That's when Greenpeace started to care for the humpbacks

Sunday afternoon, television time. Guess where these lines come from:

Q: "Are you sure you won't change your mind?"
A: "Is there something wrong with the one I have?"

After which the meaning of some 20th century profane expressions are misunderstood by a 23rd century alien with pointy ears, resulting in the fact that "The hell I did!" means "Yes!", and "The hell I didn't!" is also interpreted affirmatively.

The story intensifies because all the time, a 400 Ton cargo consisting of two whales (one pregnant!), together with a rather large amount of their natural environment, needs to be transported 2 centuries further in order to make the mammals communicate with a piece of rock that is floating above Earth and sucking its natural resources away. The whole logistical effort needs to be performed at tremendous speeds, yet still demanding minimum energy levels.

Are you warped yet? I was, long time a movie made me laugh like that.

Ok, in order to minimise the risk of being fisked by some passer-by ST-IV disciples, I am a Star Trek virgin. By the time they aired the series 18 years ago, mom always used to call us into the kitchen for evening dinner.

I did suffer from low (or long, depending on your point of view) attention spans however, once Counselor Troi came in ...

Link goes to a site where you can find a bigger picture. Out.

20:18 Gepost door Flint | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |


Looking up

Yesterday there was this:

According to scientists, the picture reaches back to the Universe's "Dark Ages", before the first stars formed. 

But those not privileged to see the image as it is processed at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, US, will have to wait until February to see the image in what will certainly be one of the scientific highlights of the decade.

I was looking forward to it, so today, this came as a little shock:

Nasa is halting all space shuttle missions to service the Hubble Space Telescope - a move that will put it out of action within four years.

It shouldn't have come as a shock though, because (in the same article):

The shuttle is also gradually being wound down, and virtually all remaining flights until it goes out of service in 2010 will be used to complete the International Space Station.

Aw. We have a saying for this: "choose or share" ... .

More on space: if you want to know more about the do's and do-not's of the new space policies, Rand Simberg has --again-- a very interesting post up in which he explains how things should be viewed, without losing touch with reality:

It's [the Crew Exploration Vehicle or CEV. -- ed.] a supersized Apollo capsule. We have an existence proof that we know how to build them. It will be easier now than it was forty years ago, honest. If we need a separate lander to get down to the lunar surface, we know how to build those, too. It's even possible to develop things in parallel, though I suspect that only the capsule will be required for the 2008 date, so they have something to replace the Shuttle capability for crew transfer in 2010.

Stuff to read.

Related links: I know it's old news, but due to rather busy weeks I try to catch up on things in the weekend, so if you haven't read,  heard or viewed Bush's announcements, I think you should. It's history.

16:32 Gepost door Flint | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |


Keep them pumps pumping

Between some weekly ironing sessions, this not-so-breaking-news from Instapundit is very refreshing:

EVERYBODY KEEPS EMAILING ME this story about mustard gas being found in Iraq. It appears to be genuine, but it's hardly news: Saddam gassed people, after all, so we know he had WMD. (Just ask Bill Clinton!) And I don't intend to make a big deal out of this discovery, because I never regarded WMD as the main reason to go to war. The real reason to go to war was (1) to establish a military and democratic presence in the Arab world (which we've done); (2) to make an example of Saddam to intimidate other Arab leaders (which we've done); and (3) to cut off Saddam as a source of support -- both existing and potential -- for terrorists, which we've also done. The WMD was a nontrivial issue, and required for playing the UN game (which I always regarded as a mistake) but not, to me, the most important issue.

The WMD was an alligator, but the point of the exercise is to drain the swamp.

In comes the Vast Left Wing Conspiracy:

"Yeah, but they were buried like, ten years ago, they're not of any use now."

"Hey, c'mon, those were used in the war against Iran."

"Blister agents aren't really WMD's, are they?"

14:09 Gepost door Flint | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |


Moon, Mars, Madness?

Interesting quiz: Should there be a manned mission to Mars?

Not hindered by any nuances in the question, I'm with the majority of the voters; it really isn't an easy task to put humans on an 6 month trip --or longer-- towards a very high level of uncertainty, not to speak of the possible adventures while trying to return.
To quote Rand Simberg in his own comments to a post about G.W.Bush's announcements this week:

I fearlessly predict that no part of the announced policy will include a space elevator.

What he said. No harm in dreaming of it though is there?

15:59 Gepost door Flint | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |


We fowndem!

[Title inspired by a title running on the frontpage of a left orientated Belgian newspaper a couple of weeks ago, saying "We gaddem!"]

Ivan Janssens links to a Dutch article saying "the" WMD can be found in Syria (article in Dutch, go to the Reason.com link in Ivan's post if you will):

AMSTERDAM - De Iraakse massavernietigingswapens, voor de Verenigde Staten vorig jaar de voornaamste reden de oorlog tegen Irak te ontketenen, lijken terecht. En wel in Syrië. Een hoge Syrische inlichtingenofficier heeft gedetailleerde gegevens hieromtrent doorgespeeld aan een landgenoot in ballingschap. De dissidente journalist Nizar Najoef - die in 2000 in gevangenschap de Unesco-prijs voor persvrijheid kreeg toegekend - speelde zaterdag een brief en landkaart met de exacte locaties van zeer geheime bergplaatsen door aan De Telegraaf.

Urban legend? Hoax? Or just a low trick from the newspaper to boost sales?

My brain is running out of fuel at this moment, but knock yourselves out and start your own wargame by thinking about the nays and the yeas of the above. And remember, everything is possible these days.

22:11 Gepost door Flint | Permalink | Commentaren (2) |  Facebook |


Closer to Mars

The first picture that came in, to be found here, and go here to find a more detailed one. It really is amazing when you look at the detail in it, it's almost as if you're there already, looking over the horizon.

Additional links: the Mars Exploration Rover website, and here's the Beagle Blog. Let's hope professor Pillinger's team is on route towards a little more luck.

17:46 Gepost door Flint | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |


Coffee breaks

Recently I added this spiffy "subscribe"-button from Bloglet, which very spiffingly doesn't seem to work and doesn't seem to send any blogposts at all. All advice will be very much appreciated.

The idea of setting up something among the lines of new posts being e-mailed to you is indeed brewing in the dark edges of the mind. In case you don't have the daily newspaper at hand during coffee breaks .. hum.

16:20 Gepost door Flint | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |

Egypt: wreckage spotted in Red Sea


An Egyptian charter plane with about 141 passengers and crew has crashed after disappearing from radar screens, according to airport officials.

Interesting fact:

A UK Government spokesman told the BBC that the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, was safe and well. He has been on a family holiday in the Sharm -el -Sheikh area since before Christmas.

Looking at the latest week in relation to terror threats and airplanes being grounded, we seem to enter a rather heated start of the New Year.

If the Europeans would finally decide to help out in the War Against Islamofascism in 2004, the analogy with World War II wouldn't be that farfetched ... .

Additional: from the reader's comments on the BBC-article:

... although there have been occasional issues with Boeing aircraft in the past, it is a bit early to rule out a terrorist attack at this stage. It will be some months if not years before we can be sure of this and I hope the Egyptian Civil Aviation Safety Agency takes advantage of international assistance in its investigation.
[Name omitted]

Those are exactly my thoughts. On top of this, I'm not inclined to take France's, nor Egypt's word for it as the news trickles in.

08:54 Gepost door Flint | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |