Finally Home, plus News Potpourri

Well, we are finally home! If you are one of the many who have left me voicemails or e-mails, I am struggling to get through them today, so please be patient!

It really is good to be home. The cat is so desperate for affection that she wants to scratch or claw at us when we stop petting her and begin to walk away. (In one instance, my wife stopped petting her, but the cat bit me instead of the missus. Either the cat understands the Genesis 2:24 concept of man and wife being one flesh or she is just a dumb animal. I’m betting on the latter.)

Pre-Teen camp is almost my sole focus today and tomorrow, save for some preparation for tonight’s Bible Study in Illinois and tomorrow’s study Rolla, as well as some other items that I won’t bore you with. Friday, we are going to try and run to Troy to verify our camp inventory. If you have volunteered for camp and have not yet heard about your assignment, that should be coming soon.

So, rather than any sort of meaningful discussion today, I thought it would be fun to list some random news items that came to my attention recently. Given the interests of many of you reading this, at least a few of these should pique your curiosity:

  • The WSJ’s online Best of the Web feature has been a favorite of mine for a long time, although I do not have the time to read it everyday like I used to. (Two of the three stories below were found linked to by Best of the Web.) In the recent installment, I thought that James Taranto (who creates and manages the feature) did a good job with his “Lying with Statistics” entry, in which he demonstrates an example of iraq war-related statistics being used to say something that a broader view of the statistics do not say. It can be found here: Best of the Web, 5/27/2008.
  • Concerns about the economy, the possibility of reaching “peak oil” and other doomsday scenarios are driving more and more people to a “survivalist” approach to life. The AP has an article on the phenomenon here: Energy fears looming, new survivalists prepare.
  • Some amazing phots are coming back from the Mars Phoenix mission, but not all of them are from Phoenix, itself. For instance, the two NASA/JPL pictures below are from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (found by reading this article and following to this NASA/JPL collection). The first is actually a picture of Phoenix descending under its parachute (there are several pictures of this descent, available at the NASA/JPL link above), and the second is a picture of Phoenix at its landing spot, with solar panels unfurled.

NASA/JPL photo of Phoenix descending

NASA/JPL picture of Phoenix on Mars

(looks like a fly, doesn’t it?)

Now, back to work!

3 thoughts on “Finally Home, plus News Potpourri

  1. rakkav

    You mean to tell us that Phoenix landed in a *crater*? If so, one sure can’t tell from the first photos from the ground.

    No wonder so many landers have failed. Canyons, craters, volcanoes, rocks, metal-eating Martians (just kidding) … even though scientists try to pick safe spots, just a good-sized boulder in the wrong place could ruin a lander’s whole day.

  2. No, it did not land in a crater. The text that accompanies the picture mentions that it only seems that way due to the altitude of Phoenix and the angle of the picture.

    As explained here, the lander is actually in the air about 12 miles in front of the 6 mile diameter crater, “Heimdall.”

  3. rakkav

    Yes, I tried to correct myself (two or three times) after seeing that and other photos with their accompanying texts online, but this silly blog wouldn’t let me do so. Maybe you were reviewing comments at that precise period of time.

    On my own blog a friend posted a link to Blogger’s “Dark Roasted Blend” and a series of art posters thereon based on fractal patterns. Please track it down if you can — the comment is under “There’s nothing like a little perspective…”. You won’t regret it, unless you have to sacrifice time you need more for other things to view it (and be careful, those posters can be mesmerizing).

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