Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The Gigapxl Project

click on photos below for high detail
Angel's Window - Grand Canyon

San Diego, California

Space Shuttle Discovery

Rio Grande Gorge Bridge

San Francisco, California

Devil's Tower - Wyoming

Graham Flint is the sort of man who uses the structural bracing of a nuclear reactor's safety door as a camera stand. The bracing secures his camera casing to the inside of his minivan and is indicative of the precision and focus with which he approaches all aspects of his life, none more so than his current and most ambitious project: a 1,000-shot survey of America at the dawn of the 21st century, his Portrait of America, taken with the camera he designed and built, the highest-resolution landscape camera ever created.

Flint knows that he may already have devised something more profound than a crisper image. He tells the story of how the 19th-century photographer Eadweard Muybridge—who famously showed that all four of a galloping horse's hooves are off the ground at the same time—used his camera as a scientist would. "He's somebody who used photography to create an image that was both startling and different and gave people an understanding that they didn't have before," Flint says. "We're trying to take images that people have photographed thousands of times and give people a whole new perspective of those scenes." Despite Flint's own protestations to the contrary, perhaps the 21st century has found Muybridge's corollary: the scientist who uses his camera as an artist.

Check out the article and slideshow at Popular Science.

Visit the Gigapxl Project website.

This is completely amazing! Check out the photos in their Image Gallery! The resolution is so high on these photos, that you can see paintings on the wall inside of apartments in a skyline shot! If you check out the Angel's Window shot (top photo above), you can make out details of the people looking down from the overlook and even the chain-link fence! Unbelievable!!!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Mining the Moon

Mining the Moon

Crashing Moon screenshot from The Time Machine
screenshot from The Time Machine

Before NASA sends astronauts to live on the moon in 2020, per presidential mandate, the agency must first figure out what resources the lunar neighborhood has to offer. Are there stores of ice that could be melted and processed to provide oxygen to breathe and hydrogen for rocket fuel? Or is the potential fuel locked up inside rocks? To find out, NASA has a simple yet ingenious plan, set to launch in 2008: Slam two chunks of steel into a crater near the moon’s southern pole and study what flies out. Of top interest is hydrogen, discovered beneath the soil during previous missions. The key here, says NASA investigator Anthony Colaprete, is that scientists will finally learn how the hydrogen is stored—in ice, minerals or as free protons in the lunar soil. This information, he explains, “will tell us which way we need to go in terms of the technology for extracting it.”

Launch this slideshow to see how LCROSS will bring NASA one step closer to its lunar home away from home.

Check out the article and video at Popular Science.

I wonder if they've seen The Time Machine! In the movie, humans miscalculated the impact of demolitions during the colonization of the moon... throwing the orbit off and sending it crashing down on us, nearly rendering mankind extinct.

I hope NASA knows what they're doing!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Gonzales, LA - Nazi Police force?

Nazi SS Troopers - WWII

A Baton Rouge man has filed a civil rights lawsuit in U.S. District Court against the Gonzales Police Department, the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office and five Gonzales police officers.

In the lawsuit, Mark Edward Marchiafava claims he was the victim of false arrest, false imprisonment, assault and battery and unlawful seizure of property.

Marchiafava said Friday afternoon that on Jan. 28 he was in the parking lot at the Tanger Outlet Mall in Gonzales and was wearing an unconcealed blue-steel .357-caliber Magnum in a holster on his right hip.

A Gonzales police officer asked Marchiafava why he was carrying a gun and asked for Marchiafava’s driver’s license. The lawsuit, filed Wednesday, alleges that the officer checked Marchiafava’s license for violations and returned it. Marchiafava claims that he left as a passenger in a vehicle driven by a friend along with his adult daughter and a child.

According to the lawsuit, as the vehicle Marchiafava was riding in approached the exit at La. 44, an unmarked Gonzales police unit and four marked police units forced the vehicle onto the median. Five officers surrounded the vehicle and at least one of the officers drew a weapon and aimed it at Marchiafava, the lawsuit says.

Marchiafava claims he was arrested and taken to the Gonzales police station where he was shackled to a wall.

He was booked into the Ascension Parish Prison in Donaldsonville on a count of illegal carrying of a weapon. He posted the $200 bail within a few hours and was released.

Marchiafava, in his lawsuit, claims his constitutional rights under the Second, Fourth and 14th amendments were violated.

Marchiafava said Friday he also carries a gun for protection. “If you ever need one (a gun), you don’t have time to run home or run to your car,” he said.

Gonzales Police Chief Bill Landry declined to comment Friday afternoon.

Check out the article at The Advocate.

Now, let's hear the story in Marchiafava's own words:

After meeting my youngest daughter, Christie, and my adopted daughter, Kelly, along with Kelly’s 2 year old daughter, Isabella, Kelly drove us to Gonzales, La. to visit my oldest daughter, Michelle. Needing to pick up something, I asked Kelly to drive into Tanger Factory Outlet. She dropped me off in front of the store, I ran in and out in less than 2 minutes while Kelly circled the parking lot.

While waiting to check out, I noticed an older guy standing right outside, staring intently at me. I KNEW he was either an off duty cop or he had just CALLED the cops on me. Yes, I WAS openly carrying a gun, which is quite legal in Louisiana. The state constitution CLEARLY states so. It does, however, retain the right by the state to regulate concealed carry, something that doesn’t come into play here.

Sure enough, as I was paying, a Gonzales police car came cruising by slowly. After exiting the store with my purchase, I got into Kelly’s car and within seconds, the cop turned on his lights and blipped his siren. Kelly exited and the cop told her it was ME he wanted to talk to.

Carefully, I approached officer Rome, and he asked why I was wearing a gun. After telling him EVERY citizen had that right, he just stood there, speechless.

I asked if he was aware of that, but STILL there was no answer.

It took THREE further queries before he finally answered, “No, I didn’t know that.”

Seemingly satisfied, he handed my driver’s license back to me, and I heard him tell headquarters to print him out a copy of my driver’s license info. At that point, I knew “they” were about to do “something.” I got back into Kelly’s car, not wanting to alarm them.

Sure enough, as soon as we exited the center’s parking lot, FOUR Gonzales cop cars swooped in and, in true TV cop fashion, with guns drawn and lots of loud shouting.

I slowly exited the car, hands away from my side. Yes, I was roughly handcuffed to the point of having red marks on both wrists 3 hours later. I was transported to Gonzales Police headquarters. There, Officer David Breaux was trying to figure out just what to charge me with. Since he was holding Louisiana revised statutes, title 14 (criminal code) in his hands, I suggested he read 14:95, “Illegal carrying of weapons,” which he did.

I tried, in vain, to explain to him there is nothing in the entire book which prohibits anyone from openly carrying a weapon in Louisiana.

His response: “Tell it to the judge.”

Another “officer,” Billiot, transported me across the Mississippi river to the jail in Donaldsonville. On the ride over, I tried to explain to HIM what the law states and the rights of any citizen.

He said, and I quote, “I don’t care what the laws or the Supreme Court say. WE are NOT going to have people running around, wearing guns, with women and children everywhere.”

I was fingerprinted, photographed and released on a $200.00 bond. Yes, all this for a MISDEMEANOR and a $200.00 bond.

District Attorney, Tony Falterman, obtained a copy of the arrest report and, after reading it, dismissed the charge. According to his assistant, Melissa, "Mr. Falterman has read the report and considers it complete BS."

A local reporter, Steve Ward with the Advocate, contacted chief of police Bill Landy concerning my arrest. According to Steve, the chief stated "We have a policy of arresting anyone carrying a gun without a permit. We don't care what Mr. Falterman says or does."

I attempted to retrieve my gun, only to find out the Gonzales police department has a "policy" of sending all seized weapons to the state police crime lab for ballistics testing.

Check out the post at The Liberty Zone.

There are stories like this all over the country. Take this one for example, from Ohio.

Is America moving toward a Police State? Many, such as this website, say we are. I am not so inclined to believe that this is 100% the case, due to the recent law that Governor Kathleen "babble-on" Blanco signed.

However, if it is my legal right to carry a firearm openly, or concealed with a permit, then what the hell right do the police have to take away my weapon? I understand and agree with the temporary confiscation during a traffic stop for the officer's safety, but the weapon should be IMMEDIATELY returned after official business is concluded... at least, that's what THE LAW says is supposed to happen.

What kind of country do we live in when the very people who are sworn to protect us and our laws don't follow the law???

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Emergency Powers Protection Act

LA Governor Kathleen Blanco Signs NRA-Backed Law

Fairfax, VA - Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco has signed into law the National Rifle Association (NRA)-backed "Emergency Powers Protection Act" (HB 760). The new law prevents local governments from confiscating firearms during a state of emergency, as it happened in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.

"The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina became the proving ground for what American gun owners have always feared: the day that government bureaucrats throw the Bill of Rights in the trash and declare freedom to be whatever they say it is," said Wayne LaPierre, NRA Executive Vice President. "We promised to take measures to ensure that the Second Amendment is not another casualty during a declared emergency and today we are proud to deliver on that promise."

Days after Hurricane Katrina hit, then New Orleans Police Chief Eddie Compass issued an order to confiscate all firearms – including those from law-abiding residents. At a time when 9-1-1 was non-existent and law enforcement was stressed with search and rescue missions, the law-abiding citizens of New Orleans were left at the mercy of roving looters, robbers and thugs. This breakdown of civil order demonstrates that Americans’ rights to keep and bear arms are especially important during a state of emergency. This new law states that local governments will not be able to restrict law-abiding citizens’ use and transportation of firearms during declared emergencies.

"No matter what the circumstances, lawful gun owners have the right to possess their firearms in their homes. And if forced to evacuate, they have the right to transport their firearms to a safe place. Nobody has the right to disarm them. That’s what this legislation ensures."

Check out the article at

She finally does something I agree with! Way to go, Governor Blanco!!!

Monday, June 12, 2006

World Cup 2006

2006 World Cup - Munich, Germany

Olympiastadion - Berlin, Germany

Frankfurt, Germany

Adidas Teamgeist Soccer Ball

With the start of the 2006 World Cup in Munich, Germany - the teams from around the globe will be playing with what Adidas is hailing as the roundest soccer ball ever produced. The +Teamgeist (“team spirit”) ball was engineered with a “free-flowing” set of 14 pre-shaped panels—fewer than the traditional 32—resulting in a smoother, more consistently round surface that supposedly responds more accurately to the force of a kick. Adidas backs up this claim with its own experimental data, including tests with a robotic kicking machine that diligently shot the +Teamgeist against a wall a few hundred thousand times.

The changes are also being felt on the field. “It’s very goalkeeper unfriendly,” England’s keeper Paul Robinson told the Times. “It’s very light and moves a lot in the air.” Oddly enough, the ball is actually on the high end of FIFA’s maximum weight specifications, meaning this apparent lightness must be attributed to its new aerodynamic profile. And while the goalies don’t love the new ball, spectators will probably be hearing “goooaaaaaaal” a bit more often this year, making the transition for us Yanks, accustomed to watching the Phoenix Suns score 120+ points a game, a bit easier to take.

Check out the article at Popular Science.

Check out the World Cup 2006 Scoreboard. For World Cup 2006 News and Statistics, check out Fox Sports - Soccer.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Medusa Multicaliber Revolver

Medusa Multicaliber Revolver
How the Medusa works

The shooter in the bay next to mine watches skeptically as I load the conventional-looking revolver with an unusual array of ammunition: a .380 ACP, two 9mm Lugers, a .38 Special Plus-P and two .357 Magnums. He maintains a discreet distance as, with my right index finger outside the trigger guard, I raise the gun to chest level pointing down range, then close and lock the cylinder into the frame.

I cock the hammer with my right thumb and squeeze off the first round. Bright yellow appears at the edge of the dark black center ring of the target 50 ft. away. Even though the Medusa is a double-action pistol that will fire a single bullet with every pull of the trigger, I repeat the single-action process until all six rounds are spent–the final three higher-powered rounds accompanied by a satisfying kick not evident with the first three. More yellow spots appear in the black, nearer the center.

I reload the same mix of calibers, close the cylinder as before, and repeat the process using double-action. When I am finished, my skeptical observer steps up and says, "Pretty unique. Can I try that?" It's a scene that will be repeated many times before the range goes cold for the day.

Unique is exactly the way to describe the Medusa Model 47 revolver, a standard 6-shot revolver from Phillips & Rodgers that chambers, fires and extracts 25 different cartridges in the .38/9mm/.357 ammunition range. This multicaliber firearm is a long-sought solution to a problem worked on by Colt, Smith & Wesson, and other firearms builders for more than a century.

Check out the article at Popular Mechanics.

This is one cool invention! I gotta have one!

Friday, June 02, 2006

The National World War II Museum

National D-Day Museum Gets New Name
The National WWII Museum - New Orleans, LA

Iwo Jima Flag Raising - WWII

WWII D-Day Landings - Normandy, France

(New Orleans, LA) -- Congress has officially named the National D-Day Museum in New Orleans as the nation's World War Two museum. Today officials are announcing the museum's new name and mission based on that designation. The event is surrounded by significant fanfare, including the firing of World War Two-era howitzers at the museum in New Orleans warehouse district. Officials are also discussing a planned international conference on World War Two at the museum. It was previously postponed because of Hurricane Katrina.

Check out the article at Cox - Baton Rouge.

The National World War II Museum unveiled its $282 million expansion and Capital Campaign plan that will quadruple the size of the existing facility over the next five years. The expanded museum will cover all of the theaters and services that played a role in World War II and create a national center for research on the war. When completed in phases between 2005 and 2009, it will be a world-class cultural attraction in New Orleans that will dramatically increase visitation and have a powerful economic impact on the city and state.

Galleries and exhibits will include a U.S. Pavilion, Great Campaigns of the War, Mission and Services gallery, The Victory Pavillion, Liberation - Winning the Peace, and Fruits of Victory. They will also feature macro displays, including tanks, airplanes, jeeps and other vintage vehicles. A 400-seat theater will showcase original documentaries and history-themed films, with a signature film on World War II that will employ advanced format and immersion technologies. A USO-style canteen and restaurant with exhibit space, featuring Music of the War Years, will illustrate the importance of entertainment for the morale of troops and citizens alike. Interactive campaign galleries and virtual reality experiences will help immerse visitors in realistic learning experiences on land, sea and air.

Check out the feature at The National WWII Museum website.

Don't take this place for just another boring museum... it's an awesome experience!!! This is a great way to literally show our kids just what our fathers and grandfathers had to do to keep this world safe and free! I can't wait 'til the expansion is completed!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Golden Gate Security

WWII Machine Gun Nest found
in San Francisco National Park

Golden Gate Bridge - San Francisco, CA

The Japanese air raid on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, produced devastation in Hawaii -- and panic on the West Coast.

Anything seemed possible. The attack had come out of the Sunday morning sky without warning. What if Pearl Harbor was only the first target? What if the Japanese navy was off California ready to strike?

What if the Japanese battleships got past the big guns that were the key coastal defenses around San Francisco and the Golden Gate? What then?

The U.S. Army had an answer. On the night of Dec. 7, the Army assigned every available soldier at the Presidio of San Francisco to get to work digging slit trenches and field fortifications to stop a Japanese invasion.

Trenches were dug on the bluffs above the Golden Gate. Machine guns were sited to cover Baker Beach on the western edge of the city. If the Japanese came, we were ready.

Nearly 65 years went by, and the world changed. The Army is gone from the Golden Gate. The Presidio is part of a national park now. The other day, National Park Service crews clearing weeds and making surveys for a hiking trail above Baker Beach found some of the old wartime trenches and machine gun nests, still there, still ready for the invasion that never came.

The rangers were amazed. "It's hard to describe the experience,'' said Park Service historian Stephen Haller. "It's peeling back history.''

The Park Service doesn't want to reveal the exact location of these trenches until archaeologists can look at them and prepare them for public viewing. There are perhaps a dozen trenches, on the bluffs north of Baker Beach, behind "keep out'' signs.

The fear of those dark winter days in 1941 and 1942 seems nearly absurd now. The Japanese had no plans to invade and no fleet ready to mount an invasion -- a good thing, since the West Coast was defenseless. The Navy was out in the Pacific, and the Army was undermanned and unprepared. At one point in early 1942, Boy Scouts were sent to guard the Bay Bridge.

Check out the article at The San Francisco Chronicle.

It's amazing that these trenches could remain undiscovered and intact more than 60 years later!

In related articles, old WWII ordinance is continuing to be discovered in Europe. Check out Suspected WWII Bomb Causes River Traffic Near Liverpool and London City Airport Suspends Flights After WWII Bomb Discovered Nearby at Fox News.