Russians to Meet About AsteroidNow that the odds of catestrophic global disaster have dropped, I can put-off the "buy a cave in the mountains" plan...
MOSCOW — Russia’s top space researchers will hold a closed-door meeting to plan a mission to deflect 99942 Apophis, an asteroid that will fly close to Earth two decades from now, said Anatoly N. Perminov, the head of Russia’s space agency, during an interview on Russian radio on Wednesday.
Mr. Perminov said Apophis, named for the Egyptian god of destruction, is about three times the size of the Tungunsky meteorite, apparently the cause of a 1908 explosion in Siberia that knocked over an estimated 80 million trees. He said that according to his experts’ calculation, there was still time to design a spacecraft that could alter Apophis’s path before it made a dangerous swing toward Earth.
“I don’t remember exactly, but it seems to me it could hit the Earth by 2032,” he said, adding, “We’re talking about people’s lives here. It’s better to spend several million dollars and create this system, which would not allow a collision to happen, than wait for it to happen and kill hundreds of thousands of people.”
In fact, Apophis’s chances of hitting Earth have been downgraded since it was discovered in 2004, NASA said this year. Scientists originally thought the orbit of the 1,000-foot-long asteroid gave it a 2.7 percent chance of hitting Earth on its first approach in 2029, but after studying its path they said it would remain 18,300 miles above the planet’s surface.
On a second approach, in 2036, it was originally given a 1-in-45,000 chance of hitting Earth, but the odds were reduced to 1 in 250,000. The odds of impact on its third approach, in 2068, are 1 in 333,000, NASA scientists say.
Scientists have proposed various methods of averting an asteroid impact, among them a spacecraft that would land on the asteroid and, using electric motors, very gradually turn its trajectory. Another method would involve striking it with missiles or employing a satellite that used gravitational pull to change the orbit.
Mr. Perminov said the plan he envisioned would involve “no nuclear explosions; everything will be based on the laws of physics.” Once a mission has been developed, Russia will invite NASA, the China Space Agency and the European Space Agency to participate, he said.
Russell L. Schweickart, a former Apollo astronaut who is chairman of the B612 Foundation, a California group that promotes efforts to deflect asteroids, hailed much of the proposal, and said Mr. Perminov was the most influential official ever to articulate a coordinated deflection plan. But he objected to using Apophis to test new deflection methods, saying there was more risk if something went wrong.
“It takes a very small change in the Apophis orbit to cause it to impact the Earth instead of missing it,” Mr. Schweickart said. “There are a million asteroids out there. Find another one.”
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Acquire two pounds of dog meat. Try to ensure that it is from a medium-sized dog; the breed does not matter, unless you have certain preferences. Usually, the local flea market will have six or seven stands that specialize in dog meat.The funny thing is that having been in the military, I know people who've eaten dog when they were stationed in Vietnam. It was quite funny, from what I understand, to initiate the fresh-off-the-boat troops in these sorts of "humorous" ways...
Mince four 3-feet stalks of fresh lemongrass. (Alternatively, use an 8 oz. package of frozen minced lemongrass.)
Mix the minced lemongrass with three tablespoons of Vietnamese fish sauce, two teaspoons of lime juice, and a half teaspoon of lime zest. A brand I like to use is Three Crabs Brand, but all in all, fish sauce tends to taste the same.
Chop the dog meat into 1-inch pieces. Add the lemongrass marinade and stir. Leave the mixture refrigerated overnight.
Either sauté, steam, or grill the meat. My favorite way to cook this dish is to skewer the meat chunks and roast it in a rotisserie oven.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Office workers of America, enjoy your Christmas break. Because come the new year, things could get a little hairy around the office. Microsoft Word is now scheduled to be prohibited from sale beginning January 11, 2010. That's less than three weeks away. The good news: Microsoft has promised a fix, one which will be rolled out before the deadline arrives.After years of blatant cheating, ripping people off, and other anti-competitive behaviors someone is FINALLY (at least in the US) taking Microsoft to task.
If you don't understand, you might have simply missed this story, or dismissed it as something that Microsoft would ultimately use its considerable clout to have pushed under a legal rug.
But it's no joke. In August of this year, a court sided with a small Canadian company called i4i that holds a 1998 patent on the way the XML language is implemented, finding that Microsoft was in violation of that patent. The result: Microsoft was told to license the code in question from i4i or reprogram it, or else Microsoft Word would have to be removed from sale in the market. The original ruling gave Microsoft until October to get its legal affairs in order, but appeals pushed that out a bit.
Now a federal court has upheld that original ruling -- plus a fat, $290 million judgment against the company -- imposing the new January 11 D-Day on the matter. Microsoft Word and Microsoft Office will both be barred from sale as of that date -- though naturally you'll still be able to use copies of Word and Office that you already own, and Microsoft will be allowed to keep supporting those copies.
Unless Microsoft ships the promised technical workaround very quickly, things are going to get extremely dicey in the computer world, and fast. Not only will retail outlets selling shrinkwrapped copies of the software be affected, computer manufacturers (who complained loudly about this injunction when it was announced) who bundle Word and Office on the computers they sell will also be seriously impacted by the ruling.
There's always a chance things will change again as the January 11 deadline approaches, but if your company requires Word or Office to keep operations running, it might not be a bad idea to stock up on a few extra copies now.
Good thing for those Canadians we pay for them thar 'gubbermint' courts. In Libertarian paradise, Microsoft could do this unhindered.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Music video created in World of Warcraft to a song called "The Story" performed by Cranius (originally by Brandi Carlile).
I don't play WoW. At all. Have never even tried it. (Don't want to be a WoW Clone.)
But this guy Cranius... I love his voice. Too bad he doesn't have a deal. But, like many talented singers... You have to have the right voice, the right style at the right time and then, more than anything else, to get totally lucky you capture the imagination of the Star-Making Machine.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
A spokesman for Oral Roberts says the televangelist and university founder has died at age 91. Oral Roberts, 91, was American Pentecostal television evangelist and was also a Christian charismatic. His spokesman A. Larry Ross reported to CNN that Roberts died Tuesday of complications from pneumonia in Newport Beach, Calif. Roberts was hospitalized after a fall on Saturday. He had survived two heart attacks in the 1990s and a broken hip in 2006.I actually thought he was dead... So it came as a bit of a shock to find out that he just died.
As for his death, I just wish it had been decades earlier. Before he conned the millions and millions of dollars for his lavish lifestyle and monuments to himself out of poor old people that watched his show.
Monday, December 14, 2009
12 you shall set apart to the LORD all that first opens the womb. All the firstborn of your livestock that are males shall be the Lord's.To redeem to God means to transfer ownership to him. Since god is not a real person, it does not imply consecration into the priesthood, especially with animals involved. It means they were sent off to God's world by fire. Or this confirmation of ritual child sacrifice:
13But every firstborn donkey you shall redeem with a sheep; if you do not redeem it, you must break its neck. Every firstborn male among your children you shall redeem.
14When in the future your child asks you, 'What does this mean?' you shall answer, 'By strength of hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt, from the house of slavery.
15When Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, the LORD killed all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from human firstborn to the firstborn of animals. Therefore I sacrifice to the LORD every male that first opens the womb, but every firstborn of my sons I redeem. (Ex. 13:12-15)
29You shall not delay to make offerings from the fullness of your harvest and from the outflow of your presses. The firstborn of your sons you shall give to me.I tell my daughter she's lucky she's a girl. If she was a boy, she'd have to have been sacrificed in those good old "moral bible days."
30You shall do the same with your oxen and with your sheep: seven days it shall remain with its mother; on the eighth day you shall give it to me. (Ex. 22:29-30)
Friday, December 11, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Iraqi cab driver was source for Iraq WMD claim, British MP saysI wouldn't trust a cab-driver to make correct change. And yet, based on this kind of utter bullshit, there are still clowns who believe the Russians helped Saddam hide his arsenal of WMDs in Syria...
By John Byrne
Tuesday, December 8th, 2009 -- 9:43 am
A British parliamentarian claimed in a report published Tuesday that an Iraqi cab driver was the source of an infamous claim made by Prime Minister Tony Blair that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.
The member of Parliament, a member of the conservative British Tory Party, claims that he was told by a British intelligence official that the claim actually came from an Iraqi taxi driver, and that it was considered highly unreliable but was tacitly backed by Blair's government in public statements anyway.
According to the report, the taxi driver worked near Iraq's border with Jordan. The cab driver is said to have made the comments while transporting two British intelligence officers.
Falling down on the job, the CDC has a response -- pass the buck:
When the swine flu vaccine was most scarce, health officials gave thousands of doses to corporate clinics at Walt Disney World, Toyota, defense contractors, oil companies and cruise lines, according to a USA TODAY review of vaccine distribution data from three states.
USA TODAY examined how state health departments distributed H1N1 vaccine after public outcry last month over Wall Street firms such as Goldman Sachs receiving doses while doctors and hospitals encountered shortages. The data show other companies got the vaccine in October and early November. In some cases, early doses went to people not deemed most at risk by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"Now we have evidence of what my suspicions were," said U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., chair of a House health subcommittee. "I'm afraid when you have these corporate initiatives, it's not primarily needs-based."
Each state health department must decide how to provide the vaccine to people most at risk, and employers are a legitimate venue, said Anne Schuchat, the CDC's immunization director. CDC's priority groups include pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions, health care workers and people ages 6 months to 24 years. "This is much less about what you do for a living and much more about how do you get the vaccine in the path of those target populations," she said.I would agree employers are a legitimate venue. Hospitals are employers, after all. But if the CEO of Bell Helicopters drops dead, it doesn't matter, Bell Helicopters will continue forward with a new CEO.
OTOH, if half the doctors in the city are sick from a pandemic situation because you immunized a very-replaceable CEO instead of the mission-critical physician, who's going to take care of the sick? They already over-burned remaining doctors? The ones getting sick while Johnny CEO laughs in his million-dollar mansion?
The underlying issue I see though is how these states have been corrupted by the demands of big business and feel that they must kow-tow to these large firms. When I was a kid, this simply wouldn't have happened. States did not, automatically, wet themselves at implict, or explicit, threats of relocation.
So, despite the fact States should not be in the business of protecting businesses, which aren't people, that won't die if they loose people but will just continue on with new management and employees, these big, non-critical businesses got the vaccination. There is no real reason, beyond kow-towing to the rich and powerful, for many of these businesses to have gotten the doses. Yet they got them.
For example, if the CEO of Bell Helicopter dies, what happens? The answer is, for our nation: So what? Remington Arms has shown the longevity of the corporate form of doing business. They've been in business continuously since 1816 despite the fact that Eliphalet Remington, the founder, died in 1861.
DeGaulle once said: "The graveyards are full of indispensable men." And yet these States have chosen, too often, to protect those "indispensable men," most of whom are in the low-risk population, over those in the high-risk population.
As the bard said: "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark." (BTW, "state" is indispensable to the meaning of the typically misquoted phrase "Something is rotten in Denmark. Shakespeare was talking about the government of Denmark, not the physical location.) And I think it's obvious as to "what" is rotten.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
NEW Zealand continued its unbeaten tour of the northern hemisphere with a comprehensive 39-12 win over France in Marseilles on Saturday thanks to its commitment to a running rugby.I don't exactly understand the nuances of those sports. But they're fun to watch.
The All Blacks, having already seen off Wales (19-12), Italy (20-6) and England (19-6) without really hitting second gear, showed a welcome willingness to spurn the aerial ping-pong that has marked many games of late.
In return, their sure-handedness in the offload and ability to turn the slightest mistake by the French into an attacking opportunity made for some often breath-taking rugby that resulted in five tries.
The visitors overcame a nervous opening 10 minutes to score five-pointers through Sitiveni Sivivatu, Mils Muliaina, Jerome Kaino, Cory Jane and Conrad Smith, with Dan Carter booting an additional 14 points.
France, who had sprung a 20-13 win over South Africa and posted a facile 43-5 victory over Samoa in their autumn internationals, responded with three Julien Dupuy penalties and a Francois Trinh-Duc drop-goal.
Carter, who was part of Perpignan's Top 14-winning side last season, enjoyed an impressive cameo for a full 10 minutes, giving a textbook demonstration on why many consider himself the world's best rugby player, mixing solid defence with deft handling touches and chips. Carter also converted as tempers frayed between a well-beaten home side and an All Blacks team that now play the Barbarians in London next week.
They are, for me, more fun to watch than soccer, something I followed for decades (Manchester United). I think, perhaps, because they require much more team work. Soccer is too much like baseball, which is more of a series of individual tests than true team-work like you get in football, rugby, etc.
As for Manchester United, I know they've been a powerhouse over the past decades. But I'm not a band-waggoner, they were not the powerhouse when I watched them, they were average most of the time, but that's it. Now, of course, they're just coming off just over a decade of dominance (1993 - 2004) so if I started watching soccer again I'd feel like a band-wagon-hopping poser, just like so many Cowboy or Patriots fans. But when I watched them in the '70's and '80's, they were, for the most part, just plain average.