Saturday, August 30, 2003

The following was posted on the Epivalothanasia blogsite, regarding the case in Florida of Terri Schiavo:

The following is an Emergency Alert from our contributing editor Pamela Hennessy of the Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation. Please circulate its contents as widely as possible:

By order of Judge Greer (and on the request of George Felos), Terri has been released from the hospital today back to hospice. Her family is horrified that in doing this, Judge Greer has ensured that Terri will not live through the weekend. We have learned that Mr. Felos will be out of town next week and I personally view this as a deliberate attempt to end Terri's life before he departs. Yes, I am accusing him.

Terri's current medical problems are serious and numerous. As of this hour, she has been moved, according to the Governor's office. Hospice will not treat her aggressively for her ailments. The possibility of her making it through the weekend are slim.

E-mail this to everyone you know. Please demonstrate outside of hospice (off of the property) at any time during the weekend. We must let people know that this was a planned move to end her life before final hearing. Media will pick up on it. If they speak to you, tell them your true feelings on this action and why you think it was carried out in this fashion.

Gather your friends and family and please act. This is the most unspeakable act of cruelty there could ever be and it looks like they're going to get away with it.

Friday, August 29, 2003

Plenty of reaction to the Gehman report (CAIB) from President Bush, the space community and the media.

Here are statements from the Space Frontier Foundation and the National Space Society, and commentaries from Rand Simberg, Keith Cowing and Homer Hickam.
Went over to the University of Maryland Observatory Thursday evening for the public Mars viewing. The public interest, judging by the turnout, is quite impressive.

I was in line for two hours to look through the either the 16" or the 14" 'scope, but was still probably a half hour away from my turn when I saw the cloud bank approaching Mars. I took advantage of the opportunity to go to the lawn and view the planet through a smaller 'scope (probably 6") just before it disappeared behind the clouds.

Had some interesting conversations with others in line, including a group of young Hill staffers from the office of Rep. Velazquez (D-NY).

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

The close approach, or "opposition", of Mars occured early this morning. Within hours of that moment, the planet was imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope.

If you've missed the "magic moment" due to bad weather or bad timing, don't give up. Some news reports made it sound like there would be a spectacular enhancement of the Red Planet's appearance at the moment of opposition. Actually, the view will be virtually the same for the next few days. The apparent size of the planet seen through a telescope will gradually start to decrease over the next few weeks.

Our knowledge and picture of Mars has changed dramatically over my lifetime. I was ten years old when the Mariner IV spacecraft provided the first closeup images of the planet in 1965. When I was younger than that, I recall drawing sketches of Mars based on old books. My sketches included the legendary "canals" on Mars which, it turned out, do not exist.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

The Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) released its final report today. The CAIB report can be downloaded here.

As expected, the report included a lengthy set of analyses and recommendations concerning the technical factors related to the tragic accident of February 1, 2003. The CAIB also addressed the areas of management, decision-making and the "NASA culture" and how they relate to the catastrophic accident.

In the Executive Summary, the CAIB briefly described a number of organizational factors related to the accident, including "lack of an agreed national vision for human space flight". This is the area that must be addressed by policy makers and the American people.

I believe that it is vital for America to lead the way for all humanity in opening up space as a frontier for exploration, development and, yes, settlement. Commitment to this vision would would be worthy only of a civilization that cares about protecting and providing for future generations.
Florida Governor Jeb Bush has intervened to ask for a delay of the decision that would end the life-sustaining feeding of Terri Schiavo, who is reported to be hospitalized in critical condition.

Monday, August 25, 2003

The Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF) was successfully launched early this morning from Cape Canaveral, FLA. For more news links on the SIRTF launch, see

Sunday, August 24, 2003

Finally, nice weather and a location favorable to seeing Mars in the southeastern sky on Saturday night. Quite brilliant! Closest approach is this Wednesday.

Good descriptive articles in Sky & Telescope and at

Friday, August 22, 2003

Humanity's reach into space has suffered another tragedy today, as a rocket in Brazil being prepared for a launch next week exploded on the pad , killing 21 workers. Like the Columbia astronauts who gave their lives when their ship broke up over Texas on February 1, these people who died today gave their lives for a significant and noble cause. Please remember them and their families in your prayers.

For more links to various news reports on this tragedy, go to
Terri Schindler-Schiavo's situation has reached a critical point, as the Florida Supreme Court today rejected her family's appeal to stay her husband's efforts to remove her feeding tube. For more information on the situation, click here.

Sunday, August 17, 2003

I've reset the timezone setting for my posts to Eastern time, my local time.

Friday, August 15, 2003 has an interesting article today concerning the Northeast power blackout and varied opinions on whether solar power collected and transmitted from space could eventually lessen the likelihood of such massive blackouts.
Today is the Feast of our Blessed Mother's Assumption into Heaven. In spite of the Northeast power blackout and the New York Times' frequent blackout of non-politically correct news or ideas, this interesting op-ed was published in that paper today. The author's concern is about what he sees as a growing gap in America between intellect and religious mysticism.

Pope John Paul II says that Faith and Reason are complementary. As a trying-to-be faithful Catholic, active in the prolife movement and a science and technology futurist working to really open the space frontier for humanity, I hope that is one idea conveyed through this blog.

Thursday, August 14, 2003

The Bahcall Committee, a committee of recognized scientists, has delivered its recommendations (Click on link to PDF file.) to NASA on the future of the Hubble Space Telescope.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

I was a California resident from 1979 to 1996, so I am watching with fascination the recall election. I hope this doesn't become routine in California or elsewhere, at the same time the process is in the law and if the people are dissatisfied enough to use it, I can't knock it.

Assuming the momentum to recall does not lose steam, it looks like Arnold Schwarzenegger is the likely winner. There are other possibilities, such as the Democrats holding together enough votes to elect Bustamante, or that conservatives rally around Simon, McClintock or someone else with enough votes for a plurality. (On the issues, I would be more aligned with the conservative candidates' views than what I've heard are Arnold's views.)

No matter who wins the Governors' office, there is still the heavily Democratic California Legislature which is often more out in left field than Gray Davis. A period of divided government may last, at least until the next general election.

Stay tuned for surprises. As the saying goes, "Only in California!"

Monday, August 11, 2003

My first post in two weeks. Unfortunately, everyday life gets in the way of good blogging.

Terri Schindler-Schiavo was 26 years old when she suffered brain damage from a sudden collapse. Her husband and legal guardian is trying to remove her feeding tube while her family is fighting to save her life. The case is being appealed to the Florida Supreme Court.

A foundation formed to support Terri's family's fight for her life has established a website,, which includes background information and recent news, video clips of Terri responding to her parents and doctors, and a petition to Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

This is a literal life and death matter. At the same time, I do find encouragement from this web site that the internet can be used as a powerful tool for defending human life from a misguided conventional 'wisdom'.