Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Speaking of Space... 

Space Hawks. Is a terrific term. It seems at once powerful and outlandish; serious and cartoonish. And that's exactly how it sounds when you hear people talk about developing space militarily over the next generation. The costs will be astronomical and it's a subject that used only to be considered in Sci Fi books. But we all know that that particular genre is often a better gauge of the future than anything else.

Despite the lack of tangible progress, the Bush administration increased the Star Wars budget by 20 percent for 2007, with the total allocation reaching $10.7 billion, an increase of nearly $6 billion since 1999.

Gagnon is convinced this master plan for space defense is nothing but a fantastic Trojan horse.

"This massively costly program under way today is not really about defense," he said. "The true purpose of this arms program is to control and dominate space. And whoever controls space will control the Earth."

In January, Russia announced a ...plan... to establish a permanent base on the moon by 2015 and mining operations to extract helium-3 by 2020. China, which in 2003 became the third country in the world to send a human into space, has announced plans for an unmanned lunar landing by 2010, and a manned moon mission by 2020.

Warfare, they say, will be waged differently in the future. I guess so. I guess it's going to resemble an episode of Battlestar Galactica more than Saving Private Ryan (which was overrated, anyway.) I oscillate between knowing amusement and terror at the thought of what space wars might bring and what forces might come to bear as we head toward that last horizon.

I've said it before, but the Neocons are planning for the End Game -- as are the Russians and the Chinese -- which is what the War On Terror and the jockeying for influence in Central Asia and the Mid East is all about. Oil, gas and geopolitical influence. But even Baghdad will pale as a prize in comparison to the strategic rewards of the moon, should we develop the technology to use it.


Proof That Supernovae Don't Care 

What the hell goes on here. And it is only a matter of time till that comet or meteor or giant slug alien monster plops on down here and makes us into fossils for the news cycle of a far off civilization.

Scientists have found what they believe are traces of the lost Indonesian civilization of Tambora, which was wiped out in 1815 by the biggest volcanic eruption in recorded history.

Guided by ground-penetrating radar, U.S. and Indonesian researchers recently dug in a gully where locals had found ceramics and bones. They unearthed the remains of a thatch house, pottery, bronze and the carbonized bones of two people, all in a layer of sediment dating to the eruption.

University of Rhode Island volcanologist Haraldur Sigurdsson, the leader of the expedition, estimated that 10,000 people lived in the town when the volcano erupted in a blast that dwarfed the one that buried the Roman town of Pompeii.

It gives me comfort, from time to time, to think an exploding star somewhere in the cold silence of space and try to imagine any way, from that perspective, to give two shits about George Bush or Hamas or global warming.


Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Before and After 

I found this on Screenhead. Some of them are subtle, some not so subtle, but it's an interesting exercise. Photos of the same spot before and after 9-11.

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Kristine Larsen dot com.


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