Archive for ‘Technology’

May 25, 2012

Dragon successfully docs with space station in historic 1st

by Ben Hoffman

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — The privately bankrolled Dragon capsule arrived at the International Space Station for a historic docking Friday, captured by astronauts wielding a giant robot arm.
It succeeded in making the first commercial delivery into the cosmos.
U.S. astronaut Donald Pettit used the space station’s 58-foot robot arm to snare the gleaming white Dragon after a few hours of extra checks and maneuvers. The two vessels came together while sailing above Australia.
“Looks like we’ve got us a dragon by the tail,” Pettit announced from 250 miles up once he locked onto Dragon’s docking mechanism.
“You’ve made a lot of folks happy down here over in Hawthorne and right here in Houston,” radioed NASA’s Mission Control. “Great job guys.”
NASA controllers clapped as their counterparts at SpaceX’s control center in Hawthorne, Calif. — including SpaceX’s billionaire maestro, Elon Musk, of PayPal fame — lifted their arms in triumph and jumped out of their seats to exchange high fives.
This is the first time a private company has attempted to send a vessel to the space station, an achievement previously reserved for a small, elite group of government agencies. And it’s the first U.S. craft to visit the station since the final shuttle flight last July.

Read more…

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May 22, 2012

SpaceX Falcon 9 Dragon Successful Launch 5/22/2012 HD

by Ben Hoffman

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station early Tuesday morning, carrying the Dragon capsule payload that, if all goes according to plan, will dock with the International Space Station later this week.

This is the first time a private company has attempted to berth a spacecraft with the International Space Station.

This was SpaceX’s second attempt to launch the Falcon 9 rocket. A launch planned for early Saturday morning was aborted after abnormally high pressure was detected in one of the engine’s combustion chambers, causing the computers to automatically shut down the rocket’s nine engines less than one second before liftoff.

Over the next several days, the Dragon spacecraft, which separated from the rocket’s second stage fewer than ten minutes after launch, will orbit Earth and undergo maneuverability and system tests to make sure it’s fit to dock with the space station.

Then, with NASA’s approval, the Dragon capsule, which is carrying about 1,000 pounds of food, clothing and water, will attempt to dock with the ISS on Friday.

Read more…

May 5, 2012

How Republicans Have Stalled The Recovery

by Ben Hoffman

While Republicans are calling for tens or even hundreds of thousands more public sector workers to be axed, it’s clear that the public sector has already severely contracted even as the private sector recovers. Check out this chart (red is public sector employment, blue is private sector employment):

May 3, 2012

How Conservatives Decide Which Policies To Support

by Ben Hoffman

April 29, 2012

Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem.

by Ben Hoffman

The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.

Source

March 27, 2012

Massive Gas Leak in the North Sea

by Ben Hoffman

Exclusion zones have been put in place around the Elgin platform in the North Sea, which has been suffering a serious gas leak since Sunday.

Coastguards said shipping was being ordered to keep at least two miles away and there was a three-mile exclusion zone for aircraft.

A cloud of gas was reported to be surrounding the platform, which is located 150 miles (240km) off Aberdeen.

Workers from a second platform and drilling rig have been removed.

Shell has moved 120 non-essential staff from the Shearwater platform and Hans Deul drilling rig, about four miles from the Elgin, because of the drifting gas.

Read more…

Drill, baby, drill! If you want to destroy the world.

February 21, 2012

The Republican Mandate: Ultrasounds For Women Seeking an Abortion!

by Ben Hoffman

A bill requiring a woman to get an ultrasound before having an abortion is poised to pass Virginia’s legislature this week, placing it on track to be signed into law by Gov. Bob McDonnell.

The bill, which could pass the Republican-led House of Delegates as early as Tuesday, is one of the stronger ultrasound laws passed by states in recent years. If it is adopted, Virginia will become the eighth state to require ultrasounds before abortions, a rule that anti-abortion forces hope will cause some women to change their minds but that women’s advocates call an effort to shame women and interfere with their privacy. The Senate, which is split evenly along party lines, narrowly adopted the bill this month.

Source

Talk about big government! An ultrasound can cost upwards of $1000. So who foots the bill for this procedure? What if the woman can’t afford an ultrasound… Does that mean she can’t have an abortion? Anybody with answers to these questions, please reply.

February 10, 2012

Religious Nuts Win; Women Now Have To Pay For Their Birth Control

by Ben Hoffman

Crazy F*cks In Silly Costumes

WASHINGTON—The Obama administration, seeking to rein in a runaway political furor over birth control and religious liberty, is set to announce a possible compromise on Friday that is meant to calm ire from the right about a new administration rule that would require health insurance plans — including those offered by Roman Catholic hospitals, universities and charities — to offer free birth control to female employees.

Source

These crazy f*cks have far too much power.

February 2, 2012

Republicans Politicize Breast Cancer: Top Advisory Doctors Resign In Protest

by Ben Hoffman

Dr. Kathy Plesser, a Manhattan radiologist on the medical advisory board of Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s New York chapter, said she plans to resign from her position unless Komen reverses its decision to pull grant money from Planned Parenthood.

“I’m a physician and my interest is women’s health, and I am disturbed by Komen’s decision because I am a very strong advocate for serving under-served women,” Plesser told The Huffington Post. “Eliminating this funding will mean there’s no place for these women to go. Where are these women to go to have a mammography? Do they not deserve to have mammography?”

With her decision, Plesser joins Komen’s top public health official, Mollie Williams, and the executive director of Komen’s Los Angeles County chapter, Deb Anthony, both of whom also resigned in protest.

Susan G. Komen, the nation’s largest breast cancer charity, announced on Tuesday that it had adopted a new rule against partnering with organizations that are under investigation, and that it would therefore sever ties with Planned Parenthood, which is currently under investigation in Congress. The groups that prompted that investigation are anti-abortion advocacy organizations that have long criticized Planned Parenthood, primarily a women’s health and family planning organization, over the fact that some of its clinics offer abortions.

Read more…

We’re witnessing the return of McCarthyism.

January 20, 2012

14 Elements of Fascism

by Ben Hoffman

Dr. Lawrence Britt analyzed the following regimes: Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Franco’s Spain, Salazar’s Portugal, Papadopoulos’s Greece, Pinochet’s Chile, and Suharto’s Indonesia. While, they constitute a mixed bag of national identities, cultures, developmental levels, and history, they all followed the fascist or protofascist model in obtaining, expanding, and maintaining power. Further, all these regimes have been overthrown, so a more or less complete picture of their basic characteristics and abuses is possible.

Analysis of these seven regimes reveals fourteen common threads that link them in recognizable patterns of national behavior and abuse of power. These basic characteristics are more prevalent and intense in some regimes than in others, but they all share at least some level of similarity.

  1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism.
  2. Disdain for the importance of human rights.
  3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause.
  4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism.
  5. Rampant sexism.
  6. A controlled mass media.
  7. Obsession with national security.
  8. Religion and ruling elite tied together.
  9. Power of corporations protected.
  10. Power of labor suppressed or eliminated.
  11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts.
  12. Obsession with crime and punishment.
  13. Rampant cronyism and corruption.
  14. Fraudulent elections.

Source

December 31, 2011

2011 – Year in Review

by Ben Hoffman

In no particular order…

  • Japan tsunami and nuclear disaster killed nearly 20,000 people
  • Death of Dennis Ritchie. Ritchie created the “C” programming language around 1970 to rewrite the UNIX operating system. It made the porting of software to various platforms much easier than with assembly language. Most software is still written in C/C++ including Windows, Linux, UNIX, Mac OS X, MS Office, most browsers…
  • Death of Steve Jobs. A visionary who changed life for many with the iPad, iPhone, iPod, and many others.
  • Occupy Wall St. People around the world have been protesting the right-wing policies that have destroyed our economy and ruined countless lives. America finally got into the game.
  • Arab Spring. This year we saw the fall of the Tunisian, Libyan, and Egyptian governments. The fate of Syria is unknown with the government murdering 100s of protesters.
  • Tim Tebow mania. A mediocre quarterback gains legendary status because he’s a religious nut.
  • Killing of Osama Bin-Laden. Obama makes Republicans look bad by taking out the terrorist responsible for the 9/11/2001 attack. Republican tactic: bomb them into smithereens. Democratic tactic: use intelligence.
  • Withdrawal from Iraq. One of the biggest blunders in U.S. history ends with the withdrawal of our troops from Iraq. No one has been prosecuted for lying us into war, nor has there been a serious investigation into how we got it so wrong.
  • Space Shuttle program ends with final mission of Space Shuttle Atlantis. George W. Bush canceled the Space Shuttle replacement program as one of his first acts as president. Right-wingers blame Obmaa.
  • Christian terrorism in Norway leaves 76 children dead.
  • Consumer outrage stops BOfA credit card charges and Verizon fees. That’s evidence that we’re not powerless to fight abuse.
  • And the biggest news of 2011… I wrote 3 songs! For years I’ve wanted to try my hand at writing songs and finally did it. My next goal is to write a GOOD song. 🙂

I hope you all had a good year. We need to be more active in the upcoming election to win back the House from the radical right. Get involved in local elections. Expose Republicans for the SOBs they are.

Happy New Year!

December 27, 2011

Things Conservatives Hate

by Ben Hoffman

Conservatives are not creators; they leave that up to the imaginary being in the sky. They do nothing but destroy. So I thought I’d make a list of things conservatives hate. (Feel free to add to this list.)

Things conservatives hate

  • High-speed rail transportation
  • Anything done that doesn’t make a profit
  • Green energy
  • Democrats
  • Barack Obama
  • Democracy in the United States (because sometimes the other party gets elected)
  • Tax cuts when proposed by Democrats (the Stimulus was 1/3 tax cuts)
  • Atheists
  • Gays (unless they’re self-hating gays like Larry Craig)
  • Legitimate economists (because they always contradict the conservative ideology)
  • Being told they have to buy insurance, even if they already have insurance (they just don’t like being told to do it)
  • Higher education (only the elite should be educated)
  • Science (it’s too hard)
  • Taxes. They’d rather see our infrastructure crumble than have to pay taxes (this would be number 1 if these were in order)
  • Not being at war (Conservatives love to bomb other countries where they get to destroy all sorts of things)
  • Publicly funded art projects
  • Publicly funded TV and radio programs
  • Social Security (unless they’re old enough to collect)
  • Medicare (unless they’re old enough or disabled so they can collect)
  • Any news outlet that doesn’t spin the news to the right
  • Regulation that restricts pollution
  • The environment (unless it involves property where they get to kill animals)
  • The minimum wage ($3 a day is plenty for workers like they’re paid in China)
  • Communism or socialism (unless it’s in other countries where U.S. corporations can exploit their workers)
December 16, 2011

Republicans Lying About Number Of Jobs To Be Created From Keystone Pipeline

by Ben Hoffman

Advocates of the pipeline have pressed the case that thousands of shovel-ready jobs are being delayed by the administration’s inaction, with House Republicans including a shortened timeline for a permit in legislation extending the payroll tax cut.

By some accounts, the number of jobs that would be created could be as many as 150,000. But the State Department in August put the number of construction jobs at just 5,000 to 6,000.

TransCanada’s initial estimate of 20,000 — which it said includes 13,000 direct construction jobs and 7,000 jobs among supply manufacturers — has been widely quoted by lawmakers and presidential candidates.

[TransCanada chief executive Russ] Girling said Friday that the 13,000 figure was “one person, one year,” meaning that if the construction jobs lasted two years, the number of people employed in each of the two years would be 6,500. That brings the company’s number closer to the State Department’s; State says the project would create 5,000 to 6,000 construction jobs, a figure that was calculated by its contractor Cardno Entrix.

Opponents and proponents of the project have also disagreed over whether as many as 7,000 indirect supply chain jobs will be created. (That’s the rest of TransCanada’s 20,000 figure.) Much of that figure depends on where steel pipe will be fabricated, with opponents claiming that many of the jobs will actually be outside the United States.

But the biggest stretch in all of these figures is the biggest number: the 118,000 “spin-off” jobs that supposedly would be created from building the pipeline.

Among the list of jobs that would be created: 51 dancers and choreographers, 138 dentists, 176 dental hygienists, 100 librarians, 510 bread bakers, 448 clergy, 154 stenographers, 865 hairdressers, 136 manicurists, 110 shampooers, 65 farmers, and (our favorite) 1,714 bartenders.

Read more…

They forgot all the jobs created if the pipeline bursts and there’s a huge environmental disaster. That will create jobs for cleanup crews, environmental engineers, lawyers… These cleanups are paid mostly with government funding, though, which means socialism. So the Republicans are pushing for a socialistic program by mandating the approval of the pipeline.

The Republican’s plan to stimulate the economy is to allow corporations to pollute the environment and to fire government workers. That’s not going to work in our universe, but Republicans seem to live in some alternate reality.

November 16, 2011

Eric Cantor Mic Checked at Rice University

by Ben Hoffman

Cantor is working against the American people and he only got a small taste of what he deserves. He should have his house burned down.

November 4, 2011

White House Rejects Republican “Fishing Expedition”

by Ben Hoffman

WASHINGTON — The White House Counsel’s Office has formally rejected a congressional subpoena of documents relating to the $535 million loan guarantee that the administration shepherded for Solyndra, the now-defunct solar energy company.

In a letter to the chairs of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation, Kathryn H. Ruemmler, counsel to the president, calls the request for documents made by House Republicans a “vast fishing expedition” and a “significant intrusion on Executive Branch interests.”

“As written, [the subpoena] encompasses all communications within the White House from the beginning of this Administration to the present that refer or relate to Solyndra, and the subpoena purports to demand a complete response in less than a week,” Ruemmler writes. “Thus, any document that references Solyndra, even in passing, is arguably responsive to the Committee’s request, and you reaffirmed this week that you intend for the request to be that broad. There is no basis for such a broad request beyond a “vast fishing expedition,” as Congressman Dingell noted yesterday. Moreover, responding to such an expansive request would require the devotion of substantial resources to gather and review many documents that are of no legitimate oversight is itself an unreasonable burden on the President’s ability to meet his constitutional duties.”

Read more…

Finally, Obama shows a little backbone. The Bush administration LOST billions of dollars in defense spending and there was never an investigation. There was never a serious investigation into how the Bush administration got the intelligence so wrong in the rationale for going to war in Iraq. And the Bush administration claimed executive privilege for matters regarding the politicization of our justice department. But this is different because it involves spending money to make our country better and Republicans hate doing that because it’s “SOCIALISM!”