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Craig Conley's Blog

A MELLOW BOMB

12/20/14 at 04:57 AM

As I watched the Moon set the other morning, I was reminded of how fortunate we are to have another celestial body so close to us. We need to go back to it and do more exploring. That thought brings to mind an idea I’ve explored before. Jules Verne’s ‘From the Earth to the Moon’ incorporated a gigantic cannon drilled into the Earth and loaded with guncotton to fire a projectile to the Moon. Someone suggested we do the same thing, but use Hydrogen bombs in one of the deep salt tunnel formations found in the desert, and launch 250,000 tons of stuff into high Earth orbit. All sorts of flaws came to mind…not the least was the crushing acceleration the projectile would have to endure (not to mention being irradiated). But I had a thought. You know the gunpowder in rifle (or artillery) shells is not the same thing as the explosive charge in the warhead, right? They had to figure out how to lower the burning rate or it would blow up the barrel when they pulled the trigger. So they added stuff to make the gunpowder slower-burning. We could do the same with the Hydrogen bomb in the bottom of the salt tube. We already use neutron-absorbing control rods to limit the reaction speed in nuclear reactors. Why couldn’t we just mix in...

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ELOCUTION

12/18/14 at 04:17 AM

This is something which needs addressing. Elocution is defined as ‘the manner of public speaking’, or simply, the way you pronounce your words. Too many times lately I have heard people slur their words; bury them in obscure mannerisms or local colloquialisms, with the result that they’re difficult to understand. That’s not a recipe for successful communications. Another pet peeve of mine is people who talk to you without projecting their words…they mumble quietly, only hearing what they’re saying inside their own head, and it’s almost impossible to catch what they mean. Some folks think they’re being ‘cool’ by shortening words or phrases, reducing them to the ‘texting’ acronyms (e.g., BRB, LOL, etc.), or utilizing symbols in place of words (e.g., 24/7 for ‘all the time’). The whole texting phenomenon is contributing to this breakdown of communication. In a previous blog entry, I wrote about how the black community distances itself from the larger white community by segregating itself; using its preference for its native black culture. This is especially true when it comes to speaking. Sometimes their laziness when it comes to pronunciation makes it really hard to follow what they’re saying…slurring their words, leaving out pronouns or articles, kind of mushing their speech together. If anyone wants to make a success out of their life in today’s business world (or elsewhere), they need to master the art of elocution. Speak clearly…cleanly…crisp and proper pronunciation of the words...

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RACIAL INEQUALITY

12/16/14 at 04:50 AM

This subject is touchy, to say the least. But perhaps it’s time to take a look at the basic inequalities of the races. On the one hand, from a higher perspective, all men are equal. There is no denying that…we are all human and all have the divine spark of intelligence in our eyes. Yet there are stunning differences in our behavior and our lifestyles. These differences work against us all living together as one mass. In every city in the US (if not the world) black people (and the other races as well) tend to congregate in one area. There is an old adage, “Birds of a feather flock together”, and that is a truth that has been tried and true down through the ages. When this racial ‘clumping’ occurs, cultural characteristics emerge which favor that particular race. These characteristics sometimes make it difficult to integrate with another race’s characters or behavior. This is not ‘racism’, this is variety. Right now, in the Western world, the white race is the dominant race. We don’t forbid the inclusion of other races – in fact we legislate and mandate that it be free for all to join in – but allowing other behaviors and characteristics to join us doesn’t mean we are going to change our style to suit theirs. If they want to join ours, then they can…but they must understand...

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NEW HORIZONS

12/14/14 at 04:49 AM

After a voyage of nearly nine years and three billion miles - the farthest any space mission has ever traveled to reach its primary target - NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft came out of hibernation recently for its long-awaited 2015 encounter with the Pluto system. Moving at light speed, the radio signal from New Horizons - currently more than 2.9 billion miles from Earth, and just over 162 million miles from Pluto - needed four hours and 26 minutes to reach NASA’s Deep Space Network station in Canberra, Australia. Since launching on January 19, 2006, New Horizons has spent 1,873 days - about two-thirds of its flight time - in hibernation. Its 18 separate hibernation periods, from mid-2007 to late 2014, ranged from 36 days to 202 days in length. The team used hibernation to save wear and tear on spacecraft components and reduce the risk of system failures. On July 14th, 2015, the spacecraft will make its closest approach to the dwarf planet Pluto. I, for one, am tremendously excited. I never cared much for the Astronomical Union authorities degrading Pluto from planetary status simply based on size considerations alone. It may be small, but at times it travels within the orbit of Neptune; i.e., it’s actually closer to the Sun than Neptune is for a fairly long time during its orbit around the Sun. That certainly should elevate its status to that of a full-on planet. Anyhow, this approaching spacecraft has several cameras onboard…one telescopic long-range camera and one compact multicolor camera...

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FAME

12/12/14 at 04:29 AM

I watched ‘The Queen’ the other night; it’s about what the Royals did in England when Princess Diana died. Good movie with Helen Mirren. But it brought to mind the incredibly high price that fame brings with it. Princess Di may have been taken with all the attention which came her way when she first joined the Royal family, but it soon got out of hand. Toward the end, she could not get a moment’s privacy. The dreaded paparazzi hounded her at every turn; waiting on motor scooters outside her hotel, following alongside her car, always with the clicking of cameras to catch her in every pose. The paparazzi were, of course, being paid…editors of magazines and newspapers would pay tremendous money for a hitherto unpublished shot of the lovely Princess, and all the picture-takers had to do was snap a shot of her with their camera…there was great competition for the best or most intimate pics. But no one apparently gave a damn about the horrid inconsiderateness they were causing to the lady. Maybe they justified their rude behavior by saying that ‘she wanted the fame so this is the price’, but I’m going to wager that she didn’t want all that fame all that much…especially near the end. I’m going to come down on condemning the paparazzi. I think they are loathsome weasels; scoundrels bent only on greed and selfishness, and every time I see them chasing...

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RIGHT WING UTOPIA

12/10/14 at 04:15 AM

The Right-Wingers are getting louder; prepping for the 2016 elections. I’m a science-fiction writer so I’m allowed to speculate about stuff; let’s imagine what life will be like once those guys take control. The Lord’s Prayer will be recited (along with the Pledge of Allegiance) at the start of every schoolroom class; girl’s dresses will not be cut above the knee; and every school will have armed guards in a bunker situated near or under the flagpole. Mandatory membership in the NRA will be required for every family member, and church on Sunday will be expected, though not required (only frowned upon if you don’t attend and tithe appropriately). All forms of contraception will be forbidden and there will never, ever be another abortion. Sex will only be for the purposes of reproduction and same-sex unions or marriages certainly won’t be allowed (since they don’t reproduce and run contrary to well-established biblical teachings anyway). All foreigners, i.e., blacks, browns, Asians, and especially Russians will be deported back to the countries they came from. Taxes will be reduced to the level required to build and maintain a massive strong military; welfare payments will be stopped; there will be no government-sponsored medical programs; food stamps will become a thing of the past...

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CHRISTMAS CARDS

12/08/14 at 04:01 AM

Have you sent out your Christmas cards yet? It’s that time of year again. It can be quite a task. Especially if you’ve got a lot of friends. It’s strange; I have so many people I send Christmas cards to, and yet I never communicate with them for all the rest of the year. It’s become something of a ritual; bringing these folks from my past up to date with what’s going on in my life. I mean, I enjoy receiving cards from these people – it’s nice to know what they’ve been up to – so I suppose they like hearing from me, too. Remote connections…distant acquaintances…it’s not that I don’t like these people, it’s just that during the course of my life, I moved away, or somehow became disconnected from them. And, of course, let’s not forget the family members…old Aunt what’s-her-name or Uncle Fred or some second cousin who lives in Alaska now…family members who would be very disapproving if they didn’t get a Christmas card from me. It’s become a sort of obligation. It would be regarded as a slight if you didn’t send a card. Trouble is; it gets expensive. With stamps costing 49 cents today, and the boxes of cards themselves, along with envelopes - thirty or forty cards can set you back...

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HOME SWEET HOME

12/06/14 at 04:27 AM

I got to thinking about how we have evolved to suit our home planet, Earth. Suppose (here goes my science-fiction mind again!) we were confronted by a rogue asteroid approximately 1,800 miles in diameter and it was on a collision course with Earth. There’d be nothing we could do to stop it – 1,800 miles in diameter is almost a quarter the size of the earth itself and no (Armageddon movie!) atomic bomb is going to fracture it. If we had enough time, we’d start building some gigantic space vehicles for an exodus to another world. Our home would be broken into pieces by the collision of the asteroid and all life would be gone. Okay, suppose we did build a huge ‘sleeper ship’ and sent it off on a search for a new home. Do you realize how skimpy our chances would be of finding a suitable planet? We live within a narrow range of parameters here on Earth. The temperature of our new home would have to fall between -40°C and +40°C. The atmospheric pressure would have to be right around 14.7 pounds per square inch. Oxygen content in the new atmosphere would have to be between 17% (or we’d suffocate) and 25% (at which point we’d all spontaneously combust). Gravity would have to be at .8 Earth’s, or slightly more than 1 Earth gravity, or our bones would...

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CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

12/04/14 at 04:55 AM

Well, it’s that time of year again. I spent the weekend unravelling a huge knot of Christmas lights and winding them around the large Colorado Blue Spruce tree in my front yard. I love the colors; and it seems like my neighbors do, too, for they all have their shrubs and porches and trees decorated with lights as well. The custom goes back to the use of candles to decorate the Christmas tree in upper-class homes in 18th-century Germany. It was a real fire hazard at the time. The candles were affixed to branches by globs of wax. OSHA would have a friggin’ hemorrhage nowadays if anyone did that, but back then, it was the accepted practice. Christmas trees displayed publicly and illuminated with electric lights didn’t become popular until the early 20th century. By the mid-20th century, it became customary to display strings of electric lights all along streets and on buildings. Christmas decorations eventually detached from the Christmas tree itself. In the United States, it became popular to outline private homes with Christmas lights in tract housing beginning in the 1960’s. At first, the high electricity use was costly, but lately science has given us the LED...

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ROSETTA'S THREE BOUNCE LANDING

12/02/14 at 04:00 AM

On Wednesday, Nov. 12, the European Space Agency's Rosetta mission successfully landed on the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Descending at a speed of about 2 mph (3.2 kilometers per hour) the lander, called "Philae," first touched down and its signal was received at 8:03 a.m. PST (11:03 a.m. EST). Partially due to its anchoring harpoons not firing, and the comet's low gravity (a hundred-thousand times less than that of the Earth), Philae bounced off the surface and flew up to about six-tenths of a mile (1 kilometer) both above the comet's surface and traveled downrange as well. At 9:53 a.m. PST (12:53 p.m. EST), almost two hours after first contact, Philae again touched down. A second, more modest bounce resulted, again sending it airborne. However, Philae's third contact with the comet's nucleus was the charm. At 10 a.m. PST (1 p.m. EST), the Rosetta mission's Philae lander became the first spacecraft to soft-land on a comet. Rosetta mission controllers believe Philae alighted in a hole, or crevice, about six feet in diameter and six feet deep and that it is lying on its side. While the lander remains unanchored to the surface, it appears to be stable, and eight of its 10 instruments have...

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THE BUZZ OF SEX

11/30/14 at 04:33 AM

It was recently reported that a middle-aged Scottish woman had an interesting discovery. She was having difficulty with her bladder and sought medical help. The 38-year-old woman, who has not been named, arrived at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, shaking and feeling lethargic as well as complaining of weight loss. When doctors examined her, they found an object protruding into her bladder from her vagina - causing her to suffer from a life-threatening 'vesicovaginal fistula' – which left urine leaking into her vagina. She also had an obstructive uropathy, where a blockage in her bladder had caused urine to seep into the kidneys. Upon further examination, doctors found that she had a five-inch sex toy inside her…and it had been there for ten years! When asked about it, the woman replied that she remembered using the sex toy with her boyfriend one night, but she didn’t recall if they had removed it once they were done. She said she was pretty drunk at the time...

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HERE COMES SANTA CLAUS

11/28/14 at 04:44 AM

Well, I’m still stuffed from my Thanksgiving meal, but it’s time to haul out the Christmas tree decorations and turn everything red and green. This weekend, I’ll be setting up my tree in front of my living room window and getting out the balls and baubles and tinsel to create a work of art. Each year it’s different. It’s always the same decorations – I’ve had them for years – but they go on the tree uniquely every year. It’s a chore that’ll take most of the day, but its great fun. It will be up for a little more than a whole month – I set it up on the last weekend of November, right after Thanksgiving Day, and don’t take it down until a couple days after New Year’s. When it finally does come down, there’s always a kind of vacant spot where it was for a while. The colored lights and sparkling baubles are gone…somehow the plain table and lamp that sits there for all the rest of the year just reeks of dull and boring. After a bit, the memory fades somewhat and everything is back to normal…but for that brief month when that glorious apparition occupied that spot, it thoroughly pleasures...

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THANKSGIVING

11/26/14 at 04:20 AM

Prayers of thanks and special thanksgiving ceremonies are common among almost all religions after harvests and at other times. In North America we’ve set aside a national holiday which falls on the fourth Thursday in November (the second Monday of October in Canada) called Thanksgiving Day. It is actually rooted in English traditions dating from the Protestant Reformation. It resembles a harvest festival, even though the harvest in New England occurs well before the late-November date on which the modern Thanksgiving holiday is celebrated. In the United States, the modern Thanksgiving holiday tradition is commonly, but not universally, traced to a poorly documented 1621 celebration at the town of Plymouth in Massachusetts. The 1621 Plymouth feast and thanksgiving was prompted by a very good harvest that year. Thanksgiving proclamations were made mostly by church leaders in New England up until 1682, but then as President of the United States, George Washington proclaimed the first nation-wide Thanksgiving celebration in America, marking November 26, 1789, "as a day of public thanksgiving and...

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VESUVIUS

11/24/14 at 04:49 AM

Mount Vesuvius is best known for its eruption in AD 79 that led to the burying and destruction of the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. That eruption ejected a cloud of stones, ash and fumes to a height of 20 miles, spewing molten rock and pulverized pumice at the rate of 1.5 million tons per second, ultimately releasing a hundred thousand times the thermal energy released by the Hiroshima bombing. An estimated 16,000 people died during the two-day eruption. Many died by being buried under the ash, others from being bombarded by falling stones, and still others from the collapsing roofs of buildings where they had huddled for protection. It is estimated that at the height of the eruption, the temperatures inside those buildings reached a minimum of 212°F with some spots climbing to 572°F. People were huddled together with a density of 3 people per square meter. A minor tsunami wave was produced in the Bay of Naples by the eruption. The 79 AD eruption was preceded by a powerful earthquake seventeen years beforehand on February 5, AD 62, which caused widespread destruction...

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A STRONG PRESIDENT

11/22/14 at 04:15 AM

I suppose there are many different reactions to President Obama’s national address on immigration the other night. I’ve already begun to see some of the negative ones from the far right wing characters. But one thing stands out: if you senators and congressmen wanted to create an immigration policy, then why the hell didn’t you do it? Millions of people have been in limbo while you fools procrastinated and BS’s over the way it should be done. Obama did exactly the right thing…he stepped up, took the reins in hand, and made a decision. The people would have waited forever for you elected buffoons to act; he decided that was intolerable and shoved you out of the way (I mean literally – out of the way!). He hasn’t rewarded criminal behavior, nor has he opened unquestioningly our borders, but he took measures to deal with a situation that was not going to go away and was not going to be resolved by sitting on our arse and jabbering about it. I applaud him for being the strong President we have needed for so long. It did my heart good to see him smack those blathering idiots on Capitol Hill aside and create a solution to the problem – maybe not the ultimate best solution perhaps, but a starting point. Something concrete to begin with. The way to climb the highest mountain is to take the first step. We’ll improve on his plan as we go along...

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WAL-MART IN PJ'S

11/20/14 at 04:00 AM

There are a lot of people who wake up in the morning, put on a loose-fitting, comfortable old bunch of rags ludicrously called ‘house clothes’, and go about their daily routines round the house. Fine. I’ve done that myself…many times. But…and here’s the rub…I wouldn’t go out to Wal-Mart (or the grocery store) wearing them! Yet on any given day, you can go into Wal-Mart (or even your local grocery store!) and find people dressed in unbelievable attire. There have been several sets of pictures posted on the internet of some of these folks…and they absolutely blow your mind! Now I know we’re in the midst of this ‘California Casual’ dress style here in America, but enough is enough! Have you no shame? No sense of self-respect? No awareness of the fact that your dress style is annoying to your fellow man (well, to those of us who aren’t banded together in your mass conspiracy to wear disgusting apparel in public)? Comfortable is one thing – slovenliness is another. C’mon, people, show a little class. Improve the view of our surroundings. Don’t make me regurgitate my lunch when I go shopping. How about you, Wal-Mart? Ever consider a dress code? Yeah, like that’ll happen. The day they turn anyone away who still has a farthing left in their filthy sweatpants pocket...

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ROSETTA COMET LANDING

11/18/14 at 04:58 AM

The Rosetta mission has successfully landed a probe on a comet moving at 34,000mph in a historic first for space exploration. Staff at the Lander Control Center 300 million miles away in Cologne said information they were receiving suggested the probe had made a "soft, gentle" landing, but they were investigating data that indicated the lander’s anchor "did not shoot" as planned, casting doubt over whether the probe was properly fixed onto the comet. The anchoring is necessary because gravity on the comet is 100,000 times weaker than on Earth so the potential for ‘bounce-back’ is a major challenge. It took 7 hours between the probe's detachment from the Rosetta orbiter and its touchdown on the comet's icy surface. It had to negotiate a distance of 14miles between the orbiter and the comet and land on the 2.4 mile-wide lump of ice and dust as it hurtled through space. There had been concerns after a problem with the lander's active descent system emerged overnight and for a while it put the final approach in jeopardy. A thruster intended to counteract rebound at touchdown could not be activated...

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INDIA'S STERILIZATION DEATHS

11/16/14 at 04:56 AM

Eight women died recently while undergoing a sterilization procedure organized by the Indian government. Many other were hospitalized when they developed infections after the procedure. The doctors responsible have been arrested, but the practice is decidedly unsettling to me. I realize that India has, with over a billion people; a terrible population problem…the country isn’t capable of supporting so many people, but sterilization? That’s a tough nut to swallow for several reasons. The first which comes to mind is what about the instinct to have children deeply rooted in females? What happens when that is denied, or worse yet, forcibly restricted? Another is that in India, it is only the women who are sterilized, not men. Cultural reasons forbid men from being sterilized. Seems a bit unfair. I understand that over four and a half million women were sterilized in India last year. That’s a lot, but compared to the figure of one billion, it’s only a drop in the bucket. Issac Asimov did an essay on overpopulation before he died in which he predicted the unrestricted reproductive process might someday (soon) have us all squeezed together like downtown Manhattan on the streets during lunch hour. The math doesn’t...

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NICE CLOTHES

11/14/14 at 04:39 AM

A few years ago I was fortunate enough to go live in England for a while. I was struck by the civility and politeness of the people there first off, but another thing caught my attention, too. Almost without fail, everyone out on the streets (or even at home) was nicely dressed. Men all wore suits and ties; women were well turned out in dresses or pants suits…even the children were quite spiffy. I had my coarse American wardrobe with me and I noticed how out-of-place it seemed, so I invested in several new outfits. The bug got me. I found I absolutely adored dressing up. The feel of an expensive dress shirt – all crisp and freshly ironed – the glitter of cufflinks, and the glorious finish – the colorful tie. So many colors; some rich and bright and others demure and pastel, usually parceled off into a myriad of patterns. Men’s fashions haven’t changed in ages. The same cut of a suit has prevailed forever…since the early days of the twentieth century. I shouldn’t say the ‘cut’ of the suit because the style of lapels and collars and buttons do change – quite often actually – but the same basic form is pretty standard. Also, men’s suits colors hardly ever change…charcoal gray, navy blue, light gray, and occasionally, black. But the distinguishing factor is the tie. Oh, the glory of the tie! This one splash of color...

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VAPING BANS

11/12/14 at 04:05 AM

It seems Starbucks has come out for a ban on ‘vaping’ (using e-cigarettes) in their coffee shops in England because of over 100 fires attributed to the devices. Apparently, the chargers for the e-cigarette things overheat and get mismatched by people switching them or trading them off and start fires. There is also some talk (finally) about the wretched things still keeping people involved in nicotine addiction and actually still promoting the smoking of regular tobacco cigarettes. I strongly agree with that…after all, it just reinforces the same habit of cigarette-in-hand, the oral masking of taste and smell, and mimicking the ‘coolness’ of smoking presented as the ‘thing to do’ in so many Hollywood films of years past. There’s also some complaint about people blowing ‘vapor’ in someone else’s face…I certainly don’t want anyone doing that to me! I don’t care what scent it pretends to be in the little bottle! The medical problems are also going to be there with this ‘vaping’ thing. You’re introducing something alien into your lungs and respiratory system – something that naturally would not be there. And in formidable quantity, too! Nicotine is still nicotine and what happens when the ‘vape’ shop runs out of juice? Turn back to cigarettes because you never really kicked the habit to begin with? I know smoking is a tough one to get rid of...

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PRESIDENT OBAMA

11/10/14 at 04:03 AM

The elections are over and it looks like the Republicans scored big. I watched the news conference held at the White House when the results were finally in. President Obama stood at the podium and fielded questions from a large group of reporters. I was so very impressed with him. He stood straight and tall, exuding dignity and statesmanship. It was a difficult time for him; it must have been; the media hounds were lambasting him repeatedly with inferences that he had lost ground – that he would have to knuckle under to the Republican majority in the House and Senate – that his favorite programs would be on the chopping block, yet through it all he stood steadfast, never allowing their attempts to rattle him succeed. I don’t know if I could have withstood that onslaught. But he did…and never lost his poise nor allowed his responses to veer from clear and concise reason. True statesmanship is what I saw. The ability to stand fast in the horrid face of those vicious media bastards requires a strength of character few men possess. I’m so glad our President is one of those few. Many of my readers will disagree with me on this...

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FRONTIER CHALLENGES

11/08/14 at 04:01 AM

Two recent disasters have occurred during our attempts to advance into space. The Antares re-supply rocket headed for the Space Station exploded just after lift-off in Florida, and the Virgin Space Rocket Liner designed to ferry people into space exploded in mid-air shortly after being dropped from the mother ship over California. One person was killed in the Virgin mishap; none in the Antares explosion…it was fortunately unmanned. These two events were terribly depressing. Our development into space is painfully slow and extremely expensive. The big rockets necessary to reach the escape velocity from Earth’s gravity field cost millions and are massive engineering undertakings. Thousands of parts and awesome amounts of volatile fuel are incorporated into each one. Space is our new frontier; the problems associated with exploring it are basically unknown…we’re learning, but only gradually. Each mission sends back new information about trying conditions and unique situations. However, no matter how difficult the task may be, we must keep going. Liken it to the ancient ships sailing to discover the “New World”. How many were lost...

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NO MORE SECRETS

11/06/14 at 04:19 AM

I was thinking about the CIA the other day and I realized that if things keep going the way they are those boys are going to be out of a job. With social media and global connectivity climbing steadily, soon nobody’s going to be able to keep a secret anymore. No matter how hard you try to hide it, somebody somewhere is going to find out about it and post it on Facebook or Twitter or e-mail it to their friends. The CIA bases its existence on the necessity to find out what other people in unfriendly countries are hiding from us here in the USA. What’s gonna happen once everybody knows all about what those folks are doing – and you can access it on your smart phone 24/7? I see pink slips in the future. Surely that’s going to save us a lot of money when we close down Langley. I don’t know where those poor employees are going to go to apply for another job…there’s not much of a job market for people who sneak around and spy on others…maybe become a paparazzi would be one option. And with the social media exposing all the secrets anyway, I imagine all they’ll have left is the few weeks of unemployment when the stuff hits the fan. Gonna be tough times. Maybe the government will start up some agency to provide support for unemployed spies – probably could call it Spy Support Guardians or the SS Guards for short. Probably draw in a lot of those guys. Hmmm…the times they are a-changin’, as Bobby said...

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LIMITED SPACE

11/04/14 at 04:39 AM

We need to rethink our definition of space. Right now, the prevailing opinion is that space is something…a platform, a medium, a container…which just goes on forever. But that cannot be. In order for a thing to exist, it must be finite. It must have definite parameters in order to exist…it can’t be infinite ‘cause then it just wouldn’t ever be. It must be something! The idea of infinite is a construct of the mind; a speculation or conjecture, if you will. We believed space was infinite because it was so big…I mean, it just seems to go on forever. It’s hard to imagine it limited. But we must. It has to have a limiting definition in order to be at all. There must be a closed system there. This brings to mind another point; one of the laws of physics states that energy cannot be lost within a closed system. It can change from one form to another, but it cannot disappear…the same amount will always be present. Apply that to the Universe. Matter is converted to energy in stars, a little bit at a time, then the energy radiates out into space and then what? Does it eventually run out of steam and decay? Back to what? Matter again? Only to round-robin and be converted back into energy once more in the heart of a star? A closed system. So far, we’ve been able to see back to 13.7 billion light-years distant, spotting some quasars and galaxies which were around at the beginning of the Universe, they say. What can we see in the other direction?...

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VICIOUS CIRCLE

11/02/14 at 04:43 AM

There is so much danger from criminals with guns out there. Of course, the only solution is for you to have a gun to protect yourself. So you make sure no laws are passed which would restrict you from owning a gun. Make it easy to get one. But then, those very laws make it possible for the criminals to get guns. There are lots of guns in circulation and a lot of them will fall into the hands of the criminals, one way or another. If a criminal steals your gun, you will go buy another. Now you’re safe again. Trouble is, the more guns we build, the more guns become available for the criminals who want to kill you. The Funk & Wagnalls Standard Desk Dictionary I keep on my desk defines ‘vicious circle’ like this: “1. The process or predicament that arises when the solution of a problem creates a new problem and each successive solution adds another problem. 2. The accelerating effect of one disease upon another when the two are coexistent.”...

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