Assuming the Space Shuttle Discovery undocks as scheduled from the International Space Station at 7:33 AM EDT tomorrow (i.e., Wednesday) morning, there will be an opportunity tomorrow night for folks in parts of the southeastern U.S. to see the Shuttle and ISS flying overhead side-by-side.
Here in Knoxville, the 9:04 PM EDT flyover is just 11 minutes after sunset, so I’m not sure how visible the spacecrafts — particularly the dimmer Shuttle — will be. Certainly, there won’t be much to see if you’re west of Knoxville; the sky will be too bright. But the further east you go, the darker the sky will be at the requisite time. Thus, both the Shuttle and ISS should be easily visible in places that are east of Knoxville and reasonably close to the black line below:
Along the Carolina and Georgia coasts, all across the Florida peninsula, and in the Bahamas, the view should be stunning, weather permitting. As I’ve said before: "Trust me: even if you’re not into dorky stuff like Iridium flares, this is well worth a trip outside at the proper time, if the sky is clear." The sight of "two distinct, bright dots, moving briskly across the evening sky in
tandem — two unmistakable beacons of the human presence in space" is "a really neat thing to see."
You can use Heavens-Above to check the specific viewing conditions for your location. If you’re in the U.S., just click here and enter the name of your city or town, then select it from the resulting list of locales. On the screen that follows, click on "10 day predictions for: ISS" and look for an evening flyover on June 11 (or for that matter, June 12 or 13). If you’re outside the U.S., select your country here and then follow the same steps.
It’s a shame the flyover is so close to sunset here in Knoxville, because from this location, the spacecrafts’ path takes them right past Mars, Saturn and the Moon:
Back in the long-ago dark ages of late 2007, when it appeared that Hillary Clinton was the inevitable Democratic nominee, there was much wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth over the notion that the 2008 election — and a potential Clinton Administration — was going to turn into a re-hash of the 1990s.
Now, with Barack Obama the nominee, it appears we’re going to re-hash the 1970s instead:
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Senator Obama says that IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m running for BushÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s third term," McCain
said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Seems to me
heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s running for Jimmy CarterÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s second.Ã¢â‚¬Â
TPM’s Greg Sargent says we can "expect more evocations of Carter. Lots more." Politico’s Jonathan Martin seems to agree, writing that Carter is one of the few "convenient and resonant Democratic bogeymen" available.
P.S. On an unrelated note, John McCain wants to veto beer!
Thinking about yesterday’s debut of the 3G iPhone, it occurred to me that Steve Jobs is a freakin’ genius. Not even a year ago, Apple released the original iPhone with a price tag of $599 for the 8 GB model. Barely two months later, the price was slashed to $399. Now, Apple has unveiled a new & improved iPhone — with a price tag of $199 for the 8 GB model. That’s half the most recent price (as Apple’s ads are happily trumpeting), and one-third of the original price.
Why does that make Jobs a genius, you ask? Think about it: if the price had been $199 all along ($299 for the higher-end model), would anybody have considered that cheap? Reasonable, certainly; surprisingly low for such a cool phone, probably. But people wouldn’t have been falling all over themselves saying, "WOW! What an amazingly great price!" to anywhere near the extent they’re doing now. By jacking up the cost in the first place, Apple made its eventual price point seem incredible, rather than merely good. Heh. Steve Jobs has us eating out of his freakin’ hands.
Speaking of Steve Jobs and eating, there is rampant talk on the Internets — even unto Drudge! — about Jobs’s physical appearance at yesterday’s WWDC keynote. Some have described Jobs as looking "sickly skinny" or even "dangerously thin." As one blog notes, many concerned Apple fans are "wondering if the pancreatic cancer has come back. Steve was diagnosed back in 2003 but that info was not released to the public until 2004 when he had surgery."
As I learned yesterday when I saw Drudge’s headline and tried Googling around to figure out what he was talking about, this is not the first time a Jobs keynote has caused frenzied Internet speculation about his health. A similar phenomenon occurred in 2006, to the point where Apple had to release a statement assuring everyone that Jobs was a-okay.
Since the CEO’s health seems to be of such concern to his adoring minions, perhaps somebody could use the new iPhone Software Development Kit to create an application that monitors and broadcasts his vital signs in real time. ;)
P.S. Meanwhile, at least one blogger is wondering whether Steve Jobs is Gimli.