—A Very Bad Week, STS-121, ESA Venus Probe, Plame, A Bride Too Far, Variable Constants?


A very bad week….
My Way News[AP] – Hezbollah Captures 2 Israeli Soldiers
The Syrian-Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorists were evidently feeling left out of the kidnapping “moral high-road” position enjoyed by the Palestinian Syrian-Iranian-backed Hamas terrorists/government. Now the terrorists have launched missile attacks into the Israeli port city of Haifa, and Israel has twice attacked the Beirut airport. The violence threatens to escalate out of control, and destabilize the government of Lebanon in the process. The U.N., which can’t be bothered to censure Iran or North Korea for their undisguised nuclear intimidation of their neighbors, threatened to condemn Israel for its actions in Gaza, prevented only by a U.S. veto. Oil prices are at a new record high as the conflict escalates, and the U.S. stock market fell sharply.
My Way News[AP] – Iraq Gunmen Seize 24 People, Killing 20
More sectarian violence in Iraq, which may soon progress from wholesale slaughter of religious opponents toward outright civil war.
My Way News[AP] – U.S. Envoy: North Korea Not Cooperating
North Korea doesn’t seem to see any reason to do the whole “sanity” thing if no one else is.
FOXNews.com[AP] – No Charges Expected After 5 Kids Drowned in River at Church Picnic
An horrific accident in St. Louis, as five children drown in strong undertow currents trying to save one, who was rescued. It appears that four of the children were from one family.
The Church and ministries of evangelist Joyce Meyer conducted the Sunday outing. The grieving families, the evangelist, her associates and members of the Church should be remembered in prayer.

An especially bad week for civil transportation
FOXNews.com[AP] – India Stops Short of Accusing Pakistan of Train Attacks as Death Toll Hits 200
Eight crowded commuter trains in Bombay/Mumbai were attacked with bombs, killing almost 200 and injuring about 700. Kashmir separatist terrorists or Alquaeda terrorists, the result was pretty much the same. Pakistan condemned the bombings, but the terrorists are likely finding havens in the country.
FOXNews.com[AP] – Boston’s Big Dig Tunnel Still Closed After Woman’s Death
The roof of a Boston traffic tunnel fell on a car and killed the female passenger.
My Way News[AP] – Ill. Train Derailment Prompts Evacuation
Major commuter train left the tracks in Chicago and caught fire, resulting in 152 injuries, many from smoke inhalation.

STS-121
Spaceflight Now | STS-121 Shuttle Report | Astronaut: ‘We’re back, baby’
Discovery is safely on-orbit with no serious damage to its thermal protection systems, and NASA is beginning to conclude that the loss of Columbia is behind it.
Meanwhile:
FOXNews.com[AP] – NASA Mulls Duct-Tape Fix for Space Shuttle Problems
One of the EVA emergency propulsion packs started to come loose during the first of three EVA’s. NASA and astronauts contemplated whether to re-secure the pack—which is supposed to allow an astronaut to propel himself back to safety if he accidentally floats away from the spacecraft—with duct tape.
SPACE.com — Shuttle Crew Takes Day Off While NASA Eyes Glitches
The crews rested today, and had a large communal meal of Russian delicacies. NASA is looking into problems with two of the three APU’s, which power the Shutttle’s hydraulic systems for operation of aerodynamic control surfaces in the atmosphere. One unit seems to have a slow leak in its fuel system, while a backup heater has failed on another.

Venus Express ready for business
SPACE.com — Despite Balky Sensor, Venus Express Ready for Operations
The ESA’s Venus probe (see http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Venus_Express/) has completed its commissioning in Venus orbit. Unfortunately, the “Planetary Fourier Spectrometer”, which is supposed to measure surface and atmospheric temperatures and search for active volcanism, is stuck shut and inoperative.

Valerie who?
FOXNews.com – Novak: No Bush Administration Effort to Discredit Joe Wilson – The Executive Branch
The Plame leak “scandal” just won’t take off, but it won’t go away, either. Now Robert Novak refuses to play along. In apparent desperation to wring something out of the non-event, oddly coincident with Novak’s NYT op-ed on the “leaks”, Plame has filed a lawsuit against administration officials. The suit alleges, among other things, that the safety of Plame and her family was put at risk by the exposure. Since it has been repeatedly pointed out by many sources that Plame was not a covert operative, this safely exceeds my willing suspension of disbelief.

A Bride Too Far
My Way News – Man Is Fined Buffalo and Pig for Bigamy
Malaysia evidently allows a parallel justice system for its indigenous peoples along with civil and the Islamic sharia courts. A Malaysian Native Court levied the punishment because the man married a second wife without the permission of the first.
Many men in many places could have warned him….

Variable constants?
Scientists question fundamental laws – Space News – MSNBC.com
Studies of very distant, and therefore very ancient, quasars suggest that such “constants” as the speed of light and those affecting intranuclear forces may have changed over time. Sounds a lot like something I remember from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy about understanding the Universe.

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