No, E.T. is NOT able to operate our nuclear reactors

The “Tic Tac” UFO recorded by an F/A-18 Super Hornet from the USS Nimitz (CVN 68) in 2004. (NBC News)

The Initial Evidence

“Life finds a way.” Yes, that line from Jurassic Park became a meme of sorts, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true. All one need do is to consider that tardigrades can survive the hard vacuum of space, nematodes thrive deep within the crust of the Earth, and bioaerosols drift happily along in our planet’s lower stratosphere. …

Even astrophysicists use hacks to do the impossible

Those of us who see articles with such titles love the biggest questions of all: where did we all come from, where are we going, and what is life, the universe, and everything? It’s as if we’re all infected with both sides of Fritz Leiber’s Curse of the Stars and the Smalls (required reading for fans of 1980s swords-and-sorcery).

So when a well-respected astrophysicist claims that yes, we can go back in time, we say, “wait, what?”

Two podcasts I follow are Astronomy Cast, hosted by Fraser Cain and Pamela Gay, and Universe Today, hosted by Fraser Cain. Both podcasts…

America is becoming the opposite of the Land of the Free

The freedom to protest is one of the most precious freedoms we have, though it is under attack even now. (Wikimedia)

We Americans have a lot of freedoms. We can say pretty much what we want, to whom we want, and how. We can protest and engage in civil disobedience. We can worship as we will (within reason). We can purchase a too-wide range of firearms (with inexcusably tragic results). We have marriage equality and legal protections for those in the LGBTQ community.

Any of the above were sufficient to have one sent to the Gulag in the old USSR, or to internment camps in China. …

And suddenly the definition of ‘possible’ became ‘absolutely’.

Wuhan Institute of Virology (Yahoo News)

Pandemics Gonna Pandemic

What do you call it when a new virus emerges in China?

You call it a Tuesday.

East Asia is the world’s most active incubator of viruses deadly to humans, and for good reason: overpopulation, livestock production with limited sanitation, lack of refrigeration, and a (slowly diminishing) cultural reliance on traditional medicine. Remember the SARS epidemic back in 2002? That was also from a coronavirus that mutated in China. …

Where you can be discharged but never leave…unless you pay up first

“Plenty of room at Hospital California…” (Wikimedia)

Last week my youngest son’s wife gave birth to their first child, a beautiful little girl named Lily. And yes, all those memes about grandparents’ opinions of their grandkids being the cutest and bestest ever are absolutely true.

As the proud parents were about to leave the hospital here near Seattle, my son Eric went to the reception desk and asked, “Who do we pay? Do you accept a card, or does it have to be cash?” The receptionist and the nurses nearby looked at him with wide eyes, and then began laughing when they realized he was being completely…

What is patriotism when the government believes that might makes right?

Guatemalan general Óscar Mejía Víctores (Prensa Libre)

I’d never seen an airshow before, and I wanted to see if it was as exciting as people said. Those of us who worked belowdecks on the USS Ranger (CV-61) were told to stay remain within the skin of the ship. Only those who worked on the flight deck would see the airshow. The reason, scuttlebutt had it, was that we were just holding an airshow as a diplomatic gesture for some Guatemalan general. …

Most of all, thank the protesters who demanded research into HIV.

See the spikes on the HIV virus? Do they look familiar? (IBTimes)

“A new HIV vaccine, based on the Moderna COVID-19 inoculation, has shown a 97% antibody response rate in Phase I clinical trials.”

Wait, what? How the heck is this not front-and-center on the TV network news? The moment I saw the news, I couldn’t help but remember the decades of fear and heartbreak — and homophobic hatred — that followed the rise of HIV/AIDS since the late 1970’s. I remember listening at the time to a right-wing politician on the radio in the Mississippi Delta expound upon how best to control the spread of AIDS. He was absolutely sure that…

This general caused far more deaths than just those bombs, and we’re still paying the price.

This isn’t Hiroshima or Nagasaki, but Tokyo, which suffered the worst air raid in history on March 9/10, 1945 (NPR)

Before reading this article, please remember that this is history, not political polemic. Let go of any political nationalism. In war, it is normal for all sides commit war crimes. The fact that one side committed far worse crimes than the other does not detract from, much less excuse the crimes committed by the other side.

The above photograph is instructive. It is of Tokyo, which a few days before was the most densely-populated city on the planet. See the wide-open spaces between the multistory concrete buildings? Before the devastation of the firebombing raid of March 9/10, 1945, those open…

And how even now China is trying to protect it

Military Parade on the 70th Anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China (Washington Post)

The Asian Art Of War

In the 1200’s the Mongols began building the greatest contiguous land empire in human history. Their main advantage was the horse archer. Instead of meeting their enemies with tens of thousands of foot soldiers in the kind of static land battle preferred by the Macedonians and Romans, the Mongols figured it made a lot more sense for their thousands of horse archers to ride up just close enough to the enemy to fire their arrows, then gallop away before the enemy could respond. …

An open letter to New York’s version of Ronald Reagan

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (NY Times)

Governor Cuomo, I really liked you. I was proud of how you stood up for New Yorkers, and I daresay most Dems and liberals across the nation took heart at how you refused to allow a future guest of the NY Department of Corrections by the name of Trump to bully you or the people of New York.

But it turns out that you, too, appear to have feet of clay disturbingly similar to those of the Former Guy, the Molester-in-Chief that brought so much shame upon our nation.

Don’t get me wrong. Even given what your administration allegedly did…

Glenn Rocess

Retired Navy. Inveterate contrarian. If I haven’t done it, I’ve usually done something close.

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