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X-Files OK. I’m not sure anything was answered. Samantha was taken, Fox re-connected with her, and is ‘free’ now. I’m not sure I am ready to let go of that yet. I really admire Chris Carter’s ability to weave this tale, and Millennium’s as well, though that ended hastily and without proper attention IMNSHO. This is one of the few series I’ve been with from episode one. (I didn’t warm to ST:TNG until the third season, or B5 until the second) I’m just not sure I have that much to say. I’ve been told I’ll never know until I give writing a serious try. One thing at a time, I feel too scattered, too discombobulated. Perhaps it would be centering. I should start keeping a journal again. IMNSHO means ‘In My Not So Humble Opinion’, ST:TNG is Star Trek: The Next Generation, and B5 is Babylon 5.

I spent most of the day with two dharma brothers and Ming Zhen discussing a Tai Chi video project, then went to Las Vegas Chinatown for New Year’s festivities. We’re still basking in the post-rain glow. The air is sooooo clean. Its wonderful! The Lion Dance was so cool this afternoon

Peanuts cartoonist Charles Schultz dies at 77. Reuters, CNN sigh!

‘Fly Cast’ Keeps Shuttle Radar Mast Stable. A tricky inertia maneuver gains altitude for the Shuttle with the 20-story radar boom deployed.

MacNN notes that the Apple PPCLinux site seems to be unavailable, as are links to their MKLinux site. I will not give in to dark speculation, I will not give in to dark speculation, I will not give in …

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Late Update

There are two excellent programs on PBS right now, The Greeks: Crucible of Civilization and Secrets of Lost Empires, which is a five part series. Medieval Seige and Pharaoh’s Obelisk have already aired, but you might check your local affiliate’s repeat schedule. Here in Las Vegas it repeats on Saturday at 8 a.m. Easter Island, Roman Bath, and China Bridge are coming up. The PBS website is wonderful, if you haven’t perused it I reccomend it highly.

Brain Compensates for Sleepless Nights Scientists have now proved what college students, shift workers and archaeologists know so well, that the brain does not work properly after a sleepless night. From Yahoo Science News. I feel like the poster child for this study.

CERN Physicists Recreate ‘Big Bang’ Conditions from Yahoo News.

Statue of Liberty Intent Probed
National Park Service researchers are investigating an Internet rumor that the 114-year-old Statue of Liberty was originally intended to mark the end of slavery in America — not as a welcome to immigrants from the Old World. From Discovery. I think the "Internet rumor" is just to tantilize John Q. P., though the way it came to light was through an unattributed text file found … you can guess where. The researchers quickly found corroborating data like the broken chains around the statue’s wrists in early versions and the possibility that the original model was a Black woman. Like many things, it took quite some time to construct and the intent changed over twenty-five years. The final NPS report isn’t finished yet, but I look forward to reading it.

More asteroid & space stuff

Excitement builds for asteroid mission. NEAR on track for Feb. 14 rendezvous. Story from MSNBC. The Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous Mission is built and managed by The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Maryland.

Russia said on Wednesday it had successfully tested a new, reusable space launch vehicle with engines that can be switched on and off in orbit — but it was still missing after returning to earth. Story at Wired and Yahoo News.
The headline for this story on Wired was "Russian Craft Lands, Vanishes". Now maybe its just me being picky, but it seems that there is a big difference between "Russian Craft Lands, but they lost track of the vehicle in the Ural Mountains" and "Russian Craft Lands, Vanishes". That reminds me of a story I heard as a kid about Daniel Boone. Later in his life he was asked "Mr. Boone, you are a famous woodsman. Were you ever lost?" Mr. Boone thinks a bit before replying "No Sir, I can’t say I was ever lost. I was a mite bewildered for six days once though." What does that have to do with the Russian space craft you ask? Well, I guess its that I don’t think the craft has vanished, they’re just a mite bewildered about where it is right now.

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From MSNBC, CNN. Astronomers have discovered an asteroid that could impact the Earth in 2022, The New York Times reported Tuesday. The odds are, as they say, low, but more calculations need to be done to refine the object’s trajectory. The asteroid, 2000 BF19, is the fifth one discovered in the last two years that might collide with Earth. The International Astronomical Union of the Minor Planet Center of Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has also announced the discovery, but without mentioning a possible collision. But its not as sensational that way! <rhetorical>When did science get so sensational?</rhetorical>

NEAR Spacecraft Orbits Eros On Valentine’s Day In deep space, there are very few second chances. But one year later and one year wiser, a team of Cornell University astronomers and researchers is preparing for the first spacecraft to orbit an asteroid, named 433 Eros, on Valentine’s Day.

"think Mission Impossible for computer geeks." —Hollywood Reporter Fox planning ‘X-Files’ spinoff
Fox, home of the Gillian Anderson-and David Duchovny-led supernatural drama, has green-lighted a spinoff based on the show’s beloved, dorky Lone Gunmen. Dorky? Harumph

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I watched a great PBS show last night Culture Shock. The episode was about The Adventures of Huck Finn which is part of their "Born to Trouble" thread. What better than the novel we’ve been banning, deifying, exalting, and vilifying for 115 years. The series is about art and literature, how it raises controversy and how we, as a culture, respond to it. What does any of this have to do with the practice of Zen Buddhism, you ask? Ah ha, stay tuned. I can’t write that fast. Until then, mull on this new essay. Hammer that nail!

[archivist’s note 8/13/2006: I have no idea what was supposed to be linked to at ‘this new essay.’ Import error? Perhaps, but unlikely.]

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Tunguska anyone? No, this isn’t X-Files trivia. NASA is awaiting the results from tests on a cloud of extraterrestrial dust left after a large meteor blasted across the skies of Canada. The last major meteor event was in June of 1908, when a major explosion rocked the skies above Siberia, near the Tunguska River. More over at Wired. But did they find any black oil?

It seems that the hope for the Polar Lander is slim at best. Still, it would be a minor coup for NASA if they could establish contact. Morale on the Mars team has to be pretty shaky. More on the efforts of NASA and Stanford from CNN.

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At MSNBC from the ‘I sure hope so’ dept. Signals revive hope for Mars lander

Jan. 25 ˜ NASA says it is transmitting new commands toward
Mars amid indications that its Polar Lander spacecraft has been
weakly trying to phone home. Mission managers say the radio
signals, received twice in last two months, are so faint that it‚s
taken weeks to make them out, and they caution that their
expectations are low. Nevertheless, the development has revived
hopes for the luckless lander.

Mars Pathfinder enlisted in search for lost Polar Lander from CNN

This was kind of interesting. TV networks may be using digital insertion, which allows objects to be placed into the video that aren’t really there. Play ‘spot the insert’ on CNN.

from slashdot "According to the Daily Telegraph (free login required): the earth has a second moon called ‘Cruithne’, which was discovered by a British team. The moon was previously thought to be an asteroid, but the experts now tell us that Cruithne, which is 3 miles across (4.8km), is in fact a Trojan asteroid, and has an eccentric horseshoe orbit around Earth which takes 770 years to complete."

I was listening to All Things Considered on NPR as I was getting ready to go to work and, predictably, there was a lot on the Iowa Caucus. One observation: Several Republican interviewees said that they didn’t really ‘like’ Bush but voted for him because they "thought he could win". Hello?