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July 4 Deep Impact | breaking Comets in Space

In an experiment every geek in the world will respect, NASA has decided to hammer a comet to bits to see how it works. I don't know but it seems a little crazy to me that NASA is using the same strategy to discover space as all the boys that bust open pens, calculators and watches.

The Deep Impact spacecraft has two components: the impact craft with its copper slug designed to deliver a “maximum wallop” to the comet, according to Rick Grammier, Deep Impact project manager at JPL, and a second flyby craft that will monitor the explosion from a safe distance. Just after the impact, the flyby craft will swing past the comet; it has only 800 seconds to collect all key data with its suite of cameras and spectrometers.

I bet there is one guy at NASA (Rick) that just goes to every meeting and says ...well lets just hit it with a hammer and bust it all to crap to figure out how it all works. Mars, (No) Halley Comet (no) hubble (maybe) poor Rick's ideas just getting shot down by ideas like lets land there and ride the comet, lets look for life, lets design very detailed observations. Poor Rick is missing out on all the fun projects.

Then one magical day.. the planning session at NASA kick off. It is Friday at 4:00. NASA is in the middle of budget cuts. All the really smart guys are driving golf carts on Mars. Rick gets his moment. He steps into the planning meeting for Exploring comet Tempel-1.

4:05 What should we do?
4:06 (Rick) Let's smash it all to hell and see what is inside...
pause,pause
4:08 Great. Rick you are project leader. Have a great weekend everyone!


The Long Emergency: So much for Positive Upbeat Messages: Cascading Failure Based on Cheap Oil Prices : Fresh Doom and Gloom for new Environmentalists

I hate to agree or disagree with this story. It is smart and really negative. However, I am not sure Kunstler can predict cascading failures nor the resiliency of energy production or shifting demand curves.

It makes for a good read.

Most immediately we face the end of the cheap-fossil-fuel era. It is no exaggeration to state that reliable supplies of cheap oil and natural gas underlie everything we identify as the necessities of modern life -- not to mention all of its comforts and luxuries: central heating, air conditioning, cars, airplanes, electric lights, inexpensive clothing, recorded music, movies, hip-replacement surgery, national defense -- you name it.

The few Americans who are even aware that there is a gathering global-energy predicament usually misunderstand the core of the argument. That argument states that we don't have to run out of oil to start having severe problems with industrial civilization and its dependent systems. We only have to slip over the all-time production peak and begin a slide down the arc of steady depletion.


Guerillas in the List: Network-Centric Advocacy in Grist

I figured I would point to the CraigsList article in Grist.

There are a few interesting points on Craigslist (mixing social network and technology tools). Erica gives a nod toward the network-centric advocacy paper.

The interesting thing about the Craiglist work is that it is moving the online onland and playing seriously with the ideas about building a network with no defined axe to grind on the defined outcome. Network together good environmentalists in the belief that one will get increased environmental outputs.

I am not sure how far they are along using the network-centric advocacy strategy but in concept they seek to avoid building more silos.


Fighting Cancer One Cup at A Time: AlexsLemonade Continutes to Distribute Lemonade Organizing Tools via The Net to Fight Cancer

This is still one of my favorite sites on the web.... They have added a very cool decentralized "Hold a stand" page to accelerate the spread of the lemonade stands to a national and international venues. I thought I would revisit after the Kentucky Derby winner donated $5,000 to the stand. It is great work.

Alex’s fundraising efforts have gone way beyond raising thousands of dollars for her favorite charities. Her story has inspired people to improve our world by helping themselves and helping others. Many other children have held their own fundraisers, in Alex’s name, to fight childhood cancer. These range from holding lemonade stands to forgoing birthday presents and having donations go to Alex's Fund to creating an Awesome Alex Teddy Bear to loose change collections along with many other fundraisers. On August 1, 2004, Alex died peacefully at the age of 8 after battling cancer for 7 years. Alex’s spirited determination to raise awareness and money for all childhood cancer while she bravely fought her own deadly battle with cancer has inspired thousands of people, from all walks of life to raise money and give to her cause. Alex’s family and supporters are committed to continuing her inspiring legacy through the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.