Stick A Fork in Shapiro

I just can't stop myself from laughing...
"OTTAWA — The federal ethics commissioner says he will not investigate former prime minister Paul Martin's role in bringing Belinda Stronach into the Liberal ranks last May.

"Bernard Shapiro says there's nothing in the ethics guidelines to stop a prime minister from appointing an opposition member to his cabinet [...] in fact, he calls it a constitutional right.

Hmmmm..... I seem to remember someone else saying something similar once...
"The power to make cabinet appointments is a power that resides in the office of the prime minister as the highest elected, democratically elected official in the country..."

Who said that again... Oh yah it was HARPER. To which the Canuckian Left decried "arrogance..." But there I go using my long memory and that logic stuff.

Tony Blair Admits Kyoto Fraud

Apparently that's what Daimnation is reporting. I wonder how long it will take before environutsos out there start proposing an equally unachievable and unrealistic Kyoto II.

When they do I'll no what to do: ignore. Because that's all these international climate treaties are good for. There's no need to panic about recessions being caused by insane climate targets. And certainly there's no need to panic about some government trying to "ban" the internal combustion engine any time too soon.

So by all means sign your pieces of paper. They're just pieces of paper.


I've chimed away before that the Liberal's Kyoto implementation strategy was all smoke and mirrors meant to appease the Environutsos out there... Now a member of the Liberal elite just confirmed it:
' The blunt-talking Tom Axworthy, a former aide to Pierre Trudeau who teaches at Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., also says the former government's Kyoto policy was not only difficult to understand, "it wasn't real anyway." '

Anyone that looked objectively at the Kyoto accord and the government's plan knew this for a while. All Ottawa did is sign a piece of paper and then it ran around the country offering exemptions to every industry to calmn investors down. With all these exemptions, how were we going to achieve the reductions? Tax credits.

Knowing the massive cuts required in Kyoto were already unrealistic myself to expect out of a society that literally runs on fossil fuels, I knew that some measily tax credits wouldn't accomplish much. Far better to lower the goals to something realistic... Say like a reduction in the carbon "intensity" levels like Bush and Klein have always proposed?

No that would be too reasonable.

Now after seeing years of Liberals denying this fact, turning into final admission of their own tomfoolery, the one lesson I garner from all of this is this: never trust what comes out of Liberal's mouth. I'm sure other Canucks won't come to much of a different conclusion.

Falcon Failure

“We had a successful liftoff and Falcon made it well clear of the launch pad, but unfortunately the vehicle was lost later in the first stage burn. More information will be posted once we have had time to analyze the problem."-Elon Munsk

SpaceX's maiden flight of it's Falcon line of rockets failed yesterday.

I have to admit delaying commenting on it until this morning, to give me time to collect my thoughts. This was supposed to be the company that was going to revolutionize the industry by providing low cost rocket launches beating all the "big" guys.

I wonder if I might be more dissapointed by this than the SpaceX team is.

Trudeau A Tory?

This will give you a morning spook if nothing else will:
'Trudeau, who is not a member of the Liberal party but calls himself both a small- and big-L liberal, emphasizes that Katimavik is a non-partisan organization. "As you look at what the Conservative government stands for, it's the engagement of the individual, the empowerment of everyone, and the taking on of personal responsibility, not just waiting for the government to do anything," he says. "That's what this program's all about: Sending young people out there to take on the world and make a difference."'

If he really believes that, then I wonder how he rationalizes what his father did to individual responsibility in this country?

No really, just how does this guy think then?...

"hmmmm... Individual empowerement and personal resposibility be damned! I'm a Liberal. Give me Government anytime!"

h/t1, h/t2

Turner Goes From Hero To Brat

I was wrong. Garth Turner isn't the man I thought he was:
"OTTAWA — Maverick Conservative MP Garth Turner is once again playing the thorn in his government's side, publicly calling on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to scrap part of the Tory election platform that he says is proving unpopular.
The Prime Minister's Office responded quickly to Mr. Turner's press release, saying it had no intention of backing away from election promises. "We're going to fulfill our commitments," Mr. Harper's communications director, Sandra Buckler, said.

I didn't know what to make over suggestions that Turner was merely grand standing and showing off over his opposition to the Prime Minister on the Emerson issue. I was just glad that there was a Tory MP in Ottawa that seemed to agree with what was the prevailing opinion from Tory supporters that Emerson's appointment was not only wrong it was a mistake.

His comments at some points seemed slightly showy. Other Tories seemed to pounce on him though I relented. These latest actions are the nail in the coffin though I think.

It's clear that Turner isn't in this for the sake of any principles I know of. He's in it for Garth and Garth alone.

How can he have the gall to suggest that Harper scrap any part of a platform that was fought and voted on in election barely a couple months ago?

Because he does some sort of survey he deems representative of the Canadian population he thinks he knows better than the millions that vote Tory or the thousands of Tory supporters that canvassed and called based on those promises?

Flap-happy crap is what it is.

Space Elevators And Me

Ambivalent Engineer echoes my feelings:
Space elevators from anywhere in the Earth's atmosphere are not going to be built for a very long time, certainly not in my lifetime, probably not ever. In short, they require engineering miracles (cheap large scale carbon nanotubes and megawatt lasers), and they do not have realistic return-on-investment (a proposed $5 billion elevator would lift one 8-ton cargo per week. 5% interest and 5% maintenance is about $10 million per week, or $625 per pound lifted, and does not include the cost of actually lifting the cargo).

This is the main concern I've always had about the whole concept of a space elevator.

What's worse is that to make a space elevator really profitable, lots of launches have to happen. It's the same problem with existing launch systems. The marginal cost of flying the Shuttle is only what a 150 mill? The Average cost ends up being a billion a launch. If the shuttle launched more, than all those facility costs are divied up over greater number of launches. This is a hard thing for most people to get, but basically more launches means less cost.

So the only way for a space elevator to really be the doorway to space that people want it to be is for it to be somehow easier for people to launch large quantities of goods into space.

I'm thinking sending goods up a 100,000 kilometer tether may just have some safety issues... Safety issues that will drive up insurance costs, and make it one helluva crapper of a pain to let a kilo of anything up that string ladder.

Shapiro Backs Down

I'm conflicted about this one. Apparently Shapiro has ruled that Emerson's floor crossing wasn't unethical afterall... I wonder if he'll rule next on the ethical behaviour of his own office? I'm thinking not.

This was a joke of an investigation from the get go. Shapiro's bias was pretty clear when he decided to investigate floor crossing that benefited the Tories, and not floor crossing that benefited the Liberals. But "I can't investigate a thing until parliament resumes" we were told. Strange how Shapiro felt all the more ready to investigate Emerson's defection even though parliament wasn't sitting.

So how to explain this ruling? Maybe he's trying to go out with some class. Afterall there's no way that he'll be kicking around after the Tories are done passing the Federal Accountability Act.

We'll eventually have a new ethics czar with some teeth, that isn't a Liberal appointee.

We'll probably never have a really "ethical" Ottawa. Because, afterall, politicans find clever ways of circumventing rules, and often ethical "norms." But hopefully we'll have a "more ethical" Ottawa as a result of this experience... Well I can wish can't I?

The best thing we can do to prevent future Emerson's/Brison's/Stronach's is to ban floor crossing... That will take someone with guts in parliament to pull the trigger and introduce a bill. Maybe after a while when all this Emerson non-sense is done and over with?

The Clown Show Files

Ashley MacIsaac is going to run for the Liberal leadership.

He's a fiddler.

He won a Juno.

Those are his qualifications.

We are not making this up.

Enlightened Utterings From The Clown Show Files...

In the clown show of the Liberal Leadership race (the Tory strategist that labelled it so was brilliant) managed to utter some humourous enlightenement into the boring fray of politics as to why anyone would be nuts enough to to actually "run":
"Politics does appeal to that slightly irrational side of everybody's brain," agrees a senior Tory who's recruited candidates in the past.

"Although people can articulate all of the reasons they shouldn't do it, they still end up doing it. It's a little like dealing with an addiction."(link)

Poor Politicos. Maybe they should form a support group for "politicos anonymous"?

James Bowie?

Waking up this morn I found out that our lovable unelected Liberal majority in the Senate is pledging not to "...hesitate to use their clout in the chamber of sober second thought to put the brakes on legislation they deem to be contrary to the national interest."

I rememeber once, a lad by the name of Bowie. James Bowie.

One day Bowie said this:
"So Harper's comments on 'checks and balances' should be taken with a grain of salt. As I mentioned before, the Senate will not help curtail Harper's mandate (if he gets on, which I hope he doesn't). Harper will pass his budget, because nobody wants the next election so soon."

Oh really now? I remember that this Canuck's little diatribe earned this response from myself:
Maybe you don't exactly understand the situation my friend. How exactly is Harper supposed to bi-pass the Liberal senate? Mulroney did it by stacking it with Conservative members, but Harper has pledged to make them elected... Not to mention the fact that he has the Supreme Court, the RCMP, and every other government agency or anything else the Liberals have managed to infiltrate over the last 13 years stacked against him... Me thinkee you don't thinkee that one out too much.

This "me being right" thing is not doing any good for the size of my head right now.

It's like the Coyote... They never give up

Efforts abound to bring Paul Martin back as Liberal leader.

It would be funny if it weren't true.

Ok, I lied: it's still funny.

The Trouble With Sensors III

Apparently NASA has once again delayed another shuttle flight due to the ECO sensors:
"CAPE CANAVERAL -- NASA has postponed the next space-shuttle flight from May until July so engineers can change out suspect sensors in the ship's external fuel tank.

"The critical fuel sensors are designed to make sure the shuttle's three main engines shut down before the 15-story tank runs out of propellants during launch. An early cutoff could prevent the shuttle from reaching orbit. A late shutdown with a dry tank could seriously damage the spacecraft.(link)

"seriously damage?" More like "obliterate" or "kaboom."

The ECO sensors have been malfunctioning for a while. Well not all, just ECO-3 and ECO-4 sensors. Is it a coincidence that no matter how many times they switch tanks and mess around with the grounding they still have these problems?... My friggin' eye.

Engineers have bee ingnored by NASA management through this whole ordeal. They've made request after request for refueling tests that were ignored.

Instead, we were told that the sensors were fine once, they failed, said they fixed them, failed again, they said they fixed them again and now:
"That led to the discovery that some sensors have slightly loose wire attachments because of manufacturing problems and routine handling of the tank."

Ok. So now they've figured out the problem. The other bajillion times we weren't wrong... We were just not exactly wrong... but wrong. This time we got it though.

Two things go through my mind at this point. The first is if that's true Beavers don't stink. The second is, if this is the cause of ECO-3 and 4 sensors malfunctioning, then the last shuttle launch flew with this same manufacturing flaw. Meaning, the other sensors could have had a simmilar flaw. If so God was really looking after that last shuttle crew.

Though the thing that doesn't jive is why this manufacturing flaw only started showing up after the installation of the new heaters. Possibly some new assembly standards were created in the aftermath of the last shuttle disaster. This is one loose end you would think they would want to clear up before going ahead any further. Because until they do, the root cause is not definitely found.
"As a result, mission managers decided Tuesday to swap out all four liquid hydrogen sensors in Discovery's tank at Kennedy Space Center's Vehicle Assembly Building."

All I can say is that after they do this, I hope another fueling test is done. That's the only way to completely check to see if ECO-3 and ECO-4 sensors continue to fail. That's the ultimate test. However, previous re-fueling test requests have been rejected by NASA management... So I'm expecting more of the same.

As far as I'm concerned, this ECO sensor issue is still not resolved, and more delays could still yet come - or worse.

The Trouble With Sensors II
The Trouble With Sensors I

Unite the Left Part Deux

The Rae mobile express is going full steam ahead. Bob Rae speaks:
"I think it's important for people who call themselves progressive to really think about the situation.

"There's a progressive record that's shared by a majority of Canadians, but so far, we have not succeeded in becoming a majority in the House of Commons, so we must think a bit about how that can happen."(link)

The man could not be more irritating. For those Yanks looking at this blog post, you may be confused, but Canadian Socialists have deluded themselves into thinking they are higher beings in this country. So much so that they started calling themselves "progressive" not too long ago.

See, 'cuz the rest of us are all backwards folk. We're the "regressive," "Barbarian," "unenlightened" hoard that don't have the distinction of living in a major urban center or in appreciating the circus-child paintings some people pass off as "art."

Bob Rae's language could no more be an irritant than it already is... Going through this Liberal leadership campaign is going to be rough on this uncivilized barbarian for one...
"We do not have time for an agenda which says, we can take the pie for granted, all we have to do is decide how to divide it up. What we have to recognize as a country is that the key to our future lies, above all, in the space between our ears."
"If the federal government just becomes a cheque-clearing service for the provinces, then we won't have that much left to really build a strong and united Canada."

You know Bob Rae once spoke about what Canada could do to help rebuild in Iraq besides the regular cashy money or soldiers with guns way... His response was that Canadian Confederation gave Canada unique experience with creating a confederation of provinces that respects their differences. He argued, that in a country like Iraq, with many warring factions, a confederation where those same factions would have most of the power would be ideal. Canucks, he said, could help them build a country that would be decentralized but could hold itself together.

I almost feel off my seat when I heard that. I thought "Holy smoke he's turning Tory!"

Apparently that was just conversation talk. Because now Rae is concerned about Ottawa "becoming a cheque clearing house" for the provinces. Guess What? Constituationally, through that very same Confederation he so admired, that's all that Ottawa is allowed to do. Confederation gives Education and Healthcare as well as licensing as the prime areas of provincial jurisdiction. Ottawa can cut healthcare and education "transfer" cheques to the provinces, but that's the limit that they can go. Even doing that, I fear, already violates the original intention of the founders of the Dominion.

The provinces were given so much power precisely to avoid the problems of having the "two solitudes" of Engligsh Canada (Ontario) and French Canada (Quebec) from being governed by one central power. Those problems being seperatism and the eventual dissolution of the Dominion of Canada.

Then he talks about "dividing up the pie"... In a free market system it would be the people that decide how that pie get's split up. In Bob Rae's world, I'm thinking it would be him and him alone that makes those choices.

Well, apparently I'm not "progressive" enough to understand the enlightened utterings of Darth Rae.

Unite the Left I

The Mother Of Election Promises...

In response to James D. Miller's suggestion that the GOP commit to building a space elevator for the 2006 midterm elections, Mark Whittington has this counterproposal:
"I wonder if a better space related election year idea would be for the Republicans to openly suggest that space settlements should be the goal of our national space effort and give a list of simple to understand reasons why."(link)

First off, no matter what I read the probability of anyone fabricating a 62,000 mile carbon nanotube cable, attaching to it a large mass sattelite in space and a sufficient facility on the ground all to make an illustrious "space elevator," not to mention doing all of this on the cheap, are pretty remote. The facility and insurance costs on something like this would be mindboggling - though I'm free to admit it's still a very remote possibility.

Whittington's suggestion I think is unrealistic given the political climate - but his line of thinking is sound. Maybe not "Settlements" but a Lunar "Settlement" could be an election year promise. It need not be an extravagant government run affair - they could involve private industry. The most noble course of action could be a proposal to provide incentives for Lunar settlement. Don't make any specific number promises - or if so make them small... Though I think this is what Mark had in mind in the first place just on a large scale.

This would add to the whole "Vision Thing" that is so necessary in an election campaign. Vote GOP and vote for America inherenting the stars... That's something to think about.

Maybe this will be able to tell me what the heck that weird thing is over in that place....

'The laser-powered device -- which is about the size of a cellphone -- can identify almost any known substance...But sci-fi fans may notice something familiar about the device: News of the development appeared on digg, the popular technology-news clearinghouse, under the headline "Star Trek Tricoder [sic] Invented by NASA."'(link)(via)

Well if these things go commercial, that perennial question "What's that growing in the fridge" may actually be awnsered.

Though I find this a little disheartening... They've got their priorities in the whole trying to make scifi stuff real thing all weehackywoohoo... I mean, tricorders are all fine and dandy, but what about light sabers?... I know we're criss-crossing sci-fi universes here, but honestly what would you rather have: a geeky nerdy tricorder, or a laser sword?...

So get to it scientist engineering type people, with your inventing and making cool stuff... Oh wait that would be me...

Man, I'm a nerd...

Daifallah Is Right

No really, he is:
'If you have picked yourself up off the floor from laughing yet, you will realize that yes, Monsieur Mimeau actually said he was supporting Stronach for her "grasp of issues and her down-to-earth attitude" and that she "convinced" him to come back to politics from the private sector.

'Belinda can be seductive, that's for sure. But did it not occur to this reporter to inquire as to whether there might be other reasons for their support?

'Guess not. Because Belinda Stronach would never buy people. Oh no. Never...(link)

Besides being a blindly Harrisite Anti-Harper partisan, atleast Daifallah's got it right when it comes to the Stronach. Though that isn't the only way she recruits.

Meeting Belinda a whiles ago, I got to see her charisma up close and personal. I couldn't help but notice the salivating males drooling around her at any given time. Oh they never did or said anything innapropriate, but it was obvious that her support came mainly from young male Tories. Unfortunately that was just reality. Men are inherently stupid. They let what's in between their legs make the decisions more often than not. A women's smile has motivated me to do many a thing that looking back was more stupid than I can think and caused more pain that I need to remember.

What's worse we fool ourselves into thinking that sex isn't our motivation. Unfortunately I have a mountain of experience in this area and plenty of hurt to back it up. But experience has breed some common sense, and I always relished the fact that I "resisted the Belinda Lure." Honestly it was if I didn't know a single male Tory under the age of 30 that didn't support her. Even ones that didn't had nothing but good words for her. So I felt a little bit like some unix rebel or something...

Good advice is to talk to women. They aren't so stupid. Women Tories had a passionate ingrained distrust for Belinda no matter who I talked to. They had no less but some passionate words for this "down to earth" woman. I took it as a sign that my suspicions were correct.

So by all means Belinda is paying off her supporters. But never underestimate the stupidity of the male gender: sex works too. Notice that all of these new recruits are males in this piece?....

It's a Bird... It's a Plane... No It's the PM?

Harper's been spotted in Afghanistan:

' "It's awesome, especially him personally coming here to see us. That is what we need to see, support more than anything else," said Master Cpl. Ardis White.

' "I think it's great. We need the morale booster," added Master Cpl. Guylaine Palmondon.

' "These are a great bunch of men and women who are doing a great job. We want to make sure they understand the government and the population is behind them," Harper said.(link)

This surprise visit finally pulls the Harper Tories out the Emerson debacle lull of the last weeks.

Now he looks positively Prime Ministerial. Here he is supporting our troops, looking all leader like, and doing the leader stuff... And here's a shot of him flying a plane...

Of course he can't fly a plane, but pictures can't lie - can they?

This is all showy propaganda. Nice smiles for the cameras. If anything all it really does is it get's the news cycle out of "Emerson" and into something else.

Though it does some real good things for the Canadian military. The first is it boosts morale of the troops there. The second is it sends a clear signal to them about who's side Harper is on.

Afterall, we are talking about the Canadian Military... The military that gave its troops forest combats for a desert terrain 'cuz they didn't have the cash... The military that couldn't afford real helicopters that didn't fall out of the sky... The military that saw cutback after cutback for 13 years...

They have the Prime Minister going to them. He's going to them to visit them.

In a war zone.

As one of the first acts of his government.

Neither Jean Chretien or Paul Martin would have ever done anything like this.

Unite the Left?

'(CP) - Former Ontario NDP premier Bob Rae, backed by former prime minister Jean Chretien's right-hand man, will set the stage Monday for a likely Liberal leadership run with a speech in Winnipeg outlining challenges facing the country.
'They hope he could counter that by helping consolidate a left-of-centre coalition that would eventually squeeze out the NDP.

' "The division on the right is past. Now we have a division on the left," said the source.

' "Certainly a type like Bob Rae could build a stronger coalition of the centre-left to defeat the Conservatives."(link)

Maybe they should throw a "United Alternative" Conference. When the NDP refuse to co-operate they could change the Liberal Party name and claim to be an amalgation of the two left wing parties... I'm thinking "The Democratic Party" is a perfect name to use... Or is that too American for the America haters faction in the Canuckian left?

As much as I have the profound urge to vehemently vomit when I think of the words "Prime Minister Bob Rae" I have to say strategically this makes sense. The Liberal party needs someone from the left of the party to re-unite the warring factions. Ignatieff, that lovable Harvard brat, is too centrist. Ken Dryden, and Martin Cauchon fare much better on the government loving, people distrusting leftist agenda meter. Bob Rae, has those credentials in oogles.

On top of that his image has been ressurected as of late. Mainly because people have a short attention span and can't remember past the "horrible" Mike Harris years. But's it's been aided by the Chretienites getting him plush government positions on "studies."

Well bully for Bob Rae. Though he's got one thing going against him: he started in provincial politics.

No provincial politician has ever made a sucessfull political transformation to federal politics. Not a single one. It's worked the other way before, but definitely not from wherever the heck else to Ottawa.


'Liberal MP Wayne Easter, a former cabinet minister, said Harper's fight with ethics commissioner Bernard Shapiro cuts at the heart of government accountability and has become a more serious matter than Emerson's stunning defection.'

Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda....
'If he was ever to get away with dumping Mr. Shapiro and appointing another ethics commissioner, it sets an extremely dangerous precedent for future parliaments and future prime ministers in terms of all officers of the House of Commons.'

Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda....
' "If he won't comply with the ethics commissioner's inquiry, I'd be prepared to table a motion to see the prime minister in contempt," New Democrat MP Pat Martin said Thursday.'

Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, Belinda...

um... Belinda... Stronach?

Ok I'm assuming that you get the point by now.

You may have noticed a slight change in the writting lately. I know you're asking yourself one question.

Have I gone insane?

The short awnser is: I don't know

Don't worry. If I am it's a good type of insane. It's all thanks to one special person that I am very thankful for.

Swing Away Spaceman!

The Russians are going to tee off in space outside the ISS. No I'm not joking. It's a scheme by a golf ball company for publicity.

The safety issues surrounding this don't really seem to be that high. So I'm at a loss to understand comments like these:"Is this the right message to be sending to taxpayers in America, Russia, Europe and Japan — that it's OK to do a stunt like this?"

Yes. It is.

It sends the message that space is open to commercialization and the private sector. Going down that course means regular people are getting involved with space. That's never a bad thing.

Water! Aqua!... Transparent Gold!

Or so that's what the buzz is about Cassini latest find on Saturn's moon Enceladus:
'NASA's Cassini spacecraft may have found evidence of liquid water reservoirs that erupt in Yellowstone-like geysers on Saturn's moon Enceladus.
High-resolution Cassini images show icy jets and towering plumes ejecting huge quantities of particles at high speed.
'"Other moons in the solar system have liquid-water oceans covered by kilometers of icy crust," said Andrew Ingersoll, imaging team member and atmospheric scientist at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif. "What's different here is that pockets of liquid water may be no more than tens of meters below the surface."

'"As Cassini approached Saturn, we discovered the Saturnian system is filled with oxygen atoms. At the time we had no idea where the oxygen was coming from," said Candy Hansen, Cassini scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena. "Now we know Enceladus is spewing out water molecules, which break down into oxygen and hydrogen."

If this breaking news item that Drudge has managed to snatch 2 hours before it's release is true it changes everything. Forget the moon. Forget Mars. Enceladius is the destination of choice for future space pioneers.

Liquid water doesn't just mean that life is present there. As I've said before the practical significance of a microbe on another planet or moon means nothing.

However, liquid water means something else. This is a place where we could go and live.

Water begets oxygen. A steady source of oxygen, even if extracted from Enceladian water, is still a resource that makes a planet even that far out the best candidate for a little colony. Especially LIQUID WATER. That means temperatures that aint so harsh as the Moon or even Mars.

Some Sober Second Thought:

Ixnay everything else I just said. Apparently it's more of a "Water Ice" Geiser. Though still impressive is the fact that this gives some nice evidence of underground water at above zero temperatures close to the surface of the moon.

Though it's viability as a resource is doubtfull. My enthuasim was not well placed. The Moon still looks to be the best place for space pioneers I'm afraid.

The Trouble With Sensors Part II

Apparently the ECO sensors may cause a shuttle delay... Me thinks it's time to actually "identify" the root cause of the ECO sensor failure no? Note that the article specifies ECO-3 sensor being the sensor showing signs of trouble. Last year the ECO sensors they that would only work intermitently were ECO-3 and ECO-4... Coincidence? If it is it's a whopper. IOW: NASA was wrong to think that the problem was solved.

My gut says that this is a problem that starts at Michoud facility that actually builds the tanks, or it's in the design of the tank. Also Engineers last year talked about the new heaters possibly interfering with the ECO sensors...

In the end NASA may just choose to ignore, and modify the safety rule that all 4 sensors must be working to just 3... "They've never caused an accident before," or so the refrain goes...

The Trouble With Sensors Part I
A Good ECO Sensors synopsis

"Scott Brison Leadership Run" R.I.P.

"I think you will be happier very soon . . . this week probably."(link)

The Income Trust Scandal seems to be the gift that keeps on giving to the Harper Tories.

It is now apparent that multiple members of the previous Liberal regime gave what seem to be "tips" to certain members of the financial community about that government announcement eons ago that seemed to make the financial markets go "kaboom"...

"Insider Trading!" the NDP screamed. More than a few denials, an election, and a pending RCMP investigation later we apparently have our first real political victim: Scott Brison.

One little email saying what he said above now links him to Liberal corruption. Before this he was clean as a whistle being a Tory for the past decade before his spontaneous change of heart. It was his main strength that he had as a prospective Liberal "chef"...

Keeping your big trap shut is rule numero uno in politics. And I would say it should be especially so when it's in traceable correspondence from an ambitious cabinet minister. Scott Brison broke that rule and now he is about to undergo a political death of sorts - and probably not the first one to come for this ambitious little Napoleon from the East coast.

It's hard not to believe that this email wasn't released with political motive involved. It's too perfect to destroy his campaign and his leadership "mantra." Apparently the email was only discovered after an internal CIBC investigation.

It's very "squeaky" clean.

However, it's very easy for some Liberal leadership candidates, or their friends, to have just one friend in the right place to make something like this happen. Afterall the Liberals were in power for over a decade...

That makes many powerful and loyal friends in high places... Loyal even when they aren't in power.

Will Brison run? Funny enough, I still think he will. He wants to be "Le Chef" so badly not to I would say. Though his real chances died with that lovable scandal that never seems to go away.

Women's Groups to Harper: BREAK YOUR PROMISE

Basically that's what they're saying:
"While families welcome financial support, it is not child care," said Monica Lysack of the Canadian Child Care Advocacy Association.

No it's an allowance for child care that will benefit every Canadian with a child. Not a government program that will benefit a select few.

On second thought, I can see your point. Giving that money to everyone and not discriminating against stay at home parents just MAKES NO SENSE WHATSOEVER....

"Child care is the ramp to equality and a right that women have been fighting for for decades," said Nancy Peckford of the Feminist Alliance for International Action.

Bursting out in laughter is very difficult not to do right now. Though I have this image of the original Canadian Feminist Emily Murphy in my mind saying that not voting rights and not rights to being "a person" are the ramp to equality but a universal socialist styled daycare scheme is?... Yah.... sure....

"For working women, child care is all about equality," said Barbara Byers, executive vice-president of the Canadian Labour Congress.

Working women don't care - or at least they shouldn't. The overwhelming majority won't see a benefit from "universal daycare." Most would see it under Harper's undiscriminatory scheme - but I guess I must be a chauvinistic pig.

She said Harper's promised child-care money falls far short of what is needed: "Help with diapers maybe, but not child care."

I find it hard to believe that anyone could argue that spending less money under the former plan is a better option to spending more. If spending more is "falling short" then spending less should be even worse.

Byers said women will fight for their right to accessible and affordable care.

And I have a right to banana cream pie paid for by everyone else except myself... WHHEEEE!!!

"This government has its focus on the family all wrong," said Byers.

Or is the real problem that Byers has, is that the government has any focus or respect for the family as the fundamental building block of society?

The Trouble With Sensors

"One concern is a potential problem with one of four hydrogen propellant engine cutoff sensors in the new tank, says Mike Leinbach, Kennedy shuttle launch director. The same system in two different tanks delayed Discovery's initial return to flight last summer.

"The wayward sensor is showing off nominal current readings. If the unusual readings prove to have a predictable value that can be accounted for during countdowns, the sensor would be viable for use. But if several tests show divergent readings, that could mean a time-consuming sensor changeout, Leinbach said. All four of the tank's hydrogen ECO sensors must remain valid in the final phases of a launch countdown."(link)

I'm forced to shake my head at this one. Back during the last launch I was struck by how no one was paying attention to this issue after NASA "said" it was fixed.

To provide a brief recap to people, the "engine cut off" (ECO) sensors showed signs of failure months before last years launch. The sensors detect if the fuel in the External Tank runs out. This is critical, because the shuttle main engines run from fuel provided by the main tank. If the main tank runs out of fuel, and the main engines continue to burn - this is a kinda "kaboom" moment here folks.

Engineers requested that another fueling test be done to confirm that the fix had worked. It was ignored. They tried to launch, and the sensors went all whacky again and it was delayed. Then they tried swapping grounding cables for the sensors, hoping that the problem was in the grounding, and hence the problem should follow the grounding. Another fueling test was requested, only to be denied. NASA needed to launch, and further delay was obviously unacceptable.

I've blogged extensively on this topic before.

I provided this commentary back then, when the shuttle finally flew:
"...regardless they should at least understand what the crap is going on before they flip the switch. NASA wouldn't have had to spend the extra money now, if it had just listened to NASA engineers back in April, when they asked for another fueling test to verify that the fix they made back then on the ECO sensors worked.

What now? Well I hope they don't forget about this, and figure it out for the next flight.

Now a new tank, and still the same problems. I think it's should be obvious to anyone: the fix didn't work. They still don't know what is going on.

Maybe they should figure it out? That's just some Canucks opinion eh...

What about Belinda?

The media is all knifes and fireworks over Harper's preparations to fire Shapiro:
'Prime Minister Stephen Harper is preparing to dump the ethics commissioner and is actively recruiting replacement candidates, CTV News has learned.
'Shapiro said he would investigate whether Harper breached the parliamentary ethical code for MPs by appointing David Emerson to his cabinet two weeks after Emerson won his B.C. riding as Liberal.
'At the time, Harper's communications director Sandra Buckler said the prime minister is "loath to co-operate with an individual whose decision-making ability has been questioned and who has been found in contempt of the House."

They make it appear here that Harper has only decided to fire Shapiro after he decided to investigate Harper. Apparently reading campaign literature and party policy is never a pastime for members of the Englightened Higher Beings in the Established Media. Having a full independent ethics commissioner that reports to parliament and not to the PMO has been party policy before the Conservative Party had a heartbeat.

Shapiro was the Liberal's choice for ethics Czar. He reported to, and worked for Paul Martin.

Why is Shapiro only investigating this Emerson affair? What about the Belinda, or Brison fiascos that had plenty more evidence to suggest that votes were bought off for cabinet positions? The only difference I see between the two, is that the latter two were orchestrated by previous Liberal Prime Ministers.

Does Shapiro have a slight bias? You bet your keister he does.

Slight - um - Contradiction

Apparently Political Parties have become a thing of the past:
Interviewees admitted that parties had lost touch with their grassroots membership in a move to centralize power. "Today, parties are so closely managed by the leader's entourage that debate is stifled and creativity all but eliminated," the discussion paper says. "The close ties between party and leader today mean that the leader will be saddled with whatever points of view are expressed by members of the party."

Just how people can manage to say that the "leader to much power" along with "the leader is saddled with actually doing what members tell him to do" is far beyond me. Either the leader has too much power, or he's a King that doesn't listen to his members. Because if he's listening to his members because he's forced to, I wouldn't call that "centralized power."

Basically the rest of the piece is just about as enlightening.

What a deal...

"NEW DELHI -- President Bush today said his landmark nuclear cooperation agreement with India marked a crucial advancement in limiting the spread of nuclear weapons — ensuring for the first time the presence of international inspectors at civilian nuclear reactors.
"But administration officials conceded that the agreement was not everything the U.S. had hoped for — permitting India to keep eight of its 22 reactors under wraps as secret military sites.
"Both governments were aware that the absence of a deal risked the appearance of a failed summit at a time that both leaders were forging closer ties on trade, economics and military operations.
"Critics of the deal charged that it would encourage rogue nations, such as Iran, to pursue its weapons program — emboldened by the U.S. decision to do nuclear business with a country such as India that has not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty.(link)

Does anyone really get the reason why Iran, India, Pakistan, and all nations actively seek a nuclear weapon? Does anyone?

It's simple. I've said it before and I'll say it again, nuclear weapons are the greatest equalizer. Small nations become mighty when they have the power of an A-bomb.

This agreement changes nothing. It doesn't hurt anything either.

Finishing the White Elephant...

NASA seems gun-hoe about getting the ISS done by 2010.

The biggest problem with the ISS is that it has essentially become a playground for astronauts to do science experiments.

Science is great. Space exploration is better.

Purpose numero dos of building a space station in orbit is almost the most forgotten one... Back when the plan to build a space station was called "Freedom" and the US had a movie star President I remember reading about how a space station would be like a "space garage."

That panned out didn't it? What we need in space is cheap waypoints to the Moon, Mars and beyond. Not more dead frog leg experiments.

I would suggest to most people gun-hoe about finishing the white elephant in the sky that they learn to be flexible on that date of 2010. Flap-happy crap, they should be flexible on the whole "finishing" thing too. With the safety issues the shuttle has been having, and NASA shifting it's focus from science to exploration eventually something will have to give.

When will James Travers become a real reporter?

The latest from the Star just deserves a response:
"Here's a riddle for Prime Minister Stephen Harper: When is it good public policy to break election promises?"

My quick breathless awnser: NEVER.

I would think that would be self evident to even the chattering classes of the intelligensia of Canuckland, but apparently that Barbarian sentimentality escapes those enlightened few of the Civilized James Travers class so let me explain why it is wrong to break a promise.

The first reason why it's not good public policy to break a promise is because it is afterall morally wrong. You know morals? That stuff that tells us it's wrong to rape, murder, kill and most generally disrespect the rights of others? It tells us not to lie to other people, cheat other people, and to do right... Yep not a good idea to start breaking those.

The second reason why it's not good public policy to break one's promises is it creates cyniscism about politicians. Not that people aren't already cynical, but we don't need more. "All politicans are the same," people say. "There's no difference between any of them. They all lie. They all say one thing and then do another once they're elected." How many of us have heard that refrain? It's amazing that still 60% of the electorate shows up to vote and believes there is a difference, and not all politicians are the same.

The third reason why it's not good policy to break a promise is that you will loose your base. Now, I realize that a political party's base don't mean a hill of beans to the folks at the Liberal love fest at the Star - but it should. A political party's base is what donates money to it. It's what volunteers for it. Without it, there is no money. Without it there is no political party. But once more there is an example of a Prime Minister that ignored his base. And he ended up suffering the largest electoral defeat in history... I'll leave it to you to devine just who that was.

Travers goes on to suggest that many promises are made by politicians because they are nice goodies, but can't be afforded. If that was the case why are all electoral platforms costed out by financial gurus?
"Once safely in office, those solemn oaths morphed into necessary adjustments, not wilful deceptions."

What do you call a "solemn oath" that was costed out as affordable? A big stinking LIE.
"Choosing to make those difficult decisions answers another riddle: When does a new Prime Minister become more than a party leader?"

When he stops reading the Toronto Star.