Sunday, August 09, 2009

Potpourri XC

I'm back on duty after visiting with my family over the weekend. I was glad that they came. We just hung out together to celebrate my b-day, and I was able to disconnect a little bit from the usual wackiness that fills my day. Huzzah! Now that I'm back online, I've got a bunch of links and notes to share, so off we go...

Need a sign to hold if you choose to show up at a Tea Party rally or a congressional town hall? Lin recommends this. Some protesting needs to be done, because the healthcare bill the President and Congress want to push is bad for the country. Protest loudly, however, and you're a mob. Protest politely, and you're shouted down or intimidated by union guys or your character and motivations are impugned. Frustrating.

Also from Lin:

  • An editorial on some of these town hall meetings, and a video of one of the town halls that turned nasty.
  • The Onion has a creepy satire on an alternative means of dealing with the federal debt.
  • The Obama Administration hopes to reform the nationwide efforts used to deal with illegal immigrants. Any bets on a presidential pardon?
  • A Huffington Post (left-wing) look at the Beer Summit.

New from Hu: another article about the Augustine Human Space Flight Panel. This Wednesday will be the last public meeting of the Panel. We might learn what options the HSF Panel will offer, and maybe not. Their final report will be due August 31. Of course as my buddy Doc pointed out, even if Augustine, et al., issue their report at the end of this month, it'll be a few months before Obama makes any decision, and then longer than that for the effects to be felt within NASA. I'm not so sure about that last point, but we'll see.

From Father Dan:

From Gwen, a story on a Texas prisoner who was caught hiding a weapon in the rolls of his fat. Yuck.

Former Bush Administration Science Advisor John Marburger testified before the Augustine Panel on the shape of the Constellation Program. His remarks are worth reading, though I must take issue with one of his statements:

NASA decision-making grew increasingly constrained by real budget shortfalls created in part by larger than estimated return to flight costs for the Shuttle.

Marburger overlooks the fact that those "real budget shortfalls" were, in fact, the result of both the Congress and the Bush Administration not requesting the money Constellation needed to do the job it was assigned to do. Oh yeah, and Marburger was part of the Bush Administration making the NASA budget decisions! Mike Griffin paid politically for daring to speak this unpleasant truth aloud, and he no longer holds the NASA Administrator's position.

'Tis the season for the Perseid meteor shower, which is caused by the Earth passing through the tail of the Swift-Tuttle comet. Look to the skies!

The Kepler telescope has proven that it can find Earth-size planets around other stars. Now it just needs to start finding them around stars we haven't investigated before.

The last of the Futures Channel videos on Ares has been posted. It covers the outreach team that puts together videos, conference papers, collateral pieces, posters, etc., for the Ares Projects. In short, the team Your Humble Narrator works on. While I was not put on camera for this video, my buddies Jason, Camille, and Wayne do a great job of explaining what we do for a living. Huzzah!

That should do for now. 27 days until Europe.

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