ISS partially evacuated

The first three of six crew members are abandoning the International Space Station today. Under current rules the rest of the crew will have to abandon the station in mid-November. NASA estimates that the probability that we will lose the station if no one is aboard it for a year is roughly 50%.

Though it has been largely out of the news lately Iran is still engaged in an arms race to contain its people. Iran found a way to block traffic through the Tor network (a network designed to anonymize web traffic). The people who run the network rapidly found a fix and patched the network within a day, enabling Iranians to again penetrate the not-so-great firewall of Iran.

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Giving credit where credit is due

First the news:

NASA is seriously considering the prospect of abandoning the international space station. Between the recent retirement of the space shuttle, and the recent failure of a Soyuz capsule we may be unable to resupply the space station. There are sufficient supplies to allow the current crew to remain aboard for 12 months, but the escape pods are not rated to last that long.

Chancellor Merkel may be unable to force the latest Eu-bailout through the German parliament. This may mark the end of the “rescue everyone” phase of the Euro crisis, and begin the EU dissolution process. I suspect that before this mess is resolved at least Greece will be kicked out of the Euro, others may follow.

I’ve been sitting on this for a few days, but I think it is more relevant closer to its maximum visibility, which is still a week or two out. A new supernova has been spotted in its early stages in the Pinwheel galaxy. I expect that there will be some interesting scientific discovers out of this one because of both how close it is and how early it was first spotted.

The US economy continues to hang precariously between an anemic recovery and a new recession with August showing a continued slowing of small business hiring, while the latest consumer spending report, from July, indicates a slight increase in consumer spending.

As the battle for Tripoli draws to a close. I felt it is time for a review of the war in Libya.
As some may have guessed, I was among those who did not vote for Obama in the last election, not that I voted for McCain either. It is incredibly unlikely that I will vote for him in the next election and I am not happy with everything he has done in Libya. I am not so myopic however, that I do not believe that he deserves some praise for his handling of the Libyan crisis.

In terms of how this war has been carried out I think that NATO’s approach of using air-power to support a true rebel army was laudable. An army made primarily of native civilians proved to be vastly more effective against a brutal dictator than a foreign “peacekeeping” mission. It is my sincere belief that it will leave a better impression on the Libyan people and the people of the world, and have a better chance of forming a stable government. Honestly, I used to be a “Neo-con”, I never imagined something like this would work and I think that Obama deserves credit for resisting the calls of McCain and others to put boots on the ground.

I also like that Obama was actually able to get France, England and others to actually share the heavy lifting for once. I hope that one long run result of this conflict is that future international missions are less reliant on the United States.

I wish that this were the whole story. However, Obama did one thing that disturbs me greatly in this conflict. Not only did he follow the precedent of several Republican and Democratic presidents in going to war without a declaration. But, Obama hypocritically went so far as to ignore the war powers act and went to war without consulting Congress. This is in my opinion a clear abuse of power by the executive branch. This is irresponsible and it is dangerous. The next time we elect a president who wants to push us to war, no one will have done more than Obama to clear the path for him to act unilaterally. Such a president could commit troops to a conflict without consulting the American people, or providing any justification for such a war.