—AIDS in Africa, Titan Lakes?, Zamboni-ing Drunk, Minnesota Broke, STS Near Disasters, Vapor Off Japan, Impactful Comet Encounter, and other stories


“Sabbatical 2005: AIDS and Africa”
The pastor of our local church reports on his visit to Uganda, where a missionary family from our church is stationed. It isn’t clear that most Americans fully appreciate what this, and a growing number of other devestating epidemic diseases are doing to the people of Africa. Some of us may even be unsympathetic to what is rapidly becoming the ultimate horror story of our time. There is a better way to look at the situation.

Cassini-Huygens: Titan Lakes?
A sequence of images from Titan’s south pole, showing movement of bright clouds and a peculiar “footprint” shaped region which might be the long-awaited evidence of a body of standing liquid on the surface.

Zamboni-ing Drunk:
There just have to be a whole bookful of jokes one could make about driving a Zamboni drunk, if one had a sense of humor. No word about what it was like to skate on the resulting surface—perhaps an earthquake would be necessary.

Minnesota Government Closes Down
They were unable to agree on a budget. The obvious danger in all of this is that, beyond the missed pay for government employees, nobody will notice—or worse, that life in Minnesota will actually improve.

NASA Reviews Past Near-Disasters With Shuttle
“…near-catastrophic problems have cropped up at least one in 10 shuttle missions to date.”
“You know, there is not a lot of difference between a close call and an accident.”
The answer, according to STS managers, is a “close call awareness” program.
[Fox News TV is advertising special return-to-flight coverage for Saturday, including an interview with Story Musgrave. I can’t find a refence to it on the web, or further details.]

Strange Vapor Cloud Erupts from Ocean Near Japan
A “…3,300-foot-high column of steam rising from the Pacific Ocean off a small Japanese island ” has been sighted. Volcanism? This time, guys, when the giant radioactive lizard shows up, aim for the zipper.

NASA Probe Has an “Impactful” Encounter:
Impactor Movie of Collision
Movie of Collision from Flyby Spacecraft

Yes, I also am sick to death of collision puns associated with the “Deep Impact” mission. Spectacular pictures, though. The movie on NASA Select TV shows more clearly the initial, almost spherical shock wave and flash from the impact, followed by comet stuff spewing out in plumes. The kinetic energy released was estimated equal to about 5 tons of TNT. Now if I could just get my horoscope to settle down….

Iraq Insurgents Learn New Trick
They are reportedly now attacking representatives from other Arab countries, to discourage Arab cooperation in Iraq’s reconstruction. It makes the heart soar to see such a world vision—oh, brave new… oh, wait….

Teenager on Trial for Developing “Sasser”
Now 19, the perp is on trial in Germany for developing the malicious code as a minor. The worm scans and exploits specific system vulnerabilities. Ten years ago, the little monsters would have slipped out to Wal-Mart for a $1.98 can of spray paint and made bad words on the wall of their schools. Now, they want to “gain fame as a programmer ” by busting up other people’s computers.

Isaiah 3
14 The LORD enters into judgment against the elders and leaders of his people:
“It is you who have ruined my vineyard; the plunder from the poor is in your houses.
15 What do you mean by crushing my people and grinding the faces of the poor?”
declares the Lord, the LORD Almighty.

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