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Posts from — January 2009

Apollo 1

 Apollo One Patch

January 27, 1967

Virgil “Gus” Ivan Grissom, Lieutenant Colonel, USAF

Edward Higgins White, II, Lieutenant Colonel, USAF

Roger Bruce Chaffee, Lieutenant Commander, USN

January 27, 2009   5 Comments

Getting Your Peanut Fix

Because of the growing list of products affected by the peanut product recalls, the American Peanut Council has now posted a list of safe peanut products.

Yes, Reese’s Peanut Butter cups are on the safe list, as is Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

January 26, 2009   2 Comments

Not So Happy Bankruptcy Day

flag of Iceland

Iceland may have acquired a new holiday, commemorating the day its government resigned over the financial mess in their economy. The Guardian reports the details: Banking crisis brings down Iceland government

Iceland’s prime minister today announced the immediate resignation of his government because of the country’s severe financial crisis, which saw the collapse of the currency and banking system.

Geir Haarde announced as recently as Friday that his coalition administration would remain in office until early elections called for May 9 after violent protests at its handling of the economic situation. Today he said his Independence party and its Social Democrat partners were quitting immediately after a disagreement over whether he should step down as prime minister.

No doubt it will be celebrated by sleeping outside in boxes, dressing in rags or uncured sheep hides, and spraying people with red ink.

January 26, 2009   2 Comments

Happy Republic Day

flag of India

Celebrates the establishment of the Republic of India on January 26th, 1950 when its new Constitution took effect.

The parade at New Delhi is, bar none, the most colorful military parade in the world, although this year the elephants aren’t behaving, so they won’t appear.

Here’s the official site, and, as the Wikipedia entry is really pathetic, here is a tourist site with more information.

January 26, 2009   15 Comments

Happy Australia Day

flag of Australia

The anniversary of the landing of the First Fleet under Captain Arthur Phillip at Port Jackson in New South Wales on January 26th, 1788.

Here’s the official site, and more information at Wikipedia.

January 26, 2009   28 Comments

Happy New Year, 4707

Year of the Yellow Ox Ji Chou

Happy New Year
Happy New Year

Chinese New Year
[Spring Festival]

January 26, 2009   4 Comments

I Don’t Get It

There is a big flap in the UK over the BBC decision not to carry a fund raiser for Gaza relief: Gaza decision up to BBC. The BBC hierarchy is saying that carrying the “telethon” that involves major charity organizations would demonstrate bias on the part of the BBC.

The BBC is a media network, just like the US media networks, except that it is funded by licensing fees on the users. They have separate divisions, just like the US networks, and I don’t see how running a charity event during prime time will affect the ability of the news division to do its job. They have aired political satires that would never see the light of day in the US, but no one questioned their impartiality. If they feel they must, they could run disclaimers, as often happens in the US media.

If the BBC only allowed Israelis to be interviewed by Jeremy Paxman, then a case might be made for bias, but this is not the case. I feel certain that if Israel had been subjected to three weeks of bombardment with no ability to respond, these same charities would schedule a fund raiser for them. The reality is that it was Gaza that was blasted, and Gaza is the area that needs the help.

January 25, 2009   2 Comments

Lawyering Up

CNN reports that Israel prepares legal defense of soldiers

JERUSALEM (CNN) — Israel’s government on Sunday approved a measure that will give legal protection to its military officers if they are accused of war crimes during the Gaza incursion, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said.

“The state of Israel will completely back anyone that acted in its name,” Olmert said Sunday at the beginning of the weekly Cabinet meeting. “The soldiers and commanders that were sent on missions in Gaza need to know that they are safe from different tribunals.

The best way a government can protect its military is not to encourage or require it to commit war crimes in the first place, and not to prevent independent reporting on the conflict. The only reasonable explanation for these actions by the Israeli government is that the military believes that war crimes charges will be forthcoming.

January 25, 2009   15 Comments

An Experiment

News Writer is testing a theory at Stop The Press!.

To avoid contaminating the experiment, I’ll note that it took four hours for the subject to appear at this lonely outpost. I assume it’s a ‘bot searching for certain names and nouns.

January 25, 2009   6 Comments

Burns Night

flag of Scotland

This is the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns in Ayr, Scotland, so it will be a special edition of the Burns Night celebrations conducted by Scots all over the world with haggis, whisky¹, and poetry.

Wikipedia has a description of the standard celebration, but easy on the malt or you may end up with a William McGonagall morning.

1. This is the correct spelling when referring to Scotland’s “water of life”.

January 25, 2009   4 Comments

Florida Freeze

While most people think of citrus crop losses when the weather gets cold in South Florida, damaged fruit isn’t the only thing that falls out of the trees.

So if you are in the area during a freeze, wear a padded hat and watch the trees.  They are mostly harmless.

January 24, 2009   15 Comments

It Is To Laugh

Over at CNet blogs we read Microsoft to Obama: Say no to Canadian gadgets.

Microsoft promoting Microsoft software [Windows Mobile] as more secure than a “Crackberry”‽

If Microsoft would clean up its act and produce a few products that weren’t hacked with every heartbeat, they might have a leg to stand on. Given the number of interruptions I’ve had in the last four weeks for “critical” security updates from Microsoft, it is the height of gall for them to complain about anyone else.

With what I’ve known for some time about the activities at NSA under the Hedgemony, having something built to “NSA specifications” is not a “good thing” anymore.

January 24, 2009   2 Comments

Excuse Me?

Amy Sullivan in a Time piece tells us that Shhh. Obama Repeals the Abortion Gag Rule, Very Quietly.

Excuse me, but if this was supposedly such a secret why is it one of the top 5 news stories at every US and foreign media site I visited today?

The foreign media tend to flag this story along with reversing the stem cell research funding ban, and the closing of Guantanamo as evidence that the US is regaining its sanity.

It was an executive order and it has to be published to take effect. At last report there were people called reporters working for organizations called the media who are supposed to let the public know about such things. It would appear, that in this case they did that.

What did Ms Sullivan expect, a grand gathering at the Mall with Obama coming down to the steps of the Capitol to announce his executive orders? The last I knew he was a bit busy at the moment.

January 23, 2009   8 Comments


I’m with Chris at Suburban Guerrilla Obama’s technical people can’t be worth much if they are having the vapors over being forced to deal with Windows XP and Office 2003.

They apparently don’t know what software can be upgraded. I would suggest they try this great new innovation called the Internet and find out with a couple of clicks.

They don’t know what machines have what permissions. You sign in as administrator and find out, or better yet, you assign the permissions to the people according to their need and right to know.

As far as the new whitehouse.gov site, great, you clowns hosed thousands of links because you don’t understand directories. By the way, find a real webmaster to create a real robots.txt file before you waste any more storage on search engines with your pathetic offering. If you want to fix it you can try robotstxt.org and then you can use Google’s tools to verify it, just like real webmasters do.

These are probably semi-competent new equipment people, but they aren’t geeks. They want to “slash and burn”, not fix things. Geeks use Macs for things they don’t want to waste time on, but they all have another “bubble gum and baling wire” box that is rarely the same for a month and it usually is running a flavor of -ix.

If the tech guys at the White House wanted to screw with you, they would have updated all of the software before they left. That would have been nasty.  There would be no way of telling what crashed the system.

January 23, 2009   4 Comments