Merrick Garland’s Solidly-Argued Application, Re Texas SB-8 (At The Supremes) Is Now Available…

October 18, 2021 - Leave a Response

We will let you read it for yourself, and not quote it extensively. But it is absolutely a correct statement of the applicable law.

In any sane world, Texas should lose, as the below is what this is all about:

. . .For half a century, this Court has held that “a State may not prohibit any woman from making the ultimate decision to terminate her pregnancy before viability.” Planned Parenthood of Se. Pa. v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833, 879 (1992) (plurality opinion); accord Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, 163-164 (1973). S.B. 8 defies those precedents by banning abortion long before viability — indeed, before many women even realize they are pregnant. . . .

The United States respectfully requests that this Court vacate the Fifth Circuit’s stay of the district court’s preliminary injunction. . . . The district court correctly held that the United States is likely to prevail on the merits of its two claims that S.B. 8 violates the Constitution. . . .

Onward, with a new spring in my step, this fine Monday afternoon, after biking along the lake. . . grinning.


Colin Powell, A Great American, Has Passed. But The Idea That Anti-Vaxxers Abuse His Private Health Information… Is Appalling.

October 18, 2021 - Leave a Response

I genuinely cannot believe I need to type this — here in the 21st Century. But when a US Secretary of State needs to hold even a part of press briefing to dispel some anti-vax lunacy — and along the way, explain that Powell was immuno-compromised from his cancer treatments. . . and that his death from COVID-19 does not undercut the sensibility of getting a vaccine. . . I am dumbfounded.

I will note that vaccines work. And that the legacy of Colin Powell [with whom I had many disagreements on policy], is being dragged into this sort of nonsense. . . well, it undercuts the true nature of the man. He was a Great American. Full stop.

Please, Anti-Vax Luddites: take a seat. This is NOT about you. This is about the passing of a great man. Out.


Lucy Is Reporting Under-Voltages, In One Solar Array, As It Charges Up — On Way Toward The Sun… Several Likely Fixes Possible.

October 18, 2021 - Leave a Response

In the realm of space science glitches, this is likely a smallish one. It is suspected that one of the two solar array “pin-wheels” did not latch completely in place, and that that would be the source of the under-volt readings.

One fix would be to close the panel, and re-open it. Another would be to simply ignore it and fly on — since the lower power levels will not affect mission objectives or timing. [Mission background here.]

But there would be a small chance that when firing the engine, to adjust the craft’s attitude, the unlatched array could close unexpectedly, or be damaged (due to torsion forces on the craft from engine-generated acceleration). So I expect the team will figure out a way to latch it in place pretty shortly. The next engine burn isn’t for a few weeks yet though, so there is time to work the problem. Here’s the latest:

. . .Built by Lockheed Martin Space, Lucy will be operating farther from the sun than any other solar-powered spacecraft before it, and its two Northrop Grumman-built arrays, designed to unfold 360 degrees like Chinese fans, are critical to mission success. . . .

Shortly after launch Saturday, NASA confirmed both 24-foot-wide arrays had deployed and were generating power. But on Sunday, the agency said one of the arrays may not be latched in place. . . .

“While one of the arrays has latched, indications are that the second array may not be fully latched. All other subsystems are normal. In the current spacecraft attitude, Lucy can continue to operate with no threat to its health and safety. . . .”

We will keep an eye on this one. Onward, grinning into the sunshine, here. . . .


Dateline Rural British Columbia: Woman Discovers Palm-Sized Meteorite Fragment — On Her Bed’s Pillow-Toppers.

October 17, 2021 - Leave a Response

She is very lucky — as she was sleeping, right there.

She thought something in the house had exploded, when it tore through her bedroom roof. Pretty cool story, out of Canada — as the geologists are finding more and more fragments — of the same meteorite, along the same insertion-trajectory, of late:

. . .The meteor chunk hitting the roof sounded like an explosion, but at first Hamilton, 66, had no idea what had happened – only that she had dry wall dust all over her face and a sizable hole in the ceiling.

It was only after calling 911 that she realized what happened.

“I flipped back the top pillow and the rock was sitting there, it slipped between the two pillows,” she said. . . .

Now that’s some better interplanetary space science news, to close a Sunday on. . . again, “from the basement of time” — grin.


College Football Rarely Sees Such [White] Thuggery — But Since Start Of 2021 — It Is At Perhaps An All-Time High. Why?

October 17, 2021 - Leave a Response

I don’t want to make too much of this, but when the older white parts of the alumni (not student!) sections — in several southern state college stadiums start a chant of “F*** Joe Biden“, well. . . that seems beyond the pale. [I suppose the last time it was close to this bad, was when college football first integrated, among the races — 70 years ago now.]

Moreover, at the worst of Tangerine time (2019), the most that happened was some sporatic booing — when he attended the Army / Navy game live (one that should have been a slam dunk for him). No, this is. . . different, in tenor and tone. Mr. Biden is not there, but the MAGAts chant. . . impotently (mostly). Until yesterday. The fans at Tennessee likely had reason to complain about the calls on the field — but what happened after that. . . was in a word, deplorable. You may read about it, here (pre-game) — and here, post game.

. . .Lane Kiffin was ready for just about anything Saturday night in his first return to Neyland Stadium as a head coach.

But dodging an endless sea of bottles, both plastic and glass, along with an assortment of other projectiles, including a golf ball, in what was an ugly ending to Ole Miss’ 31-26 victory over Tennessee wasn’t on his play sheet.

“It’s an emotional game and fans are emotional, but you never expect something like that, to see all that stuff come flying out of the stands,” Kiffin told ESPN. “I got hit with a golf ball, but at least whoever threw it was smart enough to throw a dirty range ball. . . .”

I do wonder why — the obvious thuggery. . . seems to be most wide-spread, in the 30- to 40-something year old white males, in Ruby Red state stadium jurisdictions this particular college football season. Why? [Hint: we know why.] Out.


Lucy Is Safely In An Elliptical Orbit At 67,000 MPH — Generally Toward The Sun — With Solar Panels Deployed And Charging — All Systems Nominal… Grin.

October 16, 2021 - Leave a Response

So from here on. . . it is now a seven year wait, until — after a pair of Earth dips, in a highly-eliptical orbit (for gravity / sling-shot assists) — the graceful craft reaches the L1 point out past Jupiter, to study. . . rocks.

But do not get caught sleep, dawg. For these are quite special rocks. . . they are from “[Maclean’s] basement of time. . . .”

From as much as four to six billion years ago, perhaps — the stuff from which all our local-system’s planets were. . . ultimately congealed. They are. . . in a real sense, a pristine view of. . . our birth worlds.

And, at about five years from now, she will pass a “regular” asteriod, closer in — called Donaldjohansen, largely for comparison purposes — but the main mission’s goals will wait for. . . seven long years, in relative silence. Seen are you, seven years on — and eight — and nine; five too — near your birth home, at 9:36 AM. Smile. . . .


FBI Retiree Andrew McCabe’s Fully-Vested Pension And Benefits… Restored.

October 14, 2021 - Leave a Response

Once again, righting wrongs — and undoing years of Tangerine’s lawless and vindictive rule.

Mr. McCabe’s ultimate favorable outcome was never going to be in doubt in the federal courts, but it is good to see justice done — even if delayed.

Here’s the latest — with a wide grin, at The New York Times good reporting. Onward — g’night.


[U: Legacy 2018 Guardian Video] A Jaw-Slacking Banksy Update: Shredded “Girl With The Balloon” Just Sold (Again) For Over $25 Million!?

October 14, 2021 - Leave a Response

So, this is. . . amazing (and in a way, sort of disgusting, too). It just sold for over four times what it sold for almost exactly three years ago — in 2018. Click here, for that 2018 story. [I suppose Martin Shkreli should have bought a Banksy, instead of the low-value Picasso drawing, huh?]

In any event, here is the latest — and the winning bidder may pay. . . in crypto-, according to reports:

. . .[A Banksy] painting that partially self-destructed at auction three years ago has sold once more, for a staggering £18.5 million ($25.4 million). . . .

“Love is in the Bin,” renamed from “Girl with the Balloon,” had a high estimate of £6 million ($8.3 million), six times its previous value of £1 million ($1.4 million). The artwork remains half-shredded in its frame, which concealed a mechanism to auto-destroy it after the hammer dropped at its original sale. . . .

For my part, I am going to need a minute, here — to digest all of this. I don’t know whether to laugh — or cry.

Here — again, for posterity, is the event that precipitated all of this — live:


Molnupiravir’s Ultimate Selling Price… Remains Unresolved [But Will Likely Fall — One Way Or Another]; There Is No Doubt It Is A Merck Breakthrough…

October 14, 2021 - Leave a Response

This morning, Stat+ has put together a nice video explainer [see link; this WordPress template cannot digest third party streaming windows, other than those from YouTube and Vimeo] — as to how the novel COVID-19 oral pill works.

But as we mentioned on the original news, last week — there will be tremendous pressure to reduce the asking price — to closer to $60 per course of treatment, globally. Still very good news (my backgrounder, here):

. . .Earlier this month, study results showed that molnupiravir, Merck’s investigational antiviral pill, cut hospitalization rates of Covid-19 patients by about half. Molnupiravir is the first oral treatment that has shown promise in treating Covid-19. Another antiviral, remdesivir, can only be administered intravenously.

“Having an oral option will be a big change,” said Benjamin Gewurz, associate director of the Ph.D. program in virology at Harvard Medical School. “Some people could just take a pill rather than having an IV or injection of some sort. And that’s what would be a huge, huge advance. . . .”

Onward, ever onward — grinning, now. . . into the Fall sunshine.


Streaming Live On NASA-TV, Until Around 11 AM: “Lucy Rolling Out To Canaveral Launch Pad”

October 14, 2021 - Leave a Response

We will likely remove this post this afternoon, since the YouTube feed is only the live NASA-TV channel, and other programming will be on by noonish. Even so, this mission fires my imagination, as it is headed out past Jupiter, to study what Norman Maclean (might have) memorably called “rocks, from the basement of time” — some four to five billion years, on. . . whoosh. [To be fair, Maclean was talking about rocks deep underwater, at the bottom of the Big Blackfoot river. Grin. . . .]

But for now, you can watch as the giant Atlas rocket (with Lucy stowed atop) lumbers slowly on the gravel, toward the pad. Here it is:

“. . .At the heart of Lucy is the science and how it’s going to talk to us about the Trojans,” Zurbuchen said. “I keep thinking about these millions of pieces out there that we haven’t observed and how it’s so important to go observe them because just like so many of these small worlds, these asteroids that tell us about a chapter of our own story, our own history, in this case, the history perhaps 4 billion years ago or so when the outer planets were forming in the solar system.”

”LSP is excited about the launch of Lucy this Saturday,” Baez said. “Our team is ready, and we look forward to a beautiful launch. . . .”

Lucy is scheduled to launch no earlier than 5:34 a.m. EDT Saturday, Oct. 16, on a ULA Atlas V 401 rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. . . .