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

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

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

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


:: Saturday, July 31, 2004 ::

Daily Hatbag 

Hatbag paintingYo.

Could You Hear Me Then 

PokiaThese are kinda cool.

Secrets Of The iPod 

iPodAccording to Wired's Cult of Mac blog, the newest iPods have mysterious new chips that serve an as-yet-undetermined function.

Fortune Favors 

applePer Fortune:
Windows vs. Mac? These days I'd definitely vote for the Mac OS, which is less susceptible to crashes and viruses. Windows is more popular, but seems perpetually to be on orange alert. You don't want to hear, "A virus ate my term paper."

:: Friday, July 30, 2004 ::

Daily Hatbag 

Hatbag paintingGuess who's back...


For some reason, Wednesday and Thursday were, I'm pretty confident, the biggest traffic days on hatbag.net ever, with about three times my usual visits Thursday. I have no clue why, but I appreciate it.

Today In History 

lunar roverOn this date in 1971, the lunar rover landed on the Moon for the first time in the Apollo 15 mission.


Moon2UPI's Frank Sietzen has a good piece summarizing what is going on to support the Vision for Space Exploration. It's all speculative at this point, but it's pretty interesting. Plus, it's cool reading an article that uses the phrase "the new fleet of atomic-powered spacecraft" that's not science fiction.

The "Leak" 

KerrySpaceref.com has a good post-mortem on the Kerry-NASA bunny suit photo controversy. The best part--despite accusing NASA of a leak, Kerry's staff gave the photos to the press.

Spin Doctors 

exploration serviceRevisiting a debate set aside 40 years ago, NASA is soliciting proposals for the use of artificial gravity in missions to Mars.

Expedition 10 

Expedition 10Expedition 10 commander Leroy Chiao and cosmonaut Salizhan Sharipov are hoping that their increment on the International Space Station, which begins in October, will include a duty not performed since November 2002--welcoming visiting Space Shuttle crew members to ISS.

The Sea Of Smurfquility 

blue moonThere's a Blue Moon tomorrow night.

Mercury Rising 

MESSENGERNASA's MESSENGER Mercury probe will begin its 6 1/2 year voyage to the innermost planet early Monday morning.


BatmanWanna see a couple of seconds of Batman? The trailer's posted, with lots of Christian Bale talking, and a few frames of Batman.

:: Thursday, July 29, 2004 ::

A missed opportunity 

The ribs, man, think of the RIBS!

Today In History 

51-FOn this date 19 years ago, the launch of Challenger's 51-F mission resulted in the only abort-to-orbit of the Space Shuttle program.

This Week At NE 

shuttleThis week at NASAexplores, I've got an article about how thermal control radiators maintain the temperature aboard the Shuttle and Space Station, and Maggie's got a story about the Constant Volume Engine.

Daily Hatbag 

Hatbag paintingHere's a timeless classic that works almost as well if you don't know that it was inspired by Billy Brewer.

:: Wednesday, July 28, 2004 ::

Sweet, Sweet Sarah McLachlan 

this is an audio post - click to play
OK, this post could have turned out better.

Daily Hatbag 

Hatbag paintingSo what exactly is going on with Generic Girl's eyes in the last panel. Is she surprised by something?

Today In History 


On this date 31 years ago, the second crew of Skylab launched to dock with the station.

In 1969, the movie “Marooned” told the story of an Apollo crew who were stranded by a thruster malfunction during a long-duration mission, leading to the staging of a rescue mission to save them. The fictional story came close to seeing a real-life retelling four years later. As the second crew of Skylab prepared to rendezvous with the station, Pilot Jack Lousma spotted what looked like a thruster nozzle floating past his window. The object was not a nozzle, but rather a piece of ice which had formed inside a nozzle and thus bore its shape--symptomatic of another problem: a leak in one of the quads of maneuvering thrusters. The crew secured the malfunctioning quad and continued the rendezvous with the crippled command and service module. Commander Alan Bean piloted the craft with only a portion the maneuvering authority the vehicle should have offered, while Science Pilot Owen Garriott sat in the center seat, rapidly performing the calculations that would allow for a safe docking.

With the command module safely docked and the crew aboard Skylab, the situation seemed to be behind them. Until, that is, the sixth day of the mission, when one of the astronauts, observing an aurora from a window noticed snow outside. Snow being a rare occurrence in space, the crew realized that something must be wrong. And indeed it was--a second set of quad thrusters had developed a leak. With no idea what was causing the leaks, ground controllers feared that they might be linked, and that the same problem might affect one of the service module’s other quads during the remaining 50 days the crew was scheduled to remain in orbit. While they were confident the crew could return to Earth with the two maneuvering quads they still had, additional malfunctions would jeopardize their safe reentry. And so, efforts began to plan a rescue mission to bring the astronauts home.

Skylab had been designed to accommodate just such a rescue mission. The multiple docking adapter featured ports for two command modules. If the Apollo spacecraft that had carried the crew to the station could not be used to bring them home, a second vehicle could be launched, and could dock with the adapter’s second port. The crew would return to Earth aboard the second Apollo, and the one they rode into orbit would be deorbited. Engineers had figured out a way to modify the three-person Apollo spacecraft to carry five people. Were a rescue necessary, a two-person crew would pilot the rescue craft to Skylab, and then all five astronauts would ride it back home. For the Skylab II rescue mission, astronauts Vance Brand and Don Lind were selected as the rescue crew, and even had an official crew portrait made. While they were awaiting the order to launch, Brand and Lind began looking into whether the crew would be able to return safely. The two rookie astronauts joked that they were working their way out of their chance for a spaceflight. (Both would later get their chance to make flights).

Ultimately, it was decided that since the rescue mission could not be flown until day 43 of the Skylab II mission, there was no reason to order an early termination; a decision which suited the second crew just fine. There were no further malfunctions, and on the 60th day of their mission, the crew returned to Earth safely in the command module aboard which they launched.

Oh, Please 

KerryNASA Watch has a good response to the "leaked" Kerry photo brouhaha. (NASA Watch, for whatever weird reason, doesn't provide permalinks, so you'll have to scroll down 'til you see the picture I've posted at right.) I would go on to point out, though, that both sides are being silly about this--Kerry's camp for acting like this is some sort of conspiracy, and the Republicans who are acting like these pictures provide some sort of ammunition against him.

Fumbling Towards Nashville 

Sarah McLachlanJust FYI, Nicole and I are going to Nashville this evening for a Sarah McLachlan concert, and then to Birmingham tomorrow evening, meaning that I'll be away from regular computer access tomorrow. But check in anyway--Lain has said that if he sees anything that needs to be blogged, he'll blog it, and I'll post updates if opportunity allows (I'm taking the iBook, and the hotel promises internet access). Also, there's a chance that you'll see me on the Tutor Kitty Kam tomorrow evening.

By Jove 

JIMOThe Project Prometheus-powered Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter is a step closer to reality, with conceptual artwork having now been created by NASA and Boeing. I think the Boeing proposal included stuff other than artwork, but the pictures are pretty.

Eyes On The Prize 

SpaceShipOneThe endgame has begun: Scaled Composites has announced that SpaceShipOne will try for the X Prize with a first prize attempt flight on September 29.
Waiting in the wings, though, in case SSO is unsuccessful, is Canada's da Vinci Project, which will unveil its Wild Fire spacecraft on August 5. (Note: This has nothing to do with the Da Vinci Code, which is probably the best book of all time.)

God Speed, John Glenn 

John GlennPer The Onion:
WASHINGTON, DC—John Glenn, the first American to orbit the earth and the oldest man ever in space, is being honored by the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, which has installed the former U.S. senator as the centerpiece of its upcoming Milestones Of Flight exhibit.
"John Glenn's life has been a living testament to the power of human vision," NASM director Gen. John R. "Jack" Dailey said at Sunday's dedication ceremony. "Generations of Americans will be inspired by his nobly dangling form, which so eloquently evokes both the wonder of physical flight through the air and that even greater flight—of the human spirit."

Force Of Newtons 

NewtonEven though I'm still a complete tyro, I've been exposed to the Newton community long enough now that this is kinda funny.

:: Tuesday, July 27, 2004 ::

Aerospace iCal 

For the Mac users out there, I've created a iCal calendar of aerospace events. Ongoing maintenance will be based entirely on use, so if you use it and like it, let me know.

Daily Hatbag 

Hatbag paintingThe problem with letting minor characters run the strip for a week is that they do things like get intimated and stare at the camera the whole time instead of looking at each other.
Addendum: Just fixed the strip so that it was the one I meant to post, not the one I posted yesterday.

There's A Giant Black Spot On The Sun Today 

sunspotSunspot 652 is now wider than Jupiter.

Where's Lloyd Bentsen When You Need Him? 

KerryOnce again breaking my usual avoidance of politics, but Kerry is really just begging for this sort of commentary.
Per The AP: With a famed astronaut at his side and majestic rockets towering outside the window, John Kerry spoke Monday of how America's space program embodies the imagination, ingenuity and fortitude that made the country great.
Yet the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, during at town hall meeting at Kennedy Space Center, didn't once mention NASA, the federal agency that makes those rockets fly.

Per Florida Today: But in the heart of a community where more than 20,000 people work on space programs, the Democrats' candidate for president met with a roomful of voters without commenting on President Bush's proposal to send astronauts to the moon and Mars or offering a specific vision of his own for exploring space.
"I'd like to know more," conceded Murray Hill, of Cocoa, a machinist who works on the shuttles for contractor United Space Alliance.

Per The Daytona Beach News-Journal: But he stayed grounded on Earth at the start of a busy campaign week and never mentioned future space travel.
Per The Houston Chronicle: "He'll probably forget to mention that he voted to cut NASA funding and introduced a bill to terminate the international space station program, calling it an 'uncertain and risky' venture," Feeney said.
NASA Watch has more on Kerry's "support" for NASA, in the form of repeated votes to cut funding (though even I will admit it's a somewhat one-sided presentation. But, hey, if Michael Moore can claim to report truth just be presenting accurate facts, then this story is 100 percent true).

Budget Update 

Moon2UPI's Frank Sietzen has a good piece with some background information about the current battle over NASA's budget.

That's No Moon! Wait, Yes, It Is! 

MimasCassini has taken new pictures of the Saturnian moon Mimas. Not really anything too fascinating, but I'm blogging it anyway 'cause Mimas is one of my favorite-looking objects in the solar system, for obvious reasons.

RTF Update 

bipodNASA has begun a fix for the Return To Flight issue most closely linked to the physical cause of the loss of Columbia, the bipod foam ramp. The agency has signed off on a new system which replaces the foam with heating rods, which will serve the purpose of preventing ice from forming in the bipod area.

Hello, Moto 

iTunesI'm mildly surprised at the Apple-Motorola deal. It seems uncharacteristically open-minded of Steve Jobs to support a non-Apple portable music player, no matter how little competition for the iPod it poses. Still, it nice for sentimental reasons to see Apple software running on a Motorola processor.

:: Monday, July 26, 2004 ::

Attention, Robots! 

Logic is a little birdy that goes tweet tweet. Logic is a pretty flower that smells bad.

Congratulations, Jonathan And Erin 

Jonathan and Erin
So my brother's married (the middle one, at least. Probably be a while on the youngest.) More pics, including some of yours truly in a tux can be found on the photographer's Web site.

Daily Hatbag 

Hatbag paintingThere will be little to no HATBG in this week's 10th anniversary Hatbag strips.

Alternate Future 

Man Conquers SpaceI may have blogged this before, and if so, I apologize, but it's kinda cool: Man Conquers Space, a "science fiction" movie in which the exploration of space unfolded in a way more like the path von Braun outlined in the '50s.

Budget Update 

Moon2On the bad news side, the House Appropriations Committee approved the subcommittee recommendation to cut NASA's FY05 budget request on last week.
On the upside, OMB, which has often served as an advesary for NASA budget requests, has said that they would recommend that the spending bill be vetoed because of the cuts.
Per UPI: This is the first time any U.S. president has threatened to veto a spending bill because it contained too little space money.

RTF Update 

DiscoveryThe Shuttle Discovery is being prepared for Return To Flight, with roll-out scheduled for January. The story states that the vehicle manager for Discovery says she is confident the agency will be able to meet the March target launch date.

ISS Acceleration 

The new ISS configuration is planned for completion by the end of the decade and will accommodate on-orbit elements from each of the ISS Partners. The configuration will enable increased utilization and will provide early opportunities for an enhanced crew of greater than three people.
Space.com has additional info (and questions) about how the crew size increase will be accomplished.

Sign For Nine 

deep space nineI am signer 20784 of the petition for Paramount to revive Deep Space Nine as a movie (though I added a comment saying I'd love to see a miniseries, too), and encourage all ATW readers to sign also.
Ironically, I was just griping about this to Nicole last night. We were watching The 4400, the new USA miniseries which reunites DS9 scribes Ira Behr, Robert Wolfe and Rene Echevarria, and which is kicking butt in the ratings. I'm not sure exactly where all that attention came from, but imagine that at least some of it has to be from people like me, DS9 loyalists who heard about its connection to that show and hope that it recaptures some of the magic. (It's pretty good stuff, too--a better live-action comic book than any adaptation of a real comic book I've ever seen.)
Addendum: Forgot to mention, on a related note, that today is Nana Visitor's birthday.

Revenge Of The SE 

Star Wars TrilogyMore Star Wars news, per DVDfile:
...But also announced at the show by Lucasfilm head of Fan Relations Steve Sansweet was the arrival, sometime in 2005, of three other Star Wars properties long requested by fans: The Clone Wars and Droids animated series, plus The Ewok Adventure and Ewoks & Droids Adventure Hour television movies. ...
So for those fearing (or hoping) that Lucas would again make extensive changes to the classic first three movies in the saga, you will get your wish. Everything from less readily apparent changes - sound effects to the color of a lightsaber - to more substantive additions, including Ian McDiarmid (the evil Emperor) replacing Clive Revill in The Empire Strikes Back, to Anakin Hayden Christensen's face (badly) added to the body of Sebastian Shaw at the end of Return of the Jedi, or a chorus of cheering Gungians (or whatever those Jar Jar things are called) also tacked on to the finale of Jedi, will be found in the new DVDs.

The Circle Is Complete 

ROTSSo, yeah, Revenge of the Sith. Could be worse. Certainly better than The Creeping Fear.

:: Saturday, July 24, 2004 ::


In Memphis for my brother's wedding, so won't really be posting much. (And thus why I didn't post much yesterday)
Also, the domain name for hatbag.net has expired, and thus blog access is kind of iffy. I've paid the renewal fee, but it may take it a little while for the address to repropogate.
Which also means that my home e-mail account is temporarily down as well.
Pardon our technical difficulties, and keep checking in. We'll be back as soon as possible.

:: Friday, July 23, 2004 ::

Today In History 

Eileen CollinsOn this date 5 years ago, Eileen Collins became the first female Shuttle commander on Columbia's STS-93 mission to deploy the Chandra X ray observatory.

Two Steps Closer 

ShuttlePer The AP:
NASA has met two more recommendations that are required for the space agency to return to flight, but remains stymied on inspection and repair methods for shuttles in orbit. ...
Despite the lingering hurdles, there is no reason to believe shuttle flights won't resume next March or April, said Richard Covey, a former shuttle commander who is chairman of the task force overseeing NASA's progress following the Columbia disaster.

(PS Yeah, I'm engaging in lazy, cut-and-paste blogging today. I'm busy. Sue me. [Note for the overly literal minded--don't really])

Going Back Out 

Expedition 9Per SpaceDaily:
The crew of the International Space Stationwill conduct a spacewalk on August 3 to install equipment for next year's scheduled arrival of a european cargo vessel, the space flight control centre said Friday.

:: Thursday, July 22, 2004 ::

No Zod 

SupermanWell, forget my Zod speculation. Per The NYT: (regreq)
The two liked what they heard: the story did not explore Superman's origins nor did any survivors from Krypton reappear.

Congrats, Jesse & Carol! 

Jesse and Carol Holland
And here's a couple more pictures of DM interest.

This Week At NE 

GenesisThis week at NASAexplores, there's an article about the Genesis sample return mission, and one of NASA's treehouse detectives.

The Challenge 

I was reading a site a while back in which someone was talking about NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Month. As I recall, I linked to it last year, but didn't know about it until it was already underway or over or something. This year, though, I actually know about it ahead of time.
The concept it this. You write a novel. In a month.
The goal is to write a 50,000-word story between Nov. 1 and Nov. 30.
So, here's the challenge: I think ATW should do this.
I thinks we should write a novel in a month.
I don't even begin to have time to write a novel myself in a month with everything else I'm doing. But I could write part of a short one.
There are 22 weekdays during November 2004. If the writing were divided up between those days, an average of 2273 words would have to be written per day. If four people worked together, each would only have to write 568 words per day. Obviously, the more people involved, the fewer words each would have to write. Any writing done on weekends would reduce the number of words needed on each weekday. Any word over the minimum on a given entry would reduce the total number left.
We did something similar to this once before, way back. The idea would be to take turns writing the word requirement, with each writer picking up where the last left off.
The result would be that we would have a complete novel at the end of the month. Which would be pretty cool.
To quote their Web site:
Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It's all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.
Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that's a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.

I mention it now so we can start thinking about it. While it would be wrong to start writing, we could start thinking about what it will be about.
This offer is open to anyone. If you've never, or rarely, posted on ATW before, that's cool. Come on.
So, who's with me?

Daily Hatbag 

Hatbag paintingHere's a hard-to-believe-but-true fact: the second panel of this strip is based on Barry Hannah!

Thanks, Web! 

(I esp. like this one.)

Space Race 

Ansari X PrizePer Space.com:

It looks like the flag is being dropped on high-flying competitors vying for the Ansari X Prize suborbital sweepstakes.

A media alert was issued today by the X Prize Foundation of St. Louis, Missouri noting that “several key announcements” are to be made July 27.

The press statement is fueling speculation that the press event is likely to detail actual flight dates for back-to-back shots at winning the Ansari X Prize purse. Teams are to give the X Prize Foundation 60-days notice before attempts to win the prize.

Cold Water In Space 

SSOOK, this amuses me. Jeffrey Bell, one of Spacedaily.com's leading NASA-bashers, has turned from criticizing public sector spaceflight to start a new private sector backlash, going after SpaceShipOne. As usual, he puts together an entertaining mix of grumpiness and quasi-facts. To wit:

It's not a spaceship or even a precursor to one. The energy required to boost SS1 into orbit would be about 50 times what it currently expends to make its short zoom-climb into "space".

It's true that it isn't, and won't be, an orbital spacecraft. Hard to say that it's not a precursor to one, since there are rumors that Scaled is already drawing up plans for an orbital craft. To say that it's not a "spaceship," though, is just a semantics game. Is flying into space enough to make it a "spaceship"? Depends. There are those who argue that the Shuttle is the only manned spaceship ever. And SSO has more in common with what makes the Shuttle a spaceship than it does with non-spaceships like Apollo. Personally, I'm more than content to allow that flying into space makes it a spaceship.

SS1 is really a stuntplane intended to whip up public interest and favorable news media coverage.

Um, why? Rutan's a pretty savvy businessman. What does he stand to gain for building interest if he has nothing to deliver?

It's not even a viable vehicle for the "suborbital tourism" market. SS1 is narrowly designed around the X-Prize competition and lacks many features customers would demand.

It may be true that it's not going to be a tourism vehicle. Certainly, it's very likely the that SSO itself won't, but that doesn't mean that there couldn't be SS2 and SS3, etc., if there were a market for them. Rutan has no interest in being the space equivalent of an airline, he wants to provide vehicles for "spacelines." However, it is not true that SSO was designed around the X Prize, since Rutan was already working on it before the X Prize was announced. It's factual errors like that which make it difficult to take Bell seriously.

Put some space images on the windows and you have most of the suborbital tourism experience for a longer time at a much lower cost. If the suborbital tourism market really exists, why isn't somebody doing this?

Um, they are. Space Adventures already offers Zero-G flights in Russia, and a new company is booking them in the U.S. That said, anybody willing to shell out money for a spaceflight isn't going to be fooled by "space images on the windows." Again, just a wee bit of research would make it easier to take him seriously.

Still Alive, Old Friend 

KirkThe Return of James T. Kirk?

:: Wednesday, July 21, 2004 ::

Isaac Hayesimov 

Isaac HayesLet me just point out that this sounds mighty familiar: (since the link is kinda iffy, I'm posting the relevant part below)

Isaac Hayes’ Three Laws of Robotics

A robot must risk his neck for his brother man, and may not cop out when there’s danger all about.

A robot must be a sex machine to all the chicks, except where such actions conflict with the will of his main woman.

A robot must at all times strive to be one bad motha-shutchyomouth.

Daily Hatbag 

Hatbag paintingThis strip is one of my personal favorites, largely, I think, just 'cause I love BG and OBG's reaction to the whole thing.

ISS For Less! 

rosaviakosmosI don't have a link to confirm it, but I've heard a rumor that, if you're wanting to visit the International Space Station, this is your big chance, since, after losing paying passenger Greg Olsen due to health problems, Rosaviakosmos is desperate to book a tourist for the October Soyuz flight, and is willing to cut the $20 million asking price for the third seat down to $15 million.

Today In History 

NewportOn this date in 1961, the MR4 spacecraft, Liberty Bell 7, sank to the bottom of the ocean after carrying astronaut Gus Grissom on America's second (suborbital) spaceflight. Having been recovered by Curt Newport, the Liberty Bell is currently on display in Huntsville until September.

Around The World In 90 Minutes 

Jules VerneThe first ESA Automated Transfer Vehicle, Jules Verne, has been completed and delivered for testing. The spacecraft will be used, possibly next year, to transfer supplies to the International Space Station.


Moon2So, how did you celebrate the 35th anniversary of Apollo 11? A House subcommittee marked the occassion by cutting funding for space exploration. Classy.

Leggo My... Carbs 

wafflesOOoooh... low-carb waffles!
(Actually Nicole can make home-made low-carb waffles now, but frozen waffles are one of those things that are just a different thing entirely from the real thing, making them, while inferior, just as good. I feel the same way about mall Chinese food.)

:: Tuesday, July 20, 2004 ::

Today In History 

Buzz with flag

Quicktime VR: What Neil Saw

Daily Hatbag 

Hatbag paintingThis one was one of mine, and is semi-autobiographical, in that I refused to read a Grisham book until I was assigned to read The Pelican Brief in my poplit class. Not that I had anything against him, really, it's just that I tend to be distrustful of books that are too popular. For instance, at the moment, I'm avidly not reading the Da Vinci Code. Now, I read all of Grisham's stuff as soon as it comes out. The Toys R Us reference was, of course, another little self-homage.

Vision Quest 

Moon2Per Space.com:

NASA's renewed commitment to human space exploration has a strong support base amongst the American public, according to a new poll released today.
More than two-thirds of those polled supported a stepping stone approach for NASA's space efforts, starting with resumed space shuttle flights and the completion of the International Space Station (ISS), and leading to eventual manned missions to the moon, Mars and beyond.

Countdown Continues 


Engineers at NASA's Stennis Space Center (SSC) in Mississippi have successfully tested one of the engines that will carry the next Space Shuttle into orbit.
The test today(Monday) was the first on a complete Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME) that will be used on the Return to Flight mission. The engine will be shipped to NASA's Kennedy Space Center for installation on the Space Shuttle Discovery. The Return to Flight mission, designated STS-114, will launch no earlier than next March and will go to the International Space Station.

The Return To Flight Commission will be holding a meeting Thursday, after which more details will be announced on how efforts are going to meet the NET March planning date.

Minor Sidebar Update 

The STS-114 launch countdown clock in the sidebar just jumped ahead 5 days, when I learned that the target date for the next launch is March 6, rather than March 11 as I had previously believed. (March 11 was an early planning date for this year, when it was still believed it would only take 1 year to get the Shuttles flying again, rather than 2. [March 11 is also the birthday of my friend Elaine Baath {or Elizabeth Baath}, whose name I again mention here on the hopes she'll come across it in a search engine and get in touch with me via the e-mail link at the top of the page.]) I also added a link in the countdown to a page that has info on the RTF status. The link is hidden in the words "launch countdown," cause otherwise it was gonna look funky.
Also updated were the reading and watching boxes, though not listening, 'cause I'm not listening to anything new, so I figured I'd keep promoting Joe. I also added a link in the links section to the Strong Bad e-mail at the Homestar Runner site, 'cause they're funny, and I told Tutor I'd give him the link.

:: Monday, July 19, 2004 ::

Join The Club 

Club EbonyLain was kind enough to share with me this story about the Club Ebony in Indianola.

Create Your Own Hatbag 

Introducing the amazing "Hatbag Generator"! Make your own Hatbag strips!
(I should note I mainly did this to see if I could figure out the coding. Quality not guaranteed.)

Super Clothing 

NextelWhen superheroes show up, NASA will have already been working on their costumes. Or something.

Daily Hatbag 

Hatbag paintingApparently, at some point in the series, student journalist guy got a lot taller, and also lost his arms. Which one would think would make being a reporter a lot harder.

Yesterday In History 

Svetlana SavitskayaI missed yesterday that it was the 20th anniversary of cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya becoming the first woman to walk in space.

Station Keeping 

ISSPer The New York Times:
The United States has finished its plans for completing the International Space Station by the end of the decade, including expansion of a science module to accommodate housing for more astronauts, NASA officials said Friday. ...
Among other things, the revised plans call for expanding the use of the United States' Destiny science module aboard the station. Michael C. Kostelnik, NASA's deputy associate administrator for the shuttle and the space station, said that to do as much research as possible, NASA wanted to increase the complement of astronauts working on the station to as many as six, from the current limit of three. This may require having two or more three-person Soyuz rescue capsules assigned to the station at times, and having the American space shuttle dock at the station for longer periods, Mr. Kostelnik said.

The Next Generation 

iPodSo, yeah, new iPods. I can stick with mine for a while.

Transform And Roll Film! 

Optimus PrimeWill Spielberg direct the Transformers movie? Well, it would really surprise me, but apparently he may at least be supporting it.
(And if that doesn't get you excited about the prospect of a live-action Transformers movie, then surely this will.

Trek Gets Schooled 

RomulanSo apparently the proposed "prequel" Trek movie I mentioned a while back will be a Starfleet Academy movie, and the team developing it includes one of the masterminds behind the Inspector Gadget movies. Gee, how could this possibly go wrong?

:: Sunday, July 18, 2004 ::

The Early Years 

armstrongWhile there's a lot of focus this week on Apollo 11 in connection with Tuesday's 35th anniversary of the landing, Dryden Flight Research Center marked the occassion by posting an interesting story about Neil Armstrong's pre-astronaut NASA career.

Is That A Robot In Your Pants 

Wayne NewtonFrom the Daveblog one year ago today: Little robots in your pants. (Why am I using that picture with this item? 'Cause it turns out that's the first result you get if you run a Google image search for "robot pants.")

The Next Generation 

Moon2Two new missions are being considered for NASA's New Frontiers robotic exploration program, a lunar sample-return mission, and a Jovian polar orbiter.

Up Hill Both Ways 

roverSo it turns out that due to its malfunctioning front right wheel, Spirit is now climbing the Columbia Hills backwards.

Daily Hatbag 

Hatbag paintingI'm disappointed in the ATW audience, particularly the one member who's always rather quick to point out my mistakes. I posted the wrong strip yesterday, and nobody asked what the heck it had to do with a Will Smith movie. The strip I posted yesterday actually turned eight today, and this is the strip I meant to post yesterday. Whoops. (So, Will Smith and a Hippie are in a bar...)

:: Saturday, July 17, 2004 ::

Today In History 

ASTPOn this date 29 years ago, American astronauts and Soviet cosmonauts met in space as their Apollo and Soyuz spacecraft docked.

iPod upDate 

iPod MiniPer ThinkSecret:
Apple will announce new iPod models in August, reliable sources have confirmed to Think Secret. The new models will be smaller, sleeker, and will come in a variety of colors.

I, Zod? 

SupermanAICN reports that they actually have decent filmmakers attached to the Superman movie, but you'll forgive me if I don't actually get excited about any news of a good Supes movie until I actually see it. A more cynical person would start a pool on how long this team will stay attached to the movie. I did find this line interesting, though:
It will not be an origin story. And something regarding the Christopher Reeve films and that universe has something to do with this.
Um...Zod? Maybe?


I, RobotSpeaking of I, Robot, I don't suppose anybody out there has seen it, and also read some Asimov. I found the movie to be intrigueingly faithful to Asimov while simultaneously diametrically opposed to Asimov, and really want to discuss it with someone who can put the two in context. It's been way too long since I've actually read any Asimov, much less I, Robot in particular.

Daily Hatbag 

Hatbag paintingI'll save the 10th anniversary dailies for during the week, but this strip turns seven today. That's gotta be worth something. Plus, it's like almost kinda timely, 'cause it's about a Will Smith movie, and I just watched I, Robot yesterday.

Big Spring Jam Update 

Olivia Newton-JohnRecently joining the line-up for Huntsville Sept. 24-26 Big Spring Jam concerts are Olivia Newton-John, Tracy Byrd, Tanya Tucker, and Diamond Rio. So now ya know.

:: Friday, July 16, 2004 ::

Today In History 

A11 launch

Daily Hatbag 

Hatbag paintingYou know, Ronny Chaser is not only really big, but also has a preternaturally large head.

Two-Hit Wonders 


Jam, Y'all 

jewelJewel will be one of the headliners for Huntsville's Big Spring Jam concerts on Sept. 24-27. Other acts will include Lynyrd Skynyrd, George Clinton, Morris Day and The Time, and many more, with even more yet to be announced.

In Blackest Night... 

jack blackOK, this just strikes me as a bad idea. I mean, I like Jack Black as well as the next guy, but I just have a real hard time with the idea of Jack Black playing Green Lantern. I'm curious whether they'll have him play Hal or another existing GL, or make up a new character for him. Either way, if true, this is just bad, and I'm kinda disappointed he would do it.

:: Thursday, July 15, 2004 ::

Daily Hatbag 

Hatbag paintingThis strip actually celebrated its anniversary this past weekend, but it ties in nicely with the NASAexplores stuff.

Singular Discovery 

hawkingSo now Stephen Hawking is saying his previous black hole beliefs were wrong. See, he had been thinking that the Palimino crew escaped at the end of the movie, and only Dr. Reinhardt and Maximillian were sucked in, but actually everybody got pulled in, 'cause you can't escape from a black hole.
(Actually, Hawking's paradigm shift was about something way more scientific about that fact that black holes allow some information to escape.)

Dust In The Wind 

roverPer The Arizona Republic:
Martian dust slowly but inexorably is settling over the life-giving solar panels of NASA's two Mars Exploration Rovers that landed on the distant planet in January and made dramatic scientific discoveries. ...
Other work will be done by the rovers in coming months, but at a slower pace, and eventually the little machines will stop functioning.

There's A Speed Demon That Lives In The Sky 

X-43AAfter setting a speed record of Mach 7 earlier this year, NASA's X-43A "Hyper-X" scramjet will aim for Mach 10 when it flies again, possibly in September or October.

State Of The Mac 

appleMacNN has a summary of Apple news from the company's third quarter report. It confirms the rumors of an upcoming G5 iMac. Among the other news was a bit of a mea culpa moment for this blog: "Demand for iPod mini in the US is 'staggering' with resellers selling out within hours or days of receiving shipments." And when it was announced, I thought the iPod mini was a mistake.

Modern Buck 

TwinkieI posted yesterday about the Buck Rogers DVD news, but DVDfile has a different take, announcing that we'll soon be able to watch Buck Rogers in the 21st Century: The Complete Epic Series, in which, presumably, Buck becomes frozen during a spaceflight in the late 20th century, only to awaken a few years later, where he's a complete fish out of water 'cause he hasn't quite mastered the internet, and doesn't own any DVDs.

Unreal Trailer 

Sky CaptainOh, man, I'm looking forward to this movie! They've posted a new trailer and a brief scene from Sky Captain And The World Of Tomorrow.

This Week At NE 

anniversaryThis week at NASAexplores, my Apollo 11 anniversary feature that I've been working on for months is finally online (well, working on off and on for months). The highlights are my interview with Buzz Aldrin (which you can read or listen to), my story about John Hirasaki, who was in quarantine with the A11 crew when they returned from the Moon, and a very cool lunar lander game. I'm kinda proud of all, to be honest. Check it out!

:: Wednesday, July 14, 2004 ::

Daily Hatbag 

Hatbag paintingAh, yes. Generic Girl. The stereotypical supporting character.

Everybody Must Get Stoned 

moon rocksAccording to James Oberg, the Apollo 11 astronauts will get Moon rocks--sort of. They won't actually own them, or actually get to keep them, but they will be presented with them.

Today In History 

Mariner 4On this date in 1965, mankind saw the first photographs taken at another planet, as Mariner 4 sent back television signals from Mars.

Asteroids Defender 

asteroidPer Space.com:
A mission to smash into a space rock to deflect it and study its structure has been given priority over five other potential asteroid projects by the European Space Agency.
The slam-bang Don Quijote mission would help scientists figure out how to deflect or destroy any asteroid in the future that might be found to be on a collision course with Earth. The project uses the Spanish spelling of Don Quixote, the protagonist in Cervantes' novel who has chivalrous ideas that tend toward the impractical.

Vision Vanguard 

Lunar Reconnaissance OrbiterNASA is already at work on planning the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which will be the first in a wave of lunar probes designed to pave the way for mankind's return to the Moon. In fact, the mission of the LRO will be to produce detailed maps of areas of the Moon which could be used as landing sites or exploration destinations.

Star Wars Redux Redux 

Star Wars DVDDVDfile.com has a blurb about the latest changes to the original Star Wars trilogy that have been made for the upcoming DVD release. The piece includes a trailer for the DVD which shows some of the changes.

:: Tuesday, July 13, 2004 ::

I, Lobot 

Lain agreed to let me share his genius with the ATW audience. Thanks, Lain.

The Three and a Half Laws of Lobotics:
Lobot1. Lobot may not injure Lando Calrissian, or, through inaction, mess up his action.
2. Lobot must obey orders given to it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law, or prevent Lando from gettin' his groove on.
3. Lobot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not spill Lando's drink.
3.5. Get Lando a chicken pot pie, now!

(While trying to find an image to go with the Laws, I came across this, which is worth it for the final image.)

Daily Hatbag 

Hatbag paintingHere ya go.

Resistance Is Futile 

My Little Borg Pony

More Comics Stuff 

I'm blogging this purely so Richie can read it if he wants. If you do, summarize it for me.

Sidebar Update 

Since I had to update the link to Joe's blog, I made a few other changes in the sidebar, to wit: Adding a link to Joe's music, adding a link to Jabberwacky (the link I added is to the very funny conversations page, but from there you can follow the link to having a chat with Jabberwacky yourself), updating the Reading/Watching/Listening images, and embedding a tiny version of the Tutor Kitty Kam.

Guess Who's Back 

The Joe Blog is dead, long live the Joe Blog. Joe Gurner's made good on his word to retire all things Idle Ramblings, but has launched a new blog, Taking A Nap. Go check it out. While you're there, be sure to check out the Joe tunes.

Wrong Enough 

Michael MooreFor Lain, who wanted more ATW song parodies, with apologies to Sheryl Crow:

God, I'll give 'em hell tonight
'Cause my rage will make me lie
We're gonna make Bush folks understand:
I'm wrong enough to beat that man!

Nothing's true and nothing's right,
But the spin folks make my facts all tight.
So pass me another pound of ham,
I'm wrong enough to beat that man!

Lie to me
I promise I'll believe
Lie to me
How many can we deceive?

There's tons of facts I just won't show
I make the truth up as I go
I tell my lies with such elan,
That I'm wrong enough to beat that man!

Fly For Less! 

Want to fly into space, but don't have $20 million to buy a Soyuz ticket? Well, Space Services Inc. will put you in orbit for a mere $1,000. The one catch: You have to be dead. (Though I wonder if they could be talked into sending a gram of you while you're still alive.)

There And Back Again 

MoonPer UPI's Frank Sietzen:
President George W. Bush has asked the Apollo 11 astronauts and their families to join him in a private meeting in the White House Oval Office next week ...
Sources close to some of the astronauts hinted that a public statement urging support for the president's new moon-Mars space plan might follow the meeting, but there has been no official confirmation of that prospect.

Boeing! Boeing! Boeing! 

A11 AnniversaryBeating me to the punch by a few days, Boeing has set up a page celebrating the 35th anniversary of Apollo 11.

All These %$@ Worlds Are @#*&$ Yours... 

OceanAnyone who knows or cares anything about comics knows that Hal's coming back in October, but DC's got some other interesting stuff planned for that month. Here's some interesting tidbits from Newsarama:
:: One of the most mess-you-up-for-days comics of the '80s is celebrating its 15th anniversary: Arkham Asylum is getting an anniversary edition, with all sorts of behind-the-scenes extras.
:: Astro City writer Kurt Busiek will take over the story duties for JLA, which is probably just setting me up for disappointment. Astro City totally owns me, but very little else that he's done (Marvels is the exception that immediately comes to mind) has the same effect. I'm sure Busiek could do the best JLA arc ever, but fear he probably won't.
:: So, of course, I pleased to find out that Busiek also has coming out in October Astro City: A Visitor's Guide. Which is just that--no story, just AC background info. I'm looking forward to the Dark Ages, but I'll be buying this in the meantime.
:: Warren Ellis, the man behind Orbiter and Ministry of Space, is heading out into space once more with Ocean, which has already suckered me in with its Europa setting.

Mo' Bucks, Mo' Buck Rogers 

TwinkieTo celebrate my mom's birthday, Universal will be releasing the complete series of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century on DVD. The $90 price tag is a little more than I'd like to pay for it, but sweet gracious am I going to Netflix it. (That said, I'm surprised the whole series fits on five discs. I figured it was on longer than that. How could a show like that have been dropped?). Beedabeedabeeda.

:: Monday, July 12, 2004 ::

Daily Hatbag 

Hatbag paintingTen years ago today, BG needed a date. Wonder how things are going for him on that front now.

Unadulterated Advocacy 

appleThis, of course, is the sort of thing I just automatically link to.

To Seek Out New Life 

roverWith planning already underway for the 2009 Mars mission, three oppositions down the road, scientists are hoping to create a probe for that mission that could answer the ultimate question of modern space exploration: whether life exists on another world.

Budget Space 

BigelowPer The Las Vegas Mercury:
A mere five years ago, Bigelow, owner of the Budget Suites of America hotel chain, announced his intention to get into the space race. ...
Bigelow has not only buried the hatchet with the space agency, he finds himself in partnership with NASA. ...
Bigelow Aerospace is pursuing what it hopes will become the building block of all future space stations, near-Earth outposts and long-range missions. It's an inflatable module that is likely to become the space habitat of the future. ...
One of Bigelow's stated goals is the development of the first space hotel. ...
Bigelow figures he can eventually get the cost of a space trip to a far more affordable level, in the $50,000-$100,000 range, which is about the cost of a really good car. ...
His plant is building 13 models of his Genesis Pathfinder module, which is one-third the size of the full-scale Nautilus, the model that could become the standard habitat for future space programs. The first Genesis model is scheduled for a launch into space in November 2005.

Latest Trek Data 

dataSo the rumor is that Data will be making a guest-appearance on Enterprise, playing the grandfather of Noonien Soong. On behalf of Trek fans everywhere, let me just say: So? Why exactly do I care anything about seeing Dr. Soong's grandfather? They had talked about bringing on some familiar actors and characters this season, but I'm more interested in seeing characters I know than I am old Trek actors in new roles. It seems there should be plenty of people you could reasonably bring on. So, for the Trek fans out there, which characters or actors would you most like to see appear on Enterprise?

90-99 Love Balloons 

SeinfeldInspired by VH1's I Love The 90s Series which starts tonight, this columnist has put together an A to Z of why the 90s were cool.

But Does Raiden Approve? 

organAh, that wacky John Cage:
HALBERSTADT, Germany (AFP) - A relative rush of activity broke out here this week in the world's slowest and longest lasting concert as two new notes sounded in a piece of music that is taking a total 639 years to perform in its entirety.

:: Sunday, July 11, 2004 ::

The Day Skylab Fell 

skylab time
Buy this image at Barewalls.com

Today marks the 25th anniversary of Skylab's famed reentry, though this is probably the only place you'll read about it.

When the third and final crew of Skylab departed the station, they left a time capsule--a collection of items chosen by scientists on the ground to see how they would withstand long-term spaceflight exposure. The plan was for the time capsule to be recovered in a few years, when the then-in-development Space Shuttle became operational. Perhaps the Shuttle would even be able to reboost Skylab, giving the station a new lease on life. With several important systems failing, Skylab became a ghostly derelict after the last crew left in February 1974. It was estimated at the time that Skylab could remain aloft for another nine years before drag from the tenuous wisps of atmosphere at its altitude forced it to de-orbit, plenty of time for a Shuttle rendezvous.
It was not to happen. Delay after delay pushed back the completion of the Space Shuttle, but, more importantly, greater-than-anticipated solar activity, which had been a boon to Skylab's solar research earlier, went on to bring about the station's end. The sun's heat was expanding the Earth's atmosphere more than expected, increasing its density at Skylab's altitude and thus the drag on the station. This unfortunate confluence of events sealed Skylab's fate: without intervention, it would make an uncontrolled reentry into the Earth's atmosphere and no one knew exactly where it would come down.
Weighing about 75,000 kilograms, Skylab was, at the time, the heaviest object ever put into Earth orbit. One study concluded that more than 300 pieces of the station would survive reentry, the largest being about the size of a desk and weighing as much as a small car.
When the time came for the station to reenter in early 1979, the media hype had reached a fevered pitch and people around the world were on alert. (One enterprising company called Chicken Little Associates offered a service predicting individuals’ risk of being hit.) Concern had been heightened by a recent crash of a Soviet satellite carrying nuclear materials in northern Canada, prompting NASA to issue assurances that Skylab contained no radioactive materials.
Plans were considered to attempt an unmanned reboost of the falling station, but the idea was nixed over cost issues. Eventually, NASA flight controllers were able regain enough control over the station to reduce the probability of it coming down in a populated area. This was largely successful, as much of the mass is believed to now reside on the bottom of the Indian Ocean. A considerable amount landed in southwest Australia near Perth, about a week before the Miss Universe competition was to be held there, thus providing even greater publicity to what really became a nonevent to everyone except those in SW Australia. The heaviest and most compact item, the large steel film vault, has never been found and is probably laying on the ground somewhere in the Australian outback!
On July 11, 1979, the vehicle made a fiery but largely uneventful return to Earth. People in southwest Australia were treated to sonic booms and a light show as pieces of Skylab showered down, but neither property nor human beings were hurt. There was a price to be paid, however. Australia reportedly fined NASA $400 because of the reentry—for littering!

:: Friday, July 09, 2004 ::

Eye Life 

Sean O'Keefe eye

Daily Hatbag 

Hatbag paintingContinuing the DM thread, here's today's strip.

This Ain't No Disco 

The 50 Greatest Rock Intros Of All Time.

Block Doc Ock 

Wow. Just wow.

And, on a related note, from the people that brought you the Exorcist in 30 Seconds Re-enacted By Bunnies, it's Alien In 30 Seconds (And Re-enacted By Bunnies).

New Old Trek 

RomulanOK, this strikes me as a horrible, horrible idea.
Per TrekWeb:
Berman for the first time says in the new article that the eleventh STAR TREK film will be a prequel set before the time of 'James T. Kirk', but that it will not be related to the fifth television series ENTERPRISE. ...
"But there's also a prequel feature in development regarding the Romulan Wars, ..."

I'm sure I'll go watch it, but what exactly was the thought process there? "Maybe we could make the Trek films more successful by ditching all the characters people care about." Um, yeah.
Of course, there are worse ideas for a movie.
Mulgrew said she would be open to reprising the role if a serious offer were made. "If they considered making a Voyager movie I would be very happy to talk to them about doing it. It would be wonderful if Voyager become a movie. But that's purely speculative at this point."
For her sake, though, I'm happy for Kate that she's able to remain so oblivious to how bad Voyager was.

Countdown Begins 

SpaceShipOneAccording to Cosmic Log,SpaceShipOne will fly again in September, this time aiming for the X Prize. And, just a reminder: your name can be carred on the flight if you join the X Prize Foundation (as I have) for a mere $20.


sunThis spaceref.com article gives a fascinating view of the presence mankind already has in the solar system, describing how space probes tracked a solar storm for billions of miles.

Paving The Road To Space 

SpaceShipOneSpace.com has an interesting article about what SpaceShipOne means for passenger spaceflight, and adds fuel to the rumor fire that Rutan is already making plans for a private orbital spacecraft.

Pressing Issues 

DMAll right. For those former DM'ers in the audience, I need your help. The following is from an e-mail I got this morning from my friend Robert H. Smith, who wants insight on what made The DM work while we were there. I've posted my opinions below, but they're just that--my opinions. I'd love to hear your opinions, and any advice you'd have for RHS (which I'll pass on to him).

Just writing to let you know I need to pick your brain a little. It looks like I will be the faculty minder for The Delta Statement during the coming year. It will be my job to lead the newspaper workshop and teach basic standards. What I want to know is, based on your experience of a more structured, challenging student newspaper environment at the DM than I think DSU kids are used to, what you think are the best ways to motivate college journalists to do good work. I’m pretty sure I intend to make them keep journals in which they will keep records of their newspaper work habits and decisions. I don’t care so much what the decisions are as whether the kids can explain/defend the decisions. I think I’m going to make the journals due weekly, a day or so after the paper is put to bed. That way decisions are reviewed in a timely manner. What do you think (other than that it’s frightening to think I’m being trusted with the next generation)?

:: Thursday, July 08, 2004 ::

Baker's Life And The Times 

Chris Allen BakerLain just sent me this link to all the online Chris Allen Baker resources you could want.

Daily Hatbag 

Hatbag paintingHere ya go.

He's The Bomb 

It turns out Homeland Security is afraid terrorists want to know more about writing badly.

I Aim At The Stars 

I am so submitting an application for this!

Today In History 

ConradOn this date 5 years ago, astronaut Pete Conrad died in a motorcycle crash.


SpaceShipOnePer Wired:
X Prize contender Burt Rutan says his team has solved a control problem that threw its spacecraft off course during a historic flight last month and that the next time the ship flies it will be to capture the $10 million space jackpot.
"That's a complete, entire yes," Rutan said when asked whether his Scaled Composites team had gotten to the bottom of a trim-control problem experienced during SpaceShipOne's voyage to an altitude of 100 kilometers on June 21. ...
The prize requires a privately funded craft to fly into suborbital space twice within two weeks to win the $10 million jackpot.
But Rutan said his team plans to do more. "We'll do three flights in two weeks," he said.

Mars Needs GPS 

MarsOne almost pictures Sean Connery's Jim Malone at NASA Headquarters: "He pulls out a knife, you pull out a gun. Europe puts a GPS system around Earth, you put one around Mars." Yep, NASA is researching putting a GPS network in Martian orbit, so that future human and robotic explorers on the Red Planet will be able to know exactly where they are. Also, presumably, win that Coke contest.

Batman, Chicago-Style 

BatmanWanna meet Batman? Go to Chicago!

This Week At NE 

Guess whoThis week at NASAexplores, we have Maggie's profile of Expedition 5 science officer Peggy Whitson (who'll always hold a special place in my heart as the first American in space when I started working for NASA) and a "guess the astronaut" game.

Life Support 

roverWith Spirit now at more than twice its planned life expectancy and Opportunity weeks from that mark, NASA is having to plan how to keep things going on Earth to support the rovers that are still going on Mars. Funding for the program ends in September, since nobody ever thought the rovers would keep functioning into FY05. Also, the rovers are schedule to undergo six-months-or-one-mile maintenance soon.

:: Wednesday, July 07, 2004 ::

Sidebar Update 

Finally got around to updating the sidebar.

::Updated the calendars, and added a couple of new links.

::Updated the Reading/Watching/Listening section. I've discovered that the Listening section is definitely the limiting factor on those. I could update the reading and watching sections fairly often, but I don't buy new albums all that often. In fact, a decent number of my new music purchases are individual songs from iTMS. Also, I don't generally listen to whole albums at a time, but instead have my iPod play stuff randomly.

::Changed the poll question. According to the last poll, only 10 people have read the blog in the last month or so (which the site stats don't support, but that's OK). Three people read it multiple times a day (including me), three daily, one at least once a week, one at least once a month, and two people made their first visits. FWIW.

::At Lain's request, I added a block in the sidebar telling how many people had flown into space to date. The base information comes from this site, which lists the people who had flown as of STS-107 (with the exception of the rookie astronauts on 51-L, who are not counted as having reached space). To that list, I've added the three people who have made their first flight since then: Chinese taikonaut Yang Liwei, Expedition 10 astronaut Mike Fincke, and Scaled Composites' Mike Melvill. In addition, I also added X-15 pilot Joe Walker. A number of the X-15 pilots were awarded Air Force astronaut wings, but the USAF gave those out for reaching 50 miles, not the 100 kilometers that the considers to be the edge of space. Walker, however, reached an altitude of 108 kilometers on his last X-15 flight, giving him, in my opinion, just as much right to be counted as Melvill.

Daily Hatbag 

Hatbag paintingHippie only reads People magazine. Who would have thought? (If I had more time, I would go back and slightly alter the color levels on this strip for humorous effect, but I don't).

Gooi het eruit... 

This site is far and away the leading referrer to Hatbag.net so far this month.

Às Estrelas! 

BrazilKudos to Brazil, which has rescheduled its first rocket launch for 2006 after an explosion last year killed 21 people and nearly brought an end to the nation's space program.

Paper Rock Saddam 

SaddamThis is kinda funny (but includes "immature language" [in deference to Richie {er, my comment was, not their language}]).

Alien Earth 

titanPer PlanetQuest:
When the Cassini mission's Huygens probe plunges through the atmosphere of Saturn's moon Titan, it will provide a glimpse behind the veil of what many astronomers consider the most Earthlike body in our solar system. It may also provide vital clues in NASA's search for habitable planets around other stars.
More on what Cassini is finding is here.
The next several months could yield some pretty cool stuff from the outer solar system. I've long felt that the Jovian moons are the most interesting bodies in the solar system, making Mars look downright boring, and it appears the Saturnian moons give them a run for their money. Here's hoping for some good stuff to come out of Cassini-Huygens (and looking forward to JIMO, which could be the most exciting unmanned spaceflight in our lifetimes).

Click The Mouse 

haunted mansionAlright, Mac fans--Disney has thrown down the glove: what sort of sacrifice are you willing to make to support the world's best computer platform. Would you, for example, buy a copy of Haunted Mansion? Probably not.

Who Is Driving?! 

clerksThose disappointed that the pilot for the live-action Clerks series that never saw the light of day won't be included as an extra on the Clerks X DVD can at least have the solace of reading more about the show at the link included earlier in this increasingly unwieldy sentence.

Matrix Redux 

Matrix RevolutionsThe Matrix Ultimate Collection is coming. At first, I thought the announcement of a 55-minute longer version of Matrix Reloaded sounded interesting, hoping that maybe it would better fill out a story that could have had more depth, but actually, the new cut just incorporates the video footage shot for the Enter The Matrix video game. The set that this link goes to is the Region 2 version, but I've seen that a boxed set is planned for Region 1, and it sounds like the specs will be similar if not the same.

:: Tuesday, July 06, 2004 ::

In Harm's Way 

bridgeThe first trailer for the next episode is online at the Star Trek: New Voyages site.


Cool site, if not the best interface.

Veep Review 

EdwardsEdwards has only just been announced as Kerry's running mate, and already the criticisms are making the paper, like this one:
"In the Senate four years, and that is the full extent of public life - no international experience, no military experience - you can imagine what the advertising is going to be ... When I came back from Vietnam in 1969, I don't know if John Edwards was out of diapers then. Well, I'm sure he was out of diapers."
And that's the review of Edwards by Kerry.

Daily Hatbag 

Hatbag paintingThis one actually celebrated its 10th anniversary yesterday, but I decided to go ahead and use it today since it's kinda topical.



Congratulations to Deedee and Chad Hammons, who got married Sunday, and to Jesse and Carol Holland, who wed on Saturday.

Richie Feature 

RichieAmong the search strings that brought people to Hatbag.net in the first few days of July:

  • frazz the comic strip
  • hardees gluten free
  • Atmosphere pre-built worlds
  • Comic Strips of Discrimination
  • Mary Rutan hospital birth announcements
  • black guys
  • david hitt dallas
  • pc popple visits me
  • pope joke*
  • popeye's naked chicken
  • the worlds record catfish
  • LebensROM 

    RoboCupPer Reuters:
    German soccer fans, smarting over the nation's failure at Euro 2004, had a little to cheer this week after German teams scooped two footballing titles at the world robot championships, organisers have said.
    German teams won the soccer titles for four-legged and small-sized robot teams at the "RoboCup 2004" held in Lisbon, where the Euro 2004 final was held on Sunday.

    Nikolayev Departs Earth One More 

    NikolayevCosmonaut Andrian Nikolayev died Saturday. The third cosmonaut to fly into space, Nikolayev later went on to set a spaceflight endurance record of almost 18 days in 1970.

    Strain Andromeda 

    AndromedaThe makers of the space battle game Andromeda Online are seeking beta testers. If anybody'd be interested in giving it a try, I might go in as well.

    You Can Be Blase About Some Things... 

    TitanOn its fourth day in orbit around Saturn, Cassini captured images of the surface of Titan, to which the Huygens probe will be deployed at the end of the year.

    Exploration's Home 

    MoonNASA's Exploration Systems enterprise or mission or whatever it is now has its own homepage.

    :: Friday, July 02, 2004 ::

    Daily Hatbag 

    Hatbag paintingNo 10th anniversary strip today, but this strip turns 7 tomorrow.

    In Memory 


    Hubble's Double 

    HubblePer the BBC:
    The Hubble Space Telescope may have discovered as many as 100 new planets orbiting stars in our galaxy. ...
    If confirmed it would almost double the number of planets known to be circling other stars to about 230.

    The Fake Thing 

    CokeCoke has the Army scared.

    The Next Generation 

    iMacSo maybe those rumors weren't completely off base.
    Per Apple:
    Apple has stopped taking orders for the current iMac as we begin the transition from the current iMac line to an all-new iMac line which will be announced and available in September. We planned to have our next generation iMac ready by the time the inventory of current iMacs runs out in the next few weeks, but our planning was obviously less than perfect. We apologize for any inconvenience to our customers.

    The Lizard Might Get Them 

    This is just bad.

    Lucky Cow 

    lucky cowSunday's Lucky Cow amused me.

    :: Thursday, July 01, 2004 ::

    Cat Check 

    kitty camAre Tutor's cats OK? According to the Kitty Cam, they haven't moved in over a month. That's generally not a good sign!

    Sad News 

    ScottyPer Sky News:
    The actor who played Scotty in TV's Star Trek has Alzheimer's disease.
    James Doohan, 84, also has Parkinson's disease, diabetes, lung fibrosis and suffered a bout of pneumonia.

    Daily Hatbag 

    Hatbag paintingDon't have the code installed yet to put the larger-format weekly strips in a pop-up window yet, so I've gotta link to them the old fashioned way. Sorry.

    Don't Turn Around! The Commodore's In Town! 

    CommodoreThis seems like it has to be a joke, but apparently isn't:
    Watch out, Apple, another microcomputing pioneer from the 1970s is moving into the digital music business with a portable, hard drive-based music player.
    Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Commodore is back, this time with its an
    (sic) MP3 player.

    Hey Richie 

    richieMaybe I was wrong about poetry. (Enter "Pustule" as the last name for the search).

    Today In History 

    STS-94STS-83On this date in 1997, the Space Shuttle Columbia launched on the STS-94 mission, the first mission to carry the same crew and payload as a previous mission. Due to concerns about a fuel cell, the April STS-83 mission was brought home 4 days after launch, before the goals of the Microgravity Science Laboratory-1 it carried could be accomplished. The same mission was remanifest as STS-94 and re-launched on the same orbiter almost 3 months later.

    GO: Round Two 

    OlsenPer Cosmic Log:
    New Jersey millionaire Greg Olsen hasn't given up on flying to the international space station, even though he's no longer in training after a Russian medical commission turned him down last week.
    Olsen was reportedly in Houston today, waiting for the results from new rounds of tests. If he can get the medical ruling reversed, he would return to Russia's Star City cosmonaut complex and resume training for a Soyuz flight, most likely next April.


    EVAThe first completely successful space walk since before the Columbia disaster was accomplished last night by Padalka and Fincke. The crew was able to restore power to the Station's fauly CMG system.
    Yesterday's successful EVA marks an important milestone for the Station--one in which innovation and international cooperation enabled something that was not supposed to be possible, reacting to unplanned situations with unplanned responses, taking advantage of what was at hand to do what had to be done. Kudos to all involved!

    The Joy Of SOI 

    CassiniAfter 7 years of traveling, Cassini successfully entered orbit around Saturn last night. During the orbital insertion burn, the probe passed as close to Saturn as it will ever go--12,400 miles from the cloud tops.

    This Week At NE 

    MelroyThis week at NASAexplores, we have an article about the Cassini spacecraft, and a profile of Pam Melroy, the second female Shuttle pilot (and likely soon-to-be commander).

    Futures Past 

    I while back I posted my theory that the comic strip B.C. is actually set, not in the past, but in a post-apocolyptic future. Yesterday's strip was perhaps the strongest confirmation I've seen of that yet, with the characters actually talking about the rovers being sent to Mars "back in 2004." (Unfortunately, I can't find a link to the strip.)

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