Monthly Archives: February 2013

China’s next manned mission is now set for this summer.

The competition heats up: China’s next manned mission is now set for this summer.

The Shenzhou 10 spacecraft will take flight sometime between June and August, the program said in a statement. It will deliver its crew to the Tiangong 1, where it will spend two weeks conducting tests of the station’s docking system and its systems for supporting life and carrying out scientific work.

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A bill in Congress would strip the Constitutional rights from any Americans being prosecuted by an American Indian tribe under Indian law.

Whose side are they on? A bill in Congress would strip the Constitutional rights from any Americans being prosecuted by an American Indian tribe under Indian law.

According to the Congressional Research Service, the language in this Senate bill, if enacted, means that “the Constitution will not apply” to Americans tried by Indian tribes for alleged acts of domestic violence. These Americans, according to the CRS, will not have recourse to the Bill of Rights.

In truth, Congress does not have the right to pass any law that voids the rights outlined in the Constitution. But this law will force citizens to go to court to fight for those rights.

More details about the law, which has already passed the Senate, here. It appears that the Republicans are once again folding like a house of cards on this battle.

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A wonderful montage of people refusing to answer questions at Border Patrol checkpoints.

A wonderful montage of people refusing to answer questions at Border Patrol checkpoints.

I’ve embedded the montage below the fold. I especially like the one near the end, where the man driving the motor home expressly tells the officer that he is not exiting his vehicle and that they are not getting inside without a warrant. The officer eventually has to back down because that is exactly right: without a warrant they have no right to search his vehicle.

The best however is the last.
» Read more

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Bob Woodward said today that a senior White House official threatened him for his critical reporting of Obama concerning sequestration.

Transparency! Bob Woodward said today that a senior White House official threatened him for his critical reporting of Obama concerning sequestration.

A more detailed report can be found here, with this quote:

The Obama aide, Woodward told Politico, “yelled at me for about a half hour” as well. “I’ve tangled with lots of these people,” Woodward said. “But suppose there’s a young reporter who’s only had a couple of years – or 10 years’ – experience and the White House is sending him an email saying, ‘You’re going to regret this.’ You know, tremble, tremble, tremble. I don’t think it’s the way to operate.”

Update: The White Office has backed down, making public an email written by that senior official to Woodward, apologizing for the above-mentioned threats.

Update #2: Meanwhile, partisan Democrat Lanny Davis has said that he too has been threatened by a senior White House official for writing columns that are critical of Obama.

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Dennis Tito, the world’s first space tourist, announced a private effort today to fly the first-ever manned flight around Mars and do it by 2018.

The competition heats up: Dennis Tito, the world’s first space tourist, today announced a private effort to fly the first-ever manned flight around Mars and do it by 2018.

The mission would send a married couple on the 501 day mission to do a fly-by of the red planet and then return to Earth.

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Hang Son Doong (Mountain River Cave) in Vietnam

An evening pause: As I have been out today doing survey work for a cave project of which I am the cartographer, I thought this video of Hang Son Doong (Mountain River Cave) would be appropriate.

Note that this cave is definitely not the largest in the world, as is often claimed. It appears to have the largest single room of any known cave, but the cave itself is relatively small at about four miles, compared for example to Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, which is the world’s longest cave at 400 miles.

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An investigation of the Sea Launch launch failure on February 2 has pinpointed the failure to faulty parts made in the Ukraine.

An investigation of the Sea Launch launch failure on February 2 has pinpointed the failure to faulty parts made in the Ukraine.

The article is interesting in that it seems to reveal some friction between Russia and Ukraine, with the investigators making it a point to blame the Ukrainian components while specifically saying that “there was nothing wrong with the Russian-made equipment.”

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Scientists are considering revising the guidelines for heart risk as determined by your cholesterol levels.

The uncertainty of science: Scientists are considering revising the guidelines for heart risk as determined by your cholesterol levels.

The ATP IV committee has pledged to hew strictly to the science and to focus on data from randomized clinical trials, says committee chairman Neil Stone, a cardiologist at Northwestern University School of Medicine in Chicago. If so, Krumholz argues, LDL [cholesterol] targets will be cast aside because they have never been explicitly tested. Clinical trials have shown repeatedly that statins reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, but lowering LDL with other medications does not work as well. The benefits of statins may reflect their other effects on the body, including fighting inflammation, another risk factor for heart disease. [emphasis mine]

In other words, the assumption that’s been pushed for more than a decade that lowering your cholesterol will lower your risk of heart attack has never been tested or proven. If this isn’t science by myth I don’t know what is.

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A new GAO report says that Obamacare will increase the federal government’s long term debt by $6.2 trillion.

Who woulda thunk it? A new GAO report says that Obamacare will increase the federal government’s long term debt by $6.2 trillion.

The worse part of this is that these government predictions of debt are always wrong, but in the wrong direction. If this is the prediction, the actual increase in debt caused by Obamacare is likely to be far higher.

Note also that this is no surprise to the Republicans who opposed this bill. It also proves just how much Obama was either incompetent or simply lying when he said this:

“I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits — either now or in the future,” Obama told a joint-session of Congress in September 2009. “I will not sign it if it adds one dime to the deficit, now or in the future, period.”

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Even as Democratic lawmakers scream for more gun control laws, the enforcement of the current laws by the Obama administration has declined by 40 percent.

Incompetence: Even as Democratic lawmakers scream for more gun control laws, the enforcement of the current laws by the Obama administration has declined by 40 percent.

The Syracuse study found the number of federal weapons prosecutions fell from about 11,000 in 2004 to about 6,000 under the Obama administration in 2011 — and ticked up to 7,770 in 2012. The GOP letter also cited data from the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS), which found in 2010, of 6 million Americans who applied to buy a gun, less than 2 percent — or 76,000 — were denied. Of those, the ATF referred 4,732 cases for prosecution. Of them, just 44 were prosecuted, and only 13 were punished for lying or buying a gun illegally.

Gee, if these idiots really care about “the children,” maybe the first thing they should do is handle the responsibilities they’ve already given themselves?

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The House yesterday voted to rename the Dryden Flight Research Center after Neil Armstrong.

Don’t they have better things to do ? The House yesterday voted to rename the Dryden Flight Research Center after Neil Armstrong.

As I noted previously, I disagree strongly with this action. To honor Armstrong properly we should name something really important after him. But it is shameless and wrong to steal the honor from Hugh Dryden in doing so. Armstrong, a modest and honorable man, would have surely protested this action himself.

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“Vulcan” and “Cerberus” win the poll to name Pluto’s two unnamed moons.

“Vulcan” and “Cerberus” win the poll to name Pluto’s two unnamed moons. Key quote:

Vulcan was a late addition to the Pluto moon name contenders, and pulled into the lead after Shatner, building on his Capt. James T. Kirk persona, plugged the name on Twitter. Vulcan, the home planet of Kirk’s alien-human hybrid first officer Spock, is not just a fictional world in the Star Trek universe. It is also the name of the god of fire in Roman mythology, and officials at SETI added the sci-fi favorite to the ballot for that reason.

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“It is big media institutions who are identifiably more liberal to left-leaning who will shut you down, stab you and kill you, fire you, if they perceive that you are not telling the story in the way that they want it told.”

Leftwing tolerance: “It is big media institutions who are identifiably more liberal to left-leaning who will shut you down, stab you and kill you, fire you, if they perceive that you are not telling the story in the way that they want it told.”

Note that this was not said by a conservative, but by a very liberal commentator with whom I generally disagree. He should know, however, as he was fired by a leftwing “big media institution” for not toeing the line.

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