Archive for January 14th, 2005

Titan Looks Livable – Lots Available Soon



After traveling through more than 2 billion
miles of space, the European Space Agency’s Huygens probe reached
its final destination early Friday, NASA said.

It successfully navigated
the murky atmosphere of the Saturn moon Titan and touched down
on the moon’s surface two and a half hours later, at 2:25 a.m.
Scientists hope it snapped photos as it landed and began snatching
up souvenirs, just like any other tourist.

It takes one hour and seven minutes for the signal to travel from
Cassini to Earth.

from Wired News

(first photo sent back this pm from NY

In this artist rendition, the Huygens probe is about to reach the
surface of Titan, Saturn’s largest moon.
Photo: Courtesy of NASA/Steven Hobbs

What Would the Tabloids Do Without the Royals?


8,758 against hereditary monarchs…

The royal family, and especially
Prince Philip, the queen’s husband, has
committed an array of gaffes. Prince Philip reinforced his reputation
for ill-chosen utterances in 1997 when he addressed Chancellor Helmut
Kohl of Germany as Reichskanzler – the title used by Hitler.

Not only that. As The Evening Standard, among other newspapers, noted
on Thursday, the royal family had an ambiguous relationship with Germany
the Nazis. The House of Windsor was formed in 1917 when the royal family
changed its name from Saxe-Coburg Gotha, a name it acquired with the
marriage in 1840 of Queen Victoria and Albert of Saxe-Coburg, which
was then a duchy
in central Germany.

In the 1930’s, moreover, some members were widely seen as openly sympathetic
to the Nazis. In one iconic photograph, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor,
smiling broadly, were seen greeting Hitler.

from the New
York Times

Hey, just because his family comes from Germany and was chummy with
Der Fuehrer, and he likes dressing up in Nazi regalia, that doesn’t make
a Neo-Nazi, or a Nazi sympathizer or anything. Even the Jewish grandson of
a haberdasher who lost family in the Holocaust can admit they had the snappiest
uniforms since the Roman Legion.

Comix of the Day



From Today’s Globe


There are a couple of columns in today’s Boston Globe Op-Ed section
which are worth a read.  First in an excellent analysis of what’s
really going on with Social Security called "Generational
", by
Ben Hubbard.  It points out that despite paying lip service to strong
ties between generations,

As for creating strong ties between generations, this administration
has harnessed every American under the age of 30 to an enormous national
debt — much of it accumulated in order to give tax breaks to the ultra-rich.

Excellent choice of verbs – harnessed – to describe the financial bit
and bridle fit to every non-millionaire American by the time they finish
their education and enter the work force.

Right next door, the always erudite H.D.S. Greenway has a beautifully
written piece titled "Wise
." in which he manages to connect
the Sentenalese tribesmen of the Andaman Islands, Marco Polo, Tienanmen
Square, Sherlock Holmes "The Sign of the Four" and certain isolated groups
of Amazonian natives with whom we have a passing familiarity, all in
a moving screed about "resisting the relentless march of modernity."
Hopeless but inspirational.