Daily Archives: June 10, 2009

Let our mayor have more friends (and Sven)!

Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak, who by the way is a very effective and popular mayor, has reached the official facebook limit of 5,000 friends. And the funny thing is, these really are his friends! In the sense that RT actually uses his facebook account to interact with people. One of our local meteorologists (Sven) has also reached his limit. Both are asking Facebook to raise the limit, which would be very much in line with something Facebook had considered doing at an earlier time.

As far as fighting Facebook’s 5,000-friend limit, Rybak plans to continue his quest to get the company to change its ways.

“It’s one thing to deny the mayor of Minneapolis, but I don’t know too many people who can say no to Sven,” Rybak laughed. “I hope Facebook can’t.”

So, now the question is: Who’s going to create the “Let R.T. and Sven have more friends” group on Facebook?

Good question. Mike Haubrich maybe?

Stay tuned.

WISE Mission Assembled and Preparing for Launch

The Wide Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) has been all snapped together and stuff and is ready to be launched into outer space from Vandenberg in November. This will be a major eye in the sky for cosmology, since it will be able to see things that heretofore only space insects could see….

Details in the following NASA press release:
Continue reading WISE Mission Assembled and Preparing for Launch

The end of chiropractory

My understanding is that most people who go to chiropractors get either nothing, somewhat injured, severely injured, or even (now and then) chiropracted to death. Of course, the same could be said of doctors or health care systems in general: Many people do not walk out of the hospital alive. But, it is also my understanding that Chiropractory does not really offer anything that is medically beneficial and based on any kind of real research. But it continues anyway.

What has happened lately in Britian is that the lack of substantiation behind the claims of chiropractors has become a legal issue. This is causing British chiropractors to scramble, and apparently, they are taking down their web sites in a big hurry so that they can’t be caught making claims that are medically important to people but that have no basis.

I have one word for the British Chiropractors: Google Archive. Well, OK, two words, but who’s counting.

Is Tiller’s Killer’s Right Wing Christianity Relevant?

There is an interesting piece in Religion Dispatches pointing out that when the Muslim American killer of an army recruiter was being profiled in the press, his religion was identified as a key potentially motivating factor, but Scott Roeder’s religious connections are not being touched on to nearly the same degree in the discourse regarding his murderous activity.

On June 1, the New York Times ran a story, “Seeking Clues on Suspect in Shooting of Doctor,” an investigation into a little known anti-abortion activist, Scott Roeder, who’d been arrested for gunning down Kansas abortion provider George Tiller, as the latter handed out bulletins in the foyer of his Wichita Lutheran church. Apparently, Roeder caught the relevant civil agencies off guard. Though they knew of his outspoken anti-abortion views and his previous forms of protest, they did not consider him dangerous–a sentiment shared by Roeder’s fellow anti-abortion activists and family members.

As the Times headline suggests, there must have been something in Roeder’s background that everyone missed, which would explain why he crossed the line from protest to murder.

Read the piece here, it is very interesting.

White Supremacist Shoots Guard in Holocaust Museum (Update: Charged)

MORE UPDATES: The guard, Officer Stephen Tyrone Johns, shot earlier today by right winger von Brunn has died.

The 89 year old gunman, James Wenneker von Brunn 88, of the Eastern Shore of Maryland, shot one person, who is in grave condition in hospital. The gunman was himself shot by one or more guards and has also sustained life threatening injuries. Reporters on the street are saying he is not expected to live. The gunman was using a rifle.

D.C. police spokeswoman Traci Hughes said the suspect walked into the museum at about 12:50 p.m. ET with a rifle and shot a guard. U.S. Park Police Sgt. David Schlosser says one or more guards at the museum returned fire, hitting the suspect.

D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said the suspect immediately began shooting his rifle as he entered the museum. The FBI said it had no earlier reports of threats against the museum.

Gunman in critical condition
Authorities said the gunman was in critical condition and the security guard was in grave condition. Both were taken to George Washington University Hospital.

A third person reportedly was hurt after being cut by broken glass.

You’ve heard of this guy before. In 1981 he tried to take hostages at the Federal Reserve. he apparently has been an anti government activist, anti-semite, anti-tax/fed activist, armed terrorist, and I suspect a teabagger and a Republican.

This is one of the violent acts that was incited by Sarah Palin and John McCain, and the intellectual leaders of the Republican Party, Rush Linbaugh and Michel Bachmann, that we all feared . Your chickens are coming home to roost, bitches.

He has a website. This seems to be it. He also wrote a book called “”Kill the Best Gentile” which is a reference to a biblical passage in which god or somebody instructs somebody to … kill the best Gentiles. (A Gentile is a non-Jewish person.)

UPDATE: There was a press conference a few minutes ago. Von Brunn has been charged with murder, but not yet with any hate crimes or civil rights violations.

It turns out that the guard that was killed had seen the elderly Von Brunn coming up the stairs of the museum, and opened the door for him. That is when Von Brunn pulled a shotgun from beneath an overcoat and shot the guard at close range. One wonders if it is significant that the guard was African American, given that the killer was a well known white supremacist.

The FBI and DC police told us at the news conference that they did everything right. They also told us that they see no evidence of a conspiracy with others involved. They are working to piece together a minute by minute reconstructions of Von Brunn’s movements over 36 hours or so prior to the shooting.

Von Brunn remains in critical condition in the hospital.

Here is an interview with Sara Bloomfield, director of the Holocaust Museum.

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Minnesota’s Own Planetarium

Some time ago there began an effort to build a state of the art Planetarium and Space Discovery Center in Minnesota, most likely in Minneapolis. These plans have been set back by the usual forces, but are nonetheless moving ahead. (It certainly is a good thing John McCain did not win the election, or all Planetaria would be DOOMED!)

Well, now, the movers and shakers behind the planetarium have arranged an event intended to raise awareness of their project. Here are the details, and I hope to see you there!

Summer Solstice Celebration
Monday, June 22
4:00pm – 8:00 pm
Minneapolis Central Library
300 Nicollet Mall

This event is co-sponsored by the Library Foundation of Hennepin County. Here is your chance to — travel past the Sun out into the universe through the Society’s ExploraDome sky theater, that has been wowing school kids throughout Minnesota — learn something new about astronomy and telescopes from the Minnesota Astronomical Society, and — expose your kids to the world of Astronomy through astronomically-related games. We also hope you’ll take this opportunity to see the future site of the Minnesota Planetarium and learn more about how we can make it a reality.

ExploraDome shows will be held on the half-hour. The dome holds 25 at a time, so reservations are recommended. To reserve your spot, please send your name, phone number and time (by the half-hour) to the sally@mplanetarium.org OR 651-999-7300.. The 6:30pm show is a special presentation in Pohlad Hall featuring our planetarium colleagues live from around the world, and is open to all.