Friday, October 31, 2008

Hubble back up and running

I didn't see this earlier, but the primary camera on the Hubble is again sending data. That's the Wide-Field Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2). This had been down for a few weeks, not communicating with the ground. They'd been able to send commands up (they thought), but only the Fine Guidance Sensors (FGS) were talking back.

This short item from NASA doesn't make clear the status of the other cameras, so I don't know if there's still any problem remaining. I suspect so, actually. The New York Times article mentions that they booted up the "side 2" electronics on the camera--backup electronics designed for just such an emergency, in case the primary circuits went down. Trouble is, they're designed a little differently than the primary ("side 1") circuits. (You'd have thought they would make an identical copy, wouldn't you? Well, we were both wrong, then...) So it took a bit of work to make sure everything checked out with them.

Let's hope the other cameras are OK!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Maverick John McCain

Although I certainly want McCain to win, I still enjoy this 5-year-old Paul Shanklin (Rush Limbaugh Show) parody of the "Maverick" TV show theme. If you're not familiar with "Maverick" or only saw the movie (starring Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, and James Garner--excellent film!), here's the original show's song. And here is Shanklin's parody. Heh, heh...

You know, if McCain hadn't made a career out of snubbing conservatives, he would have a base more fired up for him and would get more votes. As it is, Palin's been the one to draw the crowds and needed conservative support. Which is why I've got to disagree pretty strongly with the Republicans or erstwhile conservatives who've been criticizing the Palin choice as hurting him with "moderates." From an interview I heard on XM radio's P.O.T.U.S. '08 channel (presidential politics channel--like C-SPAN, but even better!), history shows that you win elections more by turning out your base to vote than by attracting votes from moderates. McCain may attract some moderates--that's who he mostly appeals to--but he's really hurting support among the GOP base, and there are a lot more potential votes there. Palin's the least he could do for us.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Another reason to vote for McCain-Palin... "devastate" the bureaucrats at the UN. Quote: "It will be devastating if Obama loses," the official said. "There has been such an amount of faith placed on the outcome."

John Bolton is characteristically straightforward:

"The fact is that most conservatives, most Republicans don't worship at the altar in New York, and I think that aggravates them more than anything else," said John R. Bolton, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. "What they want is the bending of the knee, and they'll get it from an Obama administration."


Producing x-rays with Scotch tape!

I already knew you could easily generate light by peeling Scotch tape off of something (in fact, it's hard not to, although you need to be in a darkened room to see it), but the Mrs. told me yesterday that you get a decent amount of x-rays if you peel it off in a vacuum. Now, that's neat! It's coming out in this week's issue of Nature, and they're suggesting it as a way of making cheap x-ray sources.

The Obama revolution: "History Repeating"

I was listening to Propellerheads' great pseudo-Bond song, "History Repeating," yesterday, when I noticed the lyrics could nicely describe the Obama Revolution phenomenon:

The word is about, there's something evolving,
whatever may come, the world keeps revolving
They say the next big thing is here,
that the revolution's near,
but to me it seems quite clear
that it's all just a little bit of history repeating

The newspapers shout a new style is growing,
but it don't know if it's coming or going,
there is fashion, there is fad
some is good, some is bad
and the joke is rather sad,
that its all just a little bit of history repeating

.. and I've seen it before
.. and I'll see it again
.. yes I've seen it before
.. just little bits of history repeating

Well, at least I'll have a little laugh from this to keep me company under the New Regime.