The Space Review: Big Black Bird

After five decades of secrecy, the details of the 1960s-era Manned Orbiting Laboratory MOL program are finally being revealed. MOL was started in late 1963 but did not get a formal approval from President Lyndon Johnson until 1965. Publicly, it was a two-person military space station program to conduct experiments to determine what military missions humans could accomplish in space.

via The Space Review: Big Black Bird.

Elements of the Manned Orbital Laboratory under construction in the 1960s. (credit: USAF)

My previous post about this laboratory here.

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Articles: Ten Reasons Why I Am No Longer a Leftist

How far left was I? So far left my beloved uncle was a card-carrying member of the Communist Party in a Communist country. When I returned to his Slovak village to buy him a mass card, the priest refused to sell me one. So far left that a self-identified terrorist proposed marriage to me. So far left I was a two-time Peace Corps volunteer and I have a degree from UC Berkeley. So far left that my Teamster mother used to tell anyone who would listen that she voted for Gus Hall, Communist Party chairman, for president. I wore a button saying “Eat the Rich.” To me it wasn’t a metaphor.

I voted Republican in the last presidential election.

Below are the top ten reasons I am no longer a leftist. This is not a rigorous comparison of theories. This list is idiosyncratic, impressionistic, and intuitive. It’s an accounting of the milestones on my herky-jerky journey.

via Articles: Ten Reasons Why I Am No Longer a Leftist.

Great piece for your Sunday afternoon reading.



RIP James Garner

Legendary actor James Garner has passed at the age of 86.

This Ain’t Hell reminds us that Garner was an infantryman, twice wounded in combat.



“Houston, Tranquility Base here…”

On this day in 1969, those words spoken by Neil Armstrong traveled across some quarter million miles of space to the headsets of the Mission Control Team, and the televisions of a significant portion of humanity, signaling that the Apollo 11 Lunar Module had landed upon the surface of the moon.


To this day, the Apollo program remains, 45 years later, a stunning achievement, an effort unparalleled in terms of planning, construction, development and manufacturing. 

NASA has a fine collection of materials on the history of the Apollo program, both technical and for the layman. I’m currently reading this fine overview of the program.

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The Royal Navy in the early 1990s

This is about an hour and a half long, but it’s a pretty wide ranging look at the Royal Navy when it still had jets and carriers. It also takes a look at the Netherlands Navy. The sub portions are particularly interesting.

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Only One US Citizen aboard MH17

We linked to a source yesterday claiming as many as 23 US citizens were killed in the shoot down of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17.

We searched repeatedly for confirmation of that number, but no other sources were forthcoming. As of this morning, it appears only one American was killed, Quinn Lucas Schansman, who held dual US and Dutch citizenship.

That in no way minimizes the enormity of the crime. But I felt obligated to update you since my previous post was inaccurate.

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Martial Law!

First, it’s “martial law.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people worried about Marshall Law in the internets. What? James Arness is gonna lock you up?

The keen political observer above has been making the rounds at Facebook.

One of the major advantages of the Army buying the Stryker ICV was that it could simply be driven to and from training areas, avoiding the cost and hassle of using flatbeds or trains.