Here’s one of those that if you think about it for even a second, displays a pretty horrible message:

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Hopefully the guy in this commercial realizes he’s barkign up the wrong tree before he turns into this bullied schmoe:

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Forgotten vials of smallpox found in Bethesda, Md.

Officially, smallpox is supposed to exist in only two places on Earth: science labs in Atlanta and Moscow. Many people argue that these samples should be destroyed so that they cannot be used to re-create the disease. Others argue that the samples should be retained in order to recreate the smallpox vaccine in case the disease makes a comeback somehow. IMO, this incident provides ammo for the latter argument. Smallpox is *out* *there,* somewhere. In some forgotten storage facility, or some population of rodents in some Amazonian backwater, it’s out there. And chances are good that it’ll find its way back into the human populace. And without a vaccine, millions could easily die.

If tales and photos and videos of reasonably intelligent critters being horribly abused fill you with an uncomfortableness… then here ya go:

Incredible sight of the elephant that cried: Raju was held in chains, beaten and abused for fifty years and on the day he was released tears rolled down his face

Some people need a whoopin’. I remember how messed up I was when I learned the extent of Marvin’s abuses at the hands of humans; I imagine some of the people involved in rescuing this elephant must have been about ready for some creative manslaughter.
Tell me this doesn’t look like a sad old man:

So yesterday I posted about the Delta Clipper. And today, word starts filtering out that Bill Gaubatz, Delta Clipper program manager at McDonnell-Douglas, has passed away.


I met him a number of times through setting up Mid-Continent Space Development Conferences at Iowa State U, where he came a few times to give presentations on DC-X and how we were on the cusp of a new era in space. And he personally invited me and others down to White Sands to watch the first public launch.

Bah, I say. Bah.

So, several Boeing 737 fuselages tried to go for a swim…

Boeing fuselages in Montana river after train derails


Other higher-rez photos of these unconventional amphibious aircraft are on this Russian site.

It somehow escaped my remembrance that September 11, 2013, was the twentieth anniversary of the first public launch of the DC-X Delta Clipper. I should’ve remembered it, since I – and some fellow Iowa State U students – was there in the viewing stands. All I had with me was a crappy little 35mm film camera; would’ve been nice to have had a modern DSLR, but then it would be nice to have a time machine, too. Other folks brought video cameras.

Many if not most of us there that day thought for sure we were seeing the dawn of a new era. Oh, well. Hopefully Falcon 9R will accomplish what McDonnell-Douglas, the BMDO and NASA never bothered to finish with Delta Clipper. A quarter century delay is better than never at all, I suppose.

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And here’s a DC-X promo video from 1992. I suddenly started having flashbacks to the 80′s when I heard the narrator…

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American Apparel shares Challenger photo as ‘clouds’

Ow. Ow. My head. It hurts.


Seems likely that there are two explanations for this:

1) American Apparel is one of those annoying “edgy” companies that likes to push buttons, with the belief that “there’s not such thing as bad press.”

2) They hire monumentally stupid people, unaware of cultural icons.

AA has claimed that the real answer is #2, that the “international social media employee” who posted this was born after 1986, and thus, gosh, the little scamp couldn’t possibly be expected to be aware of Challenger. Uh-huh…

I vote #1. By being dicks, people are talking about them again. Hell, they even managed to get some space on the prestigious Unwanted Blog…


My interest here is not AA. I don’t give a damn about them or their shenanigans. But I find it sad that the excuse “whoops, too young to even know what Challenger was” is sufficiently valid to gain *any* traction. You know what? Hindenburg was slightly before my time, yet I think I’d recognize it in a photo, even if it was lightly Photoshopped.


It is with sincere regret that we note the passing of Fred Ordway (1927-2014). A man of many talents, he was the youngest member of the American Rocket Society (now the AIAA), having been accepted as a member at age 13. His request for membership showed a talent and interest that belied his age, which the Society only discovered when he showed up for his first meeting.

Ordway had an illustrious career as an engineer at Marshall Space Flight Center, where he worked for Wernher von Braun. He also famously worked as the scientific consultant to Stanley Kubrick on “2001: A Space Odyssey.” In this image, Ordway (conspicuous in his tennis whites) talks with (l-r) astronaut Deke Slayton, Arthur C. Clarke, Stanley Kubrick, and George Mueller (Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight) on set.

Ordway is the author of more than 30 books, including “Visions of Spaceflight: Images from the Ordway Collection, and (with Wernher von Braun) “History of Rocketry and Space Travel.”


I had very limited interaction with Fred many years ago. Seemed a nice feller. And his influence on space history by way of his writing and his work on “2001″ will echo down the ages.

So, the Supreme Court decided that Hobby Lobby, a family owned business, *can* refuse to provide abortifactants to its employees due to the fact that the family that owns the corporation has a bit of a religious issue with killing babies (or “abortion,” if you prefer). That’s *all* the ruling says… Hobby Lobby cannot be forced to pay for abortion drugs. That’s it. The ruling doesn’t say that Hobby Lobby can prevent its employees from buying those drugs *themselves.” The ruling doesn’t say that Hobby Lobby can force anyone to carry babies to term. Just… *you* can’t force Hobby Lobby to buy something they don’t want. That’s it.

But oh, no, not if you read *this* steaming pile of crazed idiocy:

Why Women Aren’t People (But Corporations Are)

With such highlights as:

The decision to declare women Unpeople…

…women (lesser people-ish entities)…

Today, five men on the Supreme Court said that women’s reproductive health care is less important than a woman’s boss’s superstition-based prudery and moral trepidation about fornication for female pleasure.

They ruled that it’s okay for a corporate person to discriminate against a female semi-person and dictate that she not spend her compensation on stuff that might possibly be enabling sex without consequences…

This piece has over 1600 comments. I just glanced through a tiny fraction of them, and the general consensus seems to be that not having your employer pay for *everything* is the greatest human rights travesty since slavery.

LuftWaffleErin Gloria Ryan

I sometimes feel like women won’t be taken seriously as actual human beings until we start getting really violent and nasty. In the short-term, we’ll be seen as “unstable bitches.” But if we start inflicting the kind of terror on these men that they inflict on us, maybe they’ll start seeing us equals. Ladies, let’s start committing some violent crimes!


ClestestiErin Gloria Ryan

F**k Scalia, f**k Thomas, f**k Roberts, f**k Alito, they need to die, and Kennedy needs to be at the very least beaten unconscious. This is literally the WORST thing EVER to come out of the supreme court.

How the hell can we have a civil society if people cannot even be *vaguely* honest about what the hell is going on? You’ve got freaks screaming about wanting to commit acts of violence because they’re not getting free stuff.

Yow. A sudden 55-mph gust scatters some Super Cub towplanes around the US Air Force Academy airfield on April 23. Some pretty fast piloting saves the day. But I’m not sure if some underwear was lost…

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