Science Caturday: Not Just Ceiling Cat Watching You

The biggest story this week was the revelation that the US National Security Agency (NSA) has a program called PRISM that allows it access to the private communications of users of some very popular internet services, including Facebook and Google.


Reactions ranged from denial


To shock and dismay


to outright paranoia.


all lolcats via


I get mail

Form Letter from Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
Form Letter from Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

Yesterday, I was the unexpected recipient of a form letter from Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Like many others, I have sent Senator Graham missives via the internet regarding CISPA and CFAA. This would explain the first two sentences of the letter, the second of which conveys no actual information about Graham’s cyber security position.

Thank you for contacting me regarding cyber security. I believe that establishing a robust cyber security network that protect s our nation while adequately maintaining privacy is critically important to the United States.

In this time of tight budgets, you really did not need to waste the ink, letterhead, or postage on such inane correspondence. Continue reading “I get mail”

Eagles at Rugby World Cup

Having played with and/or traded knocks with many of the players on the Eagles World Cup side, I could not be more pleased with their play so far. These guys are playing up to their potential. The quality of the play (as well as the improved TV coverage in the US) should make everyone hopeful for the future of rugby in the US. Also, coach Eddie O’Sullivan deserves high marks for his selection of talented and complementary players.

A dry eyed goodbye to the Space Shuttle

Point the first: I think NASA should have more funding; but, like everyone else, I’m not going to bother saying what programs I’m going to raid to fund my pet programs.

Point the second: I kind of wish we’d been spending all that money we spent putting people into space on the unmanned, scientific instruments that have actually been illuminating our solar system, our galaxy, and our universe. That is not to say that I really regret the manned space flight program, as I’m not sure all those unmanned scientific instruments would have been built without the big goals associated with manned space flight (e.g., walking on the Moon). I’m just not particularly sad that the shuttle is being retired, nor I am particularly upset that there is no replacement ready to go. Continue reading “A dry eyed goodbye to the Space Shuttle”

China: plus ça change. . .?

Open question: If China has a revolution what happens to all that US debt its holding?

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