Category Archives: Uncategorized

Kepler Space Ship Death Imminent

The Kepler Space Ship, is this, via NASA:

The centuries-old quest for other worlds like our Earth has been rejuvenated by the intense excitement and popular interest surrounding the discovery of hundreds of planets orbiting other stars. There is now clear evidence for substantial numbers of three types of exoplanets; gas giants, hot-super-Earths in short period orbits, and ice giants. The challenge now is to find terrestrial planets (i.e., those one half to twice the size of the Earth), especially those in the habitable zone of their stars where liquid water might exist on the surface of the planet.

The Kepler Mission, NASA Discovery mission #10, is specifically designed to survey our region of the Milky Way galaxy to discover hundreds of Earth-size and smaller planets in or near the habitable zone and determine the fraction of the hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy that might have such planets.

I heard something rather mind blowing about the hunt for planets elsewhere, and I’ve not followed up on it. Apparently, every single one of the one thousand or so plantery systems that have been found follow a similar pattern, except for our. The large planets (like Jupiter) are close to the sun, the smaller Earth-like planets are farther out, beyond the Goldilocks Zone. In other words, rather than the plethora of planetary systems signaling a high probability of life elsewhere, it may in fact turn out that the Earth-like scenario is very rare.

The Drake Equation now looks like this, if true: Continue reading Kepler Space Ship Death Imminent

Terrorist Bombers Caught!

The terrorists who bombed a Bloomington Minnesota Mosque last year have been caught. See the headlines:

Huh. No headline.

Well, anyway, it happened, and it is a strange, Coen Brothers-esque story, and people on my Facebook page are figuring it out. Bottom line: Trump people blew up the mosque to send the Muslims a message and make them want to leave the country.

First, the basic story, from today’s Star Tribune: Continue reading Terrorist Bombers Caught!

Something is Rotten in South Minneapolis

I like to think of myself as part South Minneapolitan. This is because I lived there for several years and adopted it as my community. A large part of me would prefer to live there than any other part of the Twin Cities.

So, I write this post with sadness as well as anger, because the fundamental core of society and politics in South Minneapolis — intelligent politics of inclusion and caring — have been sullied by stupid, selfish, and craven politics.

This is a complicated mess, and it will require some background for those not in the know about our local esoteric political system. If you already know everything about SD62 and recent events there, skip right to the big block of quote down below, and ignore my preface. Continue reading Something is Rotten in South Minneapolis

Cheap Book Alert: Lyndon Johnson by Doris Kearns Goodwin

I’ve previously suggested Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream by Doris Kearns Goodwin as an excellent, and in some ways very very different, biography of Lyndon Johnson. As I then noted, I’ve been reading about, shall we say, other, presidents. Not a lot, just a little, for sanity’s sake.

Anyway, Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream is currently available in Kindle format for 2.99, which is a great deal on a top notch book. I assume this is for a limited time.

And, as long as I’m pointing out one cheap book, have a look at this:

Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error

Mueller Indicts 13 people

That’s 13 Russians and 3 Russian entities.

The document filed in the US District Court for DC is HERE.

This appears to be a key but closely circumscribed moment in the Mueller investigation. No Americans are knowingly doing anything bad here. This is just the Russian campaign to manipulate social media etc. to shape an election, which we apparently believe they are continuing to do for 2018. This looks more or less like the end-game for that particular problem (though that does not mean that there won’t be more indictments.)

I have no idea, and I think this is generally the case, if an of these individuals or entities are in the US and/or can be actually arrested.

Some paraphrasing from the document, referring mainly to the first two counts, which are the big deal counts with all the jucy information in them, to give you an idea: Continue reading Mueller Indicts 13 people

President’s Daily Brief

Sometime after World War II, it became increasingly apparent that intelligence gathered by a growing number of US federal agencies needed to be part of the day to day policy decision making practice of the President. As the intelligence agencies themselves evolved (from the OSS to the CIA, in one lineage, for example) the idea of a Director of Central Intelligence, or later, Director of National Intelligence, would create an interface between all the agencies and the President also evolved.

I’ve been reading The President’s Book of Secrets: The Untold Story of Intelligence Briefings to America’s Presidents by David Priess. I think I got turned on to the book because I saw the author on MSNBC and it sounded interesting. And it is. The book chronicles the early development and long term evolution of what we now know of as the President’s Daily Brief. Continue reading President’s Daily Brief

Impeachment Party

Donald Trump is never going to be thrown out of office by Congress. Here is what is going to happen. In November, between 30 and 50 seats in the House of Representatives will switch from red to blue. (I’ll have a more detailed and regularly updated prediction on that later on, but that’s my rough guess for now). That will turn the House Democratic, and they will be able to impeach. But in the Senate, there simply are not enough seats up for grabs to turn the Senate super-Blue. There is a pretty good chance that the majority will be Democratic. Or maybe not. But you need a super majority to convict and thus toss out an impeached POTUS. Continue reading Impeachment Party