Showing posts from June, 2007

U.S. Slipping Behind?

An article in yesterday's (6.25.07) Wall Street Journal (my favorite newspaper) suddenly jelled with several other things I have read in the last few days. The Headline: French Firm Vaults Ahead In Civilian Rocket Market.

There was a launch last month of Arianspace's Arian 5 from France's spaceport in French Guiana.

The Administrator of NASA - our guy Michael Griffin - was there and is quoted as saying the huge (20 stories tall) Ariane 5 is "probably the best in the world, very smooth and very impressive." ArianeSpace has "powered past" Boeing and Lockheed Martin. Tellingly, our guys "scoffed" at some of ArianeSpace's technology until they saw it work.

That's one.

That clicked with another story out today (6.26.07) about China taking a big step toward finishing the "longest sea bridge in the world." It's over 22 miles long and also has " the longest cable-stayed structure of its kind" as the center piece.


Food Prices Rocket - Ethanol Shmethanol

Here’s another of my fav issues, the stupidity of the ethanol craze.This from the Christian Science Monitor, one of my favorite newspapers.
ATLANTA and BOSTON - A gallon of milk in Birmingham, Ala., is expected to cost $4.50 this summer, perhaps more. At Wetzel's Market in Glen Rock, Pa., the New York strip steaks that were on sale for $4.99 a pound last Fourth of July will be $6.99 this year. In Boston, some shoppers report checkout prices on certain items that are 30 percent higher now than last summer. "Prices are incredible," says Suzanna Wyman, shopping Monday at Shaw's Supermarket in Boston's Back Bay. "Milk, I heard, is going up even more.... I love fresh peppers and vegetables, but they're too much. Cereal is very expensive compared to what you used to be able to get it for." The reason people are smarting: Inflation in grocery aisles is up by more in the first six months of 2007 than in all of 2006. That means food costs are on…

Miracles are Very Unlikely

Never Give Up (Another Airedale Story) Gwyneth is a small female Airedale with an powerfully elevated sense of anxiety, painfully shy and, by the way, just beautiful. After months of foster care by a caring Rescue volunteer couple, Gwyneth came to us as a very difficult case. Even after another month of intense work by the maven of Airedale Rescue, good wife Dr. Duff (Dorothy, the classic earth mother and psychologist to troubled ‘Dales), Gwyneth was still very much on edge. Any sudden noise would send her into orbit, then diving for a hiding place. People – especially men – seemed to be threatening ogres to her. When she went into our big back yard, it was always a task just to get her to come back in; she was afraid of the door. She would hide under bushes when we went out for her. Her shyness was exclusively toward humans. She loved other dogs. Her favorite playmate was our biggest, rowdiest ‘Dale, the appropriately named Rocket. They scampered like puppies and slept in side…

The Olde Truth Twister

GWB is at it again. Since Russia has been raising heck about the StarWars installations planned in ex-Soviet countries in Eastern Europe since February (see my blog "Cold War Redux" in the February archives), the Bushies have hardly commented on it until the heat was turned up by Vlad Putin prior to the important G-8 meetings.

Now the brouhaha is so hot that it will probably overshadow the really important issues like global warming at the G-8 conference.

But wait! The Prez has a plan to defuse the Russian complaints and their threat to "target Europeans" in response to the missiles in their back yard. Mr. Bush plans to deliver this convincing message at the upcoming mini-summit in Kennebunkport: "And my message will be, Vladimir - I call him Vladimir - that you shouldn't fear a missile defense system." That's a quote from GW yesterday in Prague. He will instruct Defense Secretary Gates to invite Russian generals and scientists to come to the U.S. …

Road Recycling

Old roads are frequently abandoned for new ones. The old ones sometimes just sit there, aging, cracking and succumbing to weeds. Grass and trees take decades or more to reclaim the ground.

On the old Duffstead, we just finished dealing with a new-road-for-old situation. Driveways, actually, but same same. The new one has better drainage and gives us a better shot of getting up a steep hill when it snows. The old driveway cut across a corner of our land, isolating a good quarter of an acre from the rest of the meadow.

So we decided to recycle the dern thing. (We are committed recyclers of metals, paper, glass, etc.). First we contributed the gravel and basecoat of the old drive to the new one. The road builder scraped it down to the dirt, moving all the rock to the new drive.

Then we disc-ed the old roadbed with our mighty tractor.

Then we cut the seed heads – a big grocery sack full – from several of our wild grasses just as they were releasing their spring seeds. And we bought 10 pounds …