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Name: Dave
Gender: Male
Hometown: Oregon
Home country: US
Member since: Wed Mar 28, 2012, 06:14 PM
Number of posts: 2,252

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Surprise, Asteroid 1998 QE2 has a moon!

From Universe Today:

Late yesterday, NASA turned the 230-foot (70-meter) Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, California toward Asteroid 1998 QE2 as it was heading toward its closest approach to Earth, and they got a big surprise: the asteroid is a binary system. 1998 QE2 itself is 1.7 miles (2.7 kilometers) in diameter, and the newly found orbiting moon is about 600 meters in diameter.

The radar images were taken were taken on May 29, 2013, when the asteroid was about 3.75 million miles (6 million kilometers) from Earth.

“Radar really helps to pin down the orbit of an asteroid as well as the size of it,” said Paul Chodas of NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program office, speaking during a JPL webcast about this asteroid on May 30. “We now know our size estimates were pretty good, but finding it was a binary was surprising.”

NASA said that about 16 percent of asteroids are binary or even triple systems.

Radar images from May 29, 2012 of Asteroid 1998 QE2,
showing its binary companion. Credit: NASA.

Wow! I wonder if it's made of green cheese, just like Earth's moon???

The following is a sequence of radar images recorded by NASA's Deep Space Network antenna in Goldstone, Calif., showing the rotation of asteroid 1998 QE2 plus its moon, visible as a bright spot. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / GSSR

In less than 6 months since Newtown, more Americans have been killed with guns in our streets...

...homes, shops, schools, and nurseries, etc, then U.S. Military personnel were killed in the Iraq War (Operation Iraqi 'Freedom') in the more than 7 years between March 19, 2003 and August 31, 2010.

The current count on the Slate site How Many People Have Been Killed by Guns Since Newtown? now reads: Matched Deaths: 4,410 or more since Newtown

The U.S. Department of Defense lists OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM (OIF) U.S. CASUALTY STATUS * FATALITIES AS OF: May 28, 2013, 10 a.m. EDT at 4,409,
where * OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM includes casualties that occurred between March 19, 2003, and August
31, 2010, in the Arabian Sea, Bahrain, Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Persian Gulf,
Qatar, Red Sea, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates.

Of course, U.S. military deaths represent a fraction of the carnage and upheaval of the Iraq war. Also, the current 66 deaths in Operation New Dawn are not included.

What a coincidence, the two numbers differing by 1 with that being the single death so far reported for today,
May, 28, 2013. A fairly typical report from Fort Worth, Texas:

A 72-year-old man was fatally shot as Fort Worth police investigated an alarm call early Tuesday morning in a neighborhood near the Woodhaven County Club.

According to Fort Worth police, authorities responded to the alarm call just before 1 a.m. in the 400 block of North Havenwood Lane. Upon arriving to the scene, officers become involved in a confrontation with a man armed with a gun. Feeling threatened, at least one officer fired at the man, who was later identified by a neighbor as Jerry Waller, police said. Waller died at the scene.

Becky Haskin, a former city council member, lives nearby and said she and her husband heard five rapid shots. Haskin said she believes Waller heard the alarm and went to the house armed to investigate.

Haskin said there was no sign of a burglary at the home and that the alarm may have triggered accidentally.

Just did a refresh on the Slate page, still at 4410.

The Race is On: Manufacturer sets sights on market for armed drones...

The photo above is of a Denel Dynamics' Seeker, which is a tactical reconnaissance UAV that's been around for a long time, and has been used for diverse purposes such as to monitor the South African general election in 1994 and to track rhinoceros poachers in Kruger National Park in 2012. In 2010 the manufacturer unveiled a new light air to ground missile, the Denel Dynamics Impi that is being developed to arm the Seeker 400, the current production version.

Well, looks like the development is going well, as reported by NBC News:

On a sprawling complex just outside Pretoria, South Africa, a government-owned arms manufacturer is preparing to test an armed drone that it hopes to begin selling soon to governments around the world.

The company, Denel Dynamics, says the armed version of the Seeker 400, which will carry two laser-guided missiles, will enable so-called opportunistic targeting at a range of up to about 155 miles.


And according to Peter Singer, director of the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence at the Brookings Institute, at least 26 countries have surveillance drones of a size or type that have been or could be armed, and roughly 20 countries are trying to either develop or acquire weaponized drones.


The company aims to be among the first suppliers of armed drones to market, if tests of the armed versions of the Seeker 400 -- expected to begin in “a month or two” and last up to six months, according to Ntsihlele -- are successful. South Africa would have to purchase the armed drones first before the company would begin marketing them elsewhere, but if that happens Denel sees opportunities for growth elsewhere, particularly in “Africa and the Middle East,” he said.

Ntsihlele declined to say how much the armed Seeker 400 will cost, but said it will be far cheaper than the Predator and Reaper, the armed drones used for anti-terrorism operations by the U.S. military in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, which cost approximately $20 million and $56.5 million apiece, respectively. And unlike those UAVs, it would not require satellite technology, being controlled instead through “line of sight” communications. That limits its range but makes it potentially available to nations without sophisticated space-based guidance systems.

"opportunistic targeting"....what a lovely euphemism!

Maybe a new interpretation for the lyrics to that song (my favorite version is by the Dead, on the Reckoning album):

Now the race is on and here comes pride up the back stretch,
Heartaches a goin' to the inside,
My Tears are holding back,
Tryin' not to fall.
My Heart's out of the running,
True Love scratched for another's sake,
The race is on and it looks like Heartaches,
And the winner loses all.

Pentagon's annual report on sexual assault shows alarming rise...

From NBC News (though I maintain NBC's use of "alarming" is totally wrong, see below) (emphasis mine):

On Tuesday, the Pentagon will release the annual report on sexual assaults in the military, which shows some startling numbers.

While the report will show that the number of reported assaults in fiscal year 2012 rose only 6 percent to 3,374 — up from 3,192 a year before — the number of people who made an anonymous claim that they were sexually assaulted but never reported the attack skyrocketed from 19,000 in FY11 to 26,000 in FY12.

Members of Congress will be briefed on the report early tomorrow afternoon, and then Major General Gary Patton, the Director of the DoD Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO), will brief the media.

Embarrassingly, the report is being made public just a day after it was revealed that the Air Force's sexual-abuse prevention chief has himself been charged with sexual assault.

I think the increase from 19K to 26K 'anonymous claims' of sexual assault is GREAT news. It doesn't mean that 7,000 more assaults occurred, it means that the stigma associated with assault has changed, so that 7,000 more victims were willing to take that first step of reporting, anonymously, that they have suffered abuse in the military. Perhaps, if support for abuse victims continues to increase, then the number of military personnel who report, or anonymously report, their assault(s) will reach an accurate number, representing the real problem. Perhaps, for the first time in 237 years ...(the number of years since 1776)...the true extent of the problem will surface.

Do you love your Mom? Do they love their Moms? Vote...

...Yes, Vote for Oregon Zoo 'Mom of the Year:

PORTLAND -- The Oregon Zoo will honor one of its animals with a Mother of the Year award next week, and the three finalists were announced Thursday.

"This year’s finalists are a De Brazza’s monkey named Brooke, a North American river otter named Tilly, and an Asian elephant named Rose-Tu," said spokesman Hova Najarian.

He offered a quick argument in each animal's case:

Brooke has been keeping her 2-month-old so close that the zoo’s animal-care staff only recently determined the baby’s gender.
Tilly is a first-time mom, but keepers say she’s been doing all the right things for her 3-month-old pup, Mo.
Rose-Tu required full-time help with early binding after her first calf, Samudra, was born. But with new calf Lilly, keepers say her maternal nature took over right away.

"These moms all represent species whose natural habitats are threatened, and they’ve each done a lot to inspire zoo visitors," said zoo director Kim Smith.

The three caretakers/zookeepers naturally express some favoritism for 'their' Mom...but mostly they express their great love for all animals that bring joy, amazement, and understanding to our lives.

Click here to vote

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