Saturday, September 24, 2011

Barack,Troy Davis and a falling satellite.

    Just getting back from Washington. (Memo to self: Take Acela for my next mid week trip to D.C.) Shout out to all the folks who were at the digital civic engagement forum. Especially those of you who came up to me and showed me love. Jeff,Joseph,Navarrow, and Kristal, we have to do this again sometime.
    Someone asked me today if I thought that the killing of Troy Davis will cost his O ness votes. Black folks are still mad that you could hear a pin drop in the White House during the days leading up to the state sanctioned killing of Davis.
    Hey, what can I tell you? O is first and foremost a politician, and he did what politicians do when these types of "touchy" issues raise their ugly heads: He kept his mouth shut. Pro death penalty folks vote.
    But back to the question: Will it cost him votes? Maybe. It's still too early to tell. I just don't think that blacks folks are going to be motivated to head to the polls this time around. He will still get 85% of the black vote, but there just won't be as much of them. A 16% unemployment rate will do that to you. We know that it wouldn't be better with a republican in charge, but we also realize, now, that no matter who is the HNIC, politics will always take center stage over everything else. It's back to business as usual in A-merry-ca. Just like it was under Reagan and those Bushes.
    I keep telling you Negroes that it's time to stop looking to Washington and start taking care of yourselves. Work with your local governments to try to get things done in your neighborhoods. If they tell you that there is no money available, then work among yourselves. You would be surprised what you can do when you put your heads together. I am watching you do it with certain neighborhoods here in Philly. Some of you have wonderful community partnerships with certain institutions like Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania. And some of you work with non profits and religious groups. It's all good as far as I am concerned. Whatever it takes to keep us moving forward in these divided states of A-merry-ca.
    Finally, I see that a very large satellite is about to fall to earth anytime now. They say what goes up must come down, and it looks like it's about that time for the school bus sized object. But don't worry, folks, the chance of it hitting us is slim....
    "It just doesn't want to come down," said Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
    McDowell said the satellite's delayed demise demonstrates how unreliable predictions can be. That said, "the best guess is that it will still splash in the ocean, just because there's more ocean out there."
    Until Friday, increased solar activity was causing the atmosphere to expand and the 35-foot, bus-size satellite to free fall more quickly. But late Friday morning, NASA said the sun was no longer the major factor in the rate of descent and that the satellite's position, shape or both had changed by the time it slipped down to a 100-mile orbit.
    "In the last 24 hours, something has happened to the spacecraft," said NASA orbital debris scientist Mark Matney.
    On Friday night, NASA said it expected the satellite to come crashing down between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. EDT. It was going to be passing over the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans at that time, as well as Canada, Africa and Australia.
    "The risk to public safety is very remote," NASA said in a statement.
    The Aerospace Corp., which tracks space debris, also estimated the strike would happen sometime between about 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. EDT, which would make a huge difference in where the debris falls. Its projections also put almost all of the U.S. in the clear — with Washington state the lone holdout.
    Any surviving wreckage is expected to be limited to a 500-mile swath.
    The Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, or UARS, will be the biggest NASA spacecraft to crash back to Earth, uncontrolled, since the post-Apollo 75-ton Skylab space station and the more than 10-ton Pegasus 2 satellite, both in 1979.
    Russia's 135-ton Mir space station slammed through the atmosphere in 2001, but it was a controlled dive into the Pacific.
    Some 26 pieces of the UARS satellite — representing 1,200 pounds of heavy metal — are expected to rain down somewhere. The biggest surviving chunk should be no more than 300 pounds."
    With any luck it will drop on a certain house in Florida.
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