Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Virtual Phobos...

Virtual Phobos...  Via APOD, of course.  Mars Explorer will do a very close flyby of Phobos on December 29, just 45 km (27 miles) above its surface.  It will be traveling so fast, relatively, that it can't take photos – but it will be able to gather some interesting science information.

The gist of Christmas lost...

The gist of Christmas lost...  The Las Vegas Review-Journal published this – good for them!
’Twas the season of Christmas, and all through the land
Were signs and symbols some folks couldn’t stand.
The evergreen conifer many decorate with glee,
But don’t you dare call it a Christmas tree.
Heaven forbid a Nativity in the town square
For fear the grievance mongers soon would be there.
Meanwhile the choirs at many a public school
Are told no religious carols — those just aren’t that cool.
Don’t say “Christmas Concert,” for that’s full of shame.
“Winter Festival” — now that’s the new name!
A California judge, trying to squelch more good will,
Orders a war memorial cross removed from a hill.
The postman leaves Christmas off his “holiday stamp” fliers.
Forget the reason for the season — they’re Christmas deniers!
This despite Jesus’ birth named a federal holiday
On which those in government get a day off with pay.
For that fact, they should shout “Merry Christmas!” with glee,
If we can say that anymore, if we can just let it be.
Jolly old Santa gives grouches no pause,
But don’t get them started on the Establishment Clause.
A passive display is not proselytizing.
State-sponsored religion? They’re fantasizing!
How did we reach this point, where it all ran amok?
Christmas got run over by the politically correct truck.
It’s easy to forget, amidst Christmas bashing,
That the faithful do great things — just smashing!
Every day in this so-called city of sin
Christians donate and volunteer, creating a win-win.
Catholic Charities, Salvation Army, Las Vegas Rescue Mission,
Where helping the needy is year-round tradition.
At countless valley churches, the downtrodden do enter,
For those touched by AIDS, there’s the Saint Therese Center.
Far too numerous to mention are so many others
Helping our struggling sisters and brothers.
So the need to kick Christmas right out of the season
Seems illogical, overzealous and lacking in reason.
’Tis the season for giving, to that we attest,
So to all grievance seekers, try giving it a rest.
Spread some charity and cheer, and let go of the spite.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

It's about time...

It's about time...  Alan Turing finally has been pardoned, over 60 years after he was convicted of homosexuality in England, and almost 60 years after he committed suicide.  Such a sad, sad story...

Aurora borealis, Christmas edition...

Aurora borealis, Christmas edition...  Twisted Sifter...

George Washington: victor in battle, freeman at heart...

George Washington: victor in battle, freeman at heart...  This article discusses an issue near and dear to my heart: the failure of modern America to elect leaders that resemble in any way the Founding Fathers.  It's conclusion:
But these are the arenas of our culture under assault today.  Rather than prospering and spreading as they should, they are under an all-out assault by the modern American Left, taking a beating from the pop culture of one coast and the bureaucratic strangulation of the other coast.  The citizens of today have a duty to the citizens of tomorrow, and to fulfill that duty, we must turn to the examples of the citizens of the past… to the Founding Fathers of this great nation, and first and foremost, to the greatest example, George Washington, universally admired as the greatest leader of his time, who won a war and went home to his farm, looking forward to being “just another average American citizen again” – in the days when being “just another average American citizen” was the greatest thing to be in all the world.
Read the whole thing...

All Apollo program images are now online!

All Apollo program images are now online!  Start here.  The photo at right was taken by the Apollo 11 crew (using the handheld 70mm Hasselblad) as they traveled from the Earth to the moon...

The TSA couldn't protect you from a 6-year-old with a water balloon...

The TSA couldn't protect you from a 6-year-old with a water balloon...  The lede from a great article, written by a guy who headed security for the airport most targeted by terrorists: Israel's Ben Gurion airport (which also happens to be the world's safest airport):
For a bunch of people in snappy uniforms patting down crotches, the TSA is remarkably unpopular. Nobody likes going through security at the airport, but you probably figured most of it had a point. All those hours spent in line with other shoeless travelers are a necessary precursor to safe flying. It's annoying, but at least it wards off terrorism.

That's all bullshit. The TSA couldn't protect you from a 6-year-old with a water balloon. What are my qualifications for saying that? My name is Rafi Sela, and I was the head of security for the world's safest airport. Here's what your country does wrong.
In a nutshell, Rafi says the TSA is doing it all wrong.  All wrong.

The TSA is all about security theater and union membership, and not a bit about security.  It hasn't stopped a single terrorist attack.  But it is absolutely fantastic at boosting union membership (with consequent union dues and contributions to Democratic political campaigns) and spending American taxpayer dollars...

Police rescue dog from frozen river...

Police rescue dog from frozen river...  I'm shocked on a nearly daily basis by stories of police shooting dogs, (over 1,000 times this year) so when I see the words “police” and “dog” in a headline, I steel myself for another horrifying story.  This time it's a much better story, though...

What a difference 32 years make...

What a difference 32 years make...  In this morning's news, the sad story of a Veteran's Administration hospital refusing to distribute Christmas cards made by kids for the hospitalized vets.  This is, of course, yet another example of trying not to offend someone – political correctness.  As many have pointed out before me, the very essence of free speech is the freedom to offend someone with what you say.  In their pathetic, pandering attempt to avoid offending persons unidentified and uncomplaining, the VA has managed to offend a vast swath of Americans – including this irreligious blogger.

Contrast that attitude with the Christmas address at right, by President Reagan in 1981.  Can you imagine That One addressing the nation in anything like that manner?  Nope, I can't either...

This belongs in my “What the hell is happening to my country?” series...

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Merry Christmas, everyone!  Debbie and I had a special “present” from one of our cats this morning.  We'd left an unopened box of chicken broth on our kitchen island (it's actually been there for a month or so).  Sometime early this morning, one of the cats decided to gnaw through the top of it, then knock it over.  Next thing you know, a quart of low-sodium chicken broth is all over the island top, the bottoms of the stuff on the island, the sides of the island, and the wine rack.  Some of it even made it to the floor!  Naturally, the cat responsible took off for some dark corner of the house – we have no idea which little hellion did it.  Nor do we know why they picked this morning, out of all the mornings when they could have done it.