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

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

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

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

:: Hitchhiker's Guide [>]
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[::..comic strips..::]
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:: Mr. Lowe [>]
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[::..Mac stuff..::]
:: Cult of Mac [>]
:: MacNN.com [>]
[::..other links..::]
:: Engrish.com [>]
:: carbwire [>]
:: The Onion [>]
:: Jabberwacky [>]
:: Strong Bad e-mail [>]
[::..tutor's kitty kam..::]
Kitty Kam

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

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

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


:: Wednesday, December 31, 2003 ::

Legal Notice 

Lain sent me this story about a man being mauled by a bear which made me realize that I probably need some sort of liability disclaimer stating that this blog is not issuing a mandate nor in any way endorsing fighting bears, and that if you, do, in fact, choose to fight a bear, the blog will be held harmless in the event of any ensuing injury or loss. Further, if you decide to challenge this legally, you'll face the wrath of Richie's briefs. And, we don't mean in court.

Yearly Hatbag 

Hippie New Year!

Barry The Past 

Here's the highlights of 2003, served up Dave Barry-style.

Rules Of The Ring 

Here's a handy guide to things you shouldn't do while watching Return Of the King.

Poor Osama's Almanac 

While it should go without saying that you should just carry on with your normal activities, if you see someone with an almanac, be afraid. Be very, very afraid.

This Small, And No Smaller 

According to this article, despite the rumors, smaller, cheaper iPods are unlikely to be announced at Tuesday's Macworld Expo. The writer offers no thougts on what should be expected, but instead bring accursed logic and reasoning to the iPod rumors.
Addendum: Of course, according to this British article, they've already been announced. That said, who would want a 65-pound iPod? (Of course, I guess if you're one of those folks that had a 400-pound iPod, it would be a real improvement.)

Mars Online 

The exploration will be televised. Or, at least, Webcast. NASA will be including a near-real-time feed from the Spirit and Opportunity rovers on the mission's Web site, along with additional photos and information.

Research First, Leap Second 

If you were planning on sitting your clock ahead one second tonight, don't bother. For the fifth year in a row, world timekeepers say that there is not need for a leap second this year, because the Earth has apparently sped up.

The Greatest Computer 

The success of probes such as the Mars Pathfinder mission has often been pointed to as an arguement that manned spaceflight is unnecessary--it's cheaper and safer to just send robots through the Solar System, while we stay home. In an editorial yesterday, the Houston Chronicles writes something I've also been saying for the past few days, which is that, conversely, missions like Beagle 2 show the need for manned exploration. To use an example they don't, if Apollo 11 had been an unmanned mission, it very likely would have been a complete failure. The landing site, picked after lengthy research to find an ideal location, turned out to be unusable, littered with boulders that would have made trying to touch down safely extremely difficult, if not impossible. Neil Armstrong, piloting the LM, was able to see the problem and react, flying the craft to a safer spot, setting down with only seconds of fuel left. Left to a pre-programmed machine, Apollo 11 would likely have gone the way of so many other unsuccesful robot probes.

Livin' On Martian Time 

Scientists at the control centers for NASA's two Martian rovers will be adjusting their clocks to follow the day cycle of the Red Planet. A Martian day is relatively close in length to a human one, at 24 hours, 39 1/2 minutes, but over time the difference adds up--someone who goes to work at local 8 a.m. the frist day will clock in at 10 p.m. 3 weeks later. In addition to helping to make the most of the MERs limited functional time, the practice will also serve as an experiment to learn a little about what adaptation will be involved for the first visitors to the Red Planet.

Red Moon? 

Wonder what the Chinese have been up to with their space program since their well-publicized first manned launch a couple of months ago? Well, not much.
Addendum: Reuters has a little more information:
"It's definitely not just one person, we'll add more astronauts."

:: Tuesday, December 30, 2003 ::

But Does Jared Eat Them? 

Per SUBWAY® Restaurant News:
On December 29, Subway® Restaurants will offer two Atkins® Nutritionals, Inc.-endorsed low-carbohydrate wraps: the Turkey and Bacon Melt Wrap, with Monterey cheddar cheese, and the Chicken Bacon Ranch Wrap, with Swiss cheese. Both Atkins® -Friendly Wraps, available in the U.S. and Canada, have 11 grams Net Carbs or less, and the wrap itself, which is made with wheat gluten, cornstarch, oat, sesame flour and soy protein, has only 5 grams Net Carbs.
Subway® Restaurants is proud to be the first quick serve restaurant to partner with Atkins® Nutritionals Inc. The partnership will benefit the millions of people who have chosen to manage their weight and overall health by following the Atkins Nutritional Approach™.

But Don't Worry... 

Richie is fine.
(That story would have been better if his glasses had been on the other side of the room, and so he was trapped under all those books, but couldn't read them, like that Twilight Zone episode.)

Daily Hatbag 

Here ya go.

You Are GO For Docking Maneuvers 

OK, it's official. I don't care where you work, it's nowhere near as cool as where I work:
In his book Living in Space, G. Harry Stine, a NASA technician who died in 1997, wrote that agency staff at the Marshall Space Flight Centre in Huntsville, Alabama, had used a buoyancy tank that simulated low-gravity conditions to test the possibilities of weightless sex.
"It was possible but difficult," he wrote, "and was made easier when a third person assisted by holding one of the others in place."

And, while I've never seen the RSA officially state this, according to the same articles, Space Adventures has said that a couple that buys the space honeymoon trip will be able to consummate the marriage aboard ISS.

Important Robot Holocaust Question 

It's not addressed in this article about "Robot Tarzan," but what allegiances would a robot raised by monkeys hold?

Wanted: "Dead Or Alive" 

PBS NOVA producers are still unsure of how to end their special episode which will be airing Sunday. The show will detail the construction and flight of the Mars Rover Spirit. Since the rover will not land until the day before the show airs, the ending has not yet been completed. The final 2 1/2 minutes will be added to the show after the fate of MER-A is known.

:: Monday, December 29, 2003 ::


This may have been discussed here before, but TGI Friday's does have a low-carb menu, which is even officially Atkins-approved, though it's nothing to write home about (Sadly, however, before posting this here, I did, in fact, write home about it).

Transformed Again 

If you haven't heard it elsewhere, then you heard it here first.

For Your Consideration... 

You know, I'm really not sure why I'm even posting this stuff with no one out there to read it. Anyway, I thought this is funny, too.

Elmo Macht Frei 


The Spirit Is Willing 

The site I posted a while back with scans of Opus is apparently down, but here's another one.
That said, I was reading Sunday's strip, and is not bad enough that he's dragging his own characters through the dirt? Of course, that said, there's like a slight glimmer of hope here that the strip may be about to improve.

Coming Soon 

Just A Reminder.

Butterfly On A Bullet 

The title of this post is from an article in The Los Angeles Times, and was describing the Space Shuttle Columbia. I love that description, and a lot of what else the article has to say is well worth reading also.

Tied Down 

After being delayed this year due to safety concerns involving ISS, the ProSEDS tether experiment has been cancelled. ProSEDS would have tested the feasability of using a tether line to provide power to orbiting spacecraft. Ultimately, the technology, along with momentum exchange tether technology, could be used to boost spacecraft launched into a lower orbit (read: cheaper to launch) into higher orbit or interplanetary space without the disadvantages associated with carrying additional fuel. For more about the topic, here's an article I wrote on ProSEDS for NASAexplores.

Daily Hatbag 

I'm pretty sure I haven't used this one as the Daily Hatbag before.

Word Up 

Apropos of nothing, but yourDictionary.com has lists of the top words of 2003.

Iran's So Far Away 

This story is far less interesting than the headline would have you believe. That said, if German firefighters could, in fact, rescue you from obscurity, they'd be rich beyond the dreams of avarice.

Where No Man Has Gone Before--And Still Hasn't 

The Huntsville Times ran a story yesterday about the unmanned space exploration projects which will be taking place next year. A sidebar not included in the online version included the following summary.

  • Jan 2--The Stardust space probe will encounter the comet Wild-2 and collect particles from the comet, which it will bring home to Earth in early 2006. The probe has already been collecting space dust on its way to the comet.
  • Jan 3 & Jan 24--The Spirit and Opportunity rovers will land on Mars, hopefully succesfully.
  • April 24--Gravity Probe B will be launched after decades of planning and will test Einstein's Theory of Relativity. Which will kind of suck if succesful, since I guess if it's proven, we won't be able to call it the "Theory of Relativity" anymore.
  • July 1--The Cassini probe will enter orbit around Saturn.
  • Sept. 8--The Genesis mission will return to Earth bearing solar wind particles it has collected.
  • Finding The Moon 

    According to Jim Lovell, "A serious project of going to Mars will include the Moon in some manner." Lovell briefly discussed the future of spaceflight among other topics in a recent interview with Space.com.

    Well Played, Quicktime 

    One of the greatest animated series of all times returns, sort of, as Kevin Smith has posted test footage developed for the Clerks Animated Movie online. In a surprising turn of events, the short clip includes a Star Wars homage. Good stuff.

    Whither Beagle? 

    Still no word from the European Mars lander. The team maintains hope, noting that the chances of making contact improve somewhat on Jan. 4.

    :: Thursday, December 25, 2003 ::

    Merry Christmas! 

    Here's wishing you and yours a happy holiday!

    Beagle Vigil 

    I was hoping to be able to blog this morning that, a la Armstrong, "The Beagle has landed!" Instead, so far, there's been only silence from the surface of the Red Planet. While things aren't looking good, there's still hope that the lander is safely on the surface, and has just been unsuccesful in communicating back. If that's the case, we probably won't know today. But, so far, it's not looking good. We can only hope.

    Daily Hatbag 

    Er... it turns out I'm out of Christmas strips, here's a little something to tide you over (like anyone's reading today--and if you are, get out from in front of your computer. It's Christmas, Ebenezer!)

    :: Wednesday, December 24, 2003 ::

    Daily Hatbag 

    Merry Christmas Eve.

    Shumway's Return 

    ALFApparently the best part of appearing in long-distance-service TV commercials is that it causes anyone to look cool in comparison to Carrot Top. Following in the succesful merger of space voyagers and talk shows demonstrated by Space Ghost, ALF will be returning to TV with a new talk show on Nickelodeon.

    Small Apple Rumors 

    According to Think Secret, lower-priced, colorful mini iPods will be the highlight of Macworld San Francisco. Also expected is a "total revamp" of iLife. According to this story, no new desktop or laptop computers are anticipated, contrary to earlier rumors that a third-gen iMac would be announced.

    Tomorrow's Propulsion, Today 

    JIMOA new ion propulsion engine design has succesfully completed testing at NASA's JPL. The Nexis design is among those being considered under NASA's Project Prometheus nuclear spaceflight initiative, and is being reviewed for possible use on the proposed JIMO Jovian moon orbiter mission.

    Santa Claus Versus The Martians 

    While we've been hearing for quite a while about the planned Christmas Day landing of the ESA's Beagle 2 Mars lander, it turns out that's the 25th Europe time, and that Christmas comes early here in the States. The touchdown is expected around 8:54 p.m. CST. But don't sit by the TV then waiting for word from Mars--the first opportunity for the Rover to send a signal if it lands succesfully will be around 11:30 p.m. CST, courtesy of NASA's Mars Odyssey (it's good to have friends when traveling to new places).

    Merry Christmas... From Space! 

    In addition to being Christmas Eve, today marks the 35th anniversary of mankind's first orbit of another world, during which the crew made their famous Christmas Eve broadcast, so I thought it would be appropriate to pass along season's greetings from Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders.

    :: Tuesday, December 23, 2003 ::

    Daily Hatbag 

    Christmas week continues.

    Maybe 2004 Will Be Like 1984 

    MacRumors.com reports that Apple may be considering an anniversary Super Bowl ad.

    Clash Of The Titans 

    According to this law dude, Wal-Mart's version of iTMS isn't that great.

    The Top 10 

    collectSPACE has posted a list of 51 major space-related events of the past year, and asked readers to submit their list of the 10 most important. I started my list below, but didn't get 10 because I felt the cS list was missing a few major items (which I've suggested adding on the page I linked to). I'd be curious to see what others would pick (note that the cS list, for obvious reasons, includes several collecting-related items).

    1. Space Shuttle Columbia and the STS-107 crew lost during reentry--Without a doubt, this had the most immediate impact, vastly changing the landscape of spaceflight for the rest of the year and most of next year. It also has the potential to bring about the most lasting change, given the push it created to establish a new vision for U.S. manned spaceflight.
    2. China launches its first taikonaut, Yang Liwei onboard Shenzhou-5--Close to being the top story of the year for its historic unprecedentedness, this one falls to number two because of China's failure, in my opinion, to adequately follow through with it. Making a first flight is impressive, waiting 2 years for a second flight it less so.
    3. Beagle 2 lands on Mars (forecasted)
    4. Yuri Malenchenko weds Ekaterina Dmitriev from the Space Station--This one probably won't be of the most lasting consequence (particularly since RSA has banned future space weddings), but it did get a human interest space story in the news for a while.
    5. Voyager 1 reaches 90 times the distance of the Earth from the Sun--I don't know how much real difference it makes, but it's exciting to see a manmade spacecraft venturing into unexplored territory, and it's very exciting to think that it will eventually be making the voyage into interstellar space.
    6. Spirit and Opportunity launch for Mars--This one's a big deal, but for 2003, it's more about potential than accomplishment. Assuming they land succesfully, these could be high on the list for next year.

    Been There, Sure, But Done That? 

    It turns out that the White House has been wasting its time conferring with experts in the field of space exploration in planning a roadmap for spaceflight. Instead, the administration could have simply turned to The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune, one of the world's foremost experts in the field. Using the sort of investigative research that is one of the hallmarks of great journalism, The T-P was able to determine that we've already been to the Moon! In an editorial titled "Been There, Done That," the paper argues that since we visited the Moon briefly 30 years ago, we should now travel directly to Mars. One assumes that means that we should also abandon any future research of Earth's oceans, since we've already been there, and that aviation should have been abandoned after the Wright Brothers' first flew flights. Perhaps the editorial staff should spend more time paying attention to what they're writing. The second paragraph notes: "The Apollo program, which put 12 Americans on the lunar surface, was driven more by the desire to beat the Soviets to the moon than the need to advance human knowledge." They then go on to say, "But the latter should be the focus of any new goal for space exploration..." But, the conclusion they reach is "and that points not to the moon, where we've been, but to Mars." If our goal is to advance human knowledge, and we haven't adequately done that yet on the Moon, then shouldn't we take care of that before moving on. Is their logic that since the Moon was one used as a largely political goal, it no longer has any scientific merit? I'm all in favor of exploring Mars, but not at the cost of ignoring the Moon. We have another world located conveniently a mere quarter of a million miles away, and to argue that we should simply ignore it forever because we spent a few days there decades ago is simply ludicrous.
    Addendum: Here's what Cosmic Log has to say on the subject.



    That Euro-Vision Thing 

    While NASA and the U.S. are patiently awaiting word from the president on what America's new roadmap for the future of spaceflight will be like, Europeans have already seen the future, but now it's there turn to be patient. The ESA plan calls for landing Euronauts on Mars, but not for another 30 years. More disappointingly, while the ESA plan would return men to the Moon (as rumors suggest the Bush plan may mandate), they wouldn't be landing until 2024--a far cry from "before this decade is out."
    To be fair, there is a difference--Europe still lacks even the modicum of manned spaceflight capability that the U.S. had when Kennedy made his announcement. Despite all of its accomplishments, ESA is still an agency which has never built a manned spacecraft.
    I'm curious to see how, or if, this will affect U.S. plans. While it's nice to hear others talking about manned exploration of the Solar System, the lackadaisical pace they have outlined could actually have a detrimental effect, turning what could have been a space race into a space lounge.

    Jobs Online 

    No big shock, but here's official confirmation that Steve Jobs' keynote address will be Webcast during the January 6 Macworld San Francisco event. If rumors are true, it could definitely be worth watching, but if Macworld rumors were all true, I could call friends on my Apple cellphone to tell them about my Apple tablet computer and my 3-year-old G5.

    Seein' Ian 

    I'm generally not in favor of Lucas' ongoing tampering with the original Star Wars movies, but having Ian McDiarmid play the Emperor in Empire Strikes Back would be a change that I would probably approve of (though I still want to be able to get a copy of the fake emperor version of the film as well).

    :: Monday, December 22, 2003 ::


    I've made a few minor changes to the template. Let me know what you think.

    Avast, Me Hardee's 

    In a turn of events I'd like to see inspire more restaurants, Hardees has apparently begun a campaign of catering to me personally. First, there were the thickburgers, which are some tasty hamburgers that I enjoy greatly. But then, so do other people. Then, as reported last week, they decided that since I'm on Atkins, they should add some low-carb burgers to their menu. Of course, there are plenty of people on Atkins, so that's not necessarily Dave-specific. But, now, starting next month, they're going to have NASA-themed Kid's meals, with NASA toys and content provided in part by some of my co-workers (currently scheduled for Jan 7-Feb 24 or so). I'm looking forward to the upcoming announcement that Sarah McLachlan will be performing live concerts in certain restaurants.

    Daily Hatbag 

    It's Christmas week!

    Play MST For Me 

    I can't watch this at the moment, but if anyone else can, I'd love a review. It's a new online series from the writers and stars of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

    Travel To The Moon 

    This Christmas, you can send a loved one to the Moon. Of course, they'll have to be dead first.

    Today In History 

    The Soviet Union was unable to kill two dogs on this date 43 years ago when a Vostok prototype they were to be launched aboard misfired and crashed into Siberia.

    To The Moon 

    The New York Times has a pro-lunar exploration editorial.

    That Vision Thing Update 

    In the immortal words of Axel Rose, "Where do we go now? Where do we go? Ay yi yi yi... Where do we go now?"

    The Year In Space 

    Space imageSpace.com has a year-in-review story of spaceflight, which uses the image at right as its logo. Lest anyone doubt that this was a groundbreaking year, it'd be tough to think of another that you could summarize the year in an image that didn't include NASA or RSA spacecraft (though only history will tell whether the two they chose are really bigger than Columbia).

    Honeymoon On A Man-Made Moon 

    'Cause in space, no one can hear you scream.

    So, who was Spitzer?

    Answer Finder
    Forbes as an interesting Apple Q&A.

    Listless Til March
    I mentioned previously that it was coming, but DVD File has confirmed a March 6 release date for a lackluster Schindler's List DVD.

    Lucky Cow
    I've got to give a shout-out to Mark for giving a shout-out to all our peeps in Sunflower County.

    Building A Home In Space--On Earth
    The Huntsville Times had a decent story yesterday about continuing work on ISS going on in Huntsville.

    :: Sunday, December 21, 2003 ::

    In The Beginning...
    Today marks the 35th anniversary of the first time Man truly ventured away from his home. On December 21, 1968, Commander Frank Borman and astronauts Jim Lovell and Bill Anders lifted off from Cape Canaveral about the Apollo 8 Saturn V to begin the journey which would make them the first humans to visit another world, orbiting the Moon 10 times on Christmas Eve before returning home.

    Keep Reaching For The Crap
    You know, I have to wonder what Casey Kasem thinks about his job today. To think about all the great times in rock history he's presided over, and then to listen to the crap that has become pop music today is just weird. Is he ever disappointed by what's happened to music, or does he just embrace it as yet another variation in the constant change?

    Welcome to Geekville
    Alright...test your sci-fi trivia skills. It occurred to me earlier today that if I wanted a very subtle sci-fi name for a hypothetical son, an excellent one would be Benjamin Jesser. Five blog points to the first person to identify the property and reference.

    :: Friday, December 19, 2003 ::

    Beginning Of The End/End Of The Beginning
    The ESA's Mars Express probe will release the Beagle-2 lander today, beginning a decent that will culminate in a Christmas Day landing.

    Daily Hatbag
    You know, the O.J. Trial rates embarrasingly high among Hatbag strip topics.

    :: Thursday, December 18, 2003 ::

    Daily Hatbag
    Make your Christmas plans now.

    Robot Holocaust Update
    When the robot revolution comes, running won't help you.

    SpaceShipOne Update
    Cosmic Log has a good feature about yesterday's supersonic flight.

    Let's Go
    Another pro-Moon editorial, this one from The Washington Times.

    The Future Of Mac Is At Hand
    Steve Jobs will deliver the Keynote Address for Macworld San Francisco on Tuesday, January 6, at 11 a.m. CST.

    :: Wednesday, December 17, 2003 ::

    w00t! There It Is!
    ALRIGHT! This is what I've been waiting for! I'd heard rumors that this might happen, but nothing recently. To mark the Centennial Of Flight, Scaled Composites conducted the first supersonic test flight of SpaceShipOne. While a cold-engine test was performed a few days ago, this was the first powered-flight test of the spacecraft. It was the first manned supersonic flight by an aircraft developed by a small company's private, non-government effort. Scaled does not pre-announce flights, so there's no word yet as to when the big one's coming, but it's probably not too far away.

    From Bush's Centennial speech:
    "A great American journey that began at Kitty Hawk continues in ways unimaginable to the Wright brothers. One small piece of their Flyer traveled far beyond this field. It was carried by another flying machine, on Apollo 11, all the way to the Sea of Tranquility on the Moon. These past hundred years have brought supersonic flights, frequent space travel, the exploration of Mars, and the Voyager One spacecraft, which right now is moving at 39,000 miles per hour toward the outer edge of our solar system. By our skill and daring, America has excelled in every area of aviation and space travel. And our national commitment remains firm: By our skill and daring, we will continue to lead the world in flight.

    Man Vs. Nature
    Don't mess with squirrels.

    Daily Hatbag
    As we reflect back today on how life would be different if not for the accomplishment of the Wright Brothers 100 years ago, we find that life in the Hatbag world would really be about the same. In fact, as best as I can tell, this isthe only reference in any strip to anyone flying.

    Captive Saddam
    So here's an interesting theory: The U.S. actually freed Saddam from captivity.

    Cloning Around
    Reading the news this week of a second succesful cloning of a human embryo makes one think--you just don't hear much out of the Raelians these days, do you?

    Making Amend's
    FoxTrot: Made With Mac

    Oh, Yeah
    Sadly, on this Centennial of Flight anniversary, this is the most exciting news I've seen so far (although on seeing the picture, it's a little disappointing--yet more unfulfilled potential for a day full of it).

    OK, Honestly Now
    Don't get me wrong, I'm as glad as everyone that to some extent the Centennial of Flight includes a celebration of spaceflight as well as aviation, with such people as John Glenn and Buzz Aldrin playing important parts in marking the anniversary. That said, how connected are the two, really? Rocketry, of course, long predates powered flight. Sure, you have programs like the X-15 that combine the two, and there probably wouldn't be a Space Shuttle in its current form without the airplane (although, technically, the Space Shuttle, in its "aircraft" mode, functions as a glider, rather than an airplane). But, I can't think of any reason why the Mercury, Gemini, or even Apollo programs could not have occurred independently of the development of powered flight (Civilization technology trees aside).

    No Vision Today, Thank You
    From USA Today: President Bush will visit Kill Devil Hills, N.C., Wednesday to help celebrate the centennial of the first flight. But he won't announce plans to resume manned flights to the moon.
    From Fox News: President Bush did not include such a statement in his Wednesday speech at the 100th anniversary of the Wright brothers' first air flight, as some analysts expected, but the White House may be poised to make such an announcement soon.
    Also: Howard McCurdy, chair of the department of public administration at American University, agreed that Mars is the goal, but he doesn't expect the president to issue one grand space challenge. Bush is more likely to issue a series of objectives, perhaps during his State of the Union speech, than to make a big policy pronouncement, he said.
    From The Washington Post: Despite a clamor in some quarters for Bush to announce a new space exploration initiative today, on the 100th anniversary of the Wright brothers' first flight, the White House said repeatedly that unveiling a major initiative is not on the day's agenda.
    From The New York Times: When President Bush decides on a new policy of space exploration for the nation, the goals will be realistic and achievable, the NASA administrator, Sean O'Keefe, said on Tuesday.

    A Space Infrared Telescope Facility By Any Other Name
    The last of the Great Observatories, NASA's SIRTF telescope will get a new name tomorrow, giving it a friendlier handle like those of Hubble, Chandra, and Compton. Also, the first images from the telescope will be released at the same time.

    Two Tickets To ISS
    Space Adventures announced yesterday that it has sold two Soyuz seats for upcoming flights, one as early as October as next year, and the other for 2005. If recent reports from Russia are accurate, this means that the first of those space tourists may be flying to the Station along with the Expedition 10 crew next year, and returning with Expedition 9.

    The DVD Is Life
    So it appears that 2004 may see the DVD release of the two properties most conspicuously absent from the format. We've already seen rumors that the original Star Wars trilogy may see a late 2004 release, and now DVDFile.com reports that Schindler's List may be released to DVD as early as March.

    Sorry About That
    Blogger's been down, so that's why there's only been two posts thus far. In fact, it ate my last post, so I'm about to have to redo it.

    I'm Sorry, Dave
    Think you understand "2001"? If this guy's right, you probably don't. Here are four common misconceptions about the story by Arthur C. Clarke, who turned 86 yesterday.

    Happy Centennial Of Flight Day!
    That said, for all the rumors that have been shaping up during the past few months regarding this day, so far I've heard of nothing really cool going on. Updates as they happen--or don't.
    Addendum: You asked, I answered. Lain wanted updates on the Wright reenactment: "...a heavy downpour scuttled plans to re-enact the flight 100 years to the minute after the seminal event. ... If the weather improves, organizers planned to try the re-enactment later Wednesday, the climax of a six-day festival.
    Addendum: "One-hundred years after the Wright brothers' first flight, an attempt to re-create the moment failed Wednesday when a replica craft couldn't get off the ground and sputtered into the mud. Organizers hoped to make a second try."

    :: Tuesday, December 16, 2003 ::

    I got this idea from someone else's blog, who was posting it more for the list, but I thought I would add an element of naked honesty. This is imdb.com's list of the Top 100 movies. I'm bolding the ones I've seen, thus revealing rather embarrasingly the ones I haven't. I was a little surprised to realize I've watched fewer than half of them. I've seen all 10 of the top 10, 17 of the top 20, 21 of the top 30, 24 of the top 40, 27 of the top 50, 32 of the top 60, 35 of the top 70, 39 of the top 80, 43 of the top 90, for a total of 44 of the top 100.
    1. Godfather, The (1972)
    2. Shawshank Redemption, The (1994)
    3. Godfather: Part II, The (1974)
    4. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The (2001)
    5. Schindler's List (1993)
    6. Citizen Kane (1941)
    7. Casablanca (1942)
    8. Seven Samurai (1954)
    9. Star Wars (1977)
    10. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
    11. Memento (2000)
    12. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)

    13. Rear Window (1954)
    14. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The (2002)
    15. Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
    16. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981 )
    17. Usual Suspects, The (1995)

    18. Amelie (2001)
    19. Pulp Fiction (1994)
    20. North by Northwest (1959)
    21. Psycho (1960)
    22. Silence of the Lambs, The (1991)
    23. 12 Angry Men (1957)

    24. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
    25. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
    26. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
    27. Goodfellas (1990)
    28. American Beauty (1999)
    29. Vertigo (1958)
    30. Pianist, The (2002)
    31. Sunset Blvd. (1950)
    32. Apocalypse Now (1979)
    33. Some Like It Hot (1959)
    34. Matrix, The (1999)
    35. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

    36. Taxi Driver (1976)
    37. Third Man, The (1949)
    38. Paths of Glory (1957)
    39. Fight Club (1999)
    40. Boot, Das (1981)
    41. L.A. Confidential (1997)

    42. Double Indemnity (1944)
    43. Chinatown (1974)
    44. Requiem for a Dream (2000)
    45. Maltese Falcon, The (1941)
    46. Singin' in the Rain (1952)
    47. Bridge on the River Kwai, The (1957)
    48. Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi (2001) AKA - Spirited Away
    49. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
    50. All About Eve (1950)
    51. M (1931)
    52. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
    53. Raging Bull (1980)
    54. Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
    55. Se7en (1995)
    56. Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (2000)
    57. Wizard of Oz, The (1939)
    58. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

    59. Vita e bella, La (1997) AKA: Life is Beautiful
    60. American History X (1998)
    61. Sting, The (1973)
    62. Touch of Evil (1958)
    63. Manchurian Candidate, The (1962)
    64. Alien (1979)
    65. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
    66. Rashemon (1950)
    67. Leon (1994) (Known as 'The Professional' in the US)
    68. Annie Hall (1977)
    69. Great Escape, The (1963)
    70. Clockwork Orange, A (1971)
    71. Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The (1948)
    72. Reservoir Dogs (1992)
    73. Sixth Sense, The (1999)

    74. Jaws (1975)
    75. Amadeus (1984)
    76. On the Waterfront (1954)
    77. Ran (1985)
    78. Braveheart (1995)
    79. High Noon (1952)
    80. Fargo (1996)
    81. Blade Runner (1982)
    82. Apartment, The (1960)
    83. Aliens (1986)
    84. Toy Story 2 (1999)

    85. Strangers on a Train (1951)
    86. Modern Times (1936)
    87. Shining, The (1980)
    88. Donnie Darko (2001)
    89. Duck Soup (1933)
    90. Princess Bride, The (1987)
    91. Lola rennt (Run Lola, Run) (1998)

    92. City Lights (1931)
    93. General, The (1927)
    94. Metropolis (1927)
    95. Searchers, The (1956)
    96. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
    97. Notorious (1946)
    98. Manhattan (1979)
    99. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
    100. Graduate, The (1967)
    Also, I've seen 11 of their worst 100, but that's another list for another time.

    Tai Chess
    So Nicole and I were watching "Searching For Bobby Fischer" last night, which is an amazingly good movie that everybody should watch multiple times, and it got us to wondering what had happened to the real Josh Waitzkin during the past 10 years. AFter becoming an international master and one of the world's top players, he's still involved in promoting and teaching chess, though apparently no longer competes (I found a blog that wrote about him where someone claiming to be Waitzkin posted saying that he didn't burn out, but didn't address whether he still competes). However, he now competes in Tai Chi, and has won several national champtionship titles. So now you know.

    Daily Hatbag
    So long, Piggy!

    For those that like tiny, tiny kitties and politics, this site's got it all.

    You Can Be Blase About Some Things, Apple, But Not About Wal-Mart
    Competition gears up to take on iTMS.

    That Vision Thing Update
    The AP's Marcia Dunn, generally a very capable space writer, has an excellent piece about the future of spaceflight.

    From Kitty Hawk To Mars
    I don't necessarily agree with Mars Society president Robert Zubrin's call that we not go back to the Moon, but I'm amused by the idea of the ghosts of the dead Wright Brothers crying out that we go to Mars.

    Using Money In Space
    A few days back, NASA Watch posted an article pondering why money was stuck to one of the walls of the International Space Station. Well, today he has the answer, courtesy of Michael Foale.

    Why 2004 Won't Be Like '1984'
    Sure, tomorrow is the Centennial of Flight and all, but the really important anniversary isn't until next month.

    One Disc To Rule Them All
    This bit of news from MacNN is kinda cool, yet kind of odd:
    Apple and Time Warner's Reprise Records label today will begin marketing blank "Lord of the Rings"-themed CDs designed for fans to purchase the CD and use it to store a digital copy of the film soundtrack bought online, according to The LA Times: "As part of the promotion, the label will sell three different blank CDs outfitted with images from Time Warner's 'The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King' film. Apple's iTunes Music Store will offer the recordable CDs, which will sell for $5, exclusively today through Jan. 5....Label executives are pitching the blank CD as a collectible item. Reprise will press 1,000 copies of each of the three discs, and each will be numbered."

    :: Monday, December 15, 2003 ::

    Bought On eBay! Bought On eBay!
    Wil Wheaton's got stuff for sale on eBay. A little rich for my blood, but with amusing descriptions.

    Free Advice From NASA
    From a typo in a lesson that we caught before it was published:
    "Different brains should not be mixed."

    I Don't Normally Do This, But Go Head On Break 'Em Off A Little Piece Of The Premix
    For the past week or two, I've been working on a little column-type thing, which I remain continuously dissappointed with. Any suggestions for punching it up some would be appreciated:

    The Last Explorers

    There is a romantic appeal to the concept of the “last” of something. No matter how underappreciated something is when in great quantity, we are fascinated when those numbers dwindle. As a great poet once wrote, “Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you got ‘til it’s gone?” And, so, before it is too late, perhaps it is time we appreciate the last American explorers.

    America is a nation built on exploration, from the brave souls who crossed the ocean to the New World, to those who crossed a continent to see what was on the other side. But today, the oceans have been mapped, and the continent has been settled. Every inch of this Earth can be readily photographed from above. And so, explorers now must move upward, onward, and outward.

    Today, America has a group of just over 100 individuals who have accepted the task of forging into the last, and greatest, frontier—the universe beyond our world. They are the over 100 astronauts who have accepted the risk of traveling into the unforgiving vacuum of space. They join a select group of spacefarers from around the world who have answered the clarion call of the unknown.

    Explorer has become a dirty word in our nation today. It appears that we are no longer comfortable with the idea of exploration for exploration’s sake. We have to justify exploration by couching it as one of today’s nobler concepts—such as science, or, better yet, commercialism. Those are things worth pursuing. Failing that, we rely on other watchwords to disguise what we’re truly doing; words like research and discovery.

    We have become a complacent nation. America long ago achieved its manifest destiny, stretching from sea to shining sea. We fully explored the area now within our borders, and have now called it a job well done; a complete work. As science brings new wonders into homes, we no longer feel the call to go anywhere. We are comfortable where we are. And, rather than putting effort into creating new ways to extend our reach, we prefer to focus our efforts on becoming even more comfortable there. We have abandoned our former frontiers. Even areas once associated with national pride are now neglected. The flags planted by the Apollo moonwalkers still fly over a terrain as alien today as it was 30 years ago.

    Yet some remain who keep the dream of exploration alive. Some would argue that what these men and women are doing today is not exploration. It has been over 3 decades since man last set foot on new soil. Since then, we have traveled no farther. We remain, relatively speaking, in our own backyard. But, to argue that this is not exploration requires overlooking an indisputable fact—the most important part of exploring is pioneering. Before venturing further into hostile territory, one must first master survival there.

    And that is definitely what this past year has been about. Exploration cannot and will not succeed if it depends on everything going perfectly. And, in 2003, things most assuredly did not go perfectly. The unthinkable happened, and yet spaceflight endured. The International Space Station requires a minimum crew of three. It requires regular visits from the Space Shuttle. In 2003, those two requirements became luxuries that were no longer available. And, yet, ISS endured. Continuous human presence in space went on, reaching the 3-year mark. While the program was criticized for its resulting limited scope, it, in fact, became an even greater experiment—Can Station survive the unsurvivable? Two crews of two astronauts have lived aboard ISS since the loss of Columbia, spending months in isolation, with no visitors and rare resupplies. In that respect, it became almost a dress rehearsal for moving outward from Earth. But, more importantly, it gave insight into the most vital part of interplanetary travel—preparing for the unexpected, planning for the unplannable. Travelers to other worlds will not have the luxury of assuming nothing will go wrong.

    The handful of men who have participated in this grand experiment are truly heroes. The crews still on the ground, waiting for their chance to return the Shuttle to return to flight are heroes. How can we adequately appreciate the bravery of those willing to go where seven others just fell? And, certainly, the men and women who gave their lives this year aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia were heroes. They were the greatest class of hero—those who make the ultimate sacrifice for what they believe in. For what they gave, we owe them a debt. And, the only way to repay that debt is to honor their legacy. They gave their life for the cause of exploration. And so, we must explore.

    "America's challenge of today has forged man's destiny of tomorrow." - Commander Eugene Cernan, Apollo 17 Mission, 11 December 1972

    Daily Hatbag
    Hatbag--on the forefront of interactivity!

    It turns out that a lot of blogs are linking to stories about Saddam being captured.

    The Second Century
    This all sounds nice, but where's my flying car?

    OK, Honestly
    For those with more idea than I on how the world works, what are the odds, really, that Saddam will be executed?

    Today In History
    The first rendezvous between two manned spacecraft was conducted on this date in 1965, as Wally Schirra piloted Gemini 6A into station with Gemini 7.

    PowerPoint Makes You Dumb
    Did Microsoft help doom Columbia?

    X'd Plane
    The X-37 orbital technology demonstrator program has been put on hold. While the program is expected to resume, one of its primary purposes currently is to serve as a testbed for OSP development. Given that the delay could push back the first orbital test, which was scheduled for 2006, and that hopes currently are for OSP to be ready in 2008, it seems like something has to give. Work will continue on an atmospheric ALTV version of X-37.

    Optimal Prime
    While I'm happy for the guy that spent 2 years using a network of 60,000 computers to find the largest prime number ever discovered, I would point out that he missed out on putting those resources to arguably better use with one heck of a game of Starcraft.

    25 Million
    iTMS continues to kick music-sellin' butt.

    :: Sunday, December 14, 2003 ::


    :: Saturday, December 13, 2003 ::

    RTF Update Rumor
    According to this story, RSA says both crew rotation flights in 2004 will be on Soyuz, which is kind of interesting. While it's a given that Exp. 9 will ride a Soyuz to ISS in April, NASA has said that the STS-121 mission in November, the second flight after RTF, will be a crew rotation mission. If this story (and RSA) are to be believed, that plan has apparently been changed, which would support a story posted here the other day that reported that RTF may be delayed.

    As I recall, somebody on the old DM staff had the idea of a Klingon cartoon series years ago, though I don't recall them suggesting that Klingon animation would be basically like old-style Japanimation.

    So I'm Curious...
    to get a report back from JoCasta as to whether, at their concerts this year, Simon and Garfunkel still sing that "Iraq feels no pain..."

    Speaking Of 'Huh?'
    Um, does anybody else find it unlikely that NASA asked John Travolta to fly into space?

    Soyuz Wanna Go To Space
    In an impressive bit of dumb government logic, Florida has decided to can an idea for a spaceflight lottery, wherein tickets would be sold to win a chance at a trip to the International Space Station. Despite the fact that an independent study showed high interest in the idea, the lottery decided no one would want to buy tickets. This decision came after conducting focus groups of people who played the lottery regularly, who, shockingly, said they were more interested in continuing to buy regular lottery tickets. Given that Gov. Bush was never sold on the idea, one must wonder if this was intentional government stupidity--the equivalent of checking if there would be interested in a new Chinese restaurant in town by asking people who eat a Mexican restaurant every day. I mean, heck, I've never played the Florida lottery, but I would figure out a way to get tickets for that. I love this quote from Jeb, that just kind of says it all:
    "It's an interesting idea, but it's kind of out of the core mission of the lottery's function," Bush told The Associated Press.
    I mean, huh?

    :: Friday, December 12, 2003 ::

    We're Lawyers, Sauron
    An interesting look at Middle Earth contract negotiations.

    Daily Hatbag
    Somehow, this is one of the top strips for the month thus far, and I'm not sure what's bringing people there. Also, I have to wonder whether Caroline nee Langston helped Hippie write his paper.

    Truth In Advertising
    I have to wonder, if Sunflower County Sheriff Ned Holder's department had put decals as blunt as this on their cars, what they would have said.

    Not So Idle
    For the third day in a row, there's new posting on the Joe Blog, though I feel guilty 'cause I didn't leave any feedback. Somebody go get the feedbackin' started, and I'll join in.

    Wacky Things Are Happening With Legos
    Lego KirkBelying the notion that today's Legos are too specialized for true creativity, this site has Lego figures for several series, including the first four Treks. (Interestingly, they only have figure mods, and don't actually, you know, build stuff with Legos to go with them.)

    White Knight
    A cold engine test brings SpaceShipOne closer to powered flight, and thus closer to spaceflight. While it sounds like they're still a ways from going suborbital, I'm curious to see whether Rutan's got anything planned for Dec. 17, like the first engine firing.

    Saturn Of Huntsville
    Anybody who would like to help restore Huntsville's Saturn V rocket but doesn't know how, can contribute toward buying me one of these.

    RTF Update
    Future Shuttle flights will have damage sensors in the wings, which could push back return to flight.

    Eli Who?
    Having just been named the best college football player in the country, can Eli break the 0-2 Manning Heisman streak?

    If You Can Make It There
    Who says Mississippi always finishes last.

    :: Thursday, December 11, 2003 ::

    Arzabarja pudding rinklefinkle brain damage arh
    If Nicole has a job by then and we can afford it, I might be interested in going to see Bill Cosby in Huntsville if anyone else would like to go. I'm hoping to get him to sign my Picture Pages.

    Alright, I've finally gotten around to updating the sidebar, for the first time in way too long. My apologies.
    From the top:

  • I finally got around to adding a new bear to the rotation that I found quite a while back.
  • I finally changed the poll. Sorry I can't share the results from the last poll with you, but the hosting people long ago scrapped them.
  • Removed my Your Robot Master site from the other blogs list, since nobody but me was interested in it, and I lost interest months ago.
  • In a very, very bad idea, I added a reading/watching/listening section to the sidebar. Given the problems I've had keeping the sidebar current, I have a feeling this information is going to get really out-dated really quickly, particularly when you consider that I rarely spend more than one night watching something, and haven't actively listened to any particular album for several weeks.
  • I've updated the release dates list, which largely consisted of taking off stuff that was already out. I added, I believe, three new things, but I don't know of a whole lot coming out in the near future that I'm particularly excited about (though, in the process, I found that it appears ST:VI is coming out a month earlier than previously announced). I also included links for some of the items, which was probably overkill.
  • I finally got around to replacing the "made with Macintosh" banner, which had been a broken link for I forget how long. I also added another banner that amused me.
  • Since the NASA Liftoff site I was involved in is now static, I replaced the Liftoff news feed at the bottom of the sidebar with one for Science@NASA, which I'm not involved with, but which has some pretty cool stories.
  • Daily Hatbag
    Here you go.

    Touring Japanese
    This is wrong, yet funny.

    Intergalactic Cussing Streak Continues
    There's new posts over at the Joe Blog, including, shockingly, a discussion about the future of Trek, which has once again suckered me into rambling idly on the subject.
    I've realized recently that one of the things I like about the Joe Blog is that his wife, who has a blog of her own, doesn't post on his either, which makes me feel better about my blog.

    Christmas In Space
    Want to add that special NASA holiday touch to your Christmas tree?
    Here's your chance to get a free decoration of Santa Claus performing an Apollo EVA.

    Today In History
    One of NASA's "prouder moments" began on this date 5 years ago with the launch of the Mars Climate Orbiter, famed for its eventual failure due to poor metric-imperial coordination.

    Stop Light
    Man, it really says something about the state of science today that an announcement about the ability to completely stop light kind of has the feel of, well, here's another story about scientists doing weird stuff with light again.
    That said, and Lain probably had this idea first, it would be really cool to go to one of these labs and walk alongside the experiment, thus being able to travel faster than light.

    By Jove
    I've been remiss in not posting during the past few days that there's been a decent amount of coverage of the planned Prometheus-powered JIMO mission, although little of it is anything readers of this blog didn't know back in the spring.

    Lunar Non-News
    Because this blog is now completely obsessed with the idea of returning to the Moon, here's a story from The Washington Times on the subject. Also, I would note that I talked to Wendell Mendell about human Mars exploration a while back, before he became the big media superstar.
    Also, here's a pro-Moon editorial from The Albuquerque Tribune, and another from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, considered a leading source in spaceflight coverage, in that it quoted me in a spaceflight-related story earlier this year.

    Robotic Return
    From Space.com:
    "I think the Moon is going to get interesting again, and if not crowded, at least noisy."

    T -10 Months?
    Even though I consciously know that it has nothing to do with how soon we'll return to flight, it's kind of sad to see Atlantis, which just 10 months ago was on the pad ready to launch, now being moved from the Orbiter Processing Facility to the VAB for storage, stripped of her main engines and leading edge panels.

    Oh, Crap, Again
    I just made the very, very bad discovery that it turns out you can rent Deep Space Nine through Netflix. After all, what sort of husband would I be if I didn't share with my wife the greatest television series ever made?

    Oh, Crap
    Thus far, I've managed to upgrade once per series of iMac. I held out through the original Bondi Blue iMacs, and then refrained through the second Rev., and finally, when the third rev. of bubble iMacs came out, bought a Strawberry one. Then, after the FP iMacs had been out for a while, I convinced my wife we need another computer, so that we could each have one--in large part because I wanted to upgrade to DVD-burning capability. It's a great machine, and I've remained content with it while the new FP iMacs have gotten faster and their screens have gotten bigger. But, this--this is just bad news. I feel a bad case of computer lust coming on in the near future.

    This Week At NE
    This week at NASAexplores, we have my story about Dextre, the Canadian robot hand that will supplement the robot arm on the International Space Station. Also, we've got Maggie's story about NASA's role in cyberspace security.

    :: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 ::

    All your questions answered.

    Good Luck
    For those among my audience who are in school, I'd like to share this little wish.

    Daily Hatbag
    Hopefully, when Clinton Googles himself (like in this week's Onion), he finds this.

    For Richie
    Alright, I now have an all-time favorite search string that leads people to hatbag.net. In fact, if you run this search on Google, the ONLY return you get is YMFTB:

  • dukes of hazzard based on moonwalkers
    Some other recent ones include:
  • apollo missions eating in space
  • bear fight mall
  • controversial comic strips
  • Confession
    As penance, I publicly admit that--and this was wrong of me--I felt relieved when I realized it was Senator Paul Simon who died yesterday (though not, I'm sure, the relief felt by JoCasta, who has ticked to the S&G Atlanta concert).

    ISS Status
    Here's an interesting article about the ISS.

    That Vision Things Update
    From NASA Watch:
    "Editor's note: Progress on developing America's new space policy continues - and is moving quickly towards final review and a decision by the President. Given the proximity to the Kitty Hawk anniversary, it is now unlikely that it will be announced - at least in any detailed way - at this particular venue. It is now more likely that it will be rolled out early next year - perhaps (but not by definition) near or coincident with the State of the Union. Two things are certain: (1) the Bush Administration will announce this new space policy at a time and place of the its choosing without responding to pressure from external forces with preferences for one venue or another (2) this new space policy is substantive and worth the wait - and the White House is determined to announce it in a manner befitting its importance."
    And, so, we wait.

    Killographic For The People
    This is stupid, and yet, this blog intends to use the word "Killographic" at every appropriate opportunity (and likely some inappropriate), and encourages you to do the same.

    Shared Shire
    Why isn't Peter Jackson making The Hobbit? Among other issues, legal entanglements.

    From One Of My Online Groups:
    Save the Apollo Launch Tower
    Please spend a few moments and sign our on-line Petition to show your
    support for our effort to restore and rebuild the bright red Apollo
    Launch Umbilical Tower (LUT) which was responsible for launching the
    most historic missions to the Moon - before it rusts away to nothing.
    The Space Monument And Restoration Trust aims to raise the public
    awareness of the plight of this historic structure while we can still
    restore and rebuild it to its original condition for the public to
    view and even to explore. We want LUT 1 restored as a National
    Monument to honor the incredible efforts and sacrifices of all those
    involved in the Apollo Program.
    Please pass this request on to all of your friends who might be
    interested in showing their support too.
    Visit the Save the LUT website for more information:
    Thank-you for your time and support.
    Ross B Tierney
    Chief Operating Officer
    Space Monument And Restoration Trust
    Save The LUT Campaign

    :: Tuesday, December 09, 2003 ::

    Daily Hatbag
    Hatbag: On The razor's edge of humor.

    A Blogger's Guide To Blogging
    What not to do when you blog in eight easy steps.

    MAD About Comics
    MAD Magazine will be skewering the world of comic books in its January issue, enlisting the help of legends such as John Byrne, Dave Gibbons, and Romita Jr. Perfect for the comic fan who wants to see Frank Miller make a mockery of comics characters without having to shell out the money for Dark Knight Strikes Back.

    So what would a movie of The Hobbit looked like if Peter Jackson made it entirely from scenes from other films? Probably something like this!

    Huh? What? Who?
    The Huntsville Times yesterday published an aimless and pointless editorial about the future of spaceflight--Moon? Mars? Why?
    To be honest, I've been kind of disappointed in The Times' coverage of this whole issue, which I've found generally thorough but at times overly antagonistic. I'll be curious to see whether that continues if an announcement is actually made.

    One Of These Days
    According to USA Today, the public is receptive to a return to the Moon.

    You Must Fight The Bear--At The Smithsonian!
    So I'm thinking we should take the first YMFTB Field Trip to see this sometime after May.

    I Believe That _________ Are The Future
    Space.com has an interesting article about who will be able to move spaceflight into its next phase.

    Foaled Again!
    Congratulations to ISS Commander Michael Foale, who has set a new U.S. record for total time in space, breaking Carl Walz' previous mark of 230 days, 13 hours, and 3 minutes. Foale, who previously served an increment on Mir, will leave that record far, far behind by the time he returns at the end of April. While Foale now tops the U.S. duration list, he's still about 150 days short of the top 15 worldwide (and unlikely to make it on this trip).

    More Sinospace Non-News!
    Shenzhou: Strong enough for a woman, but built for a man.
    Also, China is expected to launch a probe to the Moon within 3 years, so look forward to some exciting Dave-blogging about that in 2006 or '07, assuming this blog is still around then. I'm sure it will be every bit as exciting as the ESA probe that's on its way to the Moon right now that you've been hearing so much abou--if you really scrape for the minutae of space exploration.

    20 Million And Counting
    How's iTMS doing? Here's an update.
    Addendum: Rolling Stone has an interesting interview with Jobs.

    :: Monday, December 08, 2003 ::

    Hard Hobbit To Break
    OK, how cool would this be?

    From The "This Could Rock... Or Suck" Department
    Coming soon to a theater near you: Astro City: The Movie?

    Thanks To A Missing Letter...
    ...the sign outside our local Hardee's recommends that you try their "Mushroom Swiss Hickburger."

    Another Brick In The Wal
    Man, Joe, this makes our post-DM Tupelo Wal-Mart get-togethers seem much less impressive (though, sadly, much more mature).

    Grue Bard
    Torn between whether to spend free time engaging in a Zork-style text adventure or immersing yourself in the brilliant work of Shakespeare? Why not do both?
    (I couldn't get it to open in Netscape, so if the page won't load, try another browser)

    Daily Hatbag
    I'm sure I've posted this one before, but for some reason people find it on search engines or something, so I'm adding yet another link to it to boost its Google ranking.

    JenniCam RIP
    Remember when JenniCam was relevant--or at least, kinda relevant--or mildly interesting (I think it was like in the 2 weeks before "The Truman Show" came out)? Anyway, it's going away.

    Space Music
    Will NASA win a Grammy? Well, no, but the agency did have a part in one nominee.

    One Of These Days
    Card talked about the vision this weekend.
    Also, The Huntsville Times looked into the cost of returning to the Moon.
    As always, there's this and plenty more at NASA Watch.
    And, Alan Boyle revisted the topic in his Cosmic Log.

    Lunarwide Pants
    From their home office in New York, it's Space.com's top ten reasons to return to the Moon.

    And Then There Were Three
    Japan'n Nozomi Mars mission is set to be abandoned, giving the "Mars Curse" its first victim among the fleet of probes currently on their way to the Red Planet.

    Was This Really Necessary?
    I'm doing my normal morning space Web surfing this morning, and I got an annoying pop-up ad announcing that the annoying pop-up ad I would have normally seen at the site was currently unavailable. I mean, could they not have just waited until the pop-up ad WAS available before giving me a pop-up ad?

    Hotty Toddy, Okies
    No. 16 Ole Miss will play No. 21 Oklahoma State in the Jan. 2 Cotton Bowl. Also, LSU will play for the national championship in the Sugar Bowl Jan. 4.

    Passionate Mel
    I have to say, I'm looking forward to this movie.

    :: Saturday, December 06, 2003 ::

    We Are The Future, Charles
    Oh, man, I don't normally blog on the weekends anymore, but for this, I make an exception.
    This blog has never been one to endorse the use of recreational drugs, but will reconsider if they might give you superpowers!

    :: Friday, December 05, 2003 ::

    Booting Up
    This is kind of cool.

    Daily Hatbag
    Here 'tis.

    And Listen To The Sound... Of Cylons
    Just 3 days before crappy new Galactica.
    For more, read Wired.

    Amusing Phrasing
    In an article about a negative portrayal of Italian-Americans:
    "There is nothing balancing it -- you never see an Italian-American character playing a crack scientist ... or the president of the United States," said Dona De Sanctis, deputy executive director of the Sons of Italy Commission for Social Justice.
    A "crack scientist"?

    My Sokol Life
    Still haven't decided what to get me for Christmas? Well, this would be nice.

    Hubble In Trouble?
    The grounding of the Shuttle fleet could mean an early demise for the Hubble Space Telescope.

    That Vision Thing Update
    "But I made it very clear to you that there are no plans to make any policy announcements on our space program at any immediate upcoming speeches."
    From Space.com (which, you can see in the URL, has title the file "Moon Bush")
    From Spaceflight Now
    From Space Daily
    But, on the other hand:
    "Editor's note: I stand by our stories. Stay tuned."--Keith Cowling, NASA Watch, which today links to several interesting stories saying the exact opposite of the McClellan comments.
    And, those comments are worth taking a look at. It's been well established that this administration hates leaks and loves surprises. So, hypothetically, let's pretend that an announcement was in the works for either Dec. 17, or, even better for this exercise, the State Of The Union address, which will be held around the Apollo 204, 51-L, and STS-107 (or Apollo I, Challenger and Columbia) disaster anniversaries, and that, going out on a limb, the administration doesn't want to disclose what will be announced yet.
    We establish right away that the president is planning a new space initiative. McClellan then says that it's premature to say what that is. Well, if it's supposed to be a "surprise," then, natch, it's too early to say it.
    McClellan then says, "There are no plans for any policy announcements in the immediate future and that would include any upcoming speeches."
    But, does that completely rule out a near-term announcement?
    Well, not really, because "Well, as you know, I don't announce events this far in advance."
    Are the reports about a lunar initiative false? Well, um...
    "Those reports are not coming out of the White House."
    But are they false?
    "...if you want to follow those reports, that's certainly your prerogative, but I encourage you not to..."
    But are they false?
    "Our interagency review of space exploration is ongoing, so it's premature to get into any speculation about some of that space policy."
    So, if they were true, could McClellan tell us that?
    "...you're asking me to, kind of, jump ahead of an interagency review process that's going on to make recommendations and then the president will make some decisions to determine the future direction of space exploration."
    So, what can you say about how the President feels?
    "I think you've heard the president talk about the importance of space exploration, the importance of continuing our journey into space. He remains strongly committed to those efforts. And you can look back at his budget and his proposals that he has made."
    Also, this USA Today story is interesting (I don't think it's among the other links--if so, I apologize).
    Also, suffice it to say that the multitude of links posted here, is just a small fraction of what's been said about this in the media just yesterday and today. In the last couple of days, this has mushroomed from being insider speculation to true public discussion, and has become an entity of its own, something that will be discussed and must be dealt with.

    Opposition To The Lord Of The Rings
    Saturn will be closer to Earth than it's been in 30 years on New Year's Eve.
    If it's what I saw the other night, then it's already pretty bright, but I'm shockingly ignorant when it comes to astronomy.

    Cotton Pickin'
    Ole Miss will go bowling in Texas Jan. 2.

    Might As Well Face2Face It
    The local improv group will have shows on Sat., Dec 13; Fri., Dec. 19; and Sat., Dec 20 (in Athens [AL]).

    :: Thursday, December 04, 2003 ::

    Christmas Treason
    I'm sure when Joe was putting together his Christmas want-list, he included one of these.

    Richie Update
    More cool search strings since yesterday:

  • arlo and janis nude cartoon
  • girl with a bow
  • jabberwacky interview
  • lain is trapped in the matrix
  • mawiage
  • Daily Hatbag
    Here you go.

    Jukebox Of Death
    What worse reminder of our own mortality than the 40G iPod?

    Approaching Mars
    Leading the pack of spacecraft on their way to Mars, the ESA's Mars Express has sent back its first picture of the Red Planet.

    Another Vision Update
    This time from National Review.
    And the New York Post, bastion of journalism.
    (Interestingly, I just found that the National Review story is the number-one-linked-to story today on Blogdex, which is interesting to me. I believe it's the first story on that topic to rank anywhere near that high, and I don't even see the similar NY Post story in the top 50).

    A Long Walk
    Space.com has published an excellent article on explaining the difficulties of long-range spaceflight: Why Don't We Just Go There?

    Fortune And Glory
    The PowerMac G5 was named one of the 25 best products of the year by Fortune.

    That Vision Thing Update
    So, if I'm understanding O'Keefe correctly, we shouldn't get our hopes too-high for a Centennial of Flight announcement in a couple of weeks, but may have to wait until next year.

    :: Wednesday, December 03, 2003 ::

    Curmudgeonly Frustration
    I want to criticize the latest Stephen King column in Entertainment Weekly, but can't find it online for everyone to read first. So I won't. Oh well.

    Daily Hatbag
    Here you go!

    Also For Richie
    The top search strings so far for the one day of December for which I've got stats for hatbag.net include:

  • Lain Hughes
  • southern beach diet
  • STS-121 Crew Pictures
  • Sorry Mr. Gorsky
  • hippie scripts
  • jerry garcia funeral
  • mississippian people and racism
  • official spelling of hippy
  • procylon usa today
  • spare time magazine
  • spung
  • unsuccesful space missions
    Man, learning that USA Today is pro-Cylon makes me wish I had a subscription so I could cancel it!
  • Psychoanalyze Yourself, Sir!
    This is kind of interesting, although questions 7, 9, and 10 are off.

    What's In Their Head? Zombie!
    It's bad enough when a loved one passes on. But when they return as a horrible undead monstrosity, now doing the work of evil, that's just worse.
    Supposedly, AOL is thinking of using the late, great "Netscape Navigator" name and brand for essentially a Microsoft IE plug-in.
    Supposedly, it might look something like this.
    Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

    For Richie
    Is it just coincidence that when Wesley Crusher is excited about writing he digs a hole in his yard?! Perhaps for animals to fall in?

    Art For Art's Sake
    Create your own Mr. Picassohead.

    Robot Holocaust Update
    The human editor of the Robot Wisdom blog is missing.

    Sign Of The Apocolypse No. 343
    New Joe-bloggin' 2 days in a row.

    As It Turns Out...
    Nothing's going on today.

    :: Tuesday, December 02, 2003 ::

    www.NASA.gov has a cool new Flash feature.
    Now, why, if we can make pretty trailers like that, do we not show them to people?

    Um, OK
    In a surprising turn of events, the new printing of Kurt Cobain's journals includes new material.

    Offensive material ahead--have y'all read about the controversy over this strip?

    Daily Hatbag
    You know, Suzy wasn't the best looker in Hatbag history.

    Who Will Sell Your Soul
    There's a couple of new items on the Joe Blog.

    Dumbledore Shrugged
    I wasn't exactly sure what it was, but it turns out there's a reason I like the Harry Potter books.

    A Nation Turns Its Lonely Eyes To You
    Where have you gone, Bill Watterson?

    Best Scenes
    OK, assume, hypothetically, that you were wanting to break in a new, slightly larger television, and you were trying to decide what to watch on it, so you're trying to find particularly visually intense scenes. I was thinking of perhaps the burly brawl from Matrix Reloaded and the attack on the first Death Star. Any other ideas?

    Fear It
    You know, I would be a lot more likely to buy a Segway if it were equipped as a remorseless killing machine.
    (Um, assuming it wouldn't kill me.)

    Oh No, He's Been Using Brand ISS
    Official branding for the International Space Station should be approved soon.

    But Does It Cost Less Than $6 Million?
    If Liz Phair were picking the top inventions of 2003, I'm sure this would be high on the list.

    Astronomers believe a "nearby" star may have a planetary system similar to our own.

    Pearls Before Swine
    This made me think of Richie.

    Mac Daddy
    Per MacNN.com: "In the 50th Anniversary January 2004 issue of adult magazine Playboy, the Apple Macintosh Desktop Computer is ranked #1 among the products that most "changed the world." With a 128 kilobyte hard drive, the original Macintosh "had one 312,500th of the memory that Apple's latest MP3 player now possesses. But for most folks at the time, it had power to spare.""

    Apple Koran
    Uh, so it turns out, surprisingly, that Steve Jobs is a Shiite Muslim, at least according to Michael Eisner.

    :: Monday, December 01, 2003 ::

    Infinite Monkeys Are Obsolete
    In the digital age, it's all about the infinite pixels.

    I Saw The Sign
    This site is kind of cool, and lets you do stuff like this:

    Try Our Chocolate Cheesecake

    Lucky Cow
    This is a shame, 'cause I would have milked it for all it's worth.

    Daily Hatbag

    Opus Two
    For those who haven't seen it, here's a site with bad scans of the first two Opus strips.

    Pirates Of Silicon Valley
    You can finally get Windows for a fair price, but Microsoft says you shouldn't put it on your computer.

    Code X
    The news about the spaceflight vision is coming down to Earth.
    We shall see, I guess.

    X Prize Update
    Rutan says no on the possibility of a spaceflight for the centennial.

    Harder Than It Looks
    I'll avoid making a Wrong Stuff or similar pun for this story about a Wright replica crash.

    Hotty Toddy
    Since I don't have Jason's current e-mail address, I'm posting this story from The New York Times mainly for him (in case he wanders by). Key quote: "If Heisman trophies were awarded for tailgating, the University of Mississippi would be the favorite."

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