The Pirate Problem

On shore, pirates now unhappy they are not the only ones capable of threatening violence, have put us on notice they’ll be more cutthroat from now on. False bravado.

I couldn’t get enough of the rescue of Capt. Richard Phillips of the Maersk Alabama. I’m sure I’ve read ten different stories–maybe more. There’s not a lot of detail yet, except to say Navy Seals are well trained and Capt. Phillips, who offered himself to save his crew, is a genuine hero.

There are more potential heroes than there are opportunities to be heroic. How long did Sully fly and Phillips sail before they were tested?

My suspicion is by the time the pirates were shot we had that lifeboat ‘wired.’ we could hear their conversations. We could probably sense, through heat detection or some other pasive method, where the pirates sat long before they became visible. The boat was already under tow with the line slowly shortened. The pirates were moving closer-and-closer to the American ship.

There has been some discussion recently about whether the president has the cojones to aggressively defend our national interests. The naysayers won’t admit this was a sign… but it was.

On shore, pirates now unhappy they are not the only ones capable of threatening violence, have put us on notice they’ll be more cutthroat from now on. False bravado. Hopefully they’re really wondering how much money it’s worth to be dead.

At the moment in the Indian Ocean crime pays. That’s got to be reversed. The reversal doesn’t have to be 100%, just enough to scare the pirates. These are not religious zealots looking for a reward in the afterlife. These are just street gangs at sea.

Cool NASA Video

I am married, but I still enjoy looking at Jessica Alba. I am not a fan of the Space Shuttle, but I still enjoy looking at Shuttle video.

That seemed like a necessary analogy.

Anyway, NASA has some of the coolest video around, because they’ve got some exceedingly cool places to mount cameras. Here’s one I’d never seen before.

The video was taken from a camera mounted on one of the Solid Rocket Boosters – the Roman Candle part of the blastoff. Unlike the main engines, once you start these puppies up, they burn until expended. They cannot be shut down.

The full seven minutes of video can be a little tedious. So, let it download and then ‘scrub’ along the timeline. You’ll particularly enjoy SRB separation, as the Shuttle flies off and splashdown. The camera continued to work after the SRB had fallen into the Indian Ocean.

Way cool.

Phishing for Charity Dollars

mercy-corp-fraud.jpgWho hasn’t donated money or thought of donating money to the tsunami survivors in the countries surrounding the Indian Ocean? A few days ago I started hearing about fraudulent charity pleas and then I received one.

This story has a unique twist.

The email came to my Gmail account. How is this account already on spam lists? That’s unreal.

It purported to be from Mercy Corp, a charity I had never heard of, but one I believe exists and is a legitimate “good guy.” I’ve attached the text from the message to the bottom of this entry, should you want to look. It’s a plea that’s tough to resist.

Of course it’s bogus. This is a phishing scam, someone using the name and the look of a legitimate organization to gain your trust.

Normally you’re on your own to figure this out, that’s why phishing scams are tough to stop. But there’s a difference here. The ‘phishers’ link back to legitimate Mercy Corp graphics. As soon as Mercy Corp found out, they changed the graphic making it obvious what’s going on.

Phishing still stinks. However, we now know someone at Mercy Corp is very clever.

Continue reading “Phishing for Charity Dollars”

Tsunami Animation

Scientists at the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, part of NOAA, have created an amazing animation which shows how the “Boxing Day Tsunami” transversed the Indian Ocean. Even if you have dial-up (and this will take a while) it’s worth the wait.

On the Street Where You Live

Over a month ago a fairly round hole opened up on the street between my neighbor and my driveway. The town was called and they brought out a small construction horse and non-working blinking light.

Since that time, nothing.

Well, nothing on the part of the town. I did a little exploration, staring down the hole. From my learned standpoint, the hole goes all the way though the Earth to the Indian Ocean (when I was a kid we used to say if you dug deeply enough you’d end up in China… but what did we know?).

A few weeks ago, and a few feet from the first hole, a second hole opened up. I called the town’s highway department, where a person with the excitement level of either hole, said they’d look into it (hadn’t I already taken the burden off them by looking into it myself?).

Today, the holes sit. One covered by the high tech horse, the other out in the clear.

Won’t the joke be on the town when one day a UPS truck breaks on through and starts delivering packages somewhere in the Indian Ocean? Maybe they’re just waiting for the hole to heal itself?