UARS, the Forgotten Satellite
For those of you who don’t have interaction with the outside world (and I’m honored that you’ve chosen your first interaction to be with my blog), you’re probably not aware that a satellite recently came crashing out of the sky. The satellite knows as Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) was a research satellite used to track and observe weather patterns and the Earth’s atmosphere … this is code for saying it was a spy satellite, obviously.
At any rate, UARS launched into space in 1991 with the Space Shuttle Discovery. Twenty years later, UARS was out of fuel and out of options as it slowly (“slowly” being loosely defined as, you know, 15,000 MPH) lost momentum in its orbit and inched toward the Earth.
Finally, early this morning, it crashed into the Pacific. Somewhere. We’re still not actually sure where exactly it hit. There are rumors that fragments of the 6-ton satellite may have scattered into parts of Canada’s land mass, which is totally fine since no one lives up there anyway. Luckily, the populated portions of the Earth are safe.
If you do happen to be an adventurous traveler in the confines of Canada (a moment of silence for the poor lost soul) and you find debris from UARS, NASA says not to touch it. They promise there’s no space radiation on it, so my guess as to the reason they say not to touch it is that the small martians that live on it may jump out and bite you.
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
This week, Obama repealed the infamous Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell restriction for the United States military.
On Thursday, a few audience members booed a gay soldier who asked Rick Santorum if he would reinstate Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell were he the newly elected president. Yes he would, he said, and most conservative candidates tend to agree with him.
I would say any type of sexual activity has absolutely no place in the military. And the fact that they’re making a point to include it as a provision within the military—that we are going to recognize a group of people and give them a special privilege [...] removing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, I think, tries to inject social policy into the military. And the military’s job is to do one thing, and that is to defend our country.
Now, as a Christian, I do not agree with a homosexual lifestyle. I believe it is wrong, and I do not condone it. However, I disagree with Santorum, because I also believe my beliefs on the morality of your sexual orientation have little to do with politics or your ability to serve your country. And it seems to me that reinstating Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell would be more of a social injection than removing it has been.
I believe issues of legality should be things we take into consideration when allowing someone to serve in the military. However, homosexuality is not an issue of legality, it’s a matter of personal lifestyle. The United States will not kick you out of the military for being a particular religion, or if you are an habitual liar, or if a heterosexual has been unfaithful to their wife. Yet somehow Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell assumes that homosexuality is just that sin that goes too far.
The apparently obvious conclusion Santorum and other conservatives try to come to is that “any type of sexual activity has absolutely no place in the military”. However, people who make statements like these generally just stop the assertion wherever is most comfortable for them. For instance, this assertion seems to stop at soldiers and feelings and lifestyles. It seems to make the assumption that soldiers are robots that have one duty and one duty only: “to defend our country”. Anything beyond that, apparently, is wrong for a soldier. So, for conservatives to truly stick to their word in reinstating Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, they’d also need to ban any heterosexual activities or discussion that would indicate his sexual orientation or personal lifestyle. That would even prohibit a soldier from talking about his wife back home. That would obviously be silly and pointless. Good, then I’ve made my point.
And the loud-mouth idiot(s) in the audience booing the gay soldier asking the question of Santorum enjoys the safety and peace this homeland offers him because of that very soldier. Now that’s gratitude.
My final thought: government regulations or not, it doesn’t really matter—the people you fight next to and live and die with are going to know more about you than a silly regulation allows or bans.
On a lighter note, Jess pointed out to me, “You know, if they do reinstate Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and we ever have a draft, just come out and say you’re gay. Then you won’t be allowed to serve. That’d be an amusing way to stick it to ‘em.”
Juanita’s First Scratch
Juanita, the new VW Jetta SE Jess and I purchased in August, has been given her first scratch. Observe.
Really, not that bad at all.
We were on our way home from Red Robin (I’m currently eating the leftovers as I write this), and we were making a left off Collins to Edgewood. There are two left turn lanes there—I was in the leftmost lane—but the old man in the right lane didn’t seem to notice that. He seemed to think he needed to move into my lane now. And he did so. Well, he tried to, anyway. No blinker, by the way.
Somehow I suspected he was going to try this, so I already had my hand on the horn and let it blare as he inched his way into my lane. He quickly veered back into his lane, and we both safely made our left turns in separate lanes to Edgewood.
Jess and I both let out sighs of relief, and we discussed in length the craziness of the man who did not use his blinker, nor did he look over his shoulder.
“That would have been the first damage to our car if he had hit us,” I mused.
Moments later we heard a loud *whack*.
“Oops,” I muttered.
“What was that?” Jess shrieked.
It was someone’s bumper. Not on their car, mind you. It had fallen off their car. It was just in the middle of the lane we were in. Unfortunately, I hadn’t seen it until it was too late, and there was a car to our right anyway. I ran it over, it got caught up in my tires, and half of it flew up and scratched poor Juanita.
Luckily, I happen to have the interior/exterior protection plan, which covers this sort of thing. Juanita should have that scratched buffed out of her by this time next week.
Mass Effect: The Movie
According to an announcement at Comic-Con, Legendary Pictures plans on creating a movie adaptation of the popular video game series Mass Effect. Or rather, they plan on making a film based upon the first installment of the video game.
The writers and directors have put the trilogy on par with Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, which I would tend to agree with … in video game form. Mass Effect is by far one of the best and most immersive video games I’ve ever played, and this goes for the story, gameplay, graphics, and character development equally. For those of you who have not played Mass Effect, the game mixes role-play with first-person-shooter in a choose-your-own-ending sort of way. Literally. There are thousands of choices that you make within the Mass Effect series, and dozens of game paths you can travel down.
In the grand scheme of things, your character develops one of two personas: paragon or renegade. Paragon being the diplomatic, quick-witted, honorable soldier that is known of for his dignity and heroic acts, and renegade being the insolent antagonizer who is known for the fierce antics he uses to get the job done.
And that’s really just the problem with the possibility of a movie. Shepherd, the main character that you control, could be one of two very opposite personalities, or anywhere in between. Not only that, but players of the game are used to not just controlling Shepherd’s actions (like the average video), but also choosing the words he speaks during conversations.
The writers for Legendary Pictures have said that they’re aware that most movie adaptions of video games have failed, but they believe that this movie will be different due to Mass Effect’s immersive and intriguing story. I think that’s the very reason the movie will be a pretty big disappointment to fans.
Anyway, assuming there is a movie, you’d better get caught up by playing the games. Follow the links for the images below to purchase the series from Amazon.com: