Friday, February 22, 2008

Looking Ahead to the Veepables

Chris Cillizza over at WaPo's The Fix suggests a list of possible VP candidates for McCain and Obama (He's projecting an Obama nomination at this point). If you are interested in the potentially veepable, go check it out.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The full moon

More amateur photography for you. I've been wanting to take some full moon pictures and this is the first good chance I've had since I had the idea. Unfortunately I really don't know how to properly adjust my camera or what setting I should use to take pictures in low light and still get the colors to turn out right. This was the best shot out of several, or at least it was the one I liked the best. Any tips, pointers or detailed step-by-step instructions would be greatly appreciated.

Now that's what I call momentum

Via The Chicago Tribune - Obama wins Hawaii caucuses
Maybe they should've called it " Hawaii 10-0," as Sen. Barack Obama now has ten straight wins after besting Sen. Hillary Clinton in Tuesday's Hawaii caucuses.


On Tuesday night, in an e-mail to his supporters before the Hawaii victory was announced, Obama said winning there could foretell future successes: "If we win in Hawaii, it will be ten straight victories -- a streak no one thought possible, and the best position we can be in when Ohio, Texas, Rhode Island and Vermont vote on March 4th."
It will be interesting to see what March 4th will actually hold for the two remaining Democratic candidates. Hillary's campaign has gotten awfully negative lately. So far it doesn't seem to be having her desired effect. Hopefully that will continue to be the case. Honestly, I fear that stupid things like this will ultimately have more of an effect than Hillary's negativity:
NBC News said Tuesday it has reprimanded the employee responsible for mistakenly flashing a picture of Osama bin Laden on MSNBC as Chris Matthews talked about Barack Obama.
Accidents happen, but I wouldn't buy the, "oops, my bad" line too many times, if I even buy it at all.

Blurring the line between science and science-fiction

Via WaPo - Their Deepest, Darkest Discovery
Researchers in New York reported this month that they have created a paper-thin material that absorbs 99.955 percent of the light that hits it, making it by far the darkest substance ever made -- about 30 times as dark as the government's current standard for blackest black.

The material, made of hollow fibers, is a Roach Motel for photons -- light checks in, but it never checks out. By voraciously sucking up all surrounding illumination, it can give those who gaze on it a dizzying sensation of nothingness.
Maybe that whole "Washington black" line from Psych the other day was more than just a joke. It was the first thing that came to my mind anyway. But the story soon leaves Psych far behind and moves into the realm of Harry Potter and Star Trek:
But scientists are not satisfied. Using other new materials, some are trying to manufacture rudimentary Harry Potter-like cloaks that make objects inside of them literally invisible under the right conditions -- the pinnacle of stealthy technology.

Both advances reflect researchers' growing ability to manipulate light, the fleetest and most evanescent of nature's offerings. The nascent invisibility cloak now being tested, for example, is made of a material that bends light rays "backward," a weird phenomenon thought to be impossible just a few years ago.

Known as transformation optics, the phenomenon compels some wavelengths of light to flow around an object like water around a stone. As a result, things behind the object become visible while the object itself disappears from view.
Honestly, if the article were written on April 1st instead of February 20th I wouldn't believe it. It would seem that they can't yet make things invisible to the naked eye, but I'm guessing it will be just around the corner. Amazing!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Fidel Castro will not accept another term

Via WaPo - Fidel Castro retires
Ailing Cuban leader Fidel Castro said on Tuesday that he will not return to lead the communist country, retiring as president 49 years after he seized power in a revolution and became a central figure of the Cold War.

Castro, 81, who has not appeared in public since undergoing stomach surgery almost 19 months ago, said he would not seek a new term as president or leader of Cuba's armed forces when the National Assembly meets on Sunday.

"To my dear compatriots, who gave me the immense honor in recent days of electing me a member of parliament ... I communicate to you that I will not aspire to or accept -- I repeat not aspire to or accept -- the positions of president of the Council of State and commander-in-chief," Castro said in a statement published in the Communist Party's Granma newspaper.
This is an interesting development I guess. Of course on the one hand it can't be too surprising given his obvious failing health and the fact that Raul has been de facto president for over a year now. But on the other hand I really expected him to die in office. Who knows, maybe he already is dead and they just aren't telling anyone yet.

What I find most interesting in the story is the seeming lack of a reaction, or at least lack of a visible reaction, from the Cuban people. The story notes:
In a deserted Revolution Square, the site of many hours-long speeches by Castro to massive crowds, a lone soldier stood guard at government headquarters. The city was calm.
It would seem that the transition has been gradual enough for the people to be able to accept it. I will be curious to see what Raul does once Fidel dies and is totally out of the picture.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Stormy Sunday Afternoon

We've had a stormy Sunday afternoon here in southern Alabama. I thought the rain was all gone, but apparently it's not, as it has started to rain again as I type this. It did stop long enough for us to get a beautiful rainbow out of it. Not only that, it was a double rainbow! I took some pictures, so enjoy!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Averting danger or testing a new weapon?

Via the BBC - US spy satellite plan 'a cover'
The US said last week that it would use a missile to destroy the satellite, to stop it from crash landing.

Officials say the satellite contains hazardous fuel which could kill humans.

But Russia's defence ministry said the US planned to test its "anti-missile defence system's capability to destroy other countries' satellites".
You can hardly blame the Russians for distrusting US motives. If roles were reversed we certainly wouldn't trust them. Plus, considering Bush's history with pulling out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty and all, it is quite understandable that they would feel the way that they do. And while it may not have been a setup from the beginning, I'm sure it is at best a convenient excuse.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The end of the strike

Via CNN - Strike over, Hollywood writers head back to work
Striking Hollywood writers will be back at their keyboards Wednesday after voting overwhelmingly to end a 100-day walkout that essentially shut down the entertainment industry.


"The strike is over. Our membership has voted, and writers can go back to work," said Patric Verrone, president of the WGA's West chapter.


It's unclear how soon new episodes of scripted programs will start appearing, because production won't begin until scripts are completed, the AP reported.

It will take at least four weeks for producers to get the first post-strike episodes of comedies back on the air; dramas will take six to eight weeks, the AP said.
Honestly, I'm not sure how to feel about the strike being over. On the one hand, there are some shows that I will be happy to see return with new episodes, but on the other hand, I have so little time to watch t.v. as it is, it will just put me that much farther behind. Good thing I have TiVo!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Happy Groundhog Day!

And in celebration of the this most unimportant holiday, a YouTube clip of one of the best movies ever made about an unimportant holiday. I love this movie!I'm not sure why it has German subtitles, but that's really unimportant. The movie still rocks! Maybe I'll go see if Movie Gallery has a copy I could rent. . .