Gateway Pundit and Ultraquiet No More have continuing coverage of the latest Russian submarine crisis. It sounds like they have a good chance of rescuing the sub before the crew runs out of oxygen. (Knock on wood.)
UPDATE: The submarine has been saved! Woohoo!
Ultraquiet No More’s Alex Nunez is celebrating with some Stolichnaya. Heh.
Rob Schumacher adds:
Russian mini-sub…40,000,000 rubles
Scorpio unmanned vehicle…$20,000,000
Seeing daylight after three days on the bottom…PRICELESS!!
Meanwhile, in light of the fact that it was a British ship that saved the sub, another Ultraquiet No More blogger, Bubblehead, wonders “whether the damn Brits are going to let us live this one down. I can hear it now: ‘Blimey, you blokes could have done the job if your planes were a little faster, eh? Off for a nice spot of tea now…’” LOL!
“Saudi officials alerted Britain several weeks before the deadly July 7 bombings in London that a terror attack was being planned,” according to the Observer and the Telegraph, but the warnings were “in general terms” and officials say they could not have prevented the attacks, which I am inclined to believe. Unless the warnings were very specific, what were the Brits supposed to do? Shut down the entire subway system for a month because of intelligence pointing to a possible attack?
Well, two of his many faces, anyway:
Also in this week’s issue: Alcoholic Father Disappointed In Pothead Son. Heh.
The eight remaining justices of the Supreme Court met in chambers Monday to feast on the living flesh of retiring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, enacting an ancient tradition that began when the first chief justice of the Supreme Court retired and was summarily consumed in 1795. …
If the ritual was performed in accordance with the court scrolls, O’Connor’s body was then laid upon a traditional brass bier and borne up a five-story marble staircase to a consecrated inner sanctum, where clerks skewered the raw meat on wooden spits. Late into the evening, the Supreme Court justices feasted on the renowned federalist by torchlight.
“The ceremony is said to be quite moving,” said Zachary Katz, editor of the Yale Law Review. “By consuming O’Connor’s mortal body, the other justices seek a communion with her transcendent qualities–her respect for the discretion of the court, her pragmatism, and her refusal to commit to abstract legal principles.”
O’Connor has been prepared for the ritual since January 2005, when Chief Justice Rehnquist sprinkled her desk with the ashes of a virgin law clerk and pronounced, “Receptum, receptum, receptum.”
Heh. (Hat tip: my dad.)
Former U.K. foreign minister Robin Cook, who resigned his position in the Cabinet in March 2003 in protest over the Iraq war, died today after collapsing during a hike with his wife in Scotland. He was 59.
Casey has a very interesting post about the “Snowball Earth” theory, which I had never heard of before. Basically, the theory (according to Casey, who got his information from a documentary of some sort) holds that, because of the ebb and flow of greenhouse gases caused by bacteria and such, Earth went through a period of intense climatic upheaval about two billion years ago that makes the current global warming debate look about as significant as a flea on the back of an elephant. Over the course of 10 million years or so, the planet catapulted from a mega-ice age (with Antarctic temperatures near the equator) into a mega-heat age (with global average temperatures soaring above 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and “hyperhurricanes driving 100 meter waves across the oceans”).
Anyway, Casey’s post not only describes this fascinating theory, but makes several astute observations, including this one: “Our environment is not as fragile as we often believe, even if we are.” Methinks he’s quite right on both counts.
P.S. In comments on his post, Casey adds:
For people who believe that God has an active role in continuously shaping the universe around us, the uniquely fitting construction of our world and universe is just proof that we are the product of the will and intent of a higher being. A divine will created a world in perfect balance so that it could survive great tumult. The fact that the self-annhiliating possibilities of our existence haven’t yet materialized despite their significant probability is further proof of a benevolent guiding hand.
I see a hapless crew of newly intelligent creatures born from a benevolent chaos that could turn against us at any moment without reason or rhyme. We’re here because we’re lucky — that’s it. Our intelligence is impressive to us, but it is a small, petty thing in the vastness that surrounds us. We’re not even in control of our own planet or its surroundings, and our continued existence is still dependent on the friendly whims of our environment and the choices of individuals who cannot understand the potential severity of their actions.
I find our fragility both beautiful and humbling, daunting and inspiring. We’re here because this indifferent world of ours somehow worked out just right, but we’re simultaneously subordinate to these cycles of destruction and (when lucky) creation that are much larger than any one species.
P.P.S. On a less philosophical (but funnier) note, Casey observes in a separate post on the in-flight Space Shuttle repair earlier this week:
Didn’t we land people on the moon 36 years ago? Who would have guessed that 36 years down the road we would be patting ourselves on the back for fixing a piece of freaking cloth?! Not only that, but it took the retard astronaut SIX HOURS in space to pull two strips of cloth off the shuttle. Whatever happened to Neil Armstrong manually piloting the lunar lander for a white-knuckle last minute landing? Now we have to be impressed by a space seamstress who takes six hours to rip up some cloth? Give me six hours in space and I’ll save the planet from invasion by scoring with a cute alien babe and then fix myself a nice sandwich. AND I’ll fix the cloth.
What with all the computer and website problems that I’ve been experiencing in recent weeks, I’ve fallen behind in my Friday catblogging, and indeed, in uploading photos generally. So, to make up for lost time…
Dogblogging tomorrow! For now, utterly unrelated to cats or dogs, here are some other newly created or updated photo galleries:
Alternatively, here’s a page that links to all of my Summer 2005 galleries, but with helpful sample thumbnails so it’s easier on the eyes. :) Enjoy!
The owners of CJ’s Pub, which has been closed since being accidentally partially demolished in January, recently accepted an insurance company’s offer and have started to rebuild, according to The Backer. They plan to be open by September 17, the date of the first home football game (against Michigan State).
The Warner Brothers remake of The Dukes of Hazzard, starring Jessica Simpson as Daisy Duke, opens today.
I mention it in passing. :)
Here’s the official movie site, which features, among other things, the infamous music video — which is apparently so hot (I haven’t watched it yet) that Bea, who is neither a frequent commenter nor a lesbian, came out of blog-retirement to point out just how damn hot it is. :)
I’ve been very lax in my hurricane-blogging duties in the last 48 hours. That’s partly because I had a difficult time taking seriously a tropical storm named “Harvey” — for some reason, I kept picturing the storm as a gay Jew :) — but it’s mostly because I haven’t been paying as much attention as I usually do. Call it hurricane-fatigue; it will pass, I promise you.
Anyway, since I last posted about the tropics, Tropical Storm Harvey formed, intensified, threatened to become a hurricane, didn’t quite do so, took aim at Bermuda, passed just south of the island (here’s a map), and finally began moving out to sea. As of 10:00 PM EST, it was located 275 miles east of Bermuda, and was continuing to move away. Meanwhile, Tropical Depression Nine formed deep in the tropical Atlantic; its maximum sustained are just 30 mph right now, but it is expected to become Tropical Storm Irene tomorrow and Hurricane Irene by Sunday, and to move west-northwest.
All of which is really just a long-winded way of saying that the insane, ridiculous, historic, record-breaking, unbelievable hurricane season of 2005 continues.
This is awesome: Some amateur astronomers in Germany last week caught a glimpse of the Space Shuttle Discovery and the International Space Station silhouetted against the Sun as the two spacecrafts were just 183 meters apart, in the midst of Discovery’s “flip” manuever. SpaceWeather.com has the photos. The photographer observes, “These are probably the first photographs showing spaceships flying in formation in front of the sun.” Indeed.
Speaking of the Shuttle, it has been cleared to land on Monday. According to NASA, “Two landing opportunities are available at Kennedy at 4:37 a.m. and 6:12 a.m. EDT, followed by two additional opportunities at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., at 7:42 a.m. and 9:17 a.m. EDT.”
A Florida man who killed his wife because “she repeatedly asked him to cuddle after sex while he wanted to watch sports on television” has been sentenced to death. (Hat tip: Nick.)
The judge apparently “said the brutality of the killing outweighed any mental health issues.” Frankly, I find that line of logic nonsensical and disturbing, assuming it is being accurately characterized by the AP. I realize the defendant must have been judged competent to stand trial, and mens rea must have been established, and any insanity defenses must have been rejected… but still, I find myself instinctively questioning the sanity of someone who would commit such a bizarre act*… and I fail to see how the brutality of a killing can “outweigh” the issue of the killer’s mental health. The most brutal killing imaginable, if committed by someone who was sufficiently insane at the time of the murder to not be responsible for his actions, should not lead to a conviction, let alone the death penalty.
Then again, I am by no means an expert on either the death penalty or criminal insanity issues, and I think I missed at least some of the CrimLaw classes where we discussed those issues. :) So I’m mostly speaking from my gut here.
*Of course, it’s possible (indeed, it is almost certain) the media is oversimplifying what happened. Perhaps the actual details make the killing slightly less bizarre (though not less brutal and horrible).
Anyone who knows me knows that I take my digital camera pretty much everywhere I go. To work, to school, to the grocery store… whatever. No matter how apparently mundane my destination might seem, my theory is, “you never know when something might happen.”
Well, yesterday afternoon, something happened.
My friend, co-worker and fellow 2L Sarah was driving me home from work, as she does almost every day, and we were stopped at the intersection of Edison Road and South Bend Avenue, waiting for the light to turn green, when suddenly we heard a loud BANG! I didn’t immediately see what had happened, but Sarah said something like, “Oh my God! He just totally pulled out and hit that guy!” I looked over to our right, and sure enough, there on Edison Road were two very banged-up white cars.
Then, as the rest of traffic came to a standstill and several people got out of their cars to help the driver of the car that had been hit, the car that had caused the accident started slowly rolling across the intersection. I snapped a picture (see above; wider view here), figuring this was a newsworthy (or at least blogworthy) event, but not realizing I was witnessing — and capturing photographic evidence of — a crime in progress. (I initially assumed, naively I suppose, that the driver was just looking for a convenient place to stop.)
As I took the picture, I realized the white-balance on my camera was off. (The above-linked photo is color-corrected; here’s the original version.) So, not grasping the urgency of the moment, I set about fixing the white-balance setting rather than immediately snapping more pictures. By the time I finished tinkering with the camera’s settings, the offending car had driven past us and was continuing down South Bend Avenue, and our light had turned green.
By that point, I realized that the driver was obviously fleeing the scene, but it was too late to try and get another picture (e.g., one that might show the driver or the license plate). I suppose we could have turned around, but, well, Sarah and I both had rent checks due in about 10 minutes, so we had other priorities than being good samaritans and that particular moment. ;)
Still, I had the one picture, and I figured it might be helpful to the police, even without a license-plate number or a visible face. So, after dropping off my check, I returned to my apartment and immediately set about printing out the photo and burning the digital version onto a CD. I then walked back to the crime scene (which was just down the street from our apartment complex) with printout and CD in hand. I walked up to the police cars on the corner and declared, “I have some evidence for you, maybe.”
I asked the officer whether the driver had indeed fled the scene. He said yes, but she had already been caught. (This was 20 minutes or so after the accident.) That obviously diminished the importance of the picture somewhat, but even so, I handed it to him, saying something like, “Well, you probably don’t need this then, but just in case…” The officer was delighted; he clearly thought it was hilarious, in a “that’s awesome!” sort of way, that such a picture existed. He promptly showed it to his partner, who I gather is the one who tracked down the hit-and-run driver (not that she could have been terribly hard to find, given the state of her car!), saying something like, “Look, there’s your car!” He also made some comment about modern technology. Alas, it didn’t occur to me to declare, “Behold the power of the blogosphere!” :)
The second officer took the CD and printout, and took down my name and phone number. I offered to give him Sarah’s number, as she had gotten a better look at the accident (and of the fleeing driver) than I had, but the officer said that wasn’t necessary. I asked the officer whether the involved drivers were okay; he said yes, the woman whose car was hit had experienced “some pain” but was all right.
The officer thanked me, and I left. At that point, Brendan Loy, crime-scene investigator gave way to my more typical persona of Brendan Loy, blogger/photographer/dork. :) I walked down the sidewalk toward the impacted car, which was still in the road, unoccupied at that point, and began taking pictures:
The eastbound side of Edison was closed (as the impacted car was in the middle of it), but traffic was moving, as you can see, on the westbound side of Edison. I don’t know if it had ever been officially closed, though as I said, all traffic pretty much stopped in the immediate aftermath of the accident as people got out of their cars to help the victim.
Anyway, as I snapped my pictures, the driver of a passing minivan, waiting at a red light, opened her window and asked me — in a friendly but skeptical tone — what I was doing. She said something about knowing the victim of the accident. Not wanting to appear vulturous (but wanting to reassure her that I wasn’t with an insurance company or plaintiff’s attorney or whatever, as she probably suspected, given that I was still wearing my shirt and tie from work and was taking pictures of the accident scene), I dodged her question about what I was doing by telling her what I had done previously: namely, that I had taken a picture of the fleeing car and had given it to the police. She was delighted by this, and all suspicion was lifted, so I didn’t have to admit, “I’m taking photos for my blog.” :)
As it turns out, not only did this woman know the victim of the accident, she was giving her a lift somewhere. The accident victim was sitting in the passenger seat as I spoke to the driver! I eventually figured this out, and asked her if she okay. She said yes, I said “good,” and then the light turned green and they drove away.
So there you have it. I took a picture of a crime in progress, I gave it to the police as evidence, and I chatted with the victim. All in a day’s work. :)
The moral of the story: you can hit and run, but you can’t hide from the blogosphere… :)