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February 1, 2003

Rick Douglas Husband, Colonel, USAF

William C. McCool, Commander, USN

Payload Commander:
Michael P. Anderson, Lieutenant Colonel, USAF

Mission Specialist:
Kalpana Chawla, PhD
David M. Brown, MD, Captain, USN
Laurel Blair Salton Clark, MD, Captain, USN

Payload Specialist:
Ilan Ramon, Colonel, Israel Air Force

NASA now has a Memorial Page honoring those who have been lost in the space program.

February 1, 2023   No Comments



January 28, 1986

Francis R. (Dick) Scobee, Lieutenant Colonel, USAF

Michael J. Smith, Commander, USN

Mission Specialist:
Judith A. Resnik
Ronald E. McNair
Ellison S. Onizuka, Lieutenant Colonel, USAF

Payload Specialist:
Gregory B. Jarvis
Sharon Christa McAuliffe


NASA now has a Memorial Page honoring those who have been lost in the space program.

January 28, 2023   No Comments

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

NASA now has a Memorial Page honoring those who have been lost in the space program.

January 27, 2023   No Comments

Burns Night

flag of Scotland

This is the anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns in Ayr, Scotland. 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.

In honor of the occasion a bit of Robby Burns for the GOP “leadership”:

The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain
For promis’d joy!

To a Mouse

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

January 25, 2023   No Comments

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.

[I should note that recently this has taken on most of the controversy of Columbus Day in the US, with some people noting the event being celebrated was actually an invasion. I have no right to an opinion on the controversy. Also, the 25th in the US is the 26th in Australia, The Date Line again.]

January 25, 2023   No Comments

Happy New Year, 4720

Year of the Black Water Rabbit

Happy New Year
Happy New Year

Chinese New Year
[Spring Festival]

[Note: The Lunar New Year is tied to the Second New Moon after the Winter Solstice, which is on January 21st in my time zone and January 22nd in China.]

January 21, 2023   No Comments

Date Line

In the military we set our mission watches and equipment clocks to Z (Zulu) time which civilians called GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) and these days everyone refers to as UTC (Universal Time Coordinated). That makes it easier to determine when something happened. The other ripple in time keeping is the International Date Line which is nominally on the 180° line of longitude between the Americas and Asia, Australia, and the Pacific Island nations.

If we didn’t use Z time when I was flying off of Shemya we would have been flying into tomorrow and returning to yesterday when we landed as the Date Line was just to the West of Shemya.

January 20, 2023   No Comments

Another Iguana Alert

Falling Iguana Weather


The graphic is from January, 2020 but it is applicable today for South Florida as they are having a cold snap. No drop bears, just drop lizards.

January 15, 2023   No Comments

Rivet Ball

Fifty-four years ago, in the early hours of January 13th, 1969 I was forced to accept something that I had known for a while, but had pushed to the back of my mind: I was mortal and was going to die.

This was the first of several incidents when my chance of survival was a good deal less than 1 in 2. This wasn’t the scariest, but it was the first, and following on the heels of the terrible events of 1968, it had the biggest impact.

In the end the only “death” was an airplane, Rivet Ball, the Air Force’s only RC-135S. The military version of the Boeing 707, the fuselage broke in half, like an eggshell, on impact. A very talented pilot, John Achor, the aircraft commander, was responsible for that miracle.

I provide more detail on my other site.

January 13, 2023   No Comments


Yes, it’s Friday the 13th again. The 13th falls on a Friday more than any other day of the week, so get over it. It’s only valid in in English and Portuguese speaking countries, so go visit a Spanish-speaking neighborhood for the day.

If you want to blame someone, it’s the calendar of Pope Gregory XIII that created this imbalance. [He obviously didn’t have a problem with the number on any day.]

January 13, 2023   9 Comments

Orthodox Christmas

Russian Christmas Card

С Рождеством Христовым to my Orthodox friends who are still waiting to see how the calendar reform works out.

January 7, 2023   No Comments

Feast of the Epiphany


Today marks the Feast of the Epiphany and Día de los Reyes in Spanish-speaking countries.

This is the customary day for gift exchanges in many Christian cultures because it is the day that the Magi finally arrived in Bethlehem with their totally inappropriate gifts after putzing around for a week and a half because they didn’t want to ask for directions.

[Give me a break! They bring soft metal, smelly tree sap, and bitter medicine associated with embalming to people who could use a hot meal, baby clothes, and diapers.]

January 6, 2023   No Comments

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year

С Новым годом
Prosit Neujahr
Feliz Año Nuevo
Bonne Année
Felice Anno Nuovo
Gelukkig Nieuwjaar
Gott Nytt År
새해 복 많이 받으세요
Blwyddyn Newydd Dda
Onnellista Uutta Vuotta

May you be safe from the idiots who think gravity is just a theory and fire off guns, failing to understand that what goes up will come down.

Given the prevalence of accurate timekeeping devices, it is amazing that the explosions that are supposed to signal the new year extend for hours beginning six hours before and extending well after the actual event. Anyone who thinks alcohol and gunpowder is a recipe for a long life should be avoided by insurance agents.

January 1, 2023   1 Comment

Under Fire & Potential Fires

I’m down in my weather shelter as the morons have started the barrages of fireworks and occasional firearms with no regard for the clock. This is normal on the Panhandle. While Florida has restrictions on fireworks, a quick trip to Alabama can provide you with near military grade explosives.

Another threat is on the rise this year: lithium ion batteries. There are a lot of electric scooters and bicycles zipping around. They have to be charged, and if you don’t watch them closely when charging you may be in for a nasty surprise as the batteries ignite and burning down your house or apartment. Lithium is an inflammable metal that is surrounded with an inflammable electrolyte in the battery case. Normally nothing bad happens with the smaller batteries in phones, tablets, and laptops. The charger for my battery operated tools shuts down automatically but things involved in transportation, like Teslas, e-bikes, and e-scooters apparently aren’t as well regulated.

This produces the next problem, putting out a metal fire. Water is your worst choice. Water may separate into hydrogen and oxygen in the presence of some burning metals and cause an explosion. Copper powder and soda ash are the best solution for lithium fires. Local fire departments are not likely to have what they need for class D [metal] fires, unless they have a manufacturing plant in their jurisdiction.

Get and use a timer for your chargers to ensure they don’t overcharge your batteries. Don’t get too worried as you will probably be flattened by an SUV before your battery ignites.

December 31, 2022   No Comments