|:: Tuesday, September 30, 2003 ::|
The Clark Expedition
OK, if ever I were going to vote for a Democrat, this would do it. It turns out a vote for Clark is a vote for faster-than-light travel.
Here ya go!
Dead In Concert
SpaceDaily has a pair of articles about the upcoming Chinese manned spaceflight.
Sorry for the recent lack of blogging.
We moved into the house starting Friday. Everything is now out of the apartment, it's just a matter of ALOT of unpacking left to be done.
Nicole is, as of Saturday, out of the hospital. She still has a lot of recovery left to go, and is getting around just a little on a walker, but was able to go to Wal-Mart last night and ride in the electric buggy, so she is making progress.
On a down note, she got a letter Friday saying she'd lost her job.
So, that's live in the Hitt house. Don't yet have a computer hooked up at home, and things are still kind of chaotic, so it'll take some time for things to normalize. Thanks for your patience.
Oh, man, how cool would Orson Welles' Batman have been. Reading over the story, it feels like this somehow has to be a hoax.
The Halle You Say
This is Catwoman?
I had planned to write more about this, but in the confusion missed posting it on time at all, but yesterday was the 15th anniversary of the STS-26 Return To Flight mission.
|:: Friday, September 26, 2003 ::|
Here's a good article about the impending Breathed return.
Support Our Local Businesses--Buy Spacecraft!
The Orbital Space Plane may be built in Huntsville.
|:: Thursday, September 25, 2003 ::|
Here's a DM story about the mascot debacle.
Along with an editorial.
And Khayat's letter.
I thought this week's Trek was one of the worst Enterprise episodes to date, but since no one's seen it, we can discuss it later. Any thoughts about last week's?
BTW, I enjoyed this line from STEnterprise.com's description of next week's episode: "The plot centers around an alien concubine--'Rajiin'--who seeks refuse with the Enterprise crew when they visit the settlement to procure a chemical protectant againt the detrimental effects of the Expanse."
Funny, Funny Stuff
It's Kim Jong Il's Livejournal, and it's some of the funniest stuff I've come across on the Web recently. I'm having to really fight laughing out loud as I read.
And in the end...
Alas, Forgotten Words
"Phat" is in the dictionary, but at what cost?
Since Michael Moore sees nothing wrong with editing video of speeches to change their meaning, he would probably agree with this assesment of what he's trying to get across in the last paragraph of this page:
"Well, there you have it. I ... tell.. make-believe stories,... and my work will continue to do so; ... should be sued for knowingly libeling. ... I'll just keep laughing."
In fact, once you've established this is a fair way of treating quotes, you can have even more fun, like with the paragraph before: "I... found... Dukakis and ... raped ... and stabbed... him. ... My... willie... is ... a ... rapist. My apologies."
Lance says space is good.
This Week At NE
This week at NASAexplores, I've got an article about the possibility of powering lightweight aircraft with fuel cells in the near future, while Maggie's got on about zeolites.
Thought For The Day
"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot
stamping on a human face - for ever."--George Orwell
Orwell was an optimist.
Weighty Matters Update
For the record, as of this morning, since May 20, I have lost a total of 50 pounds.
And, after having reached the point where I was wearing XXL shirts out of necessity, the shirt I'm wearing this morning, for the first time in longer than I care to remember, has no Xs in front of the L. Still have a long way to go, but at least I've got the better part of it done.
Who Could Have Imagined?!
Lain sent me this: Turns out the search for a new Ole Miss mascot is not going well. What a shocking turn of events!
|:: Wednesday, September 24, 2003 ::|
Star Trek: Enterprise
A letter to one of my Web sites: "when is the next apollo space shuttle going up in to space? please wright back because i love space and everything to do with it. from ***** ***** age 16"
Rather than posting a strip, I thought I would contribute to public knowledge with these useful Fun Facts.
This sounds like kind of an interesting book.
Dreams Of Futures Past
Here's a cool site with space artwork going back 120 years.
Turtle (Staying) Power
The top toys this Christmas in England--Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Barbie.
Chewy In Huntsville!!!!!!!!
Peter Mayhew, Robert Picardo, Ethan Phillips, and Space Shuttle Commander Rick Searfoss may be coming to Huntsville for the Slanted Fedora con on January 16.
Space O'KeefeThe possibility of having a member of the STS-114 crew stay on ISS as the third crewmember there is still open.
James Oberg has the scoop on Return To Flight:
Another option would carrying a "nonprofessional crewmember" to symbolize NASA's commitment to flight safety, such as possibly a member of the Gehman Commission, or, even cooler, NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe himself.
Current mission planning documents reportedly give an RTF date of NET July 15.
STS-114 would be followed by STS-121 on Discovery NET Sept. 16, which would be a follow-up to the RTF mission and would ease up some of the pressure on 115, 116, and 117.
STS-121 could also possibly be a crew-rotation mission, replacing Expedition 9 crew members Bill McArthur and Commander Valeri Tokarev.
If a crewmember is carried on STS-114 to supplement the ISS crew, it would likely be someone with recent ISS training/experience, but who is not in the queue for an upcoming expedition, such as Peggy Whitson or Don Pettit.
Ed Lu has posted another letter, this time about the lack of directions on Progress.
Space.com has a decent article about the upcoming Chinese manned spaceflight.
No need to worry or anything, but a Skynet satellite has stopped communicating with its human controllers. No cause for concern, though. If this were the actual Robot Holocaust, bombing would commence immediately.
The Orbital Space Plane is one step closer with the completion of the concept review and the establishment of the Level 2 requirements, which set out what the craft will have to be capable of in greater detail than the original 1-page Level 1 requirements.
Addendum: As this blog is always quick to air opposing viewpoints, here's a criticism of OSP by former astronaut Don Peterson, who has few valid points.
Wanna Fly The Shuttle...On Your Mac?
A Mac version of the Activision Anthology is under development, which will let you play a whopping 75 old Atari 2600 games on your Mac. I recently bought the PS2 version, which has only a now-much-less-impressive 43 games_.
|:: Tuesday, September 23, 2003 ::|
Fallen is now on the iTunes Music Store.
Here it is.
With another week left, September has already set a new record for most visits in a month to the new hatbag.net site.
This ones basically just for Richie, but Warren Ellis has a blog.
Spaceflight Now has a good article about the planned Prometheus-based mission to the Jovian system.
A Mighty Wind is being released across the nation today.
|:: Monday, September 22, 2003 ::|
Um, I finally got around to posting a new poll.
Calvin & Hobbes was the movie most of the YMFTB audience would like to see turned into a live action film, with 38 percent of the vote. Peanuts and Arlo & Janis tied for second, with 19 percent of the vote each. Next was Doonesbury, with 13 percent, and Cathy and Bloom County (a live action feature version of which has actually been rumored since I posted this poll) received one vote each, or 6 percent of the vote. No one wanted to see Beetle Bailey or Mallard Filmore films.
You know, for all the talk about NASA lacking a vision or drive for exploration, driving around Marshall, I've seen several people that have car tags that say things "MARS," "GO2MARS," etc., and thus far none that say anything like "NOMARS," or "STAYLEO." I'm probably just missing them.
Will an announcment be made in the State Of The Union Address?
(There was some speculation last year that Bush would mention Prometheus during SOTUA, but, of course, he had bigger things on his mind at the time.)
There Is No Spoooooooooooon!
I posted a while back about the upcoming DVD release of "The Tick: The Complete Series." Well, much to my disappointment, it turns out what's coming out next Thursday is The Tick: The Complete Crappy Series. Why this is hitting DVD and we're still waiting for the animated series is beyond me. Wither my animated Tick DVDs? Or The Critic? I demand answers, Hollywood!
Addendum: One of the reviews on Amazon.com: "I am so glad to be seeing the live action series come out on DVD. I am planning to buy a DVD player just so I can watch it again. I've never seen the cartoon version, but i'm sure it had to be watered down for children. This is way too good to pass up.
SPOON (the battle-cry of flatware) "
In Space, No One Can Hear You Cluck
Birds hitting airplanes is one thing, but it turns out the windshield of the Space Shuttle was once struck... while in space... by chicken.
Silent All These Lightyears
It turns out the whizz of spaceships in Star Wars may not have been as inaccurate as believed, depending on how good your hearing is.
Space Race 2003
This is exactly why we need to take the Chinese space program seriously--not so much because of any Cold War-style "We need to get there first" mentality that the Chinese might beat us to something (which they're likely still a decade or more from doing). Quite the opposite. We need to be vigilant because while space in the 60s was all about nationalism, space in the 21st century is all about internationalism. When China reaches the point that it has more to offer other nations than we do, then other nations are going to work with them instead of us. If China invites other nations to, for example, join them in a lunar colony, it's likely that several would decide they'd rather go play with China's toys than ours. The immediate impact of that is a negative one on our space program, which relies on a certain degree of international cooperation, both in the form of large projects like ISS, and in the form of support for US programs, like international passengers on the Shuttle. But in a much bigger picture, it effects our relationships with other nations, giving them new ties to what is quickly becoming the new "other" superpower.
On a related note, this is also kind of an interesting story.
You know, driving to work this morning, when they were talking on the radio about the rain we're getting, which was annoying me but which apparently was much-needed, it occurred to me that I have no idea how the crops are doing. I don't know if it's been a good season. I don't know if anyone's started bringing cotton in. I don't know what they're anticipating for this year's yields.
And, frankly, I don't really care. It's kind of nice.
One step closer?
Apparently, Jurassic Park IV may actually be a decent film. Hopefully, it will do well enough to finally get "Titanic Park" made.
|:: Sunday, September 21, 2003 ::|
|:: Friday, September 19, 2003 ::|
Pirate Those SW DVDs While You Can
More ...interesting... rumors about the original trilogy DVDs.
I don't think we actually have any about pirates.
After a year of reading, I just finished the big Onion book that came out last year, just in time for the next volume, which comes out Tuesday.
Lego Escher, Me Hearties
This site has some cool Lego sculptures.
Following in Joe's footsteps again, let me just post: Dean For Prez.
(NOTE: No actual booty involved. I'm just running out of pirate-y things to say)
Bly me! Gemini!
Anybody looking to spend a bunch of money on me for Christmas has no further to look than here.
Light Craft Ahoy
This story about laser-powered aircraft in Huntsville is kind of cool.
Ole Miss is helping with Return To Flight.
"Michael Rudolphi, interior center director at Stennis, said he thinks that remote sensing and Geographic Information System that Ole Miss possesses will be crucial in getting NASA back on track.
"While some of the recommendations put forward will be difficult to obtain, the crucial information we received from University of Mississippi sensors have allowed several of the 29 measures to be completed and ready for testing already," Rudolphi said. "
Arthur C. Clark says he believes there's life on Mars.
AICN has a lukewarm-ish review of the new Grisham movie. What amuses me, though, is the Talkback about the endless stream of Grisham movie adaptations, considering that it's been six years since the last one, and only about half of them have been adapted.
Addendum: In fact, I finally registered for Talk Back just to make that point. Dang, I'm sad.
Thick! Thick! Thick!
I like those new burgers at Hardees, me hearties!
Shiver me timbers! The world's cities are being infiltrated by Space Invaders!
I think I'll download the new unreleased Sarah McLachlan single today using Gnutella.
That's right, folks, it's finally Talk Like A Pirate Day!
(NOTE: I'm not actually downloading the song... it was just a joke... I'm waiting for it to hit stores, or alternately the iTMS).
|:: Thursday, September 18, 2003 ::|
Here ya go!
This Week At NE
This week at NASAexplores we have two new Maggie stories, one about weather prediction and the other about getting enough sleep.
Normally I leave the political stuff to Joe, but felt I really out to link to this item about a very important issue in the upcoming election.
I thought last night's Trek was a little better. I'm posting this to allow space for discussion, but don't know that anybody else saw it. So this is probably a waste of bandwidth.
I Might Buy These
Normally, I don't steal posts from the Joe Blog, but this is big news.
(Also, there's more new blogging on the Joe Blog, so check it out.
Learn Something New Everyday
Everybody knows the Soviet Union had the first man and the first woman in space, but I did not realize they had a black cosmonaut before Guy Bluford flew on the Shuttle. Cuban Arnaldo Tamayo-Mendez before the first black man in space aboard Soyuz 38 on this date in 1980.
I'm finally getting around to reading Time magazine's "A Return To Apollo?" article about the possible future use of space capsules. The article raises an issue which I have not seen elsewhere, making the point that a new capsule would be better suited to travel beyond Low Earth Orbit.
The... glory... of this is... unspeakable.
|:: Wednesday, September 17, 2003 ::|
As Human As Human
Lain, a while back, sent me this comic strip about an amazing superhero.
It's not even a strip, but this is the 16th most popular page on the site for the month so far (basically the top thing after the blog, Daily Hatbags, and main pages), and I'm not sure why. On a side note, yesterday may have seen the most visits ever in a single day on Hatbag.net
WIth Great Power...
Introducing Britain's newest superhero--Angle Grinder Man!
In a shocking turn of events, Boeing has announced that the U.S. should cooperate with China in space and that the Shuttle should fly until 2018. In an amazing coincidence, Boeing would likely profit off both of this things.
Bush is still thinking about space policy:
"I really don't have an opinion on Mars, but I do have an opinion that the more we explore, the better off America is," Bush said. "I believe in pushing the boundaries."
...The president's statement met with immediate skepticism about whether the administration is committed to space exploration.
"Well, it's not John Kennedy," said John Pike, a space expert who runs the think tank GlobalSecurity.org.
Scientific American has an excellent James Oberg article about China's space program, the most comprehensive I've seen to date. Among interesting facts--the Shenzhou capsule is capable of docking with Shuttle and ISS, and China may launch a manned space station within 2 to 3 years.
What's In Your Head?
The fact that Brazil has cloned a dead cow is less cool when you discover that the clone is actually alive, and not an undead bovine monstrosity.
Good update on the status of STS-114 briefing. I'm listening to a briefing about 114 now, so there will probably be some more solid stuff in the near future.
|:: Tuesday, September 16, 2003 ::|
Babelfish Is Fun
Things I learned by translating this German article about the Galileo probe:
It's a darned good thing they're crashing it into Jupiter. If not: "The astronomers of NASA fear that in such a case pathogens could possibly endanger existing life on Europe."
In face, pathogens could be the least of the problem. NASA's working to prevent a situation in which Galileo "breaks Europe open inadvertently on the Jupiter moon".
Heck, even the probe itself is worried about this, according to the sub-hed: "Spacecraft is in the atmosphere glowing - from concern around possible contamination of the moon Europe"
I also learned about the guy who has possibly the coolest job ever: "NASA astronomer John Rummel responsible for the protection of planets."
It's perfectly acceptable layout, cause the picture is boxed so that it's clear doesn't go along with the story, but at first glance it's kind of amusing--The top story for the Marshall Star last week is "Return To Flight Blueprint Released" and next to it is a picture of an old guy standing in front of a Redstone rocket (celebrating the Redstone's 50th anniversary).
Daily Garfunkel Update
USA Today has another good Simon & Garfunkel reunion story. (Cause the Simon & Garfunkel ree-uuuu-oooonion, is only a few weeks away).
Basically, at this point, I'm just posting this stuff to keep the Daily Garfunkel Update going.
This is currently the most-popular strip of the month not to have appeared as a Daily Hatbag.
Let your computer guess what movie or TV show you're thinking of.
What Do You Want To Do When You Grow Up
Popular Science presents The Worst Jobs In Science.
What The World Needs
OK, so now that Joe has his own blog, he's too good to participate in the Trek discussion on my blog. Nooooooo, he's got to go make his own Trek discussion on his own blog. That's fine. I see how things are going to be. I understand.
Anyway, go check it out. Also, there's more of his usual liberal ranting. : )
Flags Over Mars
When we go to Mars, who's going? This article discusses the possibility of a Mars mission being a joint effort between the U.S. and Russia. Frankly, that would surprise me only because I find it hard to believe that only two nations would be involved. I would imagine, at this point, that the odds of a single-agency Mars flight are probably pretty negligible, though I could be wrong.
Where Things Stand
Spaceref.com has an excellent article summarizing the current situation with RTF, the CAIB, Congress, NASA, the future, etc.
China will launch one astronaut on its first manned flight on October 10.
Or maybe just in the next 3 months.
Addendum: Or maybe around Oct. 1
|:: Monday, September 15, 2003 ::|
!0th Democrat, 4th Planet
Now, I'm all for sending people to Mars, but this just doesn't strike me as a good idea.
Daily Garfunkel Update
I don't have any new Garfunkel news today. Sorry.
Among the recent search strings that led people to the site was Duck Suit, which goes to a strip that surprisingly has nothing to do with Darkwing.
The number one search string for the site this month is Procy|on, which I'm sure is causing a lot of disappointment. Searches about return to flight (March 11, maybe), the Smallville season premiere (Oct. 1, definitely) and Colonel Reb are also big traffic bringers.
Where We're Going, We Don't Need Road
This Ford commercial gives new meaning to the idea of off-road driving.
Go-Fast Into Space
A man hopes this week to become the first civilian to launch something into space. While not as impressive as the upcoming manned flights will be, when they arrive, he would still earn a first, and it's another step. Plus, anybody that creates a rocket-powered toilet deserves a mention on this blog.
NASA is working on publication of "Our Deep South Home," about Stennis Space Center.
Space.com has an article about why we need a space program.
However, it doesn't mention things like that it lets us say things, as they do today, like The moon count is growing around Uranus" with a straight face.
Scaled Composites is another step closer to spaceflight.
NASA Wants You
NASA is looking for Solar System Ambassadors. A whopping 50 blog points to any of you that actually volunteer.
Five DVD Editions! Three, Sir
In the Things-Released-Just-To-Annoy-David division, we have the new $50 collectors' edition of Holy Grail, which comes out tomorrow. I'm not even sure how it differs from the Special Edition.
Damme-d To Hell
It used to be that all of Steven Seagal's (if I'm mispelling that, sorry, I don't care enough to check) film titles fell into the pattern of "Steven Seagal is" whatever, i.e. Hard To Kill, etc. I just saw that his Euro-counterpart, Jean Claude Van Damme, is in a straight-to-video film called "In Hell," which is the most comforting thought since I walked into a bookstore to see a sign that said "Danielle Steele Vanished."
|:: Saturday, September 13, 2003 ::|
More Sweet, Sweet Sarah McLachlan
Anyone interested in hearing the new album's first single, "Fallen," may click here.
Daily Garfunkel Update
Got to see Simon and Garfunkel on Letterman last night, which was pretty cool. As it turns out, they're old, and Garfunkel's hair now looks less silly than Paul's. Still darned good musicians, though. As it turns out, they haven't schedule any dates for Birmingham or Atlanta.
Last night I finally saw Mars. It was still overcast, but Mars was one of like five things visible in the sky. You know, it would be pretty freakin' cool to be able to look up at Mars like that and know that there were people there. Heck, just being able to do that would be enough to merit the tax dollars it would cost me.
Kneel, son of Jor-El! Kneel before Todd!
It turns out, in the season premier of Smallville (in case you missed it, that means spoiler ahead), Clark's dad gets superpowers from Jor-El in order to go hunt red-kryptonite-wearing Clark down in Metropolis. It's a credit to how good Smallville is that that idea doesn't scare me as much as it should.
Sweet, Sweet Sarah McLachan
Finally got the news I'd been looking for. Sarah's new album, Afterglow, comes out on Nov. 4 (just in time for Nicole's birthday). On the down side, it only has nine tracks, but after 6 years, you take what you can get.
|:: Friday, September 12, 2003 ::|
Today In History
JFK made his "We choose to go to the Moon" speech 41 years ago today.
This site makes some darned convincing arguements supporting the Moon hoax theory.
Sean O'Keefe sent China best wishes on its upcoming spaceflight.
Great Shades Of St. Hubbins
Fear, the power of Perry White.
Those Beatles are always up to no good.
Well, it's happened: The Beatles have sued Apple.
So, it's official. Christian Bale is Batman.
For a little history on how Bale went from American Pycho to Dark Knight Detective, Lain has put together this helpful and funny history.
Back In A Flash
See.... it's the Flash, right? But it's not one of the Flashes from the comic book, see? And he doesn't ever actually wear a Flash costume... And, he's going to travel in time every week, right?
Core Of The Problem
So what could reduce a beloved, innovative organization to one guilty of "group stupidity" and "massive failure"? A former director has written that the problem was a "diseased and dysfunctional culture" that prevented the organization from capitalizing on its strength and successes. Of the decline, he writes, "Of course you helped too, if you worked there ... It's interesting that so many bright people got together and failed to succeed." He's hopefully, however, that the current head will be able to change the organization enough to restore it to "the same authority and heft" it had in the early days.
Responding to the post, Armstrong noted that while the organization has had problems, it "hasn't failed," in that it "changed the world, and not in a little way."
And, oh, by the way, in case you missed it, we're talking about Apple.
|:: Thursday, September 11, 2003 ::|
While I wouldn't put any money on it, it's possible that day marks exactly 6 months before Return To Flight, according to the NET date in the report released earlier this week.
Whatever killed the dinosaurs, you can't be blase about it.
In The Year 2036
Glimpses of the future from a time traveller.
The future, BTW, is gonna suck.
Sweet Home Alabama
I'm sure this is somehow because we voted down the tax increase.
Onward And Outward
It's not going to happen, and I don't know how realistic it would be anyway, but, man, it would be cool if this passes and Congress would actually fund it.
Or Maybe Not...
So maybe an asteroid didn't kill the dinosaurs.
Every Night All The Men Would Come Around...
Larry Brown has a new book.
Col. Reb Updates
It turns out, Ole Miss students like Colonel Reb.
More than 300 new mascot ideas have been submitted.
Also, Lain sent me this link where you can support Colonel Reb, by doing things like giving lots of money to this Web site (possibly to help support the colonel if he ends up unemployed).
(On an unrelated note, here's a DM story about Return To Flight.)
At the moment, I really don't feel like blogging about today, but thought I would give a place for other people to comment if they're so inclined.
Before the big invastion, Saddam should have sometimes, just to annoy Bush, appeared on videos wearing a shirt that said "Can You Smell What Iraq Is Cooking?"
That would have amused me.
This Week At NE
This week at NASAexplores, we have new articles about the future of commercial supersonic flight, and about the E-Nose, which can smell when something's wrong on the Station.
Daily Garfunkel Update
USA Today had a good story about the upcoming reunion concert.
Somewhere In The Delphic Expanse...
Archer: Go to Warp Two.
T'Pol: Captain, sensors picked up an object underneath us as we jumped to warp.
Archer: Can somebody identify it?
Trip: Captain, it appears we jumped to warp over... a shark.
OK, so I had my concerns about the new season of Enterprise. "It's ongoing mission: to explore strange new worlds to seek out new life and new civilzations--and kill them!" But, I was willing to give it a chance.
As it turns out, though, I would have loved a little bit more in that direction. This was the bold new direction for Enterprise? Archer and Trip getting kidnapped?! How many times in two seasons have they done the "two crew members get kidnapped"-style episode. When you add in the ones where their stranded instead of kidnapped, it's got to be well over half of the shows. For that matter, how many shows have they done just where Archer and Trip are kidnapped? I was expecting the Xindi war to be the dominant story arc for the season opener. Instead, we get, "It's just like that other episode where Archer and Trip are kidnapped and put to work, except there's like a war or something that people talk about sometimes." The worst part is, the whole kidnapped crewmember story has been done much, much better several times.
I'm not saying I'm giving up, I'm just going to be lowering my expectation fields as we continue through the Delphic expanse.
|:: Wednesday, September 10, 2003 ::|
A New Era...
Just a reminder the new season of Enterprise starts tonight.
Girl, 12, Settles Piracy Suit for $2,000
Truly, a proud day for the RIAA.
A moderately interesting article about the implications of China's space ambitions (though I don't know how accurate it is to say their working towards a man on the Moon in the decade, but then, who does?).
Not That I Disagree With Him At All...
...but somehow I don't see the UK ponying up the money.
Ed Lu has posted his latest letter from ISS, this one about star- and Earth-gazing from the Station.
Oh, man, I have got to get me one of these!
Free Comic Book Day 2004 will be held on July 3, to coincide with the opening of the Spider-Man 2 movie.
|:: Tuesday, September 09, 2003 ::|
Billions of billions.
Likely a light day for blogging. Sorry.
For those who are just now joining us. (Yeah, right)
Finally, An Answer!
I have long wondered what the story was behind General Tso's chicken. Who was he, and why does he have a chicken?
As it turns out that he was a famed military leader who had the dish named after him, I really hope that means that somewhere in China there are people who figure that Colonel Sanders must have been one of America's greatest military geniuses (although if one theory in that story is true, it's pretty unlikely).
Official Jason Smith Free Blog
Got something you wanna say? Do it here!
New Strong Bad E-Mail
Anyone who would do this with a book has too much time on their hands.
|:: Monday, September 08, 2003 ::|
This article by Marcia Dunn, who usually knows her stuff, says that the next Shuttle flight will carry "six or seven" crewmembers. This would seem to indicate that NASA is still planning to use STS-114 as a crew rotation mission for ISS. This is of interest primarily because it somewhat ties down the schedule for the launch (meaning it can't be too long after the planned date without causing problems).
Nicole's surgeon came by this morning, and said he is going to have to go back in tomorrow, since he apparently didn't get everything last time.
Find out which celebrities you should date.
The only of mine that I recognized was Charlize Theron, with whom I would be 100 percent compatible.
Maybe I could go out with her if Nicole ever leaves me for Ewan McGregor, with whom she would be 96 percent compatible. Also on her list were Dale Earnhardt Jr. (97%) and Trey Parker (98%).
Robots And Hulk
Your Robot Master has new blogging.
As does The Hulk.
In Walter Scott's Personality Parade in Sunday's paper, somebody wrote in with a celeb question: "When Garth Brooks made his comeback, why did he switch to ragtime rather than the country sound that made him famous?"
The response: "Brooks never made a comeback... Brooks quit performing in public... he has never played ragtime." The only way it could have been better is if the letter writer had started by saying he had a question about one of his favorite musicians.
Upcoming Events In The Rocket City
Bob Woodward will be here September 18.
Seinfeld will be here October 31.
Also, the Face2Face improv group has shows scheduled for Sept. 26 & 27, during the Big Spring Jam weekend.
Check It Out
Among things bringing people to the Hatbag site is this link, from a page at the University of Wyoming with Social Psychology links. To whomever is responsible, thanks!
This one's in honor of G.B. Trudeau and the m-word. We feel your pain, brother (but that's all).
Tomorrow is the first anniversary of Buzz Aldrin punching the Moon hoax guy. Celebrate early by watching the video of it.
NASA has posted a Return To Flight Implementation Plan on its Web site, which is more accurately a response to the CAIB report, inasmuch as it does not reveal the actual plan for Return To Flight.
A briefing will be held today by Ole Miss alum Bill Parsons and others to discuss the plan today at noon CDT.
Addendum: Whoops... I said that after reviewing only the report summary. A chart on page 137 of the full report still gives the March 11 date for RTF, which may be the first time NASA has given that date publicly. Now, how solid that date is, is another issue altogether.
Good Mars viewing tonight.
How 'Bout Them Apples
New iMacs, new iPods.
When I bought my iMac, I waited a little while to see if Apple was going to adopt the USB 2 standard, which was becoming increasingly common for PC. When Apple switched from the old legacy ports to USB and Firewire, for a while there it meant that Macs could use a huge percentage of PC peripherals for the first time in history. By the time I bought my iMac, that was rapidly becoming less true. Now, a year and a half later, Apple's finally gotten with the program.
On a related note, last Wednesday, Avril Lavigne's "Complicated," was the 10 millionth song downloaded on iTMS.
What A Maroon
"Sci-Fi" classic Marooned is coming to DVD on November 18. Released not long after Apollo 11, I've read several people say that this movie really had an effect on their thinking, with its portrayal of a Soviet rescue mission of U.S. astronauts.
|:: Saturday, September 06, 2003 ::|
Irrelevant question that came to me while reading Kranz' book:
Would JFK, Statesman, have made any difference to the space program?
I considered just setting one of these up and then inviting everyone, but I'm too lazy.
That said, would anybody be interested in doing this? Would anyone be willing to set it up?
These Kids TodayFor many of them today, it's all about the "bling-bling."
This published in USA Today recently as a companion to the link I posted recently about what kids born since 1985 don't know about:
They can still sing the rap chorus to the Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air and the theme song from Duck Tales
They have been "dissing" and "burning" things all their lives.
They knew how to pop a Popple and trade a Pog.
They can expect to get a ticket for "ricing out their wheels."
They know who the "Heroes in a half shell" are.
(At the bottom, it has an explanation of those items, and says that ricing "means to soup up." Am I wrong in believing that ricing refers specifically to engine alterations designed to increase speed?)
A television station antenna tower collapsed here Thursday, killing three. Huntsville has two television stations essentially next door to each other atop Monte Sano mountain, with two twin TV towers next two each other at the high point of the city's skyline. When we went on trips when I was little, those distinctive towers were often the first way I knew when we were almost back home. Odd seeing the mountain with one missing.
That said, I do have to make one other bitter comment. The tower collapsed while workers were strengthening it to support HDTV (the cause of the collapse has not been determined). A representative of OSHA said that there have been several other accidents around the country associated with the installation of the new systems. Three deaths here in town, and several other accidents (it doesn't say if any of those were fatal) elsewhere? Where are the cries to discontinue HDTV? The Senate committee hearings on the safety of HDTV installation? A call for a ban on future HDTV until better tower collapse escape systems are created? The HDTVAIB?
Everything's relative, I guess.
"Daily" Garfunkel Update
Try To Understand
The latest expansion pack for The Sims gives your characters magic powers. Which, to me, sort of defeats the whole purpose.
If I had a daughter, and as a publicity stunt, she were to kiss another woman in front of millions, I don't think the fact that the other woman was Madonna would make me MORE happy about it.
|:: Friday, September 05, 2003 ::|
Also On The Web
Bad Baby Names
So far, this is the most popular strip this month not to have been featured as the Daily Hatbag, so I'm trying to promote it a little. Plus, it ties into something I posted a few days ago.
On The Web
Tons of new blogging at idle ramblings.
This Week At NE
This week at NASAexplores, we have my article about the SAFER spacewalking jetpack, and an article about airport safety.
"What I was saying was that, compared to Europe, America is a very young country and we are still growing as a nation."
-- JOHNNY DEPP, distancing himself from earlier comments in which he reportedly compared America to a "dumb puppy" and a "broken toy."
The plan is coming--Monday.
Say The Word
Space.com has an editorial on the future of NASA that I believe is about the most dead-on thing that I've read since Feb. 1. I would endorse their plan 100 percent.
Here's an excellent article about bias in interpreting the CAIB results.
Boy, this is some pathetic blogging so far today, huh?
"Robots, robots, robots"
AICN has an I, Robot review.
Ra's Al Ghul?
For What It's Worth
News about possible changes to the Enterprise opening.
Cool On Your iPod
Lain sent me this article about how ahead of the coolness curve much of the YMFTB core audience is (and also the cool title for this post, though I doubt anybody else will catch the reference).
The lack of Dave=bloggin' yesterday was due to the fact that I spent the day at Crestwood Hospital with Nicole, who had to have emergency hip surgery last night due to an infection that had set up in the joint. The procedure went well, and Nicole is doing as well as is to be expected this morning.
|:: Thursday, September 04, 2003 ::|
Yes, we have no DaveBlogging today...
The management regrets to announce that there will be no blogging today by David (Or, if you prefer, "By David! There will be no blogging today!"). Tune in tomorrow, same blog-time, same blog-channel.
|:: Wednesday, September 03, 2003 ::|
Turns out I've been wrong all along. For a starting bid of a mere $250,000, you can buy on eBay the original Hollywood master reels of the Apollo footage.
The biggest problem facing NASA, and the country in general, is that Americans today have become less interested in the technology to go, and more interested in better technology to stay home.
Received on one of my Web sites: "is it true small craters can live inside big craters and still land on the moon?how meny moon crater holes have been discovered on the so called the moon?"
Moore Is Less
If you can't trust Michael Moore, who can you trust?
Bad Toon Rising
For a completely pointless site, this is kind of amusing.
What might have been...
Today's strip is dedicated to Joe, who, by the way, has a bunch of new blogging.
News From Jumpstreet
In the news today: A man who has a tattoo that says "Wino Forever" says America is dumb.
Of course, he also considers Washington cafeteria workers to be "grown men and women in positions of power in the U.S. government, so you have to take it for what it's worth.
Again, let me point out that this is news.
God Bless America, Pot Pies Are Back
Anybody wanna make a KFC commercial?
Prince Of Night Vision
The New Yorker has a good article on the Galileo probe and its upcoming demise.
All These Worlds...
More news about the possibility of life on Europa, kinda.
Also, this site addresses the possibility of life in Eupora.
If anyone's interested, these hearings will be broadcast on NASA TV (and thus also on the Web), beginning at 8:30 a.m. CDT today and 9 a.m. tomorrow.
Is one of these actors the next Batman?
The Matrix Reloaded will be playing at the IMAX dome at the Space & Rocket Center from Sept. 19 through Oct. 30, and The Matrix Revolutions will open there on Nov. 5.
Big Spring Fall Jam
Everclear is out, Alice Cooper is in, for Big Spring Jam, Sept. 26-28.
|:: Tuesday, September 02, 2003 ::|
Onion On CAIB
Hey, this isn't funny.
Richie was asking me a while back about the Mars Conspiracy folks, so I'm linking to their latest article.
Also, this article, while a little older, is also entertaining. For bonus points, the second article was linked to from the first article in a reference to the "countdown to 2012." Can you figure out why?
This strip is 9 years old today.
Y'know, there ought to be some sort of recognition or celebration or something for the Hatbag 10th Anniversary next year.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution ran an apology yesterday for running the picture at right on the front page of the paper. Today, I would like to issue an apology for including that image on my blog today in this story about the apology about the picture which I have published at right. The picture is arguable too offensive for this blog, and really has no reason to be published here.
On this date in 1970, Apollo missions 15 and 19 were cancelled.
"We Get It"
The Orlando Sentinel has a good article about O'Keefe.
Tough and Competent
Here's an interesting article with Gene Kranz' thoughts on Columbia.
New on DVD this week: The Simpsons' Treehouse Of Horror and Monty Python's The Meaning Of Life SE.
Giant (Non-killer) Robots
AICN has an update on the upcoming Transformers movie.
Huntsville Travel Notice
Nicole and I tried the new Huntsville Dreamland last night, and its full of great Dreamland-y goodness.
|:: Monday, September 01, 2003 ::|
Etch Me, Sketch Me
Even if I had the talent, I would never be able to do this.
Hitt In The News
Your Robot Masters has new blogging. Be sure to follow the link about politics and read the story, "Breathtakingly, the criminals sensationalize."
Addendum: The story has moved down the page, but here's the permalink.
And does the Hamilton Collection cut us in for a piece of the action? Of course not!
Make Sure It's Piping Hot
Link stolen from the Dave Barry blog. Some of these are funny, some of them less so.
Here ya go.
Al Neuharth says we should go to Mars. On a related note, I was interested in his remark about the excitement that the near Martian pass has created. It got me thinking--the story I posted the other day said that Bush may announce plans for interplanetary flight early next year. We currently have two rovers on their way to Mars, which will land--early next year. Given the excitement the Pathfinder stirred, it would be good timing indeed if something substantial were announced.
This is a good, broad update.
NASA's Number One
As a Trek fan, I was amused by this quote from a message from Sean O'Keefe: "We are capable of being a truly great organization. Let's get about the business of making it so."
Just A Few Points
Apparently, being an expert nowadays requires no actual knowledge.
I'm basically just picking this article as a random example, since it makes a good number of the stupid points that are pretty common nowadays. Anway, here's a few thoughts:
- Space travel costs money. This is not a direct response to anything in the article, just a good thing to remember.
- Culture and direction are not the same thing. "The problem is that as long as there’s a space shuttle and an I.S.S. the NASA culture will never change." The cultural issues addressed by the CAIB are not intrinsically linked to Shuttle and ISS. In fact, some of the same cultural issues could be found in NASA before the Apollo 1 fire--essentially, an insufficient focus on safety stemming from an overconfidence in hardware stemming from past performance. Even if there's a problem with something, if it works, it's easy to assume it will continue to work. Trust me, I've demonstrated the same "culture" with my car more times than I can count. That said, you can change that attitude while working with the same hardware.
- The Chicken And The Egg. "The space station was designed to be a destination for the shuttle (as well as Russian spacecraft)" Well, um, no. Yes, the first launch of the Shuttle predates the first launch of ISS hardware by 18 years, so I can see where that would be an easy mistake for the uninformed to make. But, in fact, it's very well documented that the goal of having a Space Station was the driving force behind the design and creation of the Space Shuttle. Further, the notion I've seen several times of the Shuttle needing somewhere to go is just ridiculous. Shuttle got by for 18 years without having a destination other than orbit. And I can only imagine how amused the RSA would be at the notion that its interest in participating in ISS was solely so that Soyuz craft would finally have a place to go.
- Stepping Stones "Still, NASA’s culture is based on sending people up to the station, keeping an eye on them as they spin around the Earth, and bringing them back." If this guy had been running NASA in the 60s, in the unlikely event that we ever made it to the Moon, it would have taken much longer and cost much more. The argument he's making about ISS could just as easily have been made about the Gemini program. The Apollo program was going to take people to the Moon. So why waste time on Gemini, that just flies around the Earth like Mercury did? Why waste time on things like EVAs, in-space rendezvous, and microgravity duration research? Well, because you have to know those things before you can land on the Moon.
- Mandates "The agency has no plans to go any further, to send people to Mars, to Venus, or to the edge of our Solar System." NASA can't provide it's on mandates. It just doesn't work, any more than I could develop plans to spend one month a year in Tahiti. Without the funding, it's just not going to happen. The agency can plan to do whatever it wants, Washington has to approve the money. Going back to this guy's original paragraph, NASA wasn't the one that decided it had accomplished all it could on the Moon. NASA had the next lunar missions already lined up. That's the once criticism of NASA that bugs me most, is the notion that the agency has no desire to go anywhere. If Congress ever came out and said, "Look, NASA, we want you to go to Mars, here's the funding you need, we promise we're not going to cut it next year," how long do you think it would take the agency to start working on plans for interplanetary travel? As it is, the agency is doing what it can, performing research that can be used when those doors are open.
- Yeah, sure. "There’s little difference between John Glenn’s historic first flight in 1962 and a modern-day space shuttle mission." That one's so wrong it's hard to even address it. Two things are the same: Where they are, and the approximate speed that they're travelling. In other words, if you're walking through your local Apple store, there's very little difference between you're experience and that of the first explorers to walk through the wilderness once in that same location.
- Impressed With Space Flight "When Columbia exploded, we were reminded that people are risking their lives for our space program. And if we’re going to ask them to do that, we’d better make sure the potential reward is worth the sizable risk." Um... are we forcing people to go into space. Every astronaut NASA has ever had has known there was a "sizable risk" involved in what they were doing. Every member of the STS-107 crew had heard of Challenger. But they all fly anyway. For them, spaceflight is its own reward--An experience unlike anything else on Earth, something that far less than 0.00001 percent of the world's population has ever experience.
- The Briar Patch "We should send NASA back to the drawing board, and order it to come up with plans to escape our orbit." Oh, yeah, how bad would we hate that?
- Sundry "Maybe the I.S.S. can somehow be retooled and used as a space-based launching pad." Oh, crap, why didn't we think of that decades ago? With this guy, who would have needed von Braun. "Otherwise it should be abandoned and allowed to come down." Um, sure, that's a good investment. "To get there, we’d need new types of rockets, new spacecraft, and a new astronaut-training program. It would probably take many years, and cost billions." Have I mentioned this guy's a freakin' genius? "It’s time to think big. We should be exploring space. But unfortunately we’ll never get out there if all we’re doing is sending people up to the I.S.S. to travel in circles." Remember, kids--preparation, practice, and hard work will never get you anywhere.
Ed Lu has sent his latest letter, this one about taking pictures from ISS.
Cult Of Shuttle
When I read the teaser, I was expecting this article to be just standard-issue SpaceDaily Shuttle bashing, but then I noticed the author: Homer Hickam. He raises some interesting points, though I don't know that I agree exactly with his conclusions (though I agree with the general gist therof). To be honest, though, it's probably his tone that bothers me most. Too much focus is being paid to replacing the Shuttle, and to the Shuttle's flaws. The effort to "replace the Shuttle" is already underway, it's just that nobody calls it the Shuttle replacement. Once ISS is completed, the primary purpose for Shuttle would have been ferrying crews. The need for it to serve as a construction vehicle is diminished, as is the need for it to serve as an orbital science lab. So it becomes a taxi. While not the multi-function vehicle Shuttle is, the one thing OSP will be able to do well is serve as a taxi. So rather than focusing on creating something that can replace all of Shuttle's capabilities, we move on with something that replaces the capabilities we still need. And, instead of spending time and money re-creating something we don't need, we spend that time and money creating something new that we've never had before. Say, for instance, long-term non-LEO presence (Boy, phrasing it that way makes it sound sexy, doesn't it?)
Or A Pharmacy
When Darth Vader comes to rob you, you let him.
Hannibal, Home Alone
Apropos of nothing, except that it amused me: McCauley Culkin is Hannibal Lecter?
Hmmm. Big comic strip news I have somewhat mixed feelings about. Well, add another to the list of comic strip movies. Berke Breathed is involved in a feature film based on Bloom County--kind of. It sounds like it may actually be more based on its namesake, "Opus," a new Sunday-only Bloom County spin-off comic strip Breathed will be launching around Thanksgiving. Yep, the world's best highly-derivative comic strip is returning, kind of. Which could be cool, or it could be to Outland what Outland was to Bloom County. So... who knows?
I do know one thing, though, and that's that Harry Knowles can be a giant idiot sometimes.
NOTE: Do not follow the link in the AICN story (You can follow my link, not the one in the story it links to). Not work-friendly!
Thanks to Richie, for this link to an interesting piece on who knows superheroes' secret identities.