Monday, June 30, 2008

100 Years Later....

Today is the 100th anniversary of the 30-megaton explosion over a desolate Siberian Forest, known as The Tunguska Impact-

Via Wikipedia-

The Tunguska Event, or Tunguska explosion, was a massive explosion that occurred near the Podkamennaya (Lower Stony) Tunguska River in what is now Krasnoyarsk Krai of Russia, at around 7:14 a.m.[1] (0:14 UT, 7:02 a.m. local solar time[2]) on June 30, 1908 (June 17 in the Julian calendar, in use locally at the time).[2]

The explosion was most likely caused by the air burst of a large meteoroid or comet fragment at an altitude of 5–10 kilometres (3–6 miles) above Earth's surface. Different studies have yielded varying estimates for the object's size, with general agreement that it was a few tens of metres across.[3]

The Tunguska event is believed to be the largest impact event on land in Earth's recent history;[8] impacts of similar size in remote ocean areas would have gone unnoticed before the advent of global satellite monitoring in the 1960s and 1970s.

Photograph from the Soviet Academy of Science 1927 expedition led by Leonid Kulik.Image:Tunguska.png(Damage from the impact)

This particular anniversary at the very least would have been much more somber day had the impact occurred several hours earlier. As you can see from this picture, St. Petersburg lines up relatively close to the center of the impact on latitudinal lines.

Image:Russia-CIA WFB Map--Tunguska.png

I think it's safe to say that if this impact happened in a major urban area like St. Petersburg which it very well could have done, our priorities today in terms of space exploration and human survival in general would be very different.

There are positive signs from Congress
that NASA has been given the ok to start projects that are primarily designed to resolve the logistics behind altering the course of a potentially devastating earth impact. Let's hope this continues.

Happy "Thank God A Million People Didn't Die In One Impact" Day!

Friday, June 27, 2008

I Can't Believe I'm Saying This But.....CONGRESS FOR THE WIN!!!


House passes bill mandating a plan for asteroid warning and deflection, June 27, 2008

In recently passed H.R.6063, The U.S. House of Representatives would direct the NASA Administrator to develop plans for a low-cost space mission to rendezvous with the Apophis asteroid and attach a tracking device (subject to Senate approval).

The Apophis is expected to pass at a distance from Earth that is closer than geostationary satellites in 2029.

The bill would also require the Director of the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to develop a policy within two years for notifying Federal agencies and relevant emergency response institutions of an impending near-Earth object threat. And the OSTP would be required to recommend a Federal agency (or agencies) to be responsible for protecting the Nation from any near-Earth object anticipated to collide with Earth, and for implementing a deflection campaign.

This is extremely good news. NASA has been pretty much ignoring this issue while they concentrate on missions that excite people more such as trips to Mars etc. At the last senate hearings in November 2007- []- here is Scott Pace, from the Office of Program Analysis and Evaluation at NASA:

"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."

Well, here you go Mr. Pace. You have now been so directed. Get crackin'. As I said over at Gizmodo, PUT THESE GUYS ON THE JOB.


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Saturday Night Feast

Grilled sirloin with a grilled zuchini-squash-jalapeno-red chili paste mix. Side garlic bread....Bon apetit!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Friday Night Downtown Nashville......

TOP OF THE WORLD MA!!......or third floor downtown, whatever..

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Ladies And Gentlemen, I Give You Your 2008 NBA Champion Boston Celtics!!!!!

I'm barely able to type right now after listening to Kevin Garnett explain how winning this title was the same as finally laying out that bully at school, words can't explain.

But hey, I'll give you nine. Here are the nine players taken BEFORE Paul Pierce in the 1998 NBA draft...

1 Michael Olowokandi (C)
2 Mike Bibby (PG)
3 Raef LaFrentz (C/F)
4 Antawn Jamison (F)
5 Vince Carter (G/F)
6 Robert Traylor (F/C)
7 Jason Williams (PG)
8 Larry Hughes (SG)
9 Dirk Nowitzki (PF)

Take it home Paul Pierce......WOW, what a team......
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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Defense BEATS LA!!! AGAIN!!!

I wrote the following post four years ago before the 2004 Detroit Pistons proved all of the naysayers wrong by demolishing the three time champion Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal led LA Lakers in five games by playing THE BEST DEFENSE.

So did anyone else read this Bill Russell column in the Wall Street Journal?....

See, since I only have time to read one paper every day, I choose the Journal. I choose the WSJ mainly because they don't pretend to be unbiased. The paper is primarily concerned with money, and what it's doing. You can elaborate, which the Journal does and say the philosophy behind the paper is Free Markets, Free people, and you would be right. It isn't a coincidence that those two go together. You could criticize it and say that it's conservative/republican biased. I would disagree. Albert Hunt bashes Bush worse than anyone in the New York Times. There is always a "this is good, but" media balancing act in every front page political briefing. Free markets, Free people, that's the only bias.

As a bonus, The WSJ somehow managed to get Bill Russell, the Hall Of Famer (who won 11 NBA championships with the Boston Celtics in 13 seasons (1957, 1959-66, 1968-69)) to pen a column about the beauty of this years NBA Finals.


I'm not exactly sure if I'm breaking any laws here, but I want to post the whole article, with a link to the original, because after the absolute beating the Pistons gave the Lakers tonight, it almost writes itself. Keep in mind that Bill Russell rarely, if ever even grants interviews, never mind writing his own column.

Enjoy.........and buy a journal or something....

An NBA Finals Victory
Begins With Team Defense


June 8, 2004; Page D14

As we saw Sunday in Game One of the NBA Finals (the most exciting time of the NBA season), defense is the tiebreaker. Tonight, as the Los Angeles Lakers meet the Detroit Pistons for Game Two, defense will continue to be the key.

I always would rather play in and win a close game with unrelenting defense and a final score of 84-83 than a game where one team scores 120 points and wins by 15. Dunks and great passes are always exciting, and even so-called low-scoring games have their share of them. But nothing compares to the subtle beauty of a winner absolutely taking away the other team's "game."

Defense is an action, not a reaction. Great defense attacks an opponent's offense vs. reacting to it.

When I was playing for them, the Boston Celtics won an unprecedented 11 championships in 13 seasons, from 1957 to 1969, by embracing a team strategy that I call "team ego." Team ego recognizes the collective alignment of everyone's individual talents for the benefit of the team. Team defense wins games. Team defense -- that is, the coordinated efforts of five individuals -- wins championships. From high school to the NBA, I played 21 years of organized basketball and won 18 championships, including the record 11 NBA titles, by focusing on our being the better defensive team.

How does one team become the better defensive team?

Game One of the NBA Finals.

The most successful defensive teams understand one critical reality: All players have patterns of play. Wilt Chamberlain was bigger, stronger and faster than almost any center to play the game. When his team was on offense, Wilt like every other player had one particular place he liked to start his offensive pattern from. By simply "nudging" Wilt a few inches (any more would have tipped him off to what I was doing) from that "starting" spot, I quietly took Wilt out of his comfort zone of play.

Great defensive teams study the offensive patterns of every team and every player they play against. Great defensive teams understand the predictability of their opponents' offensive patterns. All great offensive players are predictable. Still, it's inconceivable that any team can always take away its opponent's first shot option or favorite move or favorite starting offensive position. But in team defense, the core operating principle is to reduce efficiency. Our game plan never varied, we could let our opponent's star offensive player score 35 points, but if we could take away Jerry West, Oscar Robertson or Walt Frazier's preferred shot and cause him to miss three, four, five or six shots...we believed that we could convert those misses into Celtic points.

This week during The Finals, try watching the Lakers and the Pistons differently. Watch for the team that builds its defense around taking away its opponent's preferred shots (its first option) or preferred shooting positions. Watch Kobe Bryant or Ben Wallace try to force their opponents into their second or third options. As we began taking our opponents out of their offensive comfort zone, our team would subtly begin backing up each other to compensate for these defensive changes. This team defensive effort was singularly what created the Celtics' records.

The second characteristic of great team defense is a team that understands the power of invisibility. I can admit this now, some 35 years after my last game: I used to get this great joy from having my opponents "look for me." Why? Because it distracted them and took them out of their pattern of comfort. Defense is about breaking your opponent's offensive patterns, breaking its concentration and subtly modifying its offensive schemes. Blocking shots, stealing passes and causing turnovers all distract its concentration. Team defense is as much a psychological strategy as it is a tactical weapon.

In the end, an offense feeds off of its defense. And effective offenses begin with effective defense.

Our Celtic style of play is timeless and will always be relevant. I see a number of players and teams in the NBA who understand the subtle art and science of defense. Wallace of the Pistons comes to mind. Ron Artest of the Indiana Pacers clearly earned the Defensive Player of the Year award. And while both Kevin Garnett of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Bryant of the Lakers are known for their scoring ability, they also are among the best players in shutting down their opponent.

It is no mystery why the Lakers, Timberwolves, Pistons and Pacers were all within sight of The Finals. Four of the five players named to the All-NBA Defensive First Team made it to the Conference Finals -- Wallace, Bryant, Artest and Garnett. In fact, the past 15 NBA champions ranked in the top five in at least one of the two major defensive categories (points and field-goal percentage) during the regular season or postseason.

I don't know who will win tonight, or if it will be the Lakers or Pistons to emerge as the 2004 NBA champions. But I do know how the eventual champion will arrive at the Larry O'Brien Trophy. Since the Celtics transformed basketball, defense wins championships.

Mr. Russell, who played for the Boston Celtics from 1956 to 1969, was named Sports Illustrated's Greatest Team Player on the Greatest Team of the 20th Century and is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame and the NBA's 50 Greatest Players.

Ladies And Gentlemen, I give you your 2008 NBA Defensive Player of the Year