On the carpet.... My Way News-Report: N. Korean Leader Regrets Test Naughty megalomaniacal dictator Kim Jong-il apologized to the Chinese for testing a nuclear device, and promised not to do it again. Kim agreed to return to regional talks if the U.S. would be nice. This shows what China could be doing to calm tensions in Asia and the Middle East if it wanted to.... Elsewhere... YouTube - chinese soldiers shooting tibetan pilgrims at mount everest ...it becomes evident that the Chinese have other business on their minds. This extremely graphic video [which, oddly, hasn’t made its way to any major Western news service] is making the rounds on the I/Net. It shows Chinese troops firing on a line of religious pilgrims making their way through the Himalayas. In sight of a group of European climbers, the Chinese methodically shoot pilgrims and leave them to die, with less consideration than an American cattleman might give to clearing out a pack of coyotes. Still elsewhere.... In China, Churches Challenge the Rules - washingtonpost.com ...the Chinese have started to crack down on private, non-government-sponsored Christian Churches, according to this WP story. Photos and video, apparently smuggled out of China, show Chinese troops demolishing a privately built Church with wrecking cranes in front of the congregation who had just completed it. Later, the Chinese troops evidently rounded up some members of the congregation for recording the demolition for the outside world to see. "They're absolutely lawless. They consider God to be the most powerful authority and ignore the law," a local official said of the congregation. Yeah, we have that problem with our Christians, too. [Acts 4:18-20 ] So you think your connection is slow.... Iran Bans High Speed Internet Iran has decided to put a lid on I/Net dissent and opposition, by making the I/Net really slow and boring. FOXNews.com - Florida Man Stabbed in Chest by Stingray What is it with the stingrays these days?! This one actually jumped into the boat of an elderly Florida man, and drove its stinger into his lung and heart when he tried to pick it up. As of yesterday, surgeons had removed most of the stinger from the man's chest, but there has been no further word on his condition that I can find. Too bad... FOXNews.com - Dow Industrials Close Above 12,000 for First Time ...it’s just a number. Now if we had some kind of “world civilization index”, to show where we rank between a world worth living in and murderous barbarianism and chaos, it might be a little more relevant. Of course, when everybody found out the planet has been in a perpetual depression throughout the 5,000 years of known record-keeping, the stock market would probably tank... Spaceflight Now |Breaking News | Antarctic ozone hole is a record breaker Of course, a relatively light seasonal Antarctic “ozone hole” was measured by the founder of the theory before chloroflourocarbon refrigerants were invented, and nobody knows what the overall cycle of the “hole” was like before that. Scientists appear to be struggling to explain why the phenomenon continues to set records for size and depth even though “the concentrations of ozone-depleting substances in the lower atmosphere (troposphere) peaked around 1995 and are decreasing in both the troposphere and stratosphere.” The intensity of the “hole” clearly varies with average yearly temperatures and numerous climatic factors. I have a feeling, though, that somehow the explanation for this record-setting Antarctic ozone season is likely to boil down to the ozone researchers being a whole lot smarter than the rest of us. Lunar lander prototype passes test- The New Space Race - MSNBC.com Carmack is still puttering about in the private spacecraft business, this time with a lunar lander concept vehicle. My memory of Carmack’s description of the Armadillo team’s attempt at the XPrize for a suborbital flight, using V-1/Redstone-style steering vanes, still gives me chills. Fortunately, the lander contest appears to involve only unmanned craft. http://hiroc.lpl.arizona.edu/images/TRA/TRA_000878_1410/Gullies-complete.browse.jpg This image, of gullies in the wall of a Martian crater, shows a interesting fun-fact about the MRO/HiRISE images. Only the middle 20% swath of each image is in color, mostly to aid mineralogical analysis according to the caption.