You couldn't be here if stars hadn't exploded.
To the question, “Why me?” the cosmos barely bothers to return the reply, “Why not?”
Atheist: Natural Morals, Real Meaning, Credible Truth

31 May, 2008

"They are destroying the Constitution"

"They are destroying the Constitution"

"80% of Republicans are just Democrats who don't know what is going on."

Exactly what I see. Too bad Robert Kennedy Jr is kind of a kook. He made a lot of sense in this video but he has some other off-the-wall ideas. The whole brasschecktv web page has a bunch of kooks. But I really like that quote, it is so true.

24 May, 2008

Airshow day 3

Cool and cloudy today at the airshow... but no more smoke from the fire. Above you see a Sea Fury landing, an F-18 tearing up the sky, the fire past the nose of an Air Force C-17 transport. And an old Bonanza with a nice sunset behind it.

The C-17 landing on Friday was pretty cool. Landed, stopped real short, then had to back up because our runway is too narrow for it to turn around on, and the taxi ways are way too narrow. So it just backed up to where it could part on the cross runway. I can't wait to watch it take off tomorrow!
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Watsonville Airshow days 1 & 2

Thursday, smoke and ash from the Santa Cruz fire covered Watsonville airport and my plane. It was very windy and misrable setting up for the airshow, but it got done.

Friday the air was much clearer and the smoke was going the other way. The display planes showed up and the show is getting started. Worked in the hot dog stand most of the day. :-) Get to goof off today.

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20 May, 2008

ISS (Space Station) and Mars

My first attempt to photograph the space station with the 300mm lens. Came out fairly well... Mars is in the lower left corner and the ISS is not just a blob. I think if I shot faster it might have been clearer. Middle pic is a blow up of the ISS. Mars is the other pic.
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19 May, 2008

Gear Up!

The Bonanza owner and I looking over the scene.

This was pretty sad... I watched this Beech Bonanza slide to a stop on it's belly on Watsonville's main runway 25 April. It wasn't me or mine, thankfully! I didn't see his approach, only looked up when I heard the funny sound of aluminum grinding on the concrete, so had no chance to call GEAR DOWN to him. By then it was too late with the engine stopped, the propeller blades curled back, and sparks showering from underneith.
The pilot walked out and told me as we were working on getting it up on it's wheels that he had been distracted with a radio call to him by someone else in the pattern. I don't fully understand that since without the gear down, it would be very different feeling, at least it would be in my Bonanza. I would have a hard time getting down to flap speed without the gear down, but once the flaps are down, maybe it wouldn't be too different. He managed to get full flaps down. I am going to have to try that next time I do air work. But I am sure it is possible to get so behind and distracted that you convince yourself that you've got everything covered.
Like Boris said... Now I know why it is really important to double check the gear down (and rest of the landing checklist). Our human minds are very gullible about how good things are.
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18 May, 2008

floating in the air

Liz and I finally got Abra into the airplane. It was much easier to get her in... just lift her up on the wing and she did the rest herself. Once we had her strapped in, off we went. Kept the windows open until just before takeoff to keep everyone cool. Once airbore she seemed very interested in what was outside the windows. After 20 minutes and a few turns over her home in Capitola she was "done", time to go back. Quick landing and back on the ground.

Her mom told me "Bob asked Abra on the ride home "did you like the airplane ride" and Abra said "floating in the air""

That made my day.
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15 May, 2008

'My daughter deserved to die for falling in love' | World news | The Observer

'My daughter deserved to die for falling in love' World news The Observer:

"Two weeks ago, The Observer revealed how 17-year-old student Rand Abdel-Qader was beaten to death by her father after becoming infatuated with a British soldier in Basra. In this remarkable interview, Abdel-Qader Ali explains why he is unrepentant - and how police backed his actions. Afif Sarhan in Basra and Caroline Davies report"

This is one of the main reasons religion disgusts me. Islam in particular. They teach their men that without tight religious control, men are animals and will rape and kill randomly. They teach that women without religious control will become whores. They don't seem to ever teach morals or learn to live morally willingly and naturally. Islam seems to teach that the natural human is forever on the brink of barbarism and only held back by the fear of Allah. And they teach that if someone strays from the straight and narrow rules of Islam, sudden terrible death is appropriate.

Today's medieval barbarism of Islam is reminiscent of Christianity up to the 1700's. Unfortunately for them, the rest of the world is watching very closely and seeing what kind of people they are and that what they represent is not desired in this world. I hope the conflict that generates isn't too great. But appeasement of Islamic sensibilities is not negotiable. Islam is not to be respected.

12 May, 2008

I Am Evolution : NPR

I Am Evolution : NPR:

"So I believe evolution.
I feel it. I breathe it. I listen to evolution, I observe it and I do evolution. I write, study, analyze, scrutinize and collect evolution. I am evolution."


09 May, 2008

Trouble ahead for science - The Boston Globe

Trouble ahead for science - The Boston Globe:

Excellent critique of Expelled from a Christian scientist Ken Miller.

"'Expelled' is a shoddy piece of propaganda that props up the failures of Intelligent Design by playing the victim card. It deceives its audiences, slanders the scientific community, and contributes mightily to a climate of hostility to science itself. Stein is doing nothing less than helping turn a generation of American youth away from science. If we actually come to believe that science leads to murder, then we deserve to lose world leadership in science. In that sense, the word 'expelled' may have a different and more tragic connotation for our country than Stein intended."

07 May, 2008

National Day of Prayer Task Force | News | Proclamation

National Day of Prayer Task Force News Proclamation: "National Day of Prayer, 2008

A Proclamation by the President of the United States of

America trusts in the abiding power of prayer and asks for the wisdom to discern God's will in times of joy and of trial. As we observe this National Day of Prayer, we recognize our dependence on the Almighty, we thank Him for the many blessings He has bestowed upon us, and we put our country's future in His hands."

Another reason to impeach Bush, he puts our country's future in the hands of someone else? He is allowing someone else to guide the country?

And who is he speaking for? I don't trust the power of prayer! I don't care what will any god has! I do not recognize any dependence on any diety. What blessing has he given me or our country? Iraq is a blessing? $4 gas is a blessing? G. W. Bush is a blessing?

Evolution: what's the real controversy?

Evolution: what's the real controversy?: "Evolution clearly has no shortage of controversies. But none of those controversies involve the basic principles of evolution, and all of them operate within a framework where random mutation and selection play a key role in creating diverse species that are related by common descent. It's clear that the Discovery Institute is trying to introduce controversies that don't exist, while ignoring those that do. That's why the academic freedom bills it's promoting are such dangerous things; while supposedly promoting intellectual analysis, they're actually an attempt to pave the way for misinformation to enter the scientific classroom."

06 May, 2008


Expelled Comment

From what I have read about Expelled, it sounds like a despicable movie to me... more like propaganda than a documentary.
I won't give them my $10 but I will have to see it for myself when it comes out on DVD. If it does.

There is NO controversy about evolution. Period. It is fact. Sorry. There are people who cling to the hope that it isn't. It is a theory that has been proven time after time, tested time after time, predicts findings time after time. That makes it fact. What is studied is the many different ways evolution works. That is where scientists argue and question and debate. Science is not a place where you will find polite conversation when it comes to taking apart a hypothesis or paper. That is how the truth is teased out of nature, with severe questioning of any data, results, conclusions until all questions are answered. Finally it is accepted. "Stay out of the kitchen if you can't stand the heat" fits science precisely. More and more of those questions get answered every day. Evolution has withstood this process and evolved for 150 years. Some new (or old) theory has to put up as much defense and evidence as evolution has over the years.

"Darwinism" is not a good label for evolution because the theory has evolved over the 150 years since he published and implies religious belief. Darwin didn't know anything about DNA and microbes and such, he was just observing the most obvious. It isn't a religion. It is not believed in without evidence, testing, and prediction. The theory has changed over the years as the mechanisms have been discovered which religions tend not to do.

Intelligent design has not stood up to the tests thrown at it. It doesn't answer questions that evolution does, ignores data that evolution covers. That is why the science community so vigorously opposes any teaching of it as "science". It would be like teaching in an economics class that pyramid schemes are a valid way to finance a retirement plan. It doesn't work, it isnt' sustainable.

Assertions from Stein that evolution hasn't been proven or proven anything is just ignorance on his part...

05 May, 2008

Sam Harris: Losing Our Spines to Save Our Necks - Politics on The Huffington Post

Sam Harris: Losing Our Spines to Save Our Necks - Politics on The Huffington Post: "It is time we recognized that those who claim the 'right not to be offended' have also announced their hatred of civil society."

Absolutely! Free speech is not negotiable.

01 May, 2008

Pharyngula: Happy National Day of Prayer!

Pharyngula: Happy National Day of Prayer!:

"Fuck the National Day of Prayer.

I can scarcely believe my country is officially pandering to such willful stupidity — elevating evangelical kooks to positions of prestige, trumpeting the virtues of sectarian religion, and actually crediting the successes of America to the fact that a subset of deluded, demented fools sit on their asses and beg an invisible man to protect us and help us kill people in foreign countries. What a waste, and what an encouragement of further waste."

I agree. What a waste of effort, resource, time, and national prestige. Get off the knees, work to fix problems, make this world the only heaven we can have.