Friday, April 29, 2005

Paul Shirley's Road Ramblings

Who is Paul Shirley? Evidently, he is the 12th man on the Phoenix Suns. He writes a frank and forward blog on the ins and outs of life on the NBA road - both in the game and outside of it. It is worth a quick glance, and maybe even a thorough read. I enjoyed the posts I read!

Return to Space - Delayed

Discovery's launch has been delayed two months to no earlier than July 13.

AP Photo: The space shuttle Discovery slowly moves towards the pad after exiting the Vehicle Assembly Building...
Bummer. But as an engineer, I can completely understand the need to make utterly sure nothing will go wrong. Take a couple of extra months, NASA. Then let's get flying again.

Victor Davis Hanson - On Being Disliked

VDH kicks virtual tushie. He takes the whole world to task for hating the United States...and calls it a compliment that they do hate us. VDH ends his insightful article with this doosie:
Sometimes the caliber of a nation is found not in why it is liked, but rather in why it is not...

...When Europe orders all American troops out; when Japan claims our textbooks whitewash the Japanese forced internment or Hiroshima; when China cites unfair trade with the United States; when South Korea says get the hell off our DMZ; when India complains that we are dumping outsourced jobs on them; when Egypt, Jordan, and the Palestinians refuse cash aid; when Canada complains that we are not carrying our weight in collective North American defense; when the United Nations moves to Damascus; when the Arab Street seethes that we are pushing theocrats and autocrats down its throat; when Mexico builds a fence to keep us out; when Latin America proclaims a boycott of the culturally imperialistic Major Leagues; and when the world ignores American books, films, and popular culture, then perhaps we should be worried. But something tells me none of that is going to happen in this lifetime.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Airbus A380 Huge Maiden Flight

While I personally am rooting for Boeing to win the aviation war, this Airbus honking two-story jet is one beautiful bird. It took off yesterday for its first flight, and it perfomed extremely well. If you have the bandwidth, check out the videos of this graceful yet humungous whale flying around.

Sinking Feeling

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Darfur Deaths Near 400,000

Experts estimate 500 people a day are dying

In the most comprehensive statistical analysis to date, experts have concluded that close to 400,000 people have died in Darfur since the conflict began over two years ago. The Washington-based Coalition for International Justice (CIJ) and experts from Northwestern and Toronto Universities estimate that 140,000 people have been killed by Sudanese government forces and their proxy militia and 250,000 Darfur civilians have died from either disease, starvation or exposure.

Israel expects full-scale Mideast war in 2006

JERUSALEM - Israel has reportedly expressed its belief to Washington that Iran and several of its Arab allies are preparing for a full-scale war against the Jewish state, possibly following the expected US withdrawal from Iraq in 2006.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Annie Jacobsen Gets a Visit from the Feds

Here's a reprint from LGF:

A fascinating and disturbing new installment of Annie Jacobsen’s Terror in the Skies series reveals that the Department of Homeland Security is still very interested in the possible terrorist dry run aboard Northwest flight 327; four federal agents made a special trip to LA to interview Jacobsen about the incident: Annie Jacobsen Gets a Visit from the Feds. (Hat tip: Michelle Malkin.)
So what do you say to four federal agents at your kitchen table on a bright Tuesday morning? The first thing I clarified for the agents was that, prior to my experience on flight 327, I had never heard of a “probe” or a “dry run.” For the record, I explained, I had never heard of the James Woods incident either. [In case you’re not aware, the actor James Woods flew on an American Airlines flight from Boston to Los Angeles one month prior to 9/11. Alarmed by the behavior of a group of four Middle Eastern men, Woods summoned the pilot and told him that he was “concerned the men were going to hijack the plane.” A report was filed with the FAA on Woods’ behalf but, tragically, no one followed up with Woods or the men. A few days after 9/11, several federal agents showed up in Woods’ kitchen. Woods can’t talk about what was said — he believes his testimony will be used in the trial of the supposed 20th hijacker, Zacarias Moussaoui— but, in an interview with Bill O’Reilly, Woods revealed that his flight “was a rehearsal [for 9/11] with four men.”]
Standing in my kitchen, one of the agents said, “What I can tell you is this: Mohammed Atta was one of the passengers on that flight with James Woods.” (Apparently, this information has never been made public.) With that, the agent pulled out his chair, opened his notebook and started in with his questions for me (at which point the other three agents opened up their notepads almost simultaneously).
During my meeting with the agents, what was not said was often as revealing as what was said. Naturally, the agents “were not at liberty” to tell me anything about the 13 Syrian men aboard flight 327, but they asked a lot of questions regarding my “intuition” about the situation: Intuition told me something was not right. Intuition is why I began noting the men’s actions from the get-go. And it was exactly these details in which the agents seemed most interested. One of the agents commented on the fact that I took a lot of hits in the press — that I was called a racist and a bigot simply for sticking with my gut instinct. To me, the agents’ story that Mohammed Atta had been on James Woods’ flight was a wink and a nod to the fact that it’s fine to trust your intuition. If you’re wrong, you can always stand corrected.
Read it all.

Lovely. Just Lovely II

Iran plans to knock out U.S. with 1 nuclear bomb

WASHINGTON -- Iran is not only covertly developing nuclear weapons, it is already testing ballistic missiles specifically designed to destroy America's technical infrastructure, effectively neutralizing the world's lone superpower, say U.S. intelligence sources, top scientists and western missile industry experts.

The radical Shiite regime has conducted successful tests to determine if its Shahab-3 ballistic missiles, capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, can be detonated by a remote-control device while still in high-altitude flight.

Scientists, including President Reagan's top science adviser, William R. Graham, say there is no other explanation for such tests than preparation for the deployment of electromagnetic pulse weapons – even one of which could knock out America's critical electrical and technological infrastructure, effectively sending the continental U.S. back to the 19th century with a recovery time of months or years.

Iran will have that capability – at least theoretically – as soon as it has one nuclear bomb ready to arm such a missile. North Korea, a strategic ally of Iran, already boasts such capability.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Sharon Warns of Iran Nuke Threat

Link is to a transcript of an interview with Sharon. Some quotes:
...when they state that their goal and target is to eliminate the state of Israel and the Jewish people...

...Once they will solve their technical problems, then I think the situation will deteriorate. And I would say then, it doesn't make any difference if we take another year or another few years. We are still ready to solve the problem. That is the problem. And they're making, I would say, a major effort to overcome these problems...

...Of course we take all the precautions and all the steps to defend ourselves. But it's not that Israel should give the answer to this international problem...

... Israel will not be able to return to the lines of the '49 ceasefire lines or what usually is called the '67 border....

...And we are not having any plans whatsoever to divide Jerusalem. It's a united and undivided, besides being the capital of the Jewish people for so many years, thousands of years, that is, I would say, the united and undivided capital of the state of Israel...

...There's no doubt when we see what we had for almost 40 years, when the Palestinians were led by Yasser Arafat, who was directly responsible for murder, of killings of thousands of people, mostly civilians, babies and children and old people and women and so on, that they had a strategy of terror. And then the thing that once he left us and Abu Mazen, Mahmoud Abbas had been elected, at least we have someone we could talk to....

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Lovely. Just Lovely.

Take this article for what it's worth - a conglomeration of unconfirmed and unverifyable intelligence sources. But I fear the only true verification that will happen in the future is the devastating, tragic verification of an actual mega-attack.
Recurrent intelligence reports say al Qaeda terrorist Abu Musab Zarqawi has obtained a nuclear device or is preparing a radiological explosive -- or dirty bomb -- for an attack, according to U.S. officials, who also say analysts are unable to gauge the reliability of the information's sources.
The classified reports have been distributed to U.S. intelligence agencies for several consecutive months and say Zarqawi, al Qaeda's leader in Iraq, has stored the nuclear device or dirty bomb in Afghanistan, said officials familiar with the intelligence.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Bizarre Incident on British Airways 0215

This article is written about a month old bizarre incedent on a British Airways flight. It is additionally bizarre because of the lack of media coverage as well as the official statements regarding the incident. The author, Annie Jacobsen, brought to press her own personal terrifying story of terrorists probing the security system. Read this newest one.

Trouble on the Asteroid Front?

A HUGE asteroid which is on a course to miss the Earth by a whisker in 2029 could go round its orbit again and score a direct hit a few years later.

Astronomers have calculated that the 1,000ft-wide asteroid called 2004 MN4 will pass by the Earth at a distance of between 15,000 and 25,000 miles — about a tenth of the distance between the Earth and the Moon and close enough to be seen with the naked eye.

Although they are sure that it will miss us, they are worried about the disturbance that such a close pass will give to the asteroid’s orbit. It might put 2004 MN4 on course for a collision in 2034 or a year or two later: the unpredictability of its behaviour means that the danger might not become apparent until it is too late.

As a safety precaution, some experts are calling for 2004 MN4 to be “tagged” with a transponder that would constantly radio its position.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Not-OK Corral

From the effervescent Cox and Forkum.

Friday, April 08, 2005

A Sad Day on the Roads of Canada

I haven't posted in a while, but I was forced to come out my lair to report on the following sad story from the roads of Canada.
A beer truck flipped over on a roadway overpass in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Monday, prompting local officials to comment on the tragedy.

"It is sad," Capt. Scott Logan of the Halifax Regional Fire Service told The Daily News of Halifax. "Chances are they won't recover any of the beer."

The truck, hauling 46,368 bottles of Alexander Keith's India Pale Ale, skidded to a stop against the overpass's guardrail, luckily avoiding a 50-foot plunge down to another road.

The female driver was pulled out of the cab uninjured — "more frazzled than hurt," according to Logan — letting rescuers focus on the calamitous aspects of the disaster.

"I had a tear in my eye, actually, when I was watching it," said police Constable Mark Hobeck. "It was full of beer. We were hoping a Hostess truck full of pretzels would come by, but no such luck."
It brings more than one tear to my eye. I am wearing a black ribbon and encourage you to do the same to mark this calamitous and tragic day.