Sunday, July 27, 2008

Michael Griffin on HST

NASA Administrator Michael Griffin recently gave an address on the significance of the Hubble Space Telescope. I haven't had time to read it through yet. Maybe I'll get to read it in hard copy tomorrow on the plane to Houston for the Joint Integrated Simulation this week in preparation for the October STS-125 HST servicing mission.
I thought it appropriate to speak tonight about the Hubble Space Telescope, one of the greatest machines NASA has ever built, and about our relationship with that machine and what it has taught us about our universe and, more importantly, ourselves. In October, astronauts on Space Shuttle Atlantis will rendezvous with Hubble to repair and upgrade it for the fifth time in its nearly two decades of service. When they leave, it will be better than ever. It will be better than anyone ever imagined that it might be, back when I was working on the project some twenty-five years ago.

Tipping Point at $4/Gallon

Michael Barone points out how the public attitude on oil drilling has shifted with the recent rise in gas prices.
Now all that is in danger, because the pain of paying $60 for a tank of gas has convinced most Americans to worry less about the caribou or the recurrence of an oil spill that happened 39 years ago. Democratic leaders are preventing Congress from voting on continental shelf and ANWR drilling or oil shale development because they fear their side would lose and are making the transparently absurd claim that drilling won't lower the price of oil. They're scampering to say that they would allow drilling somewhere -- mostly in places where the oil companies haven't found any oil.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Ahead of Its Time

Tomorrow is the fortieth anniversary of the document that may go down in history as one of those most fiercely attacked by so many that have never read it. Pope Paul VI's Humanae Vitae is a short read as papal encyclicals go, but prophetic in terms of the reaction to it and of the state of today's culture.
It can be foreseen that this teaching will perhaps not be easily received by all: Too numerous are those voices-amplified by the modern means of propaganda-which are contrary to the voice of the Church. To tell the truth, the Church is not surprised to be made, like her divine founder, a "sign of contradiction," (22) yet she does not because of this cease to proclaim with humble firmness the entire moral law, both natural and evangelical. Of such laws the Church was not the author, nor consequently can she be their arbiter; she is only their depositary and their interpreter, without ever being able to declare to be licit that which is not so by reason of its intimate an unchangeable opposition to the true good of man.

Priests for Life has a description and an extensive list of links pertaining to the encyclical and related issues.

Political Video Humor

John McCain's campaign has a hilarious video which lampoons the Old Media infatuation with Barack Obama. (Chris Matthews seems particularly lovestruck.)

Meanwhile, on a nonpartisan note, after gaining fame with their 2004 campaign animations, Jib-Jab is back with its premier 2008 entry.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Anniversary Time Again


Today is the 39th anniversary of humanity's first expedition to the lunar surface. Check out Rand Simberg's ceremonial commemoration of that epic event.

I got back this morning from the Space Frontier Foundation's NewSpace 2008 Conference held this year in Washington, DC (well, actually in nearby Crystal City, VA). Check out Clark Lindsey's recent posts covering some of the highlights here.

Today is also the fifth anniversary ('blogiversary') of the launch of this humble blog. Here is the inaugural post (Note that I was too inexperienced to think of giving it a title.) on Life at the Frontier.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

WYD 2008

Young people from around the world are gathering with Pope Benedict XVI in Sydney, Australia for World Youth Day events, energizing Faith in Christ in the "Land Down Under" and around the world. Amy Welborn provides a list of links and blogs for the event.

Tony Snow, RIP

Tony Snow, former White House Press Secretary and political talk show host and commentator, passed away after battling cancer at age 53.

I recall seeing Tony Snow speak last year at a conservative conference in DC. He was gifted with combining strong advocacy with gentleness and humor and his strong Catholic Faith. In addressing graduates of Catholic University, he said:

And pretty soon you are thinking about God. Don’t shrink from pondering God’s role in the universe or Christ’s. You see, it’s trendy to reject religious reflection as a grave offense against decency. That’s not only cowardly. That’s false. Faith and reason are knitted together in the human soul. So don’t leave home without either one.

Dr. Michael DeBakey, RIP

The man who did so much to advance heart medicine has passed away at age 99.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Happy Independence Day!

(This post I made last year is just as relevant today.)

As we join in the festivities of the Fourth, let's strive to keep to the values proclaimed in the Declaration that make it worth celebrating.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Power Line Blog links to a speech given by President Coolidge on the 150th anniversary of the Declaration and highlights a paragraph very relevant to the social and political issues in today's society.
About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.

ADDITION: 7/4/08: Check out this powerful video and remember those who are sacrificing for us.