Showing posts from August, 2006

Vengeance, The Kennedy Curse, The Dark Side of Camelot

Vengeance, George Jonas, ISBN 0743291646I read Vengeance a few months before I saw Munich, the movie on the same subject by Steven Spielberg. The book is better but the movie's not bad. Vengeance has some rough edges unlike Spielberg's creation. Terrorism has rough edges. Vengeance is not a pretty thing. Jonas, in his interview of the leader of the Israeli team of Mossad agents, leads us through the same journey this man, Avner, took as he progresses(was it progress?) from a Mossad agent performing menial duties in what was essentially peacetime to the leader of a team of state-sponsored assassins. Avner tries to convince us, and mostly himself, that what he did was right and that he would do it again. But he does not entirely believe this himself. He is riddled with the guilt of murder and the guilt of having led some of his friends to their deaths. He is a hurting man. One who is a shadow of who he would have been. A man stripped of innocence and of the abi…

Pluto no longer a planet!

In a previous post I discussed the possibility that Pluto's status as planet might be rescinded due to the recent discovery of a larger celestial body.

The Economist writes:On Thursday August 24th a general assembly of the International Astronomical Union, the body with the authority to decide such matters, voted to remove Pluto from the list of planets. Predictably some astronomers are angry and have criticised the system for making such choices. There were certainly problems with the voting. Nevertheless the decision was right.I totally agree. It does not matter what has been historically taught. Sometimes you need to ask fundamental questions based on new information and alter long-held views.

Changing our views is what learning is all about.

More Commercial Space News

A while back I wrote about the disappointing news of SpaceX commercial rocket's failed maiden flight. NASA hasn't taken this too seriously having awarded $500 million to 2010 to both SpaceX and another private company for the delivery of payloads to the International Space Station.

Another feather in the cap for commercial spaceflight!

Brand "Canada"

The Globe and Mail has an article today about how Canada is perceived internationally. Aparantly Canada
... was named the world's second most popular national brand by a global pollster. The Anholt Nation Brands Index for the second quarter of 2006 saw Canada jump ahead of Germany and Switzerland to claim the number two spot on the list of 35 countries. Canada's rosy image now only pales beside that of the United Kingdom's (and the EU's, which was featured as a 'guest country' on the survey).

But Simon Anholt, an international branding adviser who commissions the quarterly poll through Global Market Insite, Inc., contends Canada is failing to capitalize on its positive international image — and points as proof to the gulf between those polled who say they would like to travel, invest and study in Canada to those who actually do."Great but isn't this kind of normal. Sort of like
Gee I sure would like to go skydiving...haven't got around to it ye…

Pluto may no longer be a planet...

The Boston Globe has an article on Pluto's status as a planet.
Some 3,000 astronomers and scientists from around the world will meet in Prague this week to decide whether Pluto, discovered in 1930, measures up to the definition of a planet.
The question arises from the fact that there are a number of celestial bodies of Pluto's size in our solar system that have been found since its discovery. This is expected given the improved instruments that give us a greater ability to study the Solar System. In 2003 astronomers at the California Institute of Technology discovered Xena, a ? (not planet) a little large than Pluto in diameter.

Some have expressed concern that if we downgrade Pluto from planet to asteroid? "it would disappoint children and throw our understanding of the universe into chaos". Oh my gosh - maybe my children will suddenly develop anxiety attacks, have nightmares and start wetting their beds. Or maybe they'll wonder if they too will be d…