Titan vs. Low Earth Orbit

(via APS – What’s new by Robert L. Park – Friday, 21 Jan 05)

Last Friday, the reach of man extended 900 million miles to the surface of Titan, the largest moon of Saturn. It stands as one of the most notable voyages of exploration in history. Carried piggyback on Cassini since 1997, the European Space Agency’s Huygens probe parachuted 789 miles to reach Titan’s smoggy surface. Huygens had the good fortune to land on solid ground, within sight of the shoreline of a hydrocarbon sea. Over the next several hours, until its batteries finally died, Huygens transmitted everything it had learned back to Cassini, which relayed it to Darmstadt. The data will keep researchers busy for years. Cassini will continue studying Saturn for another four years. Meanwhile, only 90 miles from the surface of Earth, the NASA On-Orbit Status Report notes that the ISS crew checked gear for a 26 Jan space walk, performed periodic microbial air sampling, did routine maintenance on the toilet facilities, performed a 2.5 hour exercise program, had an interview with USA Today and recorded a video message in observance of the 250th anniversary of Moscow State University. Today’s quiz: Which cost the most, Cassini/Huygens or the ISS?

Religious Right Attacks SpongeBob SquarePants

(from the these people seriously need to get a life dept.)

US right attacks SpongeBob video:

Focus on the Family and other groups say the video – a remake of the Sister Sledge hit, We Are Family – is a vehicle for pro-gay propaganda.

The video’s makers plan to mail it to US schools in the spring to promote tolerance and diversity.

They say the attack is based on a misunderstanding.

The video also features children’s favourites like Bob the Builder, along with characters from Sesame Street and The Muppet Show.

But James Dobson, founder of right-wing Christian group Focus on the Family, singled out SpongeBob at a black-tie dinner in Washington in the run-up to President Bush’s inauguration, the New York Times said.

SpongeBob – who appears on the children’s cable channel Nickelodeon – is seen as an icon for adult gay men in the US, apparently because he regularly holds hands with his sidekick Patrick.

When the hell did promoting tolerance and diversity become anti-Christian? It seems to me tolerance and diversity falls under the whole “love thy neighbor as thyself” deal.

Inaugural Schedule

(via the Ironic Times)

6-9 AM: Citizens along the parade route are interrogated and strip searched.
10:00 AM: Attorney General John Ashcroft leads the Abu Ghraib Tabernacle Choir in “Onward Christian Soldiers.”
10:30 AM: Colin Powell interrogated and strip searched.
11:00 AM: All Iraqi election officials granted asylum, interrogated and strip searched.
Noon: Dick Cheney sworn in, exorcised.
1:00 PM: Grand jury investigating Tom DeLay sent to Guantanamo for questioning.
2:00 PM: U.S. Poet Laureate reads “Oh Captain, My Captain,” specially rewritten as a tribute to Ken Lay.
3:00 PM: The “Getting Tough on Corporate Crime” float, featuring Martha Stewart in stocks, passes reviewing stand.
4:00 PM: Bush takes oath, gives speech, “Ask Not What Your Country Can Do to You, When the Only Thing You Have to Fear is Your Country, Itself.”
5-Midnight: Pharmaceutical Industry Soiree, Energy Industry Banquet, Insurance Companies Gala, U. S. Chamber of Commerce Bacchanal.