Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy (*cough*hack*) New Year!! (*hack*)

I'm bringing in the new year this year at home alone thanks to a lovely chest-flu/cold/pneumonia/plague whatever that I've come down with since I came back from Denver. I spent about five days in Denver, shoveled snow for the first time in a decade or two, got fully adjusted to the altitude and then promptly got sick ever since I landed in Nashville.

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

Sandia Labs Analyzes The Tunguska Impact

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.


Movie 1
Movie 4
Movie 2
Movie 3
Movie 4
Movie 5
Movie 6
Movie 7
Movie 8

This study only further emphasizes the statement that I'm always freaking out about:

WHEN, not IF.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

George Soros Sleeps Soundly In Luxury While The People Of Rosia Montana Suffer

I recently received an update from a friend about the situation in Rosia Montana. To recap, a Canadian Mining company had offered to rebuild an abandoned gold mine in this impoverished village in Romania, Rosia Montana. Doing this would have brought jobs and economic prosperity to the village as well the added benefit of getting the old mine cleaned up. George Soros, who has investments in rival gold mining companies, organized opposition to the project via his Open Society Institute in Romania, working hand-in-hand with several non-Romanian NGOs against the project. For the complete story, visit here at the main page for Mine Your Own Business, a documentary about the sad situation in Rosia Montana.

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 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

Good job you stupid farking hippies.