|:: Friday, August 29, 2003 ::|
Barbarians... And They're Gates'
An arrest is expected today from the Blaster virus. Personally, I would pay cash money to see Bill Gates arrested for his part in the creation of the vulnerabilities that allowed the virus. But, somehow, I don't think that's going to happen.
From The Washington Post:
"Administration officials disclosed in an interview that the White House will begin work next week on a blueprint for interplanetary human flight over the next 20 or 30 years, with plans calling for Bush to issue an ambitious new national vision for space travel by early next year."
iSBogus Is Bogus
This article responds to that site I posted the other day attacking the iTunes Music Store, and does a better job of it than I could.
This Blog Entry Brought To You...
From Athens, Georgia. Home of lots of Athens stuff, including, apparently, the 2004 Olympics (though I may be confused on that one).
|:: Thursday, August 28, 2003 ::|
Maybe Mars Will Kill You
Read the second paragraph of this story. It seems like this could be a very, very bad thing.
I didn't mean to publish my blog just now... I was just building up posts for when it started working again. Of course, at the moment, it's offline completely, so it really doesn't matter. But I was waiting for the feedback system to come back online before posting. Just remember the feedback you would have made, and come back and post it later.
It's Been Years
The paper yesterday had an ad for a male libido enhancer named "ProCylon." I'm not sure I want anything that supports Cylons involved in that part of my body.
Springsteen was in Huntsville this past weekend (along with Lain and Richie) for his son's graduation from Space Camp.
I miss beans and cornbread.
New Product Alert
Every home needs one of these.
Keep Your Fleet On The Ground...
RTF is still a long ways off, according to this article.
Last night, you were about as close to Mars as NASA has been able to get anyone.
Another Step Closer
The Long March-2F booster for Shenzhou-5 has reached the launch site, bringing China another step closer to its first manned space launch.
This Week At NE
This week at NASAexplores, we have Mindi's interview with the Expedition 7 crew on the Space Station, and an article about preventing jet-fuel-related accidents.
Note To Self
This link has a download of an episode of Dinner For Five featuring the cast of Daredevil, including Kevin Smith.
|:: Wednesday, August 27, 2003 ::|
Your Robot Masters
I'm not entirely sure that I believe everything on here.
Here's an interesting article bashing iTunes. Of course, it's kind of hard to take seriously a site that makes the arguement that since artists don't get much when you buy a song on iTunes, it's more fair to them to steal their music, so they get nothing.
Proud To Be An American
This story requires registration, but every American should know about our nation's cat-based warfare techniques.
This one's apropos of nothing, but I don't think I've used it before.
If you haven't read the Hulk Blog lately, now is a good time to do so. Except for Richie, who's too busy.
Hot Fresh Now
Wanted to make sure Lain saw this.
Men Are From Mars
So it turns out Mars won't kill you. In fact, it might even help.
Thank You, Hal
This story has some great comments from Adm. Gehmen.
It's Mars Day!
Today is the day that Mars is closer than it has been in 60,000 years. If Mars kills you, please let me know.
|:: Tuesday, August 26, 2003 ::|
Clearly this helps explain the whole Judge Moore controversy.
So far, Schwarzenegger is leading the Taco Bell poll.
As it turns out, Mars will kill you.
No Sci, All Fi
When science fiction forgets the science.
What're The Odds
Here's an interesting story about coincidences.
X Prize Update
I posted a while back that the X Prize foundation had expressed an interest in creating a regular competition for contenders, seeing who can fly higher and faster, who can carry the post passengers, etc. A KSC spokesperson has said the agency is interested in being involved in, and possibly hosting the competition. This is pretty exciting news. To the best of my knowledge, the agency has been, at best, unofficially positive about the effort. An actual official position of wanting to truly involved in the X Prize is a move in a new direction, giving a major sanction to private spaceflight efforts.
"We Are Going To Continue With The Space Program."
In light of the recent space tragedy, the president has sworn that the nation's space program will continue. No, it's not the US, it's Brazil. I'm glad to read that they have decided to be steadfast in their dedication to the endeavor of space exploration.
This article gives some insight into what may be current thinking for return to flight. That said, Sean O'Keefe will be addressing the agency at 1 p.m. CDT today, and hopefully will give a better picture of what's going on.
CAIB Update--Final Installment
I'll probably be learning more continuously as the day goes on, so I'll be updating this post as I learn more.
To start with Spaceflight Now has good summaries posted.
Addendum: This may be addressed elsewhere, but having read the summary above, I'm a little disappointed that there's not much culpability aimed above NASA. I had hoped it might note that Congress gives NASA what is essentially federal chump change, and says, OK, now go fly a spaceship.
Addendum: According to this Space.com article, that issue is somewhat addressed, though it's not exactly what I was hoping to hear: ""The end of the Cold War in the late 1980s meant that the most important political underpinning of NASA's Human Space Flight Program -- U.S.-Soviet space competition -- was lost, with no equally strong political objective to replace it." The loss of the Soviet Union as a competitor in the human space flight arena made it difficult for NASA to obtain budget increases through the 1990s. But rather than adjust its expectations to the new realities, the Board said, NASA continued to push an aggressive agenda that included the development and construction of the international space station."
Addendum: Per NASA Watch: "NASA Watch has learned that the White House will respond directly to recommendations made in the Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) report. The White House response is expected next week. The CAIB's report will be issued tomorrow. The White House will endorse the CAIB report. NASA, specifically Sean O'Keefe, will be tasked with implementation of the board's recommendations. The President will say something along the lines of "we will keep America at the vanguard of spaceflight and will continue the legacy of the Columbia and Challenger astronauts. They will not have died in vain.""
Addendum: Bush has issued a statement regarding the report.
It's turns out buying a house is a humongous freakin' pain in the butt.
This public service message brought to you by the American Buying A House Is A Humongous Freakin' Pain In The Butt Council (ABHIHFPBC) and blogs like this.
Lain pointed out this weekend that this strip is oddly prescient now (in fact, probably too prescient to be controversial [inside joke])
Two Discs For Elven Kings...
It's Tuesday, and among today's DVD releases are the two disc version of Two Towers, and the third season of The Simpsons. Personally, I'll probably wait to get a cheap previewed copy of the 2-disc TTT, and buy the expanded edition when it comes out. If you buy the Simpsons at Best Buy, you can get $10 a selection of other animated TV sets, including Futurama (which I may well get) and King Of The Hill, for those of you who like that sort of thing.
Join Me... At Ole Miss
James Earl Jones and Art Garfunkel will both be at Ole Miss during the coming year--though unfortunately not together. JEJ visited Ole Miss, I believe, 10 years ago, at which point I got to talk to him briefly, and he confirmed that Lucas was working on the prequel trilogy (hey, I was young, and a geek [yeah, yeah, I know]). I wish now I had told JEJ to tell Lucas not to make them suck, but it just didn't occur to me at the time. At the time, he told me that he would be doing voice work for the third one, so this is your big chance to go get an update from him.
But, man, how cool would a Jones and Garfunkel concert be?
(This blog has really fallen down on its initial promise of a Daily Garfunkel Update, so I hope you appreciate them when you can get them.)
If You're Reading This, Odds Are You're Old
I'm sure you've all seen this before, but it's still kind of entertaining.
|:: Monday, August 25, 2003 ::|
Jesus On The Eggbeater
Lain sent me this link to a blog entry about one of Huntsville's more unusual landmarks.
(And, BTW, in 28 years, I have never heard anyone call USS&RC "Sprocket." That's just dumb.)
Does Batman Have An Alibi?
Wesley Willis is dead.
He'll be remembered by many people for many different things, but for me, this will always be his greatest accomplishment.
For those who really enjoy watching Lord Of The Rings.
Welcome, You've Got Screwed!
Want the AOL guy to say something different for you? Well, you're in luck!
I Can Do Far More Than That
Some good news on the Robot Holocause front... we're finally getting ways to fight back. Um, unless these turn on us, too.
Less Perfect Data
If you burn CDs, read this.
Do Not Go, Gently
I have to agree with Alan Boyle, who said it would be perfect to name this asteroid for Douglas Adams.
(Read his comments about it here.)
This James Oberg article about loneliness on ISS is kind of interesting. It's picture of Exp. 7's experiences is very interesting, but it's analogies of the isolation are stretching a little.
Yes, it's true that the previous longest two-person space mission American astronauts participated in was a Gemini flight in the 60s that was 2weeks long, there's a big difference between spending 2 weeks in a Gemini capsule and spending 6 months on ISS... about the difference between spending 2 weeks on vacation never leaving the front seats of a Volkswagen and spending 6 months on vacation in an RV the size of a three-bedroom house. And while the crew is isolated in space with no visitors for their entire tenure on ISS, the isolation is very different from most isolation experiences, in that it involves continuous human contact. Frontiersmen exploring the Old West didn't have the option of calling back home several times a day.
When Exp. 6 science officer Don Pettit was here recently, he talked about the fact that due to the glitch in the Soyuz TMA-1 capsule, his return intended up being an unplanned concept demonstrator for a mission to Mars. When astronauts return to Earth after a space mission, they're met by a recovery team that helps them get back on their feet, as it were. When astronauts land on Mars, there won't be anybody there to do that for them. Astronauts landing on the Moon, of course, didn't have any help, but the trip there is insignificant in length compared to a Mars journey, and the gravity is only half of what it is on Mars. With a mission to Mars, there has been concern about whether astronauts would be able to function when they arrived there after the atrophy involved in long-duration spaceflight. When Exp. 6 returned to Earth after a time roughly sufficient to get to Mars, due to missing the landing target by a couple of hundred miles, there was nobody there to greet them when they touched down. Nonetheless, in the full 1g gravity of Earth, the crew was able to function for hours before they were picked up, even starting work on unloading the capsule and organizing equipment. The first men on Mars, Pettit said, will be able to do the same thing.
Now, Exp. 7 is turning out to be a Martian concept demonstrator as well. The first crew to Mars will face very similar conditions, living on a long-duration space mission with no visitors. It will be a little worse, in that while human contact will continue all the way to Mars, lag times will increase the further away from Earth they go, making conversations a little less natural. However, they'll have the advantage of the fact that the Mars crew will likely consist of more than two people.
The original purpose of a permanent space station, as devised in the 1960s, was as a stepping stone to Mars. Now, through totally unplanned circumstances, ISS is fulfilling that role in ways that were never even anticipated.
One More Day
With just one day left before the release of the CAIB report, here's a little blurb from The Houston Chronicle with comments from Bush (or lack thereof).
Addendum: Looking through the agency's online new summary, it's already obvious that this is going to be a long week.
SIRTF, the last of the "Great Observatories," has been succesfully launched into orbit. This article doesn't mention it, but SIRTF will be getting a more public-friendly name like Hubble and Chandra, but the naming was delayed until it was in orbit.
I'm sure I've posted this before, but it's one of my all-time favorites.
Of Good And Evil
Lain sent me this article about Macs in movies and TV.
|:: Saturday, August 23, 2003 ::|
Twenty-one people were killed last night in the explosion of a Brazilian rocket.
|:: Friday, August 22, 2003 ::|
Democracy In Action
Want to be involved in politics? Eat at Taco Bell!
Robot Shows Up Politician
They're getting bolder by the day.
They Can't Stand It
Venezuelen astronomers believe that the minor planet they discovered, Huya, should be classified instead as one of the Solar System's major planets, but they're full of it. That said, if they really wanted to lobby for it, they should get Al Pacino to go around visiting astronomy conferences going "Huya!"
Since I may not get a chance to mention it before then, be sure to watch the "Failure Is Not An Option" documentary on the History Channel Sunday.
CAIB Still Go
The Columbia Accident Investigation Board will release its report on Tuesday.
Probably won't be a high point in NASA's history, but hopefully it will soon mean the agency can get on with the business of manned spaceflight.
So I'm at the comic book shop the other day when I hear one of the customers talking to the guy that works there. The customer was telling him about how he was reading his back issues. The problem was, he had well over a hundred back issues he had just found and wanted to read, but he wanted to read them in random order so that he didn't read the good stuff first. Fortunately, he had a 30-sided die handy, so he divided the comics into 30 stacks, so that he could use the die to determine what he should read next. The next problem, though, was that the die had seen its better days, and so came up to frequently on 7 and 2. So, he was no closer to happiness than when he started.
My Sokol Life
Yet another reason why we're entering an age when commercial spaceflight will work: X Prize contender Armadillo Aerospace, which is hoping to have their spacecraft flying soon, decided that even though their craft had a pressurized cabin, it would be nice to have an extra layer of protection, so they obtained a Russian space suit--by buying it on eBay.
Pluto No Go
The "New Horizons" Pluto mission may be facing serious problems, according to this SpaceDaily article, which surprisingly seems to have at least part of the story right.
This Week At NE
This week at NASAexplores, I have a story about the way boiling liquids behave in microgravity, and Maggie's got an article on in-flight re-fueling.
Apparently, there were no large bodies of water on Mars.
|:: Thursday, August 21, 2003 ::|
Ole Miss, John Glenn
Univ. of Miss. Chancellor Khayat recently received an award--from NASA!
Here's why I was offline much of Monday.
Also, for anyone who watched T3, does that not sound a little familiar?
According to NASA Watch, the CAIB report did not meet its Monday deadline this week to be at the printer, meaning that it may miss its originally scheduled release date next Tuesday. The back-up release date is Sept. 3.
Could a Space Tug save Hubble?
This morning I saw a bumper sticker for radio station WUSY 101. I don't think I would have picked those call letters.
Matrix For Luddites
If you're like me, you love watching the high-tech computer world of the Matrix movies, but don't cotton to the whole idea of reading comics on the internet through your mo-dem. Well, today is your lucky day!. Actually, some day in October will be your lucky day, but you know what I mean.
Take A Picture Of Mars
NASA is giving the public the opportunity to suggest sites on Mars they beleive the Global Surveyor orbiter should take pictures of.
I'm hoping that this is just a poorly-written article. Here's the first two grafs (Is that the correct spelling, Joe? I've never been sure):
"Washington: Filmmaker Kevin Smith has blamed the Bible for the controversy behind his Mel Gibson movie, "The Passion."
According to ratethemusic.com, the movie is about the final hours of Jesus Christ and parts of the story line have been taken from Smith's religious comedy, "Dogma." "
The Revolutions Will Be Quicktime-ized
A trailer for The Matrix Revolutions is now online.
|:: Wednesday, August 20, 2003 ::|
How Much For Just The Comet
Here's a real cool site Lain sent me. DeeDee, if you're out there, you need to check this one out.
Death Be Not Proud
For those who have not seen this, a guy dressed as Death shot at a police officer in Jackson Tuesday.
For some reason, this is one of the top entry pages for the hatbag.net site currently (apparently because of a link from a forum I can't access).
To The Moon
People could be living on the Moon in 20 years, according to an article in a publication in a country that can't even put astronauts up on other people's rockets (To be fair, I don't think it says where the guy saying that is from).
As It Turns Out
I write like a man! Try it yourself! (I'd be curious, Lain, to see what it says about your Mork story)
Strange New World
Now that I'm having to use a PC at work, it's weird actually having to worry about viruses. I'm having to run a manual virus scan right now. I really need to make the paradigm shift to taking this seriously, before it causes real problems.
Now that he's gotten serious about it, I hardly need to point this out, but there's more good Joe-bloggin'.
No Comment Needed
Today on Space.com: "Man vs. Machine: Are Robots Getting the Upper Hand in Space Exploration?"
Exp. 8 On Shenzhou 5
The next crew of the International Space Station has some interesting things to say about possibly sharing space with the Chinese during their increment.
|:: Tuesday, August 19, 2003 ::|
I've blogged too darned much today. Sorry.
I'm posting this here mainly because I don't have Joe's e-mail address at the moment: Harve's idea to save Trek.
Addendum: This, also, is for Joe (though anyone can read it).
And They Say Trek Has Seen Its Better Days
They obviously haven't read this.
First Ever YMFTB TT
Top Ten Things That Annoy Bill Gates. Go to it.
My roommate my freshman year at Ole Miss is now Dr. Fox.
And one of my fellow senior class officers, Mary Stephens, has been nominated for an Emmy.
And a girl I met at a party once and told I wanted to know more about writing is now considered one of the "greats."
Pounds Of Pressure
I don't know if y'all saw it, but there was a story last week that came out about how Atkins doesn't work. It turns out the researcher who made the announcement is being paid by the Flour Advisory Board.
Huntsville author Homer Hickam has a new book coming out.
Moon Of Vulcan
Those visiting or passing through (or living in) Birmingham this week should take notice that the newly-restored Vulcan is now standing watch once more over the city. Rheta Grimsley Johnson wrote a great column about it in yesterday's paper, but I can't find it online anywhere.
We Make Money The Old-Fashioned Way
Wish you could virtually invest in blogs? Who doesn't? Well, now you can.
So what if Trudeau and Frank Herbert had collaborated?
Make Your Plans Now
Only 1 month remains before Talk Like A Pirate Day.
And Now You Know
Every once and a while, all blogs should link to something educational.
Over 20 Years Of Progress
Ironically, Lain would like this better if it were the Microsoft version (OK, that's reaching for a joke).
He Was Running Me Amock
Well, I'm sure he must have deserved it.
Today's Hatbag ties in with the blogshares post above, the first time I've posted a Hatbag about something you've already seen instead of about something you're about to read.
Not That Anyone I Know Would Do This...
But this is an interesting bit of new about the RIAA lawsuits.
Living Aboard Spacecraft
Particularly in light of the post below about Saturn V upkeep, this is an interesting story about where old Russian rockets go.
Cast Away Into Space
A while back, Lain made a Forrest Gump reference regarding a story I posted about the ESA's Smart-1 lunar probe, launching in about half a month ("I am not a Smart-1 probe, but..."). Now, continuing the Tom Hanks-Smart-1 connection, is this story from The Guardian, which describes Smart-1 as a "space probe the size of a washing machine," clearly a reference to the comment in Apollo 13 about Lovell's piloting skills.
It's kind of a big deal here (well, in some circles) that Huntsville's Saturn V (one of I believe 3 left over from the Apollo program--possibly just two), which is on loan to the space museum here from the Smithsonian is in desperate need of some care. I'm glad to see, though, that we're not the only one. Check out the second stage of Johnson's Saturn V in this aerial photo.
RTF Update, Kinda
According to USA Today, public support is up for NASA. Another article tells what that means.
Cartoon Network will soon bring us what every comics fan has been waiting years for (well, possibly Lain, at least): animated Vandal Savage!
As I mentioned the other day, today marks 6 months of YMTFB.
It also marks 1 years that have been at MSFC.
(Meaning that I started the blog on the 6 month anniversary of starting this job, a fact which I didn't realize until now).
|:: Monday, August 18, 2003 ::|
We Love You Guys
Alright, we've had two views of the worst figures, now here's the right-wing list of the greatest figures of the 20th Century.
Fear the power of Captain Euro!
This site features the actual first broadcast from the Moon, as readers of The Onion will remember. Note: This site has horrible, horrible, horrible language, and is inappropriate for anyone under the age of at least 25, and over the age of 21, and who has any morals at all.
All Fall Down
The most popular blog link right now according to blogdex.net: Lemmings Online!
If you never played back in the Lemmings heyday, you ought to check it out.
That said, the best version of Lemmings ever was the one for the Super Nintendo, which has a two-player simultaneous mode, which was very, very cool. The idea was that you would compete to see who could save more of his lemmings more quickly, but since I was nowhere near as good at the game as my friend Jason, I would instead turn my lemmings into an army of lemming assassins, set to create obstacles to kill his lemmings before they could make it to safety. Ah, those were the days.
Still Rambling, Not So Idle
The Joe-blog has become a lean, mean postin' machine lately.
The Orlando Sentinel has a good article about problems facing the Shuttles.
A Day In The Life
Ed Lu has posted his latest "Greetings, Earthlings" letter, this one about day-to-day life on ISS. I would say you should read it and then read my Skylab series for comparison, but the Skylab story's not up yet, so you can't.
Space Has A Terrible Power
Don't worry. Space.com assures us that Mars will not kill you. People are stupid.
These comforting words come after "One SPACE.com reader asks: 'Will it be dangerous when Mars gets that close to Earth? It has me a little worried.' Others have e-mailed to say they heard there would be earthquakes or other disasters. One of the many rumors going around says the two planets will collide." To what extent can you be a "SPACE.com reader" and yet still fear that the upcoming Martian perigee is going to cause problems?
Besides, the Space Robots would protect us. Shoving would protect us from the Terrible Power Of Space.
Another, differently focused, article on the convention I posted about yesterday about manned missions to Mars.
No One's Flying The Plane!
For the first time ever, the FAA has authorized an unmanned plane to fly in commercial airspace.
Where The Vale Of Dear Old Huntsville Meets The Southern Sky
Former astronaut and Huntsville High School alumna Jan Davis has been named as the new director of Safety and Mission Assurance at Marshall.
And, still continuing the hot Trek chick thread, here's your Hatbag.
Why Are You So Petrified Of Cylons?
Here, can you handle this?
Speaking of hot Trek chicks (well, to you, I'm about to), I'm posting this for Lain, who didn't believe me when I told him that one of the main Cylon characters in the new Galactica series would be a hot chick Cylon named Number 6 (of 12). Maybe this site's wrong. Maybe.
Addendum: It's more accurate to say that Lain believed me, but was dumbfounded.
Ba Da Bee Ba Da Boo
I think everyone who care's has probably seen T'Pol's new outfit, but I thought I'd post it here in case anyone wanted to comment.
And if that doesn't make you feel better about the next season of Enterprise, perhaps this quote from TrekToday will:
"Nikita Ager, who plays the eponymous alien slave woman in "Rajiin", was shocked by the skimpy outfit she was given to wear in the episode. "I've got bikinis bigger than the outfit Rajiin wears when she's first seen. The costumer arrived with what looked like a roll of string to be strategically placed. I went, this is Star Trek? He went, 'Yep!':"
|:: Sunday, August 17, 2003 ::|
This prank ICQ chat is the origin of the Space Robots. Good stuff. People are stupid.
Hard as it is to believe, Tuesday will mark 6 months of YMTFB.
And it may be time to just say 6 months was a pretty good run, and move on.
Basically, at this point, I'm considering one of four options.
- Re-tool this blog, making it better serve the audience. If you would be interested in my doing so, then I need to know what things on here you find interested, what things you find uninteresting or alienating, and what things I'm not doing that I should be. Also, do you find it more interesting when I opine more about things, or do you prefer more short items?
- Continue this blog, but exchange quantity for quality. In other words, rather than trying to find stuff for the blog, just posting a couple of times every couple of days when I actually have something worth saying (a fairly common blog technique).
- Scrap this blog, and launch another, more topical one, which would possibly have broader appeal and be less discussion-oriented. MartianSoil.com is an excellent example of this. If you believe this is the way to go, then what topic would you be interested in.
- If there's no interest in one of the previous options, then go gentle into that good night.
My original concept for YMFTB was two-fold--to attract like-minded company, at which it's largely failed (judged by the amount of feedback from people I don't know), and, more importantly, to establish a community to stay in touch with people I don't stay in touch with as much as I would like. If that makes me high-maintenance, then so be it, that's my prerogative. It has not succeeded as well as I had hoped in terms of attracting as large a community as I would have liked, but I've enjoyed what it has. I guess what I need to know is whether there's anything I can do to foster more discussion, or whether this is even worth continuing.
If Hippie to take the "which romance movie are you" quiz I linked to yesterday, it's pretty obvious what his answer would be.
Hotty Toddy Saddam
So now that the whole Iraqi dictator thing has fallen through for him, perhaps the Army's posters will help Saddam find a new career--he can play the role of Billy Idol and be Ole Miss' new mascot.
One Giant DVD
Coming out Tuesday: A new DVD with over 10 hours of footage from Apollo 11.
Life On Mars
Duckweed may be the answer to colonization of the Red Planet, according to some scientists meeting this weekend.
|:: Saturday, August 16, 2003 ::|
I just noticed that this strip is titled "Heritage," meaning it's probably not what it appears to be about.
Ole Miss John Glenn
I'm a little disappointed that SpaceMonkeyMafia.com stole the name I was wanting to use later, and isn't even getting maximum use out of it (doubt it--check out his Cafepress store... plenty of monkeys, but no space at all... I would have bought a shirt if it had fully captured the spirit of Space Monkey Mafia).
Regardless, though, it did lead me to this cool (and friendly) Flash video for Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start The Fire" (which, of course, is the origin of the Space Monkey Mafia).
Pak Chooie Unf
Somehow, I'm not sure that I trust the Space Robots, and frankly, right now, the government seems to be doing a good enough job of protecting humanity from The Terrible Secret Of Space.
(BTW, this Flash is produced by The Laziest Men On Mars, who also did the cool "All Your Base" animation.)
|:: Friday, August 15, 2003 ::|
This blog would like to welcome Chris Tutor, whose graced us with several days' worth of feedback! Very good to have you here, man!
10 p.m. And All's Well
I've gotten a total of one feedback on the stuff I've posted in the last 36 hours, so I want no griping about the lack of weekend blogging.
I was just checking out the recent search strings that led people to Hatbag.net. For many of them, my site is not on the first page of results. I thought it was really cool, though, that if you run a search for STS-114 and Eileen Collins, even though this blog is not on the first page of results, something else I wrote is like the No. 4 result on Google. If you run a search for "Colonel Rebel mascot pics," this blog comes in second on Google, even ahead of Fox News.
So here's the contest. What's the coolest search string you can come up with on Google that gets this blog on the first page of results. Bonus points if it's not something obvious... for example, I'm the number one result for "Superman must fight the polar bear," but just because of the use of the blog name. Similarly, anything using hatbag doesn't count.
Currently, I'm the only result you get for "Microsoft has lain with naked Cylons." I'm the first and second result for "Colonel Reb will miss the robots." And readers of The Clarion-Ledger who fear "The Chinese must moon Marshall Ramsey" will also end up first at my site.
In support of my anti-authority view of the Hippie, I produce Exhibit One.
You Must Remember This
It turns out the romance movie that best represents my love life is Casablanca. And if you read it on the internet, it has to be true.
More great new posting on Joe's Blog including a heartwarming story of a truly important event in a young man's life--his first time (yeah, you know what I mean). Also, more great Trek discussion.
And, still no new blogging from his wife.
T -56 Days?
October 10 is the rumored date for China's first manned spaceflight. Rumor also has it that the first flight will carry a single taikonaut
Toil And Trouble
More on the future of Hubble...or lack thereof.
In the wake of Gigli, Kevin Smith is making major changes to Jersey Girl.
|:: Thursday, August 14, 2003 ::|
For The Record
I do read poetry... sometimes.
I even find some I like... occasionally.
Tie Your Kids Down To Their Beds
Now, this is a useful invention.
This Week At NE
Online this week at NASAexplores is--the same stuff as last week, since we've been offline since the day after the stories were posted last week. If you missed them then, check 'em out now.
Weighty Matters Update
Yet another personal note. Sorry.
A little less than 3 months ago, I posted here that I was starting the Atkins diet, with the idea being that public accountability would be a motivator. Since then, I've mentioned it not once, defeating the purpose.
About 6 years ago, I decided I really needed to lose weight. To start the process, of course, I weighed myself, something I had avoided doing for quite some time (I believe I even had to buy my first set of scales to do so). The result was, of course, depressing. On into the diet, however, I discovered that my scales were wrong, and had been reading too light... meaning that when I had started, I had actually weighed 10 pounds more than the depressing amount that I thought I weighed. I went on to lose somewhere approaching 20 pounds, most, if not all of which, I managed to gain back by the end of that year. And, of course, I continued to gain quite a bit more after that.
As of today, I've managed to get my weight back down to the incredibly depressing figure it was 6 years ago... after having lost 36 pounds thus far.
Britney Spears as Daisy Duke?
In Other Blogs
If you haven't been to my DaveMatrix blog recently, absolutely nothing has happened, so don't.
And speaking of space telescopes...
(That's the problem with this reverse-order blogging... to you, I haven't spoken of space telescopes yet, but to me, I just did).
Last Of The Great Observatories
NASA's Space Infrared Telescope Facility is being prepared for launch next Saturday, Aug. 23 aboard a Delta II launch vehicle. SIRTF will be used to observe celestial objects and phenomena that are too dim, distant, or cool to study by other means.
Hailing Frequencies Open
Want to talk to a real live Space Shuttle commander? How about Q? Or Tuvok (There's nothing Sarah McLachlan would like better than that!)? Well, here's your chance! HollywoodIsCalling.com will arrange, for a mere $20-$30, to have a member of a select list of B-list celebrities call a friend with a special greeting.
|:: Wednesday, August 13, 2003 ::|
This would be frightening, if I believed in Canada.
Um... I have an apology to make: It turns out I've been wrong all along.
And There, In The Box...
You know, maybe cryonics doesn't sound like so much fun anymore.
It's from a couple of days ago, so I was afraid this discussion that Richie recently commented on might get lost, but I don't want it to. And I'm not just doing this to bait Richie, even though I am a master ... um, at doing that.
Official Jason Smith Free Blog
Note: This does not mean this is a "Jason Smith"-free blog. Quite the contrary, this blog probably has much more Jason Smith than most. Which still ain't sayin' a whole lot.
Anyway, if you got something we need to talk about but aren't, say it here.
Less Than Zorro
I found an old Target receipt yesterday that, at the bottom, has information about taking an online survey, under the headline "Let Us Know Haganos Saber." I'm assuming that the second half is just the first half in Spanish, but how cool a name is "Haganos Saber"? When I become a Zorro-style crimefighter, that is SO the name I am going to use. It would also be a good name for a sword-weilding character in one of those "Street Fighter"-type video games. I can't blame Target for wanting to know him.
IMDB.com has released a list of the 100 worst movies ever, but it's a complete sham, in that Batman & Robin doesn't appear until number 96, doing better than some infinitely more watchable movies.
Addendum: I had the wrong link earlier, but it should be fixed now.
Robot Holocaust Update
They're insidious...and want to take our place.
Better Check Your Fly
You Must Fight The Idle Ramblings
Once again, more good stuff on the Joe blog (his wife, on the other hand, is another story altogether).
And speaking of elevators...
And They're Building An Elevator ... To Heaven
New on the internet: www.spaceelevator.com
Like Apples And... Um, Different Apples
More on the Apple Computer vs. Apple Records battle.
For those interested, Variety reports that Kevin Smith has announced his next couple of projects. First off is a new Fletch movie (based, apparently, on the book "Fletch Won," though listed in the article repeatedly as "Fletch One"), which it sounds as though, despite Kevin's earlier insistance, will not star Jason Lee (well known as the fiercest killer in the View Askew kingdom). After that is his long-alluded-to science-fiction project, for which we now have the name "Ranger Danger and the Danger Rangers."
|:: Tuesday, August 12, 2003 ::|
They've more than honored your request for Cylons.
Now There's Something Meteor
The Perseid meteor shower will peak shortly before dawn tomorrow morning. If you don't want to be up at 4 a.m., between 8 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. tonight will be another good time to look. And, while you're out there, check out Mars, which will be relatively close to the Moon, and is nearing its brightest appearance in 60,000 years. For watching the meteors, stand in shadow where you can't see the Moon, which will be full tonight and thus can easily drown out meteors. And if you find any green meteor rocks, report them to LuthorCorp immediately.
Today In History
Today marks the anniversary of the first flight of the Space Shuttle...sort of. On this date 26 years ago, Fred Haise and Gordon Fullerson crewed the Space Shuttle Enterprise for its first free flight in the approach and landing tests.
In the interest of equal time, I now post the 20 Worst Figures In American History, according to left-wing bloggers, done by the same site that did the conservate list a while back (the site's been kind of iffy so far today, so if you don't get it to work at first, just try again later). Perhaps most hated overall for both lists is Benedict Arnold, with John Wilkes Booth, I believe, in second.
Music In Huntsville
The schedule has been announced for Huntsville's Big Spring Jam festival, which will be Friday, Sept. 26 through Sun., Sept. 28. Artists I've heard of include, but are not limited to, Cowboy Mouth, Hootie & The Blowfish, Jaci Velasquez, Sugar Ray, Blues Traveler, Randy Travis, Uncle Kracker, Herman's Hermits, The GAP Band, Sixpense None The Richer, and .38 Special. Single day passes are $20, 3-day advance passes are available for $30. If anybody's interested, let me know.
After an extended vacation, the Daily Hatbag is back. Basically, I took a hiatus when I was having the server problems and nobody could read what I was posting, and then decided to see how long I could go before anyone noticed. Nearly a month later, I've given up. Oh well.
Check It Out
Tons of new posting on the Joe-blog.
OK, brace yourself, 'cause this is going to be hard to believe--there's a new internet worm going around that takes advantage of a vulnerability in Windows.
Make Us Popular!
This is kind of interesting in light of the recent discussion in the collectSPACE forums I posted about Friday: NASA yesterday posted a solicitation for partners to help NASA reach the public.
According to MacNN, Ambrosia has ported the original Escape Velocity and EV: Override to OS X. Both are free for those who have registered EV: Nova.
In Case I Haven't Mentioned It Lately
Panther is coming.
More Proof That Harry Potter Is Evil
Just read this smut that J.K. Rowlings is peddling to the world's children.
From One Of My Mailing Lists:
" HECK, That wasn't the FIRST "Space Wedding"!! :-))
As a Florida Notary Public, I married two CA Tile Workers in COLUMBIA's
Payload Bay during our 3 AM "lunch break" in OPF HiBay1 in 1981!! :-))
Attire was White "Bunny Suits" and the happy couple disappeared into the
(Hmmm.. maybe that part probably best left out.. ) "
|:: Monday, August 11, 2003 ::|
Things That Bug Dave
One of the crimes against the English language I find most annoying is the usage of the word "anxious" to mean "eager." It ruins an otherwise wonderful word by creating the risk that if you use it, people are going to think you mean something completely different.
Ever go somewhere that you used to go all the time but haven't been in forever but then when you get there you're kind of surprised at something that hasn't changed? Um, this is kind of like that. Surfing the internet, I just tracked down Quartz II, the non-.edu version of the Quartz BBS I used to visit back when I was still living in the dorms at Ole Miss, back in the days when the WWW was scoffed at for a ridiculously slow way to access a tiny amount of useless content, and telnet and usenet where the way the savvy used the internet. I remembered having come across it before a while back, and so clicked on the log-in link. When I tried my old nearly 10-year-old user ID and password, it told me I had the wrong password, so I tried it again with a more recent one. And, I'm in. Last log-in date: June 2001 (more recent than I would have thought). Most of the rooms had passed the 200-new-message limit since then, though not all. Just kind of cool.
Expedition 8's Mission Patch...
...can be seen here.
Oh, No, The Secret's Out
This is some funny stuff. And if you read the second paragraph in the middle column, everything suddenly makes sense.
So, it's hard to say who exactly would win in a fight between Maximillian, Number Five, R2D2, Nomad, Crow, a Cylon, Ash, and Starscream. But we do know who would lose--Nomad was the only robot in the old poll not to receive any votes at all. The winners were Maximillian and Starscream, who each received two votes, while all the others received one vote a piece.
The new poll is inspired by the news that the live-action Garfield movie is well underway, and that a Hagar The Horrible movie is currently in development. To make things fair, I've left out the obvious answers of Hatbag and that "love is..." strip with the naked people talking about love.
If anybody's interested, here's the link to the interview NASAexplores team member Mindi Capp did with the Exp. 7 crew a while back.
As It Turns Out...
Paul is dead.
Building Blocks For Future Spacecraft
So it turns out the Air Force and I have something in common--we both love the Legos. On the occassion of my birthday, the Air Force posted a solicitation seeking a company to develop space Legos that the Air Force can use for rapid-prototyping of space systems.
X Prize contender Scaled Composites celebrated my birthday with the first free flight of private spacecraft SpaceShipOne, which was carried aloft by the White Knight carrier airplane, and then released to glide to a safe desert landing under a pilot's control.
The Long March rocket that will carry the first Chinese taikonauts into space will be heading for the launchpad soon.
This one's basically for Lain, whom I was not sure had heard about the upcoming Lex Luthor comics mini-series or these other new Superman-universe series.
They've changed the release date for the Indiana Jones trilogy to Oct. 21, two weeks sooner than previously announced. To mark the occassion, I've finally gotten around to implementing something I've been planning to do for a while, which is add a release dates section to the sidebar. If you come across anything you want me to add, let me know.
|:: Sunday, August 10, 2003 ::|
Congratulations, Yuri & Kat!
|:: Friday, August 08, 2003 ::|
In light of the Ole Miss mascot competition, I thought I should mention an idea Lain and I came up with, which would meet the basic requirement of following the Rebel theme without Confederate undertones (or overtones):
Mr. "Rebel Yell" himself: Billy Idol.
That's right, imagine Billy Idol on the field during Ole Miss football games, leading cheers and beating the crap out of other team's mascots--how cool would that be?! He could even have the band play back-up for him during the half-time Billy Idol concert. "Hotty Toddy" could be joined by a new Ole Miss version of "Rebel Yell": "With a Rebel Yell, we cried Score! Score! Score! In the fourth quarter, we cried Score! Score! Score!" (it could be revised further if soon-to-be-former Mississippi Attorney General Mike Moore were in the audience).
Plus, other songs could also be re-tooled into new Ole Miss cheers:
"Hey Eli Manning, what have you done? Hey Eli Manning, here the defense comes! Hey Eli Manning, Shotgun!"
With Talk Like A Pirate Day rapidly approaching, everybody should know their pirate name.
Mine is Black William Read: "Like anyone confronted with the harshness of robbery on the high seas, you can be pessimistic at times. Even through many pirates have a reputation for not being the brightest souls on earth, you defy the sterotypes. You've got taste and education. Arr!"
Confidential To Joe
Dang it, Joe, I demand Joe-news!
They started a discussion about the Space.com article I linked to below in the collectSPACE forums, so I rewrote a slightly different version of my lost post:
I saw that article, and thought it was really good, though I disagreed with this bit though:
"NASA has heroes. It just needs to do something with them beyond orbiting the planet at dizzying speeds. Send them to Mars or back to the moon. Either would ignite the public's imagination. Or do we have to wait until the skies are teeming with Chinese taikonauts before we take action?"
As Chuck Yeager would no doubt be glad to remind us, NASA didn't wait until they had done something to turn the Mercury Seven into heroes. That's going about it all backwards. Create heroes first, and they'll pave the way to Mars.
In discussions about what the agency should do with the new crop of Educator Astronauts, I have made the suggestion (ignored, thus far) that Hollywood agents should be hired for them. Get them out there, give them name recognition. Get them on Letterman, put them in television commercials, have them on magazine covers, secure guest appearances on TV shows. Make people know who they are. In the media, a moderate amount of charisma will count as much as a large amount of accomplishments. Charisma is not an uncommon quality in the corps, and the EAs will be people that have spent their lives talking.
Making the people interesting will make the missions interesting. The mission designation "STS-95" means nothing to most people. They didn't follow the mission because they were excited about its SPACEHAB payload. It was one of the most-watched missions in recent years for one reason and one reason only--John Glenn.
Frankly, with STS-114 grounded indefinitely, there is no reason why Eileen Collins should not be all over the place. NASA's first female Shuttle commander? Someone who is interesting, personable, and, for that matter, attractive? How hard a sale is this? If the agency went about this the right way, there is no reason why everyone in the country should not know the name Eileen Collins by the time she flies. And if so, it would be NASA's greatest moment in years-- not only the excitement of a return to flight mission, but also the interest of having a "celebrity" aboard.
I doubt most people today could name one member of the current corps. Yet having astronauts with name recognition would make such a big difference for the agency and for spaceflight. If, when people read or watched something about NASA, they heard from someone they recognized and respected, what that person had to say would count for so much more.
And once you have the public behind you, the solar system opens up. As we learned in The Right Stuff... what makes those rocket engines go is money.
People Are Stupid
From an article about Yuri's wedding in Christian Science Monitor:
"Colonel Malenchenko popped the question before leaving for the International Space Station in April to replace the lost Columbia crew."
We Do Need Another Hero
I just wrote a good page about this interesting Space.com article, but I pressed the wrong button, and it's gone, and I can't bear to have to re-write it all again now. Maybe later.
AICN has a teaser picture for the live-action Garfield.
This Week At NE
This week at NASAexplores, two new articles I wrote, one about NASA's Educator Astronaut program, and the other about NASA research into helping unmanned aircraft avoid running into other aircraft.
Other Quote Of The Day
"The human race has walked the Earth for 2.7 million
And we estimate the universe about 13-14 billion
When all these numbers tumble into your imagination
Consider that the Lord was there before creation
God is old
We're not old"
Paul Simon, "Old" (my favorite post-Rythm Of The Saints Paul Simon song)
Quote Of The Day
Yesterday it was my birthday. I hung one my year on the line. I should be depressed--my life's a mess, but I'm having a good time."
--Paul Simon, "Have A Good Time"
|:: Thursday, August 07, 2003 ::|
On Another Personal Note
It's my birthday. Another year ticks away. Hrm.
On A Personal Note
We went by our new house this morning, which now has a Sold sign out front. Only three weeks today until closing.
Somebody Leave The Lights On
This blog will pay $5 to anyone who changes their name to hatbag.net.
No Time Like The Present
If, in fact, Peter Lynds is right, and time does not consist of a series of individual instants, then this project is rather pointless (Though personally I would be interested in how Lynds explains the fact that you can do that).
I think it was Jason who was concerned about the Mars curse with our new missions. For him, I offer this.
To Whom It May Concern
More on the end of the Alias comic, and beginning of The Pulse.
|:: Wednesday, August 06, 2003 ::|
Let those who would
(A cool thing I learned to do with text that I stole from DeeDee's friend Will. No images, just text coding)
You can also make it work on mouseover:
BTW, if you're not using IE, which you shouldn't be anyway, you're not getting any of this.
It's apropos of nothing, but this is a funny picture (Link stolen from the Hulk, which may not have been a good idea in retrospect).
Hulk Loves Cookies
The Hulk takes issue in his blog with the act Nabisco depicts him performing with cookies. You have to scroll down a little.
Confused about all the different Mars missions? Let Marsbound Lego robots explain it all for you.
Searching For Life On Mars?
Use a Mac.
No Joy In Mudville
For those who know anything about Sunflower County, Mississippi politics, long-time Sheriff Ned Holder was defeated in yesterday's primary election. I, for one, am completely shocked by this turn of events, and am somewhat disappointed with the loss of such an important icon.
No, Thanks Too You, Kat
Even Richie, who's tired of the whole thing, should enjoy www.spacewedding.net, albeit for all the wrong reasons. Also, note the .net suffix, necessary because someone had already registered spacewedding.com on July 7, 2002, although it's not currently being used.
And, BTW, Russia has given a very grudging go-ahead for the ceremony Sunday.
From AFP News Service: "Bill Readdy, NASA's associate administrator for space flight, said 'it appears that the window extending from March 11 to April 6 honored all the constraints that we know,' including a daylight launch and daylight external tank separation."
Ignore the post yesterday about the Jersey Girl release date, if you haven't already.
|:: Tuesday, August 05, 2003 ::|
Eight Is Enough
I read an interesting interview with Michael Collins, who piloted the Apollo 11 command module in lunar orbit while Neil and Buzz went down to the surface of the Moon, in which he argues that history will remember Apollo 8 as more significant than Apollo 11, since it was the first time man truly left his home planet, and that ultimately the act of leaving will be considered more important that the achievement of arriving. I don't know that I necessarily agree with him, because I don't know that Apollo 8 will be remembered that way in the long run. The Moon, while a seperate body in space, is still in Earth orbit, and thus Apollo 8, while orbiting the Moon, was still orbiting the Earth. How much regard history will give the difference between the Low Earth Orbit of previous spaceflights and the "Very High Earth Orbit" of AS8, I don't know, but I can't imagine that it would be very great after man leaves Terran space behind completely and ventures out into the Solar System, on his way to Mars, etc. Apollo 11, even if it still occurred within Earth-space, will always have the significance of being the first time man walked on the surface of a body other than the Earth.
That's just my two cents. I'd love to hear what you think.
Newswriting.com lists 100 things you should avoid in writing, though I don't know that I agree with all of them.
Here You Go, Joe
This should make Joe, who feared for his political identity after learning that many of his favorite movies were listed on the list of greatest movies on Right Wing News, feel much better about himself. The same site has put together a list of the 20 Worst Figures In American History, which I imagine would differ slightly from Joe's list. That said, it's kind of an interesting list, though not in any meaningful way.
Scientists in Japan are working to make The Matrix possible, bringing humanity's subjugation by our machine masters one step closer, and saving the machines a bunch of work down the road.
Unfortunately, I won't be able to go to this right away due to my birthday, but we should definitely add this to the list of things to do.
The first Martian Scout missions scheduled for launch in 2007 has been selected. The Phoenix lander was one of four proposed missions competing for two slots in the next NASA exploration program. Phoenix will consist of a lander (though not a rover) that will touch down in an ice-rich area in Mars' northern polar region, and use a robotic arm to dig slightly beneath the Martian soil for the first time, looking to discover whether the area is suitable for life. The other three candidates include a probe that would return to Earth with a sample of Martian atmospheric dust, an orbiter, and possibly the most high-profile condender, an airplane that would fly over the surface of Mars.
Addendum: Neglected to mention earlier that the probe's name stems from the fact that it involves a spacecraft originally designed for a cancelled 2001 mission. Also, here's an article about the Mars Flyer airplane that was not selected, that also tells a little more about the SCIM and MARVEL proposals. Finally, I should note that I was unclear about one thing previously--after Phoenix, the next Mars Scout mission will not be launched until 2011.
Slate.com has an interesting article about BuyMusic's Apple rip-off commercials.
Enjoyed Gigli, and can't wait for more cinematic pairings of Ben Affleck and J. Lo?
Jersey Girl opens Friday, February 13.
The fact that their last pairing is being touted as the worst movie ever can't bode well for the success of Kevin Smith's film.
|:: Monday, August 04, 2003 ::|
Just wanted to let you know you're welcome to stay with us when you come to Huntsville, but you need to get your ticket soon.
Wanna feel nostalgic? Check out this site's collection of old computer promotional materials. Good stuff.
I didn't even notice what day it was Friday, and then didn't feel well all weekend, so I'm late posting this, for which I apologize. I haven't seen it mentioned anywhere, but Friday marked 6 months since loss of Columbia. This is not where I thought we would be 6 months ago.
Ed Lu has posted another letter from ISS, this one about advanced spacecraft.
To The Moon?! Yawn...
China's going to the Moon! Yeah, but, well... China has announced more details of its plan for lunar exploration. The nation plans to visit the Moon... with an unmanned probe... in about 20 years. How exciting is that?
"Captured Fury," "Superhero Revealed: The Anatomy of the Hulk," "Hulkification," "Evolution of the Hulk," "The Incredible Ang Lee," "Ang Lee Editing Style," "The Dogfight." Yes, those are just a few of the special features you'll experience on The Hulk DVD, which hits shelves (hard) on October 28.
As everyone knows, the mark of a good science fiction franchise is--the prequel. So you'll be glad to know that coming in November for X-Box and PS2 is Battlestar Galactica, which chronicles the adventures of young Adama in the "early" Cylon Wars.
|:: Friday, August 01, 2003 ::|
The Greatest Films, Conservatively
Right Wing News has posted a list of the 15 Greatest Movies Of All Time, as voted for by bloggers. Apparently, I'm conservative enough that my four all time favorite-best are in the list of honorable mentions, but not so much so that they're anywhere near the same order.
For Richiesmallest county in the united states (See, Hatbag fun facts are still helping the public)
A few final search strings that led people to the Hatbag site during the month of July:
Bad opinions on Oskar Schindler (Interestingly, someone followed the link even though it was way down in the list of search results--only to find that I believe a movie in which Oskar Schindler takes on the HAL 9000 would be the greatest movie ever!)
Calvin stickers legal
SOLOMON GRUNDY BIO
And, as of like 2:30 a.m. today, the only search string for August was:
world's biggest comic strip mississippi 135 47
Looking at my webstats, I found that some people had come to my page from this site, which lists like five blogs each that talk about Key People in the news. Sadly, I was listed there on July 28 because I mentioned Ben Affleck, ironically with a link that had nothing to do with Affleck.
The Hatbag Journals
If anybody would be interested in buying a Hatbag journal, trucker hat, or messenger bag, I would be glad to add said items to the Hatbag store.
What Is The Rebel?
Here's your big chance to design the new Ole Miss mascot. The catch: it has to be a Rebel. But, presumably one that has nothing to do with the one used for the last how many decades. I just don't see this ending well. I hate seeing Col. Reb go, but believe they might have done better just disassociating the mascot from the team name, much like the University of Alabama does. I just have a hard time imagining someone coming up with another good "Rebel" character for Ole Miss. Well, we shall see.
This Week At NE
This week at NASAexplores, we have a story based on an idea I got from Apple.com, about a NASA engineer who is developing the future of low-noise air-travel...on his Mac, as well as a story about why it is important that we have people in space.
Slow News Day
From The Halls Of Montezuma To The Shores Of Tripoli... In Less Than 2 Hours
Space Marines are such an integral part of so many science fiction stories, that it's about danged time we got some around here. Well, the USMC is hoping this old trope will become a reality by the year 2025, according to SpaceNews. The Marine Corps is hoping to have use of a manned military space plane by then that could launch from the US to attack targets and deploy small teams of troops anywhere in the world within 2 hours.