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12 killed in Iraq Qaeda chlorine attack
Today's Headlines
Headline Comments [Views]
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Page 5: Local News
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-Short Attention Span Theater-
Disney opens Fairy Tale Weddings to gay couples
The Walt Disney Co. has changed its policy to allow same-sex couples to participate in a popular Fairy Tale Wedding program it runs mainly at its two U.S. resorts and cruise line, a Disney spokesman said on Thursday.
Guess that's why they call 'em fairy tales.
Posted by: Fred || 04/06/2007 11:08 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6473 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Aren't same sex marriages illegal in California and Florida?
Posted by: Rambler || 04/06/2007 14:28 Comments || Top||

#2  Yeah, but c'mon...it's Disney!
Posted by: tu3031 || 04/06/2007 14:31 Comments || Top||

#3  OK to begin the 'Chip and Dale' jokes?
Posted by: USN, Ret. || 04/06/2007 14:41 Comments || Top||

#4  No, but it is OK to start the Fairy Tail jokes.

Al
Posted by: Frozen Al || 04/06/2007 17:27 Comments || Top||

#5  "I see nothing criminal here, do you, Gary?"
"No, Ace"
Posted by: Ace and Gary || 04/06/2007 18:12 Comments || Top||


-Signs, Portents, and the Weather-
Climate report: Poor will suffer most
No, that headline is not a joke - at least not to the AP. You can't even parody the MSM any more. There's nothing new in the report - typical gloom, doom, cherry-picked observations, yadda³ - but the headline was worth a laugh.
Posted by: xbalanke || 04/06/2007 14:37 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6483 views] Top|| File under:

#1  ...Women, Children, Minorities Hardest Hit.

It had to be said.
Posted by: tu3031 || 04/06/2007 15:27 Comments || Top||

#2  The cover of last month's Sports Illustrated was dedicated to the effects global warming will have on sports. It showed a baseball player on the field in water up to his thighs. Absolute Bugwits every one.
Posted by: Deacon Blues || 04/06/2007 15:39 Comments || Top||

#3  And just when almost everyone buys into the global warming myth....

We will get an ice age.
Posted by: DarthVader || 04/06/2007 16:23 Comments || Top||

#4  I'd like to see a globe color-coded according to level of suffering vs. geographic location.
Posted by: gorb || 04/06/2007 17:07 Comments || Top||

#5  Look as it as motivation to quit being poor. Supporting bandits, terrorists,etc leaders who want to maintain or return to the 'old ways', just accepting your place in life, blame everyone else for your problems while awaiting others to solve it for you, etc. keeps you that way.
Posted by: Procopius2k || 04/06/2007 18:12 Comments || Top||

#6  This sounds like the preamble to guilt-money subsidies flowing from the west (read U.S.) to the po folks we have wronged (read Reparations).
Posted by: WTF || 04/06/2007 23:04 Comments || Top||

#7  Global WARMING FROZE MY FLOWERS AND TREES!

Posted by: 3dc || 04/06/2007 23:14 Comments || Top||

#8  Yeah, 3Dc, these IPCC dopes never can get the timing right when it comes to releasing the next 'global warming fear factor report'.
Posted by: WTF || 04/06/2007 23:35 Comments || Top||


Africa Horn
Eritrea bans female circumcision
ASMARA/NAIROBI - Eritrea said on Thursday it has outlawed female circumcision, an often hazardous rite of passage practised by a significant majority of young Eritrean girls and women. The small Horn of Africa country had previously not had a law in place against the practice for fear that it would be driven underground.

“Female circumcision is a procedure that seriously endangers the health of women, causes them considerable pain and suffering besides threatening their lives,” a government statement said. Anyone who failed to inform authorities that circumcision had taken place could face imprisonment or pay a fine, the statement said.
This is good as far as it goes, but the practice isn't going to stop just because the gummint said so.
According to the National Union of Eritrean Women, who since the country’s independence in 1993 has led the push to outlaw the practice, almost 90 per cent of Eritrean women were circumcised in 2002, down from 95 per cent in 1995.
So they have a ways to go, don't they.
Female circumcision, also known as female genital mutilation (FGM) or cutting, is widely practised in Africa and involves varying degrees of cutting a woman’s clitoris or vagina for cultural or traditional reasons, including encouraging chastity. The health consequences vary depending on how invasive the cut, but the World Health Organization (WHO) said these could range from pain and shock to death from haemorrhaging. The practice is often performed with unclean blades and can cause infections.

The WHO said between 100 and 140 million girls and women have undergone FGM and each year some 2 million girls are at risk of cutting.
Posted by: Steve White || 04/06/2007 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6470 views] Top|| File under:

#1  You are now leaving the Stone Age. Welcome to the Bronze Age.
Posted by: Dar || 04/06/2007 13:28 Comments || Top||


Africa Subsaharan
US reveals its efforts to topple Mugabe regime
The US admitted openly for the first time yesterday that it was actively working to undermine Robert Mugabe, the president of Zimbabwe. Although officially Washington does not support regime change, a US state department report published yesterday acknowledged that it was supporting opposition politicians in the country and others critical of Mr Mugabe. The state department also admitted sponsoring events aimed at "discrediting" statements made by Mr Mugabe's government.

The report will be seized on by Mr Mugabe, who has repeatedly claimed that the US and Britain are seeking regime change.
Dumb, dumb, dumb. Do it. Don't talk about it.
The comments are contained in the state department's fifth annual Supporting Human Rights and Democracy report. It sets out in detail actions the US government is taking worldwide to promote human rights.

In an unusual piece of candour, the state department report says: "To encourage greater public debate on restoring good governance in [Zimbabwe], the United States sponsored public events that presented economic and social analyses discrediting the government's excuses for its failed policies.

"To further strengthen pro-democracy elements, the US government continued to support the efforts of the political opposition, the media and civil society to create and defend democratic space and to support persons who criticised the government."

The report says that while Zimbabwe is nominally democratic, the government of Mr Mugabe is "now authoritarian".

At a press conference to launch the document, the assistant secretary of state, Barry Lowenkren, said the US goal was not necessarily regime change but to create a level playing field for all parties. He added that where there was a country with record levels of inflation, denial of basic human rights and other abuses, the US had a duty to speak out so that people in Zimbabwe knew they had support.
Posted by: Steve White || 04/06/2007 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6472 views] Top|| File under:

#1  "Dumb, dumb, dumb. Do it. Don't talk about it." This is the State Department we are talking about right? So where is the foot shooting graphic when you need it?
Posted by: USN, Ret. || 04/06/2007 14:43 Comments || Top||

#2  Hahaha...hahahahahahaha...BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHHA...
Posted by: THE MAN! || 04/06/2007 14:45 Comments || Top||


Arabia
Yemen Names Ten New Ministers In Cabinet Reshuffle
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh appointed ten new ministers into the cabinet on Thursday, five days after he named a new prime minister in a cabinet reshuffle that yielded to pressure from international donors for reforms.

Among the key changes, Finance Minister Sayf al-Asali was moved to the industry and trade ministry. He was replaced by Nouman al-Souhaibi, who was previously the head of the tax authority, according to a presidential decree carried by the state TV. On Saturday, Saleh named his electricity minister, Ali Mujawar, as prime minister to replace Abdul-Qader Ba-Jammal, who has been criticized by donor countries for weak policies against corruption. Key posts in the cabinet however were not changed, including foreign affairs, oil and minerals, defence, interior and informtion. This is Yemen's second government shake-up in 14 months.
Posted by: Fred || 04/06/2007 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6473 views] Top|| File under:


Bangladesh
ACC to launch probe against 34 suspects
Despite having various administrative limitations, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is going to start enquiry against 34 more high profile corruption suspects including BNP Senior Joint Secretary General and former prime minister Khaleda Zia's son Tarique Rahman. The 34 are from the second government list of 50 high profile corruption suspects published in the media in the second week of March, said ACC Commissioner Habibur Rahman.

Meanwhile, the commission's activities are being hampered because of shortage of manpower. The ACC commissioner said they could not yet file cases against 11 persons from its first list of 50 corruption suspects due to the shortage of investigation officers. However, Habib told journalists yesterday that despite the crisis the commission will assign 34 investigation officers (IO) to start enquiry against the 34 corruption suspects whose names he declined to reveal. He also did not say clearly why 16 others on the list have been dropped and what criterion was followed in choosing the 34 for enquiry.

ACC sources said the commission finalised the 34 persons including Tarique Rahman. ACC Secretary Delwar Hossain on February 18 officially published the names of 50 corruption suspects and directed them to submit their wealth statements within 72 hours. Of them 35 submitted their wealth statements within the ACC-stipulated time while a few others submitted theirs obtaining High Court order. The ACC so far filed graft cases against 13 of the 35 corruption suspects as it found mismatches between their wealth statements and actual properties. The ACC commissioner said, "We could have filed more cases by this time if we had required number of investigation officers."
Posted by: Fred || 04/06/2007 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6472 views] Top|| File under:

#1  This can only be about Carolina's collapse.
Posted by: Shipman || 04/06/2007 4:48 Comments || Top||

#2  Don't worry Ship, Duke is coming back. Coach K is one tough dude. I wouldn't want to get probed by him.
Posted by: remoteman || 04/06/2007 12:11 Comments || Top||


No Bangla poll in next 18 months
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) ATM Shamsul Huda yesterday said the Election Commission (EC) will not think about holding any elections either to parliament or local government bodies in next one and a half years. "During this time, we will simultaneously prepare a voter list with photographs and national identity cards. Once the massive task is done, we will think about holding elections. But now we cannot give any timeline when the elections are likely to be held," the CEC told a press briefing.

When the electoral roll is prepared, there would be a lot of other tasks to be done. The government will have to create a congenial atmosphere for elections, he said. "So, we cannot say that parliamentary elections will be held just after 18 months. We will be ready for elections after 18 months if everything goes smoothly."

Facing a volley of questions about a tentative timeframe for holding the stalled ninth parliamentary elections, which was earlier scheduled for January 22, the CEC said it is not possible now to specify any timeline for holding the ninth parliamentary polls. He also disclosed a set of proposals for electoral reforms at the briefing. "There are now so many uncertainties before us about preparation of voter list correctly. After next six to nine months, we can give a clear picture about the planned task. And now I do not dare to speak about any timeline for elections," said Shamsul Huda, who was appointed CEC on February 4 following resignation of his controversial predecessor MA Aziz.

In reply to a question, he said, "There is no scope to expedite our plan. This is the minimum time (18 months) subject to fulfilment of several conditions. "
Posted by: Fred || 04/06/2007 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6469 views] Top|| File under:


Home Front: Politix
Gonzales prepping for potential make-or-break testimony
As part of intensive preparations for coming congressional questioning concerning the eight fired U.S. attorneys, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales next week will take part in mock question-and-answer sessions that could include outside legal advisers, Justice Department officials said Thursday.

How well Gonzales performs during the testimony may determine whether he keeps his job, political observers say.

Yada yada yada. Rest at link.

Can someone explain to me why this is getting any traction at all? Clinton fired all ninety-something in his administration. What changed? They are political appointees. "I didn't like their shoes" should be good enough. Is it that Congress was lied to or something and not that they were fired? How can the Prez do his job if he has to worry about firing these guys?
Posted by: gorb || 04/06/2007 06:14 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6467 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Outside of Democrats and the media, who gives a shit about this?
Posted by: tu3031 || 04/06/2007 10:30 Comments || Top||

#2  Outside of Democrats and the media...

There's a difference?
Posted by: Raj || 04/06/2007 13:09 Comments || Top||


Florida Lets Most Felons Regain Voting Rights
Gov. Charlie Crist persuaded Florida’s clemency board today to let most felons easily regain their voting rights after prison, saying it was time to “leave the offensive ranks” of states that uniformly deny ex-offenders such rights.

The change is a major step for Florida, which bans more people from the polls than any other state, but it is not as drastic as Mr. Crist had hoped. Two of his fellow Republicans on the clemency board rejected his original plan to grant speedy restoration to everyone except murderers and sex criminals.

Florida has as many as 950,000 disenfranchised ex-offenders, far more than any other state, of whom the vast majority are black. Other states have repealed or scaled back similar bans in recent years, but roughly five million former felons remain barred from the polls nationwide.

Until now in Florida, most felons who finished prison and probation time had to submit to a lengthy review and waiting period if they wanted their civil rights back. But under the new rules passed today, the roughly 80 percent of ex-offenders whose crimes were not violent will win automatic rights restoration as long as they have paid any restitution owed to victims and have no pending criminal charges.
Posted by: Fred || 04/06/2007 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6470 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Hail thug rule? Law and order the end of the 42nd generation? 59th level of sin?
Posted by: newc || 04/06/2007 2:34 Comments || Top||

#2  P.S. I know that alot of people in jail are also pretty decent.
Posted by: newc || 04/06/2007 2:36 Comments || Top||

#3  Florida has as many as 950,000 disenfranchised ex-offenders

Roughly 1 in 12 of the voting age population. Sure, I guess it could be as many as 16 million which is the total population.
Posted by: Shipman || 04/06/2007 4:53 Comments || Top||

#4  And they will vote for whoever is softest on crime.
Posted by: Sneaze || 04/06/2007 5:42 Comments || Top||

#5  They should NEVER get the vote back. What these fools have done is allow an overwhelmingly Democrat-favoring polity to further infect an already sick state. The criminologists believe that the average criminal commits 16 felony crimes before he ever spends the first day behind bars. I think that if you're bad enough that the justice system actually sends you to PRISON, you're too bad to ever regain your right to vote. If criminals are unhappy about losing their voting rights, they should have considered the consequences before they committed the criminal act.
Posted by: Mac || 04/06/2007 7:03 Comments || Top||

#6  I'm conflicted by this. 10 years ago I would have been in the boat against any of it, but as legislatures have up'ed the penalties on such offensives like DUI as felonies because they'd rather show that they're doing something rather than rigorously enforcing existing statutes, we starting to make less offenses into capital cases. There's a lot in the bunch that have forfeited their right, but there are others who are hammered because of posturing politicians needing recognition for reelection.
Posted by: Procopius2k || 04/06/2007 8:49 Comments || Top||

#7  How long before one of the felons goes to court and says "If I can vote, I ought to be allowed to have a gun, too..."
Posted by: M. Murcek || 04/06/2007 10:40 Comments || Top||

#8  Felons who have been released from prison have paid their dues to society. We want them to become law-abiding, correct? As they demonstrate they can do that, they should have the rewards that come with being a law-abiding citizen, including the right to vote.

I distinguish the usual versus the most serious felons -- murderers, pedophiles, etc. can be put into a special class who never regain their voting rights.

I'm willing to support this, though I'd use voting rights as a carrot -- keep your nose clean for a couple of years after release from prison, and you get to vote.
Posted by: Steve White || 04/06/2007 10:41 Comments || Top||

#9  And replace lethal injection with one of those coin-op pony rides outside the grocery store. What the heck...
Posted by: M. Murcek || 04/06/2007 10:41 Comments || Top||

#10  No, Steve, they haven't completely paid their dues to society. They may have atoned for the crime they were caught committing but simply by committing the crime they displayed egregiously bad judgment.

In addition, they cost the citizenry money and time in finding them and locking them up. They've also contributed to the climate of fear that has Americans spending TWICE AS MUCH on PRIVATE security as we spend on all American official police forces combined. Anyone with judgment poor enough to reinforce all those bad things does not deserve a voice in electing the people who will represent us. We do a good enough job of electing crooks on our own even without having the officially designated crooks able to play.
Posted by: Mac || 04/06/2007 11:15 Comments || Top||


India-Pakistan
Exercise Malabar 07-1 Begins
YOKOSUKA, Japan – More than 6,500 U.S. Navy Personnel will take part in Exercise Malabar 07-1 off the coast of Okinawa, Japan, in conjunction with an Indian Navy port visit to Yokosuka.

Exercise Malabar 07-1 is a key element of the Pacific Fleet’s exercise schedule and is designed to increase interoperability between the Indian and U.S. Navies while enhancing the cooperative security relationship between India and the United States. The at-sea training will include sea control operations, maritime interdiction maritime operations, and will exercise all major warfare areas. The participants will conduct personnel exchanges and professional discussions both at sea and ashore.

The U.S. will be represented by USS John S. McCain (DDG 56), USS Mustin (DDG 89), USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54), USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62), USS Stethem (DDG 63), USS Gary (FFG 51), USS Greenville (SSN 772), three SH-60Bs one SH-60F, and a P-3C maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft.

Indian vessels participating in Malabar 07-1 include INS Mysore (DDG), INS Rana (DDG) INS Ranjit (DDG), INS Jyoti (AO), INS Kuthar (Corvette), and various Indian naval aircraft.

During the exercise, the two nations’ ships will work together in a variety of functional skill areas, including visit boarding search and seizure (VBSS), surface exercises, formation steaming, coordinated surface fire support, air defense exercises and antisubmarine warfare training.

This is the ninth iteration of the Malabar Exercise series, which was last held in September 2006 off the coast of India.

The Arleigh Burke-Class Guided-Missile Destroyers John S McCain, Mustin, Curtis Wilbur, Fitzgerald and Stethem are multi-mission platforms capable of supporting anti-air, anti-surface, and anti-submarine warfare. The 9,600-ton warships can support carrier strike groups and amphibious forces, and can operate independently.

USS Gary is a 4,100-Ton Oliver Hazard Perry-Class frigate capable of anti-submarine warfare (ASW) to protect amphibious expeditionary forces, underway replenishment groups and merchant convoys.

USS Greenville is a 6,900-Ton Los Angeles-Class attack submarine homeported in Pearl Harbor. Attack Submarine mission areas include anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, special operations and strike warfare.

Commander, Destroyer Squadron 15 will be embarked in USS John S. McCain. Destroyer Squadron 15 and its ships are part of the forward-deployed naval forces located in Yokosuka, Japan.

Operating in the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean, the U.S. Seventh Fleet is the largest of the forward-deployed U.S. Fleets, composed of approximately 50 ships, 120 aircraft and 20,000 Sailors and Marines assigned at any given time. For more information, visit the U.S. Seventh Fleet web site at www.c7f.navy.mil.
Posted by: John Frum || 04/06/2007 17:13 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6483 views] Top|| File under:

#1  It'll be nice when Japan participates, too.
Posted by: trailing wife || 04/06/2007 22:35 Comments || Top||

#2  TW: There is a multi-national exercise called 'RIMPAC' that includes Japan, Austrailia, the US, the Phillipines and others. This is held every other year i think and used to be quite extensive, combining air, sea and land assets war gaming against some ficticious country. The ground forces invade, there are dogfights and is probably the best war game at sea there is.

Posted by: USN, ret. || 04/06/2007 22:49 Comments || Top||

#3  Thank you, USN,ret. I'm glad the Japanese have their own time to uphold the honour of their military -- especially the best war game at sea there is.
Posted by: trailing wife || 04/06/2007 23:05 Comments || Top||


BJP withdraws CDs against Muslims
India’s opposition Hindu nationalist party apologised for and withdrew a set of CDs on Thursday that allegedly denigrated the country’s Muslim minority.

The release of the CDs by the Bharatiya Janata Party two days ago triggered a political backlash against the party as it geared up for voting in the northern Uttar Pradesh state legislature elections beginning today (Friday). “We have committed a mistake. Its circulation has been stopped with immediate effect,” said Lalji Tandon, a senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader from Lucknow, the state capital.

The Indian Express newspaper reported on Thursday that the CDs questioned the integrity of Muslims and said that their loyalties were with India’s long-time rival, Pakistan, and alleged that teachers at madrassas in India preached hatred toward the majority Hindus. The discs could not be immediately tracked down.
Posted by: Fred || 04/06/2007 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6471 views] Top|| File under:

#1  the CDs questioned the integrity of Muslims

Like that is hard to do.
Posted by: Icerigger || 04/06/2007 16:44 Comments || Top||


Science & Technology
Russians accuse US of sabotaging satellite during missile tests
Russian space experts have accused the United States of disabling a satellite during experimental tests last month. According to one unnamed space official quoted by the Russian Interfax news agency, communications were lost with the Russian satellite on 9 March just as the US was carrying out missile experiments.
"Nope. Wudn't us. Have you checked with the Chinese?"
A second Russian specialist, also unnamed, gave a different rationale, arguing it was affected by ground-based tests to knock out spacecraft through wave experiments.

The Russians insist they can find no other explanation for the sudden loss of communication with the probe, named Tatiana, which was launched two years ago and had been functioning normally until the abrupt halt of transmissions. They believe it was somehow disabled by the US experiments, since it has not broken up in space.
Because Russian electronics are so high quality that they'd never go tango-uniform in space.
There was an immediate and swift denial from various US military and space agencies of any role. The US strategic command and the Pentagon both rejected accusations of some form of physical strike by an American weapon on Tatiana.
No physical strikes. But hey, if we just aim our lasers in the sky, and a satellite happens to cross their path, who can say what would happen?
Posted by: gromky || 04/06/2007 00:22 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6465 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Technically, this isn't a space post (I think).
Posted by: gromky || 04/06/2007 7:28 Comments || Top||

#2  I would love to think this was us, but much more likely is the shoddy Russian construction of the electronics.
Posted by: DarthVader || 04/06/2007 11:27 Comments || Top||

#3  "You Only Live Twice". Good movie.
Maybe Blofeld did it...
Posted by: tu3031 || 04/06/2007 11:29 Comments || Top||

#4  All your satellite are belong to us!
Posted by: Dar || 04/06/2007 15:46 Comments || Top||


1 km and 30 km Space Tethers To Be Satellite Tested
Moderator note: this post is okay, but please, we're not a Space forum. Thanks, AoS.
Tethers Unlimited will launch the MAST Experiment March 27 on a Dnepr rocket. The Multi-Application Survivable Tether (MAST) will be the secondary payload. The MAST experiment consists of three staked picosatellites. Once on orbit, the picosatellites will separate and deploy a 1,000 meter (1 KM) long Hoytether™ structure.

Three days after launch communications should be established and checks will begin of the picosatellites. Seven days after launch the picosatellites will begin to separate.

The middle picosatellites, called "Gadget", will very slowly crawl up and down the tether pictures for analysis will help determine how quickly a tether experiences damage due to impacts by micrometeoroids and orbital debris, as well as erosion by atomic oxygen and UV light.

The total cost of the MAST program is under $1 million and was partially funded by NASA's Small Business Technology Transfer contract as well as internal funding...

...So after posting the the story on tomorrow's launch of Tether Unlimited's MAST Experiment a couple of days ago, which we promoted on NASA Watch, we were subsequently contacted by Second Young Engineers' Satellite (YES2) team about their upcoming tether launch. And what an exciting project it is.

The Yes2 team is sponsored by ESA and the satellite is expected to launch in early May after its final review. They sent us a press release with the latest news including this description of the experiment:
"One of the most important aspects of this innovative mission is the deployment of a 30 km long tether to deploy the Fotino mini-satellite and re-entry capsule.

Not only will this be the longest artificial structure ever deployed in space, but it will also be the first time that a tether has been used to return a payload from space. The flight is intended to demonstrate how such a tether can be used to change a satellite's orbit without attitude control systems or rocket engines."

And the fantastic-sounding Space Elevator Project continues. Man, if they could get that thing to work, it would change everything.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 04/06/2007 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6475 views] Top|| File under:

#1  The tether projects also represent unique opportunities for scientific studies of the thermosphere and mesopause. Known as "reel-down" systems, tethers of several kilometers or more in length are used to drag sensor packages through the upper reaches of earth's atmosphere, where drag and other aerodynamic effects make typical satellite operations costly or prohibitive.

Carbon nano-tubes have begun to emerge as an alternative to monocrystalline carbon "diamond wire" that Arthur C. Clarke first proposed for space elevator construction in his book, "The Fountains of Paradise". Whatever the final structure is, a space elevator represents one of the greatest advances in aerospace technology since invention of the rocket itself.

Operating with a minuscule fraction of the energy released by a shuttle launch, these elevator systems will be able to deploy massive amounts of equipment and personnel into earth orbit. Such scales of economy are precisely what is required for economical orbital construction of renewed lunar exploration expeditions and manned planetary probes.

Low gravity industrial manufacturing facilities promise such oddities as nearly perfectly spherical ball bearings for almost fictionless mechanical devices or flawless optical lenses and other components. Another exciting prospect is the ability to use electrophoresis in the separation of specialty drugs which, in earth's gravity, are extremely difficult to isolate. Yet, in low earth orbit's microgravity, these drugs, often worth hundreds to thousands of dollars per gram, can be separated with relative ease.

Numerous other high vacuum processes and crystal growth techniques would be facilitated by being managed in such a low pressure microgravity environment. Additionally, the fabrication of specialty materials and alloys which will not form in earth's gravity may be feasible in microgravity. These new compounds have the potential for discovery of superstrength structural components, molecular thickness films (e.g., solar sails), high temperature superconductors and a host of other heretofore unconsidered applications that promise major breakthroughs and "leapfrog" technologies that were previously only dreamed of.
Posted by: Zenster || 04/06/2007 2:43 Comments || Top||

#2  Numerous other high vacuum processes and crystal growth techniques would be facilitated by being managed in such a low pressure microgravity environment. Additionally, the fabrication of specialty materials and alloys which will not form in earth's gravity may be feasible in microgravity

Why don't don't we use the albatross ISS for this? As promised 943 times?
Posted by: Shipman || 04/06/2007 4:59 Comments || Top||

#3  My only guess would be issues of power consumption and the hazards of high temperature or extreme pressure related processes compromising habitat integrity. Although these concerns are belied by the fact that crystal growth and the manufacture of "Space Beads" (i.e., polystyrene microspheres), have all been done during flights of the much more fragile Space Shuttle.

All in all, NASA's track record is so incredibly sucky that people like Burt Rutan are effectively eating their lunch. While NASA has achieved many admirable goals, they have often been on glacial timetables. As a government agency, albeit civilian, they exhibit every negative trait of top-heavy bureaucracy.

When one considers that the average American politician cannot explain how the basic components of a computer (e.g., CPU, ROM, Parallel Bus, RAM, Rigid Disk Drive, DRAM, CD-ROM or DVD Drive), function or interconnect, then it is no great surprise that few, if any, of them comprehend the huge benefits that could be realized by expanded activity in earth orbit.

Hell, these elected morons can barely bring themselves to recognize something so glaring as the threat of Islamic terrorism. Does anyone think that they will comprehend the tremendous advantages of something so, literally, remote and complex as space exploration?
Posted by: Zenster || 04/06/2007 5:23 Comments || Top||

#4  "Hell, these elected morons can barely bring themselves to recognize something so glaring as the threat of Islamic terrorism. Does anyone think that they will comprehend the tremendous advantages of something so, literally, remote and complex as space exploration?"

Right about the 40-something percent that don't get the Islamicist thing, and the bit about space exploration.

A large component of BDS is the pining for the 90's, and the PERCEPTION that there were no threats of any kind then - terror, or threat to income security. The end of the "end of history" requires a scapegoat, and that scapegoat is W. To one extent or another, a great many (perhaps a majority) people who have BDS and are opposed to the WoT "just want it to end" so they can get back in their dishonest coccoon of comfort and no anxiety.

But economies go up and down, and despite the lengths to which folks go to convince themselves otherwise, there's no such thing as perfect income security. Deal with your anxiety, you weak-willed little people, and cut back on your lifestyle and do a little saving for hard times that must surely come to us all.

And the threat from radical Islam and its sympathizers throughout the rest of Islam is real, and not going away. It's not W's fault. It's centuries old. Nancy Pelosi going to them and wearing a surrender scarf isn't going to make it go away, it's only going to make it worse. Again, deal with it.

Understanding the benefits of space exploration requires the kind of vision and mental energy and imagination distinctly lacking in the very same people who want to crawl back into the fake bland comfort of the 1990's. If a buck could be spent on some creature comfort or enforcing more income security NOW, well, then, that's a better buck than one spent on a great project that might take lifetimes.

Humanity has far to go.
Posted by: no mo uro || 04/06/2007 7:06 Comments || Top||

#5  AoS: I know that the mods cringe at "space stories", and think long and hard about military apps and especially mention in the stories themselves.

The story that was deleted was actually *more* military oriented, about the breakthrough in drone in-flight refueling and repair of satellites--it is essential for the next generation of KH satellites for the NSA; and for space based weapons platforms.

Plus, tacitly, if we can repair our own satellites in orbit with drones, we can "repair" enemy satellites in interesting, if discreet, ways.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 04/06/2007 10:12 Comments || Top||

#6  Well, Allen ain't gonna like this. People takin a frikkin elevator to the moon! That's HIS spot, and he don't need a bunch of earthly peasant head bangers comin in and messin up the place. He wouldn't even let Jackie Gleason up for a visit.
Posted by: remoteman || 04/06/2007 12:28 Comments || Top||

#7  He wouldn't even let Jackie Gleason up for a visit.

Mebbe so, but Alice almost got there several times.
Posted by: Zenster || 04/06/2007 15:19 Comments || Top||

#8  So why, if they are named "Tethers Unlimited" the tethers are are of finite length?

Posted by: USN, Ret. || 04/06/2007 15:45 Comments || Top||

#9  Fishing Off the Stern, are you?
Posted by: Redneck Jim || 04/06/2007 16:30 Comments || Top||

#10  Zenster says; "Hell, these elected morons can barely bring themselves to recognize something so glaring as the threat of Islamic terrorism. Does anyone think that they will comprehend the tremendous advantages of something so, literally, remote and complex as space "
exploration?"

Thats why they are widely known as the bought and paid for. Everything about politicians can be reduced to a single concept, Professional Pandering.

A little bird told me that robert byrd has a goal of 5000 streets and 1500 bridges named after him....does he care or understand anything besides a possible new pavement project or building contract, where public money might actually bestow his name to the largess.

what a mess.

Posted by: Dino Tholusing8210 || 04/06/2007 21:14 Comments || Top||


Southeast Asia
Playboy Indonesia 'not pornography'
The editor-in-chief of Playboy Indonesia has been found innocent of violating indecency laws in the world's most populous Muslim nation and will not face time behind bars. Erwin Arnada had faced a maximum punishment of more than two years in prison in a case closely watched by conservative Muslim groups.

Arnada, who had vowed to continue publishing the magazine whatever the court's decision, later described the verdict as victory for press freedom. But lawyers for some Islamic groups have said they will seek to bring another prosecution against the magazine.

Reading his verdict, Efran Basyuning, the presiding judge of the South Jakarta District Court, said pictures of scantily dressed women could not, under criminal laws, "be categorised as pornography." Hundreds of police armed with water canon were deployed outside the court in anticipation of any backlash from a crowd of protesters over the verdict. Prosecutors had called for Arnada to be jailed in the case seen as pitting press freedom against conservative Islamic values in the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation.

The prosecution said Arnada had upset society and damaged Indonesia's morals. But Arnada argued that Playboy Indonesia does not publish photographs of titties naked women or do anything to break Indonesia's indecency laws. "This is a great gift for Playboy Indonesia because up until today for one year my friends and I worked under pressure," Arnada said at a press conference after the verdict was announced. "Today's verdict proved press freedom is respected in this country."
Posted by: Fred || 04/06/2007 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6469 views] Top|| File under:

#1  D ***ng it, 1400 + yarns of Muslim primitivity just isn't long enough for some Muslims, just as RETURN OF BIG UNIONS > FIGHTING/DEMANDING FOR EARTH'S RIGHT TO BE MORE POLLUTED, since Science says Terra Firma is NOT as polluted as it should be or deserves to be!
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 04/06/2007 1:36 Comments || Top||

#2  Now that it's over he should go out and have a beer.
Posted by: gorb || 04/06/2007 6:23 Comments || Top||

#3  Dibs on the middle one.
Posted by: gorb || 04/06/2007 6:24 Comments || Top||

#4  pssst ...the middle one's a transvestite Taliban
Posted by: Frank G || 04/06/2007 16:55 Comments || Top||

#5  Dang. How about the left one? Her burqa has a somewhat appealing profile . . . .
Posted by: gorb || 04/06/2007 17:09 Comments || Top||


Home Front: Culture Wars
New York Times Shareholders Urged To Withhold Votes
The public shareholders are getting restless.
A major shareholder advisory firm, Institutional Shareholder Services, is urging investors to withhold their votes for four directors at The New York Times Co. as a way to push for corporate governance changes.

"Shareholders are left with few avenues through which to voice their opinion other than by withholding from Class A directors," the ISS said in its report. "While we do not advocate removal of the Class A directors, we believe that a strong message to effect change is necessary."

The Times declined to include a shareholder proposal from the Morgan Stanley fund that would have called for putting the company's dual-class share structure to a vote. That structure can only be changed by the Sulzberger family, and they have said they don't intend to do so.
Posted by: Glenmore || 04/06/2007 08:01 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6475 views] Top|| File under:

#1  "Shareholders are left with few avenues through which to voice their opinion other than by withholding from Class A directors,"

What happened to class actions suits because of clear and irrational behavior by management against their inherit fiduciary responsibilities in a corporation subject to security and exchange laws? Toss in the SEC in the suit for its unwillingness to act [to take a page from the SCOTUS ruling the other day in the EPA suit].
Posted by: Procopius2k || 04/06/2007 8:54 Comments || Top||

#2  Seems to me that public shareholders also have another option, one of the most venerated and time-tested ones: SELL.
Posted by: Verlaine || 04/06/2007 11:03 Comments || Top||

#3  Verlaine,

It's a rather old dirty practice, that people with a controlling interest will do exactly what the management at NYT is doing to force people to sell their stocks cheap. There are preferred stock which has controlling interest and common stock which is along for the ride. To protect investors and keep integrity in the system is was the responsibility of the SEC to make sure that in open, traded stocks, the management not engage in such practices, that the management has a responsibility to the shareholders to make the corporation work. The SEC has the power to suspend trading in a stock because of malfeasance. While it would hurt the stockholders caught holding, those who were manipulating the corporation would also find their holdings frozen. Those holdings used for loans and other financial leverages by the troublemakers would be basically be worth zero until the mess was sorted out. Banks get nervous about those things. That's why its a tool in war and diplomacy. Hard paying taxes on your property in the Hamptons or Manhattan when the bank is closed.
Posted by: Procopius2k || 04/06/2007 11:22 Comments || Top||

#4  Understood - all of the above. However, I'm a big believer in market solutions in these cases. Some institutional holders may want to avail themselves of remedies through the SEC or legal systems, but I'm just saying that selling the stock is the best step for most. I wouldn't put/keep my or other people's money in such an enterprise. If you want to move in, buy up a stake, and try to change things, a la some mutual or hedge funds, OK - but I think selling off the stock is an immediate and easy option that puts great pressure on the preferred holders (Pinch) and requires no regulatory rigamarole.
Posted by: Verlaine || 04/06/2007 13:59 Comments || Top||



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A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.

Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.

Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has dominated Mexico for six years.
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Two weeks of WOT
Fri 2007-04-06
  12 killed in Iraq Qaeda chlorine attack
Thu 2007-04-05
  50 more titzup in Wazoo festivities
Wed 2007-04-04
  Iran deigns to release kidnapped sailors
Tue 2007-04-03
  All British sailors confess to illegal trespassing
Mon 2007-04-02
  Democrats To Widen Conflict With Bush
Sun 2007-04-01
  Wazoo tribesmen attack Qaeda bunkers
Sat 2007-03-31
  Japan sets up missile defence shield near Tokyo
Fri 2007-03-30
  Abdur Rahman, Bangla Bhai stretchy neck
Thu 2007-03-29
  Arab League unanimously approves Saudi peace plan
Wed 2007-03-28
  US starts largest exercise since war
Tue 2007-03-27
  Hicks pleads guilty
Mon 2007-03-26
  Release Sufi Muhammad in 72 hours or Else: TNSM
Sun 2007-03-25
  UNSC approves new sanctions on Iran
Sat 2007-03-24
  Iran kidnaps Brit sailors, marines
Fri 2007-03-23
  LEBANON: 200 KG BOMB FOUND AT UNIVERSITY

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