Monday, December 31, 2007
Oh well, at least I get to see one more week of Titans football. It's time for Vince Young to step up and show everyone that he can battle like the original Tennessee Titans warrior...
Come on Vince, let's show them what you're made of- make pops proud!!
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Thursday, December 20, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 17, 2007
Sandia Supercomputers Offer New Explanation of Tunguska Disaster:
Smaller asteroids may pose greater danger than previously believed
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The stunning amount of forest devastation at Tunguska a century ago in Siberia may have been caused by an asteroid only a fraction as large as previously published estimates, Sandia National Laboratories supercomputer simulations suggest.
“The asteroid that caused the extensive damage was much smaller than we had thought,” says Sandia principal investigator Mark Boslough of the impact that occurred June 30, 1908. “That such a small object can do this kind of destruction suggests that smaller asteroids are something to consider. Their smaller size indicates such collisions are not as improbable as we had believed.” Because smaller asteroids approach Earth statistically more frequently than larger ones, he says, “We should be making more efforts at detecting the smaller ones than we have till now.”
INCINERATION POSSIBLE - Fine points of the "fireball" that might be expected from an asteroid exploding in Earth's atmosphere are indicated in a supercomputer simulation devised by a team led by Sandia researcher Mark Boslough. (Photo by Randy Montoya )
The good news from this study was that the overall devastation caused by the impact was less than previously believed. The bad news is that the impact appears to have been caused by a smaller asteroid than we thought. The previous estimates of the size of the asteroid ranged between 100 meters on up to 1200 meters. This study confirms that the asteroid was towards the lower end of these estimates.
“Our understanding was oversimplified,” says Boslough, “We no longer have to make the same simplifying assumptions, because present-day supercomputers allow us to do things with high resolution in 3-D. Everything gets clearer as you look at things with more refined tools.”
Sandia is a National Nuclear Security Administration laboratory.
The new interpretation also accounts for the fact that winds were amplified above ridgelines where trees tended to be blown down, and that the forest at the time of the explosion, according to foresters, was not healthy. Thus previous scientific estimates had overstated the devastation caused by the asteroid, since topographic and ecologic factors contributing to the result had not been taken into account.
This would help to explain the large amounts of forest that were levelled by a relatively minor impact that you can see in the following photo-
The alarming aspect of this study is that we now understand more about the mechanics and the physics involved in an asteroid impact, and how small an asteroid can be to still pack a large amount of destructive force. The probabilities that we currently base our risk analysis of impacts on will have to be revised in terms of potential catastrophic scenarios. As I discussed in my recent report on the NASA/NEO Congressional Hearings, we have been able to rule out around 90% of the asteroids in our solar system that our over a mile wide from becoming potential threats. However, NASA has flatly stated they do not plan on meeting the the requirements established in Sec. 321(d)(1) of the NASA Authorization Act of 2005 that they "plan, develop, and implement" a NEO survey program for objects as small as 140 meters in size. This latest study from Sandia Labs illustrates that even smaller asteroids than we thought can still cause serious damage.
Sandia has some of the animated videos used in the study about these impacts available, and I have them listed below for your viewing pleasure.
This study only further emphasizes the statement that I'm always freaking out about:
WHEN, not IF.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Well, recent reports indicate that Soros was successful in getting construction of the mine halted. As per my friend Amanda-"Radical environmentalists have been calling for a halt to the progress in the mine's development. Unfortunately they have won this round. Progress on the work has been halted and development stopped by a recent government ruling. Without work to be done at the mine, the company had to lay off nearly two-thirds of its workers. So while Soros celebrates his win today, families in Rosia Montana worry about how they will feed their families tonight."
Bill Hobbs, writing over at Newsbusters, comments on the liberal/hippie-hypocrisy aspect of the whole situation-
If Soros was a rightwing billionaire, his efforts and intervention in this matter would no doubt be scrutinized by the American media and held up as an egregious example of capitalism run amok and of undue Western interference in the affairs of another country.
But Soros is a primary funder of the American Left, and as such his activities get little scrutiny from a politically sympathetic American media. That's a shame. Because the shutdown of Gabriel Resources' mining project in Rosia Montana, Romania, means an immediate loss of hundreds of jobs and a long-term loss of perhaps thousands of jobs created at the mine and spillover economic growth in the impoverished region.
It also means that the existing shuttered mine, an open pit of environmental waste that continues to befoul the region, will not be cleaned up any time soon.
The people of the Rosia Montana region have witnessed the execution of their economic future. The fingerprints of George Soros are all over the gun, but the American media looks the other way.
Hobbs also lists some further coverage of the situation at ResourceInvestor.com and Canada's National Journal.
Here's a picture of a cyanide-laced stream at Rosia Montana that would be closer to being cleaned up right now if the mine was being built.
For some more reading, there is a site that looks at 10 myths surrounding the issues at Rosia Montana located here at GoldenMyths.com.
Good job you stupid farking hippies.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Road Trip! Denver style......
For those interested, we will be keeping a blog of the trip from my cellphone at-
Mile High Madness
There should be some horseback riding, some traveling jager-induced stupidity and everything else you would expect from us here at Tman in Tennessee.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
The House Committee on Science and Technology's Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics held a hearing on November 8th to examine the status of NASA's Near Earth Object Survey program.
You can read the entire testimony here. I will attempt to narrow it down for you, my dear readers and fellow earthlings.
The hearing began with the testimony of Subcommittee Chairman Mark Udall(D - CO), who after a giving brief tribute to the people who have helped to push the NEO issue forward through congress and in to the public eye, starts immediately in to the main deficiency that we have regarding NASA and the NEO issue.
"As we will hear from our witnesses, much progress has been made in detecting and cataloging the largest NEOs over the last decade. However--as we will also hear--much more remains to be done.
In particular, we need to survey potentially hazardous asteroids that are smaller than the ones cataloged to date, but which could do significant damage if they impact or explode above the Earth's surface near populated areas. That is why Congress directed NASA to "plan, develop, and implement" a NEO survey program for objects as small as 140 meters in size in the NASA Authorization Act of 2005.
As a result, I'm disappointed and concerned that NASA's report to Congress failed to provide a recommended option and budget plan for such a survey, as directed by the Act. In fact, the report says NASA has no plans to do anything beyond the current Spaceguard program at this time. (my emphasis-ed.)
Equally troubling, one of the NASA witnesses will testify that "NASA would be pleased to implement a more aggressive NEO program if so directed by the President and Congress,"--with the implication that Congress has not yet done so. I think Sec. 321 of the NASA Authorization Act, which I quoted earlier, is unambiguous--Congress has in fact directed NASA to "plan, develop, and implement" such a program. And we would hope that the President would send over a NASA budget request that reflects that congressional direction.
Today, I want to focus on where we go from here. Given the lack of a clear plan in NASA's report to Congress, I hope that our witnesses today will be able provide some guidance to this Committee on the best and most cost-effective path forward for meeting the goal of surveying NEOs down to 140 meters in size."
First of all, we can't even track 100% of the asteroids in our solar system bigger than 1 half a mile across. We're up to around 85%, last time I checked. While it pleases me to see a congressman trying to get the window down to even 140 meters in size, which is about what many scientists believe is the size of the impactor that felled an estimated 80 million trees over 800 square miles in Tunguska in 1908, it would make more sense to me to have NASA get started on some type of mission that would have more practical applications for mitigating a possible impact.
Simply put, we're never going to find them all, even the big ones. This isn't to say we should stop looking, but at some point we have to come up witha way to deal with stopping one of these, and as I'm always screaming here on this blog, we currently have NOTHING on the drawing board in terms of real applications.
Congressman Udall brings up some questions about this in a question to the panel-
Fourth, surveying NEOs is just part of the task. If we find one that it is headed towards Earth, we will need to have good options for deflecting it. What priority should be given to developing deflection technologies versus NEO survey systems in the coming years?
Then we have Rep. Luis G. Fortuño, Congressman from Puerto Rico who makes an excellent argument for a commitment to further funding of the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico
According to Director Michael Griffin, NASA does not have the funds to carry out a more extensive program. There have been suggestions that NASA and the National Science Foundation should cooperate to fund the construction of a new ground-based telescope to perform tracking functions of Near Earth Objects and other astronomy surveys. I do not think we need to take on such a burden, as there is still a great deal of information to be gained by utilizing the unique capabilities of the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. As the world's largest and most powerful radio telescope, the Arecibo Observatory is essential to monitoring and surveying Near Earth Objects. However, the National Science Foundation has threatened to close the Observatory in 2011 and NASA has so far been unwilling to assume funding of the radar required for tracking NEOs. Closing the Observatory will severely limit our ability to quickly and accurately refine the orbits of newly emerging threats, and reduce our monitoring capabilities.
This is why I have introduced HR 3737, which directs the National Science Foundation and NASA to work together to ensure continued full funding of the Arecibo Observatory and in particular, the radar. It is my recommendation that these agencies start working collaboratively and reconsider how they allocate their funding.
Mr. Chairman and Ranking Member Feeney, the Arecibo Observatory's radar is the world's most powerful instrument for post-discovery characterization and orbital refinement of near Earth asteroids. The observations performed with the radar are critical for identifying asteroids that might be on a collision course with Earth. I respectfully urge the committee to consider continuing the important work performed by the Arecibo Observatory and consider, as well, HR 3737 as one potential solution to this challenge. The unique capabilities of radar are critically important as we work towards fulfilling the 2005 congressional mandate of detecting and characterizing 90% of near Earth Objects down to 140 meters in diameter.
We need to fund Arecibo. Period. Without it, we take away one of our biggest windows in to space in terms of tracking NEO's. Kudos to Rep. Luis G. Fortuño.
Next up, in full ass covering mode is James Green, Science Mission Directorate from NASA HQ. Here are some the high(low)lights from his testimony. Keep this in mind while reading these quotes: NASA's estimated budget for 2008 is around $17 BILLION.
(referring to the Spacegaurd Sruvey)
"Since the program's inception in 1998, NASA has funded over $30M in NEO search efforts using funds from the Science Mission Directorate's Research and Analysis program. To date, these efforts have found the vast majority of the 724 one-kilometer Near Earth Asteroids and 64 Earth approaching comets now known, as well as the 4,128 known smaller NEOs. At the current discovery rate, we will have found about 50 more NEOs larger than one kilometer by the end of 2008, bringing us very close to achieving our 90% goal, measured against the current estimate of about 940 total one-kilometer objects. This work has retired the majority of the risk that Earth could be struck by a large asteroid in the foreseeable future."
That's it. $30 million. Unbelievable.
This part kind of sucks too-
No significant NEO detection efforts are currently conducted by the international community. Less than 2% of NEOs detected in the last ten years were found by systems other than those funded by NASA.
I really wasn't counting on France anyways, but hey, anything helps. Moving on-
On NASA's current and former space missions and their contributions to the NEO program:
Currently, spacecraft missions do not contribute to the detection of NEOs. However, space missions do provide the most significant and detailed information on what we know about the character and composition of them. NASA Discovery missions such as the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR), Stardust, Deep Impact, and the Japanese Hyabusa mission have contributed important information to our understanding of the origin of comets and asteroids, providing insight on their evolution into the inner Solar System near the Earth, their structure and physical properties, and their composition. The recently launched Dawn mission will travel to the two largest objects in the Main Belt of Asteroids - Vesta and the dwarf planet Ceres. This area of the Solar System has been shown to be the region of origin for most of the objects that now are near Earth, and the Dawn mission will tell us many things about their nature. Other significant contributions by spacecraft include studies by the Hubble Space Telescope, Spitzer, Galileo, and other asteroid and comet flybys performed by several Solar System exploration missions.
Not only are these data important to the development of concepts to deal with any impact threat an NEO may pose, but they are also critical to an understanding of the nature NEOs for possible destinations and resources in our future exploration of the Solar System.
While NASA does not have any formal responsibility for the task of mitigation, scientific missions such as Deep Impact and the current Dawn mission to Vesta and Ceres provide information that may be critical to planning an asteroid deflection. Likewise, many of the systems and technologies that are being developed for exploration missions are directly applicable to mitigation missions. These capabilities are the hallmarks of a robust, space-faring nation.
This was a great question-
Will NASA's current NEO program satisfy the requirement established in Sec. 321(d)(1) of the NASA Authorization Act of 2005, and if not, what is NASA's plan for satisfying that requirement?
Although the current systems funded by NASA are capable of detecting objects smaller than one kilometer in size, the objects must come significantly closer to the Earth than a one kilometer object needs to in order to be detected. It would take timescales much longer than 15 years to observe 90% of these objects with the systems we currently use.
As outlined in the report NASA submitted to Congress on March 7, 2007, pursuant to direction in section 321 of the NASA Authorization Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-155), the Agency recommended that the current survey program, funded at approximately $4M annually, be continued. In addition, NASA indicated that the Agency would look for opportunities using potential dual-use telescopes and spacecraft--and to partner with other agencies as feasible--to attempt to achieve the legislated goal within 15 years. Several alternatives as to how this might be accomplished were presented and analyzed in the March 7 report. However, due to current budget constraints, it is not possible for NASA to initiate a new program. The costs for the alternative programs ranged from $470M to in excess of $1.0B over 10 to 19 years, depending on how aggressive of a timeline would be pursued.
Short Answer: "Um, no. We spent too much money on the ISS. Whoops. Hope we can fit the population of the earth inside the ISS if we ever find a true NEO threat, because that's our species only chance at survival."
Again- $17 BILLION next year ALONE. Scott Pace, from the Office of Program Analysis and Evaluation at NASA HQ continues-
The current NASA NEO "Spaceguard Survey" program, without any augmentation, would not be able to satisfy the requirements outlined in section 321(d)(1) of the NASA Authorization Act for 2005. The requirements for the Spaceguard Survey program are to find only NEOs greater than 1 kilometer in diameter, and its funding is currently budgeted at $4.1 million per year. NASA estimates that the current program, if continued without major augmentation, would detect 14 percent of the 140 meters or larger potentially hazardous objects by the end of 2020. However, NASA is initiating plans to use other survey systems to increase the survey's detection sensitivity and rates. For example, NASA has begun providing funds to the Air Force Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) project so that it will be capable of providing data on NEO detections after it starts operations on its first telescope in the next year. If the Air Force continues to fund this project to its intended four telescope configuration by 2010, this system alone could discover over 70 percent of the potentially hazardous objects larger than 140 meters by 2020.
NASA recommended that the existing "Spaceguard Survey" program continue as currently planned, and that NASA would also take advantage of opportunities using potential dual-use telescopes and spacecraft--and partner with other agencies as feasible--to make progress toward achieving the legislative goal of discovering 90 percent of all potentially hazardous objects 140 meters and greater.
NASA would be pleased to implement a more aggressive NEO program, if so directed by the President and Congress. However, given the constrained resources and strategic objectives the Agency has already been tasked with, NASA cannot place a new NEO program above current scientific and exploration missions.
What I take from Mr. Pace is that if Congress would direct NASA to reallocate the resources currently used by NASA, the $17 BILLION worth of resources, that they could meet the requirements outlined in section 321(d)(1) of the NASA Authorization Act for 2005.
Classic bureaucracy in action- "hey, it's not our fault- it's Congress! Just tell us what to do!" . Congress tells them what to do and when, and then NASA says they can't unless, well, unless Congress tells them what to do!
Finally a voice of reason sets in with Donald Yeomans, from the NEO Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory:
As noted, the current NASA NEO goal is focused upon the discovery and tracking of objects one kilometer in diameter and larger. It is not realistic to expect the current survey program, with its modestly sized telescopes, to efficiently find the 140 meter-sized objects that are nearly 50 times fainter compared to a one kilometer-sized object at the same distance and with the same reflectivity. Because all PHAs do eventually come very close to the Earth, the current ongoing surveys could complete the goal outlined in the 2005 NASA Authorization Act but it would likely take over a century to do so. We cannot afford to wait that long.
In the report to Congress requested by the 2005 NASA Authorization Act, several options were outlined, both ground-based and space-based, that could meet the goal of finding 90% of the PHAs larger than 140 meters by the end of 2020. For example, a one-meter aperture infrared telescope in a heliocentric orbit near Venus could do the job three years early. Within this report, NASA noted that it did not have the resources to carry out a survey option that would meet the 2020 deadline set by the 2005 Act and that, in an attempt to achieve the legislative goal by the end of 2020, it would seek to continue the current survey programs and look for opportunities to use dual use telescope facilities and spacecraft along with partnering with other agencies as feasible.
What Should be Done in the Event of an identified NEO Threat? A number of existing technologies can deflect an Earth threatening asteroid - if there is time. The primary goal of the PHA survey programs is to discover them early and provide the necessary time. An asteroid that is predicted to hit Earth might require a change in its velocity of only 3 millimeters per second if this impulse were applied twenty years in advance of the impact. The key to a successful deflection is having sufficient time to carry it out, whether it is the slow, gentle drag of a gravity tractor or a more impulsive shove from an impacting spacecraft or explosive device. In either case, a verification process would be required to ensure the deflection maneuver was successful and to ensure the object's subsequent motion would not put it on yet another Earth impacting trajectory. While suitable deflection technologies exist, none of them can be effective if we are taken by surprise. It is the aggressive survey efforts and robust planetary radars that must ensure that the vast majority of potentially hazardous objects are discovered and tracked well in advance of any Earth threatening encounters. The first three steps in any asteroid mitigation process are: Find them early, find them early, and find them early!
To sum up the hearings, I would say that we have somewhat of a mixed bag. On the one hand, the much needed argument for the continued funding of the Arecibo Observatory was made by all participants, and hopefully this will get some appropriations. As far as the Spacegaurd Suveys go, we are still behind on cataloging the big ones, and NASA's reps pretty much told Congress that they can't do what they were told to do as per the 2005 NASA Authorization Act, unless Congress.....tells them what to do. Fortunately, we have guys like Donald Yeomans and David Morrison around who are well aware of NASA's shortcomings, and are working around them to develop true answers like the folks at the B612 Foundation.
Next summer will be 100 years since the Tunguska impact. We have a long way to go before even pretending to think we could stop another impact as small as the Tunguska impact. And at $17 Billion I don't think we're getting our moneys worth from NASA in terms of protecting us from NEO's.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
After tenderizing, season flank steak with greek seasoning (I use Cavenders), garlic powder, worcestershire sauce, and olive oil. Let sit in fridge for a few hours at least.
I make my Pesto by blending fresh basil, garlic cloves, pine nuts, olive oil and season with lemon, salt and pepper.
Coat one side of the flank steak with pesto, add a layer of provolone, another light layer of fresh parsley and dill, and top with asparagus. Roll the whole steak in to a tube.
Cook at 375 for around 45 minutes, and serve with a side salad.
Thus endeth the Saturday evening.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Yeah, I know I'm a little late to the party. This one definitely was a lot less stressful now that the Red Sox have overcome their demons, so I didn't blog about it anywhere near like I did the last run. In case you're interested, the 2004 posts were much more interesting. I suggest starting here and working up.
This year? All gravy man. All gravy.
Looks like Papi is starting to get used to carrying this trophy around.
For the best coverage of all things Red Sox, I suggest you look no further than the Boston Globe, Red Sox Department. And pretty much anything written by Bob Ryan about them will explain things for you well enough.
Thanks Again Bosox, yet another fabulous run!
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Hey Ted, a friend of mine who enlisted after 9/11 is now at Harvard Law School, after serving around three tours in Iraq. You wouldn't hold a candle next to him on an intellectual level. And I know plenty of others who have served who are light years more intelligent than you.
You don't deserve the freedoms that they defend for you.
This is a perfect time to honor Lt. Michael P. Murphy, who grew up in Patchogue NY, and joined the elite Navy SEALs after college. He has been awarded the nation's highest battlefield award, the Medal of Honor, for a valiant attempt to save the lives of comrades that cost him his own.
Thanks to all of our Armed Forces for your service to our country.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Vince Bowl I-Year Two For Houston, Bosox Against The Wall Again, And Them Preds Sure Don't Look So Good
Then we have my beloved Bosox attempting to write another fall masterpiece comeback, this time from down 3-1. Can we do it? Will Manny shut up and play baseball? Will Beckett pitch lights out? Will we finally see the last of those stupid "It's Tribe Time" banners from Cleveland?
Let's ask Manny!
Ahh. Thanks Manny!
And the Nashville Predators. Here's how I would sum up the current state of this years Nashville Predators-
Yep. Gonna be a long weekend.
Thursday, October 04, 2007
STORY NUMBER ONE
Many years ago, Al Capone virtually owned Chicago .. Capone wasn't famous for anything heroic. He was notorious for enmeshing the windy city in everything from bootlegged booze and prostitution to murder.
Capone had a lawyer nicknamed "Easy Eddie." He was Capone's lawyer for a good reason. Eddie was very good! In fact, Eddie's skill at legal maneuvering kept Big Al out of jail for a long time.
To show his appreciation, Capone paid him very well. Not only was the money big, but also, Eddie got special dividends. For instance, he and his family occupied a fenced-in mansion with live-in help and all of the conveniences of the day. The estate was so large that it filled an entire Chicago City block.
Eddie lived the high life of the Chicago mob and gave little consideration to the atrocity that went on around him.
Eddie did have one soft spot, however. He had a son that he loved dearly. Eddie saw to it that his young son had clothes, cars, and a good education. Nothing was withheld. Price was no object.
And, despite his involvement with organized crime, Eddie even tried to teach him right from wrong. Eddie wanted his son to be a better man than he was.
Yet, with all his wealth and influence, there were two things he couldn't give his son; he couldn't pass on a good name or a good example.
One day, Easy Eddie reached a difficult decision. Easy Eddie wanted to rectify wrongs he had done.
He decided he would go to the authorities and tell the truth about Al "Scarface" Capone, clean up his tarnished name, and offer his son some semblance of integrity. To do this, he would have to testify against TheMob, and he knew that the cost would be great.
So, he testified.
Within the year, Easy Eddie's life ended in a blaze of gunfire on a lonely Chicago Street.
But in his eyes, he had given his son the greatest gift he had to offer, at the greatest price he could ever pay. Police removed from his pockets a rosary, a crucifix, a religious medallion, and a poem clipped from a magazine.
The poem read:
The clock of life is wound but once, And no man has the power To tell just when the hands will stop At late or early hour. Now is the only time you own. Live, love, toil with a will. Place no faith in time. For the clock may soon be still.
STORY NUMBER TWO
World War II produced many heroes. One such man was Lieutenant Commander Butch O'Hare.
He was a fighter pilot assigned to the aircraft carrier Lexington in the South Pacific.
One day his entire squadron was sent on a mission. After he was airborne, he looked at his fuel gauge and realized that someone had forgotten to top off his fuel tank.
He would not have enough fuel to complete his mission and get back to his ship.
His flight leader told him to return to the carrier. Reluctantly, he dropped out of formation and headed back to the fleet.
As he was returning to the mother ship he saw something that turned his blood cold: a squadron of Japanese aircraft was speeding its way toward the American fleet.
The American fighters were gone on a sortie, and the fleet was all but defenseless. He couldn't reach his squadron and bring them back in time to save the fleet. Nor could he warn the fleet of the approaching
danger. There was only one thing to do. He must somehow divert them from the fleet.
Laying aside all thoughts of personal safety, he dove into the formation of Japanese planes. Wing-mounted 50 caliber's blazed as he charged in, attacking one surprised enemy plane and then another. Butch wove in and out of the now broken formation and fired at as many planes as possible until all his ammunition was finally spent.
Undaunted, he continued the assault. He dove at the planes, trying to clip a wing or tail in hopes of damaging as many enemy planes as possible and rendering them unfit to fly.
Finally, the exasperated Japanese squadron took off in another direction.
Deeply relieved, Butch O'Hare and his tattered fighter limped back to the carrier.
Upon arrival, he reported in and related the event surrounding his return. The film from the gun-camera mounted on his plane told the tale. It showed the extent of Butch's daring attempt to protect his fleet.
He had, in fact, destroyed five enemy aircraft.
This took place on February 20, 1942, and for that action Butch became the Navy's first Ace of W.W.II, and the first Naval Aviator to win the Congressional Medal of Honor.
A year later Butch was killed in aerial combat at the age of 29. His home town would not allow the memory of this WW II hero to fade, and today, O'Hare Airport in Chicago is named in tribute to the courage of this great man.
So, the next time you find yourself at O'Hare International, give some thought to visiting Butch's memorial displaying his statue and his Medal of Honor. It's located between Terminals 1 and 2.
SO WHAT DO THESE TWO STORIES HAVE TO DO WITH EACH OTHER?
Butch O'Hare was "Easy Eddie's" son.
Pretty cool huh? I had no idea that's why it's called O'Hare airport, and I've been through it a gazillion times.
I will soon catch up with some Bosox/Preds/TITANS!!! posting, as I realize I've been slacking lately.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Monday, September 17, 2007
this is pretty cool..
Saturn's Moon Iapetus is the Yin-and-Yang of the Solar System
Scientists on the Cassini mission to Saturn are poring through hundreds of images returned from the Sept. 10 flyby of Saturn's two-toned moon Iapetus. Pictures returned late Tuesday and early Wednesday show the moon's yin and yang -- a white hemisphere resembling snow, and the other as black as tar.
+ View News Release
+ View Flyby Page
+ More on Iapetus
Your tax dollars at work Ladies and Gentlemen! Not bad for a few billion a year...Who has better pictures of Saturn?
Friday, September 14, 2007
I will attempt to justify my points by responding to Eli's comment.
Eli wrote the following-
You're going to have to explain to me how buying free trade coffee and eating less meat stands in the way of progress.
There's a fascinating article about Free Trade Coffee in Reason magazine by Kerry Howley, "Absolution in Your Cup, The real meaning of Fair Trade coffee." The article highlights on the overall point I have about hippie hypocrisy, that being the unintended negative consequences of socialist activism.
The best hope for farmers lies with consumers demanding better coffee, not just from Starbucks but from the supermarket shelf. This may be inevitable; a generation weaned on high-quality lattes is not going to turn to instant Nescafe as it grows more affluent. But there are signs that Fair Trade, with its predilection for uniformity, is retarding, not accelerating, that process.
"Fair Trade does not incentivize quality," explains Geoff Watts of Intelligentsia Coffee, who has spent the last nine years training coffee farmers in Africa and Central America. Fair Trade co-ops are composed of hundreds of farmers producing vastly different qualities of coffee. Often their output is blended together for sale to roasters, masking any quality improvements one farmer may have felt motivated to implement. Money then flows back to the co-op, not the individual farmer, and is distributed equally among the members. "There is no reward for the guy who works harder than his neighbor," says Watts. Nor is there much motivation for individual farmers to learn better farming techniques, experiment with new types of coffee, or seek new markets.
The system thus breeds anonymity and mediocrity in a business that desperately needs to focus on branding and identity. Ironically, this mimics the problems brought on by multinationals: Treating coffee as a single commodity, in large undifferentiated lots, prevents any single farmer from excelling and advancing.
Also, I don't see you with malaria or starving.
I thank the use of DDT and industrialized farming for that, two things that are constantly being protested against and villified by hippies. DDT was what was used to eradicate the overgrowth of moquitoes in the US, thus controlling and pretty much eliminating the disease from our country. According to U.N. estimates, malaria kills one child every 30 seconds and more than a million people each year. The late Dr. J. Gordon Edwards estimated that 190 people per minute are either dying or suffering directly or indirectly from the USA ban of DDT and other pesticides. (And yes, believe it or not, there is a documentary film about this whole issue, "3 Billion and Counting"). Again, another example of western hippie folks attempting to "fight the man" so they can feel good about their conscience, when in all acuality they are making things worse for the majority. (I would recommend the following page for more details about the stunning tragedy of malaria in the third world.)
Nobody expects someone who is bedridden to be concerned with polluting less. However, seems to me someone who reaps the benefits of capitalistic exploitation and whose country is a leader in gluttony and waste would do good to consider ways to make the situation better.
I agree, but even more so I would hope that we as a country would do no harm first, and then we can worry about ways to make the situation better. And this is my point. Many environmental movements, from the mining protests of Rosia Montana to the banning of DDT, have had unintended consquences that ended up making things worse overall for the population.
That means doing what's best for people and the planet (the only place in the vast universe with what we call life). The "hippies" don't have it all wrong, Tim.
The "hippies" certainly don't have it all right either Eli. And too many times they are given a free pass when their protests and movements supposedly for the purposes of "saving the planet" end up hurting humanity. Don't be fooled that they can do no wrong. In the case of Rosia Montana and the malaria stricken third world, they can and have done wrong. And people are dead and suffering because of it.
I leave you with some Cox And Forkum to make my final point, respond if you like Eli, and GO TITANS!!!!
Monday, September 03, 2007
Sunday, September 02, 2007
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
-"Mine Your Own Business, a film produced by New Bera Media in association with the Moving Picture Institute, looks at the dark side of environmentalism. It talks to some of the world's poorest people about how western environmentalists are campaigning to keep them in poverty because they think their way of life is quaint. It is the first documentary to ask hard questions of the environmental movement. "Mine Your Own Business" goes beyond the voice of the foreign environmentalists that we so often hear in the media and meets those who will be most affected by these projects and the well-run campaigns against them.
"Mine Your Own Business" follows George, a 23-year-old unemployed miner from northern Romania whose life has been put on hold after an anti-mining campaign orchestrated by foreign environmentalists. George explains his hopes and dreams for the future - which are different from those prescribed for him by foreign environmentalists. He then travels to other impoverished communities in Madagascar and Chile who are also desperately waiting for large mining projects. George finds people similar to himself with similar hopes and dreams of a decent job and house and a decent education and better life for their children.
"Mine Your Own Business" will be hugely controversial as it makes us all think about the unintended consequences of blindly supporting environmentalist/anti-development campaigns across the globe. It is a challenge to the cosy consensus that allows westerners to deny progress to those who need it most.
I have yet to see the film myself, as I missed it when they came through town last year. Apparently it was screened at Vanderbilt University, and I was unaware of it at the time. I hope to see it in the future, as it touches on a subject that I address on this blog quite often- Hippie Hypocrisy.
John Fund, from the Wall Street Journal talks about the movie in today's paper, and brings up the most ridiculous part about this phenomenon of liberal activists trying to assuage their guilt about western society by demonizing big business, when in reality they are making it worse for the inhabitants of the places they are trying to protect.
Opponents of the mine claim that Rosia Montana residents agree with their stance. "Local opposition to the mine is strong and organized" says a statement signed by 80 environmental groups in January. In his letter, Mr. Soros cites a recent poll organized by some members of Romania's parliament that "found 90% of respondents rejecting the project." But the poll turns out to be an unscientific Internet survey, and one of the environmental groups Mr. Soros funds urged people outside Romania to participate in it. What is clear: Two-thirds of Rosia Montana's people have accepted Gabriel's voluntary offer to buy their homes at above market rates. Most will move four miles away to a less polluted area.
On the other side, Rosia Montana Mayor Virgil Narita supports the mine because it will create 700 permanent local jobs. He was re-elected with 80% of the vote this year. And in late 2004, the Council of Europe sent Eddie O'Hara, a British Labour Party member of the European Parliament, to Rosia Montana to file an official report. Opposition to the mine, he said, was "substantial," but it was "very much fueled by outside bodies, presumably well-meaning but possibly counterproductively. It seems in part at least exaggerated." Mr. O'Hara concluded the opposition "do not take account of modern mining techniques and in fact the Rosia Montana project will help to clear up existing pollution." He also warned that not allowing the mine "would remove any chance of local development for some time."
Perhaps local unemployed miner Gheorghe Lucian says it best: "People have no food to eat. . . . I know what I need--a job." Mr. Soros's Romanian Open Society Foundation is touting "alternative economic activities such as organic agriculture and eco-tourism," unrealistic at best. Stefania Simon, legal counsel for the anti-mine group Alburnus Maior, has no answer for Mr. Lucian. "Unemployment is a problem, but it will not be solved by mining," she told Britain's Guardian newspaper. Noting that Gabriel has only a 17-year lease to mine, she says, "This is a solution for the short term." But right now, even non-permanent jobs and any cleanup of the existing pollution looks like a good deal to people like Mr. Lucian.
During one part of the movie, Mark Fenn, country director for the World Wide Fund for Nature, states that in Madagascar poor people are just as happy as rich people because "they smile more". Then he takes the documentary producers on a tour of his $35,000 catamaran and the site of his new coastal home. Hey, I'd bet the poor folks in Madagascar would smile a lot more if they also had a $35,000 yacht. It reminds me of a recent comedian I heard who joked about the phrase "money doesn't buy you happiness." He said "while that may be true, money can buy you a jet-ski, and have you ever seen someone unhappy on a jet-ski?". This point is lost on people like Mark Fenn.
The serious part of this problem is that environmentalists are making things worse for poor people in many areas of the world by protesting against things like DDT. Malaria kills hundreds of thousands of people a year needlessly, and they could drastically reduce these numbers by spraying DDT, which is the single most effective pesticide for reducing mosquito populations that carry the disease. Recently some studies came out that even further reinforced the science behind DDT's effectiveness. The studies claimed that even though some mosquito populations had developed a resistance to DDT, those same populations were repelled by DDT anyways. But there exist serious efforts to stop DDT from reaching those who need it, and all of this in the name of environmentalism. This is madness.
When people talk about environmental concerns, I'm not blind to the fact that global pollution is a major problem affecting our environment throughout the world in various ways. And I'm all for taking steps to reduce pollution that make sense, like emission controls for cars for instance. But one thing I have learned in my studies about asteroids hitting the planet and possibly killing us all is that there are many problems facing mankind today that need to be ranked in order of importance. Bjorn Lomborg, adjunct professor at the Copenhagen Business School, has already done this in his book How to Spend $50 Billion to Make the World a Better Place. In the book Mr. Lomborg details the Copenhagen Consensus Center's study that answered the question posed in the title of his book. Eight distinguished economists evaluated proposals by over two dozen specialists on problems ranging from AIDS and malnutrition to water shortage, civil war, climate change, and migration, among others. Their collective recommendation: focus on AIDS prevention, the provision of micronutrients to poor children, trade liberalization, and the control of malaria.
Some things that did not make the top of the list were saving trees or combating global warming (disclaimer-further funding of asteroid prevention also did not make the list). The reason for this is that there is no point in saving the environment if everyone is starving to death or bed ridden from malaria. This is where the hypocrisy sets in for environmentalists. Many of them want to feel better about fighting for "Mother Gaia" but all they are doing is causing more suffering. Until this truth becomes realized, we will continue to have these idiot birkenstock-wearing, Che Guevara-loving hippies sipping their "free trade" lattes, munching a soy-burger standing in the way of the progress that is needed to truly help those who need it.
Go see the film "Mine Your Own Business" if you can. The guys behind it deserve our support.
Update: Thanks to a heads up from a reader here at Tman in Tennessee (Hi Amanda!), one of the main characters from the movie, Gheorghe Luchian, has his own blog about the situation over the mine in Romania, Report From Rosia. Gheorge has put together a video that shows him filling a number of bottles with poisoned water from the main stream of Rosia Montana. The bottles will reach environmentalists, TV stations and others who want to stop the new mining projects.Mr. Luchian states "this way they will have a proof how Rosia looks like now: environmental mess."
Here it is hippies. This is an example of what could be fixed by a Mining Company FOR FREE if you would just shut the hell up and let people control their own lives.
Friday, August 17, 2007
First off, I want to thank the guys from Six Meat Buffet along with Vinnie and his much better half, Toni, and Nigel for inviting me along to a little impromptu blogger meet-up here in Nashville. I had fun with everyone at Boscos and look forward to doing it again sometime, even if we are all a bunch of insufferable pricks. The one great thing about meeting up with this group is there was some great conversation and some quality liberal bashing which um, doesn't happen at too many blogger meet-ups in Nashville. I cherished the moment, that is for certain.
Next up I want to give a blogger heads up to two good friends of mine that recently waded in to the blogosphere, and you should check them out no matter how much I disagree with them. They are both smart dudes, and we disagree over many an issue, yet we seem to be able to hang out anyways. And as an added bonus, one is a Chicago Cubs fan, the other an Atlanta Braves fan. Put the three of us together and you have some serious mental health issues. It's like a therapists wet dream.
Adam-The Cubs Fan- The way I see it, Barry...
Jonathan-The Braves Fan- Planet America..
Go read them, you'll enjoy it and then wonder how we remain friends. The answer? Booze. And lots of it -life's social lubricant! I'm actually working on diluting their liberal beliefs, and they are desperately telling me how wrong I am. Ahh, good times! Seriously, they are great friends and I'm lucky to know 'em both.
Then we have Matty from the Houston Texans blog- Da Good, Da Bad and Demeco. He's a pretty decent writer, and I can appreciate his fanatic devotion to the Texans despite their consistent exercise in futility each season. I can guarantee you that if there is a way of looking on the bright side of a loss this year for Texans fans, Matty can make it happen. He almost convinced me that Mario Williams was a defensible pick over Vince Young, almost. Him and I are going to wager over the two games between the Texans and the Titans this year, so stay tuned for some hilarity.
Finally, I will be renovating the blogroll to your right soon so as to retire some dead links and add some of these fine fellows listed above in due haste. I may go the full route and redesign the site altogether, who knows. I plan on writing my predictions for the Titans this year, and my thoughts on the upcoming baseball playoffs/suicide watch for Red Sox fans.
I leave you now with my favorite logo for this time of year, it kinda puts me in the mood......
Friday, August 03, 2007
I present to you the case of one Private Thomas Scott Beauchamp, author of the "Baghdad Diarist", which was published by The New Republic. The diairies produced one particular story called "Shock Troops" in which Private Beauchamp wrote some chilling narrative that described horrific and atrocious behavior by hiself and other members of the US Military in Iraq.
"I saw her nearly every time I went to dinner in the chow hall at my base in Iraq. She wore an unrecognizable tan uniform, so I couldn't really tell whether she was a soldier or a civilian contractor. The thing that stood out about her, though, wasn't her strange uniform but the fact that nearly half her face was severely scarred. Or, rather, it had more or less melted, along with all the hair on that side of her head. She was always alone, and I never saw her talk to anyone. Members of my platoon had seen her before but had never really acknowledged her. Then, on one especially crowded day in the chow hall, she sat down next to us.
We were already halfway through our meals when she arrived. After a minute or two of eating in silence, one of my friends stabbed his spoon violently into his pile of mashed potatoes and left it there.
"Man, I can't eat like this," he said.
"Like what?" I said. "Chow hall food getting to you?"
"No--with that f**king freak behind us!" he exclaimed, loud enough for not only her to hear us, but everyone at the surrounding tables. I looked over at the woman, and she was intently staring into each forkful of food before it entered her half-melted mouth.
"Are you kidding? I think she's f**king hot!" I blurted out.
"What?" said my friend, half-smiling.
"Yeah man," I continued. "I love chicks that have been intimate--with IEDs. It really turns me on--melted skin, missing limbs, plastic noses ... ."
"You're crazy, man!" my friend said, doubling over with laughter. I took it as my cue to continue.
"In fact, I was thinking of getting some girls together and doing a photo shoot. Maybe for a calendar? IED Babes.' We could have them pose in thongs and bikinis on top of the hoods of their blown-up vehicles."
My friend was practically falling out of his chair laughing. The disfigured woman slammed her cup down and ran out of the chow hall, her half-finished tray of food nearly falling to the ground."
Of course the purpose of this story was the following; according to Private Beauchamp "My pieces were always intended to provide my discrete view of the war; they were never intended as a reflection of the entire U.S. Military. I wanted Americans to have one soldier's view of events in Iraq." This by itself is honorable and warranted. We should all hope that Americans want to hear from soldiers like Marcus Luttrell and Danny Dietz, and what their perspective brings be it positive or negative. I have several friends who have been back and forth to Iraq and Afghanistan for several tours, and their perspective is invaluable.
But here is the problem. Private Scott Beauchamp LIED about one of the most shocking bits from his diairies. The whole story about the disfigured woman is complete and total bullshit. And what's even worse, is that the New Republic, when called on this story, supported Beauchamp and claimed "Thus far we've found nothing to disprove the facts in the article; we will release the full results of our search when it is completed." Conveniently, the editors at TNR then decided to go on vacation.
Predictably, the US Military does not take kindly to soldiers or civilians maligning the troops, and they started an investigation in to Beauchamps allegations and anecdotes. The investigation is finished, and Marine Reservist Matt Sanchez has a report on the the results of the investigation-
Beauchamp Investigation Concluded
After a thorough investigation that lasted nearly a week the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division has concluded that the allegations made by Private Thomas Scott Beauchamp, the "Baghdad Diarist", have been
"refuted by members of his platoon and proven to be false"
The official investigation the 4th IBCT Public Affairs Office qualified as "thorough and professional" concluded late August 1st. Officials would not speculate on the possibility of further action against Private Beauchamp, nor would they confirm his current whereabouts or status.
Sergeant First Class Robert Timmons, the acting public affairs official of the 4th IBCT, 1st ID, in the absence of Major Kirk Luedeke, remarked that despite the high level of attention this case received in the American media, soldiers at the 4th IBCT, 1st Inf. Div, a "surge" Brigade, have not been distracted from their missions.
Things should get interesting when the folks at TNR get back from vacation, because their credibility at this point is in tatters. And for a publication such as that to fail so completely at properly verifying such grandiose claims is inexcusable. But the more serious part is that is several left leaning comments on this particular issue, apologists for Beauchamp have moved on from attempting to verify the stories, and are now in Dan-Rathersville "fake but accurate" territory.
Now I don't doubt that there are soldiers out there who give the US Military a bad name. By sheer percentages alone there are bound to be some bad apples in the group that do stupid things when placed in hostile situations such as the conflict in Iraq.
But that doesn't mean people need to make up stories about them. One thing about America that differentiates us from other countries is our fearlessness in exposing our shortcomings and deficiencies. We aren't afraid to air our dirty laundry, because nothing disinfects better than sunlight.
But that doesn't mean we need to lie about these things just to get some sunlight shone.
And "fake but accurate" is no way to run a serious bi-weekly print magazine that claims to "provide its readers with an intelligent, stimulating and rigorous examination of American politics, foreign policy and culture."
The worst part of this whole thing is that liars like Private Beauchamp are now more well known than Medal of Honor recipients Marine Cpl. Jason Dunham and Army Sgt. 1st Class Paul Smith.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
"University of Colorado Ethnic Studies Professor Ward Churchill was fired this week after the university's Board of Regents approved my recommendation to dismiss him for academic fraud.....The University of Colorado's reputation was called into question in the matter of Ward Churchill. His claim that he was singled out for his free speech is a smokescreen.
Controversy -- especially self-sought controversy -- doesn't immunize a faculty member from adhering to professional standards. If you are a responsible faculty member, you don't falsify research, you don't plagiarize the work of others, you don't fabricate historical events and you don't thumb your nose at the standards of the profession. More than 20 of Mr. Churchill's faculty peers from Colorado and other universities found that he committed those acts. That's what got him fired.
Even great universities have problems. Places with thousands of faculty and tens of thousands of mostly young students are not immune to trouble. But a university's reputation will only be strengthened when it works to ensure that it remains accountable to those it serves."
Mr. Brown, a former U.S. senator, is president of the University of Colorado.
And then during an intellectual blogscuffle Jeff Goldstein disseminates another leftist professor of hypocrisy in a devastating online dissertation of the fallacy of race.
The strategy for race, as I’ve noted a hundred times, is to continue the work of demystifying the concept. The science we knew to be faulty after, say, 1936. But we’ve kept the program of “race” alive for various social reasons over the years — beginning with bigoted ones aimed at discriminating against blacks, and continuing on to those that now privilege certain protected “races” and identity groups over others, even as the decision on how we choose which “races” are in need of special dispensation seems random. Asians, for instance, aren’t granted minority status for purposes of race-based affirmative action — and yet the Chinese were used as indentured servants to build railroads. And the Japanese were in camps at about the same time that middle class blacks were beginning to thrive up north — and Jews were being shoved into ovens overseas......
My contention is — much like John Roberts’ — has been, for over a decaded now, that the way to end an overdetermination on race is, first, to get the government out of the business of (to borrow a certain professor’s formulation) “legitimizing” it.
It’s a hard habit to break, sure — particularly for those who might feel guilty about their successes. But as far as I’m concerned, it is the best strategy toward achieving a truly color-blind society, as well as one committed to the equality of the sexes (in terms of opportunity).
Again, nothing I’m proposing would do away with anti-discrimination laws. Conversely, what I’m calling for is an equal application of anti-discrimination laws — and for the Supreme Court to stop pretending that they are a set of philosopher kings who can decide how to shape social policy by lending credence to anti-liberal ideas like “diversity” as it is currently practiced.
It’s simple, really. Read the Constitution. Go from there.
My Mom and my Sister just moved to Colorado recently. Maybe they know something that I don't. Well, not maybe. They know a whole bunch of stuff that I don't.
Monday, July 23, 2007
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Monday, July 16, 2007
Saturday, July 07, 2007
Thursday, July 05, 2007
First off, I want to thank those who serve in the US Military for allowing us to celebrate another Independence Day. It is because of the sacrifice, courage and commitment of our Armed Forces that we are as a nation, Independent. Think about it. Our Armed Forces, the US Military, safeguards the great American experiment. We wouldn't have any independence to celebrate if not for their efforts. I got in to it with a friend of mine whose opinion I respect about the front page of the New York Times on the fourth this year. The top half was a picture of a sturgeon jumping out of the water (an incredible picture by the way), and the caption attempted to warn people of the dangers of boating during sturgeon mating season or something. I was annoyed that the New York Times couldn't at least attempt a half-assed tribute to the overall significance of Independence Day, and my friend sort of made fun of me for expecting that. I guess I expect too much out of the Ole Grey Lady to throw us independents a bone on Independence day, but this really annoyed me. Papers like the New York Times wouldn't exist without the sacrifices of soldiers like Marcus Luttrell and Danny Dietz, yet the great moral equivocator that is the NYT thought it would be more patriotic to warn people about jumping FARKING STURGEON then give a little tip O' the cap to America and those who make our independence possible. My friend said something along the lines of "what, do you want a flag across the whole page or something like USAToday?" and for lack of a better response I answered "well, yeah." What I never said, and wished I had was "I would hope that on the day that we celebrate the 200 -plus years of our countries INDEPENDENCE, that on this day the media would take the time to REPORT the things that people do to keep us INDEPENDENT."
That would of course require the New York Times to report something patriotic, which apparently is no longer allowed at that newspaper. I wonder if this has anything to do with their shrinking paid-subscription base. Probably not, but I'd be lying if I didn't hope so.
This brings me to TRANSFORMERS, the recent Michael Bay explosion adventure, that was executive produced by Steven Speilberg. I've been excited about this movie for about a year when they had a trailer teaser that showed the Mars Beagle Rover being accosted by a Transformer. Right then I knew that if they made this movie truly as horrifying as the idea behind the TRANSFORMERS made-for-kids cartoon about a technologically super-advanced alien race trying to destroy the earth, and Spielberg was in, this would be big.
I was not disappointed. We can give Bay a mulligan for Pearl Harbor now, because this movie was two and a half hours of what I want to see when I pay $9 for a movie about a technologically super-advanced alien race trying to destroy the earth. The special effects in this movie were like nothing I've seen in anything before, including Star Wars or the Matrix, for example. The robot characters gave the CGI effects room to really push the envelope in movie making, and there were several moments in the film where you really had to wonder- "did they actually build a walking thirty foot tall robot for this scene or what?". What I wasn't expecting was the simplistic nature of the message from the plot of the TRANSFORMERS story, that of the good guys defending the right of everyone to be INDEPENDENT and free from those bad guys who wish to destroy us and take our independence away, coming through in such a profound and meaningful way. I mean, this is a cartoon movie, right?
Well, since I was expecting Hollywood to ruin what I thought would be another Speilberg sleeper by making the moral of the story about global warming and how we all need to drive hybrids now or something; for them to make the moral about FREEDOM AND INDEPENDENCE without any moral-equivalency was probably my favorite part of the whole movie.
Well, that and the awesome frikkin' robot fights. I mean, come ON! They were AMAZING.
Here I was, annoyed with the New York Times for ignoring the Fourth of July, and a cartoon movie comes along and Hollywood picks up the slack. I was truly caught off-guard. So if you're looking for this summers "I have to see this one at the theater no matter what" movie, TRANSFORMERS will qualify handily.
Oh, and screw the New York Times. "More than meets the eye" indeed.
Sunday, July 01, 2007
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Crater Could Solve 1908 Tunguska Meteor Mystery
SPACE.comTue Jun 26, 6:46 AM ET
In late June of 1908, a fireball exploded above the remote Russian forests of Tunguska, Siberia, flattening more than 800 square miles of trees. Researchers think a meteor was responsible for the devastation, but neither its fragments nor any impact craters have been discovered.
Astronomers have been left to guess whether the object was an asteroid or a comet, and figuring out what it was would allow better modeling of potential future calamities.
Italian researchers now think they've found a smoking gun: The 164-foot-deep Lake Cheko, located just 5 miles northwest of the epicenter of destruction.
"When we looked at the bottom of the lake, we measured seismic waves reflecting off of something," said Giuseppe Longo, a physicist at the University of Bologna in Italy and co-author of the study. "Nobody has found this before. We can only explain that and the shape of the lake as a low-velocity impact crater."
Should the team turn up conclusive evidence of an asteroid or comet on a later expedition, when they obtain a deeper core sample beneath the lake, remaining mysteries surrounding the Tunguska event may be solved.
The findings are detailed in this month's online version of the journal Terra Nova.
During a 1999 expedition, Longo's team didn't plan to investigate Lake Cheko as an impact crater, but rather to look for meteoroid dust in its submerged sediments. While sonar-scanning the lake's topography, they were struck by its cone-like features.
"Expeditions in the 1960s concluded the lake was not an impact crater, but their technologies were limited," Longo said. With the advent of better sonar and computer technologies, he explained, the lake took shape.
Going a step further, Longo's team dove to the bottom and took 6-foot core samples, revealing fresh mud-like sediment on top of "chaotic deposits" beneath. Still, Longo explained the samples are inconclusive of a meteorite impact.
"To really find out if this is an impact crater," Long said, "we need a core sample 10 meters (33 feet) into the bottom" in order to investigate a spot where the team detected a "reflecting" anomaly with their seismic instruments. They think this could be where the ground was compacted by an impact or where part of the meteorite itself lays: The object, if found, could be more than 30 feet in diameter and weigh almost 1,700 tons-the weight of about 42 fully-loaded semi-trailers.
Caution for now
From a UFO crash to a wandering black hole, wild (and wildly unsupported) explanations for the Tunguska event have been proposed. Alan Harris, a planetary scientist at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado, said the proposal by Longo's team isn't one of them.
"I was impressed by their work and I don't think it's something you can wave off," said Harris, who was not involved in the research.
Longo and his team "are among the recognized authorities on Tunguska" in the world, Harris told SPACE.com. "It would be thrilling to dig up chunks of the meteor body, if they can manage to. It would lay the question to rest whether or not Tunguska was a comet or asteroid."
Some researchers, however, are less confident in the team's conclusions.
"We know from the entry physics that the largest and most energetic objects penetratehttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gif deepest," said David Morrison, an astronomer with NASA's Ames Research Center. That only a fragment of the main explosion reached the ground and made a relatively small crater, without creating a larger main crater, seems contradictory to Morrison.
Harris agreed that physics could work against Longo's explanation, but did note that similar events-with impact craters-have been documented all over the world.
"In 1947, the Russian Sikhote-Alin meteorite created 100 small craters. Some were 20 meters (66 feet) across," Harris said. A site in Poland also exists, he explained, where a large meteor exploded and created a series of small lakes. "If the fragment was traveling slowly enough, there's actually a good chance (Longo's team) will unearth some meteorite material," Harris said.
Longo's team plans to return to Lake Cheko next summer, close to the 100th anniversary of the Tunguska Event. "This is important work because we can make better conclusions about how cosmic bodies impact the Earth, and what they're made of," Longo said. "And it could help us find ways to protect our planet from future impacts of this kind."
Bryan over at HotAir has some interesting perspective
Here’s something you didn’t know and probably won’t care about: Before starting up Hot Air with the divine Mrs. M and Allahpundit I worked for the Hubble Space Telescope project, and among my last assignments there I produced a multimedia show about the Tunguska event. As those things usually go, I had to write a script about the 1908 event, in which something big exploded over a remote region of Russia and flattened about 800 acres of woods. Over the course of writing the script I researched the event extensively. By the end of it, I had become convinced that the thing that exploded was probably a comet that grazed into the atmosphere and detonated due to friction. But it could have been a porous asteroid too. Basically, it had to be fairly large but also fairly light, since it didn’t leave a crater but did leave a very large area of obvious devastation...................As for my multimedia show, for all I know it’s still playing in museums and planeteriums around the world. And if these guys are right about the crater, I was probably wrong about what caused it. But I wrote the show loosely enough, so I should be covered. It could probably use an update though.
It will be 100 years since Tunguska next year.
We still aren't doing enough to prepare for another impact. My normal rant about this usually ends with a link to the B612 Foundation. Check them out.
Once again. When. Not If.