Saturday, January 05, 2002

Welcome one and all to 2002! I felt, personally, that the New Year's celebration this year lacked something...perhaps it was the fact that this year comes after the two most anticipated years in centuries...but this year it was just another New Year, you know? Now that 2000 and 2001 have passed, there's no longer the rampant apocalypse fever, no "Y2K2" bug to fear, and we're obviously all still here...oh well...I apologize for my long absense from the site...after October gave up the ghost to November, I found myself an engaged man...and the holidays were thus a busy time...time for her to show of the ring and for me to hear "Congrats...I guess," the stereotypical male response to a male that is engaged. Well, THAT fever has died down a bit now, and I seek a return to my pursuits as usual...that means pushing myself to write fiction more and more, which has been my desire for years...I am finally at the point in my life where I feel that I am comfortable with my abilities and have finally started doing what most successful writers seem to say when they talk about the important factors of being a successful writer: writing every day. Which means I have a conflict between my creative goals and my interest in returning to work on this site so that the site will be a living thing again instead of the Internet equivalent of a hibernating bear...every month I get a handfull of encouraging emails or posts from people who have seen and like the site...only a handfull, but what a satisfying handfull it is to get even just a trickle of people that want to talk and think openly with you and like what you are doing...some seek to just say thanks but others seem to want a community to occur, some 'Net neighborhood where we can talk about what's on our minds with regards to the world and how philosophy fits in...like the creator of the Virtual Agora, Graeme Houston, who I met online over the holidays. So I feel happy that the rough times the site had with saboteurs was worth this peaceful trickle. I want to keep the site up and keep it as fresh as I can, but I may not have the time to make it as dynamic as it could be...but hopefully you'll all forgive me. I'm going to be busy chasing dreams. Thanks for all the support, hope 2002 started off right and gets better for you, and I'll see you out there...

Wednesday, October 31, 2001

Full Moon to Occur on Halloween
By CORALIE CARLSON, AP Writer

For the first time in 46 years, this year's Halloween ghosts and goblins can trick or treat by the light of a full moon. They won't get another chance until 2020, astronomers said.

Wednesday night's full moon will look like an orange jack-o-lantern rising from the east at dusk, said Jack Horkheimer, executive director of the Miami Space Transit Planetarium.

It will appear orange at the horizon because it is seen through denser layers of the earth's atmosphere. Adding to the effect, the moon's tilt at this time of the year makes the "man in the moon'' particularly visible.

Some astronomers believe jack-o-lantern carving was inspired by the rising, orange October moon, said Horkheimer, writer and host of PBS's nationally syndicated Star Gazer series for 25 years.

To make the superstitious even more jittery, a constellation associated with the some end-of-the-world beliefs will also be at the top of Wednesday night's sky.

The Seven Sisters constellation, which looks like a small cluster of grapes, has long been a signal for the time of year to honor the dead - such as All Saints Day, Nov. 1.

According to myth, the Seven Sisters constellation is at its highest point in the sky during a great calamity, possibly the biblical flood or the sinking of Atlantis. The Aztecs and Mayans believed it would be overhead at midnight on the night the world comes to an end, Horkheimer said.

The Seven Sisters and the full moon will both be directly overhead at midnight, he said.

"It's just very nifty because it will be a very bright full moon and when it's up high like that, it will just flood the landscape with a lovely bright light,'' said Horkheimer.

Technically, the moment the moon will be at its fullest is 12:41 a.m. EST Thursday, but the moon will look virtually full when trick or treaters are out in force late Wednesday.
www.halloweenmovies.com

I tell ya, nothing beats the original Halloween...that creepy music, the escape of Michael Myers from the insane asylum in the rain...the paranoid doctor whose fear of Michael you can feel oozing out of him...but the rest of the movies really dropped in quality after the first one...I really thought the Halloween movie that sucked the most was the one where some evil people were selling kids these masks that would kill the person wearing it and make bugs and other nasty things come out of their eyes and mouths when they watched a certain show. I think that was Halloween three...ugh...
Happy Halloween, Samhain, or whatever you call it. This is my favorite holiday, in my favorite time of year, in my favorite month...also the month I was born...the month that really ushers in Autumn...when there are skies like today, overcast but with hints of orange and red from the hidden sun...cold and blustery...and the smell of burning wood and leaves stings your sinuses...when curling up with a good collection of tales from Poe or Lovecraft or your favorite horror scribe is that much more potent...when watching a classic like the original Night of the Living Dead or the first Halloween is that much more harrowing...I should be reporting in at times during the day just to offer up some scary links or some such thing...unfortunately Halloween falls on a Wednesday this year (obviously), so I am of course at work...but the Halloween spirit is strong, and it will have it's way...

Tuesday, October 16, 2001

I was talking to my Dad the other day about all manner of things. Anyone that knows my Dad will tell you that he can be rather
perceptive while at the same time make the most bizarre and even rediculous statements (someone just told me that that sounds familiar..."like father like son, as they say"...). Anyway, our discussion meandered through territory such as the current "war on
terrorism," not to mention the roots of anti-American feelings, and the founding of America in the first place (my father, the proud
Italian immigrant that he is, repeatedly remarking on Chris Columbus' heritage and protesting against my claims that all Columbus
"discovered" in the Americas was slavery, or more specifically a new batch of slaves). The conversation somehow drifted into the
topic of stem cell research and its accompanying controversy, and he began ranting about how the earth is overpopulated as it is,
stop worrying about those damn stem cells and just use them for research and/or destroy them. For the most part I agreed with him.
I said to him something to this effect: "I feel that, at this point in time, we as a race don't really have the luxury of turning all those
cells into more human beings, due to overpopulation. And we won't have that luxury until we can successfully put people on other
planets in stable colonies." To which he added something about how we shouldn't use criminals to colonize other planets like the
English used convicts to pave the way into Australia, since they could, for instance, (and he says this with dead seriousness) revolt
and drop big rocks on us from the moon.

Uh...

Like I said, he can lead you down a totally logical path and then drop a bomb like that on you. It's hilarious and frustrating at the same
time.

Anyway, I proceeded to attempt an explanation of how, according to science as we now accept it, his idea about the rock bombs from
the moon wouldn't work quite the way he thinks they would. I think I got through to him just a bit...

So what is the point of this story? Well, today I found the following article online:


Humans Doomed Without Space Colonies?
LONDON (Reuters) - The human race is likely to be wiped out by a doomsday virus before this millennium is out unless it starts to colonize space, top British scientist Stephen Hawking warned Tuesday.

Hawking's comments came as the United States teetered on the brink of panic over possible germ warfare after anthrax-laced letters were delivered in the capital Washington and the states of New York, Nevada and Florida.

``I don't think the human race will survive the next thousand years unless we spread into space. There are too many accidents that can befall life on a single planet,'' Hawking told Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper.

Hawking, Lucasian professor of mathematics at Cambridge University in England, said Armageddon threatened not in the form of a Cold War-style nuclear holocaust but could arrive in a more insidious and invisible form.

``In the long term, I am more worried about biology. Nuclear weapons need large facilities, but genetic engineering can be done in a small lab. You can't regulate every lab in the world,'' he said.

Investigators have not pinned down who is behind the U.S. anthrax attacks, but fears are growing they could be retaliation for U.S. military strikes against Afghanistan (news - web sites), which followed last month's suicide attacks on New York and Washington.

Hawking, a leading theoretical physicists who hit the best-seller lists with his book ``A Brief History of Time,'' said the chances of humanity pulling through looked good.

``I am an optimist. We will reach out to the stars,'' he said.

A Star Trek-style ``warp drive'' might be one way to relieve the tedium of lengthy journeys between stars in spacecraft traveling below the speed of light, Hawking said.

Hmm, I would have sworn that good old Hawking would have said that we'll be using black holes or something like that to traverse the
universe...oh well. In related news, there is this great series on TLC now called "Hyperspace" hosted by Sam Neill. It's a three-part mini-
series that explores how life began on earth, and how the earth will be destroyed when the sun dies, and how we might go about our
movement to the stars. I saw the first two episodes...not bad at all.


Monday, October 08, 2001

The US counterstrike has begun (with the help of Britain). The Afghanis are counting bodies, just like us (though no where near as many). Does that make things better? Not so sure. But it makes us feel better. Vengeance is always appealing, isn't it? A video tape of bin Laden praising the attacks on the WTC surfaced over the past couple of days. At first there were reports that the video included a statement from bin Laden admitting that he was behind the attacks. Now the media is saying that he did NOT claim responsibility, but he sure does give a lot of praise to the people who did the deeds. But most people I know see this as being just as bad (if not worse) than an admission of responsibility on his part.

I sincerely hope that the rumors of covert strikes by elite groups of soldiers are true. I think we should really try our best to assassinate bin Laden (and Mullah Mohammed Omar, plus the other Taliban leaders) and keep the widespread bombing to a minimum. I mean, we out-tech those bastards by dozens of years. It couldn't be that hard to find these guys, could it?

Friday, September 28, 2001

I'm back after about a week of grueling work. I am training to take over for my boss when she goes out on maternity leave. Anyway, I wanted to post some links to some stories that really caught my attention:

Pakistan Clerics Hold Crucial Afghan Talks

By Tahir Ikram and Steve Holland

ISLAMABAD/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A delegation of Pakistani Muslim clerics arrived in Afghanistan on Friday to try to persuade the ruling Taliban to hand over Saudi-born radical Osama bin Laden and head off a likely U.S. military strike.

In Indonesia, meanwhile, about 4,000 protesters marched in the capital of the predominantly Muslim nation condemning the United States. Some threatened to round up Americans and take them to the airport to be expelled.

The tension just keeps on mounting. This article struck me with how it displays the escalation of what is going on with this whole mess right now. Then there is this article:

Report: U.S. Special Forces in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. special forces have been in Afghanistan for two weeks searching for Osama bin Laden, the prime suspect in the airborne assaults on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, USA Today reported on Friday.

Friday, September 21, 2001

Presidential Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People - September 20, 2001

I will freely and readily admit that I was not one of George W. Bush's biggest fans when he was elected President. But he is starting to make a good impression on me with his actions and words (scripted as they may be) in light of the attacks. Call me a sucker, but I actually am starting to admire that beady-eyed fellow in the White House.

Wednesday, September 19, 2001

Another one other thing...check out Think Peace. I'm sure that Sgt. Hartman from "Full Metal Jacket" would whole-heartedly disagree with everything they have to say at Think Peace. As far as the Sgt. Hartman site is concerned...well, it is indeed eyebrow-raising...to say the least.
One other thing...I thought that this was uplifting:

Web Site Collects $58 Million for Attack Aid

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Web site sponsored by several U.S. technology giants has collected nearly $58 million in donations to help recovery efforts from last week's attacks in New York and Washington.

The Web site, American Liberty Partnership, said it has raised $57.7 million for nearly 30 charitable groups including the American Red Cross, Salvation Army and the New York State World Trade Center Relief Fund.

The donations received from public and business groups will be used to help in the rebuilding efforts, and assist charitable organizations offering medical and financial assistance to the survivors.

The site also provides updates on how the relief effort is progressing and what the next steps in the process are.

The partners of the American Liberty Project include: Amazon.com, AOL Time Warner, Cisco Systems, eBay, Microsoft, and Yahoo!

Donations can be made at www.libertyunites.org.
Hey out there. My company got hit pretty bad yesterday by the latest worm or virus or whatever. Oh yeah, the Nimda worm...right. Whatever. Anyway, they are on lockdown here as far as the Web is concerned, so we are not really supposed to be online unless its business. But I just had to log something today on the worm.

So, what about the idea that this worm is just another attack from the terrorists that hit the WTC? Interesting and scary thought. But I think that most people are doubting the technological capabilities of the attackers.

I don't think we should underestimate them, in light of the fact that some (if not all) of the terrorists on the hijacked planes had been in the US for years, learning how to fly planes and such, with no signs of terrorist leanings (is it just another rumor, or was at least one of these guys actually born here?). In any case, these guys were the classic sleeper agents. So what's to say that there aren't other sleepers in America that are sending out viruses? Hitting us from all sides, including our precious Internet?

Well, like I said earlier, I can't be online at work for long, so I gotta get going. In the meantime, I think you should check out these other blogs here and here.