Tuesday, August 19, 2014



In a nutshell:

The price of olive oil is going to go through the roof.

The world is running out of helium.

(But Lady Gaga is not running out of outfits to wear.)

Richard III was drunk a lot (which is not why he was found beneath a parking lot).

The horses...I mean donkeys and elephants... are starting to line up for the 2016 U.S. Presidential election.

Below are references to some of the aforementioned.

A drought in the world's number one producer of olive oil has prompted fears of widespread shortages that could send the market spiraling upward.

Spain is the world's largest producer of olives, accounting for 50 percent of total global output followed by Italy at 15 percent, Greece 13 percent and Turkey 5 percent, IOC data show. Harvests in other major producers are expected to come in at average levels this year, but they're unlikely to be able to fill in for the Spanish shortages as dismal harvests in previous years mean stockpiles are low.



You may not realize, but helium is a highly necessary commodity in the modern world. Everything from MRI magnets to fiber optics and LCD screens needs the element (which has the lowest boiling point of any other material on Earth) to function, so without it, pretty much everything we've grown to depend on gets hit hard.

But that doesn't make any sense, you might say, how can helium stock be diminishing when I can still go pick up a bundle of helium-filled balloons for ten bucks? Well, you'd be right, it doesn't make any sense—but not for the reasons you might think. While we are indeed running out of the noble gas, that hasn't stopped the United States from continuing to sell the stuff by the barrel full, dirt cheap. And according to Cornell scientists Robert Richardson, we want it that way:

The US government established a national helium reserve in 1925, and today a billion cubic metres of the gas are stored in a facility near Amarillo, Texas. In 1996 Congress passed an act requiring that this strategic reserve, which represents half the Earth's helium stocks, be sold off by 2015. As a result, helium is far too cheap and is not treated as a precious resource.”

And when we do eventually run out of our current store, our only other option is to recover helium from the air—which will cost 10,000 times what it does today. So yeah, try not to dwell on all the thousands of dollars balloons you've watched float away into nothingness.





Friday, August 15, 2014




I would not be a party to that last and meanest unkindness, treachery to a would-be suicide. My sympathies have been with the suicides for many, many years. I am always glad when the suicide succeeds in his undertaking. I always feel a genuine pain in my heart, a genuine grief, a genuine pity, when some scoundrel stays the suicide's hand and compels him to continue his life.
Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. 2 (2013), p. 45-46

Of the demonstrably wise there are but two: those who commit suicide, & those who keep their reasoning faculties atrophied with drink.
Mark Twain's Notebook, 1898

But we are all insane, anyway...The suicides seem to be the only sane people.
Mark Twain's Notebook, #40, (Jan. 1897-July 1900)

I have been thinking a lot about the suicide of Robin Williams.

I have been thinking about what he was feeling, and more macabre than this, I have been thinking about how it felt to die by hanging.

It makes me sad and sick.

People are now spinning their wheels about why Robin Williams took his own life.

Was it the onset of Parkinson's disease?

Was it because the TV show he was on got cancelled?

Was it because of money problems?

Of all of the above quotes, the one that fits Robin Williams is by Bill Maher when he says, “Suicide is man's way of telling God, 'You can't fire me...I quit.”

It even sounds like something Robin Williams would have said.

Only Buddy Hackett got me belly laughing as hard as Robin Williams did.

Unfortunately, his last act wasn't a bit funny.


Monday, August 04, 2014



August 4, 2014:

Where are we?

The Astromap says Earth.

Well, this planet has plenty of water.

True, but its atmosphere is a big junkyard of debris.

When you deploy cloaking, also deploy debris shields so we don’t get penetrated by any of this junk.

O.K. Ooh, that was a close one.

Deploy debris shields!

United States Strategic Command:
Stand down lasers. ET vehicle has been destroyed by space junk.


Published: February 18, 2009


SPACE is becoming an increasingly perilous place.
It is dangerous, of course, because more and more countries are venturing into orbit.
But it is also dangerous because there are precious few international agreements governing national actions in space. No rules of the road forced Russia to de-orbit its long-defunct Cosmos 2251 spacecraft, which would have prevented its collision last week with Iridium’s communications satellite. Yet this event probably left at least 2,000 pieces of hazardous debris in orbit around the earth; all of this debris will have to be tracked and avoided by other spacecraft for decades.
Instead of continuing to cling to the theory of “freedom of action” in space, all space-faring countries would be well advised to sit down and talk about mutual restraint and coordination. The alternative is unacceptable: we will lose our ability to operate in some of the most useful regions of orbital space, particularly those closest to the earth (60 to 1,000 miles up).
In many respects, our level of sophistication in dealing with space “traffic management” — the active and dead satellites and orbital debris that whiz around the earth at speeds of 18,000 miles per hour — is reminiscent of the early days of car travel, when a lack of rules resulted in frequent accidents.
The difference in space, of course, is that the fragments from past collisions remain in orbit, at least until they are eventually dragged down by gravity and burn up in the atmosphere. The February 2008 shoot down of a military satellite by the United States created a large amount of debris, but, at an altitude of 150 miles, it fell out of orbit in two months’ time. At 500 miles up, by contrast, debris will orbit for decades. Much above that, it will persist for centuries.
Recently, an effort led in part by the United States succeeded in gaining United Nations passage of a set of voluntary international debris-control guidelines. These useful but very general protocols urge countries to limit their debris, to refrain from blowing things up in space and to place dead spacecraft in “parking” orbits or, if at lower altitudes, in relatively rapid de-orbiting modes.
The problem is that not enough countries are observing these guidelines because they’re just that — guidelines. They don’t have the force of international law, they offer too many loopholes and violators face no sanctions. The Iridium-Cosmos collision is the clearest sign yet that we need to devise cooperative solutions to our common problems in space — before it is too late.
United States Strategic Command tracks more than 18,000 orbiting space objects, but it lacks the manpower to provide warnings of possible collisions to all except manned spacecraft and the most crucial United States military satellites.
Setting up an international warning network, paid for by the users of space, should therefore be treated as a priority. Such an entity could be run by a consortium of national militaries or space agencies, possibly under United Nations auspices. (The United Nations already oversees a space registration convention, which requires countries to list launches, orbits and the purpose of missions. But it stops tracking spacecraft once they’ve been launched.)
While there are security concerns associated with such a proposal — we don’t want the world to know the location and number of our military satellites — it’s important to remember that many sensitive satellites are large and easily found, even by amateur astronomers. It’s also worth remembering that in the thick of the cold war we signed an Incidents at Sea Treaty with the Soviet Union, which put in place measures to reduce the chance of accidents between American and Soviet ships and planes.
Other steps should be taken too. We should ban the intentional destruction of satellites in orbits above 150 miles (and possibly below as well). We should also create a legally binding code of conduct for space (laying out specific sanctions for violators) and embark on new efforts to bring about international coordination of radar systems. All these ventures could reasonably be undertaken by meetings of space-faring states or at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva.
Until now, the debate about space has focused largely on the question of who is up there. Now two new questions have come to the fore: What is up there, and where is it?
James Clay Moltz, an associate professor at the Naval Postgraduate School, is the author of “The Politics of Space Security.”

Saturday, August 02, 2014


It's fun going places.

It's fun even if you go alone, and it's fun even if there are no people where you're going.

But it isn't you, anyway, it's a spacecraft.

While men are fighting wars on earth, other men and machines are exploring outer space.

Maybe to find peace.


How did the Earth become Earth?

(How did I become me and you you?)

Perhaps visiting a comet (or asteroid) will provide some answers.


I only go to a store or mall when I intend to find something that I need.

I'm not a window-shopper.

The less I possess, the more free I feel.

More IS Less.

Why, then, are scientists interested in going to an comet (instead of a mall?).



Thursday, July 24, 2014


Imagine the moment when the world wakes up and the human race realises that its long loneliness in time and space may be over - the possibility we're no longer alone in the universe.”


What would such a moment really be like?

Would it be a moment of joy or despair?

Would it be a time to celebrate or to mourn?

Would it be an occasion to be mesmerized, or to run like hell?


This extraordinary and extraterrestrial moment will not occur for a long time.

But maybe not.

Some believe it has already happened.

This is not a scientific conclusion (or conjecture).


I've read nearly every book on UFOs, and I still don't know.

I haven't seen or met an alien.

I'm waiting like everyone else to see this singularity announced on CNN.

But I don't expect it will be the take me to your leader type of story.

Nor do I think this event will be as it was in the movies Men in Black or Independence Day.

It might be more like Strange Encounters of the Third Kind.

Or it may be like nothing we can imagine.

Which might be the scariest part.

What we expect and what we get may never be anything we expected.

Thus, why movies make up scenarios for us, and get us used to what might occur.

I don't think that these movies are made to prepare us for the event.

I don't think our government has that much power to control the movie industry.

It's for entertainment and MONEY!

I just read where SETI scientists now believe that a sure sign of intelligent life will be when we here on Earth detect that these other planets and their intelligent life are polluting.

I wonder if they recycle yet?

Will they visit Earth to recycle us?

Let's hope not.



One hundred million worlds in our galaxy are able to host alien life, according to a ‘conservative’ prediction by Nasa.
And the space agency claims that we will be able to find that life within the next 20 years, with a high chance it will be outside our solar system.
During a public talk yesterday in Washington, the space agency outlined a roadmap to search for life in the universe using a number of current and future telescopes.
'Do we believe there is life beyond Earth?' said former astronaut and Nasa Administrator Charles Bolden during a talk earlier this month in Washington.
'I would venture to say that most of my colleagues here today say it is improbable that in the limitless vastness of the universe we humans stand alone.'


Tuesday, July 22, 2014



Rick Perry:

I am your fearless, four-eyed leader, and I won't allow the border to become a danger to this state or country.

Assistant to Governor Perry:

Sir, do you want your pistols?

Rick Perry:

Yes, give me my pistols so that I may wear them and appear to be a fearless, manly leader. Give me my sword, as well.

Assistant to Governor Perry:

Sir, do you want your samurai sword or your scimitar?

Rick Perry:

Both. I WILL need protection from the Left and Right.

Assistant to Governor Perry:

Should I also bring diapers and bibs for all of the immigrant children?

Rick Perry:

 SECURITY oF OUR COUNTRY IS PRIORITY NUMBER ONE ;  But, sure, bring the diapers and bibs.  they'LL MAKE me look MORE compassionate.

Assistant to Governor Perry:

Yes sir.   Oh, sir, your helicopter is ready to take you to view the border.

Rick Perry:

Great. Just let me put on my armor. I'll be right out.


Sunday, July 13, 2014



President Obama, do you want a hit?

President Obama:

Not today. I'm already a mile high. This is Colorado.


But this pot was homegrown here in the good old U.S.A.

President Obama:

I respect that, and I'm sure it's very good weed.


Right on! Here, take a joint for the ride home.

President Obama:

I'll pass on that, but you go ahead and get stoned out of your HEAD!


Right on!