Friday, July 27, 2007

It's Been a Bad Week

...for flying things including two helicopters, the Dow, and the people at the Mojave branch of Scaled Composites.

The record NASA has for flight safety has been bought at the expense of speed. NASA cancels flights more often than it makes them anymore. Three astronauts died while sitting on the launch pad, including Gus Grissom. Fourteen have died from Shuttle disasters, including the seven of Challenger who started upward and failed; and including the seven of Columbia who died during a reentry accident.

Three accidents in almost 40 years indicates a caution so far beyond normal, I wonder why people don't speak of it more often.

I hope that the people at Scaled Composites don't lose heart of what amounts to a pretty normal industrial accident.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Leading the Way

Let me state right up front that I greatly admire The Sideshow, Avedon Carol's web log.

I especially admire the recent drive to publicize opinions favoring the impeachment of the criminal conspiracy that passes for a government in the United States. The people who are trying to destroy the constitution must be stopped. Avedon is doing her best to make that plain.

I salute her.


WalMart is selling beach flip-flops that may cause severe skin problems in some people:

The upshot of this story is when a WalMart representative tells the injured party to go take it up with the Chinese manufacturer.

Um. Better to skip all WalMart products that are not made in the USA. WalMart's addiction to the cheap labor of China is detrimental to a healthy US economy, and their shoving of health care onto local government wherever they can is even worse.

WalMart. Stay away if at all possible.

Friday, July 20, 2007

"The Eagle Has Landed"

I watched the 1969 moon landing with wonder. I followed it as much as I could. The future was happening, and I had lived to see it. At 4:17pm EDT, we celebrate the Eagle, which landed 38 years ago today.

One thing that the Heinlein Centennial** did was renew that hope that I may yet see us take real steps to live off planet. Dr. Peter Diamandis, an inspiring speaker, has the firm intention of being on the moon to welcome NASA back -- when they get there.

Michael Griffin spoke of the steps NASA is taking to move us toward a moon base. I hope that we continue in this direction -- especially since its abrupt inception derailed Hubble maintenance; and I really have enjoyed Hubble's pictures of the universe. Michael Griffin's entire talk can be found at:

And an excerpt thereof:

We need to go -- or we shall surely go extinct too soon.

[crossposted at the Mockingbird's Medley ]
** Please note that the Centennial web site states:

"This event was the effort of a group of Heinlein scholars and admirers that was assembled for the sole purpose of enabling the celebration of Robert Heinlein's 100th birthday in grand style. We are a unique entity and not associated, in any form, with any other group or institution.

We are not connected with the Heinlein Prize Trust,
the Heinlein Estate or the Heinlein Society."

Bush's War on U.S. Constitution

George Bush's War on the Constitution entered a new phase.

More lettres de cachet, more oubliettes, more guilty folks on the word of GWB and his henchcritters.

When will this stop? When will our Congress grow a collective spine?

Indict Cheney. Impeach Bush.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Free Stories to Read

The winners of the Heinlein Centennial story contest are available as a PDF for download at:

The top four stories were awarded cash prizes at the Centennial Gala on 07/07/07.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


I posted a version of "La Marsaillaise" on Bastille Day. The more I looked at it, the more I realized that the chorus of that version was much tamer than what I rememebered. Wikipedia has a much more complete version.

The chorus looks like this:

Aux armes, citoyens ! ......To arms, citizens!
Formez vos bataillons ! .....Form your battalions!
Marchons, marchons ! ......Let us march, let us march!
Qu'un sang impur ............May tainted blood
Abreuve nos sillons ! .......Water our fields!

Much better. Much ... bloodier.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Indict Cheney First

Did he encourage the outing of Valerie Plame, and then let ol' Scooter take the fall for it, knowing that Bush, who would kill women and retarded men, would pardon the In-Crowd White Boy? He accepted his office at the hand of old Fat Tony Scalia, who did not recuse himself when the Black Robed Gang of Nine stuck its nose into the Florida election process prematurely. He shot a hunting buddy and hid out so his blood alcohol would have returned to zero when he reported to law enforcement.

High crimes? Misdemeanors? Oh yes.

Once this evil bstrd is gone, then we can impeach Bush.


The King of France habitually used lettres de cachet (rather like declaring a citizen an "enemy combatant") to imprison those he wished. An associated term you should know is "oubliette" -- rather like solitary confinement without the protection of habeas corpus. Google Jose Padilla for a modern interpretation.

The people of France did the right thing:

Aux armes, citoyens!
Formez vos bataillons!
Marchons! Marchons!
Qu'un sang impur
Abreuve nos sillons!

La Marseillaise

Ye sons of France, awake to glory!
Hark! Hark! the people bid you rise!
Your children, wives, and grandsires hoary
Behold their tears and hear their cries!
Behold their tears and hear their cries!
Shall hateful tyrants, mischief breeding,
With hireling hosts a ruffian band
Affright and desolate the land
While peace and liberty lie bleeding?
To arms, to arms, ye brave!
Th'avenging sword unsheathe!
March on, march on, all hearts resolved
On liberty or death.

Oh liberty can man resign thee,
Once having felt thy gen'rous flame?
Can dungeons, bolts, and bar confine the?
Or whips thy noble spirit tame?
Or whips thy noble spirit tame?
Too long the world has wept bewailing
That falsehood's dagger tyrants wield;
But freedom is our sword and shield
And all their arts are unavailing.
To arms, to arms, ye brave!
Th'avenging sword unsheathe!
March on, march on, all hearts resolved
On liberty or death.


Written by Rouget de Lisle, a young officer in the French army
stationed in Strasbourg in 1792. It was played at a patriotic
banquet at Marseilles, and printed copies were given to the
revolutionary forces then marching on Paris. They entered Paris
singing this song, and to it they marched to the Tuileries on
August 10th. Ironically, Rouget de Lisle was himself a royalist
and refused to take the oath of allegiance to the new
constitution. He was imprisoned and barely escaped the

Happy Bastille Day

[crossposted to Mockingbird's Medley]

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

More Centennial

One of the neatest things happened at Registration. A man came up to the table wearing a pilot's uniform, dragging luggage, and brandishing a magazine. "I read about Heinlein in this National Review article in the airport. Then I got to this hotel and I looked at the board downstairs and it said you were here! The Heinlein Centennial is going on, right here. You are going to make my whole weekend. I'm so glad that I can be here!"

He then paid for registration before he ever went to his room and dropped his luggage. It's a real pity that the National Review and Reason extracted information from Centennial staff without mentioning that there would be a celebration.

Beware of journalists. All of them. Their word is as bad as their reporting.

The Heinlein Centennial

Read it from someone who was there. Urbangora, a lefty political blog, was on the ground at the Centennial for several days. Tom tells you what he saw.

Friday, July 6, 2007

On My Way

... to the Robert A. Heinlein Centennial in Kansas City, MO.

There is not formal blogger panel there, but they do have a track of do-it-yourself programming where someone will likely set up a blogging gathering. One of the premier Illinois bloggers will be documenting the event.

Here -- let someone else tell you about it while I put the last things in my suitcase!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Where's The Logic?

Unexploded car bombs in England and a threat in Glasgow that the US was "warned about two weeks ago" means that all security in US airports has to be increased?

Where is the logic?

I think they just enjoy jacking with us. These activities actually increase feelings of insecurity -- and I think they are intended to.

I wouldn't travel by air this week for anything. Not because of threats, however; but because of unnecessary "security" that does not make anyone more secure.