NASA No Longer Allowed to do work relevant to Earth?

From Aero-News Network

Has NASA Given Up On Planet Earth?

This just in — NASA is no longer in the business of protecting our planet.
For the first time since 2002, NASA’s mission statement makes no mention of
the planet Earth.

The New York Times reports that for the past four years, NASA’s mission
statement read, “To understand and protect our home planet; to explore the
universe and search for life; to inspire the next generation of
explorers… as only NASA can.”

Since early February, however, NASA’s mission statement — placed on all
its budget and planning documents — now reads “to pioneer the future in
space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics research.”

No mention is made of exploring… or protecting… terra firma.

NASA spokesman David E. Steitz told the Times the change was made to bring
NASA’s stated goals in line with President Bush’s aim for manned
spaceflight to the moon and Mars — but that explanation isn’t sitting well
with many NASA scientists, who fear the omission means NASA is no longer
concerned with projects dealing with such global issues as climate change,
and greenhouse emissions.

“We refer to the mission statement in all our research proposals that go
out for peer review, whenever we have strategy meetings,” said 25-year NASA
veteran Philip B. Russell, an atmospheric chemist at the Ames Research
Center in Moffett Field, CA. “As civil servants, we’re paid to carry out
NASA’s mission. When there was that very easy-to-understand statement that
our job is to protect the planet, that made it much easier to justify this
kind of work.”

Furthermore, NASA researchers say the change was made without consulting
the agency’s 19,000 employees — an issue Stietz attributed to NASA
administrator Michael Griffin’s “headquarters-down” style of management.
[more though the link]

FYI, Tom Tomorrow cartoon archive:


Conform – or the state will take your kids away.

Some of you have heard about Reverend Magdalene of the Church of the Subgenius – a perfomrance artist – burner type who is in the middle of a custody battle – basically because a bitter ex is using her status as a freak/artist/burnertype against her in a court of law – and the profoundly unhip legal system really seems to think she’s satanically abusing her child or some such bs.

The message: Conform or we will take your kids away.

It’s a really sick story which you can read up on here:

They are requesting help with legal costs at this point which are in excess of $50,000.

For your donation you get this lovely t-shirt — read the story and you will understand the t-shirt.

It’s a good cause if you have any spare ducats. The story is really f-ed up.

Please pass this on to any friendly freaks you know.


More memories of Dermot Grogan



From John Casey,


Subject: Fw: Dermot Grogan in the Irish Post

Fellas, I noted this online from the Irish Post which is on the
same website as the Irish Voice. I don't know how often the Irish
Post is published in England but it was carried in the latest
e-newsletter from Irishabroad which hosts both newspapers on the


Death of a legend THE WORLD of traditional Irish music is mourning the death of Dermot Grogan from Kilkelly in Co. Mayo.

The outstanding accordion and flute-player was one of the most
highly-regarded traditional Irish musicians in the country. Although
only a young man Dermot was truly a legend in traditional music
circles. Born into a musical family his late father Darby was a fine
flute-player and it was he who taught Dermot and his sister and
brothers their first tunes. Through meeting and playing with many of
the older generation they quickly picked up the traditional style of
music associated with their native part of East Mayo and adjoining
parts of counties Sligo and Roscommon.

Throughthe late 1970s and 1980s when emigration was a way of life Dermot like
so many of his contemporaries had to leave Ireland to find empoyment.He
worked on many construction and tunnelling projects by day, mostly in
and around the Manchester area. By night his music brought a welcome
reminder of home to his fellow countrymen,and his regular music venues
included The Clarence and The Gardener's Arms, both in Rusholme.

In the early 1990s he moved to London where he played in a number of
musical combinations at various gigs mostly in the north-west London
area including ¡ras na Gael in Queen's Park, The Good Mixer and Nag's
Head in Camden Town, The Fiddler's Elbow in Kentish Town; and
Mary Murphy's on Chalk Farm Road. In the mid-1990s he moved to America
and soon became the mainstay of a number of gigs and sessions in the
New York and New Jersey area. His arrival there brought a breath of
fresh air to the musical scene and musicians of every age and ability
looked him up to. Fellow family member Paul Waldron said: "They say all
great music has a tinge of sadness to it and this was true of
Dermot Grogan's music." He had the gift of being able to play music
that was both joyful and lonesome at the same time. While best known
as an accordion and flute player Dermot also played the fiddle very
well. He had the gift of making a good tune better through his tasteful
and understated finger-work, his steady control of the bellows, his
measured use of the bass and his understanding of phrasing and timing
that brought out the music in every tune he played. Though it might
not be well known he was a nice singer as well and his sensitive
interpretation of Irish ballads made it obvious he was a natural
musician. Fame and fortune were never important to Dermot and because
of this he leaves behind very few commercial recordings. Hopefully
through other recordings made down the years that music that he made
his own and that he shared so generously will live on.

Dermot's death is deeply regretted by his mother Bridget, partner Sheila, sister
Bridie, brothers John and Michael, brother-in-law John, nephew Joseph,
relatives and a large circle of friends including the worldwide traditional music fraternity.



Nicely said.

We’re #1

A lot of times that’s not such a good thing.


E.P.A. WARNS OF CITY’S AIR QUALITY People who live near congested highways and in large cities like New York face an increased risk of getting cancer from air pollution, according to a national study by the Environmental Protection Agency. The study was based on 1999 data, the most recent year available, and covers 177 toxins. But the study was criticized for excluding dioxins and the parts of diesel exhaust that are believed to cause cancer.


Daily News:

An airing for N.Y. pollution

You might want to breath carefully: The polluted air in New York State is the deadliest in the nation, federal officials said yesterday.

Data show dirty air puts New Yorkers – especially people in New York City – at the greatest risk of getting cancer, the Environmental Protection Agency warned.



March 23, 2006 — Here’s something to fume about: All of our cars, buses, trucks and construction equipment are helping to put New York atop the list of cities with the worst air pollution, new federal data show.

New Yorkers are roughly 60 percent more likely to get cancer from air pollutants than people nationwide – and Big Apple folks might want to reach for oxygen masks.

Manhattanites are especially at risk: They’re three times likelier than the national average to get cancer by breathing the air.


WASHINGTON (AP) – When it comes to dirty, cancer-causing air, New York City is the worst of the worst: the city with the greatest risk, in the state with the dirtiest air, according to data from the Environmental Protection Agency.

New York is followed by California, Oregon, Washington, D.C., and New Jersey for the dubious distinction of having the worst air, according to the EPA’s data. The best air was in Wyoming, South Dakota, and Montana.

An organization in the area working on these issuse: Inform, Inc.

A Natural History of Peace – monkey see, monkey do

As some of you have figured out I have a thing for primates, including us as primates. I am proud to say I am a great ape. (Actually, I’m a really great ape if I do say so myself.) My thing mainly is about how close we are as a species and that sense of recognition I feel when I look into the eyes of a great ape or monkey. It’s also fascinating to me that our closest ape relative is the bonobo – who is a very special ape, indeed. It’s also about our destruction of their habitat. The great apes especially will not be with us much longer without intervention on their behalf.

I am fascintated with the ways evolutionary biology is put in the service of pessimistic views of ‘human’ nature. I never trusted it and now I am happy to report that on many fronts primatology supports a more optimistic view of our potential(s).

Here is the best article yet, I’ve seen on the topic.

Summary: Humans like to think that they are unique, but the study of other primates has called into question the exceptionalism of our species. So what does primatology have to say about war and peace? Contrary to what was believed just a few decades ago, humans are not “killer apes” destined for violent conflict, but can make their own history.

Foreign Affairs: A Natural History of Peace

Robert M. Sapolsky is John A. and Cynthia Fry Gunn Professor of Biological Sciences and Professor of Neurology and Neurological Sciences at Stanford University. His most recent book is “Monkeyluv: And Other Essays on Our Lives as Animals.”

Did anyone else break out in serious tears at the end of King Kong? I know, I know – more than one of you left the theater when the three T-Rex kung-fu fight broke out… someone really needs to tell the army of CGI geeks to lay off the bong.

A tribute to another great player

A flash tribute to a great player by FLYboy
A bit more about him

What other’s have said:

“…intense and often very moving.”
Scotland on Sunday

“An absorbing reconciliation of the raw and the cooked.”
The Independent

“If Grit tempts just one techno fan to explore the treasures of traditional music, Bennett will have performed a welcome service.”

“I really can’t recommend this album enough, not only for its genre-defying vision, but also for the strength and courage of its maker. You are unlikely to hear a more powerful and passionate disc this year – in any genre.”
Rough Guides

“This is the kick in the pants Celtic music has needed for the new millenium.”
21st Century

“What can I say, Martyn Bennett keeps getting better and better.”

“Highlight of Saturday night, nay, highlight of the weekend – nay, quite the most thrilling thing I’ve seen at Cambridge for years.”

“Pitting big beats, techno and drum n bass against traditional Celtic influences, Martyn Bennett’s latest masterwork is a forceful collision of urban and rural culture.”
The Independent

“Bennett and his collaborators succeed, infusing their creation with an intoxicating magic and frantic abandon.”
Time Out