Archive for February, 2008

Well, a fallen angel, at least.

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William F. Buckley, conservative icon for two generations, has passed away at age 82. I’m very sorry to hear that. I came to conservatism in my teens while reading National Review magazine and I’ve been a regular reader of the National Review website for years now. National Review Online has many friends and colleagues saying their goodbyes. He’ll be missed.

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What this town needs is a monorail! Maybe like this one in Seattle.

Seattle Monorail

Or maybe like this New York model!

New York World’s Fair AMF Monorail

Nah, I don’t really want a monorail. This is just an excuse to link to these nifty postcards from the Seattle Worlds Fair 1962
the NY fair of 1964/5 and Montreal’s Expo ’67 (which for some reason did not get a monorail. An outrage!) All were sadly before my time.

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I think he did a little too much LDS.

Vodpod videos no longer available. from youtube.com posted with vodpod

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Looks like a bullseye for the missile takedown of that dead spy satellite:

 [Marine Gen. James Cartwright] estimated there was an 80-90 percent chance that the missile struck the most important target on the satellite — its fuel tank, containing 1,000 pounds of hydrazine, which Pentagon officials say could have posed a health hazard to humans if it had landed in a populated area…

In addition to being really cool, it’s also an important, very visible demonstration of how far missile defense has come since the 1980’s.

Missile launch photo from this nifty U.S. Department of Defense – Photo Essay. One of a couple interesting links over at Hot Air’s post on this story.

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Nissan Figaro

New, Old, New?

Originally uploaded by ukjc07

A cool shot from one of my Flickr contacts. This is the retro-styled Nissan Figaro. A limited edition model sold only in Japan. Isn’t it cute?

Nissan Figaro on Wikipedia

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At least it is if you’re a reporter at CNN, and the dictator in question is retiring tyrant Fidel Castro:

Babalu Blog: CNN: Be kind to castro

Amazing. It’s practically a fan letter. As Babalu’s commenters note, CNN apparently did not tell their reporters to go easy on Pinochet, even though Pinochet actually salvaged Chile’s dysfunctional economy and eventually surrendered power voluntarily and allowed elections.

And I don’t see any signs that CNN is cutting Pakistan’s Musharraf any slack. He’s hardly a great guy, but he has been a valuable ally and instrumental in preventing Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal from falling into the hands of Islamic extremists. And unlike Castro, he has allowed real elections instead of the obvious shams which Castro has staged. It also appears that Musharraf will keep his promise to step down as President at the end of his term. That’s far more than Castro ever did.

Apparently Castro holds a special warm and fuzzy place in CNN’s heart of hearts. How sweet!

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3191: A Year of Evenings

A daily photoblogging project operated by two friends who live 3,191 miles apart, one in Portland, Oregon and the other in Portland, Maine.

via Photojojo

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Despite extra years and extra mileage, the new Indiana Jones movie looks like a lot of fun. Here’s the new teaser trailer.

Vodpod videos no longer available. from movies.yahoo.com posted with vodpod

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I’m not sure why this is a newsworthy issue, but there’s a news story about it linked from CNN today:

Space Station Crew Can Access Gun – Orlando News Story – WESH Orlando
Astronauts aboard the International Space Station apparently have access to a gun.

I’m not surprised. I always figured they had a weapon on board somewhere, either a handgun or something more exotic like a GyroJet rocket pistol.

There’s also a survey asking “Should the space station have a gun“. Right now it stands at 63% in favor and 37% against. I don’t know why 37% of the people feel that astronauts aren’t to be trusted with weapons, but for folks who think of firearms as Talismans of Evil I suppose no explanation is necessary. The wording of the question may also mislead some people who haven’t actually read the article into thinking that the ISS space station itself has a space laser gun attached (no doubt just like the one on the Death Star), which it doesn’t. At least not as far as you know.

The reason for having a gun aboard is a perfectly simple one:

Russian Cosmonauts carry a gun on their Soyuz space capsule, which is attached to the space station. Every spacecraft carries survival gear for crash landings, and the Russian Soyuz has a kit that includes the gun.

Unlike our own capsules, which were designed for ocean splashdown, Soyuz capsules actually set down on land, taking advantage of the huge wilderness areas of central Kazakhstan. That’s a big, lonely place. If a capsule set down outside the intended landing area, far from the waiting retrieval crews, the unlucky Cosmonaut aboard could very well need a gun to survive until he was rescued.

The article is mostly more sensational talk about dangerous rogue astronauts, etc. Even though it’s not very likely, I wouldn’t be surprised if that were a consideration among the Russians. They have more experience with long-term spaceflight than we do and at least one alleged instance of unstable astronauts. (They also have some history of real armed space stations, for that matter, which taken all together is not entirely comforting.)

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