So continues the return to dictatorship in Russia

Kasparov Jailed After Anti-Putin Protest – AOL News

Perhaps most troubling and sad about the whole thing is this is what the Russian people want. All they see is the illusion of being instantly powerful and respected when in actuality they will be despised, mocked and feared by current democratic russophiles, anti-Communist groups, and former Soviet states in turn for their foolish, ignorant choices.

I wish I could say I was surprised by the events in Russia, but I am not. I half expect Putin to rename St. Petersburg (again!) in true Soviet communist grand style.

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Interesting Space News

To tide everyone over for now:

KAGUYA (SELENE) World’s First Image Taken of the Moon by HDTV (Jaxa) Some impressive images coming back to earth courtesy of the Japanese Space Agency’s KAGUYA lunar explorer. I want to compare the images to the moon globe I inherited from my grandfather and love studying the various geography of the lunar landscape.

NASA Delays Key Design Review for Ares 1 Launch Vehicle by 6 Months I wish I could say I was surprised to see this, but I’ve been hearing of too many problems being encountered in the development of the Ares LV to feel otherwise. Inspite of the difficulties, the Ares I look to be somewhat impressive vehicles. Too bad they are destined for obsolesence with their being so heavily tied solely to the Constellation program’s Orion CEV.

delayed space post

I was going to post today an opinion piece on the future of space, but I’m feeling  a little too ill to finish up the post. Expect it sometime this weekend, assuming this bug doesn’t turn out to be more than a short term affair.

Echoes of the Cold War

The Russian Federation Duma’s decision to freeze their participation in the CFE treaty is not unsurprising given recent behavior by Putin and his government. What makes this particularly disheartening is both sides, Russia and NATO, are arguing over a treaty that became worthless with the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. Neither side has the right to dictate to sovereign nations who they may or may not ally with nor interfere with those nations national security concerns. Both sides are eager to gain and/or maintain influence in the region, but really it is those individual nations who will decide one way or the other.

Obviously, Russia’s concerns stem from it’s loss of power and influence over Europe, particularly Easter Europe. However, their threats to position more troops along the borders of neighboring former Warsaw pact states just reaffirms many of those nation’s wariness of Russian aggression and intent. Nations like Ukraine, Poland and the Baltics (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) have feared Russia making territorial claims on them and backing those claims through military force as seen in the Caspian, Black Sea, and Chechen regions. Given the oppression those nations suffered under Soviet dominion it is not unreasonable for them to seek alliances and protection of western nations via NATO and the EU.

NATO is correct in demanding Russia finish it’s withdrawal of troops from Moldova and Georgia, if that is the desire of those nations and their people. Obviously Georgia is demanding Russian withdraw from their land after Russian troops have been repeatedly seen and caught stirring up troubles with Georgia’s neighbors. This was brought to a head a couple years ago when Georgian forces captured Russian troops who had launched attacks on Georgia’s neighbors and threatened to put them on trial before Russia finally agreed to end their activities. Moldova may have a different attitude, but one of which I am unaware.

New Low by Fox News

I now have a new found loathing of all Fox News affiliated reporters. I was completely and utterly disgusted by members of Fox News laughing on air over the pain and suffering of another human being while reporting on a man tortured by college students. I shouldn’t be surprised at this new low by Fox News, which has consistently been on the decline in the quality of their news reports along with the increase of the pro-Christian biased news reports. I consider myself moderately conservative but this recent behavior by FNC personnel is well and truly beyond the pale of acceptable behavior in my opinion.

At least I can still respect the local Fox affiliate in Phoenix, Arizona. They, at least, have never laughed at or mocked someone for being the victim of a brutal crime. Those New York based reporters could learn something from them about treating people with dignity and respect.

What I’d like to know is have Americans become so cruel that they openly laugh at such disgusting and debased behavior? If so, then I think it’s time I leave because that is not the America in which I want to live.

New Computer

I’ve been off for a few days getting used to the new computer I obtained along with the Windows Vista software.

The computer is an eMachines’ T3626 model, which is surprisingly powerful for as cheap as it is. I bought it intentionally cheap as I plan on buying a much improved system later this year or early next year to replace my flagging old computer, a 7 year old Compaq, and now dead Gateway laptop. I have to say I am impressed with the AMD Sempron processor at 2.2 GHz and the 1 GB of RAM along with the NVIDIA GeForce 6100 nForce 405 video card.

I’m also rather surprised at how smoothly Windows Vista Home Premium OS software has run. I, like many other Windows users, have encountered far too many problems with Microsoft’s previous versions of Windows to ever completely trust any new programs they develop. I do appreciate what appears to be much improved security enhancements and interoperability between the OS and other products. By far is the much improved GUI, which goes for the much slicker Web 2.0 appearance instead of the childish, and quite frankly condescending, default GUI used in XP.

Overall, I’m pleased aside froma  few minor bugs I’ve run across  so far.