Sunday, April 22, 2007

Blue Angel Crash, MCAS Beaufort, SC

Last Maneuver, 4-21-07. Plane No. 6, just above center of photo, crashed about 2 minutes later.

Smoke rises over treetops, Beaufort, SC, 4-21-07. Plane No. 6 had been
banking through turns over the neighborhood, then disappeared below the treeline.

My daughter, granddaughter, and I saw these fellows doing the same
routines over her little cottage in Tucson last month. We loved it. The pilots appeared to be doing a bit of hotdogging over the Univ. of Ariz. campus area at that time. I joked that they were probably just tweaking the college liberals.

This is *a very strange incident.* These planes are maintained in absolute
top condition, the pilots are the best of the best, and the maneuvers, while noisy to both the willing and the unwilling spectators, are not that dangerous. The ship that crashed was flying solo...not in formation, so a midair collision is not a factor. I suspect somebody on the ground could have played a role.

[Edit: 10-11-08, The "not that dangerous" comment referred to the solo stunting being done across Tucson that day, not the formation flying done as part of their exhibition. Those maneuvers are breathtaking, as anyone knows who's seen them.]

We'll never know.

I don't expect any conclusions to come out of the Navy other than "pilot error."

via Drudge

Saturday, April 21, 2007

An Inconvenient Benchmark

In An Inconvenient Truth and elsewhere, Al Gore is on record predicting that a sea level rise of 20 feet is a realistic short-term prospect. This mantra drones on despite the fact the IPCC's current estimate, prepared by Global Warming enthusiasts, predicts a worst case end of century sea level rise of about 1/30 of the Gorean doomsday scenario.

John L. Daly has something to show the warmers, particularly Al Gore.
The 1841 sea level benchmark (centre) on the `Isle of the Dead', Tasmania. According to Antarctic explorer, Capt. Sir James Clark Ross, it marked mean sea level in 1841. Photo taken at low tide 20 Jan 2004.
Mark is 50 cm across; tidal range is less than a metre. © John L. Daly.
(Emphasis added.)

Look closely for this symbol marking the benchmark inscribed in the rock just slightly left of center of image: ___V___

I can't find the permalink for this photo post at John Daly's website, but as of April 21, 2007 it's the latest update, captioned: Last update - 2155 GMT, 31st Mar 2007.


Actually, the sea level dropped for a while during the mid-1990s.


Notes over coffee

Nigerian violence and election uncertainties contribute to a current spike in crude oil prices. Let's all try to remember this when we hear the democrats re-echo their anti-big-oil chants and Congressman Waxman initiates another congressional inquisition. c. 4-20-07


Starbucks news. Brace yourself. They plan to expand. I have a thought re Starbucks. Their coffee is considered burnt and bitter by some with good taste, like Melody. McDonalds' coffee has been voted far superior in taste tests. Why? Consider the size of Starbucks empire and the challenge of furnishing all those little green trimmed stores with quality beans. If they can devise a market for bitter coffee, and develop a house blend that permits cheaper beans to be roasted in such a way as to provide their signature taste, they have reduced the challenge of providing the raw material for their shops. In other words, train the American yuppie taste buds, as well as diluting that crappy taste in overpriced boutique latte's, mochas, and cappochini, and you can cash in on selling crap for chic. Until the public wakes up and realizes they've been had. c. 4-21-07


One ancient and revered civilization, let's say it was the Romans for the sake of this monologue, had a technique for avoiding endless debates and technical arguments while assuring quality control. When it came time to remove the braces and scaffolding from a new arch, the chief engineer was required to stand beneath it.

Off hand I can think of a few NASA "accidents" that might have had different consequences if certain program managers had been held to this standard.

But, I digress.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Stopping Power

Today, April 16th, the day of the Virginia Tech massacre, is my birthday.

Every year for the rest of my life, I am going to be reminded on my birthday that my attempt to alert the American people to the lethal dangers of victim disarmament did not succeed in preventing this act of criminal terrorism.
Thus begins a post I just found at Free Republic in which author J. Neil Schulman generously makes available a free pdf copy of his Stopping Power, a book I encourage you to obtain and read.