September 2nd, 2007

Moon red

Astro-image of the day: Lunar libration

This is so cool, something I've never seen before. You read about phenomena like libration (the Moon's wobble as it orbits the Earth), but this little .gif movie is new to me. This is a time-lapse of the phases of the Moon during one full orbit. Cool!

Click the image to see the story.

And no, it's not an optical illusion: The Moon does appear to get bigger and smaller during the month due to its elliptical orbit (not perfectly circular).

Best,
Chris
mushroom cloud

The end of the world looms?

This little tidbit in the news - which probably won't get very widely reported - could well result in World War III and the end of the world as we know it.

Am I over-reacting? Hopefully. But we know that China has threatened to invade Taiwan if it makes a move toward independence. And we know that the United States has declared that it will defend Taiwan against any such aggression.

Considering that most of our conventional military forces are wrapped up in the damned-fool NeoCon adventures in the Middle East1, we would have to respond to a Chinese invasion of Taiwan using unconventional weapons, or else we'd be seen as impotent - something the NeoCons cannot abide. Using unconventional weapons against the Chinese invasion would prompt them to do the same. In addition, every little anti-American national and terrorist leader out there would see this as the green light to unleash their own unconventional weapons against us and everyone else they hate.

If we were not over-extended in Iraq, I doubt that China would invade Taiwan. But with things as they are now, my doubt drops way down. About the only thing that can stop it now is if one of the scary intelligence agencies of the world executes (or threatens to execute) Chen before the movement comes up for a vote. How much do you want to bet that this happens? Or he has a middle-of-the-night "heart-felt conversion" to the other point of view, followed shortly thereafter by a resignation and a move to another country.

Yes, though this little news item doesn't say it aloud, it suggests that the Bush Administration might well end modern Human civilization (or at least the US as we know it) and possibly the Human species itself. I guess they would get their totalitarian government if this all comes to pass, one way or another. How's that for a legacy?

Best wishes,
Chris

1 ...As part of their efforts to establish a totalitarian government in the US. Or so it would seem - why else would we be in Iraq? Weapons of mass destruction? No, only to feed fear in US citizens and keep up the new-enrollment rolls for al-Queda et al.