Monday, December 24, 2007

Red Christmas

In a story released earlier this week, scientists announced the discovery of an asteroid that unlike it's rocky comrades, has the potential of partaking in that activity asteroids are notorious for - hitting other planets. On January 30, 2008, asteroid 2007 WD5 currently has a 1 in 75 chance of hitting the red planet, Mars.

While the odds are against it, this asteroid is unique in that very few asteroids have attained such a high probability of hitting another planet in the years since the 1994 impact of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 on Jupiter.

The asteroid is estimated to be between 100-200 feet in diameter, putting it in the same league as the object that exploded over the Tunguska region of Russia in 1908. That explosion, which is estimated to have been in the 10-15 megaton range, leveled nearly 30 miles of forest. Due to the desolation of the region that it struck, no lives where lost. 2007 WD5 would create a crater the size of Meteor Crater in Arizona.

If it were to hit Mars, it would strike somewhere along the equator, near the same general region of the Opportunity rover that's still chugging away on the surface. While it sits outside of the impact zone, both Opportunity and her sister rover Spirit would have the chance to collect invaluable ground data on the impact. The armada of spacecraft in orbit around Mars will also be able to collect data from orbit. Currently the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, 2001 Mars Odyssey, and Mars Express Orbiter are poised to capture the event in the moments and days that follow.

January 30 could prove to be an exciting day for science.

The story can be found here.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Warhead Reduction

No, there isn't a reduction of those little sour candies that were oh so popular back in the nineties. Yep, we're talking about the reduction of the big boys; the nuclear arsenal of the United States. Bush announced today, in the wake of news that Iran hasn't been pursing weapons grade uranium since 2003, that the U.S. will be reducing it's nuclear stockpile to less than a quarter of what it was at the end of the Cold War. A spending bill was also rejected that would have allowed for the development of a newer, more reliable warhead using existing weapons. While in theory no new weapons would be created (just overhauling the existing stockpile), it would send the wrong message to nations such as Iran and North Korea that we are actively (and apparently successfully) attempting to denuclearize.*

*I just reread this post, that last line was rather ambiguous (to me at least.) I was referring to our attempts to denuclearize North Korea and Iran, not us. - updated Dec. 30, 2007

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Huckabee - A strong GOP choice?

A recent newcomer to the top of the polls, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee is definately showing his stuff. He his taking the approach (from the Republican standpoint) as being perhaps the best winning strategy: steering clear of the Bush Administration's mistakes. Making headlines are some of his hardline views of some of Bush's decisions, including an "arrogant bunker mentality" about the war in Iraq. Just one of his many criticims of the war, Huckabee has also chastized the Bush Administration's decision to invade Iraq with the reduced forces it did.

Here's the rest of the story.

New Blog Format

I've decided after over a year of doing this blog thing, it's time for a change in how I do things. Here's a brief outline of what I'm planning on doing in the next few weeks, hopefully with everything in full swing at the start of the new year.

  • Sunday Comics - For those who've known me and some of the cartoons I've done in the past, I've started doodling again and it's my goal to have a political cartoon posted every Sunday (provided I can put pictures on here!)
  • New blog post formats - I'm going to be doing more along the line of short updates with direct links to news stories of interest; for the larger essays that I write I'll be providing more direct links to news stories and other resources
  • Look into purchasing a domain name of my own and getting away from the Blogspot address