Author Archives: Robert Zimmerman

Want to go to an asteroid?

A paper published today on the Los Alamos astro-ph preprint website has taken a close look at identifying the best nearby asteroids ideal for mounting a manned mission. The conclusion: our survey of such asteroids is very incomplete (only 65 known), and due to their location in Earthlike orbits they are very difficult to study.

Ultra-low delta-v NEOs are not readily found. Their closely Earth-like orbits mean that most of the time they are in the daytime sky, as seen from the Earth, and so are effectively undetectable. As they approach within <1AU of the Earth they start to lie near quadrature, and so come into the dawn or dusk sky on Earth. The strong scattered sunlight background makes optical surveys toward the dawn or dusk much less sensitive and, in practice, surveys do not look in these directions, preferring to observe where the sky is dark, within 45 degrees, and at most 60 degrees, of the anti-Sun, opposition, direction. As a consequence the lowest delta-v NEOs are undercounted by current surveys, and the factor by which they are undercounted is not yet known.

The paper proposes building a dedicated unmanned infrared mission and placing it in a Venus-like orbit where it would be better placed to see these difficult but important objects.

An excellent analysis of Obama’s Middle East speech

An excellent analysis of Obama’s Middle East speech, and why the reaction to it has been so hostile.

The crisis, then, was caused by three factors: The ignorance of the Obama Administration over the issues involved; Obama’s chronic lack of friendliness toward Israel; and his refusal to recognize the threat from revolutionary Islamism.

No restrooms at 9/11 Memorial and Museum

Our government in action: No restrooms were included in the soon-to-open 9/11 memorial at ground zero.

The nonprofit foundation running the $508 million project is expecting millions of visitors from across the globe to flock to lower Manhattan when it opens this year on the 10th anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks. But there won’t be a single toilet available on the eight-acre green plaza — a planning oversight now raising concerns in closed-door meetings.

Local authorities warn gun owners that they will be “inconvenienced” if they carry unconcealed handguns legally in Philadelphia

Local authorities warn gun owners that they will be “inconvenienced” if they carry unconcealed handguns legally in Philadelphia.

Or to put it another way, the police have decided they can harass citizens who happen to be obeying the law.

Chinese Journalists Barred From Shuttle Launch

Chinese journalists were barred from all official press areas during the Endeavour launch.

A NASA spokesperson says the agency was simply following instructions in last month’s 2011 spending bill that averted a government-wide shutdown. The legislation prohibits NASA from using any resources to host visits by a Chinese official to any NASA facility as well as for collaborations with any Chinese government entity. The Chinese journalists work for Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency, and thus are considered government employees.

The real Obama and gun control

The real Obama and gun control.

On March 30, the 30th anniversary of the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan, Jim Brady, who sustained a debilitating head wound in the attack, and his wife, Sarah, came to Capitol Hill to push for a ban on the controversial “large magazines.” Brady, for whom the law requiring background checks on handgun purchasers is named, then met with White House press secretary Jay Carney. During the meeting, President Obama dropped in and, according to Sarah Brady, brought up the issue of gun control, “to fill us in that it was very much on his agenda,” she said.

“I just want you to know that we are working on it,” Brady recalled the president telling them. “We have to go through a few processes, but under the radar.”

In the meeting, she said, Obama discussed how records get into the system and what can be done about firearms retailers. Her husband specifically brought up the proposed ban on large magazine clips, and she noted that even former vice president Dick Cheney had suggested that some restrictions on the clips might make sense.

“He just laughed,” Sarah Brady said approvingly of the president. Both she and her husband, she emphasized, had absolute confidence that the president was committed to regulation. [emphasis mine]

Hamas TV praises jihadi suicide bombers and encourages young men to seek jihad martyrdom by killing Jews

Hamas TV praises jihadi suicide bombers and encourages young men to seek jihad martyrdom by killing Jews.

Sure, let’s give them a state. What could go wrong?

And how about this: Hamas co-founder admits that any “peace accord” would merely be a prelude to war.

Saying Hamas would accept a PA state based on the “1967 borders,” Zahar made it clear a peace accord would only serve as a prelude to Israel’s destruction. [emphasis mine]

Family Facing $4 Million in Fines for Selling Bunnies

A family in Missouri faces a federal fine of over $90,000 for simply selling bunny-rabbits.

“She said, ‘Well, Mr. Dollarhite, I’ve got the report on my desk, and I’m just gonna tell you that, once I review it, it’s our intent to prosecute you to the maximum that we can’ and that ‘we will make an example out of you.” When John once again tried to determine which law he and his wife had violated, he said the USDA lady replied, “We’ll forward you everything.”

“Ma’am, what law have we broken,” John said.

“Well, you sold more than $500 worth of rabbits in one calendar year,” she replied, according to John.

Thugs.

Dear Congress: Your credit application has been turned down

Dear Congress: Your credit application has been turned down.

You may also wish to contact a consumer credit counseling agency. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling can help you locate a reputable counseling agency in your area. You may also wish to visit the NFCC’s website for helpful tips on such subjects as

•drawing up a budget
•living within your means
•saving during tough economic times
•steps to take when your finances get out of control

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