Goodbye to Titan

Maybe the next time we visit—assuming our species survives Donald Trump—we’ll send a rover…or a flotilla of boats.

From NASA:

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has had its last close brush with Saturn’s hazy moon Titan and is now beginning its final set of 22 orbits around the ringed planet.

The spacecraft made its 127th and final close approach to Titan on April 21 at 11:08 p.m. PDT (2:08 a.m. EDT on April 22), passing at an altitude of about 608 miles (979 kilometers) above the moon’s surface.

Cassini transmitted its images and other data to Earth following the encounter. Scientists with Cassini’s radar investigation will be looking this week at their final set of new radar images of the hydrocarbon seas and lakes that spread across Titan’s north polar region. The planned imaging coverage includes a region previously seen by Cassini’s imaging cameras, but not by radar. The radar team also plans to use the new data to probe the depths and compositions of some of Titan’s small lakes for the first (and last) time, and look for further evidence of the evolving feature researchers have dubbed the “magic island.”

“Cassini’s up-close exploration of Titan is now behind us, but the rich volume of data the spacecraft has collected will fuel scientific study for decades to come,” said Linda Spilker, the mission’s project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

We’re going to miss you, Cassini.

38 Years Ago Today

“Bad Girls is the seventh studio album by American singer and songwriter Donna Summer, released in April 25, 1979 on Casablanca Records. Originally issued as a double album, it incorporates such musical styles as pop, disco, soul, rock, funk and country . Bad Girls became the best-selling album of Summer’s career, achieving triple platinum sales certification in the United States, and selling over ten million copies worldwide.”

I was sorely disappointed with this album when it first came out. I couldn’t help but think, “She followed up Once Upon a Time with this?!” Even now, nearly four decades later, it fails to move me the way OUAT—or for that matter, even I Remember Yesterday or Four Seasons of Love does.

And then to have it followed only by the greatest hits album, On the Radio, which seemed like nothing more than a contractually-obligated release to end her relationship with Casablanca Records…

While Donna did put out a few very catchy, danceable songs afterward, IMHO there were never again any whole albums that spoke to me the way her mid-Casablanca releases did.

Not Once

So apparently we’re not out of the woods yet. In spite of the fact that the Cheeto-faced, ferret-wearing Shitgibbon didn’t have a clue where his warships were last week, the sabre-rattling has ramped up again between him and the other mentally unstable national leader with severe penis-anxiety.

The orange menace to humanity is apparently demanding that all 100 members of the Senate come to the White House on Wednesday for a briefing on North Korea. This is not normal.

Does this bother anyone other than me? What insanity has 45 got planned? His popularity is tanking (although fully 98% of his brain-dead supporters who were surveyed said they’d vote for him again, go figger), his Russian collusion is closing in, and even members of his own party are starting to talk about Impeachment.

Can’t have that!

It’s times like these that I almost wish I was still a spiritual person and believed that nothing which happened in the physical realm had any effect on the true luminous selves that occupy and animate these skin-suits. I’d be able to rationalize the potential destruction of human civilization and all life on earth as nothing more than a lesson-to-be learned. Horrible, yes, but in the grand scheme of things, probably inconsequential. Another instance of a species rising from the muck, reaching for the stars and then self-extinguishing. (Probably why we’ve never been contacted by other civilizations; 99.999% of them follow this same path, and the ones who somehow manage to outlive their childhood are so distant from each other they never make contact.)

But I can’t think like that any more. I don’t want that to be our path. I don’t want to see all that humanity has accomplished disappear in a flash of light. And most importantly, I do not want myself or my friends and loved ones to be among the unfortunate survivors of a war started by the clearly deranged sociopath occupying the White House.

And so I worry, and I fret, and I go to bed every night wondering if I’m going to wake up the next morning to the horrific news that the Mangled Orange Hellbeast has touched off World War III…or if I will even wake up at all.

Going Through Photos

When I worked for CNIC, I used to pass this forlorn little building whenever I traveled between our Denver and Colorado Springs offices. It intrigued me, sitting out there in the middle of nowhere, so one day while on the way to or from the remote office, I stopped to snap a few pictures. I’m glad I did. I really like these.

In case anyone’s interested, it’s on Greenfield Road just east of I-25…

Ditching Disqus

After reading this, I’ve decided to return to the native WordPress commenting engine. I had no idea that Disqus cataloged, cross-indexed and obviously monetized its users to such a degree, and while I personally won’t stop using it myself, I won’t subject my readers—as few as they are—to such intrusiveness.

If you’d like to me return to Disqus (there is a certain convenience in it, after all), let me know since at this point I haven’t removed it from the site, I’ve just deactivated it…

World History

Ever wake up from a dream thinking, WTF was that all about?

For some reason I’d decided to take a World History course at ASU. Apparently everything was in place and after receiving all the confirmation emails I arrived on campus on a Tuesday morning for the first class. Why Tuesday? And why morning? Being a working adult, maybe only the first class was in the morning and all the rest were scheduled for the evening?

I realized after getting there that no physical class location was ever specified in the email and there no phone number to contact. I was about a half hour early so I wasn’t too concerned; I figured I could stop by the admin building or student union and someone there would have class schedules and locations and be able to point me on my way.

The information desks at both locations were unstaffed, and after aimlessly wandering around campus and asking random strangers, no one I managed to find knew anything. As time started ticking down to the start of class, I asked myself why I was even bothering with this; what was I hoping to accomplish? It wasn’t part of some program; I had apparently signed up for just a single class. To make matters worse, for some reason I’d called out from work the day before and now I was going to miss a second day…for what?

The last thing I remember before waking up was walking back to my car after deciding to just blow the whole thing off.

I can’t even find any symbolism in this that relates to real-world events.

Quote of the Day

Donald Trump, champion and avatar of the shallow state, has won power because his supporters are threatened by what they don’t understand, and what they don’t understand is almost everything. Indeed, from evolution to data about our economy to the science of vaccines to the the threats we face in the world, they reject vast subjects rooted in fact in order to have reality conform to their worldviews. They don’t dig for truth; they skim the media for anything that makes them feel better about themselves. To many of them, knowledge is not a useful tool but a cunning barrier elites have created to keep power form the average man and woman.” ~ David Rothkopf, Professor of International Relations and Political Science

Me, Today

No energy today. Slept in until 10 a.m. Got up and mowed the front yard before it got too warm. Started laundry. Vegged in front of the computer/television the rest of the day. Fighting the urge to take a late-afternoon nap right now…

The Only Advantage…

…of being on the GOP/Trump Mailing List (because I actually responded and filled out their stupid surveys earlier this year) is that you get the most hilarious, pathetic money-begs, giving me real insight into what they think will appeal the Shitgibbon’s base and successfully separate them from their money:

The only reason I haven’t had my email removed from this nonsense is that I get to reply with the most wonderful graphics:

I know that no one will ever see these return emails, but it provides me a certain amount of satisfaction anyway.