Friday, June 20, 2008

Ice on Mars!!

On Sunday, I posted that the Phoenix probe uncovered a white substance which might be frozen water, though it could have been a salt.  Turns out it IS water.  The evidence?  Some of it disappeared by the time the next picture was taken--it must have evaporated.  You can see that white chunks in the Sol 20 picture have disappeared within 4 Martian days.   Salt doesn't do that.  So Phoenix has found water ice on Mars!

As I said Sunday, this is the first contact with alien water.  The probe will now look for evidence of the building blocks for life.


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Obama's Father's Day Speech

Barack Obama speaks on the importance of fatherhood and challenges the African American community to take more responsibility. It is not a partisan speech--McCain is never mentioned.  In fact there is no policy at all for the first 18 minutes.  In the last minute and a half he talks abut his faith in Jesus and God.  I could do without the "God as our father" analogy.  Other than that, it was a great speech. 


Mars Phoenix Probe Hits White Gold?

The Mars Phoenix probe, which touched down on the north polar region of Mars twenty days ago, has begun digging with its robotic arm.  Dirt from the first scoop was "stickier" than expected perhaps due to moisture?  Where would moisture come from on that dry world?  Scientists chose the polar landing site because orbital imaging indicated that there is ice underneath the surface.  But could it be this close to the surface?  Pictured above is the trench that Phoenix has enlarged.  You can see light patches in the trenches.  They are either streaks of some salt, or water ice--white gold, if you will.  If turns out to be ice, it will be the first alien water we've ever had a chance to study. We should find out very soon. [It IS ice!]


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Obama Challenges Smears

When someone says something truly ridiculous about you, you have two options: ignore it or rebut it.  If you rebut it, you risk elevating the person making the charge.  But if you ignore it, some people may believe it is true.  In 2004, John Kerry chose not to rebut criticism from a right wing group of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth that challenged Kerry's war record.  This kind of unfounded attack on something that should be your greatest strength is now called "swiftboating."   It cost Kerry dearly.   By the time he responded, it was too late to change some people's opinions.  [It is is interesting how a belief can sometimes be cemented in the mind quickly and firmly enough to resist all attempts to alter it using factual information.]

Senator Obama has decided it is better to rebut the spurious charges than to leave them unchallenged.  His campaign has set up a website to rebut smears.  If anyone you know has heard a scurrilous rumor about Barack Obama, please send them to: