Incident At Isfahan

Hmmm, I wonder what this is all about?

‘Mysterious explosion rocks Iranian city of Isfahan’

A large explosion rocked the western Iranian city of Isfahan, semi-official FARS news reported Monday afternoon.

According to the report, the blast occurred shortly after 2:00 p.m. FARS did not reveal the cause of the explosion, which was large enough to be heard throughout Iran’s third largest city.

. . .

Isfahan is home to nuclear experimental reactors, and also a uranium enrichment facility for producing nuclear fuel.

See also:
Report: Explosion rocks Iran city of Isfahan, home to key nuclear facility
Report: Huge blast heard in Iranian city of Isfahan
Iran: explosion in Isfahan reported
Loud Blast Reportedly Rocks Iranian City of Isfahan
Mysterious blast heard from Iran’s Isfahan city; reports conflicted
‘Explosion’ in Iran raises suspicions of attack on nuclear missile program
Blast near Iran nuclear facility
No explosion in Isfahan: Iran official
Iran official: Blast near nuclear site caused by military mishap
Sound of blast reported in Iran’s Isfahan city
BREAKING: Explosion Reported at Isfahan, Iran, ‘Home to Key Nuclear Facility’
More “Bad Luck” in Iran; “Huge” Explosion Reported Outside Isfahan
In Iran, a series of mysterious incidents raises sabotage suspicions

Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but this is the second major explosion,in less than two weeks, at or near a facility involved with Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

/or maybe it’s not a coincidence at all, more faster please

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It Came From Outer Space

Life from the sky.

DNA building blocks found in meteorites

For 50 years, scientists have debated whether the components of DNA — the molecule central to all life on Earth — could spontaneously form in space. A new analysis of a dozen meteorites found in Antarctica and elsewhere presents the strongest evidence yet that the answer is yes.

Meteorites are space rocks that have fallen to the ground, and the new report bolsters the notion that heavy meteorite bombardment of the early Earth may have seeded the planet with the stuff of life.

“[M]Meteorites may have served as a molecular kit providing essential ingredients for the origin of life on Earth and possibly elsewhere,” write the authors of the report out today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

See also:
Found: A Batch of DNA Molecules That Seem To Have Originated in Space
Building Blocks of DNA Found in Meteorites From Space
NASA: Building blocks of DNA ‘can be made in space’
DNA in Meteorites Suggests Life Came from Space
DNA components confirmed to come from space
Scientists find building blocks of life in meteorites
NASA researchers find DNA building blocks can be made in space
DNA From Asteroids

Hey, if these DNA laden meteorites are showing up on Earth, they’re showing up on other planets too, thereby making the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe much more plausible.

/God works in mysterious ways

Why Aren’t We Stomping Syria’s Guts Out?

Obama couldn’t wait to bomb Libya using the flimsy excuse of “protecting civilians”. Well, Bashar al-Assad has killed at least as many civilians as Moammar Gadhafi ever did and today Assad backed mobs attacked the U.S. embassy in Damascus, arguably an act of war. Why aren’t we bombing Syria and demanding that Assad leave the country? What’s Obama waiting for, another Iranian hostage situation?

Demonstrators storm U.S. embassy in Damascus

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has lost the legitimacy to rule after pro-government demonstrators stormed the U.S. Embassy in Damascus on Monday in what U.S. officials described as an orchestrated attack.

Regime supporters hurled rocks, smashed windows and tore down the American flag at the embassy, triggering the strongest U.S. condemnation yet of the Syrian government. Clinton suggested that the United States is contemplating the prospect of a post-Assad future in Syria nearly four months into a brutal government crackdown on pro-democracy activists inspired by the revolts in Egypt and Tunisia.

See also:
U.S. accuses Syria of unleashing mob attacks on U.S., French embassies
Syrian protesters attack U.S., French embassies
Syrian protesters attack U.S. Embassy in Damascus
Syrian protesters attack US, French embassies
US Embassy In Syria Attacked
Assad’s Embassy Raid
Deeply disappointed by the attack on American soil?
Clinton condemns US and French embassy attacks in Syria
U.S. Official: Syria’s Failure To Protect U.S. Embassy Is ‘Outrageous’
Assad Has ‘Lost Legitimacy,’ Clinton Says After Embassy Attacked
U.S. says Assad “not indispensable” to Syria

Is this what passes for consistent foreign policy in the Obama administration? The leaders of both Libya and Syria have killed thousands of civilians. Syria is infinitely more of a threat to U.S. national security than Libya is. Yet we’re bombing the [expletive deleted] out of Libya and trying to kill Gadhafi or drive him out of Libya at the same time we’re politely, diplomatically “condemning” Syria and giving Assad a total free pass. WTF?

/if we have a legitimate reason to be doing what we’re doing in Libya, we have even more of a legitimate reason to be doing even more of it in Syria and, by corollary, if we’re going to do nothing concrete about Syria’s brutal crackdown on civilians, we have absolutely no business whatsoever bombing Libya and we should get the hell out immediately, we’ve already done enough human and infrastructure damage there without any tangible results

Gandhi On Mars

Here’s something you don’t see every day. Do you believe?

Mahatma Gandhi’s face etched on Mars

An Italian space buff has claimed to have spotted the face of Mahatma Gandhi etched into the the rocks of Mars while scanning through latest pictures of the Red Planet.

Matteo Lanneo was surveying the amazing pictures sent from Europe’s Mars Orbiter back to Earth when he came across this uncanny resemblance to the father of the Indian nation, Daily Mail reported.

The head appears to have a moustache and shaven head and prominent eyebrows, just like Mahatma Gandhi, it quoted Lanneo as saying.

See also:
‘Face of Gandhi’ Found On Google Mars
It’s Mars-hatma Gandhi! Father of India’s image is spotted on Red Planet
Mahatma Gandhi’s face seen on Mars!
Gandhi’s ‘face’ found on Google Mars
Face of Gandhi Found On Google Mars
The man on Mars is Gandhi!
Mahatma Gandhi’s face seen on Mars!
Is that Mahatma Gandhi’s face on Mars?
Gandhi Living It Up On Mars?

In the old days, people were content to find images of famous people in their food. Now, apparently, the new fad is to find them on Mars. Hey, whatever gets you your fifteen minutes of attention I guess.

/how long before someone finds the holy grail of pareidolia, an image of Jesus on Mars?

Return Of The Dustbuster From Outer Space

******************************UPDATE******************************

Touchdown, the crowd goes wild!

Space Probe Returns After 7-Year Asteroid Voyage

A Japanese space probe landed in the Australian outback on Monday after a 7-year voyage to an asteroid, lighting up the night sky and bringing what scientists hope is a rock sample, witnesses said.

The Hayabusa probe blazed a spectacular trail as it came in to hit the ground at a blistering speed, ending a journey to the near-Earth asteroid Itokawa that began in 2003.

An Australian defense spokesman told Reuters scientists monitoring the probe’s return had confirmed it had landed and identified its location, but it would not be retrieved until daylight. Only then would it become clear if a capsule thought to contain the precious sample was intact.

See also:
Space probe returns to Earth from trip to asteroid
Japan’s ‘Falcon’ Returns After Seven-Year Asteroid Mission
Probe returns to Earth after asteroid landing
NASA Aircraft Videos Hayabusa Re-Entry
Hayabusa completes fiery return to Earth
Mission Accomplished For Japan’s Asteroid Explorer Hayabusa

/now we just need to find out exactly what, if anything, Hayabusa brought back

******************************END UPDATE******************************

A long time ago, in a country far far away, the Japanese sent a spacecraft . . .

to land on an asteroid that looks like a giant space turd . . .

and bring back some dirt.

Japanese Probe Set to Land in Australian Outback Sunday, Returning First Asteroid Sample to Earth

A Japanese meteor-investigator probe will become a meteor itself when it returns to Earth over the weekend. The Hayabusa probe is screaming toward Earth at asteroid speed,
according to scientists at NASA’s Ames Research Center. Scientists hope it is carrying samples obtained from a 2005 visit to the small asteroid Itokawa.

The probe’s sample-return capsule will separate from the main probe and reenter the atmosphere at 7.58 miles per second early Sunday. Scientists from NASA, the Japanese Space Agency and other organizations are planning to watch its fiery descent to learn more about how objects behave and break up during high-speed reentry.

When Hayabusa (“falcon” in Japanese) reaches an altitude of 190,000 feet, its heat shield will reach temperatures of more than 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit, while the gas surrounding the capsule will reach 13,000 degrees Fahrenheit — hotter than the surface of the sun, NASA says. It is planned to fall over a large unpopulated area of Australia called the Woomera Prohibited Area.

There’s no guarantee of success — actually, scientists don’t even know if Hayabusa is carrying anything. The craft has been plagued with problems for five years.

It made two touchdowns on Itokawa in 2005 to collect rocks and soil, but apparently failed to fire a metal bullet designed to dislodge the samples. Then, a fuel leak left its chemical propellant tanks empty, so engineers had to use Hayabusa’s ion engines to guide it home. Still, Hayabusa was the first spacecraft to land on a celestial object other than the moon and take off again.

See also:
Japan’s “Falcon” Spacecraft Returns—Asteroid Dust On Board?
Japan’s Asteroid Mission Set For Fiery Re-entry Over Australia
Japan Itokawa asteroid mission set for re-entry
Asteroid spacecraft makes its way back to Earth
Japanese space probe returns home Sunday
Japan asteroid probe to make historic return to Earth
Hayabusa just hours from home
Scientists wait in Outback for Japanese spacecraft
Japan’s ‘Falcon’ Set to Land After Seven-Year Asteroid Mission
Ames Research Center
Ames Research Center
JAXA | Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency
Hayabusa
Hayabusa

Well, I wish JAXA luck and hope they retrieve lots of asteroid dirt to play with. Otherwise, it’ll be a lot like Geraldo opening Al Capone’s vault.

/let’s all hope Hayabusa didn’t pick up any cosmic hitchhikers like in The Andromeda Strain