Monthly Archives: February 2012

Space Chronicles: Neil deGrasse Tyson's New Book

i-7bd390062f3760739898800fe36380e2-9780393082104_custom.jpgNeil deGrasse Tyson has a new book out: Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier. It is (as one might guess) about space exploration, and assembles earlier speeches and writings with some new stuff. This is an interesting time to be talking about the space program, as NASA seems to be producing new results ever week, there are large and small space robots on their way to distant orbs, or soon to be launched, we are on the verge of understanding the potential of life on Mars on a basic level, we are finding more earth-ish Exoplanets and at the same time the sky is falling, or at least, trashed with litter from one of the most significant, direct and obvious side effects of the space program: We humans get to ruin not just the air and the sea and the land, but also, near space!

From a recent NPR interview:
Continue reading Space Chronicles: Neil deGrasse Tyson's New Book

The Government of the Netherlands Routinely Kills Netherlanders When They Least Expect it

Therefore, most people in the Netherlands don’t go to hospitals if they are sick. If they are sick they go to another country, because if they walk into one of the hospitals in their own country, they will be killed against their will.

I am not making this up. The man who has a better than 10% chance of being the Leader of the Free World swears this is true, and why would he lie?

See: Continue reading The Government of the Netherlands Routinely Kills Netherlanders When They Least Expect it

Vote for Something Good for Kids to Do

Budget Travel is running one of those ill-fated Internet Polls to help make a list of the top 15 places to go for kids before they are 15. Sort of like bucket list but instead of dying you turn 15. One small problem is that the Creation Museum of Kentucky has been intruding in the top ten, even top five, of this list. You need to go there and vote for something else! Like, all the attractions that you happen to like that are lower than the Creation Museum at the moment.

Click here to help save the Youth of North America from certain doom!

Republican Primaries: Let’s reorient

First, I want to remind you that I totally predicted the current situation with Santorum vis-a-vis Romney. Just so you know.

And, that situation is that Santorum has become a factor in the primary, and has had a steady position in the race, while Gingrich and Romney have sea sawed. Ron Paul is irrelevant.

But whatever has happened so far, this Tuesday is an important day in this primary process because Michigan is considered one of Romney’s home states, and that is one of the two loci of activity on that day. The other primary is in Arizona, which is almost the same size state (which I find shocking, by the way, but that’s the reality).

Following closely on the heels of this Tuesday’s two-state contest will be a quicky in Washington (small, non binding) and then Super Tuesday, with ten states running all at once. So, the nature and tenor of the candidacies and the overall process going into Super Tuesday will be important, making Michigan and Arizona important.

By way of orientation, let’s note the following: Continue reading Republican Primaries: Let’s reorient

Hiding in the Open: A Holocaust Survivor's Story

In September, 1939, Germany invaded Poland, and soon after Jews living in ghettos in Poland’s cities were identified, sequestered, rounded up, shipped off to work camps or concentration camps, and exterminated as part of what we know of today as the Holocaust. Several Jews managed to avoid being arrested by pretending to be something else, and some of those stories have been written up as histories or biographies.

One such story is that of Sabina S. Zimering. Sabina lives in the western suburbs of the Twin Cities today, and her grand daughter was in Amanda’s class a few years ago. Sabina has visited the school and spoken to the kids about her experience, and a few years ago she wrote her autobiography, called Hiding in the Open. (There is more than one book with a similar title.)
Continue reading Hiding in the Open: A Holocaust Survivor's Story

Politics and Death

I’ve had nothing to offer on the blog today because I was off doing political activism: Stuffing envelopes and discussing important policy positions and stuff. Then, Amanda and I went to a play, which was terrible. Well, actually, the play was great, but it was about a terrible topic in which almost everybody dies. Nice of the 9th and 10th graders to put it on for us!

I wrote that up and you might enjoy the discussion: Hiding in the Open: A Holocaust Survivor’s Story

Interesting gun-related facts

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1Yeah, right, I know, I know.

Where are we, anyway, exactly? NASA is working on that

Before our Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation devices can tell us where we are, the satellites that make up the GPS need to know exactly where they are. For that, they rely on a network of sites that serve as “you are here” signs planted throughout the world. The catch is, the sites don’t sit still because they’re on a planet that isn’t at rest, yet modern measurements require more and more accuracy in pinpointing where “here” is.

To meet this need, NASA is helping to lead an international effort to upgrade the four systems that supply this crucial location information. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., in partnership with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., where the next generation of laser ranging and radio interferometry systems is being developed and built, is bringing all four systems together in a state-of-the-art ground station.

This is interesting. Details here.