Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Facets of Space: Insight Into Today's Headlines

Space Invaders

Being fat is now a matter of National Security. Military officials worry because too many recruits are now too fat to join the services (although they note that "'Large and in charge' makes soldiers look more formidable to the enemy" . Farther down in the article is a chart of weight-loss methods, with 21% of soldiers trying laxatives (apparently forgetting that they're grown adults and not high school rowers in the Lightweight 8 at Stotesbury).

My feeling on the matter is that they should let them all in. Since I don't plan on joining voluntarily, someone's got to be out there fighting for vague, indeterminate causes. Is it really a big deal if the helicopter has to gas up more frequently or uniforms are a little snug? Evidently the military does not read my website, or they would have seen this previously posted news story touting the BENEFITS of having chunk on the front .

Take a Ride on the Spacehype

Apparently the comet-probe collision is a bigger deal than I presumed . CNN calmly proclaims,

    When space history books are rewritten, NASA's success at blasting a crater in a comet is sure to be included as more than just a footnote.
I didn't realize that anyone was planning to rewrite any history books, but perhaps there was an executive directive to touch up the moon-landing photographs everyone suspected to be fake. In any event, when world history books are rewritten, the URI! Zone's success at forming common bonds between people of every nationality and its role in world peace are sure to be included as more than just a footnote1.

Why is it such a big deal? Well, look at what was accomplished:

  • NASA spent $330 million to crash into a projectile travelling 23,000 mph. The Pentagon has spent billions of dollars on the Star Wars programs, SDI and NMD, over twenty years and still can't accurately and consistently hit anything but weather balloons.
  • We now have pictures, such as the one to the right, which provide us with much to speculate about, as to the origin of comets (In other news, Professor Steven Mithen of Reading University has postulated that comets would have liked rap music, but would have preferred going to rock concerts).
  • We have learned that Professor Richard Berendzen has always wanted to "get up close and personal with an ancestor like this" . When asked for comments, Professor Pete Schultz added, "We touched a comet and we touched it hard".
  • We have learned that five tons of dynamite will make something six times brighter. This is a very good cost/efficiency ratio.
  • We have learned that we were mistaken to think comets were pickle-shaped. In fact, they are shaped "like a muffin or a loaf of bread". Move over, Copernicus.
  • We have learned that Deep Impact, one of the stupidest movies ever made, could have happened!

Based on overwhelming evidence, I have changed my mind. This was "really a key point in our whole lives".

Note: Here is how to make your own commemorative comet photo, free of charge!

  1. Type in 'rock' at Google Images. Pick a rock that looks suitably like a comet. If you aren't sure what a comet looks like, remember to think "loaf of bread" and not "pickle".
  2. Convert the image to greyscale and remove the background.
  3. In Adobe Photoshop 7.0, go to Filter -> Render > Lens Flare. The default settings will suffice, though you may want to increase the brightness to simulate using more than five tons of dynamite.
  4. Voila! Add stars as necessary to give it a spacey-feel. A constellation of Kevin Spacey will also suffice.


1: The rewriting depends upon my hostile takeover of Houghton-Mifflin, which is currently on schedule. This is just a footnote.

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