Chinese Satellite Destroys Apartment

Wow. It’s amazing to think of the odds – a satellite, launched by China – part of it comes crashing down to earth – and it lands in China – Southwest Sichuan.

Amazingly, not even any injuries. The picture shows destruction, but it’s incredible that something 6 feet long that comes crashing down to earth did so little damage… ???

Originally reported in Sichuan Daily – it may be a little easier for we less broad people to read here:

Article in Xinhuanet

Be Silent, Be Still

I just ran across an article in BBC News reporting that the Uganda government has fined a radio station and ordered that station to make a public apology for allowing gays to speak in a live talk show.

BBC NEWS | Africa | Fine for Ugandan radio gay show

Uganda gained independence from the UK in 1962. Their second post-colonial president, Obote, had wanted to study law in the US, but was denied by the British colonial governement. Ironically, he later “suspended” the Ugandan constitution.

Uganda is a country whose recent government and military are highly “immoral” – including lots of rape, torture and summary execution, child abduction into “slave soldiering”, government seizure of property and displacement to camps – just to name a few.

As such, you might wonder why it is they take a “moral” position on homosexuality….

It might be worth looking at the dynamic that happens between men. How competition and dominance of position are such weighty factors.

How mutual attraction, though commonplace, often results in a manifestion of irrational outward violence, in one form or another, whether passive or agressive.

How such things are, although not precisely controllable, most excellent foundational sources for the requirements of war.

Even at home, here – gays are just beginning to have a voice. And this voice is not just gays – it’s all men (and women). Our natures… the essence within us that allows us to know another being, is not so easily constrained by superficial constructs, like gender and race – though these superficial constructs can most certainly run deep, considering the weight of external conditioning.

How dangerous is this to war?

How dangerous is this to a power-base of dominance, in all its forms?

As we all know, silence, though often strategically convenient, has a high price. Silence is either a manifestation of fear, or a victory of dominance for others.

Yet, speaking True-ly, though sometimes very quietly, carries the subtle yet immeasurable force of all things through, to each of us. It connects, in ways that are often indiscernable, the disconnected. It enables the reality of All.

Each lie murders a part of the world. Each silence encumbers us with a greater weight.

At home, here, I have to wonder, what is it that motivates many Christians to obsess on the perhaps biblical badness of homosexuality, while living fine with and even making excuses for, and even extolling the virtues of the certain biblical badness of lying, adultery, false witness, judgement, and even killing.

Then again, I also wonder how so many people can willingly contribute with zeal to their own, slow enslavement.

I know there are many points in my life where silence might have been the best strategic move. I try to imagine myself, like a well-kept bonsai tree.

In some cultures, the restraining ties might be torture, or imprisonment. Fortunately, here, it is more often than not, simple isolation.

So maybe that, at least, explains my weak spot for the noble rebels…. 😉

Hubble Saved by a Canadian Robot?

Since the last Space Shuttle catastrophe, NASA has scaled back on all subsequent Space Shuttle missions, except for the ones necessary to complete the United States obligations to the International Space Station. Our Space Shuttle is being phased out.

Unfortunately, this is bad news for the Hubble Space Telescope which relies on periodic maintenance missions from astronauts.

Without the Space Shuttle maintenance missions scheduled for 2006, Hubble could very soon after be out of commission, or even fall from orbit, buring up in Earth’s atmosphere as early as 2007.

MD Robotics SPDM SystemHowever, it seems there may be some hope, thanks to the Canadian company MD Robotics who have developed a robot, the “Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator” which is proving to be quite capable of handling all the necessary maintenance tasks to keep Hubble performing its wonderous work for at least another five years.

For any robotics system, particularly a robotics system that is operating in space, the tasks required to complete maintenance to the HST will be challenging. The variety of tasks and the dexterity required present formidable challenges. However, the creators of the SPDM system are no strangers to these unique challenges.

MD Robotics created the Canadarm, the large robotic arm present in the Space Shuttles that assist astronauts with satellite deployment and retrieval. It’s also been used for a variety of tasks it was never desgined for, proving its flexibility and ingenuity of its design.

They also created the Canadarm2, which lives on the ISS, inching its way around the exterior of the space station, performing its required tasks.

NASA has yet to officially announce anything about the possible use of the SPDM system – the price is not cheap, likely around $1 billion USD.

However, not only could we save the Hubble Space Telescope, which has accomplished so much in expanding our understanding of the universe in which we have emerged, but we could also use this mission to prove a new technological system that falls in line perfectly with our newly-defined focus toward planetary exploration that involves, heavily, the use of robotic “partners”.

Although a new space telescope is planned for deployment in 2011, this telescope is not a telescope that “sees” in the visible light spectrum, but instead, infrared. Although exploring within the infrared spectrum has many benefits over using visible light, the “human” factor – the appreciation of the incredible beauty of stellar and interstellar objects may be lessened.

The new telescope is called the James Webb Space Telescope. This telescope will not orbit Earth, but will instead be place about 1.5 million kilometers away from Earth, away from the Sun. In fact, it will be seated in orbit around Lagrange Point 2, which is a gravitational balancing point between the Earth and Sun.