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intelligent design - to be taught in american schools 
  perspectum
 
02:37am 30/08/2005
  Wtf… fuck this “intelligent design” bullshit. Just another stupid fundamentalist label to make religion disguised and somehow easier for people to swallow.


Follow the link below to take action on this important issue. Go to </a>
http://www.afa.net/petitions/intelligentdesign/takesurvey.asp

CAREFUL – they trick you… the spot to vote is on this link too before you sign your info, and the yes is already checked off. Use the postal code 1001 for n.y. (if you don't live in the states) and be sure to pass it along!
 
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  pookizegreat
 
12:21am 17/04/2005
 
mood: okay
Dear Future,

.... well, you'd have to work awfully hard to do any worse than the present seems to be managing, so with all my best hope: good job!

Love,
Dead Girl
 
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  gdfdh
 
05:08pm 22/03/2005
  Live forever...  
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"DO YOUR WORST!!! 
  biggd
 
12:51pm 11/02/2005
  My worst eh?

Smithers...release the robotic Richard Simmons.

The horror...the horror...
 
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The first chapter of my science fiction story 
  biggd
 
09:57pm 04/01/2005
  Read more...Collapse )  
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Very Brief Recap of 2004 election 
  biggd
 
10:09pm 04/11/2004
  No one posts here anymore, so what the hell, I'll do it myself. I voted for Kerry so I'll be as objective and impartial as I can be.

This election like the previous one in 2000 was one of the most devisive political battles in American history. Incumbent Republican President George Bush of Texas defended his position against Senator John F Kerry of Massachusetts. President Bush attained his office in one of the most suspect elections of all time, many accusations have been made over the supposed disenfranchisment of voters in regions of Florida likely to vote for his opponent Al Gore. For further information on theories on electoral fraud look at http://www.algorewon.org/ and/or the career of documentary film maker Micheal Moore.

The election was close because of such issues as a lackluster economy in which 1.6 million jobs were said to have to been lost and fear of a major terrorist attack upon U.S. soil such as we endured on September 11th 2001. President Bush capitalized on what was percieved as a lack of leadership in the challenger Kerry and was able to convince many Americans of this when the senator was slow to respond to series of 'Swift Boat' commericials attacking his service in the Vietnam war. Prior to this ad campaign Senator Kerry had a not great but sizable lead over the President due to the bad economy and fear that the President was too far right and pushing a Christian Fundamentalist agenda upon the nation. Bush's re-election was always in doubt because of a pre-emptive war against Iraq justified by fear that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussien was building an arsenal of thermonuclear and/or biological weapons with which he would inflict mass devestation upon the United States. This war was initially very popular however after the U.S. forces took control of Iraq there were no weapons of mass destruction found and the war became increasingly bloody, there have been more then 1100 US deaths confirmed so far in the conflict and Iraqi deaths have been stated to be as high as 100,000.

On the eve of the election there was a slight edge to Mister Bush in the polls, but rumors of a massive turnout gave hope to John Kerry. On the day of the election the massive turnout occured but it pushed President Bush to victory as it was a big push by fundamentalist Christians rather then a high turnout of college age people who had been shown to favour John Kerry in polls. The biggest weakness of the Democratice party throughout the election (and just in general these days) was that it was seen as being anti-Christian and thusly unelectable in many areas. The Fundamentalist turnout was largely due to fear of Kerry promoting a homosexual agenda as the Senator's home state of Massachusetts became the first state for legalize gay marriage. This fear of homosexuals was quite obvious when one saw that thirteen states passed initiatives banning gay marriage during the election. Also used was proganda stating the liberal senator would pass legislation banning the Christian Bible upon being put into power, this I must say was an absolute dirty lie but it worked wonderfully much like the rest of the Republican Party's spin machine. The democrats lost this election because of failure to fight back early against the Conservative controlled media (as lead by Fox News), when they saw Kerry hesistant to defend himself it was easy for the GOP to label him a 'girlie man' and then say that Kerry would be so weak on defense as to allow the US to be invaded and conquered by a foriegn nation.

The election itself was narrowly decided in the electorate, though Bush prevailed by slightly bigger margins in the popular vote. In the end it came down to the electoral votes of the state of Ohio, counting votes in this state took until early next morning but in the end Bush won and John Kerry conceded.

Half of the country is very happy right now, another half is not. I am in the second category. With victories in Congress over the Democrats the Republicans now control the entire system and putting absolute power in the hands of one group of people does not seem to be such a good idea to me.
 
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Holy Incest Batman !! Looks Like Eveybody's Related Afterall !! 
  zeunges
 
07:10pm 28/07/2004
 
mood: jubilant
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitochondrial_Eve

..So Eveybody's not just "Brothers and Sisters in God's Way" anymore.
...So i just wanted to say "Hello" to all my other relatives out there!

All 6 Billion of ya'll
 
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Another anti-Bush administration/America flash show. 
  perspectum
 
02:28am 04/05/2004
  More war images, Bush quotes along with Martian Luther King set to Wumpscut's Deadmaker(totmatcher)track.

and in case you haven’t yet seen:
War images and anti Bush campaign set to the music of VNV Nation.

Industrial Music at its finest!

from: http://www.bushflash.com/animation.html

x-posted around places.
Spread it.
 
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Science and religion 
  biggd
 
11:27pm 25/03/2004
  Dear year 2104:

Do a number of people in the future still think the Earth is only 6,000 years old? Cause in my science class a few days ago a good number of people stated they believe just that, and that science is all lies and all the fossils and stuff were formed by Noah's flood, or by the devil to make men disbelieve in Genesis.

Estimated ages of the Earth by the supposed academic elite of America:

4.5 Billion (Me)
49 million
19 million
5 million
4,000-6,000 years
2004 years

I don't see why all the scientists would lie about the Earth being old. They merely are trying to prove things, whereas the organized religions have the goal of world domination.
Or maybe America's not as dumb as I think and this just because I live in a small town.
 
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Historic Day 
  biggd
 
10:27pm 03/03/2004
 
mood: awake
We finally found proof that there was once water on Mars. And if there was water there once, then there probably was life there at some point too. Even if it wasn't sentient life. Of course America is a country in decline as I write this, no one on the street has heard of this momentous scientific discovery. Let me tell you in sad detail what they ARE concerned.

Meanwhile back on Earth the Republican Party is wringing it's hands in fury over the fact that gay people are getting married in San Francisco. This in their opinion violates the holiness of a religious system that has more a half of the people wind up divorced and an almost as big group engaging in affairs. See back in 2004 there was this really powerful thing called Christianity and one it's early founders really hated gay people, so he wrote in their book of rules that there is a nebolous entity of astronomical heft called God that will punish you with fire for being gay. (Well amongst other things, this current religion has around 1000 commands. It also says a guy whos been dead 2,000 years now is coming back at any moment to eternally punish everyone who doesn't believe in their extremely odd views.) Because of this people are paying more attention to the gay marriage conflict then to the fact that our economy is in ruins and our President started a war that killed a bunch of our people and bunch of a country called Iraq's people because his imaginary friend God told him too. (Apparently God didn't know there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, yeah so much for knowing and seeing everything.) The only good thing about the Gay Marriage fight is watching the big bad conservative empire squirm in terror of people they've so long called sissies.

You probably think all of this is very silly. But then you've undoubtabley invented another religious system to rule and block up your thinking by now. And though Christianity looks ancient and silly to you, your current crop of superstistions is obviously nothing to be laughed at. Hell I know that you would want to kill me with your future weapons for laughing at it, of that I am sure. Just don't put in a bunch of stuff about killing people for 'God' when you write your 31st century moral code.
 
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To the future...2004 sucks 
  biggd
 
04:55pm 21/02/2004
 
mood: aggravated
I used to think that things would be cool when the year 2000 came. But there're not. In fact this decade sucks. It doesn't even have a name. We have sixteen more years more until 2020 gets here and we even have a decent name to stick to the current time period again. I'm not sure why this bothers me so much, but it does.

Oh yeah and in 2004 our economy really sucks. A man can't even get a burger job out here in this stupid little town I live in. I think it's a greater metaphor for the decay of the United States of America. Instead of fixing the economy and creating jobs for people to work in the government is busy fighting over wether or not gay people can get into the "holy" process of marriage and subquent process of divorce. (First the military, now marriage. Why do these people wish to be a part of our worst institutions so badly?) We're also busy invading foriegn countries in the search for oil. And collectively destroying our scarce remaining brain cells with 'Reality TV' shows in which people try to eat eachother on desert islands or convince their families that they want to marry some loser for a lot of money. And our government's been taken over by religious kooks. And every other country in the world wants to kill us.

I could write more but since you future bastards are so far removed from us I doubt you'd care. Your probably just lazily reading this as part of your damn history project on our sleazy era and can't wait to get back to your sex robots or whatever the fuck you future people do.
 
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Gotcha! 
  tennis_borg
 
04:09pm 18/02/2004
 
mood: naughty
we_r_borg. We have assimilated this abandoned community. Resistance is futile.
 
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  ergie
 
06:17pm 30/09/2003
 
mood: accomplished
To my future husband,

My dearest Dan Costello,

I'm writing this to you on the last day of the month, September, in the year 2003. I'm hoping that in three years time, our lives will come together, and we will be happy. I hope that you will get that job you always wanted in the bowling alley, and I will be Queen of England. I do have the name for it. Together we shall rule over all people both online and in the real world. You will be my king to my queen, and we shall rule with an iron fist and lead feet, as well as mother-of-pearl teeth, gold ears, and a shiny steel nose. Not to mention my finger nails with have this lovely shade of pink, thanks to this fabulous new nail polish I found from the grocery store. Well, anyways, i also predict that I will have shiny fingernails forever.

We shall have three children, one of each. We will name the first after you, the second after me, and the third after my dog that died four years ago. We will have goldfish, guppies, and a large snail named Stan. I will walk it in the morning and you in the afternoons. On the weekends, when you are off from resetting bowling pins and I'm on holiday from ruling the world, we will make mad passionate love under the water. We will also ride horses along the beach and eat shrimp scampi under the stars. I long for you, and can't wait until the future becomes the present.

Come for me, I'm waiting!

love,

eliza rose
 
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Lousy 21st century 
  biggd
 
01:17pm 10/05/2003
 
mood: angry
Where are all the flying cars anyways? Its early on in this century, but its a disappointment none the less. Its sorta like this fanboy I used to know whos dreaming of the day they invent sex robots, but I'm skeptical cause one malfunctioned it could rip your weiner out or something. And above all what happened to space explotation or whatever. Back in the day it was said we'd had a moon base by now, but we don't. What a jyp this decade has been, all its delievered is terrorism and a lack of available jobs.
 
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Man who made millions claims to be from the future. 
  ex_ilk
 
01:16am 27/03/2003
  "The only way he could pull it off is with illegal inside information. He's going to sit in a jail cell on Rikers Island until he agrees to give up his sources." (oh great.... so proof isn't needed to jail people... creeeeepy)

Officials are quite confident the "time-traveler's" claims are bogus. Yet the SEC source admits, "No one can find any record of any Andrew Carlssin existing anywhere before December 2002."

LINK
 
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  cetta
 
09:48am 04/03/2003
  SEOUL/WASHINGTON (March 4) - An angry Washington hit out at North Korea for intercepting a U.S. spy plane at the weekend, a close call over the Sea of Japan that underscores the danger that a nuclear crisis could spiral out of control.

The risks were made clear on Tuesday, when sources in Japan with close ties to North Korea said it was ''only a matter of time'' before the communist state restarted a nuclear fuel reprocessing plant that could produce weapons-grade plutonium.

Senior U.S. officials said Washington would formally protest about the jet fighter incident, once it found a way to do so. North Korea and the United States have no diplomatic relations.

Four North Korean fighters intercepted a U.S. air force RC-135 reconnaissance plane in international airspace over the Sea of Japan on Sunday and came within 50 feet (15 meters) of the big U.S. jet while shadowing it, the Pentagon said on Monday.

The encounter -- a whisker away from disaster in the air in one of the world's most militarized regions -- followed repeated assertions by North Korea's state media that RC-135s had been flying sorties in its airspace.

The North said this showed the United States was preparing for war on the peninsula. Many analysts fault the United States for neglecting North Korea even as that isolated state makes continuous moves to ratchet up tension.

The United States has up to now played down eye-catching North Korean incidents such as a missile launch last week just before South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun was inaugurated. The response to the near-miss suggests Washington could be changing tactics in the search for a way out of the nuclear standoff.

Many analysts say Pyongyang's goal in the four-month-old impasse is to draw Washington into talks and normalize ties to ensure survival of the impoverished state.

The spy-plane incident came as tension continued to rise on the Korean peninsula over the North's suspected nuclear arms ambitions, and as the United States builds up military forces in the Gulf in preparation for a possible invasion of Iraq.

China, an old friend of North Korea, urged calm.

''We hope that under the current situation all sides keep calm and exercise restraint in order to truly safeguard peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and in the region of Northeast Asia,'' Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan told reporters.

PLUTONIUM PLANT

Sources in Tokyo with close ties to Pyongyang told Reuters North Korea was poised to make a more ominous move -- firing up a reprocessing plant at Yongbyon, whose main purpose is believed to be producing plutonium for nuclear bomb-making.

''The United States has drawn a 'red line', but the North will not hesitate to move beyond that,'' one of the sources said.

''It's just a matter of time (before the reprocessing unit is reactivated),'' he said.

The fresh reminder of North Korean dangers weighed on Seoul's stock market but there was no overt sign of tension in the South. Roh's week-old government held a security meeting and agreed to work to contain the nuclear crisis, including sending Seoul's new foreign minister to Washington as soon as possible.

''We are concerned about the lastest actions by North Korea,'' said a South Korean official.

Kim Sung-han, an analyst at the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security in Seoul, said the incident showed the North rejected being a target of U.S. contingency plans.

''The North is saying that it doesn't want to lose a game of nerves with the U.S.,'' said Kim, adding that it was significant that the North was ''showing off'' its best MiG fighters.

PROTEST PLANNED

Two advanced MiG-29 fighters and two others believed to be MiG-23s intercepted the sophisticated four-engine RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft 150 miles (240 km) off the coast of North Korea and shadowed the American jet for about 20 minutes, said navy Lieutenant-Commander Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman.

''The closest point they came was within 50 feet'' of the RC-135, he said, adding the air force plane was on a routine reconnaissance mission at the time.

''This will be formally protested,'' said a senior Bush administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity. ''This is particularly provocative and has the potential to frighten our allies even more than previous provocations.''

One possible channel for registering that protest would be through North Korea's mission at the United Nations in New York.

Pentagon spokesman Davis said initially one of the North Korean jets had locked on to the unarmed RC-135 with its fire-control radar, but later said that was not certain.

He said the jet had used its ''acquisition radar'' on the RC-135, but the Pentagon was unsure that the more threatening radar used to direct missiles had been turned on.

NORTH ESCALATES

Davis told reporters it was the first known such interception incident involving North Korean and U.S. aircraft since North Korean jets shot down an American spy plane in international airspace in 1969, killing 31 people on board.

In 1968, North Koreans seized the spy ship USS Pueblo in international waters, holding its crew hostage for a year.

North Korea has taken a series of steps to ratchet up pressure on the United States in the months since Washington's announcement in October that Pyongyang had admitted to pursuing a covert program to enrich uranium for weapons.

In December the North expelled U.N. nuclear inspectors who had been monitoring atomic sites frozen in 1994 under a U.S. deal that eased a previous North Korean nuclear crisis.

In January, North Korea became the first state to pull out of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and last week, Washington said North Korea had fired up a reactor, suspected of having been used previously to produce plutonium for bombs, and appeared set to reactivate the reprocessing plant.

The U.S. Pacific Command in Hawaii indicated flights would continue. It declined to say if planes would be escorted.

Reut06:51 03-04-03

Copyright 2003 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.
 
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  cetta
 
12:56am 03/03/2003
  SEOUL, South Korea (March 2) - North Korea warned Sunday of "nuclear disasters'' around the world if Washington attacks the communist state, while its civilian leaders urged greater cooperation between Pyongyang and Seoul to ease the crisis on the Korean Peninsula.

The North's official Rodong Sinmun newspaper accused the Central Intelligence Agency of preparing a surprise attack on the nation's nuclear facilities that are suspected of being used to make atomic bombs.

"If the U.S. imperialists ignite a war on the Korean Peninsula, the war will turn into a nuclear war,'' Rodong said. "As a consequence, the Koreans in the north and south and the people in Asia and the rest of the world will suffer horrifying nuclear disasters.''

The report, carried by the North's state-run KCNA news agency, claimed that Washington put its forces around the peninsula on "semi-war footing'' and "is pushing ahead with nuclear war preparations in full swing.''

Pyongyang accuses Washington of inciting the nuclear standoff as a pretext for an invasion. Washington has repeatedly said it has no plans to attack North Korea, but stresses that "all options are on the table.''

In Seoul on Sunday, North Korea's religious and civic leaders took part in inter-Korean religious masses and urged greater cooperation between the two Koreas.

"Preventing war through national cooperation is the most urgent task of the nation,'' said Ri Mun Hwan, a senior North Korean delegate. "If war breaks out, the South cannot be safe and the entire nation will face disaster.''

Another delegate, Oh Kyung Woo, said the "United States is threatening a nuclear war, but if war breaks out both South and North will incur damages,'' according to South Korea's national Yonhap news agency.

"Foreign forces will never give us reunification. We must cooperate with each other,'' Oh was quoted as saying.

The comments were made during religious masses at a cathedral, a church, a Buddhist temple and other religious locations, which were attended by thousands of South Koreans.

The ceremonies were a part of an inter-Korean festival to mark the anniversary of a major independence uprising against Japanese colonial rule on March 1, 1919.

Pyongyang sent 105 delegates to Seoul on Saturday for the three-day festival. Both Koreas mark the uprising as a major holiday. Japan ruled the peninsula from 1910 to 1945.

Rodong, monitored by South Korea's national Yonhap news agency, reiterated that the North's nuclear activities were "strictly for peaceful purposes and poses no threat to anyone.''

"Crushing the U.S. plot to attack North Korea is a very important issue related to peace and safety of Asia and the world, the existence and future of mankind,'' Rodong said.

Raising tensions last week, North Korea test-fired a missile into the sea off its east coast. Pyongyang also reactivated a 5-megawatt reactor that could produce plutonium for nuclear weapons, U.S. and South Korean officials said.

On Saturday, North Korea said nuclear war could break out on the peninsula at "any moment,'' after South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun warned of a "calamity'' unless the standoff is resolved peacefully and quickly.

The dispute flared in October when Washington said North Korea had admitted pursuing a nuclear program, which violated a 1994 pact.

Washington and its allies cut off oil shipments to the impoverished communist state. The North responded by saying it would reactivate its frozen facilities. It also expelled U.N. monitors and withdrew from the global Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

03/02/03 18:56 EST

Copyright 2003 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.
 
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  cetta
 
07:09am 09/02/2003
  SPACE CENTER, Houston (Feb. 8) - NASA investigators are anxious to examine a small, ragged piece of one of Columbia's wings because it may give important new clues about why the space shuttle broke apart in the final minutes of its return to Earth a week ago.

The debris includes a 26- to 27-inch-long piece of a carbon-hardened tile that was part of the leading edge of a Columbia wing. Failure of the thermal control tiles on the space shuttle's left wing is suspected in the destruction of Columbia.

Ron Dittemore, shuttle program manager at the Johnson Space Center, said Friday it was unknown if the debris was from the left wing, where Columbia's trouble may have started, or from the right wing, which gave no indication of problems.

''Certainly we're more interested in the left wing,'' he said. Each of 27,000 pieces of the shuttle's tile system carries a heatproof serial number so engineers are expected to pinpoint exactly where the wing part came from.

The wing part was found near Fort Worth and is part of the thousands of Columbia pieces that fell across Texas and Louisiana last Saturday morning when the shuttle broke up during a high speed drop from space toward a landing at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The accident killed seven astronauts.

Dittemore said a high-definition military photo shot in the final moments of Columbia's flight is ''not very revealing,'' despite the claim by some it shows a ragged leading edge on the left wing and a plume of vapor or smoke trailing behind.

The photo, shot by a powerful Air Force telescope camera in New Mexico, shows a fuzzy, batwing-shaped silhouette of the shuttle with a dark gray streak behind the left wing.

''It is not clear to me that there is something there,'' he said.

Some people have said they see damage on the left wing, thought to be the heart of Columbia's problems, Dittemore said.

''It does look like there's something just a little different about the left-hand side behind the wing than the right-hand side,'' Dittemore said. ''That does look a little different to us and is an area of investigation.''

He said the photo doesn't resolve the question of whether the shuttle may have been seriously damaged by a chunk of foam debris that struck Columbia on the left wing shortly after liftoff.

''It does not indicate whether an event occurred on launch day, in orbit or even during re-entry,'' Dittemore said. ''You cannot tell from that photograph that an event occurred.''

Dittemore also presented diagrams that show the gradual thermal changes detected by sensors in the left wing and along the base of the adjoining fuselage. Some sensors registered a gradual increase in heat while others abruptly stopped working, as if wires had been severed or burned through.

Hopes have faded that NASA might get more information from data from the final 32 seconds recorded between the time Johnson Space Center's computers stopped reading the data to the point all sensors went dead. The data was too garbled to be interpreted and was largely useless, said James Gavura, director of NASA's Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System.

''There was 31 seconds (of silence) and then 1 more second of data,'' Gavura said.

That second could contain information on the position of the orbiter just before it began to tumble and break up, he said.

Although that second hasn't been verified as shuttle data, Gavura said it appears to have the proper signature.

NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe arrived at Johnson Space Center on Friday afternoon after spending the morning at a memorial service for the seven astronauts at Kennedy Space Center.

O'Keefe met with an independent advisory board, which took the lead in the investigation Thursday, and addressed NASA employees about their concerns as the investigation progresses.

''Right now, we want to find out what happened.'' he stressed. ''No one person will be fingered.''

AP-NY-02-08-03 1003EST

Copyright 2003 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.
 
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Great to see activity here. (update) 
  ex_ilk
 
04:52am 04/02/2003
  Another meeting time and place has passed with nothing to report.
I showed up and absolutely nothing happened. The message this time was carved in cement in the interior of a bridge construct (out of weather.. at least for a few hundred years I imagine). Again, it was exhilirating. The meeting place was home this time, so I was a bit nervous at first that some kook found my message and decided to give me a fun scare. But the time passed and nothing happened. There were a LOT of earthquakes during the time period nearby in the bay area. Coincidence, of course, but of note.

The next one will be in a traditional time capsule. Any ideas after that? I was thinking of trying to place the message in several forums (where applicable and on topic/not against the rules) on the net, hoping at some time in the future all archived information will be fully searchable and part of some consciousness. Saturation for survival! Hmm.

If any of you plan on trying your own experiments, please let the community know how it turns out.

I love the parallel universe concept. Imagine that somewhere, in another dimension, we have altered the course of humanity by our actions. I told a close friend this tonight. He felt uncomfortable with the concept, saying he'd feel guilty or concerned about doing that.

I say.... no. Not crossing the oceans and staying put would have saved millions of lives. But while that may be true, it also would have caused the demise of equal or perhaps even greater numbers. This kind of fear response is primitive and has almost nothing to do with morality. It is simply the fear of the unknown. You cannot save the lives of those who have not yet lived, as much as you cannot kill them without knowing who they are.

I came away from this non-encounter with an interesting idea floating around in my brainpan. Every moment in "time" is recorded in collective human memory and is accessible through common elements of dna. In other words, all that exists in what we now call dna that does not serve a specific, identifiable purpose, contains the whole of human, pre-human and yes... post human existance. Pretty heavy considering what I was thinking a moment before that....

how good a chili dog would be. Kinda blew me away.
Maybe I wasn't alone there after all.

Or maybe, just maybe....

I'm a nutcase.
Well, either way, I'm having a blast being alive and just asking the questions out loud instead of internally.
 
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  cetta
 
07:26am 04/02/2003
  JOHNSON SPACE CENTER, Texas (Feb. 4) - NASA engineers are searching for "the missing link" between a piece of debris that struck space shuttle Columbia during launch and indications of a temperature spike and increased drag on the left side just before its fiery disintegration, a NASA official said on Monday.

Shuttle program manager Ron Dittemore told a news conference NASA's main assumption is that Columbia's fate was sealed when a piece of debris from its external fuel tank struck the bottom of the orbiter during launch on Jan. 16.

"We're making the assumption from the start that the external tank was the root cause of the problem that lost Columbia," Dittemore said, acknowledging that it was a drastic assumption.

But Dittemore said the challenge was finding how that event culminated with Columbia breaking up 40 miles above Texas just 16 minutes away from touchdown on Saturday, killing all seven astronauts.

The debris hit the underside of the left wing and may have damaged tiles that protect Columbia from the searing heat of re-entry, where the outside temperatures can reach 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

NASA's review of the flying debris on launch concluded that Columbia could still complete its mission safely, based on data from two similar events in earlier launches.

Dittemore said he is most interested in what he called "upstream" debris, particularly tiles that may have fallen off the shuttle earlier than previously thought as it roared across California, Arizona and New Mexico.

"If we can get our hands on that piece of debris that indicates where the genesis of the problem is, that would be very important," Dittemore said.

"That missing link is out there and we just need to be persistent and go find it."

But the pieces could be very small, he said, noting that shuttle tiles measure 6 inches by 6 inches -- and would have fallen from as high as 220,000 feet before landing somewhere in the southwestern U.S.

"It's like looking for a needle in a haystack, but that's not going to keep us from trying to look for it," he said.

Dittemore gave a slightly expanded timeline of the last data beamed down from Columbia to Mission Control in Houston.

At 7:52 a.m. CST, temperatures in the brake line for the left main landing gear rose 30-40 degrees Fahrenheit in five minutes. Five minutes later, sensors along the left side of the fuselage began picking up higher temperatures.

At 7:59 a.m., above west Texas, the autopilot began trying to compensate for increased drag along Columbia's left side.

JETS FIRING

Dittemore said NASA knows that yaw jets, which control Columbia's movement around its vertical axis, fired on the right side in an effort to correct the effect of the drag. The thrusters appeared to be "losing ground," he said.

But whereas the spike in wheelwell temperatures indicates a problem, Dittemore cautioned it was a symptom, not a cause.

A rise in temperature of 30-40 degrees does not indicate a break in the shuttle's exterior, given the external temperature of Columbia's underbelly was around 2,000 degrees at the time, he said.

"Even though these things are interesting to us, we are still trying to find out what caused them. These things are trying to tell us something, but we're just trying to find out what they are trying to tell us," he said.

NASA's review of the debris that struck the craft during launch determined, based on data gathered from two earlier missions where similar events occurred, that Columbia could return safely, Dittemore said.

"This debris is one of our primary areas of emphasis. We're completely redoing the analysis from scratch," he said. "We want to know if we weren't conservative enough. We want to know if we made any mistakes."

Though Dittemore expressed confidence NASA's investigation would find an answer, he conceded success was far from certain.

"We may never know the exact root cause," he said. "We're going to work our darnedest to figure that out."

02/03/03 21:58 ET

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