Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Just What Did Flatten 800 Acres Of Forest In Tunguska?

Some new evidence is out. Apparently they found traces of a 160 foot deep crater close to the main impact site.

Crater Could Solve 1908 Tunguska Meteor Mystery
Dave Mosher
Staff Writer
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.

Submerged evidence

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.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Smoked BBQ Addiction Continues

This weekend's smorgasbord consists of Chipotle Tabasco Marinated Smoked Ribs, Smoked Turducken Breast, and Garlic Beer Butt Smoked BBQ Chicken.

Looks good, no?

And now I need a nap.

Friday, June 22, 2007

"It's Not The Years, Honey, It's The Mileage."

Oh man I can't WAIT! Indy is by far my favorite movie character, and Raiders of the Lost Ark is always in my top five all time favorite movies. Here's the latest news on the finale to the Indy series, currently under production..

The Man With The Hat is Back
June 21, 2007

For the first time since 1989, Harrison Ford dons the familiar costume on Thursday, June 21, 2007, as the upcoming Indiana Jones adventure begins production under the direction of Steven Spielberg. The new Indiana Jones movie is set in the 1950s and stars Shia LaBeouf, Cate Blanchett, John Hurt, Ray Winstone and Jim Broadbent. The Lucasfilm Ltd. production will be released by Paramount Pictures worldwide on May 22, 2008.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Victims Of Communism- Are Atheists Responsible?

We hear a lot about Islam, the so-called "Religion Of Peace", being used as the justification for many non-peaceful acts by its adherents lately. And rightfully so. There have been some horrific murders of innocent people where the murderers used the word of the prophet as justification for their actions. I think God was pretty clear about the whole "thou shall not kill" commandment if you are a Muslim, Christian or Jew. And there is no denying that Muslims and Christians have killed "in the name of God" time and time again throughout the history of their religion. I have always argued that until Islam has a reformation that marginalizes the fundamentalists the way that Christianity has, they will continue bastardizing the whole point behind their religion. And by the way, Islam means "submission to God" not "peace", just for future reference.

But what gets lost in the religion-bashing we hear today is that irreligious people have caused just as much if not more suffering throughout history.

Today, via Tim Blair I came across the following article by Robert Royal about the new Victims Of Communism Memorial that was just dedicated in Washington. Here are some excerpts-

Remembrance of Deaths Past — and Present
By Robert Royal

Tuesday, June 19, 2007, 6:13 AM

We often hear these days about the problems and misdeeds of “organized” religion. We much more rarely hear about the arrogance and downright atrocities of organized irreligion. Yet during the twentieth century, self-proclaimed scientific atheism in the form of communism killed 100 million people. As the old Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky used to say, people consider the Spanish Inquisition a blot on Christian history. And beyond doubt, it is. Yet the Inquisition killed, over three centuries—and after legal proceedings that are not ours, but were not mere show trials either—about as many as the Soviet Union killed on an average day. The high body counts of international communism were and continue to be a huge blot on the history of human rationality.

And I'll go so far as to say that the Islam has yet to catch up to what communism was responsible for today as well. As horrific as killing in the name of God is, killing in the name of "the collective" has a much higher body count.

Some have not forgotten the significance of these facts. A memorial to the Victims of Communism was dedicated in Washington on June 12. If you have not heard about this event, at which President Bush spoke, among others, it’s no surprise. It was a front-page news story in the conservative Washington Times but appeared only in the Style section of the Washington Post. The New York Times has been beside itself for years about some hundreds of U.S. detainees in Guantanamo and reports of possibly secret prisons in Europe, which may be why it had no space for remembering the tens of million who perished in the gulags, the forced famines, and the re-education camps. Of course, our self-styled paper of record once had space for reporters like Walter Duranty, a Stalin apologist, and Herbert Matthews, a fan of Fidel. It’s just possible that the Gray Lady is reluctant to revisit the cases of victims it missed earlier.

An "inconvenient truth" indeed.

To be fair, the problem does not exist only on the left. Lee and Ann Edwards, longtime conservative intellectuals and the leaders of the effort to remember communism’s victims, spent more than ten years trying to find the money to create a museum on the Washington Mall that would be the moral equivalent of the Holocaust Museum. The result: After truly heroic efforts, they raised only $1 million (the largest proportion from the Vietnamese)—or, if you do the simple math, about one cent for every life lost to an evil ideology that still controls one-fifth of the world’s population. The dinner the night of the dedication of the memorial drew several hundred people, as such events do in the capital. Still, many who should have been there were not.

Hey, not everyone has time to honor the millions of people senselessly slaughtered by "the collective". They have articles to write about the latest atrocity at Guantanomo. You know that they were out of paprika the other day down there? The HORROR!!

William F. Buckley and Sen. Scoop Jackson (posthumously) received awards for leading resistance to communism when it really mattered. Joe Lieberman and Elena Bonner, widow of the great scientist and dissident Andrei Sakharov, spoke eloquently of the responsibilities to defend freedom. Bonner added that the 100 million “victims” figure is actually way too low. That figure only counts the dead. Tens of millions more, who will never be counted, had their spirits crushed, their minds numbed, their bodies destroyed by communism. And yet there has been no great outpouring of support to remember an ideology that committed a singular crime against humanity—even among those who hated it.

This is what ceases to amaze me. History has proven that this ideology is a failure resulting in death and misery for those unfortunate to be a part of it. YET IT IS STILL in practice in one-fifth of the world.

This listlessness is, frankly, puzzling and worrisome. Several years ago, Tina Rosenberg, a journalist and MacArthur Fellow, remarked that fascism and communism were not really parallel cases, because communists were trying to do the right thing. Many public intellectuals during the Cold War disputed precisely this fine parsing of Marxism, which was not matched by an equally fine appreciation of democratic systems. I don’t know whether all those voices are now consumed in the struggles with Islamic fundamentalism, but, besides a few old warriors like Richard Pipes and Paul Hollander, a whole swath of our intellectual class was absent from the commemoration.

One begins to wonder if the reason for this absence is the fact that people don't want to admit that their wrong. The constant drumbeat of anti-americanism and anti-capitalism has conditioned many people to forget that the only other systems practiced on a large scale were unfathomably worse.

Most worrisome of all, though, was the absence of all but a few religious leaders. Those present were mostly from former communist nations. Ever since Voltaire’s Ecrasez l’infame, militant atheism has not just been incidentally antireligious. Martyrdom appeared once again in Europe in the French Revolution and continued, on and off, until the last days of communism on the Continent. The easy assumption that faith and secularism are really after the same things and may readily coexist, which took hold in the West in the 1960s, has always been a doubtful proposition. There are forms of secularity that are tolerant and even welcoming of religion, but the more usual form of unbelief is ideologically committed to eliminating belief. Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens may never have at their diposal security forces to round up troublesome believers, but not for lack of conviction that we are “child abusers” and dangerously delusional. Their kind of reason has deeply intolerant impulses. Benedict XVI has rightly pointed out that one consequence of paying attention to modern martyrs may be “the convalescence of reason.”

As the saying goes, if you don't stand for something you'll fall for anything. I don't have a problem with people lashing out against murder committed in the name of their religion, but the opposite appears to be just as bad if not worse.

Religious leaders used to be alert to threats from militant nonbelievers. But in the 1960s, many lost the scent. Indeed, quite a few of them tried to make nice with nasty communist regimes at the time they were still persecuting Jews and Christians. In recent decades, there’s been a noticeable embarrassment among many leaders about having to point out the clear violations of religious rights that continue in communist countries. It’s easy to take up, say, the cause of illegal immigrants in America, harder—in certain circles—to talk about Christians in Cuban or Chinese prisons. It may be a slight stretch, but it seems that anti-anticommunism has survived the heyday of communism itself.

That’s why the memorial to the Victims of Communism is so important. We need to remind ourselves and others of the most extensive political oppression and slaughter in human history. Until more funds are available, the Edwardses have adopted a several-phase plan. Next is a “virtual museum,” which is still not a bricks-and-mortar space where you can feel what it’s like to be surrounded by the artifacts of an evil time. But at least the virtual museum will offer serious information and exhibits. Some day we may come to our senses and discover resources to honor properly the victims and warriors in an epic battle we and allies in dozens of nations won. This is not merely a matter of historical justice: If we do not get the accounts clear about the twentieth century, we will have failed in advance to come to grips with various worrisome currents that continue in the West, largely unnoticed, into the twenty-first.

We in America do not have the perfect system. Our politicians are just as corrupt in some places as those in say China. We have a lower class that struggles to put food on the table every day, whilst the upper class throws out more every day than they could possibly eat. There are homeless people that walk by mansions as they look for a handout. Coporate fat-cats regularly strive for profits at the expense their workers, and exploit resources in horribly wasteful means. We are far from perfect as a nation.

But the reality is, there aren't any other countries of our size performing any better. For all of our faults, people still try to come to the US by the millions every year. Cuban people are willing to risk shark infested waters with dangerous currents just to get our shores so they can have the opportunities they don't have at home. The country that has to build walls to keep people out will always be preferable to the one that has to build walls to keep them in.

I think the main reason why our country succeeds is because of the fact that religion or non-religion is neither enforced nor coerced. People can worship as they see fit, and others can mock religion as they see fit. They are both welcome here and are part of the fabric of our country. I may not like the guy that feels the need to submerge a crucifix in urine to make a point, or the guy that tells me I'm going to hell because I drink, but they are both necessary to keep a balance between the two.

I feel that lately many atheists have had good reason to bash religious fundamentalists for inflicting suffering on innocent people. They need to remember that atheist "fundamentalists" have plenty of blood on their hands too.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Jessica Alba And I Have Something In Common

wants to experiment sexually and is interested in having a one night stand with another man, in hopes that this man leaves the following morning with no questions asked and no snuggle time.


I want to have sex with Jessica Alba.

This is a win-win! She gets what she wants, and I get to have sex with Jessica Alba! What could be better for both of us than this?

Here is what COULD be a picture of her leaving my aparment the morning after we have a consensual, non-binding one-night stand.

Courtesy of The Sun Online..

STUNNING actress Jessica Alba says she is up for a one-night stand - as long as the man leaves the next morning. The curvy 23-year-old, who was recently romantically linked to Hollywood hunk Mark Wahlberg, likes the idea of getting intimate with lots of different people because she loves experimenting in sex. She told Cosmopolitan magazine: "I just wanted to see what it was like to be with different people. I don't think a girl's a slut if she enjoys sex. "I could have a one-night stand, and I'm the kind of girl who looks over in the morning and is like, 'Do you really have to be here?' I don't need to cuddle and do all that stuff because I know what it is and I don't try to make it more. "I feel like a lot of women try to make it into more, so they don't feel so bad about just wanting to have sex. I don't really have a problem with just wanting sex. Never have. "Even when I was a virgin and wanted to marry the first guy who I slept with, I never passed any judgments about that. But now I'm done with dating around."

I promise I won't want to snuggle the next morning. Nope. Once I wake up to that I'll be kicking her out the door foah shooah!

Beat it woman! Get out mah house!

Call me Jess! I'm in the book!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Army of David's Just Ate Themselves

It's the same reason Ned Lamont got spanked by Joe Lieberman in the last election. It's the same reason why Christopher Hitchens completely annihilates the useful idiot Christopher Hedges in the following video (brought to you courtesy of Zombie,read here for the full breakdown of this debate -

Here's the money quote from the above video-"I ask you: You pick that kind of relativism, you'll also find you're dealing with a very surreptitious form of absolutism, which is only capable of describing as fascistic relatively comical forces (who I've denounced up- and downhill all my life in the United States), but cannot use the word totalitarianism about the religion that actually conducts jihad, actually organizes totalitarianism, actually inflicts misery, pain, unemployment, and despair upon millions of people, and then claims what it has done as the license for suicide and murder. A perfect picture [gesturing towards Chris Hedges] has been given to you of the cretinous relationship between sloppy moral relativism, half-baked religious absolutism, and the journalism that lies in between. "

The Left is eating itself.

And it just happened here in Nashville, regarding the recent dismantling of Brittney Gilbert and Nashville Is Talking.

The right simply hasn't been online long enough to do it to themselves, and I suppose it's inevitable just like any other facet of human nature.

But at this point, to borrow a phrase from Charles Johnson,

"Leftist Blogosphere Reaches Bottom, Digs.."

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The 40 Year Anniversary of the Six Day War

Today is the 40th anniversary of what is known as the Six Day War, in which the Israeli people decided to eliminate the Arab military forces that had gathered around their borders in a massive pre-emptive military campaign. The initial air strike by the Israeli Air Force destroyed the majority of the Egyptian Air Force, which had been primarily supplied by Russia. Hours later, the same strikers attacked the Jordanian and Syrian air forces, as well as one airfield in Iraq. By the end of the first day, nearly the entire Egyptian and Jordanian air forces, and half the Syrians’, had been destroyed on the ground. This pre-emptive attack disabled the Arab Military forces that were on their way to erase Israel from the map. Without this attack, the Israeli Nation would not be here today.

There are two articles worth reading about this anniversary today. The first, courtesy of Little Green Footballs, is a link to the TIME coverage of he Six Day War from the day it happened. It's interesting to read the article and notice that not once in the entire article is there a mention of the Palestinians.

This is because the "Palestinians" didn't exist back then. They were Arabs that belonged to either Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon or Syria. Here is a pre-1967 map of Israel, notice that there is no Palestinian nation listed.

The TIME article is fascinating for a number of reasons, but the most stunning is the unabashed conclusion at the end of the article that seems to justify Israels actions without any consequence.

In the last analysis, though, it was the Israeli military virtues of superb tactics and timing, its professionalism in the martial arts, that turned an Arab defeat into a classic rout likely to be studied with admiration at war colleges the world over. Beyond those tangibles there looms the dedication of the Jews, forged in thousands of years of dispersions and persecutions, their inviolable determination to ensure modern Israel's survival as a nation. "Everybody fought for something that is a combination of love, belief and country," said Moshe Dayan at week's end. "If I may say so, we felt we were fighting to prevent the fall of the Third Temple."

It is hard to imagine this today, but TIME during the Six Day War supported Israels right to defend themselves.

The other article worth reading in regards to this anniversary is the following editorial from Brett Stephens in the Wall Street Journal, "No Pyrrhic Victory". It's subscription only, but I'll post the excerpts that are the most significant here.

This act of military pre-emption helped save Israel from what Iraq's then-President Abdul Rahman Aref had called, only several days earlier, "our opportunity . . . to wipe Israel off the map." Yet 40 years later Israel's victory is widely seen as a Pyrrhic one -- "a calamity for the Jewish state no less than for its neighbors," according to a recent editorial in the Economist.

And the alternative was?

The Six Day War is supposed to be the great pivot on which the modern history of the Middle East hinges, the moment the Palestinian question came into focus and Israel went from being the David to the Goliath of the conflict. It's a reading of history that has the convenience of offering a political prescription: Rewind to the status quo ante June 5, arrange a peace deal, and the problems that have arisen since more or less go away. Or so the thinking goes.

Yet the striking fact is that all of Israel's peace agreements -- with Egypt in 1979, with the Palestinians in 1993, with Jordan and Morocco in 1994 -- were achieved in the wake of the war. The Jewish state had gained territory; the Arab states wanted it back. Whatever else might be said for the land-for-peace formula, it's odd that the people who are its strongest advocates are usually the same ones who bemoan the apparent completeness of Israel's victory in 1967.

And no post about Israel and the Six Day War would be complete without my personal favorite explanation of the current situation regarding Israel and the surrounding Arab nations than the excellent article written by the comedian Larry Miller in the Weekly Standard, "Whosoever Blesses Them"-

Chew this around and spit it out: Five hundred million Arabs; five million Jews. Think of all the Arab countries as a football field, and Israel as a pack of matches sitting in the middle of it. And now these same folks swear that if Israel gives them half of that pack of matches, everyone will be pals. Really? Wow, what neat news. Hey, but what about the string of wars to obliterate the tiny country and the constant din of rabid blood oaths to drive every Jew into the sea? Oh, that? We were just kidding.

Thank God that Israel defended itself 40 years ago in the manner it did.

HaShem Yitbarach Eretz Yisrael!