Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fun at the NSF

Susan, call girl from the play NO SEX PLEASE WE'RE BRITISH.

Is your NSF grant taking forever to be approved? Does it seem like the grants go to the safest, least-deserving research? In No Sex Please, We're British the blog reported the real-life husband of then-Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, himself already on the public payroll, watching dirty movies at home alone while charging them to the taxpayer. Today we know what NSF is really doing with their time. From the Washington Times:

Porn Surfing Rampant at US Science Foundation

"Employee misconduct investigations, often involving workers accessing pornography from their government computers, grew sixfold last year inside the taxpayer-funded foundation that doles out billions of dollars of scientific research grants, according to budget documents and other records obtained by The Washington Times.

"The problems at the National Science Foundation (NSF) were so pervasive they swamped the agency's inspector general and forced the internal watchdog to cut back on its primary mission of investigating grant fraud and recovering misspent tax dollars.

"For instance, one senior executive spent at least 331 days looking at pornography on his government computer and chatting online with nude or partially clad women without being detected, the records show."

For those receiving NSF grants this is a good time to engage in fraud, because the NSF watchdogs are watching something else. What does this say about the NSF's real opinion of women? If inflatons,cosmic strings and "dark energy" don't exist, is that also fraud?


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Two Into One

The "Number One Plays and Players" began years ago performing for NASA employees in the Gilruth Center at JSC. Houston's latest hit is TWO INTO ONE, by master of British farce RAY COONEY. A civil servant in the Home Office tries to arrange an extramarital affair with the girl in a towel. Being a British civil servant, he messes everything up. The Minister's wife and the girl's husband (right) show up with disastrous consequences!

The real UK government is still more incompetent than any Ray Cooney farce. Friend Nige pointed out this article from the Times:

Britain is appeasing Iran, Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi says

Dr. Ebadi is the only Persian to have won a Nobel peace prize. She and her family have endured arrest and persecution for telling the truth about Iran. She believes that Britain's government has ignored the regime's appalling record in order to cut a deal.

Though Scotsman Gordon Brown is UK Prime Minister, he still wields great influence in Scotland. Last month Abdel Megrahi, sentenced to 27 years for the Lockerbie bombing, was released to a hero's welcome in Libya. Moammar Kaddafi publicly thanked his 'friend' Gordon Brown and others for helping to swing the deal. In exchange Libya has promised oil and trade.

Former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith banned radio personality Michael Savage and others from Britain for their political views. Her husband, who was also on the government payroll, was caught watching dirty movies at home alone and charging them to the taxpayer. Smith has since resigned in disgrace, though documents indicate that Gordon Brown approved her actions. In interviews Smith has admitted to being completely unprepared for the job, having no experience running a major organisation. Dr. Savage has 2 masters degrees, in medical botany and medical anthropology, and a PhD from the University of California Berkeley in epidemiology and nutrition sciences. He and others are still banned from Britain by the bureaucracy.

Dutch politician Geert Wilders was banned from Britain for his views, but flew to Heathrow anyway. He was publicly detained and sent back. Many innocent travellers, celebrated or not, have been detained by Britain's dictatorial Immigration Office. When Heathrow's Terminal 5 was opened last year, thousands of travellers and their baggage were stranded for days due to system malfunctions. Failures like these are systematic in British bureacracy, a fine subject for a Ray Cooney farce.

The theatre program says that the girl in a towel is an experienced actress and a scientist working at NASA. How can someone who looks like that (meaning female) be a scientist? How could she solve the "dark energy" problem that thousands of scientists can't figure out? Why does NASA give her money and a security badge for Johnson Space Center? This can't be right--something must be wrong with a woman's equations! Commenters feel a duty to pepper her blog with silly comments, trying in vain to find some flaw with the math or data. If that doesn't work, perhaps she can be stopped at an airport...

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Shuttle Reconsidered

The Vision for Space Exploration called for the Space Shuttles to be retired by 2010. Normal delays will stretch the last flight until at least 2011. With 6 flights left, many people are reconsidering that end. The Augustine Commission believes that Ares-Orion will not be ready to replace Shuttle until 2017. Today the head of Russia's Roskosmos expressed hope that Shuttles will fly longer.

Last Friday former Shuttle Program Manager Bob Thompson spoke at University of Houston. Thompson was in charge of Shuttle development through the 1970's. He described the many decisions made on the way:

The first designs called for a manned flyback first stage (left), but that was thought too expensiveand risky. Eventually NASA settled on the design (right) we all know.

Contrary to what we have heard before, Air Force requirements did not drive Shuttle design. The large payload bay proved handy for the Hubble Telescope and Space Station modules. The delta wings gave crossrange capability in abort situations. Overall Thompson claimed that USAF had minimal impact on the design.

Without naming names, Thompson warned against junking Shuttle in favour of a 'safer' vehicle that has yet to fly. Concluding, Thompson
broadly hinted that he would like to see Shuttles flying longer. As for the Moon, he showed this timeline for Antarctica. From the first landing to settlement was 136 years, and the South Pole is closer and less hostile than the Moon. Settling the Moon will take a lot of patience.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Big Scoop: Water on Moon

This writer has the privilege of working with the top scientists studying the Moon. Though Galileo 400 years ago saw lunar seas in his telescope, for the last century the Moon was thought to be dry as a bone. When traces of H2O were found in Apollo lunar samples, the water was thought to be contamination from Earth. Things change, as scientists also thought the speed of light was constant.

At 2 PM EST today a NASA media briefing will announce major findings about water on the Moon. The latest data comes from India's Chandrayaan spacecraft, which went dead weeks ago but returned signs of water on the Moon.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Revolution Not Televised

Another post supporting friends in Iran (Persia): Tomorrow September 24 at noon will be a protest outside the United Nations in New York.

Friday's protests went surprisingly well. According to Le Monde and L'Express, millions of people marched in Tehran. BBC said the protests were even larger than 1979. The regime chants of "Death to America" were drowned out by "Death to Russia" and "Death to China." Police and even the Basij militia did little to stop the protests. Even woman-beating goons can see which way the wind is blowing.

Despite his days being numbered, this week Ahmadinejad is accepted at the United Nations like a legitimate head of state. Governments, including the US, insist upon negotiating with a doomed regime. The ongoing revolution is the biggest story in world affairs, yet it is ignored by major media. It has been left to Twitter and bloggers (including this one) to spread the word.

(On September 22, during a military parade, Iran's only AWACS plane crashed and burned. Airborne Warning and Control is necessary to defend a country against air attack. The plane reportedly crashed at the site of Khomeini's tomb. Without AWACS a country is very vulnerable to airstrikes. One way or another, the regime will go.)

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Dark Energy's Demise?

From National Geographic News:

Dark Energy's Demise? New Theory Doesn't Use the Force

"Dark energy, a mysterious force proposed more than a decade ago to explain why the universe is flying apart at an increasingly faster clip, is no longer necessary.

That's the conclusion of a controversial new theory that shows how the accelerated expansion of the universe could be just an illusion."

The article refers to work by Blake Temple of UC Davis and Joel Smoller of University of Michigan. Their work suggests that our galaxy is in the middle of a density fluctuation that mimics the effects of an accelerating universe. This would explain supernova data without cosmic acceleration, but violate the Copernican Principle.

The inferrence of a repulsive "dark energy" has led science nowhere. Focus on DE is one more factor eroding the reputation of physics. These new theories are nails in the coffin of DE. As readers know, the data can be precisely matched by GM=tc^3 and a changing speed of light.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

March Tomorrow

To all our friends in Iran (Persia): Protests are scheduled for Friday September 18, Quds (Jerusalem) Day. The regime tries to use this day to drum up support for attacking Jerusalem. In the United Arab Emirates, 53 people have been arrested in an Iran-directed plot to blow up Burj Dubai, the world's tallest building. In the meantime, the regime enriches uranium to build a bomb. If "dark energy" exists, it is in the minds of regimes that oppress women. In 1938 Neville Chamberlain sold out Czechoslovakia to buy "peace in our time" and got war. What sort of Neville Chamberlain would appease people like this?


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Jets on the Lex

The Little Red Corvette beneath the wing of an A-3 Skywarrior aboard USS Lexington. Launched during World War 2, when good men were hard to find, "Lady Lex" was 90% built by women. In postwar years she became better known as the US Navy's training carrier. As a training ship, Lexington was the first aircraft carrier to have women in the crew. Naval Aviators, including many future astronauts, learned the difficult art of carrier landings on this deck.

Lexington was berthed in Pensacola, Florida, cradle of Naval Aviation. At "P-Cola" the candidate experienced the discipline of Marine Gunnery sergeants and the famous obstacle course. She would get basic flight training in a Cessna 172, followed by the T-34 Mentor (right). Jet training was in the T-2 Buckeye (left), culminating in carrier landings on the Lexington.

The top of the flight school class aimed for the F-14 Tomcat. The coolest squadron markings were worn by VF-84 Jolly Rogers, part of Carrier Air Wing 8. VF-84 and USS Nimitz were featured in the time-travel movie THE FINAL COUNTDOWN. The colour scheme even ended up on the space fighters of MACROSS. Real Space flyers Alan Shepard, John Glenn, Neil Armstrong and many other wore the gold wings of the Naval Aviator. The skills and discipline of Naval Aviation have been a huge contribution to Spaceflight.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Vettes on the Lex

Last weekend 300 Chevrolet Corvettes were displayed on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Lexington for "Vettes and Jets on the Lex." This very special event benefitted the Wounded Warrior Foundation. Saturday morning Corvettes and their owners queued up on the pier in Corpus Christ, Texas beneath a pouring rain right out of Noah's Ark. After riding up the aircraft elevator, a little red car was parked beneath the wing of an A-3 Skywarrior.

The rain cleared later in the day, and Sunday's weather was spectacular. Like the 300 Spartans, the owners felt privileged just to be on deck. Looking toward the bow from the bridge, we see an F-14 Tomcat and F/A-18 Hornet on the catapults.

Looking aft at the bridge, we see the Hornet in her Blue Angel colours. The word "Corvette" originally referred to a type of small, powerful warship. Corvettes have long been the only American-made sports car. Their owners enjoy both performance cars and American workmanship. During the Apollo years, a Corvette was the astronaut's car of choice. One Apollo crew even bought 3 matching Corvettes. On September 12, 2009 the people's love of America was on display.

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

September 13, 1999

Another anniversary! According to an old TV show about SPACE: 1999, 10 years ago today the Moon was blown out of its orbit by an impossibly large nuclear accident. Funny, the Moon still looks ok in the bedroom window. The show featured a huge self-sufficient Moonbase with a population of hundreds, which would be nice to see built today.

As readers of this blog have heard, the Moon really is slowly drifting away. The difference between the Lunar Laser Ranging Experiment measure and the Moon's actual recession rate shows that the speed of light is slowing down today. For those usual suspects try to find holes in the theory: I really recommend that you relax and watch some old Sci Fi shows; they are truly amusing!

NEXT: Another weekend on an aircraft carrier!

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Bin Laden Still Dead

8 years after the tragic day 9-11-2001 Mr. Osama Bin Laden is still dead. He stopped breathing as early as December 15, 2001. An Islamist website recently promised an anniversary "gift" from OBL, but withdrew the post. It must be getting difficult taking old recordings and packaging them as new.

OBL has much in common with 'dark energy.' While many people pretend that OBL exists, no one has actually seen him. A mainstream press insists that OBL and DE exist, even though the evidence is sketchy at best. Those with critical thinking skills can see that the Emperor truly has no clothes. Eventually both will fade from the public memory.

The power of one light can illuminate the darkest night.


Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The Bedroom Window

The bedroom opens onto a lanai (patio) with a panoramic view of the bay. Houston saw a lovely full Moon over the bay last night. The human-made moons of ISS and Discovery also passed overhead. In Houston people are still working hard to reach the Moon. Nights like this are made for contemplating the Moon.

The Lunar Laser Ranging Experiment measures the Moon's distance at 384,402 km. LLRE also reports the Moon receding at 3.82 cm/yr, anomolously high. If the Moon were gaining angular momentum at this rate it would have coincided with Earth only 1.5 billion years ago.

Geology and paleontology can measure more precisely how the lunar orbit has changed, reporting only about 2.8 cm/yr. This figure can be measured precisely. If the speed of light slows according to GM=tc^3, the time for light signals to return will increase each year. The Moon would appear to recede an extra .935 cm/yr as seen by LLRE. The lunar orbit anomaly is precisely accounted for.

One day the world that wonders at the sky will look up and see light slowing down. In the meantime, looking at the Moon is still a pleasure.

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Thursday, September 03, 2009

The Farthest Galaxy

Astronomers from the University of Hawaii have found a galaxy surrounding the most distant supermassive Black Hole yet found, 12.8 billion years in the past. The Black Hole, found by the Subaru telescope atop Mauna Kea, has a billion times the mass of our Sun. It and the host galaxy were formed in the first billion years of the Universe. Present-day science can not explain how the giant Black Hole formed. The forthcoming paper concludes:

"The authors wish to recognize and acknowledge the very significant cultural role and reverence that the summit of Mauna Kea
has always had within the indigenous Hawaiian community. We are most fortunate to have the opportunity to conduct observations
from this sacred mountain."

Every galaxy examined contains at its centre a supermassive Black Hole. They are very likely primordial, formed in the immense densities following the Big Bang. Size of a primordial Black Hole is limited by a "horizon distance" related to the speed of light. If c were always the same value, PBH's would all be tiny. Discovery of massive primordial Black Holes is a clue that the speed of light has slowed.

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