When you travel, its helpful to read reviews so that you “know before you go.” As an FYI, the Days Hotel in the UWS has some of the worse reviews I’ve ever seen. If you need a place to stay, don’t stay here!
A friend sent me a link to an AP article about how “desperate” letters written by the father of Anne Frank have surfaced in the United States and will be released next month.
What I found extremely odd was that the URL to this article was http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070125/en_afp/usnaziannefrank.
Please draw your attention to the very last part of that string: usnaziannefrank. Yes, the article involves the Nazis (who murdered Ms. Frank and her family) and the United States (as the letters surfaced here) but it seems pretty odd that the Associated Press’s content management system (CMS) automatically truncated the path to this article to something that can read as “US Nazi Anne Frank.”
Anyone want to cook up a conspiracy theory?
The American Rhetoric web site has a complete index to and partial text and audio database of the 100 most significant American political speeches of the 20th century. This list was drawn up by 137 leading scholars of American public address and was compiled by Stephen E. Lucas (University of Wisconsin-Madison) and Martin J. Medhurst (Baylor University). What a tremendous resource. Enjoy and be inspired!
Stephen Colbert has a great bit on how nonsensical corporate branding can be. He uses the history of AT&T to illustrate how silly things can get. Please watch and enjoy.
Keith Martin has brilliantly reconsidered the motivation behind everything that goes on in Star Wars, in light of the nonsense that happens in Episodes 1-3. It’s central thesis is built around how at the end of Revenge of the Sith (RotS), C3PO has his memory wiped but R2D2 keeps his intact. I’ve actually had a few bar room debates about this idea but never put my thoughts down on paper or came up with the level of detailed analysis that Mr. Martin has done. His review is completely serious, outrageously nerdy, and really, really well done. Please note that this is for hardcore Star Wars nerds.
After being fearful about America’s future in space, I thought “why not relax and watch a funny movie?” My sister crashed in my apartment the other night and brought knowledge of a great video with her. It’s pretty dumb and funny, sort of like a cross between Right Said Fred and RuPaul.
Ever since I read the “2001” series by Arthur C. Clarke, I’ve been thinking about China and its relationship to space. For those unfamiliar with the first book and/or the movie, the Chinese launch a space shuttle at the beginning of the story which takes everyone by surprise. I’ve always been fascinated by other societies and people that can date their history back a couple thousand years (maybe because I’m Jewish). I’ve always thought that for China, being a civilization that has been around for 5,000 years (give or take a millennia) and one that has over a billion people, conquering space has been only a matter of time. If the US doesn’t work harder to keep our lead, we’ll lose it altogether. It’s bad enough that China is holding trillions of dollars in T-bills and holds our economic future in their banks. Soon, they might control our military future as well. My overall fear is that China is like the slow, plodding turtle in the “Tortoise and the Hare” fable. While it lumbers and takes forever, in the end it’ll win.
To that end, I read in today’s NY Times about a secret Chinese missile test from this past week – they blew up one of their own satellites and proved they can shoot anything out of the sky. Check it out:
China’s Muscle Flex in Space
China spread alarm and consternation among space powers when it destroyed one of its own satellites last week with a missile fired from the ground, thus becoming the first nation in more than two decades to successfully test an anti-satellite weapon. This aggressive show of force puts a wide range of United States military and intelligence satellites at risk and holds the danger of starting an arms race in space. Too bad the Bush administration’s own bellicose attitudes — and adamant refusal to consider an arms control treaty for space — give it scant standing to chastise the Chinese. The administration needs to reverse course promptly and join in talks aimed at banning further tests or use of anti-satellite weapons.
The Chinese test, which Beijing has not acknowledged but was tracked by intelligence agencies, destroyed an aging communications satellite some 500 miles above the Earth. The missile smashed the satellite into hundreds of pieces large enough to pose a danger for a decade or more to spacecraft or satellites that pass through the debris.
The Chinese have now demonstrated that — should they ever choose — they could destroy essential American satellites used to conduct military reconnaissance, spot nuclear tests and direct smart weapons. A top intelligence official told reporters last August that China had used a ground-based laser to illuminate an American satellite. That could signal a nascent effort to develop a way to blind satellites or to guide a missile to a target in space
The Bush administration has been flexing its own muscles in space. A national space policy issued in October declared that “freedom of action in space is as important to the United States as air power and sea power.” It asserted a need to deter others from interfering with America’s right to operate in space. The policy did not address whether Washington would place weapons in space — as some in the Pentagon have been urging — but the administration continues to oppose any restrictions.
Surely it would make military and diplomatic sense to pursue the opposite course and seek to ban all tests and any use of anti-satellite weapons.
The United States and the Soviet Union successfully tested such weapons decades ago and have no overriding need to develop better versions, although the United States is clearly trying. China’s success in matching the feat reportedly came after three earlier tests failed, so the Chinese could only benefit from additional testing. The United States, with many more satellites in orbit than any other power and a military that has become increasingly dependent on satellites, has the most to lose from an unbridled space arms race.
Some experts suggest that China’s latest test is intended to prod the United States to join serious negotiations. The way to counter China or any other potentially belligerent space power is through an arms control treaty, not a new arms race in space.
I normally do not do this but it’s short and sweet so I’m lifting a paragraph verbatim from amNY:
“A blaze caused an estimated $50,000 of damage at an unlikely location yesterday morning – the headquarters of the East Meadow Fire Department. The fire started around 4:30 a.m., Fire Chief Christopher Sala said. It took about 100 firefighters half an hour to get it under control.”
You can’t make this stuff up…
On top of all the other nonsense that the failed Iraqi War has brought to our fair country and the world, we now have a less educated U.S. fighting force. While the Army met its recruiting goal of 80,000 soldiers last year, they needed to accept fewer high school graduates in order to do so. The Army prefers to have 90% of their recruits to have a high school diploma however last year only 73% met that requirement.
“When you have a lot of recruits who score lower on the exam or who don’t have a high school diploma, a much higher percentage with not complete ehtir first term of enlightment,” said Anita Dancs, research director for the National Prioriteis Project. “By not hitting those benchmarks, they’re increating recruiting and training costs.”
Sweet! Even more money wasted on the war!
A horrible smell best described as “gassy” invaded NYC yesterday. It concerned many, closed buildings and forced a PATH station to evacuate. It was actually so bad and people were so freaked out that Mayor Bloomberg held a press conference to say basically, “everything is fine – its not terrorism – go about your business.”
After much investigation, a marsh around Bayonne is being blamed and the news outlets are having a field day with their headlines. NY1’s “Who Dealt it?” is one of my favorites. In case you were wondering, Bayonne is in the “Garden State,” aka New Jersey. It seems that NJ smells so bad these days that it can’t even contain itself anymore, – sort of how I felt in while on vacation after eating Israeli salad, cabbage and choumous at every meal of the day…