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Hubble’s final servicing mission

Posted on May 18th, 2009 at 19:42 by John Sinteur in category: Great Picture


On Monday, May 11, after months of delays and preparation, NASA’s Space Shuttle Atlantis launched from the Kennedy Space Center on the final servicing mission to the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope. The seven crew members left Florida for low Earth orbit at 2:01 pm, for a scheduled 11-day mission, including 5 days of Extra-vehicular activity (EVAs) to work on the Hubble. So far the repairs appear to be going very well – the final EVA is scheduled for today, and the landing planned for May 22nd. I was fortunate enough to attend the launch at Banana Creek viewing area, and wish to extend my gratitude to all the people at NASA. (Only one of the photos below is mine) (31 photos total)


An STS-125 crewmember onboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis snapped a still photo of the Hubble Space Telescope following grapple of the giant observatory by the shuttle’s Canadian-built remote manipulator system. (NASA) #

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  1. I love the images Hubble sends back. I have a library of them for my computer’s wallpaper, in fact. I’m just not sure that it’s worth spending the huge amounts of money and risking the lives of our astronauts to keep this running for another few years at best is worth it. According to Newsy.com, the telescope has returned a lot of scientific information beyond pretty pictures, but I still don’t know how useful that information will be while we can’t even put another man on the moon, much less distant stars.

  2. I assure you the information is very usefull. The hubble has litterally changed our entire view of the universe.

    check out this link for detailed info

  3. Yeah, I didn’t mean to imply it’s not returning useful information about astronomy, but rather that’s actually applicable in industry or something closer to home that can be put to use on planet earth. There’s something to be said for astronomy and astrophysics, it’s just that I usually see it relegated to its own special division that doesn’t seem to relate that much to the rest of our lives.

  4. Don’t look at just the practical results of just Hubble, astronomy or astrophysics, look at the whole package. All the technology invented just to be able to do the service mission they now did has given us more spin-offs than you can possibly think of. Space has always been an investment that paid off big.

The 13 people who made torture possible

Posted on May 18th, 2009 at 16:49 by John Sinteur in category: Foyer of Ennui (just short of the Hall of Shame)


On April 16, the Obama administration released four memos that were used to authorize torture in interrogations during the Bush administration. When President Obama released the memos, he said, “It is our intention to assure those who carried out their duties relying in good faith upon legal advice from the Department of Justice that they will not be subject to prosecution.”

Yet 13 key people in the Bush administration cannot claim they relied on the memos from the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel. Some of the 13 manipulated the federal bureaucracy and the legal process to “preauthorize” torture in the days after 9/11. Others helped implement torture, and still others helped write the memos that provided the Bush administration with a legal fig leaf after torture had already begun.

I don’t understand Obama. Does he mean that Hermann Goering and Rudolf Hess would have walked if they had said “that Nazi lawyer there said it was legal” during their trial?

Oh, and guess who’s number one on that list of 13!

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  1. Isn’t there some kind of corollary to Godwin’s Rule that says that if you need to invoke the Nazis in your post to make your point, you just shouldn’t bother to post it?

  2. Good question. Is there also some corollary of Gowdin’s Rule that says that the Nazis are the worst that ever happened and nothing should ever be compared to them?

  3. Okay, another question – seriously – is it really a valid argument that these guys get off the hook for war crimes because they got some legal advice that said it was alright? Is that all it takes? Remember, “war crimes” was one of the complaints against Goering et al as well, so the comparison really is valid…

  4. What I heard Obama say is that the rank and file personnel serving in the field who actually physically implemented the “enhanced techniques” will not be prosecuted for their actions. This is entirely distinct from the people who ordered these tactics.

    If you had wanted to make a reasonable comparison, I think it would have been with German soldiers who made the famous claim that they were “just following orders”. Whether or not that comparison holds is a non-trivial discussion.

Compromise Usually Means Nobody’s Happy

Posted on May 18th, 2009 at 12:20 by John Sinteur in category: News


What the majority of Americans want is Medicare for All

What for profit insurance companies and their well paid executives want is mandatory purchase of coverage by all Americans (if there has to be any change at all).

What many politicians and most business owners want to do is lower costs.


Here’s the thing. What most Americans want turns out to be the thing a bunch of economists say would be the best thing.

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  1. Indeed, compromise is a negative word. I hear it being used as a positive thing all the time in corporate settings in America. It is an aspect of the ‘political correctness’ nonsense that has become so prevalent here (and, from what I’m hearing, is starting to be imported by other countries too).

    Why do we need to pick a compromised solution over the best one? Just to avoid hurting somebody’s feelings? It is even worse when the compromise turns out to be worse than either of the original suggestions, as is often the case.

    I don’t want a compromise on something like medical care – I want the best solution for the people using the service, which in turn will most likely be the best solution for the country as a whole. But that’s unlikely to happen…

  2. Usually compromise happens when people don’t agree what the best solution actually *is*.

  3. I find it interesting that “to reach a compromise” has a positive meaning, while “being compromised” has a negative meaning.
    Maybe we should change the wording and in these cases should say: the proposed solution has been compromised.

    Then we would see what really happened.

Database of all children launched

Posted on May 18th, 2009 at 12:14 by John Sinteur in category: Privacy, Security


A controversial database which holds the details of every child in England has become available to childcare professionals for the first time.

ContactPoint, a response to Lord Laming’s report following the death of Victoria Climbie, is beginning its national roll-out in the north west.

But the system, costing £224m, has been delayed twice amid data security fears.

The government says it will enable more co-ordinated services for children and ensure none slips through the net.


It says 390,000 people will have access to the database, but will have gone through stringent security training.


More than 51,000 children deemed vulnerable will have their identities and information shielded, the government says, after fears were raised that information about children’s whereabouts could fall into the wrong hands.

My guess: all the children of politicians are amongst that 51,000.


Melchett: Now, I’ve compiled a list of those with security clearance, have you got it Darling?

Darling: Yes sir.

Melchett: Read it please.

Darling: It’s top security sir, I think that’s all the Captain needs to know.

Melchett: Nonsense! Let’s hear the list in full!

Darling: Very well sir. “List of personnel cleared for mission Gainsborough, as dictated by General C. H. Melchett: You and me, Darling, obviously. Field Marshal Haig, Field Marshal Haig’s wife, all Field Marshal Haig’s wife’s friends, their families, their families’ servants, their families’ servants’ tennis partners, and some chap I bumped into the mess the other day called Bernard.”

Melchett: So, it’s maximum security, is that clear?

Blackadder: Quite so sir, only myself and the rest of the English speaking world is to know.

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Posted on May 18th, 2009 at 7:45 by John Sinteur in category: Great Picture


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Intelligent Design: Where politics, religion and stupidity intersect

Posted on May 18th, 2009 at 7:37 by John Sinteur in category: Pastafarian News



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Faith healing

Posted on May 18th, 2009 at 7:33 by John Sinteur in category: Pastafarian News


A Weston woman, accused of praying instead of seeking medical attention for her dying daughter, suffered a medical emergency as her homicide trial got under way but appeared OK about 30 minutes later.

Her case is believed to be the first of its kind in Wisconsin involving faith healing in which someone died and another person was charged with a homicide.

And you know what happened when this lady became ill in the court room? Did they pray for her? No. Judge Vincent Howard ordered court security to call 911.

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Posted on May 18th, 2009 at 7:20 by John Sinteur in category: Funny!


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Posted on May 18th, 2009 at 6:13 by John Sinteur in category: Cartoon

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