Monthly Archives: June 2011

Breathtaking view of the central peak of Tycho Crater

Another astonishing space photograph, this time from lunar orbit, taken by Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter on June 11, 2011.

The image looks down at the central peak of Tycho crater, with enough detail to make out individual boulders at the summit. Go the link to see some closeups.

Central peak of Tycho crater

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Cassini looks past one Saturn moon to another

The image below was taken on January 11, 2011 by the space probe Cassini, in orbit around Saturn. First we see the southern polar regions of the moon Rhea, 949 miles in diameter. Beyond is the moon Dione, 698 miles across, appearing to sit on the rings of Saturn.

As far as I am concerned, this image, as well as almost every other image from Cassini, proves that any hotel built in orbit around Saturn is unquestionably going to be one of the hottest tourist spots in the solar system.

Looking past Rhea to Dione and Saturn's rings

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An new Harvard study finds a political congruence between patriotism promoted on Fourth of July and the values associated with the Republican party.

An new Harvard study finds “a political congruence between patriotism promoted on Fourth of July and the values associated with the Republican party.”

I think this study says a lot more about the perceived values of the modern Democratic Party, and how many imagine them as almost being hostile to this country and its founding principles.

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Another billion in free money for homeowners who can’t pay their mortgage

The Obama administration is offering another billion in free money to homeowners who can’t pay their mortgage.

So, considering the trillions in debt that is overwhelming the budget of the federal government, I wonder where is billion dollars coming from. Do they grow it on trees? I’d really like to know, since it would be nice if I could manufacture cash out of thin air as easily whenever I thought I needed it.

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Man boards flight without a valid passport or ID

The TSA hard at work: A man successfully boarded and disembarked from a flight, without a valid passport or ID.

The flight continued on to LA, where the man got off the plane and apparently spent several days in the area. On Wednesday, he returned to LAX and tried to get on a Delta flight bound for Atlanta, again trying to use an expired boarding pass and without valid identification. But this time, Delta would not let him on, and the FBI was alerted. [emphasis mine]

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Obama’s proposal to end the tax break for corporate jet owners would reduce the deficit by less than one-tenth of 1 percent.

A dose of reality: Obama’s repeated demand at yesterday’s press conference to end the tax break for corporate jet owners would reduce the deficit by less than one-tenth of 1 percent.

I say, the Republicans should trade this measly tax increase for $1 trillion in cuts. This tax increase is stupid, and will do nothing bu harm, but if they can trade it for lots of cuts, it’s worth accepting it.

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The most distant quasar ever found

Astronomers have found the most distant quasar ever, and are baffled by its existence.

The light from the quasar started its journey toward us when the universe was only 6% of its present age, a mere 770 million years after the Big Bang, at a redshift of about 7.1 [3]. “This gives astronomers a headache,” says lead author Daniel Mortlock, from Imperial College London. “It’s difficult to understand how a black hole a billion times more massive than the Sun can have grown so early in the history of the universe. It’s like rolling a snowball down the hill and suddenly you find that it’s 20 feet across!”

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Using the law against Hamas and their flotilla allies

Using the law against Hamas and their flotilla allies.

Already, the number of flotillistas has been whittled down from 1500 to 350, and the number of boats from 15 to ten. Most of the credit should surely go to the Israeli activist law firm Shurat haDin which believes in bankrupting terrorism through a creative use of the law.

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Appeals Court in Ohio Upholds Health Law

Bad news: The Federal Appeals court in Ohio has upheld Obamacare 2-1. A warning from the dissenting judge:

“If the exercise of power is allowed and the mandate upheld, it is difficult to see what the limits on Congress’s Commerce Clause authority would be. What aspect of human activity would escape federal power?”

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AAAS campaigns to stop attacks on global warming advocates

The board of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has issued a statement demanding that all attacks on global warming advocates cease.

Though they couch their wording as if they oppose all outside interference with the scientific process (a bad idea on its own), they conveniently only complain about the efforts of skeptics to challenge the work of scientists who support human-caused global warming.

Lawmakers and activist groups also have sought detailed disclosure of records from climate researchers. The American Tradition Institute (ATI) has asked the University of Virginia to turn over thousands of e-mails and documents written by Michael E. Mann, a former U-Va. professor and a prominent climate scientist. Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a climate change skeptic, demanded many of the same documents last year in an effort to determine if Mann had somehow defrauded taxpayers in obtaining research grants. ATI also has sued NASA to disclose records detailing climate scientist James Hansen’s compliance with federal ethics and disclosure rules.

In other words, don’t question these people, only skeptics are open for attack.

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EPA approves 15% ethanol gasoline despite the risk of engine damage

We’re here to help you: The EPA has approved a warning label for its approval of 15% ethanol gasoline.

EPA says tests show E15 won’t harm 2001 and newer vehicles, which have hoses and gaskets and seals specially designed to resist corrosive ethanol. But using E15 fuel in older vehicles or in power equipment such as mowers, chainsaws and boats, can cause damage and now is literally a federal offense.

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