Saturday, July 15, 2006

Weekend Wrap-up 7-15-2006

Woman has quadruplets - after having triplets!

It's a story that belongs in a supermarket tabloid! Well, it would, except that it happens to be true. This woman had triplets 3 years ago. Now she has followed up with quadruplets! Can you imagine the work that this poor woman now has? First, her triplets are only 3 -not much beyond being babies themselves- and now she has four infants to care for on top of that! I just hope that she has people helping her!

U.S. aid to Cuba

The Presidential Commission for Assistance for a Free Cuba has recently committed 80 million dollars for the effort to free Cuba of its totalitarian influences, including freeing the media from being the mouthpiece for the Cuban government. What I'm worried about is that George Bush will get it in his head that he needs to have Fidel Castro thrown out, and he'll send in the U.S. military to step in until the Cuban citizens can step up and run their countries themselves. We're already doing that in Iraq, and the results have been mixed --do we really want to try this nation-building "strategery" of his in another country? Note that this idea hasn't been brought up yet, but I fear that it will. And besides, who's to say that Castro won't end up getting that 80 million dollars?

I am not trying to sound pessimistic, I'm just trying to keep a proper perspective on this so that we don't start down a certain road when we don't know if it will go where we want it to go. For instance, is Iraq where we want it to be? Is it within the foreseeable future that it ever will be? And most importantly, do the Iraqi citizens want to go down the path that we want them to go? What if they don't want to? What then? See, we haven't answered these very basic and very important questions in Iraq, and I don't want the U.S. to start something else like it in another country - like Iran, or Cuba.

Space Shuttle set to return to Earth

As I write this, the Space Shuttle Discovery is about to leave the International Space Station and return home. But my comments that follow are not so much about the shuttle as they are about the U.S. space program in general. Back in the 1960's and early 1970's, our space program did spectacular things like send us to the moon. Since then, however, we've limited ourselves to orbit around earth. I think it's time to take the space program in a different direction than around in circles --literally and figurately. You know when the last time we went to the moon was? Over 30 years ago!

The space program challenged our knowledge and engineering into new directions, and that new knowledge brought us many wonderful things, including today's Internet. So what happened? I'm not sure. Maybe the leadership at NASA in the past 30 years has been filled with people who are just butts in their seats with no vision or direction as to where the space program can go next. Maybe funding has been cut by Washington bureaucrats who are more concerned with red tape than with helping the space program.

Maybe the space program has been hijacked by politicians who are more concerned with the next election than with helping a program that had inspired a generation of mathmeticians, scientists, and engineers, whose results fascinated and inspired a generation of young people, including me as a boy. As a boy, I couldn't get enough about learning about the space program. I also remember my mother getting a magazine subscription for me that covered the space program. I can't recall the name of the magazine now, but it was one that was aimed at kids, and it was filled with all kinds of facts and pictures of the spacecraft, astronauts, and prominent members of the space program.

I don't remember the first trip to the moon, but I remember the second trip, and the other trips that followed, including Skylab and the Apollo-Soyuz effort in space with the U.S. and the Soviet Union meeting in space with each other instead of competing with each other. Then after that came the Space Shuttle, and we've pretty much stuck with orbiting the earth since then. It's time to go into a new, different, and bolder direction with the space program, folks. Reaching for the skies for greater things is far better than making war as we have been doing in recent years.

It can be something simple, like stepping up the space probe projects that we've also been doing as of late along with the Space Shuttle. We can learn how to make the probes more sophisticated, durable, and maybe even re-usable. After all, if we are to ever make long journeys into space one day, we'll need to learn how to make spacecraft that will stand up to the rigors of space. Making space probes capable of such demands will go a long way into making similarly durable spacecraft in the future. I long to have that same excitement again about the space program that I used to have as a boy.

San Antonio trip

As of today, it's already been two weeks since my friend's wedding in San Antonio. There's still things that I want to talk about here, but I haven't made the time to put them to words. So until then, let me put up some pics. :-D

The above is a restaurant near San Antonio's famous River Walk. I just like the name of it. I can imagine Dante, after having traveled Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven, then decides to open up a pizza shop in San Antonio. Yep, makes sense to me!

And speaking of the world-famous San Antonio River Walk, above is a picture of it. This was after the wedding rehearsal and before the rehearsal dinner. We took a boat ride. Despite having been to San Antonio several times, this was actually the first time that I've ridden the boats.

And speaking of the boats on the world-famous San Antonio River Walk, above is a picture of one of the boats. I took this picture from the boat that I happened to be on. Unlike the boat above, our boat was VERY crowded! I enjoyed the boat ride, and the next time I happen to go to San Antonio, I'll take another ride.

Have a great weekend, folks!

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