Friday, April 27, 2007
CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (AP) -- Astrophysicist Stephen Hawking floated free in zero gravity Thursday, becoming the first person with a disability to have the experience.Is there a person on Earth who better deserves such an experience? I think not. (Though I bet the experience didn't beat playing holodeck poker with Newton and Einstein.)
The zero-gravity flight in a modified jet creates the experience of microgravity during 25-second plunges -- called parabolas -- over the Atlantic Ocean.
Hawking, a mathematics professor at the University of Cambridge who has done groundbreaking work on black holes and the origins of the universe, has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. He cannot speak or move.
He is one of the best-known theoretical physicists of his generation and also wrote the book "A Brief History of Time."
A doctor and three nurses monitored Hawking throughout the Zero Gravity Corp. flight. The scientist floated in the air, free of his wheelchair and electronic communication gear for the first time in 40 years.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Random Flickr Blogging #3318: or, I'm Not Dead Yet Flickr Blogging
Labels: Random Flickr Blogging
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
The Cho Administration
Given my own twenty-plus years in the Foreign Service, on occasions like this I find myself looking at my own country from a non-American perspective. I must confess that, when I first saw psychopathic mass murderer Cho Seung-Hui's photographs of himself savagely pointing a gun at the camera, I was reminded not only of the violent images in our popular culture, but also of George W. Bush and his wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, not to speak of the thrust of his whole foreign policy.Go read now. I'm busy but hope to be back with some Random Flickr Blogging (at least) later this week, schedule permitting. After reading Brown's piece, I need a laugh.
Indeed, for others on our globe, mass murder in Iraq, scenes of degradation from Abu Ghraib, CIA extraordinary rendition expeditions, and our prison at Guantanamo have already become synonymous with the U.S. government and the President; so, it would not be surprising if Cho's actions and Bush's foreign policy were linked in the minds of people outside the United States. I see several reasons why, for non-Americans, a mad student and our commander- in-chief could appear to be two sides of the same all-American coin.
Thursday, April 05, 2007
Ah, yes, the awful liberal media—you know, the one that helped to sell the country on Bush's disastrous war and that can't be bothered to mention that, oh, by the way, some Republicans have been talking to those awful, awful Syrians, too. Ah, yes, "Gore's inconvenient truth" is opposed to "objective truth"—so opposed that knowledgeable climate scientists say that Gore's film got the science right. Ah, no—regulating greenhouse emissions might mean that we pay more for gas and cars! Everybody knows that we should only pay for more stuff like fancy coffee and clothing with celebrities' names attached—not for stuff that might, you know, keep us from irreparably damaging the very ecosystems on which we depend for our existence. That would just be silly.
It's like scientists managed to plug a cable directly into Chuck Asay's snarling, resentful, troglodyte id—and a cartoon popped out, conveniently bypassing all the higher cognitive centers associated with critical thought: Liberal media! Treehuggers! Gubmint regulatin' bidness! Damn dirty hippies! Yarrrgh! *hack* *splutter*. Had this actually happened, the result would at least have been scientifically interesting. The fact that, instead, someone actually took the time to marshal and draw out this collection of myths, delusions, and clichés is just...sad.
Labels: editorial cartoons
Monday, April 02, 2007
Random Flickr Blogging #5633: Been a Long Time Since I RFB'd, Baby
Let's see if I still remember how to do this.
Labels: Random Flickr Blogging