Stephen William Hawking, CH, CBE, FRS, FRSA (born 8 January 1942) is a British theoretical physicist, whose scientific career spans over forty years. His books and public appearances have made him an academic celebrity and he is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a lifetime member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and in 2009 was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States.
Hawking was the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge for thirty years, taking up the post in 1979 and retiring on 1 October 2009. He is also a Fellow of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge and a Distinguished Research Chair at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario. He is known for his contributions to the fields of cosmology and quantum gravity, especially in the context of black holes. He has also achieved success with works of popular science in which he discusses his own theories and cosmology in general; these include the runaway best seller A Brief History of Time, which stayed on the British Sunday Times bestsellers list for a record-breaking 237 weeks.
Hawking's key scientific works to date have included providing, with Roger Penrose, theorems regarding singularities in the framework of general relativity, and the theoretical prediction that black holes should emit radiation, which is today known as Hawking radiation (or sometimes as Bekenstein-Hawking radiation).
Hawking has a neuro-muscular dystrophy that is related to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a condition that has progressed over the years and has left him almost completely paralysed.
Friday, April 30, 2010
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
X-37B during encapsulation ahead of the OTV-1 launch
X-37B OTV-1 (Orbital Test Vehicle 1) or USA-212 is the first flight of the Boeing X-37B, an American unmanned robotic spacecraft. It was launched aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral on 22 April 2010, and is currently operating in low Earth orbit.
The spacecraft is operated by the United States Air Force, which has not revealed what the spaceship's specific payload is, stating only that it will "demonstrate various experiments and allow satellite sensors, subsystems, components, and associated technology to be transported into space and back."
Most of the mission parameters for the OTV-1 flight have not been disclosed. The vehicle is capable of being on-orbit for up to 270 days. The Air Force stated the mission time will depend on progress of the craft's experiments during orbit. Mission control is handled by the 3d Space Experimentation Squadron, 21st Space Wing, of the Air Force Space Command in Colorado Springs.
James Oberg speculates that the concurrent launch of Air Force's Hypersonic Technology Vehicle HTV-2 is related to the mission. Part of X-37B's mission profile might involve a simulated enemy attack, which X-37B should detect and autonomously react on it. HTV-2 was launched at 23:00 UTC on April 22, 2010, i.e., 52 min ahead of X-37B, from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
Some speculators believe it marks the beginning of military operations in space. In particular, William Scott, co-author of the techno-novel Counterspace: The Next Hours of World War III and former Rocky Mountain Bureau Chief for Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine believes that with OTV-1 the Air Force might test weapons delivery from a space plane in low Earth orbit. He mentions Rods from God as a possible scenario. (read more) (video clip)
Monday, April 26, 2010
The Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion occurred on April 20, 2010 on the semi-submersible offshore drilling rig Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico.
Survivors described the incident as a sudden explosion which gave them less than five minutes to escape as the alarm went off. After having been on fire for more than a day, Deepwater Horizon sank on April 22, 2010 in 5,000 feet of water. 115 of the 126 member crew were recovered, and eleven remain missing.
Although initially the undersea wellhead appeared to be contained, on 24 April it was found that the wellhead was damaged and was leaking oil into the Gulf. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Mary Landry described it as "a very serious spill, absolutely." BP plans to use remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) to close the well at depth; up to 19,000 barrels of oil a day is estimated to be leaking from the wellhead. The valve closing procedure was estimated to take 24 to 36 hours as of April 25; oil cleanup was being hampered by high waves on April 24 and 25. By April 25, the oil spill covered 1500 square km, and was only 50 km from the Chandeleur Islands, ecologically sensitive barrier islands already damaged by Hurricane Katrina. (read more)
Sunday, April 25, 2010
"Enlightenment is man's emergence from his self-imposed immaturity. Immaturity is the inability to use one's understanding without guidance from another. This immaturity is self-imposed when its cause lies not in lack of understanding, but in lack of resolve and courage to use it without guidance from another. Sapere Aude! [dare to know] Have courage to use your own understanding!"--that is the motto of enlightenment."
From my mother's sleep I fell into the State,
And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.
Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life,
I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.
When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.
by Randall Jarrell
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Friday, April 23, 2010
La Vérité ("Truth")
by Jules Joseph Lefebvre 1870
The ancient Greek origins of the words "true" and "truth" have some consistent definitions throughout great spans of history that were often associated with topics of logic, geometry, mathematics, deduction, induction, and natural philosophy.
Socrates', Plato's and Aristotle's ideas about truth are commonly seen as consistent with correspondence theory. In his Metaphysics, Aristotle stated:
To say of what is that it is not,
or of what is not that it is, is false,
while to say of what is that it is,
and of what is not that it is not, is true.
“The triumph of man was due entirely to the female of our species.” ~ Harold Klawans MD
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Earth Day is a day designed to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth's environment. It was founded by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in in 1970 and is celebrated in many countries every year.
John McConnell first introduced the idea of a global holiday called "Earth Day" at the 1969 UNESCO Conference on the Environment. The first Earth Day proclamation was issued by San Francisco Mayor Joseph Alioto on March 21, 1970. Celebrations were held in various cities, such as San Francisco and in Davis, California with a multi-day street party. UN Secretary-General U Thant supported McConnell's global initiative to celebrate this annual event; and on February 26, 1971, he signed a proclamation to that effect, saying:
"May there be only peaceful and cheerful Earth Days to come for our beautiful Spaceship Earth as it continues to spin and circle in frigid space with its warm and fragile cargo of animate life."
John McConnell's concern for the environment grew in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He became moved when he saw the first picture of the Earth printed in Life magazine. Later that picture became the symbol on the Earth Day flag in which he designed and created. The Earth Day Flag was featured in "Whole Earth Catalogue" and was used, here and there around the world, to show support of efforts to help people and planet. The Earth Day Flag is a symbol of Earth Day and is still part of the Earth Day Ceremony each year at the United Nations.
On 22 April 1970, Earth Day marked the beginning of the modern environmental movement. Approximately 20 million Americans participated. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, Freeway and expressway revolts, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.
As Senator Nelson attests, the most impressive thing about this movement was how it had no central governing body and simply grew on its own:
"Earth Day worked because of the spontaneous response at the grassroots level. We had neither the time nor resources to organize 20 million demonstrators and the thousands of schools and local communities that participated. That was the remarkable thing about Earth Day...it organized itself." (read more)
John McConnell in front of his home in Denver, Colorado with the Earth Flag he designed.
Victory gardens, also called war gardens or food gardens for defense, were vegetable, fruit and herb gardens planted at private residences and public parks in United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Germany during World War I and World War II to reduce the pressure on the public food supply brought on by the war effort. In addition to indirectly aiding the war effort these gardens were also considered a civil "morale booster" — in that gardeners could feel empowered by their contribution of labor and rewarded by the produce grown. This made victory gardens become a part of daily life on the home front.
In March of 1917, Charles Lathrop Pack organized the National War Garden Commission and launched the war garden campaign. During World War I, food production had fallen dramatically, especially in Europe, where agricultural labor had been recruited into military service and remaining farms devastated by the conflict. Pack conceived the idea that the supply of food could be greatly increased without the use of land and manpower already engaged in agriculture, and without the significant use of transportation facilities needed for the war effort. The campaign promoted the cultivation of available private and public lands, resulting in over five million gardens and foodstuff production exceeding $1.2 billion by the end of the war.
It was emphasized to home front urbanites and suburbanites that the produce from their gardens would help to lower the price of vegetables needed by the US War Department to feed the troops, thus saving money that could be spent elsewhere on the military: "Our food is fighting," one US poster read; in Britain the slogan "Dig for Victory" was ubiquitous.
Although at first the Department of Agriculture objected to Eleanor Roosevelt's institution of a Victory Garden on the White House grounds, fearing that such a movement would hurt the food industry, basic information about gardening appeared in public services booklets distributed by the Department of Agriculture. The US Department of Agriculture estimates that more than 20 million victory gardens were planted. Fruit and vegetables harvested in these home and community plots was estimated to be 9-10 million tons, an amount equal to all commercial production of fresh vegetables.
Victory gardens were planted in backyards and on apartment-building rooftops, with the occasional vacant lot "commandeered for the war effort!" and put to use as a cornfield or a squash patch. During World War II, sections of lawn were publicly plowed for plots in Hyde Park, London to publicize the movement. In New York City, the lawns around vacant Riverside were devoted to victory gardens, as were portions of San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.
The Fenway Victory Gardens in the Back Bay Fens of Boston, Massachusetts and the Dowling Community Garden in Minneapolis, Minnesota, remain active as the last surviving public examples from World War II.
Since the turn of the century there has existed a growing interest in Victory Gardens. A grassroots campaign promoting such gardens has recently sprung up in the form of new Victory Gardens in public spaces, Victory Garden websites and blogs, as well as petitions to both renew a national campaign for the Victory Garden and to encourage the re-establishment of a Victory Garden on the White House lawn. In March 2009, First Lady Michelle Obama, planted an 1,100 square foot "Kitchen Garden" on the White House lawn, the first since Eleanor Roosevelt's, to raise awareness about healthy food which was one of Mrs. Obama's advocacy issues
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Solar panels on every roof can produce CO2 free electricity.
Electric cars can be recharged free with solar power.
Wind power is another easy electric power generator.
Solar thermal heat provides steam for power generation.
Wind and waves combine to produce electricity.
River turbines capture the power of water.
The Population Bomb was a best-selling book written by Paul R. Ehrlich in 1968. It warned of the mass starvation of humans in 1970s and 1980s due to overpopulation and advocated immediate action to limit population growth. The book also popularized the previously coined term, "population bomb". The book has been criticized in recent decades for its alarmist tone and unfilled predictions. Ehrlich stands by the basic ideas in the book.
Early editions of The Population Bomb began with the statement:
The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate.
The book dealt not only with food shortage, but also with other kinds of crises caused by rapid population growth. A "population bomb", as defined in the book, required only three things: a rapid rate of change, a limit of some sort, and delays in perceiving the limit.
Also worth noting is Ehrlich's introduction of the Impact formula or I PAT:
I = P × A × T (where I = Environmental Impact, P = Population, A = Affluence, T = Technology)
It states that the impact a community has on the environment, can be calculated by multiplying the community's population by its wealth and how developed it is. Ehrlich thus argued, affluent technological nations have a greater per capita impact on the limited resources of the earth than do poorer nations.
The world's population doubled from 3 billion in 1959 to 6 billion in 1999. It is currently (2010) at 6.8 billion, and is expected to reach 9 billion by around 2042.
More than 36 millions died of hunger or diseases caused by malnutrition in 2006. According to the World Health Organization, malnutrition is by far the biggest contributor to child mortality, present in half of all cases. Environmental issues with agriculture has hampered the finding of acceptable solutions to these problems.
In a 2004 Grist Magazine interview, Ehrlich acknowledged some specific predictions he had made, in the years around the time the Population Bomb was published, that had not come to pass. However, as to a number of his fundamental ideas and assertions he maintained that facts and science proved them correct.
In answer to the question: "Were your predictions in The Population Bomb right?", Ehrlich responded:
"Anne and I have always followed U.N. population projections as modified by the Population Reference Bureau -- so we never made "predictions", even though idiots think we have. When I wrote The Population Bomb in 1968, there were 3.5 billion people. Since then we've added another 2.8 billion -- many more than the total population (2 billion) when I was born in 1932. If that's not a population explosion, what is? My basic claims (and those of the many scientific colleagues who reviewed my work) were that population growth was a major problem. Fifty-eight academies of science said that same thing in 1994, as did the world scientists' warning to humanity in the same year. My view has become depressingly mainline!"
The book sold over two million copies, raised the general awareness of population and environmental issues, and influenced 1960s and 1970s public policy. (read more)
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
by Adele Israel
Columnist, Community Activist
Posted: October 6, 2009
It is time to stop the insanity and you can help! I am referring to the madness of purchasing water in single-use, disposable plastic bottles. In spite of the convenience, this is a crazy concept and we must put an end to it.
You may ask, "What's so crazy about using individual bottles of water?" Pardon my candor, but not only is this habit unnecessary and ridiculously expensive, it is also wasteful and dependent on diminishing resources.
Let me share a few important facts:
1 Plastics are made by synthesizing certain chemicals found in fossil fuels like oil, natural gas or coal, to create chains of carbon and hydrogen atoms. These chains are enhanced with additional chemicals and highly-specialized manufacturing processes.
2 Plastic is forever. Although some types of plastic can be recycled, it does not ever completely biodegrade.
3 Plastic is lightweight and can travel many, many miles from where it was discarded.
4 Plastic water bottles account for more than one million tons of waste per year.
5 Plastics break down just enough to release toxins that can be hazardous to your health.
Bottled water is expensive. With most of us trying to trim our budgets, this is one expense to jettison immediately. Assuming you pay one buck for a 20-ounce bottle of water, that translates to $6.40 per gallon. Local Ute water costs less than 1/2 cent a gallon. We refill large reusable containers of water at Purified Water to Go and still only pay 35 cents a gallon. From an economic standpoint, individually bottled water is simply a ridiculous waste of money.
Then you have to take into account the amount of resources used to make all those bottles, fill them and transport them. The fossil fuel that is diverted into making water bottles for one year could run more than 100,000 cars during that same time period.
Which bring us full circle to the trash resulting from the bottled-water habit. Each year in the United States about 40 billion water bottles are thrown away, wherever "away" is. Fewer than 20 percent of water bottles actually get recycled.
Purchasing water in plastic, single-serve containers is a lose-lose situation. Stop buying this wasteful product and encourage others to follow your lead. Together we can stop the madness now. (read more)
Monday, April 19, 2010
“Because a dairy cow has an unequaled digestive process which is enhanced by cosmic life-giving forces in her hooves and horns that enable the nitrogen in her manure to rekindle life within the earth.”
“When vintners dig up the horns six months later, they find the manure transformed into a dark, rich, moist substance that smells surprisingly sweet and earthy. Then they mix it with water and spray it over the crops like regular fertilizer.”
Anthony Caponi is an artist, educator, poet, philosopher, innovator and engineer. For 60 years, Caponi has lived, worked, taught, and created his art in Minnesota. His distinguished career has carved an indelible mark in the cultural history of the state and contributed immeasurably to the wealth of arts available to its citizens.
At age 88, Caponi continues to create with energy and inspiration. Caponi Art Park and Learning Center, the manifestation of his 50-year vision, has been a reality since 1992. This vision and creative spirit have built and literally sculpted this public creation for the delight of everyone. The concrete and dirt paths are Caponi’s linear drawings retraced and animated by each person who walks them. The rock walls and shaped earth are his 60-acre sculpture into which conventional works are integrated. Since making a home in Eagan in 1949, the realization of Caponi Art Park crowns his life’s achievements.
Without plucking a leaf or leaving a body in want
I take from life.
I take all I can and give it all back with a personal flavor.
I rub softness into granite; knead clay to free from it a
form that becomes, with the life it takes.
To give ideas a body, to animate a body with spirit,
To share the pleasure of transforming the mind’s ghosts
into caressable shapes,
I teach the unzipping of the inner layer of the mind
where experience ferments and nourishes judgment,
where the soul expands and swells the vents of expression,
flavoring existence with shared feelings.
I teach the fusion of mind and touch, so not to divorce understanding from the sensuous rewards of knowing.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
"Narcotics have been systematically scapegoated and demonized. The idea that anyone can use drugs and escape a horrible fate is an anathema to these idiots. I predict that in the near future right-wingers will use drug hysteria as a pretext to set up an international police apparatus."
William S. Burroughs
(1914 - 1997)
"All penalties for drug users should be dropped. Making drug abuse a crime is useless and even dangerous. Every year we seize more and more drugs but the quantity available still increases. Police are losing the drug battle worldwide"
Secretary General of Interpol 1994
American Drug War
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Friday, April 16, 2010
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch has one of the highest levels known of plastic particulate suspended in the upper water column. As a result, it is one of several oceanic regions where researchers have studied the effects and impact of plastic photodegradation in the neustonic layer of water. Unlike debris, which biodegrades, the photodegraded plastic disintegrates into ever smaller pieces while remaining a polymer. This process continues down to the molecular level.
As the plastic flotsam photodegrades into smaller and smaller pieces, it concentrates in the upper water column. As it disintegrates, the plastic ultimately becomes small enough to be ingested by aquatic organisms which reside near the ocean's surface. Plastic waste thus enters the food chain through its concentration in the neuston.
Some plastics decompose within a year of entering the water, leaching potentially toxic chemicals such as bisphenol A, PCBs and derivatives of polystyrene. (read more)
When Galileo turned his telescope to the heavens...
he opened our eyes to the truth of our universe...
we had no idea what was out there until we looked...
the truth is often met with resistance...
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
You say you are Pro-Life?
Then you'll march with me to Stop War!
And you'll protest with me to End Executions!
And you'll stand on street corners and Distribute Condoms!
And you'll do everything you can to Fight the Global Arms Trade!
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Monday, April 12, 2010
"If I had to do it over again I wouldn't get out of the truck."
The Travis Walton experience is unequivocally the best documented case of alien abduction ever recorded.
(excerpts from the book "Fire in the Sky")
"Stop!" John cried out. "Stop the truck!"
As the truck skidded to a dusty halt in the rocky road, I threw open the door for a clearer view of the dazzling sight.
"My God!" Allen yelled. "It's a flying saucer!"..............
............."I looked at the vague but reassuring forms of the doctors around me. Abruptly my vision cleared. The sudden horror of what I saw rocked me as I realized I was definitely not in a hospital. I was looking square into the face of a horrible creature . . . with huge, luminous brown eyes the size of quarters! I looked frantically around me. There were three of them! Hysteria overcame me instantly".......................................................
......................"I walked back to the chair and stood beside it, looking at the buttons. I was thinking about pushing some of them, when I heard a faint sound. I whirled around and looked at the door. There, standing in the open doorway, was a human being!
I stood frozen to the spot. He was a man about six feet two inches tall. His helmeted head barely cleared the doorway. He was extremely muscular and evenly proportioned. He appeared to weigh about two hundred pounds. He wore a tight-fitting bright blue suit of soft material like velour. His feet were covered with black boots, a black band or belt wrapped around his middle. He carried no tools or weapons on his belt or in his hands; no insignia marked his clothing.
I ran up to him, exclaiming, babbling all sorts of questions. The man remained silent throughout my verbal barrage. I was worried by his silence. He took me firmly but gently by the arm and gestured for me to go with him. He led me out of that room and hurried me down the narrow hallway, pulling me along behind him due to its narrowness.
He stopped in front of a closed doorway that slid open, into the wall. I did not see what caused it to open. The door opened into a bare room so small it was more like a foyer or section of hallway. The door slid shut quickly and silently behind us. Again I attempted to talk to the man as we stood there. No answer.
We spent approximately two minutes in the metal cubicle, no more than seven by five by twelve feet. Then a doorway, the same size as the other door and directly opposite it, slid open.
The brilliant warm light that came through the opening door into the airlock-like room was almost like daylight in color and brightness. Fresh, cool air wafted in, reminding me of springtime in the out-of-doors, making me realize just how dark and stifling that place had been. What relief that fresh air was! The air moved around me in a softly fluctuating current. I stood and inhaled deeply the clean, cool breeze. The last tinges of the ache in my head and chest almost completely disappeared. I had nearly forgotten the discomfort that had been with me constantly since I had regained consciousness.
I decended a short, steep ramp seven or eight feet to the floor. I looked around to discover that, although I was outside that dim, humid craft, I was not out-of-doors. I was in a huge room. The ceiling was sectioned into alternating rectangles of dark metal and those that gave off light. The ceiling itself curved down to form one of the larger walls in the room. The room was shaped like one-quarter of a cylinder laid on its side.
The outside of the craft we had just left was shaped like the one we had seen in the woods, but was very much larger, about sixty feet in diameter and sixteen feet high. It did not emit light; instead it had a surface of shiny brushed-metal luster. It seemed to radiate a faint heat from its hull. The craft either sat flat on its bottom or, if it had legs, they were only a few inches high. It sat nearly in the middle of the large room.
On my left, toward one end of the large room, there were two or three oval-shaped saucers, reflecting light like highly polished chrome. I could see two of them very clearly, and a silvery reflection that could have been another shiny, rounded craft. They were about forty or forty-five feet in diameter, quite a bit smaller than the angular vehicle I had just come out of. I saw no projections or breaks in the smooth, shiny, flattened spheres. They sat on very rounded bottoms and I could not see how they balanced that way.
The man escorted me across the open floor to a door that opened silently and quickly from the middle outward. We were in a hallway about six feet wide, illuminated from the eight-foot-high ceiling, which was one long panel of softly diffused light. The hallway was straight and perhaps eighty feet long. Closed double doors were distributed along the corridor.
At the end of the hallway, another pair of double doors. I watched closely this time. I did not see him touch anything, but again the doors slid silently back from the middle. We entered a white room approximately fifteen feet square, with another eight-foot-high ceiling. The room had a table and a chair in it. But my interest was immediately focused on the three other humans!
Two men and a woman were standing around the table. They were all wearing velvety blue uniforms like the first man's, except that they had no helmets. The two men had the same muscularity and the same masculine good looks as the first man. The woman also had a face and figure that was the epitome of her gender. They were smooth-skinned and blemishless. No moles, freckles, wrinkles, or scars marked their skin. The striking good looks of the man I had first met became more obvious on seeing them all together. They shared a family-like resemblance, although they were not identical.
"Would somebody please tell me where I am?" I implored. I was still utterly shaken from my encounter with those awful creatures. "What in hell is going on? What is this place?"
They didn't answer me. They only looked at me, though not unkindly. One man and the woman came around the table, approaching me. Silently they each took me by an arm and led me toward the table. I didn't know why I should cooperate with them. They wouldn't even tell me anything. But I was in no position to argue, so I went along at first.
They lifted me easily onto the edge of the table. I became wary and started protesting. "Wait a minute. Just tell me what you are going to do!"
I began to resist them, but all three began pushing me gently backward down onto the table. I looked up at the ceiling, covered with panels of softly glowing white light with a faint blue cast.
I saw that the woman suddenly had an object in her hand from out of nowhere — it looked like one of those clear, soft plastic oxygen masks, only there were no tubes connected to it. The only thing attached to it was a small black golfball-sized sphere.
She pressed the mask down over my mouth and nose. I started to reach up to pull it away. Before I could complete the motion, I rapidly became weak. Everything started turning gray. Then there was nothing at all but black oblivion"................Travis Walton.
Travis Walton saw humans on that alien ship..... (read more)
Sunday, April 11, 2010
without telling it what to do.
Understand the essential difference
to listen to internal conversation
without contributing a sound.
Observe without analysis.
When blank becomes
Clear – clarity not commentated –
Oneness needs no explanation
Requires no additional discussion
deep soul e x h a l a t i o n .
Saturday, April 10, 2010
The infinite monkey theorem states that a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type a given text, such as the complete works of William Shakespeare.
In this context, "almost surely" is a mathematical term with a precise meaning, and the "monkey" is not an actual monkey, but a metaphor for an abstract device that produces a random sequence of letters ad infinitum. The theorem illustrates the perils of reasoning about infinity by imagining a vast but finite number, and vice versa. The probability of a monkey exactly typing a complete work such as Shakespeare's Hamlet is so tiny that the chance of it occurring during a period of time of the order of the age of the universe is minuscule, but not zero. (read more)
Friday, April 9, 2010
For the United States, the passing of the Cold War yielded neither a "peace dividend" nor anything remotely resembling peace. Instead, what was hailed as a historic victory gave way almost immediately to renewed unrest and conflict. By the time the East- West standoff that some historians had termed the "Long Peace" ended in 1991, the United States had already embarked upon a decade of unprecedented interventionism. In the years that followed, Americans became inured to reports of U.S. forces going into action — fighting in Panama and the Persian Gulf, occupying Bosnia and Haiti, lambasting Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Sudan from the air. Yet all of these turned out to be mere preliminaries. In 2001 came the main event, an open- ended global war on terror, soon known in some quarters as the "Long War." by Andrew Bacevich
The Lockheed AC-130 gunship is a heavily-armed ground-attack aircraft. The basic airframe is manufactured by Lockheed, and Boeing is responsible for the conversion into a gunship and for aircraft support. It is a variant of the C-130 Hercules transport plane. The AC-130A Gunship II superseded the AC-47 Gunship I in the Vietnam War.
The gunship's sole user is the United States Air Force, which uses AC-130H Spectre and AC-130U Spooky variants. The AC-130 is powered by four Rolls-Royce T56-A-15 turboprops and has an armament ranging from 25 mm Gatling-type cannons to 105 mm howitzers. It has a standard crew of twelve or thirteen airmen, including five officers (two pilots, a navigator, an electronic warfare officer and a fire control officer) and enlisted personnel (flight engineer, electronics operators, and aerial gunners).
The US Air Force uses the AC-130 gunships for close air support, air interdiction, and force protection. Close air support roles include supporting ground troops, escorting convoys, and flying urban operations. Air interdiction missions are conducted against planned targets and targets of opportunity. (read more)