Friday, September 28, 2007

LSU Hurricane Katrina Giveback

LSU Tigers' special uniforms for the Tulane game in New Orleans - 2007

LSU Kicker Colt David scores his first career touchdown after a brilliant Fake FG!

LSU's Darry Beckwith scores a sack against the South Carolina Gamecocks

Louisiana Superdome - New Orleans, LA - The LSU Tigers' home away from home

BATON ROUGE -- The LSU Tigers will wear special uniforms for its game against Tulane on Saturday as part of an effort to assist the Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts in New Orleans.

The uniforms will feature purple jerseys with a special emblem emblazoned on the shoulders, with white helmets and white pants.

All merchandise is available online at LSUshop.net or at the LSU Athletics Gift Center.

Nike has introduced a set of limited edition jerseys and other apparel with part of the proceeds from sales earmarked for assisting the youth of New Orleans. Worn by both teams, the uniforms will feature a special pelican emblem designed by Nike. The Pelican emblem is a tribute to the state bird and stylistically resembles the Phoenix, a symbol of the City’s rebirth. The emblem will be one of several new additions to Nike’s LSU and Tulane products, which will be on sale at the game and in select retail locations throughout the US. Proceeds from the sale of this product will go towards Nike’s Let Me Play New Orleans fund to help rebuild New Orleans through Sport.

“It’s a wonderful thing for Nike to step up and show the want and desire to sponsor this game and to get behind an event that will bring a great deal of attention to an area that was so adversely affected by Hurricane Katrina,” LSU coach Les Miles said. “This is just another example of Nike’s commitment to the people, especially the youth, of New Orleans and surrounding areas as they continue to rebuild this wonderful city.

“We are excited and honored to be a part of this game and to do our part in continuing to raise awareness of the work that still remains in helping restore New Orleans.”

Nike has announced plans to expand their long-term commitment to New Orleans youth with a series of projects including ReUse-A-Shoe drives, Nike Grind court donations and limited-edition product sales in partnership with the Greater New Orleans Foundation.

Events will begin Sept. 29 at the LSU/Tulane college football game in the New Orleans Superdome where Nike will introduce limited edition jerseys.

Check out the article at LSU Sports.

Looks like we'll be sporting some funky lookin' uniforms in our first game at the Louisiana Superdome this season... we'll be back to the usual uniforms for our next trip to the Superdome, in January! I wonder if the USC Prophylactics... er, Trojans will be able to make it that far. I'm sure they won't have any problems, what with the lineup of cupcakes they have all year. Anyway...

I think Nike is doing a good thing and all, but I have to question the amount of money that will be donated to the Katrina fund... one dollar per item sold. That's $1 donated for every $80 jersey sold. WTF?!? I can see donating $1 from the sale of a $20 hat, but an $80 jersey? They can't do better than that? I would do better to just buy the normal (better looking) $60 jersey and donate $20 to the Katrina fund out of my own pocket!

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Sky is Falling!

Earth Impact Event

Peru Meteorite Crater

Barringer Meteor Crater - Arizona

On what started as a normal mid-August Saturday night, residents of a small, remote Peruvian town saw a bright light streak across the sky, heard a resounding bang and suddenly found themselves at the center of a media frenzy.

Initial suspicions of an airplane crash quickly spiraled into widespread reports that a meteorite had plummeted to Earth and left a smoking, boiling crater whose supposedly noxious fumes were reported to have sickened curious locals who went to peer at the hole.

Geologists doubted that the crater was actually caused by a meteorite, and firm explanations were offered that a meteorite would not even emit fumes and that the "sickness" was likely a case of mass hysteria.

Nevertheless, onlookers far and wide were fascinated by the idea that this event could be a real-life "Andromeda Strain," after the 1969 novel by Michael Crichton in which a mysterious rock from outer space carries a lethal microbe that kills nearly everyone infected by it.

So what is it about things falling from the sky that fills us with such fear that we make ourselves sick with panic?

Mass Hysteria

Media reports of the number of locals afflicted by a "mysterious disease" — with symptoms such as nausea, headaches and sore throats — after visiting the crater figured in every news article about the Aug. 15 event, with some reporting that as many as 600 people had fallen ill.

But doctors who visited the site told the Associated Press they found no evidence that the crater had actually sickened such a large number of people.

If noxious fumes did emanate from the crater, they were most likely the result of a hydrothermal explosion that could have actually formed the crater, or were released from the ground if and when the meteorite struck, according to many geologists.

Arsenic is found in the subsoil in that area of Peru and often contaminates the drinking water there, according to Peruvian geologists quoted on Sept. 21 by National Geographic News.

Arsenic fumes released from the crater could have sickened locals who went to look, said one geologist who examined the site.

Some health officials suggest instead that the symptoms described by the locals, the large number of people reporting those symptoms and the apparently rapid spread have all the hallmarks of a case of mass hysteria.

"The Peruvian event seems to be a rare case where we may be witnessing collective anxiety that is approaching near hysteria," said Benny Peiser, a social anthropologist at Liverpool John Moores University in England. "The major[ity] of the affected Peruvian town hinted that some of the mass anxiety is due to fear of imminent impacts and psychological stress, which is not surprising given the premature speculation and media hype."

Fear of Outer Space

Fear of a meteorite impact is nothing new — humans have long looked to the heavens with a wary eye.

"The fear of cosmic disaster, in particular cometary impacts, has existed in all cultures for millennia," Peiser told SPACE.com

But the space age revealed just how many dangers, including comets, meteors, asteroids and cosmic rays, await us in the final frontier.

"Only since the late 20th century, humankind has become aware of the risk posed by asteroids and comets," Peiser said. "Unfortunately, this risk has been wildly exaggerated by popular culture."

Our curiosity and fear of impact events has increased their coverage by the world media, Peiser says, which in turn has increased the number of meteorite impact reports, even when the evidence doesn't point that way.

While this fear is normal and understandable, it's been blown out of proportion so that the public thinks that impact risks are higher than they are, Peiser argues.

"Most people are simply not aware that we are making enormous progress in finding and identifying the population of Near Earth Objects and that the impact risk is thus diminishing year by year," Peiser said.

When meteorites have struck, they have never carried any hint of some mysterious space disease.

So much for the Andromeda Strain.

Check out the article at Fox News.

LOL! The Peruvian Chicken Little: "The sky is falling, the sky is falling... I think I'm coming down with something!"

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Welcome to Tiger Stadium, Gamecocks!

LSU Tigers vs South Carolina Gamecocks

LSU Tiger Stadium

LSU's Live Mascot Mike the Tiger VI

BATON ROUGE -- Quarterback Matt Flynn continues to make progress as second-ranked LSU hit the midway point in its preparations for 12th-ranked South Carolina with a workout in full pads here Wednesday at the Charles McClendon Practice Facility.

The Tigers and Gamecocks square off at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday in a sold out Tiger Stadium. The game will be televised nationally by CBS.

LSU brings a 3-0 overall mark into the game following last week’s 44-0 win over Middle Tennessee. Dating back to last season, LSU has won 10 straight games and the Tigers bring a streak of 15 straight victories in Tiger Stadium into Saturday’s contest.

South Carolina is also 3-0 after its 38-3 win over South Carolina State a week ago. This will be the first time LSU coach Les Miles has gone against a Steve Spurrier-coached team.

“It was a good Wednesday practice,” Miles said. “It was encouraging to see (Matt) Flynn out there. He looked really good. I am looking forward to South Carolina. I like the way we practiced today. Our guys practiced hard. As long as they continue to do that, they’ll get better. It will show on Saturday.”

Miles didn’t say whether or not Flynn would start on Saturday against the Gamecocks, but all indications are the fifth-year senior will see plenty of action. Flynn sat out last week’s contest against Middle Tennessee with an injury.

Sophomore Ryan Perrilloux started in place of Flynn last week and connected on 20-of-25 passes for 298 yards and three scores in the victory over the Blue Raiders.

“He (Matt Flynn) looked very positive today, considering it is Wednesday,” Miles said. “He could have played last week, but he’s much closer to 100 percent at this point on Wednesday than he was at anytime last week.”

Miles added that senior offensive guard Will Arnold (viral infection) will miss Saturday’s game and it’s possible that the Tigers could be without the services of senior wide receiver/return specialist Early Doucet. Both players missed last week’s game.

Saturday’s contest is the annual “Gold Game” in Tiger Stadium and fans are asked to wear gold to the game.

Check out the article at LSU Sports.

Looks like tomorrow's match-up, "The Visor vs. The Hat," is gonna be a wet one! Keep it tuned to LSU Sports for info regarding game delays. Otherwise, enjoy the stomping!!!

Geaux Tigers... Eat Mor Chikin'!!!

Update September 22: The Tigers played a good game, but this fake field goal play really stands out... check out the replay at the :25 mark of the video:

OWNED!!!

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Lunar Ark - A Sanctuary for Civilization

The Sanctuary for Civilization

The Moon - Destination of the Lunar Ark

Lunar Ark - The Sanctuary for Civilization

The moon should be developed as a sanctuary for civilization in case of a cataclysmic cosmic impact, according to an international team of experts.

NASA already has blueprints to create a permanent lunar outpost by the 2020s.

But that plan should be expanded to include a way to preserve humanity's learning, culture, and technology if Earth is hit by a doomsday asteroid or comet, said Jim Burke of International Space University (ISU) in France.

An impact of the size that wiped out the dinosaurs hasn't happened since long before the rise of humans, he pointed out.

Yet scientists' expanding knowledge of asteroids and craters left throughout the solar system has created a consensus that Earth remains vulnerable to a civilization-crushing collision.

This calls for the creation of a space age Noah's ark, Burke said.

Lunar Ark

Humans are just beginning to send trinkets of technology and culture into space. NASA's recently launched Phoenix Mars Lander, for example, carries a mini-disc inscribed with stories, art, and music about Mars.

The Phoenix lander is a "precursor mission" in a decades-long project to transplant the essentials of humanity onto the moon and eventually Mars.

The International Space University team is now on a more ambitious mission: to start building a "lunar biological and historical archive," initially through robotic landings on the moon.

Laying the foundation for "rebuilding the terrestrial Internet, plus an Earth-moon extension of it, should be a priority," Burke said.

The founders of the group Alliance to Rescue Civilization (ARC) agreed that extending the Internet from the Earth to the moon could help avert a technological dark age following "nuclear war, acts of terrorism, plague, or asteroid collisions."

But the group also advocates creating a moon-based repository of Earth's life, complete with human-staffed facilities to "preserve backups of scientific and cultural achievements and of the species important to our civilization," said ARC's Robert Shapiro, a biochemist at New York University.

"In the event of a global catastrophe, the ARC facilities will be prepared to reintroduce lost technology, art, history, crops, livestock, and, if necessary, even human beings to the Earth," Shapiro said.

"The establishment of an ARC sanctuary would for the first time provide a compelling purpose for the colonization of space."

If the international lunar outpost of the 2020s expands into a colony and then a city, "it is possible that a whole new phase in civilization may develop—the branching of history into one stream on Earth and another on the moon," ISU's Burke added.

This "dual-world expansion" could be within reach by the end of this century, he said.

"Look at the last century, when we went from the Wright brothers to the Apollo missions—along with man's great expansion of his understanding of the cosmos."

Check out the article at National Geographic News.

What an exciting venture! I think that it's an excellent contingency plan for the preservation of our civilization... and yet another justification for the space program!

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Never Forget

Never Forget 9-11

NEW YORK — Mourners across the country bowed their heads in silence Tuesday to mark the moments exactly six years earlier when hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field. The dreary skies created a grim backdrop, and a sharp contrast to the clear blue of that morning in 2001.

"That day we felt isolated, but not for long and not from each other," New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said as the first ceremony began. "Six years have passed, and our place is still by your side."

Construction equipment now fills the vast city block where the World Trade Center once stood. The work under way for four new towers forced the ceremony's move away from the twin towers' footprints and into a nearby park for the first time.

As people clutched framed photos of their lost loved ones, Kathleen Mullen, whose niece Kathleen Casey died in the attacks, said the park was close enough.

On this sixth anniversary, presidential politics and the health of ground zero workers loomed, perhaps more than any other.

The firefighters and first responders who helped rescue thousands that day in 2001 and later recovered the dead were to read the victims' names for the first time. Many of those rescuers are now ill with respiratory problems and cancers themselves, and they blame the illnesses on exposure to the fallen towers' toxic dust.

For the first time, the name of a victim who survived that towers' collapse but died five months later of lung disease blamed on the dust she inhaled was added to the official roll.

Felicia Dunn-Jones, an attorney, was working a block from the World Trade Center. She became the 2,974th victim linked to the four crashes of the hijacked airliners in New York, the Pentagon and a field near Shanksville, Pa., where federal investigators say the passengers of United Airlines Flight 93 fought the hijackers on the rallying cry "Let's roll!"

A memorial honoring Flight 93's 40 passengers and crew began at 9:45 a.m., shortly before the time the airliner nosedived into the empty field.

"As American citizens, we're all looking at our heroes," said Kay Roy, whose sister Colleen Fraser, of Elizabeth, N.J., died when the plane went down.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff also spoke to the mourners, telling them: "You have my promise that we will continue to work every single day to protect the people of this country, all in the name of those who perished heroically on Flight 93."

In New York, drums and bagpipes played as an American flag saved from the collapse was carried toward a stage.

Firefighters shared the platform with former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who many victims' families and firefighters had said shouldn't speak at the service to keep from politicizing it.

Giuliani has made his performance after the 2001 terrorist attacks the cornerstone of his presidential campaign, but the Republican has said his desire to be there Tuesday was entirely personal.

"It was a day with no answers, but with an unending line of people who came forward to help one another," he told those gathered.

In Washington, President Bush paused for a moment of silence outside the White House, while Gen. Peter Pace spoke beside the Pentagon wall where one of the hijacked planes broke through.

Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the victims' families that their loved ones will always be remembered.

"I do not know the proper words to tell you what's in my heart, what is in our hearts, what your fellow citizens are thinking today. We certainly hope that somehow these observances will help lessen your pain," he said.

Pace also spoke of the military, calling the anniversary "a day of recommitment." At the main U.S. base at Afghanistan, service members bowed their heads in memory of the victims.

National intelligence director Mike McConnell said U.S. authorities remain vigilant and concerned about "sleeper cells" of would-be terrorists inside the United States. "We're safer but we're not safe," McConnell said on ABC's "Good Morning America."

Even though the World Trade Center ceremony gathering was moved out of ground zero, an estimate 3,500 family members descended briefly into the site to lay flowers near the twin towers' footprints.

Among the first family members down the ramp was Marjorie Miller, whose late husband Joel worked at Marsh & McLennan. She said the rain was almost welcome after five consecutive years of Sept. 11 sunshine.

"A lot of tears coming down from up there," she said, gesturing toward the sky, "and a lot of tears down here."

In all, 2,974 victims were killed by the Sept. 11 attacks: 2,750 connected to the World Trade Center, 40 in Pennsylvania and 184 at the Pentagon. Those numbers do not include the 19 hijackers.

Check out the article at Fox News.

Never forget what they did to us on that terrible day in 2001. If it weren't for our troops fighting overseas right now, we would probably have already been reminded of their hatred for us. But, I guess that is something that the anti-war crowd will never realize until it is far too late.

For more 911 images, check out my Never Forget 911 blog post from last year.

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Friday, September 07, 2007

LSU in the National Spotlight

LSU Tiger Stadium and PMAC

LSU Strong Safety Craig Steltz

LSU Quarterback Matt Flynn

LSU Fullback Jacob Hester

BATON ROUGE -- The college football spotlight will be focused on Tiger Stadium this weekend as second-ranked LSU hosts ninth-ranked Virginia Tech in what is considered one of this year’s top non-conference matchups.

Kickoff for the Tigers and the Hokies is set for 8:22 p.m. in a sold out Tiger Stadium. The game will be televised to a national audience by ESPN. LSU is 1-0 following a 45-0 season-opening win over Mississippi State on Aug. 30, while the Hokies beat East Carolina, 17-7, in their first game of the year.

Close to 500 media credentials have been issued for this Saturday’s contest between the Tigers and Hokies in what will only be the third time a pair of top 10 teams will square off in a non-conference game in Tiger Stadium.

It will mark only the second-ever meeting between the two schools. Virginia Tech posted a 26-8 win over LSU to open the 2002 season.

The last time a pair of top 10 teams battled in a non-conference game in Tiger Stadium came in 1987 when then-No. 4 LSU and No. 7 Ohio State fought to a 13-13. The other time came in 1959 when No. 1 LSU posted a 10-0 win over No. 9 TCU.

In addition to the national telecast, ESPN’s College Gameday, featuring Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso and Desmond Howard, will originate from the parade grounds on the LSU campus starting at 9 a.m. It marks the fifth appearance for the popular college football show in Baton Rouge, and first since the 2004 season opener against Oregon State.

Among the highlights of this week’s ESPN’s College Gameday show will be a feature on LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey and how he overcame having to wear braces on his legs as a 3-year old to becoming one of college football’s most dominating defenders.

ESPN’s Steve Cyphers produced the piece, which includes interviews with Dorsey, LSU head coach Les Miles, LSU defensive coordinator Bo Pelini and Glenn’s mom, Sandra.

Joining ESPN’s College Gameday on the LSU campus this weekend is that of College Gameday Radio, which will also broadcast from the parade grounds. The radio broadcast starts at 11 a.m. and runs until 6 p.m.

Other national media converging on Tiger Stadium on Saturday night to cover the Tigers and the Hokies include: USA Today, Sports Illustrated, SI.com, the New York Times, the Washington Post, CBS Sportsline.com, Rivals.com, the New York Post, the Sporting News as well as Westwood One Radio.

Check out the article at LSU Sports.

Tiger Stadium is gonna be on fire by the time kickoff rolls around! Just imagine the seasoned tailgaters getting an early start for ESPN's College Gameday, then continuing on throughout the day until a late kickoff. I hope those Hokies know sign language.

If you missed last week's game, you have to check out this huge hit by Brandon LaFell:

SWEET... GEAUX TIGERS!!!

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Spaceport America

Spaceport America - Flight at Dawn

Spaceport America - Inside the Terminal

Spaceport America - Cutaway View

GOLDEN, Colorado -- Architectural and engineering teams have begun shaping the look and feel of New Mexico's Spaceport America, taking the wraps off new images today that showcase the curb appeal of the sprawling main terminal and hangar at the futuristic facility.

Last month, a team of U.S. and British architects and designers had been recommended for award to design the primary terminal and hangar facility at Spaceport America - structures that symbolize the world's first purpose-built commercial spaceport.

When the 100,000 square-foot (9,290 square-meter) facility is completed -- the centerpiece of the world's first, purpose-built, commercial spaceport -- the structures will serve as the primary operating base for Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic suborbital spaceliner, and also as the headquarters for the New Mexico Spaceport Authority.

The terminal and hangar facility will also provide room for aircraft and spacecraft, and Virgin Galactic's operations facilities, including pre-flight and post-flight facilities, administrative offices, and lounges. The spacious maintenance hangar can hold two White Knight Two carrier aircraft and five SpaceShipTwo spaceliners - vessels now under construction at Scaled Composites in Mojave, California.

Destination experience

The terminal and hangar facility are projected to cost about $31 million, and will provide a "Destination Experience" for visitors to Spaceport America. Virgin Galactic intends to sign a 20-year lease for approximately 84,000 square feet (7,803 square meters) in the building.

"The URS/Foster team presented us with a concept that blends sensitivity to the environment, cutting-edge technology and a stunning image and shape when viewed from high above," noted Kelly O'Donnell, chair of the New Mexico Spaceport Authority in a press statement last month.

The design chosen is a low-lying, striking bit of construction that uses natural earth as a berm, and relies on passive energy for heating and cooling, with photovoltaic panels for electricity and water recycling capabilities. A rolling concrete shell acts as a roof with massive windows opening to a view of the runway and spacecraft.

According to a press statement, the low-lying, organic shape resembles a rise in the landscape, and will use local materials and regional construction techniques.

"A careful balance between accessibility and privacy is achieved, as visitors and astronauts enter the building through a deep channel cut in the landscape," the statement noted. "The walls will form an exhibition area leading to a galleried level above the hangar that houses the spacecraft and on through to the terminal building. Natural light enters via skylights, with a glazed façade reserved for the terminal building, establishing a platform for spectacular views onto the runway."

Construction on the 100,000 square-foot hangar and terminal facility is scheduled to begin in 2008.

Check out the article at Space.com.

WOW... I can't wait to check this place out when it's finished! I think I'll take a wait-and-see attitude when it comes to space tourism. I'd like to have a destination other than "fly into space, enjoy the view and float around for a few minutes, fly home." Maybe these guys need to build a space station resort as the destination, then I'll go.

Be sure to check out the official Spaceport American website!

Also check out the Future of Flight feature at Space.com... interesting stuff!

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