Daily Archives: March 19, 2009

Take Your God Pills and Grove to the Magic Song Brick…

Totally Stolen from onegoodmove

Cool Picture of Quadruple Tranist of Saturn

Here is the imagery, and below is some info for you Saturn moon watchers.

On Feb. 24, 2009, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope took a photo of four moons of Saturn passing in front of their parent planet. The pictures were taken by the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2, developed and built by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

In the new view, the giant orange moon Titan casts a large shadow onto Saturn’s north polar hood. Below Titan, near the ring plane and to the left, is the moon Mimas, casting a much smaller shadow onto Saturn’s equatorial cloud tops. Farther to the left, and off Saturn’s disk, are the bright moons Dione and the fainter Enceladus.

These rare moon transits only happen when the tilt of Saturn’s ring plane is nearly “edge on” as seen from Earth. Saturn’s rings will be perfectly edge on to our line of sight on Aug. 10, 2009, and Sept. 4, 2009. Unfortunately, Saturn will be too close to the sun to be seen by viewers on Earth at that time. This “ring plane crossing” occurs every 14 to 15 years. In 1995 to 1996, Hubble witnessed the ring plane crossing event as well as many moon transits, and even helped discover several new moons of Saturn.

The banded structure in Saturn’s atmosphere is similar to Jupiter’s.

Early 2009 was a favorable time for viewers with small telescopes to watch moon and shadow transits crossing the face of Saturn. Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, crossed Saturn on four separate occasions: January 24, February 9, February 24, and March 12, although not all events were visible from all locations on Earth.

These pictures were taken with the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 on Feb. 24, 2009, when Saturn was roughly 1.25 billion kilometers (775 million miles) from Earth. Hubble can see details as small as 300 kilometers (190 miles) across on Saturn. The dark band running across the face of the planet slightly above the rings is the shadow of the rings cast on the planet.

Norm Coleman, Cry Baby Senator, Impotent Inre Database Exposure

Paul Schemlzer has a writeup in Minnesota Independent covering the fallout from the exposure of the exposure of Norm Coleman’s donor database. Paul addresses the mean spirited Republican reactions to professional IT consultant Adria Richards, who…

…has been the target of anger from Coleman supporters, including some who had their personal information revealed in the Web site breach. She received a phone call on Friday from one such man. The caller was irate, offering the vague threat, “I live less than a mile away from you!” She later calmed him down.

This report makes it very clear that Adria Richards did nothing wrong. Nor did WikiLeaks.org. Read the details here.

Higher Education: We are shovel ready!

And I’m not talking about new building projects such as the Bell Museum, though such projects certainly are shovel ready as well.

I’m speaking about the simple fact that funding higher education, mainly by funding students, is one of the best possible ways to stimulate the economy.

The American workforce is under educated and under trained. This is almost always true to some extent, but in times when the centers of gravity in industry and business are shifting, it becomes even more true. The simple fact that the nature of the job market has changed dramatically over the last 20 years demands that we attend to this knowledge and training deficit. A couple of decades ago, we were a society in which most individuals in the workforce trained-up and learned-up for a career, engaged in the career, moved along, or up, in that career, and retired. Now, people often change careers a number of times, for good reasons and not because of any lack on their part. The old fogeys who run things include a lot of pre-transition lifers who do not viscerally understand this new dynamic. But these out-going power brokers are … well, outgoing. Or they are beginning to understand that the new normative career path is a zig zag for almost everyone.

Even without this change the American workforce is poorly educated compared to the European workforce. We are poorly educated compared to the Cuban workforce. Let’s not even talk about Canada and Japan.

So we need more education, and President Obama recognizes this, and during his Big Speech before the Joint Session of Congress said so. He told us that four years of high school is not sufficient for a patriotic American. We need to add to this a minimum of one year of college.

(I love the new patriotism!)

If I was the owner of a road construction company, and stimulus packages were being run through the legislative process in Washington, and the President called a Joint Session of Congress and announced that we would be adding one lane to every road in the nation …. (think about that for a second) … I’d be doing certain things.

I would not be cutting staff. Which is what some universities and colleges are doing. I would not be freezing hires. I would not be raising the cost of services at my business. I would not be panicking. All these are things we are seeing in higher education in one form or another, and it does not make a lot of sense.

Granted, if you live in a state with a history of Republican control, you have no way of knowing if the stimulus money distributed through the states will get to higher ed, because Republicans have long recognized that there is a correlation between education level and liberalism, and thus, they are afraid of education. Granted, if you are a private university that runs on endowments, then you are hopelessly lost in the quagmire that is the free market (during doldrums … to stir my aqueous metaphors). But don’t worry, your endowments will be kicking ass in a few year’s and you’ll own the world again.

But if you are a public university in an “Education State” with a populous supportive of education and a legislature that is not too dumbed down, it is time to paint the waiting room, start finding some extra classroom space, and run a sale on your services.

And most important, crank up the lobbyists and the grassroots power base that you presumably have been cultivating over the last twenty years or so in preparation for this sort of revolutionary eventuality.

(You have been working on that power base thing, right?)

There is some increase available in Pell grants. There is some retraining money that can go for tuition (this has been available for some time). But you will need to go to Washington and get more, because it is worth it. There are states and regions where education is such a big industry that stimultion in this sector alone can alleviate unemployment and enhance the local economy measurably.

And every new customer you get is equal to one or more new customers in every subsequent generation. Parents with college degrees want their children to have college degrees. The best long term investment a University or College can make is in a first-generation scholar. But only if it is done well.

We are higher education and we are shovel ready.

Republican Senator Calls for “Civil Disobedience” In Opposing Democrats and President Obama

This is interesting, if true, and it is mostly about legislation regulating access to reproductive services at the federal and state level.

I have a column written by conservative Charles Biggs that makes the claim that Senator Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma, is “telling us that if the federal government tries to lift all restrictions on abortion, our only option is to disobey that law” as stated by Biggs. Coburn allegedly used the phrase “Civil Disobedience.”

This is interesting because up to now the Republican position on “Civil Disobedience” has been that it is the same thing as Terrorism. (Evidence of what I just said can be found by clicking all over this sentence.)

Biggs goes on to quote the Senator” “The battle in Washington, D.C. is real … Every day in the Senate without Al Franken is a great day.” Coburn explicitly states that Franken is trying to “steal” the Senate Election from Republican Norm Coleman. Colburn states that if Franken is seated in the Senate, “Our way of life is threatened.”

Coburn is fond of using threatening language. Regarding legislation to decrease our dependence on hydrocarbon fuel sources, Coburn calls himself “Dr. Death” and he does, in fact vote against all such progressive acts.

Coburn is well known to be one of the most conservative Republicans in congress. He supported Alan Keys in the 2000 Presidential race, and has written a book detailing what he fears to be liberalization of the Republican Party by upstarts such as Newt Gingerich (Breach of Trust: How Washington Turns Outsiders Into Insiders).

Maddow mentions Coburn in this brief report. Which is very interesting:

Briggs’ story is here.