Thursday, August 31, 2006

Lockheed Martin to Build NASA's Orion Spaceship

This was just announced. Most of you probably don't care, but this is really good news for me and I am unable to gloat about it because I'm surrounded by employees of (losing Orion bidder) Boeing Aerospace. At the bottom of the article it lists Lockheed Martin's partners (emphasis mine):

Lockheed Martin’s major teammates include: shuttle-operator United Space Alliance of Houston; Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Va.; Honeywell Defense and Space Electronics Systems, Minneapolis, Minn; and Hamilton Sundstrand of Windsor Locks, Conn.

Things may be looking up for the ol' career today! Woohoo!!!!

Update: Here are more "artist's conceptions" of the Orion spacecraft.

I'm Not a Misogynist, She's Just a Moron.

Don Feder at penned this (to me, at least) amusing little article in response to one Robyn E. Blumner, who he describes as " of those feminist writers who specializes in reducing complex issues to lectures on Mars and Venus." Ms. Blumner recently wrote an article in the St. Petersburg Times entitled "U.S. could use more girlie men" in which she laments George Bush's "swaggering cowboy approach to geopolitics," illustrating her point with references to the fictional western TV series, Deadwood. Such a relevant point of reference, don't you agree?

Feder can barely contain his contempt for Blumner's blather:

Bet you’ll never guess who’s turning the world Deadwood male? That right, it’s that rider of the range, the lone Texan who goes by the handle G.W.

"Yet this dirty, street-fighting paradigm has fit perfectly with George Bush’s swaggering cowboy approach to geopolitics. Bush likes his enemies in black hats and hiding in the brush. For Bush, justice gets meted out when the good guys take matters into their own hands and don’t wait for lawyers with fancy words like ‘due process.’"

Fight terrorists with lawyers? What a novel idea! We can serve them with writs. Better yet, we can put them on notice that they’re violating the constitutional rights of airline passengers (like the right not to have all of their limbs simultaneously severed by explosive devices). Our terrorist-fighting ambulance chasers could demand that Hezbollah file an environmental impact statement before it fires any more rockets at Israel. Osama will be cowering in his cave.

As G.W. might say, "The little lady jes' don't get it." And then he would nail a bullseye in the nearest spittoon. "She's right purty, though. Jes' a little cross-eyed."

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Terrorist Theater Tricks

I found a great article by Caroline B. Glick at Jewish World Review about how the West is losing the information war with the terrorists, with the willing aid of most of the Mainstream Media and Non-Government Organizations:

AS IS the case with the Palestinian war against Israel, one of the most notable aspects of Hizbullah's latest campaign against Israel has been the active collaboration of news organizations and international NGO's in Hizbullah's information war against Israel. Like their rogue state sponsors, subversive sub-national groups like Hizbullah, Fatah and Hamas, see information operations as an integral part of their war for the annihilation of Israel and defeat of the West. And their information operations are more advanced than any the world has seen. As becomes more evident with each passing day, they have successfully corrupted both the world media and the community of NGOs that purportedly operate in a neutral manner in war zones.
Rightful praise is directed at the blogosphere for exposing the blatant fabrications of Hamas and Hezbollah, and due scorn heaped upon their media sympathizers and enablers. The war is not being televised; television is just another battlefield.

(cartoon courtesy of Cox & Forkum)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

...And Then There Were Eight.

Nearly every living person in the world today has only known a sky with nine planets. With the discovery of Sedna in 2003, it appeared that the age of double-digit planets was here.

Then they found hundreds of smaller objects in Sedna's neighborhood, the Kuiper Belt, including several more objects like Sedna, which itself was practically similar to Pluto. Hmm. How many planets do we really need here, after all?

This week's annual convention of the International Astronomical Union considered that question, and the answer they returned was, "eight." Not "ten," not "five-hundred and nine." Just eight.

Poor benighted Pluto. Its bad enough that there is a Disney cartoon dog named after it (and what the hell is Goofy? Save that for another post) Once riding high as the latest, if not greatest, planet to be discovered, Pluto has now been demoted. The IAU released a new definition of what constitutes a planet, and Pluto no longer fits the bill. The word "planet" originally designated a celestial body which moved against the static stellar background. Now it has been more narrowly defined.

The decision establishes three main categories of objects in our solar system.
Planets: The eight worlds from Mercury to Neptune.
Dwarf Planets: Pluto and any other round object that "has not cleared the neighborhood around its orbit, and is not a satellite."
Small Solar System Bodies: All other objects orbiting the Sun.

Another competing definition of "planet" would have inadvertantly included in the largest asteroid Ceres, and so was rejected.

Enjoy our current eight-planet-ness while it lasts, I expect this to be overturned later when the other 99% of astronomers weigh in on this subject.

I'll end with a rare astronomy joke:
Q.How do you find Pluto with your telescope?
A.First look for the big arrow.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

...And The Lawyers Cheered!

The federal government finally found a judge to screw Big Tobacco.
From the AP:

- A federal judge ordered tobacco companies Thursday to admit they lied about the harmful effects of smoking cigarettes and to warn consumers in advertisements and packaging that tobacco is addictive.
U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler ruled that the industry conspired for decades to deceive the public about the dangers of smoking and now must pay to help smokers kick the habit.

There are now going to be so many lawsuits filed after this, there will be classes made up of more classes. Let the litigation begin!

Jimmy Carter: Fool's Mandate

Arguably the worst president in US history, Jimmy Carter now believes that his views represent the majority of Democrats. The sad part about this is, he is probably right. In an interview with Der Spiegel that is fraught with softball-questions and mutual tch-tching, Carter bemoans:
--Israel's "unjustified attack on Lebanon."
--How the Bush administration "has not attempted at all in the last six years to negotiate or attempt to negotiate a settlement between Israel and any of its neighbors or the Palestinians."
--Blah blah blah.

Short memory you got there, Jimmy.

Touting his own Camp David accords between Israel and Egypt, Carter concludes that negotiation is the only legitimate course of "action" for any crisis. When the interviewer responds with "But negotiations failed to prevent the burning of Beirut and bombardment of Haifa," Carter's reply is "I'm distressed."
Read it if you want. I've got better things to do, myself...

(Carter caricature courtesy of Cox & Forkum)

Monday, August 07, 2006

The Mysterious "Green Helmet Guy"

He has most recently appeared in "news photos" taken in the aftermath of Israel's attack on Hizbollah missile launcher sites in the Lebanese town of Qana, which is a known Hizbollah stronghold. The most widely distributed picture of GHG showed him holding up a dead child so that all the reporters and photogs could get a better shot (widely believed to be an intentional propaganda pose, I refuse to show this picture). Then more pics of GHG were found dating from a similar Israeli strike on Qana in 1996. Who is this mysterious man with the olive-drab skid-lid?

After extensively googling this issue, I have learned agreat deal about the Green Helmet Guy.

For instance, he used to be an actor, but he wound up here.

I discovered that GHG is a "cat person" too... one of those annoying types who like to play Kitty Dress-Up:

As GHG's fame spreads far and wide, the marketing possibilities appear to be endless. Isn't this how Spiderman got his start?

Don't forget the toy market too!

Let me conclude this post making a promise to everyone in the Wambulance Nation that, before I decide to do another post like this in the future, I will first save my nickels and buy PhotoShop, instead of hacking images with MS Paint. Cross my heart.

Update: GHG now has a blog of his own.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Wambulance Ethics Corner: The 3 Ways to Lie

First of all, let me state for the record that lying should rarely be the preferred course of action. There are all kinds of drawbacks and pitfalls that await the liar. Your could get caught in a lie, and damage the hard-earned trust that is the foundation of most significant inter-personal relationships. But most importantly, you should avoid lying for these reasons:

  • Lying isn't truthful.
  • Lying isn't honest.
  • Lying requires a very long and accurate memory.
  • Do you like being lied to?
  • Me neither.

At some point, however, the need to lie will arise. Perhaps you will want to spare the feelings of a friend or loved one, or deflect an uncomfortable, albeit innocent, question from a child. But more than likely, you will lie to save your own miserable hide. You will need to know the 3 Ways to Lie.

1. The Basic Falsehood
This is a lie that is utterly devoid of any truth. The key here is to keep it simple. Don't elaborate at all, because its the details that will trip you up. Can you remember all the particulars of any conversation you have had longer than a month ago? What makes you think you will remember any of that creative fiction you just conjured on the fly to cover your ass? Also, the person you lied to will always remember at least one detail you won't, and nail you with it later. The Basic Falsehood perfectly illustrates the point that, if you have a lousy memory, you are better off not lying at all.

2. Tell The Truth, But Leave Out The Bad Parts
If the lie is a minor part of a larger narrative, then it is best to be completely honest in all details, but just don't mention the parts that will get you in trouble. The advantage here is that you lessen the burden on your already over-taxed memory (especially if you lie a lot), and any detail that is later brought up will be one of the true parts, which are much easier to remember. The key here is that your lie of omission must be about a small detail in order to work. If you are out until 2:00 AM and you tell your spouse that you just went to the corner store for some cigarettes, the timeline will not fit, and your lie will fail. If your spouse thinks you quit smoking, then tell him/her what you were really doing until 2:00 AM but leave out the part about getting the cigarettes. If you were being naughty until 2:00 AM then refer back to The Basic Falsehood or move on to the final Way To Lie.

3. Tell The Truth, But Act Like You Are Lying.
This is the method of last resort. Here is the situation: You have been caught in a lie. They know you did something. Your guilt is evident, but the particulars are still uncertain. You can't escape, but you can mitigate the situation in this way: tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Tell the truth in as much minute detail as you can muster, and omit nothing. They will eventually become convinced that you are lying. They are already predisposed to disbelieving you anyway, so its easy to believe that you are lying again.
The down side is that you will lose some or all of the other party's trust, but that has already been damaged at this point anyway. The upside is, by employing this method of lying you might be able to keep a bad situation from turning into a complete disaster.

To better illustrate the 3rd Way To Lie, here is a short tale:
A married businessman spends the afternoon in a hotel room with his mistress. When he finally looks at his watch, he sees that it is very late and he knows that his wife will be furious. He borrows some of his girlfriend's blue eyeshadow and smears a little on his shirt sleeves and under his fingernails, dusts talcum powder on his hands and pants, then goes home. His wife angrily demands, "Where the hell have you been all this time?" He responds, "Honey, I have been in a hotel room with another woman making wild monkey-love all afternoon." She grabs his wrist, points to the blue smudges and powder residue, and replies, "Bullshit! You've been playing pool with the boys again!"

I hope that this helps any of you in the Wambulance Nation who find that, in spite of your best intentions and contrary to your upstanding personal nature, you must tell a lie.

Not that I ever would, of course.

My memory is shot to hell...