October 2nd, 2007

tornado

pouring rain

So right now the sky is dumping so hard that sometimes I can barely see across the street. And the radar says that the worst has not yet arrived.

Kansas weather: You know when it's happening.

And just like that, as I was typing this and getting a glass of water, the rain has fallen off to a normal rainfall.
kill everybody

Blackwater (part of the US mercenary army) is the devil

Jesus, read this story about the Blackwater murder-fest in Baghdad last month if you have any doubt about whether they should be allowed to operate with utter impunity in the name of our country in Iraq or anywhere else.

Guess what? When you hire mercenaries, you get mercenaries. Surprise!

PS: From another related story:

The most serious consequence faced by Blackwater personnel for misconduct appears to be termination of their employment," the report states.

In one case cited in Monday's report, a Blackwater guard who was visibly drunk shot and killed a bodyguard of Iraqi Vice President Adel Abdel Mahdi during a confrontation in the Green Zone on Christmas Eve in 2006.

Blackwater hustled the guard out of the country within 36 hours with State Department approval, and the company later paid the Iraqi's family $15,000, the report states.

Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte told a Senate committee last week that the incident is under investigation by the Justice Department, but no charges have been filed against the man.

The report also questions whether the government is saving money by hiring out its security work. It found the government pays the company about $1,200 a day for each contractor on the job in Iraq -- between six and nine times the pay and allowances of an Army sergeant.


- Wow, what a bargain! We get crazed killers in place of trained soldiers at the low, low price of thousands more per day and political scandals. Hooray!

Chris
star-forming nebula

Astro-image of the day: NGC 3603

Here's another amazing shot from Hubble, this time of NGC 3603. This amazing star-forming region lives in the Carina spiral arm where Hubble has shown us so many other amazing images.

Click the image for the full story.

Most of the stars you see in the cluster in this nebula were born there, and their massive radiation pressure is blowing open a hole at the center of the gas and dust. One star is measured with a mass of 115 solar masses - something not theoretically possible for a stable star - so perhaps we'll soon see the whole beautiful thing explode in a supernova.

Chris