:: welcome to ...all these worlds... :: bloghome | contact ::
[::..about this blog..::]
"...all these worlds..." is a blog by David Hitt. It covers space exploration, decent science fiction, humor (by its very nature), and whatever else I happen to find cool. (Formerly "You Must Fight The Bear")

From which upcoming space probe destination are you most interested in the results?

View the results
Hosted by WebEnalysis
[::..launch countdown..::]

[::..dave online..::]
:: hatbag.net [>]
:: hatbag.net store [>]
:: NASAexplores [>]

[::..me at a glance..::]
:: NASA [>]
:: Apple [>]
:: Ole Miss [>]
:: Southside Baptist [>]
:: Star Wars [>]
:: Libertarian Party [>]
:: X Prize [>]
:: National Space Society [>]

[::..space news..::]
:: NASA Watch [>]
:: Spaceflight Now [>]
:: Space.com [>]
:: Spaceref [>]
:: collectSPACE [>]
:: Space Politics [>]
:: Martian Soil [>]
:: Space Daily [>]
:: Cosmic Log [>]


[::..other blogs..::]
:: Nik's Blog [>]
:: Joe's Blog [>]
:: Joe's Music [>]
:: Jordan's Blog [>]
:: Rebecca's Blog [>]
:: DeeDee's Blog [>]
:: BeaucoupKevin [>]
:: Dave Barry's Blog [>]







[::..aerospace events..::]
::Aug. 3::
:: Mercury orbiter "Messenger" launch
::Aug. 3::
:: Expedition 9 EVA
::Aug. 5::
:: Wild Fire Unveiling
::Sept. 8::
:: Genesis solar wind sample return
::Sept. 29::
:: SS1 X Prize Attempt
::Oct. 9::
:: Expedition 10 launch
::Oct. 18::
:: DART orbiter launch
::Oct. 19::
:: Expedition 9 lands
::Dec. 25::
:: Huygens Probe Release
::Dec. 30::
:: Deep Impact launch
::Jan. 14 '05::
:: Huygens descent to Titan
::NET March 6 '05::
:: STS-114 launch
::April '05::
:: ISS Crew Exchange
::NET May '05::
:: STS-121 launch
::August 10 '05::
:: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

[::..release dates..::]
::Aug. 3::
:: The Black Hole SE DVD
::Aug. 13::
:: Alien Vs. Predator M
::Sept. 7::
:: ST: Generations CE DVD
:: Clerks 10th Anniv. DVD
:: Jersey Girl (1st) DVD
::Sept. 10::
:: Enterprise premiere TV
::Sept. 17::
:: Sky Captain... M
::Sept. 21::
:: Star Wars Trilogy DVD
::Sept. 22::
:: Smallville premiere TV
::Nov. 5::
:: The Incredibles M
::Nov. 9::
:: Gone With The Wind DVD
::Nov. 16::
:: Buck Rogers DVD
::Dec. 7::
:: Mary Poppins DVD
::May 19, 2005::
:: Star Wars: Episode III M

[::..space voyagers..::]
As of today, a total of 434 people have flown into space.
Latest: Mike Melvill

:: Hitchhiker's Guide [>]
:: Ain't It Cool News [>]
:: DVDFile.com [>]
:: VideoETA [>]
:: DVDanswers [>]
[::..comic books..::]
:: comiccompany.com [>]
:: NEWSarama [>]
[::..comic strips..::]
:: Arlo & Janis [>]
:: More Arlo & Janis [>]
:: Mr. Lowe [>]
:: Marshall Ramsey [>]
:: Lucky Cow [>]
[::..Mac stuff..::]
:: Cult of Mac [>]
:: MacNN.com [>]
[::..other links..::]
:: Engrish.com [>]
:: carbwire [>]
:: The Onion [>]
:: Jabberwacky [>]
:: Strong Bad e-mail [>]
[::..tutor's kitty kam..::]
Kitty Kam

[::..my profile..::]

Name: David Hitt
About Me: Inspiring the next generation of explorers...
See my complete profile

The opinions expressed on this page are those of the author, and very likely no one else.


:: Saturday, May 31, 2003 ::

Got Those Six Days Before I Go See The Blues Blues
Dr. Lanny Prichard of Indianola sent me this (I think he was just passing it on, but it may be his, I don't know). Since I, and a decent part of the blog audience will be going to see the King of the Blues, B.B. King himself, in Indianola Friday, thought this would help start setting the mood.

If you're new to Blues music, or like it but never really understood the whys and wherefores, here are some very fundamental rules:

1. Most Blues begin with: "Woke up this morning ... "

2. "I got a good woman" is a bad way to begin the Blues, unless you stick something nasty in the next line like, "I got a good woman, with the meanest face in town."

3. The Blues is simple. After you get the first line right, repeat it. Then find something that rhymes--sort of: "Got a good woman with the meanest face in town. Yes, I got a good woman with the meanest face in town. Got teeth like Margaret Thatcher and she weigh 500 pound."

4. The Blues is not about choice. You stuck in a ditch, you stuck in a ditch ... ain't no way out.

5. Blues cars: Chevys, Fords, Cadillacs and broken-down trucks. Blues don’t travel in Volvos, BMWs, or sport utility vehicles. Most Blues transportation is a Greyhound bus or a southbound train. Jet aircraft and state-sponsored motor pools ain't even in the running. Walkin' plays a major part in the Blues lifestyle. So does fixin' to die.

6. Teenagers can't sing the Blues; they ain't fixin' to die yet. Adults sing the Blues. In Blues, "adulthood" means being old enough to get the electric chair if you shoot a man in Memphis.

7. Blues can take place in New York City, but not in Hawaii or anywhere in Canada. Hard times in Minneapolis or Seattle is probably just clinical depression. Clarksdale, Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, Memphis, and N'awlins are still the best places to have the Blues. You cannot have the Blues in any place that don't get rain.

8. A man with male pattern baldness ain't the Blues. A woman with male pattern baldness is. Breaking your leg 'cause you were skiing is not the Blues. Breaking your leg 'cause a alligator be chompin' on it is.

9. You can't have no Blues in an office or a shopping mall. The lighting is wrong. Go outside to the parking lot or sit by the dumpster.

10. Good places for the Blues:
a. highway
b. jailhouse
c. empty bed
d. bottom of a whiskey glass

11. Bad places for the Blues:
a. Nordstrom's
b. gallery openings
c. Ivy League institutions
d. golf courses

12. No one will believe it's the Blues if you wear a suit, unless you happen to be an old person, and you slept in it.

13. Do you have the right to sing the Blues? Yes, if:
a. you're older than dirt
b. you're blind
c. you shot a man in Memphis
d. you can't be satisfied
No, if:
a. you have all your teeth
b. you were once blind but now can see
c. the man in Memphis lived
d. you have a 401K or trust fund

14. Blues is not a matter of color, it's a matter of bad luck. Tiger Woods cannot sing the Blues. Sonny Liston could have. Ugly white people also got a leg up on the Blues.

15. If you ask for water and your darlin' gives you gasoline, it's the Blues. Other acceptable Blues beverages are:
a. cheap wine
b. whiskey or bourbon
c. black coffee
d. muddy water
The following are NOT Blues beverages:
a. Perrier
b. chardonnay
c. Snapple
d. Slim Fast

16. If death occurs in a cheap motel or a shotgun shack, it's a Blues death. Stabbed in the back by a jealous lover is another Blues way to die. So are the electric chair, substance abuse and dying lonely on a broken-down cot. You can't have a Blues death if you die during a tennis match or during liposuction.

17. Some Blues names for women:
a. Sadie
b. Big Mama
c. Bessie
d. Hot Dumpling

18. Some Blues names for men:
a. Joe
b. Willie
c. Little Willie
d. Big Willie

19. Persons with names like Michelle, Amber, Jennifer, Debbie, and Heather can't sing the Blues no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.

20. Blues Name Starter Kit
a. name of physical infirmity (Blind, Cripple, Lame, etc.)
b. first name plus name of fruit (Lemon Lime, Peach, etc.)
c. last name of a president, for example: Blind Lemon Jefferson, Pegleg Lime Johnson or Cripple Peach Filmore, etc.

21. I don't care how tragic your life is: if you own a computer, you cannot sing the blues, period. Sorry.

New York, New York
This blog wouldn't be living up to its name if it neglected to link to this story.

For The Mississippi Literati Out There...
Turns out this story about the Detroit Pistons hiring Larry Brown as coach is not as cool as one might hope.

Daily Hatbag
Yesterday, by the way, was the seventh anniversary of the Hatbag revival.

:: Friday, May 30, 2003 ::

This Message Brought To You By One Of The Most-Hated Men At NASA
The NASA Kids Club is now closed.

The Very Meaning Of Our Lives
To me, it's not quite as funny as the version with the lightsaber effects, but the "Star Wars Kid" has been Reloaded (the link is about a third of the way down the page currently).

Two Of My Favorite Tech Companies
Thank goodness for Safari.
Somehow, I just don't see the new Microsoft/AOL settlement as a good thing--I can't help but fear this is the beginning of the end for Netscape (or more likely, the end of the end). The only way this could possibly be good is if AOL continues withdrawing $750 million from Microsoft's account each month without telling them.

Daily Hatbag
It's Friday.

Enterprise Under Fire
Foam impact tests were succesful in damaging a wing leading edge section taken from Enterprise.
BTW, I would be more impressed with ABC News if they knew the difference between Enterprise and "Endeavor" (sic).

:: Thursday, May 29, 2003 ::

Today In History
In case you've missed it, the top of Mt. Everest was first reached 50 years ago today.

Sorry, Mr. Gorsky
JoCasta sent me this site about some common space-related urban myths.

Boss Gates
Sadly, this Linux/Dukes of Hazzard analogy, while very cool, is still too confusing for me.

Thundercats, Ho!
OK, I won't actually get a chance to really check this out myself until later, but this site with TV commercials from the '80s looks pretty cool. Unfortunately, in crappy Windows Media Player format.

This Week At NE
Two cool new stories at NASAexplores this week (and I'm not just saying that 'cause I wrote them both).
One is about the Orbital Space Plane, NASA's next manned spacecraft which is currently in the early stages of development, and which, when finished, will be the agency's first new manned launch vehicle in 30 years.
The other is about the strange phenomenon of taste in space, one of the great unsolved mysteries of spaceflight.
Check 'em out.

Ah, Microsoft.

Daily Hatbag
BTW, four days ago was the 26 anniversary of the release of Star Wars.

If You Believe...
This is one of the best articles I've read about China's efforts to put a man on the Moon. To some extent, it's somewhat low on details and high on speculation, but it does an excellent job of bringing the big picture together and explaining the significance.
And on a small related side note: Russia may help China create a space station. Not entirely sure what that means. Could be really, really big, could not. More as it develops.

CAIB Update
The Columbia Accident Investigation Board expects to issue its final report before the end of July. This article gives a very broard preview of where exactly the report is heading.

:: Wednesday, May 28, 2003 ::

What Is The DaveMatrix
Thanks to other bloggers ending up there, there's some new comments on my Matrix discussion page,
"What The @%# Is The Matrix?"
. If you haven't been there recently, go check the new stuff out.

Return To Flight
Astronaut Eileen CollinsI had the amazing experience today to get to interview Eileen Collins, NASA's first female Shuttle pilot and first and currently only female Shuttle commander, and the commander of the upcoming STS-114 Return to Flight mission. She was very friendly and wonderful to talk to, and gave us a lot of great material for our summer special edition about her (She even told me when the next mission is currently scheduled for, but that would be ruining the surprise, wouldn't it?). She had a lot of great stuff to say, particularly about the importance of the Shuttle, and about her interest in space tourism (basically, she hopes to be a space tourist someday so that she'll actually have some free time to enjoy being in space... unlike her very-busy experiences on the Shuttle). It was just an incredible opportunity to meet someone who has already played a historic role in the space program, and has another historic role to play coming up.
I also got to meet Dr. John Houbolt, another great hero of the space program. On NASA Kids, I get a lot of people of asking if we went to the Moon, why nobody else did. And the answer is, 'cause nobody else could figure out what Houbolt did. Essentially, he pushed for the Lunar Orbit Rendezvous technique that made the lunar landing possible.

Aim High
Wanna be an astronaut? NASA is now accepting applications for the 2004 Astronaut Candidate Class. Submit your application by July 1, and you could be on your way to space. Some restrictions may apply.

Great Trek!
My advice: If you haven't seen Nemesis, but plan to, just get the DVD, and watch the special features. Not the movie, just the special features. You'll come away excited about the fact that they're making great Trek movies again listening to the cast and crew talk about how wonderful this movie was, and how it truly captured the spirit of great Trek. Heck, the story even sounds good if you're not watching it. The deleted scenes aren't that bad, and when they say they cut them so that they didn't take away from even better scenes, you'll just know that must have been some fantastic stuff that was actually in the movie.

Daily Hatbag
I'm not even sure that Hippie was still in school at this point, but I guess so...

Earthquakes, birds and snakes
Oddly, considering that yesterday was the end of the world as we know it, I feel fine.

Mercury 13
This book sounds kind of interesting, and I'll likely get it if I ever work through the huge stack of stuff I've got to read.
Also, it kind of ties in with something cool I'm doing today, which I'll get to later.

Fling The Cow!

:: Tuesday, May 27, 2003 ::

Oh, By The Way
Um... by the way... um... life as we know it ends today. Hope this won't be too big an inconvenience for anybody, and sorry for not giving you more notice.
You see... um... there's this brown dwarf star, Nibiru a.k.a. Planet X, and... um... it's been getting closer to the Earth... but... um... you probably haven't seen it, even though it's like really close and really big... but, um... it's going to make the Earth stop rotating today... you've probably noticed that the Earth's spinning has been slowing for the last six days... or, um... maybe not... so then the Earth's magnetic poles will shift, so you if you're working on your computer, you may want to save often.
The really annoying part is, I had some cool plans for tomorrow. Hopefully, the end of the world as we know it won't affect the B.B. King concert, but you'll need to remember that Indianola is now SOUTH of Jackson and EAST of Huntsville.

The Govinator
This is exactly the sort of sentiment I would want to hear from a man who wants to be governor:
"'I'm not thinking about it (now), but I might start thinking about after "Terminator 3" is released,' said Schwarzenegger, a Republican. He says the movie is his top priority for now."

Power To The People
I stole this comic strip from Deedee's blog... if you've seen the Matrix Powerade commercials, the strip's kinda funny.

One Last Call Home
Should doomed astronauts have one last call home? And the larger issue--should they be told they're not going to make it back? This article has some interesting discussion of the subject.

Beyond Shuttle
The Planetary Society came to these conclusions about the direction of future space exploration at a recent workshop. Interesting reading.

Big Brother In Space
Ever wonder what Jackson's "Russ Bennett" reservoir looks like from space? Or who "Russ Bennett" is? Oh well. Not even NASA can be perfect.
Anyway, this is kind of a cool photo, and using the high-resolution photo linked to at the below the first pic, I could almost figure out where Prep is (those of you with dial-up connections should note the file size, though).

Daily Hatbag
Today, I'm in a mean mood, so I'm linking to this Hatbag strip about Tatus, but I'm accidentally mispelling that word in hopes of getting people searching for the hot Russian teenage girl band to come here accidentally. Whoops, that description probably didn't help matters either. Well, I should just say at the outside that there are no nude chicks if you follow that link. Oh, that probably didn't help either.

:: Monday, May 26, 2003 ::

Down Quark
Jim Abbott sent me the following info:
"Quark has long tried to reduce software piracy. After years of complaints, Quark finally stopped requiring a hardware dongle for versions of XPress 5 sold outside of the United States. With XPress 6.0, the company introduces a new protection system. After you install the software, you have five days to activate it via a telephone call or the Web; if you don't, it turns into a demo version that doesn't save documents and prints pages with a watermark."
"Activation is not registration, and activating the software does not send any personal or identifiable information about you or your computer to Quark. However, it does associate your software's serial number to a unique code based on your particular hardware configuration. If you change your hardware (install RAM or buy a new computer), you have to reactivate the software."
Interesting idea. I'll be interested to see how it works.

In Case You Missed It...
If you have not read the "Astronauts' Dirty Laundry" story that's been posted now at NASAexplores, Liftoff, and NASA Kids, I just got e-mail through the Liftoff site declaring, "I believe that to be the wosrt (sic) column ever written on space travel."
It's always nice to be spoken off in superlatives.

The Architect
This site has a transcript of the Architect scene from Matrix Reloaded, in case you didn't catch any of it.

Technology's Bounty
Not sure what to do with all those old 3 1/2-inch floppies you don't need anymore? Turn them into Klingon Bird of Preys.

Bowling For Oscars
Been wondering where you could go to express your support for revoking Michael Moore's Oscar?
Well, look no more.

Originality 2003
Microsoft is internally calling their new bundle of applications "iWave." Sheesh, it's like they're not even trying anymore.

Today In History
Skylab was manned for the first time 30 years ago today.

Greetings, Earthlings!
Keeping the new tradition alive, ISS Science Officer Ed Lu has written his first letter from the International Space Station. I'm glad to seeing him carrying on after Peggy Whitson and Don Pettit, hopefully this will become regular practice for ISS crews (in fact, it's now been done by every one of the Station's science officers, so maybe it will become an informal duty of the job).
In this first letter, Lu talks about his experience flying to ISS on board the Soyuz TMA-2, perhaps the first time the public has had access to such a description from an American astronaut. So far, it seems Lu's letters will be more like Whitson's than Pettit's, though it's too early too judge, of course. While Don's were wonderful for advancing the perception of ISS as a science facility, I think Peggy's were a little more accessible to the general public (which, in this case, includes me).

Coup d'Space
The link to the main story at Space.com today is kind of amusing, particularly if one weren't familar with United Space Alliance.

Y'all Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry
Somehow, I really doubt this album lives up to the potential its artist and title demand.

Daily Hatbag
It's apropos of nothing, but this is another one of my favorites.

Play It Again, Sam
Two days before my birthday, Warner is releasing a new special edition of Casablanca, complete with 10 minutes of deleted scenes and outtakes.

:: Sunday, May 25, 2003 ::

Daily Hatbag
Man, do I ever regret putting all my wombat money in tech stocks.

Fear My Superhuman ... Whoops
An excerpt from a story about "Club Kryptonite" in Myrtle Beach from the magazine where my brother-in-law works:
"The name may be straight out of the pages of Marvel Comics, but don't go looking for Club Kryptonite in the fictional city of Metropolis."
I mean, I can almost understand the ignorance, but have a hard time forgiving not doing the 30 seconds of research.
To be fair, though, with the closing of the Waldenbooks, there's not a whole lot of places in Oxford you can buy comics anymore (alas, Fat Boy and Pizza Man). Still, a think Kroger does have a few, and even though it's not a wide selection, I would have a hard time imagining that Superman wouldn't be one of them.
(And, of course, the kids nowadays have this thing called the internet...)

:: Saturday, May 24, 2003 ::

Mr. Supersonic
I had the good fortune today of getting Chuck Yeager to sign a copy of his autobiography for me.
As I mentioned, he was in the area, receiving an award at the Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon show.
It was amazingly cool getting to see him in person and hear him speak... He gave basically a 15-minute or so biography of himself, and it was kind of interesting what he talked about... for example, he talked quite a bit about the X-1 test flights leading up to his historic flight, and then basically said that after that, he flew again, the plane was hard to fly, then it got easier, and that was the first time we broke the sound barrier, and then moved on, with just a tiny bit more detail that I've written here. Tons and tons of interesting info, but then almost nothing about the most interesting stuff. I guess he figures everybody already knows those stories (though it still would have been cool hearing them from him).
Still, an awesome experience indeed. Another bit of history I never thought I'd get a first hand run-in with.
Since my wife grew up knowing almost nothing about aviation or spaceflight, I've been trying to give her a remedial course in the last year or so. Several months back, I got her to watch "The Right Stuff," and it's really paid off. Since then, we've met both Yeager and Schirra, and I've been able to say, "Remember in that movie we watched..." So now she at least has some sense of how cool this is...

Daily Hatbag
For some reason, each month, this strip bring people into the Hatbag site because they have run a search for "Da Pits" or "Da'Pits." I'm not even sure what they're really looking for.

:: Friday, May 23, 2003 ::

Changing Of The Guard
I got to meet NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe today while he was in Huntsville to announce the new center director for Marshall. Dave King, who has been serving as Deputy Director, will be stepping into the top job. King came to MSFC about six months ago Kennedy, where he had also served as deputy director.
After the announcement, I got to go shake hands with O'Keefe and speak with him very briefly, telling him what I wonderful job I think he is doing.

Daily Hatbag
But could a computer truly appreciate this?

Pedagogal Obsolescence
Thought the (former) teachers out there might be interested in this.

Down To Earth
According to NASA's planetary protection officer, SARS is not from space.
(I didn't even know we had a planetary protection officer. How cool is that? That's what I want to do when I grow up!)

Space Hoka
Alright--this one's for the former Oxonians out there:
The NASA News Summary site I frequently visit had a headline today, "Barton Says Shuttles Should Only Be Used In An 'Unmanned Capacity'" Unfortunately, buried way down in the story, it turns out its Rep. Joe Barton, which kind of disappointed me.
BTW, Barton also says return to flight may be delayed by health inspectors, that even though they say it could be about a year before the Shuttles fly again, he thinks it will be exactly a year and that when Shuttles do resume flying, Jesse won't be allowed on them.

"There's A Demon That Lives In The Sky"
It's kind of short notice, but if anybody wants to come to N. Alabama this weekend, Gen. Chuck Yeager will be receiving an award in Decatur Sat. around 5 p.m.

History Of The Future
Here's what NASA's got in store for the next year or so in unmanned space exploration. There's some pretty cool stuff coming up.

:: Thursday, May 22, 2003 ::

Space Modulator
Ever wonder what Marvin the Martian saw through his telescope when he was preparing to blow up the Earth?
It probably looked something like this.

Um... Next Week In History
I'm afraid if I don't put this in here now, I'll forget in a week:
On May, 28, 1959, monkeynauts Able and Baker were launched in the nosecone of a Jupiter rocket. After their 15 minute flight, the monkeys were successfully recovered. They withstood forces 38 times the force of Earth's gravity and were weightless for 9 minutes. They were the first animals to be recovered alive after a spaceflight.
As I recall, Able died not long afterwards from complications in surgery to remove monitoring equipment, but Baker lived for many years afterwards, and her memorial is in front of the Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville. Bananas are frequently left atop the memorial.
On a side now, one of my favorite parts in the Billy Joel song "We Didn't Start The Fire" is the part about the "Space Monkey Mafia." That's just cool. Also cool is the bit about "Ole Miss John Glenn." Similar to regular John Glenn, but with more heritage, I'm sure (To say nothing of "Alabama Kruschev"--presumably George Wallace)..

This Week At NE
Articles this week at NASAexplores are about a new parachute that can bring an entire plane down safely, and about reflex research being done that may aid in interplanetary flight.

205 Represent!
Even though I didn't watch but like a minute of the show, and that accidentally, I'm still glad to hear that Ruben Studdard won American Idol. And Huntsville's not even in the 205 anymore.

Expedition 8
According to Pravda, ISS Expedition 8 will consist of Russian cosmonaut Alexander Kaleri and Commander Michael Foale (a British national who became a U.S. citizen in order to become an astronaut). Foale is no stranger to Space Stations, having served as a member of the Mir 23 crew, spending 145 days in space in 1997. (Which is interesting, given NASA's apparent reluctance regarding long-term space exposure during a career--Six months on ISS would put at somewhere pretty close to a total of a year in space, which has to be pretty close to a NASA record, if not well beyond it.)
According to the Pravda article, Expedition 8 will launch to ISS aboard the Russian Soyuz TMA-3 on October 18. The two members of Exp. 8 will be joined on their launch by ESA Astronaut Pedro Duque of Spain, who will then return to Earth with the Expedition 7 crew about 7-10 days later aboard TMA-2.

Your Blues Ain't Like Mine
There still a little over a week left to buy $5 advance tickets to the annual B.B. King Homecoming Festival in Indianola on Friday, June 6. Nicole and I are currently planning to attend.

Daily Hatbag
What is the significance of this strip? It's the first one I came across today that I haven't linked to here yet.

Come To Me, Son of Jor-El
Finally got around to watching the Smallville season finale last night.
Got anything to say about it? Do it here.

It'll Never Be The Same
Likewise the Enterprise finale.

:: Wednesday, May 21, 2003 ::

Space Profiles
A while back, I talked about astronaut candidate Leland Melvin in the blog, and said that I was going to occasionally profile some of today's astronauts that the public probably don't know anything about. As you've noticed, I've been rather lax in doing so.
I just got of the phone with astronaut Rex Walheim. A veteran of one spaceflight, Walheim was a member of the STS-110 crew last April. For someone who has only flown once, however, he got the full experience. Not only did Walheim get to visit the International Space Station, but he also got to perform two spacewalks, totalling over 14 hours. On his EVAs, Walheim worked on installing the S-Zero Truss, which was essentially the foundation for the Station construction that has been performed since. It was really cool to get to talk to him; he's a really nice guy. While most of the crews have already been picked for the first year after return to flight, he said that he hopes to be up again within a year or so after those crews fly.

Today In History
On this date in 1927, Charles Lindbergh completed the first solo nonstop transAtlantic flight.

Colonel Panic
More talk about doing away with Colonel Reb.
A phenomenally bad idea, if you ask me.

Monkey's Uncle
It's apropos of nothing, but it amuses me that a scientist calls chimpanzees "Homos".

Brits In Space
Reuters has an article about Starchaser's efforts to build a private manned launch vehicle. The article states, however, that the company hopes to win the X Prize with an "early 2005" launch. According to the X Prize Web site, though, the prize is only funded through Jan. 1, 2005.

Daily Hatbag
Objection Overruled!

Less than four months to go until Talk Like A Pirate Day.

Hey, Joe
As I recall, you've long wanted a good live-action giant-robot movie.
Well, this may be it.

:: Tuesday, May 20, 2003 ::

What Hath Science Wrought?
Mmmmm... beef-fruit.

Discussion Area Open
What Is The DaveMatrix?
Addendum: I really enjoyed this article about the Matrix.

Marshall Director Art Stephenson is stepping down from that position.
Addendum: More details are here.

Weighty Matters
Alright, using up bandwidth for another personal note...sorry. One of the DJs on the morning show I listen to recently tried to lose weight through "motivation by humiliation" (which culminated in pictures of him in a thong on the internet today). I'm not going to take it quite that far, but I am mentioning on here that I'm starting the Atkins diet today, so that when you see me and can tell I'm not losing weight, everyone will have final proof that I have no willpower whatsoever.

Daily Hatbag
Yep, in my new healthy lifestyle, moderation will be my watchword.

Gleaming the Cube
Lain was kind enough to point out to me the rumors of an upcoming special anniversary Mac, apparently for people who wanted a G4 cube, but didn't want to get a good price on them when they were on clearance after having failed miserably.

Almost Lost Moon
Here's a photo of last week's lunar eclipse, taken from space.

:: Monday, May 19, 2003 ::

Clone War
Lest you forget, Nemesis comes out on DVD Tuesday. so I know you'll want to rush out and buy your copy.

Lost Moon
In the mail today was my copy of Lost Moon (the Apollo 13 story), now inscribed and signed by Jim Lovell.
Also arriving today was this item I won on eBay. My great-aunt, who also worked at Marshall, have given me hers not long after she received it in '81, and I probably had it stolen when I took it to school for show and tell. Ever since, the sheet it was attached to has remained part of my collection, the text on the back of the coin still legible in the glue that had once held it affixed. Now, finally, after 20 years, I can finally put the coin back where it belongs.

How Deep Is The Rabbit Hole?
For Lain, here's a critical review of Matrix Reloaded.
I'm considering setting up a seperate area for the discussion of Matrix (stuff like why things work the way they do in the Matrix, not stuff like, boy, that dancing part was horrible), but wanted to know first if anyone would be interested. If so, let me know.

The AP has a good story about the symposium I attended a couple of weeks ago.

Destination Unknown
From The Washington Times:
"NASA's real challenge is determining in which direction the manned program shall go, whether a voyage to Mars, a permanent manned base on the moon, or even an intermediate step, such as a series of manned missions to potentially earth-threatening asteroids. ... That decision, and the resolution to see it though, can only come from the top. Several months ago, we called for Mr. Bush to give the space program a tangible target in his next State of the Union address. Now that the fighting in Iraq has finished and the tax cut has passed, Mr. Bush must make the direction of the manned space program a priority."

"...Get on with the job"
I'm often kind of dubious when many astronauts from the '60s claim to be experts on spaceflight today, but I think this piece by Apollo 7 astronauts Walter Cunningham hits pretty close to the mark.
(Small plug: As I mentioned a few days ago, Cunningham, a member of the crew of the first manned Apollo flight, has a book coming out next month)

Don't Worry, Be Happy
So what do all of you people who doubt the validity of the supposed face on Mars have to say for yourselves now? Huh?

Daily Hatbag
To this day, this remains one of my favorite strips.

:: Sunday, May 18, 2003 ::

Daily Hatbag
Speaking of long laundry lists ...
(OK, now that's reaching for a connection)

CAIB Update
A little bit of good news from Admiral Gehmen.
My personal prediction--NASA gets a long laundry list from the CAIB when this is all done, at least a year's worth of work and possibly a good bit more, but few enough of them will have to be finished BEFORE return to flight that the Shuttles will be flying again within a year, likely within roughly a year of the accident, and possibly before the end of 2003.
Again, this is just based on following the news, not any inside info, 'cause I have none.

:: Saturday, May 17, 2003 ::

Free Blog
For Jason, I'm putting up a Free Blog feature today.
Got something you wanna talk about, post it here.

Daily Hatbag
Why is the whole word "IT" capatilized in Hippies' second-panel speech balloon? Is he referring to Information Technology? The Stephen King book?

Buy Now And Save!
Now through May 31, you can save $5 on any purchase of $40 or more at the Hatbag store by using the secret code word "DADGRADS".

:: Friday, May 16, 2003 ::

Quote of the Day
"I'm making a conscious decision to take this whole Judaism thing seriously. I think the Jews need me right now."
--Geraldo Rivera

Star Wars Kid follow-up
The Web site that I linked to a while back with the video of the lightsaber-fighting kid did the research to find that guy, track him down, and interview him, learning absolutely nothing interesting at all.

Logical Additions
Did you used to rely on paper-rock-scissors for your decision making, but now it just seems inadequate?
Then you need to broaden your horizons!
Try Paper-Scissors-Rock-Lizard-Spock.
Remember lizard poisons Spock, Spock crushes scissors!

Daily Hatbag
Since, as best as I can tell, no one is even reading right now, I'm just picking one at random.

If anyone is interested, signed copies of books by Apollo and Skylab astronauts Walt Cunningham and Bill Pogue are available for pre-order through Countdown Creations.

There Is No "Spoooooooooon!"...Yet
Coming soon to DVD are the first season of the Dilbert TV show, as well as "Tick: The Complete Series." The announcement does not indicate whether this is the animated Tick, which would be cool, or the live-action one, which would be less so.

:: Thursday, May 15, 2003 ::

Happy Anniversary
Since I'll probably forget it if I don't go ahead and write it, Saturday is the 12th anniversary of the World Wide Web.
Plus, the advance notice means you can start planning the party.
On a side note, that means that there has been a Hatbag site for over half of the entire life of the Web, and that Lain has had some form of Web presence for about 75 percent of its existance.

Today In History
Gordon Cooper's Faith 7 launched 40 years ago today for the final of the six manned Mercury missions.

Mother, the Core is here
A planetary scientist has made an interesting proposal to send a probe to the core of the Earth.
I'm generally pretty open-minded about such things, but this one kind of concerns me.

Don't forget--Lunar eclipse tonight.

Daily Hatbag
Even in the nighttime strips, sometimes you can pretty well guess who's saying what.

This Week At NE
Microwave lightcraftArticles at NASAexplores this week discuss the possibility of using microwave beamed-energy to create high-tech propulsion systems that could be used in advanced launch vehicles and futuristic lightcraft, as well as research on preventing muscle deterioration during spaceflight.

:: Wednesday, May 14, 2003 ::

Daily Hatbag
Man, it's really amazing we didn't make a lot more money with this.

Today In History
Today is the 30th anniversary of the launch of the Skylab space station.

Mr. Anderson? Thou sayest
Christian Science Monitor has an interesting article about religious imagery in The Matrix.

Two million and counting
Over 2 million songs have been sold through Apple's iTunes Music Store in its first 16 days.
(On a side note, the new iPods apparently have a hidden recording feature Apple isn't talking about.)

Just A Little Bit More Than The Cow Will Allow
I lack the necessary plug-ins here to make my own cow videos, but it's supposed to be cool. If anybody has any success with it, let me know.

:: Tuesday, May 13, 2003 ::

What If The Moon Never Comes Back?
There will be a lunar eclipse Thursday night, starting around 9 p.m.CDT, with the Moon fully inside the Earth's umbra for about 52 minutes, starting at 10:14 CDT. All of the eastern part of the United States is inside the optimum viewing zone for the eclipse.
For a more frightening look at eclipses, check out this Fuzzier Than Normal video clip. The Eclipse movie trailer is about a fourth of the way through, sandwiched between other funny FTN clips (For instance, you'll have to go past "The Credible Hulk" to get to the Eclipse bit).

This site gives a useful brief timeline of the internet.

So Money
The new $20 bills were unveiled today.

Daily Hatbag
A strip about bull on You Must Fight The Bear?
It's like your own personally wacky stock market.

Need More Bloggin'?
BlogMatcher lets you find blogs similar to one you pick using a complex system that compares things the blogs link to. I was kind of surprised at the results for my blog, in that there were lots of blogs that had one or two things in common, but very few that had multiple things in common. I would have thought the things I link to would just naturally tend to go together.

They Blinded Us -- With Science!
The North Koreans apparently have fired laser weapons at US troops.

The Day The Music Disappeared
Songs have been disappearing from the iTunes Music Store.
No explanation from Apple yet.

The Last Laugh
Ladies and Gentlemen, it's Mark Hamill's directorial debut, Comic Book: The Movie. Coming soon to whereever direct-to-video movies go.

What's In A Name
A couple in China has named their child Saddam SARS after the major events at the time of his birth.
Using this site, I've determined that if my parents had used this system, I might well be named "Stevie Wonder Superdome," less cool than Saddam SARS, to be sure, but still kind of neat.
What would your name be?

Good Buy, Moon
Here's your chance to own property on the Moon. I have to say, as much of a gimmick as this is, I may well end up doing it.
(Though I'm curious just what the shipping and handling charge is for 1 acre of the Moon!

:: Monday, May 12, 2003 ::

Think Different
CNN headlinesAlso courtesy of Lain is this cool little thing he saw on the CNN Web site this weekend.

More Dave Honors
Lain pointed out to me that Methodist Hospitals of Dallas has a "David Hitt Auditorium" where ethics classes are taught (likely among other things).

Your Award-Winning Blogger
OK, bit of bragging here, sorry... Just found out that I won a first-place award in this year's Mississippi Press Association competition. We don't know exactly what we win until the convention, just that we've won something. This will probably be my last MPA award and possibly my last journalism award ever, so I had to mention it. Since I've felt bad about leaving the world of newspapers, it's at least nice to go out on top.

Let no one say we don't give voice to opposing viewpoints on this blog. And actually, he does have a couple of decent points.
And while we're at it, check this out.

Channing Channelling
Since Lain's no longer guest-hosting the blog, I'm posting this on this behalf.
(Ironically, there was a link to another story about the crumbling of the "Old Man of the Mountain" on the same page.

Klingon For The Mentally Ill
It's a shame this isn't true.

Brace Yourself
Alright, in the surprise announcement of the day, it turns out that some of Microsoft's new ideas are Apple's old ideas.
Hard to believe, I know.

Flushing Out Looters
According to collectSPACE, a 27-year-old Texas man was convicted last week of stealing Columbia's toilet.

Cold In Space
OK, this is about the dumbest story I've seen about that disease whose name I'm not going to stoop to mentioning here.

Deep Impact
Thanks to NASA, here's your chance to send your name to a comet. The Deep impact mission will crash into Comet Tempel 1 on July 4, 2005, creating a football-stadium sized crafter 7 to 15 stories deep. And here's your chance to leave your calling card in the devastation!

Daily Hatbag
This was timely when we ran it. Trust me.

Field Trip Report
Alright, I've been back for a few days, but haven't gotten around to giving a report on my travel.
Florida was wonderful. The weather was wonderful. The beach was wonderful.
The symposium was great. It was really interesting getting the four different perspectives of such an amazing experience. I had seen Gene Cernan before with his Apollo 17 crewmate Jack Schmitt, but it was great getting to hear from astronauts who had participated in other Apollo missions as well.
It's also nice to attend an event like this one or the one at Marshall I went to where the astronauts are "among friends," and you get a real feeling for the cameraderie.
I find it interesting though when Apollo-era and before astronauts talk about what NASA should be doing. John Young, of course, has good an understanding of the Shuttle program as anyone, but you have to wonder when some of the others talk about the superiority of the old ways of doing things or the flaws in the new ways just what exactly motivates that.
Due to the museum's superstrict AstroNazis, we weren't able to get autographs from any of the panelists, but there were to other astronauts there that we were able to talk to and get autographs from.
One was Bob Crippen, the pilot on the very first Space Shuttle flight. He and John Young were the first Americans in space during my lifetime, and so it was a real honor for me to get to meet him.
The other, though, was Mercury astronaut Wally Schirra, and it was just amazing to get to meet him. I had never even hoped to get to meet one of the original seven astronauts, figuring I would never get the chance, so that was a huge privelage to get to shake hands with him.
When I talked to Schirra, I told him I worked for an education Web site at Marshall, and that we were working on astronaut profiles for this summer and I'd love to talk to him about it. He says he'll tell me the easy way to get him, and I'm thinking that this is so cool that Wally Schirra's going to give me insider access to him. Working at Marshall is so cool, right? Well, it turns out what he's doing is blowing me off, he's just so cool about it that it takes me forever to realize it. Guy like that's been around the world a few times, you know. So anyway, he says to just run an internet search on him, and asks if I've done that. I'm thinking he means he has a Web site that would tell how to get in touch with him, and say no, I haven't. What he means is that rather than getting in touch with him, I should just look up stuff about him on the internet. When I say I haven't done that, he proceeds to tell me how to use Google. Here I am, an internet professional, being taught how to use search engines by one of the Mercury Seven. Just kind of an odd, cool moment. Of course, from now on, I'm going to pretend I didn't know how to do that before, and anytime search engines come up, I'm going to mention the fact that one of America's original astronauts taught me to use them. The sad thing is, those that know me, know I'm not kidding.

:: Sunday, May 11, 2003 ::

Are You Ready?
NASA has announced that Bill Parsons, head of Stennis Space Center near the Mississippi Gulf Coast, has been selected as the new head of the Shuttle program. Among his many credentials is the fact that Parsons is an alumnus of the University of Mississippi.

Daily Hatbag
Here's another tribute to the end of the current school year.

This Week At NE
The two new articles this week at NASAexplores deal with the variety of flight simulators NASA uses, and a new way to use the explosive bolts used in spaceflight to save lives.

Greetings, President
Nice to know that someone else appreciations one of the greatest movies of all time.

:: Saturday, May 10, 2003 ::

Daily Hatbag
I was trying to find a Superman-related strip to go with the post below, but apparently we never did one, surprising enough. I guess Darkwing Duck is basically a superhero, though. That said, remember those early days of the internet when time logged in was something you actually had to keep up, lest you run up a bill or use up your account time at a site? Man, if you had told me 10 years ago that there would actually come a day when I would be logged into the internet 24 hours a day, I probably would have said, "Um, OK," 'cause 10 years ago I wouldn't have even known enough about the internet to think that was unlikely. Nine years ago, though, it would have been a different story.

"I'll Keep You By My Side With My Superhuman... Kryptonite"
Having handed the blog reins back over to me, Lain sent me a rumor that Jonathan Frakes may direct the Superman movie. With all due respect to Mr. Frakes, given the other names that have been attached to the job, it seems unlikely that he would be chosen unless Warner gets pushed by deadline pressures. That article, though, unless I just overlooked it, fails to mention Frakes' previous Superman connection, appearing, as I recall, as a villian in a third-season episode of Lois and Clark. The week that episode came out, the TV section of The Clarion-Ledger had a cover photo of Frakes dressed in a Superman costume, an image that still haunts me to this day. The fear that he might put that costume back on if he got the job would be more than enough for me to nix the idea.

:: Friday, May 09, 2003 ::

Will the Real Blog Davey Please Log In
Guess who's back? Back again? David's back--Tell a friend!

Japan and Sweden: Axis of Space?
Apparently Japan successfully launched their asteroid mission today, and are planning tests in Sweden on a possible reusable craft. Why Sweden? Well, why not?

Daily Hatbag
Today the kids in the class I T.A. for take their exams, and once I grade those, my semester is over. Here's a Hatbag for spring semester's end.

Did you get your holiday shopping done?
Happy Europe Day, everyone!

:: Thursday, May 08, 2003 ::

Bajor, I think they've got it
If you enjoy fruitless efforts (and I'm sure you do if you're reading this blog), why not sign the online petition asking Paramount to make a Deep Space Nine movie?

Who would win a knock-down-drag-out between James T. Kirk and Han Solo? That's just one of the entertaining bouts posited by the WWWF Grudge Match website.

"Dude, where's my car?"
"I'm over here, you moron."

I don't THINK this was in David's earlier posts about the possible Knight Rider movie (David, when you get back, look into giving this blog a search function). According to Dark Horizons, Ashton Kutchner "might be interested in" being in a big-screen version of the 80's TV show. That seems about right.

Take the bait....please....taaaaake the baaaaait
Well, Richie, looks like books will soon be obsolete after all. Too bad for you bibliophiles.

Daily Hatbag
Again, in honor of David's Moonwalker Quest 2003, here's another lunar-themed Hatbag.

Today's Science Natterings
I was just at the bookstore leafing through Bill Bryson's new book A Short History of Nearly Everything. In a section dealing with the sensitivity of radio telescopes, he says (drawing on observations by the late Carl Sagan) that the total energy of all the signals received from outside our Solar System (in the history of all the radio telescopes on Earth) is less than the energy of a single falling snowflake. This gives me enormous amounts of new respect for either scientists or snowflakes. I haven't figured out which, yet.

:: Wednesday, May 07, 2003 ::

Mercury Rising, but thankfully without Bruce Willis
You can see shots of Mercury transiting the sun (as mentioned earlier by our illustrious host David) at this website.

My countries, 'tis of y'all/And Yanks abhor 'em all/Except U.K.
Did you know that the European Union has an anthem? It's Beethoven's "Ode To Joy." I think I read that a long time ago, but forgot (they adopted it in the mid 80's, which means that it may have been in contention with Falco's "Der Commissar," which would be a great anthem for such a bureaucratic entity). Today's Wall Street Journal featured a story (which I can't link to, because you have to PAY to view the WSJ online....now that's capitalism for you) today about how there's a push to come up with words for it. The original piece was written for a poem called "Ode To Joy," which was celebrating, among other things, the Enlightenment and the American Revolution. See, they even owe us for their national anthem. It makes me feel all patriot-fuzzy inside.

Daily Hatbag
In honor of David's moon-centered trip, here's a strip centered on Hippie and the moon.

And I'm changing my name to Intellivision
Hi, folks. Substitute blogger Lain here, warning you that there's a new Atari in town, but it ain't who you think it is. It's the sneaky French!

This Series' Individual Distinctiveness Will Become Part Of The Collective
Borg on Enterprise tonight. Please don't suck.

:: Tuesday, May 06, 2003 ::

There's A Little Black Spot On The Sun Tomorrow
Mercury will transit the Sun early tomorrow morning. Normally, it's extremely difficult to see, but thanks to the SOHO spacecraft, you can watch it on the Web.

Code N
Sorry for the light blogging today. I've been in meetings associated with the visit of NASA Education head Adena Loston.

While Dave's Away...
I'll be leaving tomorrow morning to travel to sunny Pensacola, FL (at least that's what Weather.com tells me) to attend a symposium Thursday by four of the Apollo astronauts who walked on the Moon.
During my absence, Lain will be filling in as guest host on Wed.-Fri.

Under The Mask
A caped crusader is fighting crime in England.
In Sweden, however, it's a different story.

Daily Hatbag
The cool thing about computers is they allow the restoration of aging art that otherwise would be lost.

Fear our superhuman ... whoops
There is speculation that someone pushing the wrong button may have caused the Soyuz landing error Saturday.
Of course, this story also says that Columbia was lost while returning from ISS, so take it for what it's worth.
Addendum: Now they're saying a software bug may have been responsible. Once identified, it should be an easy fix for the currently on-orbit TMA-2. This James Oberg story has a good explanation of what happened.
Addendum: Here's another good article about the Soyuz descent--"With a fireball blazing outside the window, cosmonaut Nikolai Budarin hooted like a cheerleader all the way down."

There's A Little Lawsuit In The Courts Today
Also, I just finished Grisham's King of Torts this weekend, in case anyone wants to discuss it. Possible topic for discussion--Grisham's gradual move away from thrillers toward morality tales.

Blue Genes
Nicole and I watched X2 last night. Not bad. If anyone else has seen it, or just wants to talk about it, X2 discussion is now open in the feedback section.

Indiana Jones. Nov. 4. DVD. 'Nuff said.

:: Monday, May 05, 2003 ::

Earth's First Line Of Defense
In case you've missed it during the coverage of the Soyuz landing, every Russian spacecraft carries a sawed-off shotgun.

I'll Fly Away
For Richie, who's thinking of a personal copter, I offer this, from the NASAexplores site.

Who's The Man
The BBC has a new Douglas Adams project online... sort of.

Make your own face here.

In The End...
And Lain complains that Shatner never wins anything.

Multi-World Wide Web
Will the Interplanetary Internet become a reality?

NASAexplores Store
Since nobody ever buys anything from the Hatbag store, I'll be really hurt if you buy any of this cool stuff, but I'd understand. The coffee mugs, in particular, are pretty cool.

Today In History
With Alan Shepard's 15-minute Freedom 7 launch on MR3 on this date in 1961, the era of American manned spaceflight began.

Why Space?
Alan Boyle posted this response to his Cosmic Log entry I linked to recently about why we explore space:
”We have to stay here, and there’s a simple reason why. Ask 10 different scientists about the environment, population control, genetics — and you’ll get 10 different answers. But there’s one thing every scientist on the planet agrees on: Whether it happens in a hundred years, or a thousand years, or a million years, eventually our sun will grow cold, and go out. When that happens, it won’t just take us, it’ll take Marilyn Monroe, and Lao-tsu, Einstein, Maruputo, Buddy Holly, Aristophanes — all of this. All of this was for nothing, unless we go to the stars.”
— Commander Sinclair, Babylon 5 episode “Infection,”

Hats Over The Wall
Ladies and gentlemen, The Flying Car!

Asteroid landerGet Your Rocks Off
If all goes according to plan, Japan will, on Friday, launch a probe on a mission to bring back to Earth the first extraterrestial samples in over 30 years, thanks to a new asteroid lander.

Onward To Mars
The U.S. and Russia have agreed to jointly pursue unmanned exploration of Mars. Although there was no announcement of future joint manned Martian exploration being considered, Russian space experts have urged their NASA and ESA colleagues to partner with them to launched a manned flight to Mars in 2014. The RSA announced planning for such a flight in 2001, with final plans expected at that time to be announced in 2005.
Also, according to the article, it was decided that "Russia can take part in U.S. space tenders." Personally, I would love some U.S. space tenders with some Abner's sauce.

Soyuz TMA-1 (Too Much Accelleration)
Spaceflight Now has a pretty decent article about the "off-nominal" Soyuz landing Saturday night, though it still comes down to--they don't know what happened. Certainly one unusual factor in the flight was the new TMA spacecraft, which had never even been tested before (possibly a first for the Russian space program, though I'm not sure). If it turns out that there is a flaw in the TMA capsule, it could complicate matters for the Expedition 7 crew, now on ISS with the TMA-2 capsule as their only ride home, and no firm information as to whether it will be possible to have Shuttles flying again before they have to return to Earth.

Daily Hatbag
I may have used this one before, in which case I apologize. I just happen to really like it.

Next Stop--Meatdrunk City
We lost our Corky's before I moved back to Huntsville, but I was thrilled to learn recently that we will soon be getting a new Dreamland here.

Maybe The "T" Stands For "Tort"
Perhaps having not heard that Entertainment Weekly has declared The A-Team to be "5 Minutes Ago," Mr. T is suing Best Buy.

iTunes uPdate
Apple's iTunes music store sold over 1 million songs during its first week.
“In less than one week we’ve broken every record and become the largest online music company in the world,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO.
“Hitting one million songs in less than a week was totally unexpected,” said Roger Ames, Warner Music Group’s chairman and CEO.
“Our internal measure of success was having the iTunes Music Store sell one million songs in the first month. To do this in one week is an over-the-top success,” said Doug Morris, Universal Music Group’s CEO.
(And, no doubt in response to my questions, among the 3,200 new songs being added today are Alanis Morissette's catalog.)
But, before we get to excited, remember, kids, that this is just a new service for an irrelevant niche market.

:: Sunday, May 04, 2003 ::

Expedition Six, Over And Out
The Expedition Six crew, after waiting in their Soyuz TMA-1 for several hours to be found last night, were located and picked up this morning. They were taken for medical check-ups, and were in good shape.

:: Saturday, May 03, 2003 ::

I have returned
And have nothing to say. This is my obligatory Saturday post. Sleep well.

Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night
Here's a post that I'm fairly sure David would make were he bloggin' it today: The ISS Expedition Six crew successfully returned to Earth tonight on board a Russian Soyuz capsule, "bumping down" in Kazakhstan at 10:07 p.m. EDT. Congratulations to all involved, Russians and Americans. And welcome back, guys. The planet hasn't been the same without you.

Addendum: It now looks like the landing was a little off target, but that everybody's fine. At least that's the situation as I head off to bed Saturday night at 11:25 p.m. EDT.

Give a man Phish, he'll listen for a day. Give a man Jobs and he'll totally mangle a beloved aphorism.
If you've not yet overdosed on laudatory stories concerning Apple's new music service, here's one from Fortune magazine that's pretty good. I read it today at Barnes & Noble while I should have been working.

It's a beautiful day in Earth's neighborhood
Asteroid No. 26858 has been renamed "Misterrogers" in honor of longtime children's TV host Fred Rogers, who passed away recently. Scientists expect the asteroid to stay on a slow, steady, unthreatening course for the next thirty or so years. Read about it here.

He'll be crumblin' down the mountain...
Well, this story is kinda sad. New Hampshire's "Old Man of the Mountain," one of the best-loved vaguely-face-like natural formations this side of Mars, has collapsed. This means that the oldest semi-human face formed by natural erosion in the United States is now Carol Channing.

Stop me before iBuy again!
With the purchase of the aforementioned (or, considering the format of this blog, the belowmentioned) Dylan song, I've now bought two songs from Apple this week, for a total expenditure of $1.98. If I keep up this pace, then over the next fifty years I'll only spend a little over five grand buying music from Apple. I can live with that. Besides, with the 100-terabyte quantum hard drives the iPods of 2053 will have, I'll have plenty of room to spare.

Shave off my goatee, I'm headed back to Athens. Oh, wait...
I just bought Bob Dylan's "Talkin' John Birch Paranoid Blues," which I had heard many years ago and liked, off Apple's iTunes Music Store. When I listened to it again, I realized that it was the template for another song I like, the satirical "Seattle Grunge" that's the hidden track on Todd Snider's album "Songs for the Daily Planet." Snider's song came out while I was in college and was briefly a novelty hit on stations like Ole Miss' own U-92 (oh, excuse me, "Rebel Radio"). As far as I know, it's Snider's biggest hit to date. The term "template" is a bit vague...the Snider song is basically a parody of the Dylan tune, right down to a lot of the inflections and asides, with a few musical changes. This actually reinforced my love of each song, although I do wish Snider had credited Dylan in the liner notes.

He's following her career with great interest.
Just read outgoing Daily Mississippian editor Julie Findley's farewell column. Then I looked at some of the feedback posts at the bottom. Someone's posting responses to several DM pieces as "Emperor Palpatine," which just goes to show you that the more things change in DM-land, the more things stay the same.

Daily Hatbag
I think this professor is actually in my department here at UGA.

Houston, we have a problem
Ahem. I somehow managed to mess up the last post in a way that I can't seem to undo. The link that was supposed to be there was to a Joanie Loves Chachi page. Maybe David will know how to fix it. If you click on the link that IS there, though, a picture of Robert Stack comes up. That's something, right? Remember, folks, David is a professional; I'm just interning here at You Must Fight The Bear to work my way through college.

I see Pam Dawber in Patch Adams II: Love Isn't Funny, Either
I always did like reruns of The Dick Van Dyke Show. With Van Dyke and Moore reuniting for a televised play on PBS, my hopes are stoked for more reunions of famous pairs in new roles. I mean, Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau practically made a career out of it, as did Bogart & Bacall, etc. Same couple, different roles. But more folks who are famous from TV should do it. Maybe Erin Moran and Scott Baio could recapture the old magic of Joanie Loves Chachi again by playing a homeless couple who show up on ER, or some dead Las Vegas tourists on CSI. That seems about right.

Down Under to overhead, then back
Okay, this may be something that David has posted previously (don't feel like checking the archives), or that he told me and I forgot, but I still think it's cool enough to post, partially because of my interest in all things Australian. One of the astronauts returning today from the ISS has had a didgeridoo with him. You can read more about it at the Russia Journal article here. Space capsule + Australian aboriginal music, of course, puts me in the mind of The Right Stuff.

Sabretooth And Rogue Society
Forget the movies, people are battling mutants for real.

:: Friday, May 02, 2003 ::

A Farewell to Arms, or Now, THAT's a Knife
By now I'm sure you've heard about the guy who had to cut off his own arm with pocketknife to get out from under a boulder. I don't really have anything terribly clever to say about this (so much for my disarming wit), but it leaves me wondering whether or not I'd be able to summon the courage to do this (in time, I mean, before I debated myself into a coma), and, once I had made the decision to do it, exactly how I'd go about it (tourniquet first? Do I saw or hack at the bone). Thoughts?

The King Of The Blues
B.B. King will be in Indianola, Miss. for his annual homecoming concert on Friday, June 6.
I hope to be there, though I'm not sure yet if I'll be able to.

Are we there yet?
Okay, still kinda testing this thing out. Wow, y'all should see the interior of the DaveBlog! Thick shag carpeting, naugahyde couches, a velvet painting of William Shatner...really cool. Anyway, from the "found accidentally in the search for other pages" file, I found a site that lists cool "world's largest-style" roadside attractions. I'm definitely going to have to stop and see the world's largest office chair when I drive through Anniston, AL on my way home later this month. And does this remind anyone else of one of the funniest episodes of Night Court?

Education At Its Finest
Jim Abbott just called me to tell me that one of the principals I had worked with during my time at The Enterprise-Tocsin had been arrested and charged with an attempted contract killing, a bizarre education-related story, even for the Mississippi Delta.
He allegedly tried to use insulin to kill a guy at a Memphis hospital, reportedly after the victim's wife offered to pay him $30,000 to kill her husband. The story does not say how the suspects knew each other. The victim was in the hospital after an unknown gunman had shot him twice, in the stomach and arm.

This has been a test of the Emergency DaveBlog Broadcast System. This was only a test. Had it been an actual emergency, you would be dead.

Bush v. Bush
This Daily Show clip starts off pretty darned funny, though it loses steam before it's over.

Statement Of Principles
I'm going to be away from the blog this afternoon and most of tomorrow. Ordinarily, I'd just give the "light blogging ahead" notice and make sure to post again tomorrow night to meet my self-imposed goal of not missing a day. But I'm also going to be away from the blog for a longer period of time next week, and Lain, who's watched too much Letterman lately, decided that I need a guest host during my absence. To make sure we're ready for everything to run smoothly next week, I decided to go ahead and turn the keys over to him today and tomorrow as a practice run. So expect some rich, Lain-y goodness in the blog the next couple of days.
I figured this would be a good opportunity, though, to begin outline what exactly this blog stands for. Here's a few thoughts to begin with:

  • Space exploration is one of the most important endeavors of our time. Future human exploration beyond our home planet should be supported, and recognition should be given to the growing diversity of involvement in spaceflight.
  • A daily dose of Hatbag would do anyone a world of good.
  • Apple rocks.
  • Humor, at its best, is funny. At its worst, it should be ignored.
  • The Star Trek and Star Wars series have produced some wonderful moments. They can also produce crap. The former should be encouraged.
  • Some movies are cool.
  • Robots are evil, and left unchecked, will rise against humanity and crush us. Everything possible should be done to prevent this. The human-robot war has already begun.
  • Corollary to point 1: NASA is cool.
  • Feedback is good, and essential to the healthy operation of a blog of the people.
  • Comic strips and editorial cartoons are cool, especially those with a Mississippi connection.

Infidel Dance Music
Oh, man, I'd pay 99 cents for this on the iTunes Music Store.

NASDA Shuttle
This is almost an interesting article, about how Japan "is planning a test with France this month aimed at developing a shuttle-style space craft, a spokesman for one of the main aerospace agency's (sic) said on Friday."
The headline, though, would make you believe it's some sort of joint operation, but in face, Japan is just using a French space agency balloon.
The article does not tell whether the proposed shuttle would be manned or unmanned. It also does not mention reports a few months ago that Japan was cancelling its shuttle development program, though was going to continue testing of the prototype articles.

Why Space?
I've expounded on my thoughts about this in this blog too often to go into it again today, but Alan Boyle's Cosmic Log has some interesting thoughts on the subject of why we must explore space.

Daily Hatbag
I have no witty comments about today's Hatbag. I just think it's kind of funny.

O'Keefe And The Senators
NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe met yesterday with a Senate Appropriations subcommittee. Basically, the senators said NASA is not asking for enough money in its FY04 budget, and also will likely not be able to return to flight this year.

Apollo 2.0
For anyone interested in the article yesterday about the possible return of Apollo capsules, additional charts have been posted today commenting on the system's ability to meet the OSP Level 1 requirements.

Mars Flyer
NASA has ordered a full-scale prototype of a proposed Mars airplane, one of four concepts being considered for use as Martian probe in 2007.

iTunes An "Overwhelming Success"
Per MacNN, the Billboard Daily Bulletin notes the apparent "overwhelming" success of the iTunes Music Store: "Observers are calling the launch of Apple Computer's digital music service the iTunes Music Store an overwhelming success. The service, which went live Monday, sold an estimated 275,000 tracks at 99 cents apiece in its first 18 hours, according to major-label sources. The feat is especially remarkable when considering that the offering is available only to the limited universe of users of Apple computers." The article also notes that Apple has secured wholesale agreements with two major labels for the Windows version of the service, which is expected by the end of the year.

:: Thursday, May 01, 2003 ::

Matter Of Taste
I'm currently working on an article for NE about the fact that some astronauts have reported that food tastes differently in space. Many of them find that food tastes more bland in microgravity, and do what they can to "spice up" their meals. Reading about how salsa has become the best friend of space travellers has made me realize just how true this is.

The Mission
Lain sent me this link to TrekWeb, which has Berman's comments about the Enterprise season finale and season three. Not sure which way this is going to go--it has potential, but there's also plenty of room to mess things up. I'm wondering, also, how they'll tie it in with the fact that the Enterprise is already in the middle of the big on-going temporal cold war with the Suliban. Basically, I'm reserving judgment until I watch the Borg episode next week. If they pull that one off, then I'll follow them anywhere.

Is Richie Alive?
Through an interesting bit of reverse logic yesterday, Richie deduced that if he is alive then poetry must not be dead, leaving the question, by Richie's logic, of the viability of poetry contingent on whether it can be proven that Richie, himself, is alive.
This is, essentially, a question that is weighing on the minds of many scientists, particularly astrobiologists--"How do we know if something is alive?"
It's a tough thing to establish, since many of the possible guidelines apply to many things we don't consider "alive," while some do not apply to things that we do consider to be alive.
For instance, Richie, arguably, meets about 80 percent of the requirement, certainly a majority, but not necessarily conclusive (and, in fact, arguably less than poetry, an English teacher would tell you).

May The Force Be With You
This was slow when I watched it, but still pretty darned amusing.

Where Do You Stand
I scored a 26 on this.
That said, the only thing it proves to me is the fallacy of trying to rank political leanings on a one-dimensional line. I find the two-dimensional square model to be much more meaningful.

Why Did The T-Rex Cross The Road?
Dinosaur vs. ChickenOne of the great scientific mysteries of the 20th Century was, without a doubt, "how fast could a Tyrannosaurus Rex run?" with various schools of thought arguing that they lumbered slowly, while others believed that they could speedy death machines. Now, too researchers believe they have definitively proven that T. Rex was not made for speed. Part of the research included, due to the relevant similarities between a T. Rex and a chicken, using a computer simulation to determine how fast a 13,228-pound chicken would be able to move. The answer--not very fast.
And when you check out the article, be sure to follow the link about the three-legged chicken created by science.
(Artwork by Luis Rey)

Robot Holocaust Update
OK, thus far, I've not been one of those people who sees the Department of Homeland Security as a threat to the American way of life, as is all the vogue now. But then I learned that they are forming an alliance with the creators of robot snakes.
I mean, they're not even pretending anymore. Sure, robot puppies, I can see. Puppies are cute. A robot puppy you could believe really wants to be your friend. But snakes? Snakes are evil. At this point, the robots aren't even trying to make it look like they're on our side! I mean, since the Garden of Eden, snakes have been a symbol of the fall of man, and now robots are taking on their form! What other message could they possibly be trying to send?!
And if Homeland Security is working with the robot snakes, I really have to question whose side their on. This is too scary to contemplate.
Addendum: Lain just sent me this article, about technologies that will change the world--the vision of this particular one is "A Swarm Of Sensors--Networks of cheap, aspirin-size sensor robots everywhere." I rest my case.
Another Addendum: I just went back and read more of that article. Page 2 deals with a proposal that we allow robots to teach our young, care for the infirm, and befriend the lonely. Presumably once the robots have indoctrinated and converted our most vulnerable societal elements, they would then move on to the rest of humanity.

Worms From Space
NASA Watch made the following interesting observation about the item I posted yesterday regarding the worms found alive in the Columbia debris:
"A question that intrigues many astrobiologists is the theoretical ability of life to survive transportation from one planet to another - such as within a rock blasted off of Mars traveling to Earth (or vice versa). Much more remains to be understood about the conditions that these small life forms endured as they returned to Earth as Columbia broke apart. The crew of Columbia may well have left us an unexpected and potentially profound legacy - a clue as to what some life forms can endure during a violent arrival from space onto the surface of a planet."

NASA's Apollo Creed
Now this is kind of interesting question. The article linked to in the post below discusses whether NASA should build another shuttle, but this one has a more unusual topic--Should NASA build more Apollo capsules?
A capsule-style design has always been mentioned as one of the possibilities for the Orbital Space Plane, which could turn out to be somewhat misnamed, but it turns out that NASA has had a team looking at the possibility of using not only a capsule design in general, but an Apollo-type design in specific. Needless to say, it would require substantial modifications to bring the design up to the state of the art, and could even involve making the capsule 5-8 percent bigger in order to accomodate additional crew, but the basic ideas would stay the same.
It really is an interesting concept, but man, I don't know that I'd want to ride in the bottom seats.

Should NASA build another Shuttle?

My answer: Maybe. NASA could really use one, but I don't think it would be the highest-priority thing the agency could do with the money right now. If Bush and Congress really want to show support for safe manned spaceflight, it would be awfully nice for them to give NASA the money to do this.

This Week On NE
Alright, NASAexplores has new content again after our spring break hiatus, with two new articles, one about a fetal heart monitor that's a spin-off of NASA technology, and the other about Protein Crystal Growth experiments in space, perhaps one of the most significant areas of research being conducted in orbit now, at least in terms of Earthbound application.

"It's All Space"
Surprisingly, Dennis Tito is in favor of more commercializiation of space. I did not realize, though, that Tito was a former NASA engineer. That's kind of surprising, considering that, having talked to people that would know, Tito really lived up to the "space tourist" appellation, certainly more than his successor, Mark Shuttleworth, who was more like "a part of the crew."

Columbia Update
NASA analysis has reportedly determined that nothing could have been done to save Columbia (although this article barely addresses the question of whether anything could have been done to save the crew, such as a rescue effort by another orbiter).

The Superhero
Moving from comic strips to comic books, NewsAskew has posted an article Kevin Smith wrote for Rolling Stone about superheroes. Good stuff, in a very Kevin Smith-y way (and the link is to the page, not to the specific article, so you may have to scroll down a little bit, or not, I don't know).

Daily Hatbag
Continuing today's comic strip theme, today's Daily Hatbag is a special two-for-one bonus, allowing me to bring in yet another comic strip to the day's blog postings, the venerable Pumpkin Shirt, in what is, sadly, its only surviving presence online.

New Poll
I've finally got around to posting a new poll (which is to say, the blog has been stable enough for me to be willing to make the effort to put a new poll in place).
For Richie, the eternal exceptionalist, I made sure to include an "other" option this time. If anyone wants to choose other, be sure to post your choice in the feedback here (or if you just want to discuss the poll topic, you can do that as well).
And, yeah, I know there are probably many, many worth options I didn't include--for instance, I left out the greatest comic strip of all time, Hatbag, to make it more fair for the others.

Feeling Lowe
Mark Pett, the talented writer/artist behind the comic strip Mr. Lowe (which has been listed in the sidebar on the left side of the blog), has a new syndicated strip, Lucky Cow, "a microcosm of America set in a fast-food restaurant."
I knew Mark from Indianola, where his wife teaches at Gentry High School, and found Mr. Lowe to be pretty darned amusing. So far, I've seen the first week's worth of strips, and they look good.
Also, I just found that you can read the strip online here (I'll be adding this link to the sidebar as well).
I've written a letter to The Huntsville Times asking them to consider running the strip, and it would be great if you would be willing to do the same for your local paper (Joe, you're eligible for an exception on this one ... harass the Journal instead). I promise you won't be disappointed.

Feedback by backBlog This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours? Hitt count since 6 Aug. 03: