Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Next Wild West

We have always been exploreres. In America we were always pushing west. Now we are pushing into space from Spaceport America in New Mexico. A commerical space port is being built to serve as home for companies wanting to head out into space. Check out this blog to keep up They also have a website here: The quest to explore the unknown to be better as humans is alive in New Mexico. I wish them the best of success. This is what we are for, not killing each other.

Views of Kuwait City

the burbs....
The burbs.

The road into Kuwait City, actually one of serveral.

Construction cranes (yellow) are everywhere in Kuwait. "Skyscrapers", really just tall apartment buildings, are going up everywhere.

A small place on Gulf Road, has a good view of the blue gulf waters. The Sultan Center is the place for food and day to day needs shopping.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

ARMED FORCES JOURNAL - A failure in generalship - May 2007

ARMED FORCES JOURNAL - A failure in generalship - May 2007

Saudi Suicide Plot

Saudis Say They Broke Up Suicide Plots

172 Arrested From Al-Qaeda Cells Reportedly Planning Strikes on Oil Industry, Royal Family
By Craig Whitlock and Robin WrightWashington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, April 28, 2007; Page A12

BERLIN, April 27 -- Saudi Arabia said Friday that it had arrested 172 suspected terrorists over the past several months from a network that was planning suicide attacks -- including the use of airplanes -- on the kingdom's oil industry, military installations and other targets.
Saudi officials said some of the suspects had trained next door in Iraq and had returned to the kingdom to plot the attacks. Also among the targets were high-ranking members of the royal family and the Saudi security forces, officials said.

...and the decline of the Arab culture continues......
How many of these suicide bombing terrorists could have been astronomers or mathamaticians? Could have contributed to society. Instead we spend the vast majority of our gross national product on fighting terrorism instead of exploring space, teaching our children or any of the other postitive things we could be doing with or money, time and energy.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Another Earth?

Sister Earth
Apr 25th 2007 EARTHFrom
Is there anybody out there?
IF EXTRATERRESTRIAL life were to exist, it would need a planet on which to evolve. All but one of 200-or-so planets outside the solar system discovered by astronomers so far would be quite unsuitable. That is because these planets are composed of gas. Yet the one whose discovery was announced in the early hours of Wednesday April 25th is different. Astronomers think it is rocky, like the Earth, and that it may harbour liquid water. This makes it the best candidate yet for supporting life.
The planet in question orbits a star called Gliese 581 that lies a mere 20 light years away in the constellation Libra. The temperature of the sun is such that it supports nuclear fusion that generates bright sunlight. By contrast, Gliese 581 is a red dwarf, so-called because the star is small and the fusion reaction proceeds slowly, creating a dim glow. Nevertheless, because the planet is much closer to its star than the Earth is to the sun, it lies in what astronomers call the "habitable zone"-the region surrounding a star where water would be liquid.
Seeing such faint objects is difficult. Astronomers used to detect them by indirect methods, such as picking up a small wobble in the position of the star that indicated it was being pulled very slightly towards an orbiting planet. New telescopes and techniques have found other exoplanets directly, by sensing a slight fading in the luminosity of the star as the planet crosses its face. But these techniques only work with massive planets and, in general, giant planets are gaseous.
Looking for planets orbiting red dwarfs is easier because the stars are less massive. This not only means that any planets orbit much more closely but also that the wobbles are more readily seen. The researchers—a team of Swiss, French and Portuguese planet-hunters using a telescope based in Chile—used an indirect method called the “radial velocity” technique. This exploits the Doppler effect familiar when a siren changes pitch as the fire engine on which it is mounted speeds past you. Using this technique, changes in the velocity of the star—that is, the wobble caused by the previously unseen planet—can be measured extremely accurately.
The planet, dubbed Gliese 581c, has a radius 50% larger than this planet. It has five times the mass of the Earth and orbits its star every 13 days. The same team of astronomers who discovered it had earlier found another planet, this time a gaseous giant similar to Neptune, orbiting the same star every 5.4 days. They say they have strong evidence for another planet in the same system that has about eight times the mass of the Earth and orbits every 84 days. The evidence is reported in a paper submitted to Astronomy and Astrophysics.
According to theory, a planet the size and mass of Gliese 581c should be rocky, like the Earth. It could, too, be covered in oceans, perhaps completely. The mean temperature on the surface of the planet would be between 0°C and 40°C, making it far more hospitable than either Venus or Mars, Earth’s nearest neighbours.
The race is now on to detect whether the planet has an atmosphere and whether it contains water. Just a fortnight ago, astronomers using the Hubble space telescope identified water vapour in the atmosphere of an exoplanet, albeit a gaseous exoplanet some 150 light years away. The planet, called HD209458b, passes in front of the Earth every three-and-a-half days, making accurate measurements possible over time.
Even if Gliese 581c turns out to be void of little green men, there is time yet. The sun is thought to be about 5 billion years old and halfway through its lifetime as a “main sequence” star. After that it is expected to become a red giant, as the hydrogen that presently comprises it is exhausted and the sun switches to burning helium instead. At that point, the Earth’s atmosphere and water will be boiled away, leaving the planet uninhabitable.

Red dwarfs, meanwhile, burn for hundreds of billions of years. This not only gives plenty of time for life to evolve on the recently discovered planet. It may make the place a useful bolthole in some 5 billion years’ time.

House Debate on Iraq

Rep. Tim Ryan Iraq debate; D-Ohio, 17th District Youngstown, Warren, Akron. See American democrocy at work.

Iraq Video slideshow

Visit YouTube to watch Ryan A. Conklin's Iraq slideshow; to get some insights. The images are powerful.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Charter 91

First undertaken by the Iraq Foundation in 1991, the Charter 91 project is equivalent to an Iraqi "Bill of Rights." It is a document formulated by Iraqis to express their fundamental values and aspirations for Iraq's future. It was and continues to be a signature-gathering campaign. In 1992,and again in 1994, the Iraq Foundation published multi-lingual additions of Charter 91, including Arabic, English, Kurdish, Assyrian and Turkoman texts of the Charter, as well as the names of the signatories at the time of publication. Copies of the multilingual, second edition are available from the Iraq Foundation.

Here is a link to The Iraq Foundation which has a copy:

How does this compare to the suggestions for what America should do in Iraq which are published in the Iraq Study Group Report (a link is in an earlier post of mine if you are interested)

Al Jazerra Blocked in Kuwait

Censorship in Kuwait. So I was doing some research on web news sources and tried to surf over to Al Jazerra, the English version. And what happens? The website is being blocked! Censorship in Kuwait, who knew? I use to get Al Jazerra, now I get "Information Alert, status: 403 Forbidden; Description: Host name recieved is not for this web site. Bull s%$# the Kuwaiti's are trying to censor what people in their country can see. What's up with that! I'll check the TV and see if they have taken it off the air also. Well just got back I can still get Al Jazerra I the English verison on my satellite TV. That does not surprise me since I also get 20 or 30 porn stations. And in a Muslim country.

News sources: www

I have the following news websites open right now; ABC News, CBS News, MSNBC News, CNN, BBC, Al Jazerra, PBS because I wanted to see what each had on their frontpage. A sampling follows from each.
ABC News - Massacre At Virgina Tech, Gunman Reportedly hit sister.., The Price of a Punch $9M, Pilot Killed in SC Blue Angel Crash, Amanda Congdon on the Tragedy.
CBS News - Pilot Killed in Blue Angel Jet Crash, Bush Passes On Jokes At Media Dinner, The World's Most Beautiful Woman?, Group Plans to Picket Va. Tech Funerals, Iraq Report Card, Tragedy at Virginia Tech, Cho Family Statement.
MSNBC - Kiling Strangers, Mass shooting on the rise, but cause hard to pinpoint, Israeli troops kill 6 Palestinians in anti-rocket raid, Prison wongly frees felon after getting phony fax, Search for Australian 'ghost ship' crew called off, Man in dungeon abuse case says sex consensual, Exclusive photos from Virginia Tech, Clift: The abortion wars and campaign 2008, Blue Angel down, NASA: Gunman feared for his job, Bush passes on jokes at D.C. roast.
Fox News - Electronic Tracks of a Killer, Blue Angels Plane Crashes, Inmate Freed with Phony Fax, NASA Gunman Feared Being Fired, Taliban Video Shows Child Executioner, Several Missing After Plan Crash Near Florida, Ex-Nuke Workeer Allegedly Took Codes to Iran.
CNN International - U.S. Navy jet crashes at air show, Police seek phone, laptop clues, Massacre at Virginia Tech, S.Korea to ship rice to North, Mortar fire kills Somali civilians, Billionaire space tourist returns.
Al Jazerra is being blocked by the Kuwait ISP. So what is it that Kuwait fears from Al Jazerra?
BBC - France set for presidential vote, The hosue that Jacques built, Violence mars Nigeria election, Seoul to resume N Korea food aid, Actor Baldwin in vociemail outburst, Loveable rogue - What kind of France will Jacques Chirac leave behind?
PBS - President Refutes Reid's Comments That Iraq War is "lost", Shooter's PUrchase of Handgunds Raises Questions About Gund Control Laws, Virginia Tech Campus, Nation Observe Day of Mourning, Military Forces in Afghanistan Combat Resurgent Taliban, War Supporters Back President's Policy Despite Low Poll Numbers.

So you decide which is the best source of information for you? One snap shot like this is not going to make up your mind but compare over time and make up your mind. For me I like PBS, BBC and CNN International.

Saturday, April 21, 2007


Google is a wonderful thing for those of us interested in finding knowledge in the www. I use several of the Google tools to make my online experience more productive. This blog site, a personal google homepage, notebook, and others. Try the Google tools like google trends and maps.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

News sources

The results about Fox News echo findings of previous surveys. In 2003, University of Maryland researchers studied the public’s belief in three false claims — that Iraq possessed WMD, that Iraq was involved in 9/11, and that there was international support for the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
The researchers stated, “The extent of Americans’ misperceptions vary significantly depending on their source of news. Those who receive most of their news from Fox News are more likely than average to have misperceptions.” Fox News viewers were “three times more likely than the next nearest network to hold all three misperceptions.”

Another interesting fact is that in the short time that the English version of Al Jazera has been available it's audiance has grown to about 1/2 that of CNN. But not a single US based cable company is offering it to American viewers. Come on get another point of view folks! Open your mind and do some research then make up your mind and take informed action.

Numbers 32 + 138 = crazy

So one man kills 32 people in America and several sucide bombers kill 138 in Iraq yesterday. The story of all the 32 American victims fills the airways for weeks to come with long analysis about how this could have happened. What kind of cazy person could do this. Well what kind of crazy people spend year after year killing each other in Iraq? Where is the analysis of this situation? Why are Americans fighting in Iraq? Why are Arabs killing Arabs? Religion.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

From Astronomer to Suicide Bomber

In astronomy many words come from the Arabic people. Two examples are zenith and nadir;

Zenith - the point on the celestial sphere vertically above a given position or observer. From Arabic samt (ar-ra's), path (over the head).

Nadir- the point on the celestial sphere directly beneath a given position or observer and diametrically opposite the zenith. From Arabic naīr (as-samt),

How do you go from observing the heavens, from being some of the first astronomers to stapping explosives to your body and killing yourself and as many people as you can?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Topics of interest to me

I work six days a week and spend my off time studying astronomy and middle eastern history. Astronomy holds my greatest interest and the issues of cosmology are very interesting - black holes, the event horizon, big bang, string theory; all hold many interesting concepts to contemplate. On my drive to and from work I listen to astronomy pod casts from Astronomy Cast, Slaker Astronomy and a college level astronomy course. The iPod is great, I am using a mini iPod now but want to get a video iPod in a few months as more or more interesting content is becoming available, especially in the area of astronomy.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

A beautiful day

After days of the sand storm, followed by a day of raining mud we now have a beautiful day in Kuwait. Still raining but the mud is out of the air. The drive into work was not bad, as usual, since Thursday and Friday are the weekend around here. So on these day's their are fewer people on the road trying to kill me with their cars.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

It rained mud today

Kuwait, like most 3rd world hell holes, has its interesting environmental treats. Take today for instance, it rained mud. So nice to have your car covered with mud that falls from the sky's. Of course we needed to weather a few days of dust storms to get the right conditions for our little mud drops. As usual their were several car wrecks on the drive into to work today, as every day the local drivers totally disregard the traffic laws. Law has no meaning to Kuwait drivers and the men and women are equally bad drivers. Gender equalitiy in Kuwait?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Ali Allawi's book

Posted on 04/08/2007 11:37:44 AM PDT by NormsRevenge
NEW YORK - In a rueful reflection on what might have been, an Iraqi government insider details in 500 pages the U.S. occupation's "shocking" mismanagement of his country — a performance so bad, he writes, that by 2007 Iraqis had "turned their backs on their would-be liberators."
"The corroded and corrupt state of Saddam was replaced by the corroded, inefficient, incompetent and corrupt state of the new order," Ali A. Allawi concludes in "The Occupation of Iraq," newly published by Yale University Press.
Allawi writes with authority as a member of that "new order," having served as Iraq's trade, defense and finance minister at various times since 2003. As a former academic, at Oxford University before the U.S.-British invasion of Iraq, he also writes with unusual detachment.
The U.S.- and British-educated engineer and financier is the first senior Iraqi official to look back at book length on his country's four-year ordeal. It's an unsparing look at failures both American and Iraqi, an account in which the word "ignorance" crops up repeatedly.
First came the "monumental ignorance" of those in Washington pushing for war in 2002 without "the faintest idea" of Iraq's realities. "More perceptive people knew instinctively that the invasion of Iraq would open up the great fissures in Iraqi society," he writes.
What followed was the "rank amateurism and swaggering arrogance" of the occupation, under L. Paul Bremer's Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), which took big steps with little consultation with Iraqis, steps Allawi and many others see as blunders:
• The Americans disbanded Iraq's army, which Allawi said could have helped quell a rising insurgency in 2003. Instead, hundreds of thousands of demobilized, angry men became a recruiting pool for the resistance.
• Purging tens of thousands of members of toppled President Saddam Hussein's Baath party — from government, school faculties and elsewhere — left Iraq short on experienced hands at a crucial time.
• An order consolidating decentralized bank accounts at the Finance Ministry bogged down operations of Iraq's many state-owned enterprises.
• The CPA's focus on private enterprise allowed the "commercial gangs" of Saddam's day to monopolize business.
• Its free-trade policy allowed looted Iraqi capital equipment to be spirited away across borders.
• The CPA perpetuated Saddam's fuel subsidies, selling gasoline at giveaway prices and draining the budget.
Bremer, who wrote his own account of his time in Baghdad, contended his authority was undermined by "micromanagement" from Washington, where he thought officials in the administration tried "to set me up as a fall guy" for problems in Iraq.
Though U.S. generals in Iraq repeatedly asked the administration to reinstate dismissed officers from Saddam's army, Bremer recounted in his book "My Year in Iraq," they were consistently refused at the highest levels. In the end, however, senior Defense Department officials sought to distance themselves from the decision to disband the old Iraqi army, and it became "etched into America's consciousness" that it was Bremer who "had made a grave error in demobilizing the Iraqi forces," he wrote.
Although Allawi, a cousin of Ayad Allawi, Iraq's prime minister in 2004, is a member of a secularist Shiite Muslim political grouping, his well-researched book betrays little partisanship.
On U.S. reconstruction failures — in electricity, health care and other areas documented by Washington's own auditors — Allawi writes that the Americans' "insipid retelling of `success' stories" merely hid "the huge black hole that lay underneath."
For their part, U.S. officials have often largely blamed Iraq's explosive violence for the failures of reconstruction and poor governance.
The author has been instrumental since 2005 in publicizing extensive corruption within Iraq's "new order," including an $800-million Defense Ministry scandal. Under Saddam, he writes, the secret police kept would-be plunderers in check better than the U.S. occupiers have done.
As 2007 began, Allawi concludes, "America's only allies in Iraq were those who sought to manipulate the great power to their narrow advantage. It might have been otherwise."

Monday, April 09, 2007

Sand Storm

For those who facny themselves as Indiana Jones. Click the image to get a better view.

Sunday, April 08, 2007


When rational people have complete knowledge of a situation they can make better decisions. Of course not all people are rational. But knowledge is available for the seeker. Just google any subject or visit wikipedia. One problem we humans have is waiting to gather and analyze knowledge before we act. If our decision makers had complete knowledge would I be here in Kuwait? Would Iran have captured the British sailors? Would America be in Iraq and Afghanistan? I wonder. And I continue to seek complete knowledge.

Sunday, April 01, 2007


The Arabs were astronomers and contribued to the science of astronomy. Their is a great podcast from Astronomy Cast ( that talks not only about intersting astronomy subjects but talks about how we know what we know. It is very interesting to understand how we know what we know. This looking back to how we know what we know is something we should do in all areas of knowledge. You can also subscribe to the Astronomy pod cast by going to iTunes and searching for "Astronomy Cast"
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