Wednesday, June 29, 2005
DEEP IMPACT MISSION UPDATE
It Takes a Cosmic Village to View a Comet
Like people gazing skyward to watch Independence Day fireworks, an international array of telescopes will train expert eyes on a dramatic encounter between NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft and a passing comet. The explosive event will happen 133.6 million kilometers (83 million miles) from Earth in the early hours of July 4 Eastern Daylight Time (late July 3 Pacific Daylight Time). Telescopes on the ground and others orbiting in space will document the mission's crucial moments using different wavelengths of light.
Artist's concept showing Deep Impact just before impact with comet Tempel 1.
Image credit: Maas Digital.
Comets are dirty balls of ice that hold clues to our own solar system's formation and evolution. Deep Impact is the first space mission to attempt to break the surface of a comet and reveal the secrets inside. The mission will send a 360-kilogram (816-pound) impactor into the path of comet Tempel 1. After releasing the impactor, the main spacecraft, called the flyby craft, will move safely aside and collect information. During this phase, every moment counts. The flyby spacecraft will have just over 13 minutes to gather its precious data.
"The flyby craft is constrained to an 800-second interval from the time of impact to the time it will no longer be able to observe the impact site," said Dr. Karen Meech of the University of Hawaii, Honolulu, co-investigator of the Deep Impact Earth-based campaign. "So ground and Earth-orbital observations will be key to realizing the full scientific potential of the mission."
While only part of the world will have a view of the comet through telescopes at the time of impact, astronomers all over the globe will be able to see the resulting effects over the next several hours, days, and possibly weeks. Some of the observations from professional observers will be posted on the Deep Impact mission site at http://www.deepimpact.umd.edu/stsp, and amateur observers are also asked to submit observations at http://www.deepimpact.umd.edu/amateur.
"The level of cooperation among planetary colleagues as well as from colleagues outside the field is unprecedented," said Meech. "The experiment has not only engaged people's curiosity, but also a desire to help the Deep Impact mission make the most of its one-shot opportunity."
This fourth of July, a cosmic village of telescopes will make history as they watch the spectacular feat, while the rest of the world waits eagerly for information and pictures.
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
So far everything appears to be moving along swimmingly for the folks at Deep Impact Mission Control. The satellite itself got took a neat little video of comet Tempel 1 giving off a little comet-haze "sneeze"- you can view the movie here. My hat is once again tipped in the direction of all of the folks at NASA, Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corporation, JPL and the University of Maryland who are behind this project, and I applaud their efforts at succeeding thus far with the mission. The level of sophistication needed to be pull off this project is staggering, and my fingers are crossed that their efforts have not been in vain.
It will be a Fourth Of July that we will not soon forget.
and um, *cough*, you know, um, just in case, let's maybe you know, see if we can maybe, try and drum up some support to get things rolling with the B612 Project.
I'm Just sayin'.....
Monday, June 27, 2005
I've been dying to take another trip down to the Ft. Walton/Destin area of the Gulf Coast recently, mainly because of the bathwater-warm ocean and the velvet-like sand at the beaches down there. It's also a straight 8-hour drive from Nashville, which is not too bad.
However, in a sure sign that we officially are back to the pre-9/11 attitude of being scared of non-existent threats: SHARK ATTACKS are back in the news. And unfortunately for me, the SHARK ATTACK news has centered around two attacks within the Florida Panhandle area. Both have been confirmed as attacks by the pit-bull of the shark world- the BULL SHARK.
The Bull Shark has a short snout that is wider than it is long, with an off-white belly. The bull shark's top surface is gray, and its eyes are small. The first dorsal fin is much longer and more pointed than the second dorsal fin. Female bull sharks are usually larger than the males and can grow up to 11 feet. More shark attacks are attributed to this shark than all other sharks -- considered the most dangerous shark. They will eat anything from fish and turtles to people and are responsible for many deaths in the Ganges river in India and very well known for most attacks in Lake Nicaragua. These sharks have also been found hundreds of miles inland in the Amazon river. Great for sportfishing and excellent fighters when hooked.
Considering the fact the my recent drunken Florida vacation resulted in another close call with mother nature, I think I will have to re-evaluate my choice of vacation destinations.
Yes, yes, I know, the odds are very slim of getting attacked while swimming by a shark. In fact I am more likely to get killed in a car accident on the way down. I know all of this. But you didn't get chased by an alligator last time your were in Florida.
Ah, screw it. Jaws be damned, I want to go back to Destin!!! Bring it you devils of the ocean!!! You'll never get me alive!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!
Update: Just to give you an idea of how close and brave these bullsharks have become, here are three pics to check out and see how close they really get to shore....
Shore Shark-Pic 1
Shore Shark-Pic 2
Shore Shark-Pic 3
Friday, June 24, 2005
GALLAGHER: 'LIVE 8 WILL NEVER WORK'
NOEL GALLAGHER is convinced LIVE 8 will never achieve its lofty aim of persuading politicians from the world's richest countries to eliminate debt owed by poorer nations.
The outspoken OASIS guitarist believes rock stars simply don't have the influence needed to affect the G8 decision makers - and believes all their hard work will be in vain.
He says, "Correct me if I'm wrong, but are they hoping that one of these guys from the G8 is on a quick 15 minute break at Gleneagles (in Scotland) and sees ANNIE LENNOX singing SWEET DREAMS and thinks, 'F**k me, she might have a point there, you know?'
Look, I'm all for musicians raising money for important causes, hell I organized and played in one for the American Diabetes and Cancer Societies last year. But nothing grates me more than when musicians and other celebrities get this holier-than-thou attitude going and think that the world is in dire need of their input in order to save us all.
In the case of the G-8 meetings, my personal views can be summed up in the following cartoon from the geniuses over at Cox and Forkum-
I'm all for erasing the debt, but without political reform, it's pointless. Debt or no debt, until governments like those in the Sudan or Mugabes in Zimbabwe are held accountable, nothing is going to change. These countries need free markets and free people, not handouts.
This also gives me a chance to lead in to another great work from one of my favorite writers, and his friends over at National Lampoon the great Jay Pinkerton- "Bono's Third World Products, inc."
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
I didn't think that they had sunk quite this low. Apparently Sheffield can't get a date these days and has been reduced to groping Jeter after home runs. Such a shame, that.
Really. Tis' a tragedy. I guess that's what happens when you can't live down being on the team who had the WORST CHOKE IN POST SEASON HISTORY.
Should we, um I dunno, send him a card or something? Because this is just embarrassing.
"Please Derek? Let me hold you like you held me after Game Seven last year....It's been so long since I've felt this way..."
If TC comes by, he will be most displeased with this post. But hey, after the NBA Finals ends on thursday (GO PISTONS!!), I won't have much sportswise to speak of for a while minus the Spankees and my beloved 2004 WORLD SERIES CHAMPION BOSTON RED SOX.
Monday, June 20, 2005
I've never done a movie review before on this blog, but after seeing Batman Begins this weekend, I feel somewhat obligated. Because this is the best movie I have seen in 15 years, ranking right next to Spirited Away and City of God in my top ten all time.
As many of you may know, the history of Batman on the silver screen is one that had descended in to such depths of ridiculousness that not even Michelle Pfeiffer in a catsuit could save it. Yes, Joel Schumacher, I'm looking at you.
After watching Batman Begins you will forget that anyone ever made a Batman movie within the first ten minutes. You'll sit in awe in the beginning as the plot is laid out with such precision and cohesiveness that you will wonder if the previous Batman directors actually ever read the various Batman comic books at all. The director of Batman Begins-Christopher Nolan- is well known for the chronologically-backwards movie Memento, and he does an incredible job of using just the right amount of foreshadowing and flashbacks during the main storyline that one is never at a loss to understand where the story is, or why anything is taking place. This movie contained absolutely zero holes at any time. It doesn't treat the audience with condescension either, as it allows you to settle in to the character of Bruce Wayne- the orphaned billionaire vigilante wannabe in the beginning, to his transformation into the embodiment of pure unadulterated justice throughout the film without ever beating you over the head about it. Batman is a story of one mans fear of himself, and his guilt from believing he caused his parents deaths. It doesn't need to be more than this, and Nolan allows the story to unfold evenly without pretentiousness.
The dialog was well done in the sense that this movie did not need Shakespearean sonnets to get the points across. It used just the right amount of comic relief (provided the best by both Michael Caine as Alfred and Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox) to keep things from getting overly dramatic, yet never strayed from the dark nature of the story.
Christian Bale in the lead role as Bruce Wayne was phenomenal. He was able to convey the internal struggle in Waynes mind in such a way that you get the feeling that he is about one inch away from snapping off the hinges at the various villains in the film the entire time. When he interrogates a crooked cop who has the information he needs by dangling said cop from fifteen stories off the ground by his ankle and screaming at him for the information, you get the full taste of Bales range. This is one particular aspect of the previous Batman movies that never measured up. Batman is a hero dangerously fueled by his anger towards criminality, and Nolan lets Bale just ooze with rage when he is in the midst of battle, yet just keeps him from turning over to the point where he no better than the criminals he fights against.
The cinematography was amazing as well- from the glaciers of a Nepalese frozen landscape to the urban cold and rainy darkness of Gotham, you are treated to great panoramic views to set up different scenes. The bat-gadgets are used sparingly, and at no point do you feel the urge to suspend disbelief while special effects are used. I have read people criticizing the fight scenes as too hurried and blurry, but one of the most important aspects of Batman is his usage of stealth and darkness to instill fear in his enemies. Watching a Jackie Chan style kungfu fight would not convey the same sense of fear that develops in his enemies throughout the film. By the end of the movie as Batmans reputation for annihilating his enemies spreads amongst the criminal underworld, you can see the fear in the faces of those criminals when Batman lets his presence known.
I applaud Nolan, Bale, and the rest of the cast and crew for making such a tremendous homage to the story of the Dark Knight. May there be many more.
Bruce Wayne: They told me there was nothing out there, nothing to fear. But the night my parents were murdered I caught a glimpse of something. I've looked for it ever since. I went around the world, searched in all the shadows. And there is something out there in the darkness, something terrifying, something that will not stop until it gets revenge.
Bruce Wayne: Me.
Friday, June 17, 2005
Ho-boy Ralph. I think it's time for you to gracefully exit stage left of the public spotlight and retire to some nice Vermont town in the hills where everyone has five point harness seatbelts in their electric cars and universal healthcare.
Because crap like this will not get any more votes from the disenfranchised-
Nader's Very Unpleasant N-gagement The Lowdown by Lloyd Grove
If Ralph Nader doesn't stop dropping the N-bomb, Al Sharpton is going to wash out his mouth with soap.
"Nader is not a racist by any stretch of the imagination," Sharpton told me yesterday. "He has a good track record. But he ought to be sensitive that he does not sanitize that word."
Speaking Wednesday night at a Washington fund-raiser to retire the debt from his 2004 presidential campaign, Nader complained that Democratic Party powerbrokers had kept him off the ballot in such Southern states as Georgia and Virginia - which reminded him of the oppressive Jim Crow laws that denied African-Americans equal rights.
"I felt like a [n-word]," remarked the 70-year-old white multimillionaire graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School.
Washington gadfly Evan Gahr reported Nader's comments on his chimpstein.com Web site.
"If Ed Koch had said what Ralph Nader said, we'd be marching," Sharpton noted. "This [scolding] doesn't rise to the level of a march. It rises to the level of a wrist slap."
Yesterday, Nader told me he was using the word in the same spirit as the Black Panthers of the 1960s - "as a word of defiance."
But Sharpton retorted: "He's not a Black Panther."
Can you even imagine the outrage if this wasn't a flaming liberal moonbat? I don't think I can. Nice Job Ralph. You have officially sunk your own battleship.
When Al Sharpton needs to give you pointers on acceptable discourse, you have issues. MAJOR issues.
Thursday, June 16, 2005
This image is a compilation of 4 images that were taken on June 13, 2005, through the clear filter of the Medium Resolution Imager (MRI) camera. The spacecraft is 18,675,137.9 km (11,604,190 miles) away from comet Tempel 1, and the Sun is located to the right of the image.
Image credit: NASA/JPL
Impact will occur between 05:49 and 5:55 UT July 4th or 5:52 +/- 3 minutes. You can chart the progress in multiple ways, but unfortunately we in North America will not be able to view the impact from our position on earth. I just spent some time at NASA's space simulator, where you can pick a target and date of various celestial bodies and spacecraft and it will give you a simulated picture. Want to know what Mars looks like from Saturn today? Looks like this..
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
Thanks to the US Military and the other Coalition Forces, Iraq Has More Internet Freedom Than China........
Case in point:
because Saddam Hussein is no longer the leader of Iraq-
Iraq Has More Internet Freedom Than China.
|Microsoft Censors Blog Tool to Appease China's Censors|
| By Daniel Schearf |
14 June 2005
The world's largest software company, Microsoft, is not allowing the Chinese version of its new Web portal to use words deemed politically sensitive by China's Communist Party. The media freedom organization Reporters Without Borders has condemned Microsoft for bowing to Beijing's censors.
Microsoft's new Web portal, MSN Spaces, is supposed to give people an online outlet for expressing themselves. But the Chinese version blocks words and subjects that Beijing considers subversive.
If a user tries to post a message that includes words such as "democracy," "freedom," or "human rights," an automatic message pops up warning the person not to use prohibited language.
by the Editor
Our Friends of Democracy team – sponsored by Spirit of America – arranged another series of workshops in different Iraqi cities to educate women’s groups and individual women activists about the use of the Internet as a tool for sharing ideas and expertise. We encouraged women to start their own web logs and to take advantage of the Arabic blogging tool - which we also developed with help from Spirit of America.
Different women’s groups can use blogs to create a Web ring of communication that will help them unite their voices and have a greater influence in the constitution-drafting process. Free and open discussion will produce more mature political opinions and will amplify each person’s voice.
The first workshop was held in the southern city of Diwaniya on May 25. Those who attended asked us to do it again so more women can have the same opportunity. This new means of free expression is invaluable. It allows them to work around all the current logistical problem associated with starting a journal or having daily and weekly meetings.
Because Saddam Hussein is no longer in power, Iraqi women will not receive an automatic message that pops up warning the person not to use prohibited language such as "democracy," "freedom," or "human rights".
Chinese women, and men will. Therefore, Iraq Has More Internet Freedom Than China.
Monday, June 13, 2005
I have written before about the following blog -The Bottle Shop, and when I finish writing this entry I'll be adding them to the stuff worth reading list, but I wanted to post about late bland's recent story about attending the wedding of his ex-fiancee.
And I'm telling you, this guy should be writing this stuff in to a screenplay, it just screams BBC World TV program.......
Someone else's wedding bells (1)
Someone else's wedding bells (2)
I suggest cruising his archives for more bloggity goodness, one of my personal favorites is from last valentines day- Boing-
"The Bottle Shop recommendation for today: Vouvray 2003 (France). An eminently quaffable, dry and fruity everyday wine that is perfect for knocking back in one go after you've just risked life and limb in some ill-conceived, overblown romantic gesture. £4.99"
Thursday, June 09, 2005
These pics are truly just amazing, I can't help but post some more....
One View, Multiple Worlds
June 9, 2005 Full-Res: PIA07518
Three very different worlds crowd the frame in this unique view from the Cassini spacecraft, which although partly overexposed, provides a splendid look at several major targets of interest for the mission.
Titan (at the top) has a thick, hazy atmosphere. Cassini has observed it to be a world where complex geological and atmospheric processes are occurring. At 5,150 kilometers (3,200 miles) across, it is Saturn's largest moon, and is the second largest moon in the solar system, after Jupiter's moon Ganymede (5,262 kilometers, or 3,270 miles across).
Tethys (at the bottom) has been battered by impacts over the eons, and some of its many craters are visible in this image. Tethys (1,071 kilometers, or 665 miles across) is one of Saturn's major icy moons, having a density close to that of water. This moon shows evidence that icy tectonic processes have occurred on its frozen surface, such as the immense canyon system called Ithaca Chasma.
Epimetheus (center) is one of Saturn's "ring moons": small, porous bodies that orbit within or just beyond the rings. Cassini acquired the closest-ever view of cratered Epimetheus (116 kilometers, or 72 miles across) in March, 2005.
Also near center are Saturn's F ring and the outer edge of the A ring to the left. In addition to the F ring's usually bright core, several other ringlets are resolved here, giving the ring a soft, wispy character that shows contrast with the more sharply defined A ring.
Appearances can be deceiving in two dimensional images like this one where it is difficult to tell which objects are in the foreground and which are farther away. In this scene, Tethys is the closest object to Cassini, at 1.2 million kilometers (700,000 miles) away. Epimetheus is on the near side of the rings and is 1.4 million kilometers (900,000 miles) distant. The giant moon Titan is 2.7 million kilometers (1.7 million miles) away, more than twice as far from Cassini as Tethys.
This view is a mosaic of two images taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Feb. 19, 2005. The image scale in the scene ranges from 16 kilometers (10 miles) per pixel on Titan to 7 kilometers (4 miles) per pixel on Tethys.
We also have the latest from the Deep Impact Mission, which is now T-minus 24 days before the impactor is released from the main spacecraft.
June 9, 2005
MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIF. 91109
NASA Headquarters, Washington
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
NEWS RELEASE: 2005-098
NASA ANNOUNCES SPECTACULAR DAY OF THE COMET
After a voyage of 173 days and 431 million kilometers (268 million miles), NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft will get up-close and personal with comet Tempel 1 on July 4 (EDT).
The first of its kind, hyper-speed impact between space-borne iceberg and copper-fortified probe is scheduled for approximately 1:52 a.m. EDT on Independence Day (10:52 p.m. PDT on July 3). The potentially spectacular collision will be observed by the Deep Impact spacecraft, and ground and space-based observatories.
"We are really threading the needle with this one," said Rick Grammier, Deep Impact project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "In our quest of a great scientific payoff, we are attempting something never done before at speeds and distances that are truly out of this world."
During the early morning hours of July 3 (EDT), the Deep Impact spacecraft will deploy a 1-meter-wide (39-inch-wide) impactor into the path of the comet, which is about half the size of Manhattan Island, N.Y. Over the next 22 hours, Deep Impact navigators and mission members located more than 133 million kilometers (83 million miles) away at JPL, will steer both spacecraft and impactor toward the comet. The impactor will head into the comet and the flyby craft will pass approximately 500 kilometers (310 miles) below.
Tempel 1 is hurtling through space at approximately 37,100 kilometers per hour (23,000 miles per hour or 6.3 miles per second). At that speed you could travel from New York to Los Angeles in less than 6.5 minutes. Two hours before impact, when mission events will be happening so fast and so far away, the impactor will kick into autonomous navigation mode. It must perform its own navigational solutions and thruster firings to make contact with the comet.
"The autonav is like having a little astronaut on board," Grammier said. "It has to navigate and fire thrusters three times to steer the wine cask-sized impactor into the mountain-sized comet nucleus closing at 23,000 miles per hour."
The crater produced by the impact could range in size from a large house up to a football stadium, and from two to 14 stories deep. Ice and dust debris will be ejected from the crater, revealing the material beneath. The flyby spacecraft has approximately 13 minutes to take images and spectra of the collision and its result before it must endure a potential blizzard of particles from the nucleus of the comet.
And in case anyone was wondering-
"In the world of science, this is the astronomical equivalent of a 767 airliner running into a mosquito," said Dr. Don Yeomans, a Deep Impact mission scientist at JPL. "The impact simply will not appreciably modify the comet's orbital path. Comet Tempel 1 poses no threat to the Earth now or in the foreseeable future."
However, it sure wouldn't hurt to find out if we ya know, COULD appreciably modify a comet or asteroid if it WAS going to pose a threat to the earth, right?............
Wednesday, June 08, 2005
Let's take a cruise over to the sunny shores of Tulsa, Oklahoma to get a picture on the latest nutbaggery associated with creationism. From your friends at Oklahoma's News Channel 8-
Creationism Display At Tulsa Zoo Wins Approval
Tulsa - Tempers are flaring as Tulsans argue religion, science and the Tulsa Zoo. One man's proposal to add a creationism display turned the zoo into the backdrop for a heated debate. "Take away all the crap and then we can all get along. Nobody is going to fight over animals."
One would hope. One would be wrong however. Ever heard of PETA?
Animals seemed to be the last thing on most minds in this standing room only meeting of the Tulsa Parks Board, even though they were battling over the zoo. At issue is Dan Hicks' proposal to add a creationism exhibit.
At a zoo. Creationism. Funny stuff indeed...
He says the zoo is already home to other religious references -- the globe inscribed with the words 'the earth is our mother' and an elephant statue which is an artistic image of the Hindu faith.
"The Pandora's box is already open," Hicks says. "All we're saying is if you're going to open Pandora's box and you're going to allow all these religions in, don't forbid ours."
Okay, but what does the Hindu statue of the elephant have to do with creationism? Just asking.
But, opponents, including fellow Christians, argued there's a difference between religion and culture. And, there are too many differences just within the creation belief.
"Therefore they're going to have to decide how and which of the hundreds of creation stories that are in the world including many dozens that are in the U.S. from the Native American people to include in that exhibit," says Reverend Marlin Lavanhar with Tulsa Metropolitan Ministries. "It's hard to create fairness when you're talking about this."
I've got an answer! You're all wrong! Nobody gets to post anything creationist at all!! Problem solved!!
In the end, it was on the issue of fairness that Mayor LaFortune argued in favor of the proposal. It passed the board's vote. So, along with the displays in support of evolution, there will be a display to support creationism, likely on an empty wall.
But the proposal passed with the agreement that other creation theories would be considered. So, the final form of the creation display is a long way from the final debate.
That will be one very confusing wall. Which has exactly, NOTHING to do with the Zoo. Animals people. Animals in cages so kids can see them. Kids. Leave the damn zoo alone.
In case you were wondering, here's the statue everyone is freaking out about.
I usually get worked up over the biblical creationists/ID'ers, but that doesn't mean there isn't equal stupidity across the board when it comes to other religions and evolution.
Creationism: The Hindu View
Harun Yahya and Islamic Creationism
Yes, here at Tman in Tennessee, don't let it ever be said that I'm nothing if not multicultural in my hatred of creationist ignorance.
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
It's been a while since I added a big stack like this, but some of these sites are ones that I kick myself almost every day for not having on the super official Stuff Worth Reading List. So I kick myself no longer. Check out the following folks, click early and often.....
Normal Bob Smith.Com- Yes, Normal Bob Smith. The following disclaimer should help spell it out a little- WARNING: This site has been shut down by the Laptop Lobbyists, petitioned by the American Family Association, and protested by Million Moms/Million Dads. Parental guidance is clearly not sufficient. Mr. Normal BobSmith- the guy responsible for Jesus Dress Up Fridge Magnets!, the Satan Salvation Comic , or the Unholy Army of Catholic School Girls. Think Jay Pinkerton's Back of the Bible turned to 11. If you are a person easily offended by being told that God is Fake, I suggest you skip over this one.
Knowledge Is Power-SondraK -Brings you daily posts, vids and pics of righteous insanity in our world. Her "today's Haute Couture WTF?" are always amusing. Like the one from today-
BlackFive is probably one of the premier MillBloggers around. His insight in to things related with our Armed Forces is first hand. And if you haven't read the post that started his whole blog to begin with, you are missing out. It involves a French Army General, BlackFive himself (a First Lieutenant (1LT) at the time), the M1A1 tank, and a serious misunderstanding in translation skills.
buzzmachineOne of the pioneers of the blogosphere, and someone who fights the good fight for free speech and democratic values as much as he can- Jeff Jarvis. Jeff also had an incredible story from the 9/11 tragedy which he experienced first here, read it here.
Arthur Chrenkoff, the guy who tirelessly puts together the good news from Iraq and Afghanistan that normally gets relegated to page f-67 of the arts section of your local paper. Here are two of the latest- from Iraq, and from Afghanistan.
Dean Esmay , "Defending the liberal tradition in history, science, and philosophy", always some great comments worth reading in there as well.
Davids Medienkritik "Politically incorrect observations on reporting in the German Media". Always well worth a read to see what's going on over in Krautland.
That's all for now folks. Hope you enjoy reading these folks as much as I do.
Monday, June 06, 2005
I guess 61 years has less headline power than 60 years as far as anniversaries go, but one would be foolish to not at least take a moment to honor those that fought so valiantly on this day 61 years ago.
Last year BlackFive had an incredible round up of stories and perspectives from around the various corners of the blogosphere. It's worth checking out again if you haven't...
Thursday, June 02, 2005
Thanks to Val over at the Babalu blog I just got another history lesson about the Cuban revolution, and everyone's favorite Marxist Che Guevera.
The story is called-
The True Story of the Armored Train of Santa Clara
My name is Henry Louis Gomez and this site is my attempt to wade through the propaganda and dimming memories to uncover the truth behind one of the last events of Cuba's Batista regime. I became interested in the professional revolutionary, Ernesto 'Che' Guevara, after reading a novel by one of my favorite authors, W.E.B. Griffin. During a discussion with my father about the Cuban Revolution in general and Guevara in particular, my father regaled me with what I then thought was an almost unbelievable tale about my grandfather and how he had actually been confronted by the most infamous man to wear a beret.
This is a fascinating story about treachery, bribery, and an unlikely prize: an armored train. This episode has become a footnote in Cuban history because it occurred on the eve of Fulgencio Batista's flight from Cuba, and was therefore overshadowed by it. The truth about these events is important however because it sheds light on the character of the men who lived through them as well as the illegitimate nature of the Cuban Revolution itself.
This site is dedicated to my grandfather, who died before I really got a chance to know him and before my interest in history blossomed. Many times, while researching this material, I wished he were still alive to give me his account first hand. Instead I have relied on the testimony of eyewitness and the surviving relatives of the protagonists, as well as declassified government documents, and an assortment of literature from various other sources.
If you're in the mood for a little Cuban history, go forth and read the whole thing..
Wednesday, June 01, 2005
Dutch Voters Deliver Second Blow to EU
Dutch voters have decisively turned against the European constitution in their national referendum, according to exit polls.
Their vote comes just days after France plunged Europe into months of constitutional turmoil by becoming the first country to reject the new treaty.
Some 63 per cent of voters in the Netherlands were said to be opposed to the constitution, according to the polls, with the Yes campaign garnering the support of just 37 per cent.
Turnout was also high at around 62 per cent - leaving the Dutch government with no option but to abide by the public's verdict.
Personally, I would like to see Europe get its act together and form a strong union in which to help balance out power across the world. It's getting a little tiresome to see the US constantly be the only ones capable of backing up the mandates of the civilized world against the various dictators and thugs who hold their people as ransom. I'm not sure how keen I feel about a renewed lust for military capabilities in Germany, but I can tell you that sooner or later Europe will have to realize that we can't babysit them anymore. Our military helped to liberate them from their own nationalistic impulses, and then prevented them from being swallowed up by the Russians. And what thanks did we get? I'm still waiting for the answer to that. Besides the Eastern Europeans, Italy, Spain and Britain, the rest of Europe has pretty much hid in the corner during the war on terror. So to repeat, a strong European Union would only benefit the US interests in the long run.
But there is the little issue of actually creating a system of government that is run by people and not kings. Consider this, the U.S. Constitution begins with the words, "We the People of the United States," the first words of the EU Constitution are, "His Majesty the King of the Belgians . . .". You can clearly see where the priorities lie.
And apparently so do the people who are voting against the EU Constitution right now.