, Alan Bean, is the only artist to ever set foot on another world. Conrad is no longer with us, alas, but Alan Bean is still alive and creating great paintings of the first ever exploration of the Moon.
MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell Badgers Teenage Girl About Sarah Palin
MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell must have been out sorts, covering Sarah Palin's first stop on her book tour in Michigan. How else can one explain Norah O'Donnell's merciless grilling of a girl of about thirteen standing in line to get her book signed?
An assault on space tourism
Senate Health Care Bill Rolled Out
The Senate health care bill that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid rolled out Wednesday can certainly be said to be more substantial than the House version of health care reform. The Senate health care bill is 2074 pages long, 84 more than the House bill.
Like most of conservadum, I am in the middle of reading Going Rogue: An American Life. I haven't gotten to the policy bit, but I can offer this little gem for those of you interested in things space.
My first clear memory of school was when our kindergarten teacher wheeled a black and white television into the classroom so we could watch American astronauts land on the Moon. The lunar landing had happened on July, 1969, before school started, but even watching taped images of an American walking on the Moon stirred in me an overwhelming pride in our country--that we could achieve something so magnificent

To be sure, even Barack Obama, the most anti space President in a while, is compelled to give us fond memories of the Moon landing. But Palin also relates how exploration of Alaska was crucial in uncovering the resources, such as gold and oil, that made that place so rich in the decades after it was called "Seward's Folly." It may be reading too much, but it would seem possible that a President Palin might understand more than most how the exploration of space can discover resources of worth in this century.

It also seems to me that Sarah Palin might have an understanding about what it would be like to live on a space settlement. Staples that we in the lower 48 take for granted at the super market can only be had in Alaska in two ways, either transported at great cost, or grown, raised, or hunted by ones self. Apparently Alaskans grow things like lettuce and carrots in heated green houses as well as raise their own chickens. Moose and caribou are their red meat.

There won't be a lot of hunting on the Moon or Mars, but one suspects a lot of agriculture in the way Sarah Palin describes, undertaken even by town dwellers.

The following is kind of lame, NASA PAO boilerplate, but note who is giving it.

Addendum: More on Dwayne Johnson, star of 'Planet 51', touts the US space program

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

John Birmingham looks upon the sudden popularity of the undead down under as a result of the Twilight books and doesn't like it at all.
The sudden population explosion of neo-Gothic Edward and Bella wannabes amongst intense, bookish teenage girls and the skinny boys who want to have sex with them has provided the perfect cover for hundreds of actual bloodsucking ghouls to emerge from hiding and walk our streets as if those streets were nothing more than the fresh meat aisle at the local supermarket.
Water on the Moon; What Comes Next?
The theory that the moon's permanently shadowed craters contain water ice has been postulated by scientists for decades. In 1994, the Clementine probe found indications. In November, NASA's LCROSS probe confirmed it.
Al Gore's Science Illiteracy
Al Gore was on The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien recently and was attempting to explain the utility of geothermal energy, which taps the Earth's heat to generate energy. In so doing, former Vice President Gore proved to be an ignoramus.
Newsweek Palin Cover Controversy Continues
Facing a firestorm of criticism over their use of a sexy photo of Sarah Palin on its cover, Newsweek choose to acknowledge the controversy, while making a very disingenuous response. In fact, it went beyond disingenuous to the absurd.
Space cooperation with China - promise and peril
Sarah Palin, bigger than Lord of the Rings and Star Wars.
Pinks Slips for Congress
Sometimes just calling the office of one's congressman or sending him or her an e-mail may not be enough when the issues are serious and the congressman seemingly unresponsive. That is where Pink Slips for Congress come in.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Apparently it is against the law for a woman to wear trousers in Paris. That's the one in France, not Texas.
Feds Recommend Cutbacks of Mammograms
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has recommended that women under 50 should stop having regularly scheduled mammograms and that older women should restrict them to only one every year. This has caused outrage among outside experts.
"Jobs Created or Saved" in Imaginary Congressional Districts
Obama Administration claims about jobs that were "created or saved" by the stimulus package have always been suspect. Now ABC News has found that some of these jobs are in Congressional districts that don't exist.
Is Obama preparing to slash NASA's budget?

Hope and change.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Hoffman has unconceeded.
Allahpundit has a piece on some mostly horrible polling on Sarah Palin, but with this gem at the end:
Ah, I missed this earlier. Even more evidence, this time via Rasmussen, that the book might be helping her rebound: Among likely voters, her favorables are 51/43. That’s starkly different from the poll of polls at, but likely voters are ultimately the only ones who matter.
John Birmingham bemoans the state of Australian barbeque.
JB mentions Texas and Kansas City as barbeque capitals. I've fallen for South Carolina style pulled pork with the vinegary liquid they called barbeque sauce. Mind this is considered treason for a Texan, but in my defense I have not abandoned brisket with proper bbq sauce.
Atlantis space shuttle launch successful
Edward Woodward RIP Oddly enough, the obituary does not mention Woodward's best role in Breaker Morant

Shoot straight, you bastards! Don't make a mess of it!

And there was The Equalizer.

If you think some projects at NASA have been dysfunctional, Dwayne Day looks at the Defense Department and concludes Things are Rough All Over. Jeff Foust sees that Solar sailing gets its second wind. Michael Huang has a good look at "Look but don't touch" in All these worlds are yours, except the Moon and Mars (attempt no landing there).

Addendum: Rand Siumberg leaps the length of his chain over Michael Huang's article, in a post that is turgidly entitled "Apollo is Over." It is a meandering, incoherent post with lots of rage directed at NASA, at the idea of big rockets, at going back to the Moon, and Your Humble Servant. Rand does give me a kind of back handed compliment.
I’m sorry that Mark Whittington’s stupid “Look but don’t touch” phrase seems to be picked up by more and more people, because it’s so misleading.

While I am very happy to be recognized for establishing a meme, Rand misses the point, as he generally does. "Look But Don't Touch" can be expressed another way as "Footsteps and Flags" but without the footsteps and, given the PC nature of this administration, without the flags. The Moon is the closest place where one can learn to not just go to a place in space but to live in space. My hope is that the LCROSS uncovering of water will be the nail in the coffin of "Look But Don't Touch" and that we can get back to the serious business of expanding humankind into the Universe.

Then Rand lashes out at Dwayne Day, also a little bit incoherently.
SyFy has a list of pilots that will never become series. Of them this would have been great:
Richard Miles's marriage is a rocky, his wife is a recovering alcoholic, he has two young children, and even though he works hard, money is very tight. One evening he returns home, just as he has every other day. However, this day is different. His family freaks out, and his children are mysteriously older. He discovers that he's been declared dead since the towers fell on 9/11, and he's been missing for eight years.

Richard (Skeet Ulrich) is wearing the same clothes he left in, and he doesn't appear to have aged at all. Just as confused as everyone else, he discovers that his wife has remarried and his kids have suffered terribly because of his loss. But what happened to Richard? Did he have amnesia? Did God send him back to Earth on a mission? Was he kidnapped by aliens? Did he fall through a crack in time?

His wife's new husband just wants him to leave, but Richard knows he can't do that. While he has no memory of the last eight years, he knows he's returned for a reason. Created by Dean Widenmann.

Would Back have gone forward on CBS? No. Despite the terrible title, Back is one of the finest pieces of drama we've seen in a long time, from the amazing script to the beautiful direction to the wonderful acting, especially by Skeet Ulrich and Sherry Stringfield. But it's just so very sad. It's been eight years since 9/11 and we've moved on. But this pilot brings back the most painful memories that few viewers could manage to watch week after week.
Dexter Season 4 Episode 8 Road Kill
In 'Dexter' Season 4 Episode 8 'Road Kill" Dexter Morgan, the ethical serial killer, learns a little about remorse from Trinity, the older serial killer he has been studying for ways to remain uncaught. Remorse was something Dexter thought he could not know.
Obama Bows Before Japan's Emperor
What is it with President Barack Obama and foreign potentates? First there was the incident during which President Obama bowed before the King of Saudi Arabia. Now President Obama has bowed at the waist to the Emperor of Japan.
The Prisoner (2009) Disappoints
'The Prisoner', a 1967 miniseries starring the late Patrick McGoohan, has been remade for 2009, this time starring Sir Ian McKellen was Number Two and James Caviezel as Number Six. The whole is something of a disappointment.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Sarah Palin Newsweek Cover
The Sarah Palin Newsweek cover shows the former Governor of Alaska is in very nice dark shorts and a tight, red top with nice hair, a nice smile, and an American flag nearby. The Sarah Palin Newsweek cover is a declaration of war.

Addendum: How Do You Solve a Problem Like Sarah? Make her President.
Apparently, Project M has been a go since November 9th.
Christmas Desserts-Good Tasting, Good for You!
If you are like me and millions of other people in the world, you don't want to gain weight over the Christmas holidays. You can find work-arounds for a lot of things—low-sodium recipes for your turkey and stuffing, baked sweet potatoes instead of candied yams, and so forth. But finding healthy Christmas desserts can seem like searching for oases in a barren desert. However, it's truly not quite that difficult. Here are some simple ideas you might like to try out.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

'2012': Roland Emmerich Destroys the World Again and This Time He Means It
In '2012' John Cusack plays a failed science fiction writer who has to fight, along with his estranged family, to survive the end of the world. Along the way his character has to survive every matter of peril that director Roland Emmerich throws at him.
George W. Bush Cautions Against Big Government
Former President George W. Bush unveiled plans for a Presidential library and policy think tank at Southern Methodist University in Dallas on Thursday. While so doing, George W. Bush had some things to say about public policy and his legacy.
Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly on the same stage or the end of the world as we know it.
Water on the Moon discovery sparks more interest in lunar exploration

Addendum: Paul Spudis muses about a rainbow on the Moon
The Moon has the resources needed to bootstrap a sustained, permanent human presence. It is the place where we can learn how to live and work productively in space. The Moon has put out a welcome mat. What are we waiting for?


Friday, November 13, 2009

Contract with America 2.0. Good idea.
Gattaca was a great film about a world divided between genetically perfect people and the oppressed natural born people. Now Gattaca will become TV series cop show.
Robotic therapy from stroke victims.
Some of the most interesting people are missing George W. Bush.
Well, we told you before how much the current president, Dr. Utopia, made us realize just how wrong we were about Bush. We shudder to think what Dr. Utopia would have done post-9/11. He would have not gone there with a bullhorn and struck that right tone. More likely than not, he would have been his usual fey, apologetic self and waxed professorially about how evil America is and how justified Muslims are for attacking us, with a sidebar on how good the attacks were because they would humble us.

Honestly, we don’t think President Gore would have been much better that day. The world needed George W. Bush, his bullhorn, and his indominable spirit that day…and we will forever be grateful to this man for that.

As we will always be grateful for what George and Laura Bush did this week, with no media attention, when they very quietly went to Ft. Hood and met personally with the families of the victims of this terrorist attack.

"Dr. Utopia." Oh, I like that.
Viagra laced passion fruit? Well, of course.
LCROSS confirms water on the Moon
Gallup: Most Americans Oppose Government Health Care
The debate over health care reform seems to have had a curious effect on peoples' attitude toward government health care. Gallup has found that a majority now does not agree that it is a government responsibility to provide health care coverage.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Four Others, to Be Tried in a New York Civilian Court
The Obama Administration has decided to place Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged planner of the 9/11 attacks, and four other Guantanamo detainees on trial in New York City in a criminal court. There are some obvious dangers for doing this.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Time Magazine names Ares 1 as "best invention for 2009'
Bill Clinton, one the way women are treated on Mad Men.
The way women were treated is appalling, and only occasionally funny to me."

It must bring back fond memories.
South Park's Dances with Smurfs Targets Glenn Beck, James Cameron, and More
'South Park' Dancing with Smurfs went after a number of targets, some of them fairly obvious, like radio and TV personality Glenn Beck and film director James Cameron. There was another target, not so obvious, but there if one was looking.
Did Doug Hoffman Concede Too Soon in NY 23rd Special Election?
When Doug Hoffman conceded the race in the special election for the New York 23rd Congressional District, he was behind the winner, Democrat Bill Owens, by 5335 votes with 93 percent of the precincts in.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

V: What if Barack Obama was a Flesh Eating Alien Reptile?
'V', a science fiction TV series airing on ABC, and a reboot of the campy 1980s series by the same name, has aired twice. 'V' is a wonderful show for the subtle satire against men on white horses, or in this case cute women in space ships.
Sarah Palin has a little sneaky revenge at the expense of the Washington establishment.
Once source who has seen “Going Rogue” says it does not include an index. That would give Palin a subtle revenge on the party's Washington establishment, whose members tend to flip to the back pages and scan for their own names. If they want to know what Sarah Palin has to say about them, they will have to buy the book—and read the whole thing.
For all of those who serve, on the occasion of this Veterans Day, we thank you.

Last year I wrote a piece on the original holiday, Armistice Day Ninety Years On
Clash of the Titans Remake Trailer Out on the Internet
The trailer for the remake of the 1981 epic film 'Clash of the Titans' is now out on the Internet. The 'Clash of the Titans' trailer consists of a lot of quick cut scenes of brawny guys in bronze age Greek armor and mythical beasts wrecking mayhem.
Chantal offers A Woman's Relationship Checklist
Is China about to collapse?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

President Obama Honors the Fallen of Fort Hood
President Barack Obama gave a eulogy for the fallen of the Ford Hood Massacre. The speech was remarkable for its absence of hope and change, we are the world pap and for its presence of duty, honor, and sacrifice that was wholly appropriate.
Will Abortion Sink Health Care Reform?
Will the issue of abortion sink health care reform? It seems very possible as pro life Democrats square off against pro choice Democrats in both the House and the Senate over the Stupak provisions in the House bill banning federal funding of elective abortions.
Vatican Conference on alien life and Christianity
NASA Refutes '2012' End of the World Claims
A film version of Sgt Rock the iconic military comic book is going to be a film, although with an annoying twist.
Until now, “Rock” has retained its World War II setting, with Silver and the studio trying to make a big-budget action adventure movie that was a throwback to flicks like “The Dirty Dozen,” which feature acts of American derring-do.

But a big budget always was an obstacle and, “Inglourious Basterds” notwithstanding, period war movies have not been in vogue in Hollywood for years, unless it was a more serious contemplation of the subject like “Saving Private Ryan.” Also, American jingoism went out of style after 9/11; even this summer’s G.I. Joe movie dropped the toy’s “A Real American Hero” tagline and made the action team internationally focused.

Memo to Hollywood. "American Jingoism", which means Americans as good guys and enemies of America as bad guys, would be "in style" for American audiences. But one supposes one must not anger the all important European, not to mention Middle Eastern, markets by doing that.

Here's an idea for something really edgy. If Hollywood doesn't like WWII flicks, makie the Sgt Rock film a War on Terror epic, with the howling commandos slaughtering gabs of Islamo terrorists. Get John Milius to direct; he would do a great job.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Doctor Zero springs to the defense of Sarah Palin.
Rand Simberg inveighs against Taylor Dinerman predictably for writing the heretical idea that maybe the plucky newspace companies are not going to open up the high frontier next week if only NASA would just go away.

Then Rand takes on Defying Gravity with this little gem.
Big media, like (apparently) Dwayne, remain stuck in the Apollo paradigm of space being about a few civil servants doing science and exploration, at great government expense. Here’s an idea. Try a show about real space pioneers and see how popular it is. IIRC, “Lost In Space” actually did pretty well back in the sixties, or at least a lot better than the schlock that Dwayne reviewed. It’s not the sixties any more, but let’s give it a try anyway. It’s not like LIS was based on the NASA paradigm, so that wouldn’t explain its sixties success, right?

Of course the various incarnations of Star Trek, which depicts a government run Star Fleet, had various levels of success well into the 21st Century. And the new movie was a smash hit with sequels to come. Babylon Five was also about several big government space organizations, some alien, including Earth Force, and it did very well.

On the other hand, Firefly which was about space cowboys/pirates, was also great, though bad scheduling doomed the series.

The point is that good story telling will be rewarded whether the space heroes work for NASA, Star Fleet, or Captain Reynolds' band of misfit buccaneers. Rand is so caught up in his demons about NASA that he doesn't realize this.
Fort Hood Massacre: Was it Terrorism, Part Two?
A story on the ABC News site has raised new and disturbing questions about Malik Nadal Hasan. It seems that the FBI had been aware that Malik Nadal Hasan was trying to contact Al Qaeda operatives by "electronic means."
Ralph Peters Inveighs Against Obama in the New York Post
n a recent column in the New York Post, retired Colonel Ralph Peters expressed the opinion this is likely held by a lot of service people, both retired and active duty. When it comes to the War on Terror, the Commander in Chief is missing in action.
In Augustine’s questionable adjective, Taylor Dinerman commits heresy by suggesting that commercial space is not quite ready to step up.
Industry spokespeople have been realistic about this, but others have shown a tendency to expect too much too soon. I confess that I have made this mistake myself. These emerging firms show huge promise, but they are just getting started and the US government should not expect them to perform miracles. Neither they, nor the big contractors, have access to supplies of magic pixie dust. Plans cannot be made on the basis that they will have such a supply in the future.

In some parts of the Internet Rocketeer Club that is grounds for being burned at the stake.

Jeff Foust discusses A wild finish for the Lunar Lander Challenge.

Dwayne Day remembers a awful TV show in Losing Gravity. Day makes a serious mistake extrapolating support for space exploration in general from the failure of a badly produced, badly written, badly acted show.

Jeff Foust reviews Alan Boyle's The Case for Pluto.
'Dexter' Season 4, Episode 7: 'Slack Tide'
In 'Dexter', Season 7, Episode 4, 'Slack Tide', Dexter explains the meaning of the term slack tide. It is a sailor's term meaning that moment between the tide going in and the tide going out where everything is in balance.
'Mad Men' Season 3, Episode 13: 'Shut the Door, Have a Seat'
In 'Mad Men' Season 3 Episode 13 'Shut the Door, Have a Seat', the phrase in the title of the episode is uttered several times by one character or another. In a business setting, it is heard just before some momentous news is heard.
How the Berlin Wall Came Tumbling Down
No one who has come of age in the twenty years since the fall of the Berlin Wall can understand what it felt like to be alive on November 9th, 1989. To really understand, in the core of ones being, one would have to have been alive during the Cold War.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Health Care Insurance--With and Without
Health Care Reform Passes House in the Dead of Night
As is traditional for attempts at theft, the House version of health care reform passed in the dead of night. The way was cleared for the passage of health care reform after the Stupak Amendment banned funding for elective abortions.
Americans Are Starting to Miss President Bush
The UK Telegraph has a remarkable story from America about a new trend that, so far, seems to be going unreported in the American media. Americans, turned off by President Obama's cold demeanor, are missing George W. Bush.
US Navy Ordered to Listen for Martian Radio Broadcasts in 1924

Saturday, November 07, 2009

"Miss me yet?" I think just about now.
In a sign that the Obama honeymoon truly is over, I began to hear this week the first stirrings of a wistfulness about Mr Bush. "I never thought I'd hear myself say it," one Democrat told me. "But Obama makes you feel that at least with Bush you knew where he was on something."
President Obama is too busy trying to ram through a government seizure of health care to visit the wounded at Fort Hood. But it looks like George W. and Laura Bush were not.
10.2 Percent Unemployment and the Failure of the Stimulus Package
The latest unemployment numbers for the month of October, 2009 are in. Unemployment in the United States stands at a twenty six year high of 10.2 percent. Add in discouraged workers and part timers and the real unemployment rate is north of 17 percent.
Apparently Roland Emmerich did not want to do a sequel to Independence Day while Bush was in the White House. Now that Obama is President, it's a different matter.

Emmerich mocked President Bush and Vice President Cheney in his visually impressive but scientifically implausible Day after Tomorrow. However he seems very wide of the mark.

If anyone resembles Bill Pullman's President Whitmore from ID4, it has to be W. Let;s see, a former fighter jock President who is despised by the media who rises to glory at the time of ultimate crisis? Sounds like Bush to me.

On the other hand, God help us if the aliens invade with Obama in the White House. He would still be dithering about what response was appropriate as the giant flying saucers blasted the rest of our cities.
2009 Space Elevator Games Has a Winner

Friday, November 06, 2009

Courtney Stadd, formal NASA official, a champion of commercial space and a convicted felon, has been sentenced to probation.
Courtney Stadd, of Bethesda, Md., was convicted in August of helping a consulting client — Mississippi State University — get nearly $10 million of the space agency's funds.

U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer rejected the government's suggestion of a one-year prison term. She said it was a "close call" in deciding whether Stadd's conduct was corrupt or a misunderstanding of ethics laws, but added that jury found he ignored his ethical obligations.
The Fort Hood Massacre -- Was it Terrorism?
A man enters a United States military facility and, shouting "Allahu akbar!", which is the battle cry of Islamic jihadis, starts to shoot everyone he can with a couple of hand guns. The man is later found to have praised Muslim suicide bombers.
Kimberly Munley - hero.

More 0n Kimberly Munley, Hero of the Fort Hood Massacre
Kimberly Munley, a civilian police Sergeant assigned to Fort Hood, was the first on the scene along with her partner of what is now called the Fort Hood Massacre. Moments before Kimberly Munley had been directing traffic.
Malik Nadal Hasan and the Fort Hood Massacre
At about 1:30 Central Time, Army Major Malik Nadal Hasan walked into a processing center at Fort Hood Texas where soldiers were waiting for medical checkups with a pair of hand guns and started shooting without discrimination.
Is life starting to imitate Star Trek?

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Just in the way of patting myself on the back, Associated Content has given Your Humble Servant an award for Best Political Writing.
A Look into a Cat's Eye - Basic Feline Ocular Anatomy for the Pet Owner
A cat's eyes are complex organs which use a variety of tissues and fluids to enable a cat to see. While feline eyes are in some ways similar to those of humans, there are some radical differences which are designed to improve a cat's night vision. Below is a basic overview of feline
ocular anatomy. To find the best, most scientific description, interested readers should consult a good veterinary text on feline anatomy, such as Hill's Atlas of Veterinary Clinical Anatomy.
Nancy Pelosi to Ram Through Health Care Reform by Saturday
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi thinks she has learned the lesson of the thrashing Democrats took in the elections in New Jersey and Virginia. Pelosi will try to force a vote on health care reform on Saturday.
South Park's 'The F Word'
South Park 'The F Word' is on one level a funny story about how our foul-mouthed heroes get rid of an obnoxious motorcycle gang. On another level, South Park 'The F Word' is a meditation on words, especially scatological ones, and their usage.
The opening scene from The Man from Mars

Some day I might get around to writing the rest of it.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Electron beam freeform fabrication is not exactly a replicator, but it does look like a good manufacturing tool for space colonies and long duration space flights.
Roland Emmerich Spares the Kaaba in '2012'
Roland Emmerich, the director of the upcoming worldwide disaster movie '2012', in which quite a few land marks are obliterated, decided against destroying the Kaaba on screen. He demurred for fear of drawing a fatwa and thus getting killed by a Muslim fanatic.
Carly Fiorina Announces United States Senate
Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewitt Packard, has formally announced her candidacy for the United States Senate in California, running against incumbent Senator Barbara Boxer. In what will be a Republican year, Fiorina stands a decent chance of winning.
Houston Mayoral Election Results in Runoff
The Houston Mayoral election results have caused a runoff scheduled for December for December 12 between City Comptroller Annise Parker and former City Attorney Gene Locke. It was the culmination of a fairly boring race.
Dennis Wingo has an interesting analysis of the Augustine Report.

Addendum: Rand Simberg, upon reading the Wingo piece, seems disposed to make the same mistake the Nixon administration did with the shuttle.
Despite my initial misreading of it, though, I even think that it’s possible to do it without the extra three billion.

Upon what basis Rand says that he does not choose to elaborate. Nixon, upon being told that a proper space shuttle would cost ten billion in 1971 dollars, demurred and ordered NASA to do it for roughly half. NASA saluted and did what it was told (it had no choice) but as a result that whatever was saved in development costs were more than outweighed by increased operational costs, something Dennis Wingo notes in his piece upon the various launcher ideas.

Rand goes on to say, "And it had better be, because I doubt if they’re going to get it." He might be right there. The Obama administration's propensity for generous spending does not extend to space exploration.
NY 23 Election Results: Why Did Hoffman Lose?
During an election that was otherwise a triumph for the Republican Party, the question arises: Why did Doug Hoffman lose in the special election in the New York 23rd Congressional District? The explanation will depend on who is explaining.
Virginia and New Jersey Results: Why Republicans Won
The Republicans scored huge triumphs in Virginia and New Jersey, taking all three statewide offices in the former state and the Governor's office in the latter. The margins of victory in Virginia were especially crushing, in double digits.
It seems that Islamic monuments are spared in Roland Emmerich's world ending disaster film, 2012. Allah uh-akbar,
'V' episode 1 pilot brings space aliens to Earth

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The technology aboard the International Space Station.
Everything looks awesome with a light saber.
The new V is apparently about Obama if Obama was a humanoid looking woman who is really a flesh eating alien from beyond the stars bent on world domination.
Joe Biden Takes on Sarah Palin Again
Vice President Joe Biden went down to Watertown, New York to campaign for Bill Owens, the Democratic candidate for Congress in the special election in the 23rd Congressional District of New York. Then Biden went after Sarah Palin.
Election Day November 2009 -- What to Look For
Election Day November 2009 has a number of interesting races that some people will claim will be a harbinger for things to come next year and others will say that they do not. Who they are will depend on who wins and who loses. Here is what to look for on Election Day November 2009.
Galactic Suite claims to be on track for 2012 launch of space hotel
In praise of the scifi corridor.
Another story on the Galactic Suits Hotel project.
But critics have questioned the project, saying the time frame is unreasonable and also where the money is coming from to finance the project.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Considering the whipping she gave him during last year's debate, Joe Biden should have known better than to go up against Sarah Palin.
Rand Simberg analyzes the problems he sees with the Ares 1, with an examination of the recent Ares 1-X test. He makes a conjecture about contact between the second and first stage that may or may not be true. He also makes a rather silly statement that for the development costs of Ares 1, "seventy" SpaceX companies could be formed. Now while there is an argument for going the commercial route insofar as ISS resupply/crew transfer goes, one would have to wonder why NASA would want to create seventy SpaceXs.

In any case, unless Ares 1's defenders in the Congress have enough will and juice to insist that it be built, Rand is flogging a dead horse. If Obama chooses an exploration architecture it will likely involve a commercial solution for ISS and duo heavy lifters for the exploration program, likely Ares V Lite IMHO. There are certain advantages, mainly saving money and helping to jump start a commercial launch industry. On the down side, there is no plan b if the commercial sector does not step up with a space ship.

Also Rand makes this assertion:
Those who cling to the Augustine panel's supposed endorsement of the technical validity of the concept are ignoring the more devastating message from the panel with regard to costs. As Jeff Greason said, with the concurrence of co-panelist Sally Ride, "If Santa Claus gave us this system fully developed tomorrow, the first thing we'd have to do is cancel it, because we can't afford to fly it."

If I am not mistaken, Greason and Sally Ride were referring to a scenario in which the current, projected budget is maintained, which the Augustine Commission has concluded is untenable for any exploration program. There has to be a plus up of three billion a year or else no humans beyond LEO in the foreseeable future.
'Mad Men' Season 3, Episode 12: 'The Grown Ups'
Mad Men Season 3 Episode 12 starts pretty much like most episodes of Mad Men. The smarmy Peter Campbell gets the bad news that he has been passed over for a promotion. Don Draper is still suffering the consequence of his being found out by his wife.
'Dexter' Season, 4 Episode 6: 'If I Had a Hammer'
Dexter Season 4 Episode 6 If I had a Hammer finds Dexter is the role of student and Trinity, the older serial killer played with such chilling effectiveness by John Lithgow, as the teacher, And what Trinity has to teach is not just the art of being a killer.
Dede Scozzafava Becomes a Political Suicide Bomber
It is understandable that Dede Scozzafava is upset. Dede Scozzafava was a liberal Republican who had been handpicked by the GOP party bosses in New York to run in the special election in New York's 23rd Congressional district.
Jeff Foust discusses Boring but important policy developments such as launch indemnification and export control reform. Taylor Dinerman says, Don't forget the Robotss. Such as Mars Science Lab. Louis Friedman has An Open Letter to President Obama in which he touts the parts of the Augustine Report he likes. Jeff Foust discusses a DARPA project in Breaking up may be good to do.
Lileks reports some disturbing news about the Red Dawn remake.
Over the fire I chatted with a neighbor who’s working on the “Red Dawn” remake. Get this: in the new version, China and Russia invade the US – to put a stop to our greed. There are times you wish you had a mouthful of kerosene so you could do a flaming spit take. If this is how the film turns out, it’ll be hilarious; it’s as if the filmmakers were a bit ambivalent about all the horrible jingoism that such a film might unleash, so they had to temper it with a bit of theoretical altruism that could be true, you know, in a sense. I almost expect the Russians and Chinese to invade to enforce Copenhagen protocols, and the brave Americans fight back for a modified rollout of carbon emission standards that will allow domestic industry to perfect the new HydroWind Energy System, which the Chinese don’t want because they just signed a UN agreement to respect patents of other countries.

This is similar to the remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still which had Klaatu coming to destroy the human race to save the Earth. Of course, no one would be able to teach either the Russians or the Chinese about greed.

Of course one could be reading more into this than there really is. In the original Red Dawn, the godless commies were invading the United States because we were a threat to world peace. That did not stop audiences from being very excited indeed at the scenes of the Wolverines shooting, blowing up, and otherwise inflicting hurt on the Red invaders.
What if President Obama chooses not to explore space?
Bill Nelson has had a chat with Obama over the future of the US space program.
Texas is number one.
2009 Lunar Lander Lander Challenge concludes

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Healing bone breaks in minutes.
Rush Limbaugh Sits Down with Chris Wallace
Rush Limbaugh sat down with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday for a rare interview. Much of what Rush had to say is familiar to anyone who has listened to his radio show. But some of the things Rush Limbaugh said will make news.

Smart Diplomacy Watch

Smart Diplomacy Watch

Mark Steyn compares two modes of diplomacy, one from a swaggering Texas, the other from a smart, nuanced woman named Clinton.
Ways to Save for the Thrifty Business Traveler
Unlike high-powered corporate executives, most of us who must travel for business have to be careful of how much money we spend during business trips. Here are some tips for thrifty business travel.