Officials in Detroit refuse to certify election results

UPDATE: Shortly thereafter, the Republicans on this board caved, and reversed their vote, thus certifying the election in Wayne County.

They didn’t do it because the issues raised were solved, but because of personal threats and attacks by Democrats against the two Republicans.

And I am supposed to trust these results? Not a chance in hell. If nothing is done, I and millions of others will believe this election was stolen. And that will not be good for the future of America, or the world.

Original post:
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The board that supervises the election in Wayne County, Michigan, which includes the city of Detroit, has refused to certify the election results, splitting 2-2 along party lines.

The decision came after absentee ballot poll books at 70% of Detroit’s 134 absentee counting boards were found to be out of balance without explanation. The mismatches varied anywhere from one to more than four votes.

In August, canvassers found 72% of Detroit’s absentee voting precincts didn’t match the number of ballots cast. The imbalances between August and November are not an exact comparison since August’s canvassing was based on results from 503 precincts and November’s canvassing was based on 134 counting boards.

More Republican officials have to do this, demanding that the election issues be fixed or they will not accept the results.

It is fascinating in reading the article how uninterested the Democratic Party politicians in Detroit are in addressing these concerns. You would almost think they are aware the vote was fixed, and that they did it to make Joe Biden a winner in Michigan, and now don’t want anyone to take a close look and discover their criminality.

It is also interesting how clueless the Democrats appear. They seem to think that the Republican majority in the state legislature means nothing, when in fact in means everything. If they do not ease the concerns of those legislators and get enough Republicans to vote for a slate of Electors, the state will not present any Electors to the Electoral College, which means nether candidate will have enough votes to win the Presidency and the decision will fall to the House of Representatives.

Debussy plays Debussy – Clair de Lune

An evening pause: As the youtube webpage notes, “This is not an acoustic recording. This is a recording obtained by piano roll.”

Rolls for the reproducing piano were generally made from the recorded performances of famous musicians. Typically, a pianist would sit at a specially designed recording piano, and the pitch and duration of any notes played would be either marked or perforated on a blank roll, together with the duration of the sustaining and soft pedal. Reproducing pianos can also re-create the dynamics of a pianist’s performance by means of specially encoded control perforations placed towards the edges of a music roll, but this coding was never recorded automatically. Different companies had different ways of notating dynamics, some technically advanced (though not necessarily more effective), some secret, and some dependent entirely on a recording producer’s handwritten notes, but in all cases these dynamic hieroglyphics had to be skillfully converted into the specialized perforated codes needed by the different types of instrument.

Thus, we are listening now to a player piano, replaying the music as Debussy played it.

Hat tip Tom Biggar.

If election issues are not fixed, elected state Republicans must refuse to certify

The Preamble to the Constitution

The Constitution is very clear: The actual decision on who should be elected President of the United States every four years is actually made by the state legislatures.

Article II, Section 1, Paragraph 2: Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled to the Congress.

12th Amendment: The Electors shall meet in their respective states and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President. … The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed.

In other words, the state legislatures choose the Electors, and only when they are chosen can they vote for President. Furthermore, the winner must win a majority from the expected number of total Electors from all the states, which is presently 270. If not, the vote then goes to the House of Representatives in Congress, which votes not by each representative but by state, with each state’s caucus voting separately to determine the state’s vote (as per the 12th Amendment).

American tradition however for almost two centuries has been for these legislatures to let the popular vote of the state guide them on who to pick as Electors. If their citizens choose the Republican candidate, they picked Republican Electors so their states Electoral votes go to that candidate. If the citizens choose a Democrat, they did the same.

It is because of this tradition that we all assume the popular vote makes the choice. It really does not.

For two centuries, this system worked because everyone trusted the election process. While some fraud has always occurred at some level, at the federal level the counts have generally been carefully done and reliably tabulated. Even in the difficult election battle in 2000 it was clear that the effort was to get the actual count right, by both sides.

This trust is now gone. The number of errors, suspicious actions, and indications of fraud, all designed to steal votes from Donald Trump and give extra votes to Joe Biden, makes every single one of the contested elections in the battleground states of Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin unreliable. Let’s take a look a just a small sampling of recent stories from each state, detailing rampant election fraud.
» Read more

COVID-19 deaths plummeting worldwide

Chicken Little is wrong! From the journal Nature: The death rate from COVID-19 continues to plummet worldwide, for reasons that baffle some scientists.

As a result, it has taken researchers some time to determine whether the number of deaths per SARS-CoV-2 infection is really falling, particularly for older people, says epidemiologist Ali Mokdad at the University of Washington in Seattle. Mokdad and his colleagues have been monitoring global data, with a focus on the United States and Europe. A provisional analysis, he says, which includes data from the American Hospital Association, now suggests that the number of fatalities per infection might have fallen by 20%.

Intensive-care physicians say that treatment has improved, but not always in ways that are easy to pinpoint. Vijayaraghavan and others credit a shift in mindset. In the early days of the pandemic, COVID-19 was viewed as something frightening and new — and worthy of resorting to unproven interventions in a desperate act to save patients. “Unfortunately, a lot of the initial discourse was complicated by noise about how this disease was entirely different or entirely new,” says Vijayaraghavan. “This distraction caused more harm — we were all probably poised to go off track.” [emphasis mine]

The article, from this leftist-leaning science journal, is somewhat amusing in that it wrings its hands almost in despair at these encouraging numbers. It is like watching a group of people who refuse to see the elephant in the room. This quote from the article is especially revealing:

Vijayaraghavan credits the improvements in mortality at his institution to hard-earned experience, a better understanding of how to use steroids and a shift away from unproven drugs and procedures.

Marcus Schultz, an intensive-care specialist at Amsterdam University Medical Center in the Netherlands, agrees, adding that it took time to realize that standard treatments were among the most effective. “In just half a year, I think we repeated 20 years of research in acute respiratory distress,” he says. “Everything was done again, and everything came with the same result.” [emphasis mine]

The virus is not nor ever was the deadly plague that journals like this sold it as. From the very beginning, the data showed it would be variation of all other respiratory illnesses, and that to panic over it was a big mistake. The virus is now doing what some reasonable but ignored scientists correctly predicted: it is dissipating and weakening with time, as such viruses always do.

But panic we did, and as a result many more died than was necessary, even as we destroyed the livelihoods of millions and reshaped our society from one that celebrates freedom and boldness to one that demands obedience and encourages fear.

Long March 5 moves to launchpad for Chang’e-5 lunar sample return mission

The new colonial movement: China has transported its biggest rocket, the Long March 5, from its hanger to its launchpad in preparation for the scheduled November 24th launch of Chang’e-5, planned to be the first lunar sample return mission since the 1970s..

The linked article above, from the Associated Press but published at ABC news, appears to have been tweaked by China’s propaganda department. Consider for example this quote of the article’s last paragraph:

[China’s] space program has progressed cautiously, with relatively few setbacks in recent years. The Long March-5, nicknamed “Fat 5” because of its bulky shape, failed on a previous launch attempt, but China’s enormous pool of technical and engineering talent appears to have allowed it to overcome most obstacles. [emphasis mine]

My heart be still. China has an “enormous pool of talent”. How amazing! It is a interesting the AP and ABC didn’t also note China’s enormous pool of computer hackers, who hacked into the JPL database over a period of ten years and stole its U.S. designs for rovers and unmanned probes, which were then used as a template for all their own planetary missions.

Be warned. China has many allies within the U.S., many in academia and in the press. These Americans have no loyalty to this country, and in fact if asked might actually express a greater support for China.

Virgin Galactic cancels its announced November suborbital flight

Capitalism in space: Virgin Galactic announced yesterday that it has canceled its announced November suborbital flight, claiming the cause were new COVID-19 guidelines imposed by the New Mexico Department of Health.

The flight had been scheduled for the November 19-23 time period. It had been announced with the typical hype that comes from Richard Branson.

Personally, I don’t believe Branson or Virgin Galactic as to the cause of this flight cancellation. I think they either never intended to fly, or have known for some time that new technical problems would prevent its launch as scheduled. I think they hyped the launch despite this, which conveniently pumped up the stock price at a time Branson was selling stock. They now announce the cancellation, the stock drops, but Branson has already pocketed his profits.

The timing of this announcement is also most ironic, as it occurred on the same day SpaceX docked four astronauts on ISS. Branson’s company began building its suborbital spacecraft in 2004, promising that it would soon fly hundreds, even thousands of private passengers into space. Sixteen years later it has never flown one passenger, and very few manned test flights. In the interim SpaceX built its Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule, and is now launching passengers to orbit, with its first entirely private launch scheduled less than a year from now.

The comparison is quite stark. Why anyone would invest real money in this fake company at this point baffles me.

Israeli fighter pilot to fly on Axiom’s first private Dragon launch in ’21

Capitalism in space: Axiom has revealed that an Israeli fighter pilot, Eytan Stibbe, will be the second passenger on on its first private Dragon launch to ISS in the fall of 2021.

Stibbe will be the second Israeli to fly in space, following Ilan Ramon, who died when the space shuttle Columbia broke up in 2003 during its return to Earth.

The Axiom AX-1 mission is scheduled to launch in the second half of 2021, which the company unveiled in a deal with SpaceX earlier this year. Astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria, who previously worked for NASA and flew to space four times, will be the AX-1 mission commander, with Stibbe set to serve as a mission specialist.

AX-1 would be the first fully private mission to the International Space Station, with Lopez-Alegria and Stibbe flying with two other yet-to-be-named people.

The consistent rumors are that actor Tom Cruise and a movie director will be those other two passengers, but this is not confirmed.

It is important to emphasize that this space mission will be entirely private, with almost no involvement of the U.S. government other than providing coordination, the training of the astronauts, and the use of ISS. The rocket and spacecraft are SpaceX’s, purchased by the customer Axiom. Moreover, Axiom has plans to add its own private modules to ISS where future private space passengers will be housed, which will then reduce the government’s role and contribution even more.

And since this will be a private mission, it means the funds to fly it will come from its passengers, not the government. This also means that as long as there are customers, there will be no slow-down in future flights.

Arianespace’s Vega rocket fails again at launch

Early today Arianespace’s Vega rocket failed, for the second time in its last three launches, to put two satellites into orbit.

A liquid-fueled upper stage — known as the Attitude and Vernier Upper Module, or AVUM — was supposed to fire four times Monday night to place the Spanish SEOSAT-Ingenio Earth observation satellite and the Taranis research spacecraft from the French space agency CNES into slightly different orbits at an altitude of roughly 420 miles (676 kilometers) .

But something went wrong just after the first ignition of the AVUM fourth stage. “After the first nominal ignition of the last stage engine, an anomaly has occurred, which caused a trajectory deviation entailing the loss of the mission,” said Avio, the Vega rocket’s Italian prime contractor, in a statement. “Data analyses are in progress to determine the causes.”

This is bad new for Europe’s space effort. It will likely but a crimp in the development of their two next generation rockets, the Ariane 6 and the Vega-C, as the upper stage that failed involves all the contractors building those rockets, Airbus and Avio.

The failure of this particular engine also badly damages the future of the two Ukrainian contractors, Yuzhnoye and Yuzhmash, who built it. They have lost all business with Russia because of the war between those two countries, and now have this failure to darken their resume with the rest of the world.

Resilience has docked with ISS

SpaceX’s Resilience Dragon capsule successfully docked with ISS tonight.

They are in the process of checking the seal of the docking, and the opening of the hatch.

As much as I have been critical of Boeing in recent years, I truly hope they can get their management and engineering problems worked out so they can accomplish the same thing with their Starliner capsule. The competition with SpaceX will be healthy for both companies, the nation, and the future of the human race.

Justin Johnson – I’ve been everywhere

An evening pause: I normally don’t post two suggestions in a row from the same reader, but this particular collapsible (!) guitar contrasts too nicely with Friday’s theorbo. From the youtube webpage:

If the ability to break down and re-assemble wasn’t crazy enough, it actually STAYS IN TUNE when you put it back together, thanks to the air-tight construction techniques and locking tuners!

The song is by Johnny Cash.

Hat tip Jeff Poplin.

Buried mountain on Mars

Isolated buried mountain on Mars
Click for full image.

Cool image time! The photo to the right, rotated, cropped, and reduced to post here, was taken on August 8, 2020 by the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). Labeled merely as a “terrain sample,” it is an example of an image taken more for engineering than scientific reasons. No research scientist specifically requested it. Instead, the scientists operating the camera took it because they need to use MRO regularly to maintain the camera’s proper temperature. To do this they periodically take almost random images, but never without trying to pick a location that might have some scientific value.

In this case we get what appears to be an isolated sloping hill. Located at about 15 degrees north latitude, this is not a place where one would expect visible evidence of water, though the gullies on the slopes are intriguing. They almost look like the kind of hillside erosion you see in places where rain falls on desert mountainsides.

Rain can’t be the cause, but nonetheless monitoring these gullies for changes over time would be worthwhile science research. Since it appears no one is presently focused on doing it, anyone interested out there?

This mountain is actually far more isolated than this high resolution image suggests.
» Read more

The Apollo 12 crew’s excursions on the Moon, 51 years ago

In celebration of the anniversary this week of the Apollo 12 mission to the Moon in November 1969, the science team for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) have created a wonderful animation showing step-by-step where and when Pete Conrad and Alan Bean walked during their two EVAs on the lunar surface.

That video is below. It highlights strongly the need of any future short-term mission to any planetary landing to have a vehicle on board. Conrad and Bean accomplished a lot during their two four-hour walks, but nowhere near as much as they could have accomplished if they could have driven about on their EVAs. In fact, in the 1960s NASA had already recognized this, and was to put a rover on the last three Apollo lunar landings.

New study: Lockdowns & masks are useless and might even increase COVID-19 spread

A recently completed research study by Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in cooperation with the Naval Medical Research Center and published in the New England Journal of Medicine has found that strict quarantine, tightly controlled social distancing, and continuous use of masks did absolutely nothing to contain the spread of COVID-19, and might even have increased its spread.

First, the study used 1,843 Marine volunteers, individuals well trained to follow orders as well as the required procedures. Second, their quarantine took place at Marine facility under the supervision of the military. Both factors meant that the volunteers were going to follow procedures much more correctly than the general public.

Third, no one could enter the study without undergoing 14-days of quarantine beforehand, plus a test to prove they were negative of COVID-19 at the study’s start. The study itself was held in a tightly controlled quarantine campus run by the Marines.

The volunteers then had to follow this incredibly strict quarantine regiment:
» Read more

SpaceX successfully launches four astronauts to ISS

Falcon 9 launch on November 15, 2020 with four astronauts

Capitalism in space: SpaceX tonight successfully launched four astronauts to ISS on its Dragon capsule Resilience, using its Falcon 9 rocket.

They also recovered the first stage, landing it on its drone ship in the Atlantic. The routine manner in which SpaceX ran this launch is truly admirable. They make landing and reuse of the first stage so expected it is hard to believe that for fifty years rocket managers and engineers insisted it wasn’t doable.

They had one issue today, a failure of the capsule hatch to hold air pressure after closure. They calmly reopened the hatch, cleared the issue, added some lubricant, and closed the hatch, all in less than ten minutes.

Resilience will dock with ISS tomorrow evening.

The leaders in the 2020 launch race:

30 China
20 SpaceX
5 ULA
4 Europe (Arianespace)
4 Rocket Lab

The U.S. now leads China 32 to 30 in the national rankings.

WordPress goes after politically conservative website

They’re coming for you next: The politically conservative but very accurate and well documented website The Conservative Treehouse has now been told by its platform WordPress that it is being deplatformed, or to put it more bluntly, shut down, because of its conservative content.

One week after the 2020 presidential election, The Conservative Treehouse received the following notification:

…”given the incompatibility between your site’s content and our terms, you need to find a new hosting provider and must migrate the site by Wednesday, December 2nd.”

What does this mean? It means CTH is being kicked-off the WordPress website hosting platform because the content of our research and discussion does not align with the ideology of those who define what is acceptable speech and what is not.

What was our violation? After ten years of brutally honest discussion, opinion, deep research and crowdsourcing work -with undeniable citations on the events we outline- there is no cited violation of any term of service because CTH has never violated one.

The WordPress company is not explaining the reason for deplatforming because there is no justifiable reason for it. At the same time, they are bold in their position. Perhaps this is the most alarming part; and everyone should pay attention. They don’t care.

I as well as probably millions of others use WordPress as the platform for our websites. This decision strikes directly at freedom of speech, and is clearly an effort to silence conservative political analysis.

Worse is coming. I expect in the next few years to receive the same deplatforming message from WordPress, and intend to be prepared. I also would not be surprised if they transition from giving warnings, to simply shutting down sites they don’t like. Don’t be shocked if you try to come here one day and discover the site has vanished.

Everyone else should be on notice as well. The gloves are off, the intent is to silence and shut down dissent against the left and the Democratic Party, wherever possible.

Watch today’s launch of SpaceX’s Resilience manned capsule

According to a NASA report yesterday, the weather then stood at 50% for allowing a launch of four astronauts to ISS on SpaceX’s Resilience capsule tonight at 7:27 pm (Eastern).

That percentage was still reported this morning. Part of the issue is that SpaceX wants to recover the first stage, and the weather therefore not only has to be good in Florida, it has to be good in the Atlantic where the stage will come down.

NASA’s live coverage begins at 3:15 pm (Eastern). The link to that live stream is below the fold. As I write this at around noon (Eastern) it is simply NASA TV’s normal feed, which is essentially full time propaganda for NASA. After 3:15 pm it will switch to live coverage, which unfortunately will still be packed with pro-NASA propaganda, even though this launch is entirely being run by the private company SpaceX. NASA’s only part is that of a customer, with the ability to say “no” at any point. The rocket, the capsule, the launchpad, and the countdown, is operated completely by SpaceX and its employees.

I have also added the clean feed from NASA, which appears to carry little commentary or narration.

» Read more

First US Rocket Lab launch delayed until ’21

Because of issues in Rocket Lab’s flight termination system (used to destroy the rocket should it go out of control during launch), the company has announced that its first U.S. launch will be delayed until 2021.

One reason for the delay, Rocket Lab said, was that it was waiting on NASA to certify the autonomous flight termination system (AFTS) that will be used on the rocket to provide range safety. NASA controls the launch range at the Wallops Flight Facility, where LC-2 is located. “There’s a very long certification process that, quite frankly, we probably underestimated how long it would take,” Peter Beck, chief executive of Rocket Lab, said in an interview in August.

That certification process is ongoing. In a Nov. 10 talk at a Maryland Space Business Roundtable webinar, David Pierce, director of NASA Wallops, mentioned preparations for Rocket Lab’s first launch as part of an overview of the facility’s activities. “We’re really proud of our work with Rocket Lab,” he said. “We’re working really hard to support Rocket Lab with a launch in ’21.”

Asked later about the certification of the AFTS, Pierce said that engineers had kept on schedule with the development of the system into the summer despite the pandemic. “When they sent the unit out for review of the software, we found some errors,” he said. That review involved teams at NASA’s Katherine Johnson Independent Verification and Validation Facility, the Federal Aviation Administration, Vandenberg Air Force Base and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

While I have no evidence of this, I cannot help being suspicious of these various government agencies. For years numerous people in the government put fake roadblocks up to slow or stop SpaceX’s first manned launch, merely because it threatened their turfs. This autonomous termination system will make the ground crews at Vandenberg and at Cape Canaveral irrelevant, and I would not be surprised if some of these issues were drummed up to delay or block this system because of that.

I know I am being cynical, but based on history it is not unreasonable to be so.

Most recent engine test on eighth Starship prototype had issues

Capitalism in space: The most recent engine test on November 12th of SpaceX’s eighth Starship prototype had a problem that will delay its planned 50,000 foot test hop.

The Starship SN8 vehicle performed its third brief “static fire” — a test in which engines are ignited while a rocket remains tethered to the ground — at SpaceX’s South Texas facility on Thursday, near the village of Boca Chica.

Shortly after the test, which several outside organizations webcast live, material could be seen apparently dripping from SN8’s base. This looked odd, and SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk soon confirmed that something off-nominal had happened. “We lost vehicle pneumatics. Reason unknown at present. Liquid oxygen header tank pressure is rising. Hopefully triggers burst disk to relieve pressure, otherwise it’s going to pop the cork,” Musk said via Twitter on Thursday night. (Burst disks are single-use devices that, like valves, seal off different sections or systems of a vehicle. They relieve pressure when they open, as Musk noted.)

The cause of the problem is unknown at the moment, Musk said in another Thursday tweet: “Maybe melted an engine preburner or fuel hot gas manifold. Whatever it is caused pneumatics loss. We need to design out this problem.”

The decision to pin down the cause and redesign things so it won’t happen again makes perfect sense, but it also means that the hop will not occur in the next week or so, as hoped for by the company. Expect a delay. Based on the pace that SpaceX works, that delay however should not be longer than one or two months.

Arecibo’s status appears to be worsening

According to a new engineering report, the condition and status of the Arecibo Observatory’s main antenna, suspended by cables above its giant radio dish, appears very uncertain and to be worsening.

Preliminary analysis indicates the main cable, which failed on Nov. 6, should have easily handled the extra load based on design capacity. Engineers suspect it is likely that the second cable failed because it has degraded over time and has been carrying extra load since August. A final determination could not be made without retrieving and analyzing the second cable.

The engineering firms cannot verify the integrity of the other cables at this time supporting the 900-ton platform. Each of the structure’s remaining cables is now supporting more weight than before, increasing the likelihood of another cable failure, which would likely result in the collapse of the entire structure.

Other wire breaks on two of the remaining main cables have also been observed. [emphasis mine]

If the 900 ton antenna structure that the cables hold up should fall, it will do significant damage to the disk, and will also likely make the cost of repairing the radio telescope prohibitive.

Elon Musk gets contradictory COVID-19 test results

The uncertainty of science: Because SpaceX’s founder Elon Musk had had some minor cold-like symptoms, he decided to get tested for COVID-19, and discovered that after four tests, he still had no idea whether he had it or not.

The Tesla boss and fifth-richest man in the world had initially tweeted Thursday night that “Something extremely bogus is going on” regarding COVID-19 testing. “Two tests came back negative, two came back positive. Same machine, same test, same nurse.”

…Though Musk had initially tweeted that his symptoms were “nothing unusual” and those “of a typical cold,” he gave more detail Friday morning. “Mild sniffles & cough & slight fever past few days,” he told one Twitter user who asked how he was feeling. “Right now, no symptoms, although I did take NyQuil.”

First, the results tell us that the so-called surge going on in new coronavirus cases that is panicking our Democratic Party lords and masters might very well be bogus. At a minimum we should all be more skeptical of the numbers.

Second, assuming Musk does have COVID-19, his symptoms illustrate once again how relatively harmless the virus is to healthy people. In fact, no one seems to notice that of the numbers of people diagnosed with COVID-19 in the general populace, no one seems ever to die from it. Like the flu, they are sick for a week or so, and then recover.

Weather forces one day delay in launch of Resilience with four astronauts

Because of high winds and ocean weather interfering with the recovery of the first stage, NASA and SpaceX today decided to delay the launch of SpaceX’s second manned Dragon mission, the capsule Resilience carrying four astronauts, to Sunday, November 15.

NASA and SpaceX are now targeting 7:27 p.m. EST Sunday, Nov. 15, for liftoff of the agency’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission to fly astronauts from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to the International Space Station.

Teams moved the launch by one day because of onshore winds and to enable recovery of the first stage booster, which is planned to be reused to launch the Crew-2 mission next year. The booster is expected to land on the recovery ship about nine minutes after launch.

They now plan to dock with ISS at 11 am (eastern) on November 16th.

Brandon Acker – Canario

An evening pause: The music was written in the early 1600s by G.G. Kapsberger. The instrument is called a theorbo. I posted a different performance featuring this medieval instrument in 2019, in which the instrument’s origins is described. In both cases the quality of sound is hauntingly wonderful..

Hat tip Jeff Poplin.

ULA successfully launches reconnaissance satellite with Atlas 5

Capitalism in space: ULA today successfully launched a military reconnaissance satellite using its Atlas 5 rocket.

This launch was the first Atlas 5 using these particular Northrop Grumman solid rocket boosters.

Because this was a military launch, the live broadcast ended at the moment the fairings were released, exposing the satellite. Final announcement of the satellite’s successful deployment will come later, assuming all goes well.

The leaders in the 2020 launch race:

30 China
19 SpaceX
5 ULA
4 Russia
4 Europe (Arianespace)
4 Rocket Lab

The U.S. now leads China 31 to 30 in the national rankings, with two more launches scheduled for the next two day. SpaceX is first with its second manned Dragon mission tomorrow, followed by Rocket Lab’s next launch from New Zealand on November 15.

A majestic terraced butte on Mars

Majestic butte on Mars
Click for full image.

Cool image time! The photo to the right, rotated, cropped, and reduced to post here, was taken on September 8, 2020 by the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). It shows an outstanding terraced butte that would rival any of the similar buttes scattered throughout the Grand Canyon, and is reminiscent especially of Wotans Throne.

What makes this butte intriguing are its terraces, the obvious result of the repeated deposition of new layers across the surface over time, and now exposed by erosion. What caused them?

As always, location provides the clues. First, this butte is found at about 15 degrees north latitude in the vast Arabia Terra transition region between the Martian northern lowland plains and the southern cratered highlands. At that latitude, we are not looking at any recent glacial features. While there might have been ice here once, it hasn’t likely been present, either on the surface or underground, for a very long time.

This conclusion becomes important once we look at the wider photo below, taken by the high resolution camera on the European orbiter Mars Express. This image gives us the immediate context.
» Read more

Ukraine signs Artemis Accords

Ukraine has becomed the ninth nation to sign the Artemis Accords, designed to encourage private enterprise in space.

The article at the link provides little information, other than claiming that ” Ukraine has all the scientific and technical capabilities and experience that allow it to become one of NASA’s important partners in the implementation of the Artemis program.”

Russia and the Ukraine are on opposite sides of a war, with Russia attempting to steal territory, with some success. Russia has also boycotted all Ukrainian space technology, ending a half century of business dealings.

It seems that the Ukrainian government looked at this political landscape, and decided to align itself with the United States. By signing the accords, it now has the opportunity to sell its space technology to NASA, as well as participate in any American effort to get to the Moon and elsewhere. That it chose to pick an ally halfway around the world instead of its big and powerful neighbor, tells us a great deal about the Ukrainian’s opinion of Russia.

I expect there will be a NASA press release in the next day or so that will provide us additional information.

Russian spacewalk to inspect leak in Zvezda

The Russian spacewalk to inspect the outside location of the air leak in the Zvezda module on ISS has now been scheduled for November 18, 2020, and NASA will be providing a live stream.

Live coverage of the Russian spacewalk will begin at 8:30 a.m. EST on NASA Television and the agency’s website. The spacewalk is expected to begin about 9:30 a.m.

Ryzhikov, designated extravehicular crew member 1 (EV1), will wear a Russian Orlan spacesuit with red stripes, and Kud-Sverchkov will wear a spacesuit with blue stripes as extravehicular crew member 2 (EV2). This will be the 47th Russian spacewalk for assembly and maintenance of the station.

During the spacewalk, Ryzhikov and Kud-Sverchkov will first conduct leak inspections outside the hatch, as this will be the first spacewalk using the Poisk module for its purpose as an airlock. Next, they will relocate an antenna from another module, the Pirs docking compartment, to Poisk, the first in a series of tasks over the course of several spacewalks that will prepare Pirs for decommissioning, undocking, and disposal. The Earth-facing Pirs will be replaced by the new Russian Multipurpose Laboratory Module, named “Nauka,” Russian for “science,” which is being prepared for launch at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

What they find could have a significant impact on the future of the space station.

The disputed elections must recounted properly, or the states should refuse to certify the results

Signing the Constitution in 1787
The signing of the Constitution in 1787.

The amount of evidence that there was clear election fraud in the states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia, and Wisconsin continues to build.

For example, in Pennsylvania a review of absentee ballots found that 100,000 had suspicious postmarks, with 23,000 apparently postmarked one day but then marked by the election authorities as having arrived the day before, an impossibility. Tens of thousands of other absentee ballots had similar problems.

In Michigan numerous residents and poll workers have signed affidavits describing blatant violations of election law and suspicious behavior. In addition, one contractor witnessed poll workers rescanning the same votes repeatedly, essentially double counting those votes.

In Wisconsin thousands of absentee votes were submitted in a manner that required no voter identification.

In Georgia there is evidence that the software used to count the ballots is corrupted, or was corrupted, ending up switching many votes from Trump to Biden in what they innocently claim was merely a “glitch.” Worse, this “glitch” in election software has now been found to be exist in other states as well.

The list above is only a small sampling of the numerous stories in the past week of suspicious and well documented incidents of voter fraud. The problems in these states appears widespread and systemic. The election results are thus suspect.

According to the Constitution, the real arbiters of the election are the state legislatures. » Read more

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