For about 300 years Jupiter's banded atmosphere has shown a remarkable feature to telescopic viewers, a large swirling storm system known as The Great Red Spot. In 2006, another red storm system appeared, actually seen to form as smaller whitish oval-shaped storms merged and then developed the curious reddish hue. Now, Jupiter has a third red spot, again produced from a smaller whitish storm. All three are seen in this image made from data recorded on May 9 and 10 with the Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2. The spots extend above the surrounding clouds and their red color may be due to deeper material dredged up by the storms and exposed to ultraviolet light, but the exact chemical process is still unknown. For scale, the Great Red Spot has almost twice the diameter of planet Earth, making both new spots less than one Earth-diameter across. The newest red spot is on the far left (west), along the same band of clouds as the Great Red Spot and is drifting toward it. If the motion continues, the new spot will encounter the much larger storm system in August. Jupiter's recent outbreak of red spots is likely related to large scale climate change as the gas giant planet is getting warmer near the equator.
CAMP SALERNO, Afghanistan (AP) — A 19-year-old medic from Texas will become the first woman in Afghanistan and only the second female soldier since World War II to receive the Silver Star, the nation's third-highest medal for valor.
Army Spc. Monica Lin Brown saved the lives of fellow soldiers after a roadside bomb tore through a convoy of Humvees in the eastern Paktia province in April 2007, the military said.
After the explosion, which wounded five soldiers in her unit, Brown ran through insurgent gunfire and used her body to shield wounded comrades as mortars fell less than 100 yards away, the military said.
You know, I wasn't in favor of an amendment to the Constitution to ban flag-burning, not least for the reason I mentioned here back in 2003: "Every time some nitwit college student burns a flag on camera, that's one less idiot who can ever run for public office." But let's not leave this topic without noting the following:
1. Hillary Clinton drew widespread publicity - referencing her position as evidence of a move towards the political center - for supporting legislation banning flag-burning.
2. Like everyone else who follows politics even remotely, Hillary knew full well that the Supreme Court in 1989 had held that the First Amendment protects flag-burning, and therefore that such legislation, to accomplish anything, required an amendment to the constitution.
You don't need to be one way or the other on the (alleged) issue of flag burning to have contempt for this kind of political posturing. No doubt the Senator had words to say about her vote, every one of them a lie including "and" and "the".
It was funny. The first few weeks I went without posting anything here were like withdrawal. I actually had to force myself to not post links, jokes, comments, or thoughts. Then I got used to it and didn't really feel the urge. I got my news the Internet way, but didn't share it or my thoughts about it.
And I don't miss it all that much, which is obvious given this is my 2nd post in the two weeks since my self imposed e-exile expired. A renewed focus on work feels like just what the doctor ordered. That, and a re-re-r-e-renewed focus on exercise. And an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope!
Who do I think is reading this, anyway?
On the other hand, I had a political discussion with a couple of my friends Saturday night, and there's is still a lot of work to be done. What a couple of knuckleheads! They had no idea the surge was working, had never heard of the Anbar Awakening, no idea of the relative casualties of the WOT compared to other American wars, etc. But that didn't stop them from having strong opinions.
I'm not sure what method is the best way for me to make my e-contribution, but I've got a few stray minutes here and there to think about it, so we'll see.
I suppose I should speak to the circumstances of my death. It would be nice to believe that I died leading men in battle, preferably saving their lives at the cost of my own. More likely I was caught by a marksman or an IED. But if there is an afterlife, I'm telling anyone who asks that I went down surrounded by hundreds of insurgents defending a village composed solely of innocent women and children. It'll be our little secret, ok?
You know you would have loved that guy if you'd known him in life. Here's to the afterlife.
A week and a half ago I took a new job. I'll be helping tp build a new structure on an Air Force base. Dealing with the government is a daunting job, and learning my new company's methods and culture is also a daunting job, and building the thing is also a daunting job. That's three full time jobs.
Something has to give.
So, until January 1, The Happy Carpenter is going on vacation from blogging. I'll miss it and miss your comments, but for at least two more months I will need to be 100% focused on the job.
Olny srmat poelpe can raed tihs. I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset c! an be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt! if you can raed tihs psas it on !! ! Psas Ti ON !
Not just that you can figure it out, but you can read it at nearly full speed. If our minds are so amazing, how come we keep doing such stupid things?
A U.S. Marine squad was marching north of Fallujah when they came upon an Iraqi terrorist, badly injured and unconscious, on the side of the road. On the opposite side de of the road was an American Marine in a similar but less serious state.
The Marine was conscious and alert and as first aid was given to both men, the squad leader asked the injured Marine what had happened.
The Marine reported, "I was heavily armed and moving north along the highway here, and coming south was a heavily armed insurgent. We saw each other and we both took cover in the ditches along the road, me on one side of the road and him on the other.
I yelled over to him that Saddam Hussein was a miserable, low-life scum bag who got what he deserved, and he yelled back that Ted Kennedy is a fat, good-for-nothing, left-wing Liberal drunk who doesn't know how to drive. Then I said that Osama Bin Ladin dresses and acts like a frigid, mean-spirited lesbian! He retaliated by yelling, "Oh yeah? Well, so does Hillary Clinton!" And there we were, in the middle of the road shaking hands, when a truck hit us!"
Hummingbird Finally, my first hummingbirds. Saw them on a fire bush in Crystal Beach, FL. My rental's neighbor's yard is all xeriscaped, which is ugly to me but just fine with the little hummers. At first, I thought they were the biggest hornets I'd ever seen.
Flamingo! One of these dudes flew right over my house. I couldn't believe it. And please don't tell me it was a roseated spoonbill because it was a frickin' flamingo, dude! Huge and pink and right there above me. I was like so freaking out, you know?
Falcon! Don't see these guys too often. Wish we did. Bet the morning doves don't.
Black Skimmer These beauties are getting scarce, but one flew by yesterday at low tide on the hunt for minnows.
Dead sea turtle cool, but smelly
Reddish Egret These have been hanging out around the pool quite a bit lately. Must be a new group of adolesent birds -- the youngsters like to hunt where the water is clear, and it takes them a day to figure out there are not now and never will be fish in the swimming pool no matter how clear the water.
Brown Pelican I saw a flock of about 200 of these at Disappearing Island yesterday, just south of Anclote Island on the west coast of FL. Good to see such a large flock.
Wood Pecker They've developed a sudden interest in the orange tree, which just went into bloom.