My driver's license expires tomorrow, so I have to go to Belleville today and get it straightened out. When I moved out here I changed my address with them, and I was issued a temporary… The permanent never came. I suspect now I'm going to have to pay a “fee” to one government agency because another didn't do its job. It's snowing now but just a little — I don't really like this transitional period where it's cold enough to demand winter clothes, but without thick layers of snow… Just blah dirty grey.

Hide on the promenade
Etch a postcard :
"How I Dearly Wish I Was Not Here"
In the seaside town
...that they forgot to bomb
Come, Come, Come - nuclear bomb
Everyday is like Sunday
Everyday is silent and grey

Ha ha no, just kidding. It's not that bad. My plan for today is pretty light; head in to town to deal with my license in a few hours, do an experience update, do some programming, a little target practise, and so on. Rachel is checking in on a few government surplus land sales coming up… There's a property that's asking something like $7k US for 100 acres of rough land with a river flowing through the middle among other things. Might make for a good homestead.

I guess I should catch up on the news, see how Republican logic is going. Something I should mention — last year the Republicans introduced the “The Universal Military Training and Service Act of 2001” which is now set to be passed. Basically it forces everyone between 18 and 25 to serve at least six months of military service — a permanent draft. Don't believe it could pass? The insane Homeland Security bill just passed, and this permadraft bill is sitting at 90% general support.

Here's a link to the full text of the latest “bin Laden” letter — although it's far from authenticated — personally I think it's a fabrication. While the Q1 section reads fairly legitimately, I believe it leaves out a lot of key issues, and the Q2 section reads like an over simplified cartoon characterisation of bin Laden. Not that it's probably much worse that current intelligence.

The moon landing was a hoax? So I saw a link on I think /. this morning saying “Telescope to challenge moon doubters“. The new VLT that European scientist are operating can see a single human hair from 16 km away, and should be able to see the lunar landers… But you'll notice the article no where says they did see them! Not only have they not found them yet, but as Marcus Allen points out, Russia first got to the moon in 1959 (unmanned), and were later able to retrieve samples as well… So we'll definitely see stuff on the moon, and seeing it won't prove people were there.

I don't know if we got there or not. I sure hope so, but at the same time, doing it on 1960s technology is pretty mindblowing. I'm incredibly impressed that we even managed to get unmanned probes there… One thing I respect about the Soviet program is its willingness to admit its failures. We do know that either NASA fudges its results or are simply better than everyone else. I'm not saying that's not the case, but it's the long shot of the available options.

Anyway, if they did it, it was through the willpower of American cowboy engineers and test pilots standing on the shoulders of German scientists that supplied the ideas and the underlying information. One of the dirty secrets of the US space program is that it was made possible by experiments that Nazi scientists did on Jews during WWII — although that's not going to happen again apparently. Now, I'm not talking about German moon bases or kooky UFO stuff — I'm talking about both the dirty research from camps like pressurisation testing, and both academic and aviation engineering work from people like Werner von Braun (note: I'm not saying von Braun was an evil man — just a German scientist — when his V-2 rocket hit London he is said to have remarked, “The rocket worked perfectly except for landing on the wrong planet.”).

Anyway, the German V-series of rockets eventually progressed into the Staturn V series that put astronauts on the moon (did you know that's where the V came from? That the US moon rocket is actually named after the Nazi rockets that pummelled Britain?*). By the time the end of the war rolled around, Germany understood that victory would come not from the Luftwaffe, but from their space program (both manned vehicles and unmanned weaponry), but it came just a little too late… I have a couple decent books on the history of experimental planes that cover the subject but I haven't actually unpacked them yet (sorry) or I'd scan a few weird pictures.

Anyway, I've rambled off on that subject a bit farther than is interesting to most people. There's a little bit of debate on the Third Reich Forums (no, it's not a white power board, it's a historical fiction debate site) for those that want more…

* It is important to note that this is entirely conjecture on my part. Click here for a complete history of the V 1 rocket booster including name changes. Most people would disagree with the conclusion I've reached.

Wow Shannon, that's really annoying! What is it, 1997 on Geocities? Retroweb is NOT cool!

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