Boring conversation with NASA anyway

This is the greatest sexually transmitted threat to Earth since Mission Commander George "Bright Eyes" Taylor nearly overran the Earth with damn, dirty superapes.
This is the greatest sexually transmitted threat to Earth since Mission Commander George “Bright Eyes” Taylor nearly overran the Earth with damn, dirty super-apes.

NASA ground controllers briefly lost contact with astronauts aboard the International Space Station on Tuesday. The sexy pinnacles of American, Russian and Canadian physical and mental prowess were left unattended for three hours due to a computer problem.

Who knows what they were doing up there, all alone, with no supervision, gravity or rules …

We, the people of Earth, welcome the U.S.-Russian-(really?) Canadian blackout super-baby as our new overlord.

(Yes, The Guys are fully aware that all six members of the current ISS crew are men. But, who knows what space radiation does to a man, and have you seen Chris Hadfield’s Swanson of a mustache? Who could quit that?)

Space: The financial frontier

When asked whether the International Space Station could ever earn its $100 billion dollar price tag (so far), NASA official David Leckrone said, “I think it’s time to start showing what [this] station can really do.”

Leckrone then mashed some random buttons, placed his hands behind his back and stated in a British accent that, “You may fire when ready.”

He then cupped his hands over his mouth to add echoes to his “pew-pew” laser sounds, followed by waving them over a picture of the Earth to depict what we presumed was its annihilation.

You Missed It: Unofficial beginning of summer edition

I know you’re not reading this. You, just like everyone else, have already left the office, packed up the ol’ station wagon and headed out for your Memorial Day Weekend adventure. You probably won’t even read this until we’re back on Tuesday. I don’t care. It’s my job to write these things, and I know you’re going to miss this all weekend. If you were busy chasing down historical artifacts that come to life at night, odds are you missed it.

When you think ‘hip’ you think of the Vatican
Pope Benedict XVI wants to be your friend. Well, not really, he’s got plenty already. They’re called followers, and not the Twitter kind. But the pope is trying to save your soul with a new Facebook app. Our cool pope even has an iPhone app with the latest pope-related news, a YouTube channel, and a Catholic wiki. Just in time for World Communications day, His Holiness launched a website (where “Pope” is capitalized, but “you” aren’t). The Facebook app lets you keep in touch with the Holy See through the wonders of social networking. Now Pope Benedict can send you messages like “I know what site you’re planning on going to after this. See you in confession tomorrow.”

Helps make sure they still have the Right Stuff
Sure, Atlantis may have been grabbing the headlines last week, but the crew of the International Space Station is laying the headline smackdown this week. Fixing space telescopes? Please. These astronauts get to drink recycled water that came from their own pee. (Wait–what?!) Every six hours, an astronaut produces about a gallon of water from their urine. It gets recycled and purified and presto! Good to drink again. There was a time when I wanted to be an astronaut. Today, I am pleased that that dream never came true.

Also, Count Duckula’s new album drops next Tuesday
Danger Mouse (the DJ in Gnarles Barkley, not the eyepatch-sporting cartoon) has made a career out of doing strange things. First, he mashed up the Beatles with Jay-Z, then he produced that horrible Gorillaz album. Now, he’s dropping a new album. There’s just one thing, the album is not on the CD being sold. Sure, you get the case, insert, all that good stuff, but the CD is blank. In fact, it’s a CD-R. Danger Mouse wants you to buy his album, then illegally download it, burn it to the CD, then enjoy. Because, you know, that makes way more sense than just illegally downloading it and put it on your iPod.

And that’s the Word

In other International Space Station-related news, NSA NASA held an online contest to name a node that will be attached to the ISS on some future flight. They had nice names like “Serenity” and “Legacy,” but America chose not to send up a node that sounds like a brand of ladies’ lady plug things.

No, instead we named it “Colbert.”

That’s right, Stephen Colbert won the competition.  And will now be remembered among the stars. It really fits right in with Node 1, Unity, and Node 2, Harmony. Will NASA really end up naming the node after the greatest American since George Reagan Lincoln? Probably not. But it will always be Node Colbert to us.

The McBournie Minute: Weaponize the ISS

Less than a year ago, I called for the completion of the International Space Station. As usual, I was right, and people listened to me. In fact, I scared the crap out of the world’s space community that they are going to finish up the ISS this year. Heck, there’s even a team of our astronauts up there right now putting up the final solar panels.

You’re welcome, world.

And yet, there is more work to be done. A couple weeks ago, the crew on the ISS had to run to the escape capsule because a piece of space debris came within three miles of them. It happened again after that, and yes, just yesterday, they had to avoid another piece of space garbage.

Folks, there is a lot of man made crap up there orbiting the Earth, and it’s not just satellites that let you watch television, either. It’s bits and pieces of all the American, Soviet/Russian and now Chinese (Welcome, country that can’t make safe plastic products!) launches that are continuing to fall at a speed and angle consisent with the slope of the planet and its gravitational pull without decaying (orbit). Continue reading The McBournie Minute: Weaponize the ISS

You Missed It: Sweeps week edition

Hey, guess what? It’s Friday. It’s finally here. Best of all, it’s the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day. That means it is officially time to go out and celebrate your Irish heritage. Even if you have none. Then again, it’s also Friday the 13th–again. So you may want to watch out for ladders you could potentially walk under. If you were busy watching stocks go up for a change, odds are you missed it.

Is the ‘mad’ in Mad Money for craziness or anger?
All week long (or at least it seemed that way), Jon Stewart and Jim Cramer were feuding on the television. It started off with a critical commentary Stewart had for CNBC pundit Rick Santelli and his comments about home owners. The home owners are stupid. No they’re not. Jim Cramer is a douche. Hey, I heard that! Cramer is still a douche. Joe Scarborough agrees I am not. Dora the Explorer swears. Cramer more or less apologizes and says he will be more investigative during an interview on The Daily Show. There, feudin’ over in just one paragraph!

Orbiting trash makes the Space Indian cry
The crew of the International Space Station had to rush to the escepe pod for about ten minutes because a piece of space debris (manmade, of course) was coming at them at several times the speed of a bullet. The object, not bigger than a pencil, passed with in three miles of the space station. How do we know? NASA tracks these things, thousands of them, actually. Wait a minute, they have an escape pod on that thing? Awesome, it’s like Space Balls!

Who doesn’t love the Dutch?
Last week, we talked briefly about how pointless the World Baseball Classic was. This week, it got a little interesting, because some crazy team from the Netherworld Nether region Netherlands beat the heavily favored Dominican team–twice, thus advancing them to the next round. Pedro Cerrano sacrificed a chicken before the games, but it did him no good.

Take it from Snee: Go ahead, make my wish

So, on the drive to work today I heard some shill for the Make a Wish Foundation plugging his product on the Go Fish Radio Network.

(That’s the better morning radio show in Huntsville, AL. Its predecessor was, I kid you not, a show called “Rick and Bubba.” They remixed songs that were popular eight years ago to include annoying southern girls and rooster calls. They were rejected from Huntsville like a microwaved baboon heart transplant.)

You’re probably thinking, “Oh god, you hate the Make a Wish Foundation?”

Short answer: yes.

Long answer: it’s a misguided program that supports the wrong clientèle at the expense of donors. (Long answer continues after the jump.) Continue reading Take it from Snee: Go ahead, make my wish

The McBournie Minute: Finish the space station already

With a space shuttle landing yesterday and the Discovery Channel’s three-part documentary about NASA, When We Left Earth, space has been in the news a lot lately. Of course, space is all about cooperation and brotherly love these days. But for the first 40 years of space flight there was more of an “eff you, we’re going to beat you there” mentality. Perhaps we need to go back to that, if for no other reason than to get things done.

I remember first hearing about the International Space Station when I was in fourth grade, this was 1993 One of my teachers put on the overhead projector a snapshot of how the ISS would look when it was completed. A couple years later, I remember stumbling across it in an encyclopedia, I was probably looking for the definition of “isthmus” or something. There again was a computer-generated model of the huge structure orbiting the Earth. The caption underneath it said it would be completed around the year 2000.

It’s 2008 and the damn thing still is not finished. Continue reading The McBournie Minute: Finish the space station already