The Navy shot down a satellite last night that was broken because it was loaded with rocket fuel and was so that big that it might have re-entered and made it to the ground largely intact; it was, shall we say, hazardous. They didn't want it falling on somebody's head, so they took the opportunity to test their newfangled weapons system -- er, I mean, to save some people from getting injured or poisoned.
While it's been touted as a public safety activity, I think it's also a good reminder to the Chinese (really late in coming, all things considered) that we can blow up satellites, too. Nevertheless, it would've been quite a sight to see in person. Here is a link to an article (written beforehand) that points to a simulation of how the debris would spread and eventually re-enter Earth's atmosphere, where the smaller pieces would break up before reaching the surface. Here is an interesting article (also written beforehand) discussing some of the rationale for event and political ramifications.
Also last night was the last full lunar eclipse visible from my home until late 2010. My wife beat me to the post, but I did want to add that it was great fun to watch. Even with the slightly cloudy weather, it was fun to drag the telescope out and watch the moon get eaten and then re-appear. Totally cool. There are a few good photos here.
I'm a Windows-based PC user. I'm not apologetic about it. I actually like my PC. I don't use Vista, the most glorious example of operating systems gone bad, as I'm quite happy with Windows XP. I have friends at work that are ridiculously fanatical about their Macs, particularly those running Mac OS-X. I roll my eyes as they often go on and on about how superior their operating systems are and how inefficient and bloated my PC is. Today, one of them forwarded me this link to an article outlining 50 reasons why I should switch to a Mac running OS-X. It's written from the perspective of a long-time PC user who recently made the change.
My response? More eye-rolling. I sent him an email which reads:
I roll my eyes at you. It's an operating system, not a religion. A computer is merely a tool to perform functions (and, yes, play games) -- I can do all the functions I want with what I have, and it is not a burden to do so. I don't sit around all day pining over my computer performance, how good it looks, or how vastly superior my operating system is. Relax! I can do what I want to do with what I have, and I'm happy with that. We can co-exist peacefully ... ;)
He hasn't replied, but he's probably about ready to burst a blood-vessel about now. I'm actually enjoying the torture that I inflict on him and the others who can't help sharing their clearly superior brainwashing, er, understanding, that Macs are without a doubt the better machines to have. On this topic, I once stumbled across a link that talks about something that PC users can do that Mac users just can't. Before I link to it, though, be aware that it is clearly R-rated material (written by a guy from Utah, no less), so if you're offended by, um, anything, don't go there. Hilarious.