HAMMERNEWS- Michael Hammerschlag

Current Political Commentary by journalist Michael Hammerschlag; Thoughts on foreign policy, Republican outrages, liberal strategies, science by 8 year correspondent in Russia/Ukraine over 22 years and longtime commentator; Website: http://HAMMERNEWS.com

Monday, November 03, 2014

CO2 400ppm, INTERNET LIVES, SUPREME SLEAZE, CONFEDERACY of DUNCES, IRAN + BEBE, ULTIMATE EVIL, SPOCK, MUTUALLY ASSURED DESTRUCTION, DBALTSEVE MASSACRE, DOC FilmFEST, HYPERINFLATION?, 14K RUS/SEPS in DONBAS-70% Rus, LEADERS HIT KYIV, PHILAE LANDS on COMET, SENATE ELECTION 2014, UKRAINE RADA ELECTIONS, OURS BLOW UP, HI LAVA EATING TOWN

And this month folks, we are PERMANENTLY BREAKING THROUGH THE 400 PPM CO2 LEVEL, NOT SEEN FOR 4-5
MILLION YEARS, or the entire period of the genetic development of us smart monkeys, when the oceans were 15-25M higher. Though this link seems to show that level was last matched 21 MILLION YEARS ago (2nd chat at bottom):
CO2 70mil yrs graph:
 
We first broke 400 ppm in mid 2013, but CO2 fluctuates 5 ppm Nov (low) to May (high), even as it increases ~2.3 ppm every year- it is now topping 399.89 ppm and once through 400 ppm this time, it will never drop below it for tens or hundreds of thousands of years (because of 8 feedback loops)!!! And to give every parent chills for the survival of their kin, when the other 4 greenhouse gases are included, it is ACTUALLY ALREADY 470 PPM CO2 EQUIVALENT (CO2e)!!!!

Think about that: we have irreversibly changed the Earth we evolved on... for the next 12,000 generations, at least. Paleoclimate scientists (historical and future climate ages) say there will be no Ice Ages (which we should be entering in the next 1500 years, the normal, ~90% of the time, state of Earth) for hundreds of thousands of years

They've revised the warming effects of methane in 2013 (leaking like mad from every fracked well- maybe 7%, over 2% it's worse than coal) 40% UP just since 2010, now it is considered 85x more potent than CO2 over 100 years (not 61), and 37x over 20 years (not 21). Estimates of this stuff, though still 1500x LESS than CO2, is that it is causing 1/4 of AGW; I think much more with all the fracking: humans have increased it 2.7x in last 150 years. This is really the nail in the coffin of controlling AGW- time for that cabin in deep Maine woods, and abandon trying to persuade fools.

When the first drought caused mass famine kills 1/2-1 billion people within 20 years, we will immediately do stratospheric sulfur abatement (injecting sulfur into commercial and higher altitude jets) which will cool the earth, but the carbon accumulation will continue, even increase (since now the climate is "under control"), and the sulfur will rain out of skies as sulfuric acid (MUCH more powerful than weak carbonic acid), acidifying the oceans, destroying reefs, dissolving shells, releasing more CO2, and interfering with the very chain of life. Every year the contaminated soup of our atmosphere will get worse and worse.
Vanquished Ukr ammo box food storeroom in Dbaltseve  DemjinD.©2015
unaccounted for, maybe shelled to death !!!! That was the initial effect of Minsk 2 "Cease Fire", amazing that NOW they are pulling artillery back and seeming to honor it!! Demjin, who just went there for 2nd time, seems so shell-shocked by the latest sights that I can't get anything coherent out of him, except "tired of seeing dead bodies"- 60-80. If the Seps could target that main road to Artyemovsk from BOTH sides, they could target any escape route. Did they stand down and let the Ukrs escape? That would be amazing and highly atypical.

And time for Poro to do a big housecleaning of the hack generals they have running this thing- instead of withdrawing people when the place became untenable, they sent thousands MORE into a deadly cull-de-sac. If thousands were killed or captured that will be the 4th TIME idiot Generals 
have done this (abandon cut off soldiers): the 4 battalions in SE corner stranded by Russian border, Ilovaisk, and the Donetsk Airport. How many disastrous mistakes do they get to make? He has done nothing except pin a medal on some "hero", no one replaced, no corrupt official prosecuted- good luck that the IMF funds aren't half looted.


SUPERHIGHWAY STILL OPEN 
We can all celebrate the incredible victory for NET NEUTRALITY in the FCC, after 5 million netizens wrote in to protest the telecom swines' plans. The plan to slow down poorer sites with complex multi-teered priced speed zones had the potential to destroy the Internet as we know it... and also to allow back-door censorship (slooooooooo....) of un-favored sites (what Bush did to all Iraq Invasion critical sites- deleted them off Google searches by actually getting directly into Mt. View supercomputers, according to Google VP woman who was also on Clinton Council Econ. Advisors, when I told her my story: "All the computers in Mt. View went CRAZY in Jan 2003!").

What "Murkins" don't understand that some of us expats DO, is that Americans are absolutely hosed in prices for Internet and Mobile Telephony by the few monster monopolies- paying up to $50-60/mo. minimum for each. Esp. for Mobile service, once the network is built (provided frequencies by the US Gov, or us), they have NO EXPENSES- nitchivo, no line repair, no nothing- the cash just rolls in like ocean swells. Once in a while they build a new cell transmitter or upgrade something, but it's under 10% of their spectacular profits, esp with the criminal charges they incur on SMS's or minutes over your package. In Ukraine, they pay ~$2 1/2 / month each for 10MB/sec pure LAN unlimited Internet; and 4 different mobile systems together w essentially unlimited calling, SMS's, and Internet, 1 cent/min calling to any US, China, or land-line Europe phone (it was 1/3 cent!). Got a Myezhdunarodny (International) SIM for NYT's Higgins to save him (or them) from the $3/min to RECIEVE a call - here and most of Europe nobody pays anything to receive a call!

If the FCC wanted to do their job, they should simply mandate a 50% ROLLBACK of ALL INTERNET + CELL PHONE PRICES to ~$25/month, with only superfast or big package deals allowed to have surcharges.
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SUPREME SLEAZE


 This victory is entirely the result of 3: 2 FCC Dem majority, what we needed to effect on the Supreme Republicans. During the big majority of Dems in 2006-2010, we should have targeted the weakest link: CLARENCE THOMAS, a disgraceful hack who has never asked a question in 23 years. IMPEACH Clarence for incompetence, laziness, corruption (him + wife), etc. etc. when we could have got a Dem majority , especially after the execrable CITIZENS v UNITED decision, perhaps the most corrupt, destructive, and farthest reaching SC decision since Bush v Gore (or maybe Dred Scott); designed to permanently tilt playing field to the Repubs and billionaire tax-cheats. The upshot, almost $1 bil of Coke Bros money pouring into the Repub dirty trick slander machine this next election: America IS Nigeria, or Rhodesia, or Russia now in the fairness of our elections. God knows how many contests were swayed by the amazing racist ALEC voter disenfranchisement laws- next target UNION BUSTING to strip the last reliable source of liberal big bucks. The noble campaign to get a Constitutional Amendment against CitizensV  is doomed- it's WAY WAY to hard a row to hoe, esp with Repub dominance in most of the state houses. We must go after the Supreme Republicans, after Citizens v U, no Repub "Justice" should have been able to address ANY crowd anywhere without protesters interrupting, berating, + shouting them down.

 You see the danger with the current specious cynical case against the ACA: KING V BURWELl, getting decided Wed. The fix was in on the last huge attempt just before the 2012 election, but at the last moment Roberts backed away from another treasonous decision designed to PICK ANOTHER PRESIDENT with an arcane dissent of the even more arcane and specious argument by the other 4 Supreme Republicans, who hoped to cripple Obama and elect Romney. They wouldn't have even taken this bogus case UNLESS they were planning to gut the ACA, so it's demise may be imminent- SC weasels should be placed under direct public pressure BEFORE they pull the plug, but millions of Americans would be furious. With the Coke Bros. dumping $1 bil into the Repub/TP war chest they are a clear and present danger to democracy- unlimited payola- that'll get the Gov we deserve.
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CONFEDERACY of the DUNCES

The vapid Scott Walker made a splash at the extremist CPAC convention, where the wingnuts try to make any hopeful abandon any trace of sanity, decency, and moderation. Walkers first acts were Coke Bros conspiracies to attack unions, and betray some of most hallowed progressive traditions of Wis.. Mind you I haven't always been a complete supporter of unions since I was forced to join Mafiosa run Teamsters in LA, and watched their record in RI. But Walker is an empty suit who is deigned to implode, like Sarah the non-reader (SP: "Ah, I really can't say... ah... many of them".. Katey: "Can you name one"... SP: "Ohh, I don't know... Many of them!" REPEAT). The more empty and vapid the candidate, the more passionate the love of the US RW. Wisconsin is an insular place that doesn't afford a real nat spotlight much, and like Col., is evenly divided between the best people in the world and real fascists. That they couldn't purge this toad in the recall means it might have tilted toward the latter. Just what the WH needs - a college dropout who's trying to cripple higher education, we had that in GB2, a guy who basically bought his degrees (couldn't fail a legacy at Yale, and if he couldn't get into UT, how did he make Harvard MB?). I spent 2 years there and wrote for the Capital Times for 25 years.

Donald Trump bloviated his conviction that Jeb Bush didn't make the grade cause of his moderation on Immigration + Common Cause, though he is head + shoulders above the other dwarves. Maybe I should return to the multiple scandals in the 2000 Florida election- Jebby had to do something pretty dirty that will stick.

With Dems 55% of the country (though many don't vote and then their votes are often thrown out), soon no amount of criminal SC decisions, RW oligarch billions, or disenfranchisement will be enough; and the unstoppable march of demographics (and toxic hatred by Repubs of all minorities) will mean Repubs are reduced to a squawking annoying irrelevance screaming about the "class war" on their only constituency- the top 1%. Probably not soon enough to stop the coming AGW Apocalypse.

EFF BEE EYE: I'm waiting for Comey to address the FBI's creating fake "terrorism" menaces, after his groundbreaking "stop the racism" speech. While they are spending 8 months and $250k framing some young putz in his bedroom, they are letting the US Jihaddi John breed (see Greenwald art). BTW, bet DHS has enough funding to run for a year without any more- it's funding has tripled since founding after 9-11, though Obama won a serious victory with Boner rolling over and passing the DHS budget. Wait till police depts get these (though somebody said it was fake): MACHINE GUN DRONE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=SNPJMk2fgJU   
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IRAN DEAL + BEBE REBOZO

I actually wrote an article advocating bombing Iran 9 years ago; Iran was the 1st or 2nd most consistent terrorist nation and anyone who lived through their Revolution and assassination campaigns and bombings of the 1980's knows Iran MUST NEVER have the bomb. The time unfortunately has long past, the cost gone up exponentially (Iranian supersonic cruise missiles could blow up every US ship in the Persian Gulf and production facilities are hardened inside mountains), the Iranians MAY be negotiating in good faith finally- the infinite years of sanctions have shattered the Iranian economy- people have to work 3 jobs to survive.. and the new Gov (even Supreme bully) is more moderate.

Iranians love America, ironically, and would love to escape their Islamic prison and the thugs that enforce it. An attack now would end that, and ISIS has totally changed the calculus of the ME- Iran has been helping us with that, as well as in controlling the extremist Shiites in Iraq. ISIS is the next step in the evolution of pure evil and I believe constitutes a direct challenge to the civilized world, if they are tough and smart enough to exterminate them

Given all that, I'm willing to give peace w Iran a chance. NetanYahoo has nothing to say of value to Americans- he's a one-note pony, and his WH-less invitation was only to embarrass Obama.

The thing about Israel Firsters is that they really don't care about US security, which Israel endangers constantly with their endless settlements, invasions, and careless slaughters of Palestinians. America is absolutely alone in the world in defending EVERY action of Israel in the UN and other world bodies, but that isn't enough for the IF's. The really strange thing is the Repubs almost malignant love for Israel (Jews are different enough they should be on their hate list, they hate every other minority); which is based on some lunatic apocalyptic view of Scripture (that Israel must be preserved because their destruction will precede Armeggeddon, or something). Bebe B Rebozo is NOT a friend of America, or of Israel for that matter, he is an extremist who will never accept ANY fair settlement. He has nothing new to say, the Repub invitation is only to embarrass Obama, in line with their other contemptible treasonous behavior.

Mar 3: Actually Bebe gave a very good speech trying to throw a wrench in the Iran peace process, first saying complementary things about Obama- he is a very smart politician, if a dishonest peace partner with alot of blood on his hands. On the other hand, he may well be right- Iran will get a nuke- it's too powerful a tool to resist.
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ULTIMATE EVIL

Feb 27: I read that Atlantic article on ISIS- not sure they are that philosophically coherent, but I do think they are a direct challenge to civilization (of all faiths) and the goal of the world shouldn't be degradation, but extermination. To do that the world should raise a vast army from dozens of countries (half Muslim) and march on them, not these limited sporadic air attacks. They are so extreme, they think the head of AQ is an apostate, and want to cleanse (kill) ALL other faiths, including 95% of Muslims!!! If they continue to showcase their slick show-biz monstrosities, I pale to think what the NEXT STEP of barbarism will be. The question is: Is the world, or West, or Islamic nations (all in the crosshairs) tough enough to recognize the danger and react accordingly. I doubt it, but at least the Iraqis are attacking them.

Re. addled teenagers going there for the "cause", their sentence will be to used as canon fodder, and sex slaves (see Hells Angels women), if the West wants to stop it- get the real stories from escapees (if any) out there. Though probably impossible to protect imbeciles inspired by monsters, from themselves.

Their supposed destruction of the ancient Iraqi Nimrud (now they are attacking the world's heritage in entire cities!!)  should convince the world to redouble efforts to help them reach their 73 virgins in paradise. 
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SPOCK: LIVED LONG and did pretty well

Spock died- that's sad. I met him at some Seatown book signing- even gave him my movie package on Collapse of SU/new Russia- just wanted reference for agent. Sort of a chilly and distracted guy- think the Spock personality somewhat infected him. On the other hand, he did only ONE character, but is one of most recognized people on Earth- not bad for an actor. He was son of Ukrainian! Here's a recent thing he did advocating peace in Palestine.

The Donetsk People's Republic, Or The Curious Tale of the Handmade Country - Documentary Film Festival Opener

The 12th Documentary / Human Rights FF was held in Kyiv March 20-27. All free.

The opening Film Friday was a controversial intimate portrayal of the DNR "revolutionaries" by British filmmaker Antony Butts, a Russian-speaker, and Moscow and Kyiv women partners (excluded from program info) :

A number of viewers took him to task from doing a false equivalence between the blizzard of ~$350 million of toxic Russian propaganda (the theme of the FF- Propaganda) and Ukrainian "propaganda", though neither of the directors could give me one example in the latter in extended interviews. He admitted to me that: "Yes, the Separatists were drunk (every night), I wanted to shoot that, but we could never get in then... Exactly, many were paid" for protesting, which he showed them admitting ($60/day for protest, $500 for storming a building, according to a Donbas Ukr patriot who spoke at the CMC).. unfortunately my hypersensitive phone recorder kept shutting off- impossible to not brush something on it.

Most bizarrely he shows no Russian adventurers or mercenaries, who formed a large part of DNR's fighters!! But this was in the very early days of March + April in the Donetsk Regional Building, when they would make Ukrainian activists rip up their stickers and let them go (under the glare of the camera lens); later they would beat, torture, and imprison them for months. Questioned why the film was only 52 minutes, he said he had enough film to do a 2 hour movie, "I had over 50 hours!"

But it was a pretty fair portrayal that shows the Seps as disgruntled motley unemployed losers who were mostly in it for the money, and listened to the Kremlin TV exhortations that it WAS ALL KYIV'S FAULT!! And insane accusations of fascists torturing women, crucifying babies. Their petty squabbles, jealousies, and greed are humorously exposed; as they jockey for money, spoils, and influence: one main character LENIN seems to be about to quit, but gets his Lexus in the end (looting vehicles was big business). Most of his "heroes" had to go eventually into hiding or retire because of the threats from bigger criminals that envied their self-appointed power.

Tragically, as I thought, and frequently questioned Ukrainian Ministers about throughout March-May, he said, "Yes, they could have easily been thrown out by Ukrainian Commandos." That inaction, while Ukraine reeled from the Russian attacks, destabilization and treachery... would prove tragic, but the new Government were still in a loop of self-congratulatory lionization of Ukraine's successful protests!! They couldn't very well attack protests in the East, though every agonizing passing week meant hundreds, then thousands would die- that is the inevitable arc of insurgency. But Kyiv had successfully talked and bargained down such a rebellion in Crimea in 2004/2005 after the Orange Revolution.

Are you sending loyal IM troops and militsia to the East to stop Putin from taking it over with "tourists"- question to Klitschko + Grytsenko Mar 17,14 YouTube @7:15

Only Butt and VICE NEWS, which he said he has shot for, had such incredible video access in the paranoid and dangerous DNR (VN's Americo-Russian Simon Ostrov got "detained" and tortured for 5 days); my documentarian friend Andre Sobolov filming a Ukr naval base in Feodosia was chased down by Green Men and savagely beaten, along with 3 other journos in the car, breaking 5 ribs, puncturing his cameraman's lungs, then denied treatment in a Simpheropol hospital, who could find "nothing wrong"; they had to drive 7 hours to Kyiv with the life-threatening injuries. The moment he got better, he headed back into the Donetsk, where, sitting in a cafe, he heard titushkis searching for him: "We left on tiny roads where he could BS our way past the checkpoints, but I had the Kalashnikov on the front seat beside me; I wasn't going to be taken again!"

It seems incredible that this wildly disparate bizarre collection of jobless characters could provoke a war that's claimed over 10,000 lives... but they didn't, that responsibility lies squarely on the Little Big Man in Moscow, furious that Ukraine spurned his Mafiyosa offer to join his EurAsian Custom Union, which was to be his legacy- a Soviet Union 2.0. He unleashed a toxic blizzard of poisonous propaganda that swayed the disgruntled simpletons of Donbas, aided by pro-Russians from the South, Russian mercenaries, and ample cash and weapons. But a Donbas pro-Ukrainian has a simpler explanation:

"They are stupid, Michael, really really stupid", says my refuge friend Vadim Lugansk.

Kiev is one of the world's best FF cities. http://docudays.org.ua
    http://docudays.org.ua/eng/events/2015/03/21/ SCHEDULE

Michael Hammerschlag has written film reviews for 3 decades, questioned numerous directors and actors, produced documentaries on the US Presidential campaign and a comedy/news TV show (like an early Daily Show), and acted in 5 movies and 2 TV series.

    Re. Onpoint Weekend Review NPR radio show. 
   Kerry + Poro - Feb 5: "Whadya want me to do?" 
Feb 7:
Peace in Our Time?
  KIEV: Jack's belief Ukr should be abandoned cause it's Russia's sphere of influence  (apparently BO's belief too) is way off base, as is any comparison w Vietnam escalation. Bill, who excoriated him on it, was very good, but he's right, Russia will always care more about Ukr than we do, but that was no reason to countenance Hitler + Czechoslovakia or Poland either (though Putin is no comparison, only Stalin is his equal/superior in evil). Ukrs are ALL united in resisting this brutal attack, my Maidan self-defense leader friend Andre whose wife was threatened by Yanukovich thugs (titushki's) at his aptmt ("We'll kill him and dump the body at your door"); had to flee West, then got refugee status in Poland.... just CAME BACK and joined up the National Guard to fight the Russians (9500 now in Donbas, many in reg uniforms). Incredible to make it to the West (15-25x higher real wages), only to return to this disfunctional place. Every photo of fresh Ukr dead troops (1500-2000, I think I know someone from Maidan, where I lived just off of for 5 months- I was maybe the last person out of the burning Trade Center and 3 month Press Center at 11pm Feb 18.

The quote Jack used about "Ukr's military being totally penetrated by Russians agents" was actually my question of Dep. Defense Polyakov Min March 30 (YT video), I let Higgins of NYT listen to tape of them for 30 min and he put it in a FP story (DDM admits it in the mp3: "Yes, we are totally... " download @end 9:00min). I think they now have made some serious progress in rooting them out (which I badgered 3-4 Ministers on, inc SBU head), and I asked Amb. Pyatt if we could provide encrypted communications so they weren't repeatedly ambushed.
 SBU head Nalyvaichenko©MHammerschlag-June2014
                                                           
We should send Ukraine arms, though now it probably can't really win and it would escalate the fighting, but it's their homeland and their fight (which despite Putin's specious claim that Ukr isn't a country, existed 420 years before Moscow did- the fact that it was the real Slavic motherland is what he must erase for Russia's false legend of hegemony). They are doing it heroically with 40 year old Soviet junk, while the Russians have gleaming new TOTL weapons fresh from the manufacturers (better than the West- see pic of Rus commando w wicked Kalashnikov PKMS in link in front of the Ukrs he'd killed- that photog had real stones). Ukraine could kill enough Russians to put real "mother pressure" on Putin, that's what has almost overthrown other leaders. The tragedy is those arms in April to June would have helped the Ukrs win, the only equitable solution. http://bit.ly/17nxrEJ Mutually Assured Destruction

My insane gonzo Aussie photog friend in the Donbas for 7 of the last 9 months, said last night, there are 14,000 rebel fighters, about 30% Ukrs (many aren't from Donbas but pro-Russia orgs from the south + Crimea, some real Russian citizens there) or 4200, not too many from a 7.7 million pop area, or rather the 46 mil people of Ukraine. The rest are vastly Russian regulars, many of the original Russian mercenaries have gone home (some of whom were real Nazis and neo-facists; soldiers are much cheaper), and most of the original Seps have been killed or bailed out when it became all Russian ruled "insurgency". 2 of my correspondents have been killed out there, so it's always with some terror that I call him, esp since DELETED   Russian priests bless Russian holy warriors against Ukr


In other unmentioned news cause they they don't have any Ukr experts: Kerry just came here, and gave a lugubrious pitiful press conf where he was literally pleading w Putin to "play nice". WEST PLEADS WITH BULLY says the good but thin Kyiv Post. Very effective. Merkel + Netherlands blew through on their way to offer Putin a peace that would concede Russian control of Donbas- an absolutely no-go; there is no way Ukr would have ANY control with these criminals and killers in power (Putin loves criminals- see Aksyonov of Crimea, a 20 year contract killer!!!). They and all their Sep stooges MUST get out, in exchange for recognizing Crimea as Russian territory, ending all sanctions, and maybe 10-20 year hiatus on Ukraine joining NATO. Ukraine needs the resources in the Donbas- 68% of the people NEVER wanted to be absorbed by Russia; after all the death and destruction- now it would be 80%, but for 14 months of vicious poisonous Russian TV propaganda. It will become a isolated impoverished abandoned dump under Rus/Sep control, like Crimea will without the influx of tourist money (70% were Ukrs); Russian money will 90% go to Crimea, where they fought hallowed defenses of Sevastopol twice in Crimean War and WW2.    currency rate©MHammerschlag-Feb6,2015

And the Central Bank finally lifted currency controls Thurs (never completely effective at 15:50-17 hrv/$) and the exchange rate lept to 22-24 in a flash, a staggering blow to an impoverished people (63% fall in the strength of hrv, stable for 5 years up to Feb 2014 @ 8/$). It wasn't as bad as it appears though, the rate at my unregulated obmen was already 20-21, so it was about a real 2 1/2 hrv rise or 12% rise, since at the lower rate there were NO dollars to be bought anywhere. Andre, aid to Central Bank head, says they wanted to do it in Nov, but banks weren't ready, "It was crazy to have 4 different rates. It was time to unify them... the banks will come together and maybe settle on a real defensible rate", meaning it's possible the hrv will strengthen Mon. It's also possible pigs can fly. This is inevitable after ending artificial currency controls, but more likely it will fuel panic, and it will start to drop at 2-5% a day (it was ~ 20 kp a day, ~1% before).        new Russian sub

As I say in my article above: the sanctions on both countries are destroying the economies of both countries, which will rip back through Russia re. Ukr, and EU re. both!! So this conflict MUST BE STOPPED NOW, because the new Cold War isn't threatening- it's here now, and the hatred, isolation, and paranoia the KGB "operator" is generating will take years, decades even to reverse... and could really result in the "mushroom cloud" Condi fabricated for Iraq.... or thousands of them. We may not have to wait for AGW to brutally trim humanity.

 shattered new 2012 Donetsk Airport from drone
The Donbas Airport finally fell when Russian demo commandos blew the ceiling from the floor above, collapsing it on the heroic Cyborgs- many were killed in the final tragic rout. That end was inevitable as it was in Ilovaisk and soon Debaltseve, idiot Ukr Generals don't understand the value of tactical retreat!!! If they let the now cut off? defenders of surrounded Debaltseve die, recruits will dry to a trickle!!!!  Maybe 100-200 were killed and captured; friend says 400, with maybe 2000 Rus/Seps killed in 6 months of nonstop attacks, annihilated over and over when the Ukrs popped out of Soviet tunnels and ambushed them from behind.
DONETSK AIRPORT pics- before + after
Nov 16 11:20pm GMT 
KIEV:  http://new.livestream.com/esa/cometlanding video crashes, no- now it works   
300 million miles away, 310 mil from the sun (3.3 AU= x earth distance), 10 years + 4 bil miles traveled, 28 light minutes away, + $1.3 bil; the 100 kg PHILAE lander has touched down like a bouncing superball feather on the 4km wide styrofoam density (40% H2O) Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. First the thruster supposed to push the lander against the surface while the harpoons fired failed, then the harpoons didn't fire; a very soft landing they say, but it somehow bounced straight up 1 km (inexplicably far- lousy cushioning) and rotated, settling back down after 2 hours, bounced again for 15 min, and landed actually vertically with one leg in the air! Miraculous they can even get a signal in that attitude. It first landed on target- an excellent position, but now it is now in a precarious angled perch 1km away on the edge of a crater below a cliff where it gets only 1 1/2 hours of sunlight in a 12 hr "day", very bad for the solar panels/batteries in the -70C vacuum- it left the Rosetta with 60 hours of battery life. Before the batteries die, they may push off again to land in a new site, risky business, but worth it. The battery woman said that all legs were on the surface, but on the Nov 13 1pm press conf. they talked about one being pointed out, so not sure what the story is.

Separation of the lander occurred 09:03 GMT (10:03 CET), and touchdown followed seven hours later after a 22 km drop, at 16:03 GMT. This comet isn't like anything we've seen- not a ball in any way, it really is like a rugged flying mountain in a dumbell shape and doesn't look icy, but the ice and gases should be under the insulating surface- the . It's 10 bil tons, and 25 cu km volume, 6.4 year solar orbit. It was discovered by our Kiev Nat. Observatory's Klim Churyumov from plates made in Alma Ata in 1969 and only reaches 1.2432 AU (185,980,000 km) from the sun at perihelion Aug 13, 2015- not close enough to make any brilliant gas trail,but it had one- Churnyumov initially mistook it for another comet. Philae falls to land at the speed of a walk (actually was much slower, so the huge bounce was mysterious), fires a thruster to push it onto the surface, then fires harpoon bolts into the surface to anchor it (with the negligible gravity it has the weight of a feather), then screws at the end of the feet are supposed to be fail-safe. All failed. First landing on a comet, but there have been 2 before on the weird irregular rocks of asteroids. A 25 year planned, 10 year travel, 4 bil mile, 3 Earth + 1 Mars gravity assist expedition... (Rosetta rendezvoused with it in August, and entered a 30km orbit)   and if it falls over on its side- quite likely considering how rough it is- it is toast, and they get nothing. Although it has, if it is vertical, but still works!!
                      ground rocks at current site-

Energetic digging for samples is probably precluded by the harpoon failure (booting it off the surface could be fatal), if it approached close to the Sun, venting gas jets would blast that baby right off into space (see movie Armageddon, that part wasn't nonsense)... but since it stays farther out than Earth (1.24AU), it's safe- Go Baby GO! No they did dig, got samples, fed it into the COSAC analyzer, and got data back Fri? night 10:40pm Nov 14, great tension if batteries still could reconnect. All science experiments were activated in a last gasp shotgun attempt to glean what info they can before the deep freeze. They got the info back, then "the lander’s body was lifted by about 4 cm and rotated about 35° in an attempt to receive more solar energy. But as the last science data fed back to Earth, Philae’s power rapidly depleted," and they put it into hibernation about 2 hours later. To charge, the battery must warm to 0 C which needs 5W- unsure how much cold would be fatal- that's another thing an RTG nuclear power supply would provide- oodles of free heat that kept the Voyagers, Galileo, Casino, et al alive in the frigid outer SS. Rosetta orbited out to Jupiter, bitter cold at 400 mil miles from the sun, maybe why the harpoons and thruster failed. But they say the comet surface temp ranges from -68 to -42C (dubious- maybe now- but shouldn't the sunny side get 150C), within Earth ranges. As it gets much closer to the sun in August.. it may thaw out- then having extracted the available info there, they could try to HOP!!!!. In the miniscule gravity, a person could jump right off- over the escape velocity- only 1M/sec, so shifting position shouldn't take much.

Comets are incredibly cool artifacts from the beginning of the solar system (some +4 billion years), when it is believed a heavy bombardment of them might have brought water and gases to the proto-Earth. Billions are believed to orbit in the Kuiper Belt beyond Neptune (Pluto is one), some thousands swing into wildly elliptical orbits (kicked out by Neptune's gravity) that fry them very near the Sun- as they get closer than Earth/Venus, the gases and water vapor can make brilliant multi-million mile trails... or nothing at all. I've seen Hailey's (most famous) in '86, Hale-Bopp and Hyakutake in '97 in Hawaii at the best astronomical observatory on Earth, and a couple of fuzzy patches in 70's.
              - first smooth landing site from 40M
The link is the European Space Agency in  Darmstaedt, Germany, whom I talked with when I covered the incredible billion mile Titan landing mission in 2005- still the most audacious, distant, and productive mission to the most amazing body in the solar system (-180C, 1.5x Earth pressure CO2 atmosphere, seas of liquid ethane, snow of organics, rocks of water ice). Their website is junk though, the Live Stream videos are SO overtaxed that they only play 20 seconds before stopping (maybe just for my Ubuntu). Space.com worked yesterday, but now it's doing the same thing; and the videos aren't downloadable + no audio. Unfortunately didn't clone them everywhere. No, they fixed it at as of Thursday late night.
    Krakens Mare ethane ocean on TITAN -  
CLOUD WORLD: MISSION to TITAN- Jan 14, 2005 the 11 year $3 billion Cassini mission to Saturn, successfully dropped a landing probe into the most earthlike atmosphere in the Solar System, Titan. Bigger than planets Mercury or Pluto, it has a mostly nitrogen atmosphere 1.5 X Earth's pressure and 4½X as dense. But it is a bitter -178C, leading to speculation of oceans of liquid methane/ethane- photos show that- oceans much bigger than all Great Lakes combined 560 ft deep; w interview of Huygens scientist ESA, Germany- SCOOP (NZ), MSN-U

The Ambition Hollywood sci fi short on the ESA site is a fully professional impressive 6 min movielet.; the live broadcast  keeps stopping for me, but the 40 min first video on lander separation is good. 300 mil miles away- it's 28 min away light speed, so it is actually landing RIGHT NOW!!!


SENATE DISASTER       
 

Nov 5 6p: Never mind! My vote helped Jeanne Shaheen stave off carpetbagger Scott Brown in NH, but the Dem Rep Carol Porter lost (prev. NH whole Cong del. + Gov were all women). WIPEOUT- it was an absolute disaster for the Dems- lost 8-9 Senate seats, 14 Cong seats and 3 Govs (Ill., Md, + Mass.) !!! Repubs will have biggest House majority since Depression + ability to stymie any BO initiative- undoubtedly they will make a big push to kill Obamacare. The only nat races or Govs Dems were able to flip in whole country were Bob Graham's daughter Rep in NW Florida, and Penn. Tom Wolff over hated Gov Tom Corbett. Dumass voters are tired of the Repub caused gridlock in Wash so they elect ALL REPUBS... the morons.

NYT is still listing 2 Senate seats as undetermined, but in Alaska Sullivan is 3.6% over Begich (Gov also not final with 1.5% Repub lead)- not sure why they wouldn't call that; in VA Warner had only a 0.8 lead w 99% but the Repub didn't call for a recount in some rare class, in Louisiana Mary Landreui is heading for a bleak Dec 4 runoff- her 2 Repub opponents outpolled her 55 to 42, so final composition of Senate is likely to be 54-46 Repub (+-9). The Turtle is making nice noises about getting things done, fat chance, + nothing they want done is good for America. Wonder how much BO failure to ram through immigration reform hurt him- probably lost him the Senate when they analyze Hispanic turnout.

In spectacularly bad news the Supreme Republicans have decided to take up an absurd technical challenge to ObamaCare- obviously the turd Roberts, who stepped back from treason when they decided it before the 2012 election, that he couldn't corruptly decide ANOTHER Presidential election, has been rolled for this to occur.

SENATE CHANCES Nov 4 noon EST Here's the latest data about Repub chances to take the Senate, a catastrophe if it happens. "Tomorrow, climate-denial conspiracy theorists could take over the Senate. The Environmental Protection Agency, if not abolished, will be under the oversight of Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK). Ted Cruz (R-TX) will oversee climate change research. Ron Johnson (R-WI) will investigate government scientists." Inhofe just came to Kiev and I should have tortured him on camera: "Are you really that stupid, Senator?". The slimy turtle McConnell could become Maj. Leader. Opponent Grimes was thought to have a chance in the bluegrass redneck st. ("They are really really RW," says KY native Harvey), but she wimpily wouldn't say if she voted for or supported Obama- nobody likes a coward.


The reason that Dems may lose isn't that their message isn't getting out or the public has shifted- it's that they are defending 21 vs 15 seats; in close races 12 seats vs. only 3, so even if the close ones split evenly (which they ARE!), the Repubs gain 5-6 seats. They need 6 to take the Senate (5 or 50-50 would be Joe Biden's 101st vote). Chances are very good there will be no decision on Nov 5, because both toss-ups Louisiana and Georgia have open primaries with a third candidate, and a real win takes +50%, LA has real election Dec 4, but Georgia's isn't till Jan. If control rests on those 2 look for gigabucks to be expended there till the real election!   LA-Landrieu-Cassidy below


"Democrats must defend seven Senate seats in 2014 in states won two years ago by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, while Republicans have only one senator up in a state carried by Democrat Barack Obama. GOOD NEWS: However, on the gubernatorial side, the picture is basically reversed. Nine GOP gubernatorial chairs are up this year in Obama states, compared to just one Democratic governorship in a Romney state. The big difference between the two categories is that the vast majority of Romney-state Democratic Senate seats are in jurisdictions that are strongly Republican (voting for Romney by at least 10 percentage points), while most Obama-state GOP governors are in more competitive jurisdictions (favoring Obama in 2012 by less than 10 points)." - Congressional Quarterly
 

Taking more Gov seats lets Dems stop the vicious racist anti-poor Coke Bros voter disenfranchisement laws that 26 Repub states have passed- even if they are State Congress laws, decent Dem SOS's can interpret them restrictively, since their effect is to knockout 3-5% of Dems. If the Repubs take the Senate, it will be because of these laws, a charter promotion of the venal Coke (Koch) Bros ALEC.

NH - Sen Shaheen,Gov Hassan, Hillary
In 2 years those Senate numbers will be reversed so Dems may come roaring back if they lose the Senate now- course that's 2 year of stalled progress on everything- America and the world's time to prevent mass die-off is running. Politico says in 2016  7 Senate Repubs will be running in blue Obama states. Politico lists Georgia, Kansas, (both Repub), and Louisiana toss-ups (though LA (+ GA) after a Nov 4 open primary which has Repub leading (w +50% wins), will have real election in Dec, where
Landrieu has a 2-4 point lead. In Kansas FoxNews has young independent Greg Orman ahead  by 1 point over antique Repub Pat Roberts (Dem quit Sept 3) and Orman could be a giant power broker in evenly split Senate (pic rt); LA polls are wildly divergent, and GA may be finally getting a sizable black vote overcoming recent decades of hard right leanings.

                          Roberts vs Orman KS-  
If Dems take all 3, Repubs will only win 5 net seats; but Alaska, Colorado, and Iowa, are only leaning Repub, and any could break blue (latest polls for Dems: AK -1, Col -2, IA tie, NH tie) - Col is growing blue-er every year with Hispanic influx, Iowa has some cornpone
sensibility (debated Grassley once for 15 min about Clinton Impeachment when walked him out of Hart Bldg), and Alaska benefits from many federal programs and has some serious poor. Col. wild card is ALL vote by mail factor- hard to forecast, whereas AK has an anti-spying libertarian expected to get 4.5%.


-Iowa's Braley vs Ernst

http://fivethirtyeight.com/interactives/senate-forecast/
Nate Silver blog, but it's HIS probablilities, not outcome numbers. Says maybe Repub 52 seats; 75% chance of control. NYT has it 70% GOP control. 


http://www.politico.com/2014-election/predictions/senate/#.VFKcs-JkA5Y

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/latest_polls/senate

Difference in GDP (and many other indicators) in Dem, Repub, and split Congress years.

                      AR David Pryor behind-
Note these are just polls, sometimes all over the map- 12 points between some in the same contest, and should be taken with a shaker of salt- after 2000 election the Capone watchwords are: "NEVER GIVE UP!" (What?? What??!!)  And we must pray for the wisdom of American people (or some Nov surprises).
 

Best advice from esteemed Cong. Barney is VOTE THE BUM REPUBS OUT (my comment below, even on lefty Guardian 80% of comments are US RW Haters, wonder if RNC, like Putin, has boiler rooms of paid posters):
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/oct/29/dysfunctional-congress-vote-right-wing-republicans-out

FRANK ARTICLE comment: All true. It is stunning to me the Repubs have a chance (but they are defending much fewer seats) considering their hatred of and attacks on almost every group: women, blacks, Hispanics, immigrants, college students, gays, nonreligious, liberals (maybe 80% all told)- they have one constituency- the top 1%, esp the mil-billionaires and corporate emperors. The way they do it is by promoting hatred and divisiveness across the spectrum, of all those groups and- in the cracker South and redneck West there are enough simple-minded and rugged "individualists" who buy it and ignore their glaring economic interests in keeping Dems in power.

Americans sadly are shallow people and our media is vastly slanted to the right, including thousands of hours of vicious pure RW propaganda without anything countering it on the Left. Even on liberal NPR talk shows we have to listen to hundreds of panicked assessments on Obama's "blunders" re. Ebola, when he did absolutely nothing wrong- the "problem" was all fictitious generated panic. (But I actually advocate ruthless quarantine).

It's sad- I almost did an ad in 2012- the REAL fight in America and the world is the rich oligarchs vs everyone else. The income disparity is greater across the world (+US) than anytime before, inc. 1920's or 1890's. These Repub swine, lead by the Coke Bros and enabled by the hack Supreme Republicans, are denying maybe millions of poor and students the right to vote, and have gerrymandered every state they control to death (as well as turn down free federal $ for health care that would save their state many millions- vote for Repubs and DIE).

The carbcos and their rich pimps are destroying the planet and about to kill hundreds of millions... and if they don't shape up they will lose their empires, fortunes, and maybe lives. When civilization starts breaking down in the first or second mass AGW drought-caused famine... everything will burn.
Michael Hammerschlag

UKRAINE RADA ELECTIONS:   (see UKR page link)

423 of 450 seats to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine[1]
226[2] seats needed for a majority
First party Second party Third party
Yuriy Lutsenko crop.jpeg Arseniy Yatsenyuk 2011 (cropped).jpg AndriiSadovyi.JPG
Leader Yuri Lutsenko Arseniy Yatsenyuk Andriy Sadovyi
Party Petro Poroshenko Bloc People's Front Self Reliance
Last election 13.96%, 40 seats (as UDAR)[3][4] did not participate* did not participate
Seats won 132 82 33
Seat change Increase 92 did not participate did not participate
Popular vote 3 432 207 3 484 220 1 727 288
Percentage 21.83% 22.16% 10.98%
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukrainian_parliamentary_election,_2014#Electoral_districts
As expected, the RADA elections massively elected pro-EU liberal parties after the Russian Invasions and thefts of Crimea and Donbas. Biggest surprise was Yatseniuk's Party doubled its expected take, actually edging Poroshenko's Party 22.2% to 21.8 but Poro got 4x more in the single districts so has 128 seats to 82. Sadly Svoboda, the putative RW party who received spectacular slander as "Nazis" but actually fought and mostly won the Maidan Revolution got under the 5% cutoff and won't be represented as a party- 6 members won in individual districts. Svoboda were so centrist that they were thrown out of all European RW parties they belonged to when Eurofascists decided Puta was the Great Right Hope. The able ex-Defense Min. Grytsenko's Party also didn't break 5%; who, had he been leader, might have forestalled the whole Eastern War by cleaning out the Russian sympathizer/traitor stables and crushing the rebellion early. I questioned him 2-3 times. Tymoshenko's Batkivshina barely got in, but real reformer Lviv Mayor's Samopomich Party with stable of excellent candidates also did well 11% (34 seats).
        Meanwhile, the clown-showman Lyashko party and his spanking new Radical Party, got 7% (22 seats) ; and the despised ex-Party of Regions and Yanu-crooks got +9% (29 seats) in Eastern and southern districts where there were no allowed or strong pro-Ukrs running MORE ON UKR PAGE


OURS BLOW UP

The almost simultaneous explosion and crash of 2 commercial spacecrafts illuminate my warnings about the huge risks of private space exploration- space is one or two orders of magnitude harder and more complicated than any aircraft and Govs have the deep pockets, bench depth, and lack of profit urgency to spend what it takes to make it safe- don't think private corps (esp these new semi start-ups) do. First Orbital Space's Antares rocket blew up(vid) 15 seconds off the launchpad on Wallops Island carrying $250 mil resupply mission (4th) to the ISS in a pretty impressive explosion after ground control self-destructed it.


Then the co-pilot was killed and pilot heavily injured ejecting in the Virgin Atlantic Spaceship 2 disintegration- they won the $10 mil prize for a 100km (62 mi) private suborbital flight 10 years ago, but had some terrifying near catastrophic flights before that were never properly explained. Frankly I think it's better to have that happen now than with 5 Shuttle or Mars astronauts on it. Feathering in prop planes is allowing propellers to rotate freely; this was some "shuttlecock" like device to slow reentry, deployed in full space on the radical looking rocket ship.


At a news conference Sunday in Mojave, National Transportation Safety Board Acting Director Christopher Hart said that SpaceShipTwo’s feathering system deployed in flight prematurely on Friday, causing the spacecraft to break apart 11 seconds into a powered flight.
Hart said cockpit video showed co-pilot Mike Alsbury, who died in the crash, moved one of the two levers needed to deploy the system nine seconds into the engine burn when the ship was traveling at Mach 1. He pulled the lever to unlock the feather system.
The system is designed to be deployed at Mach 1.4 when it is in a safer attitude and in thinner air. The slipstream tore off the tail booms, and SpaceShipTwo disintegrated in two seconds.
The mystery is why the tail booms moved. The pilots must move two levers in the cockpit for the feathering system to be deployed. The video shows the other lever, which is used to deploy the booms, was never moved, Hart said.
He added this was a statement of fact — Alsbury unlocked the feather system and the booms deployed — and not a conclusion about what caused the deployment.
The ship’s engine, fuel and oxidizer tanks were all recovered intact as part of a large piece of debris. They showed no sign of malfunctioning; all indications are that the engine burn went as planned. It was the first in-flight test of a new nitrous oxide/methane/plastic hybrid motor.
- See more at: http://www.parabolicarc.com/2014/11/02/ntsb-spaceshiptwo-feather-mechanism-deployed-prematurely/#sthash.KdHx6TBu.dpuf--- "At a news conference Sunday in Mojave, National Transportation Safety Board Acting Director Christopher Hart said that Space Ship Two’s feathering system deployed in flight prematurely on Friday, causing the spacecraft to break apart 11 seconds into a powered flight.
     Hart said cockpit video showed co-pilot Mike Alsbury, who died in the crash, moved one of the two levers needed to deploy the system nine seconds into the engine burn when the ship was traveling at Mach 1. He pulled the lever to unlock the feather system.
     The system is designed to be deployed at Mach 1.4 when it is in a safer attitude and in thinner air. The slipstream tore off the tail booms, and SpaceShipTwo disintegrated in two seconds.
The mystery is why the tail booms moved. The pilots must move two levers in the cockpit for the feathering system to be deployed. The video shows the other lever, which is used to deploy the booms, was never moved, Hart said.
     The ship’s engine, fuel and oxidizer tanks were all recovered intact as part of a large piece of debris. They showed no sign of malfunctioning; all indications are that the engine burn went as planned. It was the first in-flight test of a new nitrous oxide/methane/plastic hybrid motor." ---

BOSTON MAYOR MENINO DIES:

Growing up under strings of corrupt Italian Mafiosa-politicians in RI, it's a shame never got to see a great Italian one, which Menino apparently was- a simple high school grad, but master politican with an awesome work ethic who always cared about the little people. His day began at 5am, ended at midnight, he micro-managed every crisis, and reportedly never missed any political event.

HAWAII VOLCANO THREATENS OLD HIPPY TOWN

The longest eruption in human history (since '82) of Pu-u-o-o is now about to eat the old hippy '60s village of Pahoa on the sparsely populated Big island, where I spent 2 years and ran tours to the lava flow into the ocean. The stuff moves slowly and spasticly- gasless pahoehoe lava (that makes tarmac like layers till it cools, then piles into horror-show jagged sharp impassable ah-ah lava), maybe 100 ft (24M) a

day, and is almost unstoppable- hitting the 2000C glass with fire hoses, digging trenches- all have very little effect on the inexorable force from the earth's depths- it burns anything it hits, and usually accumulates to about 10M (yards) thickness, but it stops as mysteriously as it starts, often sparing individual houses or groves of trees. Everything on the East side has been covered by lava sometimes in the last 100 years- you would hike through the difficult dangerous jungle and come across pieces of old highways- maps from different decades show constantly different roads, towns, beaches.
http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/maps/       Daily satellite maps



1 mile from Pu-u-o-o Volcano, Big Island Michael Hammerschlag©1996

At a news conference Sunday in Mojave, National Transportation Safety Board Acting Director Christopher Hart said that SpaceShipTwo’s feathering system deployed in flight prematurely on Friday, causing the spacecraft to break apart 11 seconds into a powered flight.
Hart said cockpit video showed co-pilot Mike Alsbury, who died in the crash, moved one of the two levers needed to deploy the system nine seconds into the engine burn when the ship was traveling at Mach 1. He pulled the lever to unlock the feather system.
The system is designed to be deployed at Mach 1.4 when it is in a safer attitude and in thinner air. The slipstream tore off the tail booms, and SpaceShipTwo disintegrated in two seconds.
The mystery is why the tail booms moved. The pilots must move two levers in the cockpit for the feathering system to be deployed. The video shows the other lever, which is used to deploy the booms, was never moved, Hart said.
He added this was a statement of fact — Alsbury unlocked the feather system and the booms deployed — and not a conclusion about what caused the deployment.
The ship’s engine, fuel and oxidizer tanks were all recovered intact as part of a large piece of debris. They showed no sign of malfunctioning; all indications are that the engine burn went as planned. It was the first in-flight test of a new nitrous oxide/methane/plastic hybrid motor.
- See more at: http://www.parabolicarc.com/#sthash.7n95Ye0m.dpuf
http://hammerk0.tripod.com/volcano.jpg

LAVA ART PHOTOGRAPHS- 4P- 50 ft from Kilauea lava flows where it flows into ocean on the Big Island- Day, Twilight, Night (fm color zerox)
AUTHOR SILLOUHETTED BY SPRAYING LAVA FOUNTAINS- Night (all available below)- Lava PHOTO's all intentionally lo-res

          CLICK on THUMB IMAGE to ENLARGE
                 
At a news conference Sunday in Mojave, National Transportation Safety Board Acting Director Christopher Hart said that SpaceShipTwo’s feathering system deployed in flight prematurely on Friday, causing the spacecraft to break apart 11 seconds into a powered flight.
Hart said cockpit video showed co-pilot Mike Alsbury, who died in the crash, moved one of the two levers needed to deploy the system nine seconds into the engine burn when the ship was traveling at Mach 1. He pulled the lever to unlock the feather system.
The system is designed to be deployed at Mach 1.4 when it is in a safer attitude and in thinner air. The slipstream tore off the tail booms, and SpaceShipTwo disintegrated in two seconds.
The mystery is why the tail booms moved. The pilots must move two levers in the cockpit for the feathering system to be deployed. The video shows the other lever, which is used to deploy the booms, was never moved, Hart said.
He added this was a statement of fact — Alsbury unlocked the feather system and the booms deployed — and not a conclusion about what caused the deployment.
The ship’s engine, fuel and oxidizer tanks were all recovered intact as part of a large piece of debris. They showed no sign of malfunctioning; all indications are that the engine burn went as planned. It was the first in-flight test of a new nitrous oxide/methane/plastic hybrid motor.
- See more at: http://www.parabolicarc.com/#sthash.7n95Ye0m.dpuf
At a news conference Sunday in Mojave, National Transportation Safety Board Acting Director Christopher Hart said that SpaceShipTwo’s feathering system deployed in flight prematurely on Friday, causing the spacecraft to break apart 11 seconds into a powered flight.
Hart said cockpit video showed co-pilot Mike Alsbury, who died in the crash, moved one of the two levers needed to deploy the system nine seconds into the engine burn when the ship was traveling at Mach 1. He pulled the lever to unlock the feather system.
The system is designed to be deployed at Mach 1.4 when it is in a safer attitude and in thinner air. The slipstream tore off the tail booms, and SpaceShipTwo disintegrated in two seconds.
The mystery is why the tail booms moved. The pilots must move two levers in the cockpit for the feathering system to be deployed. The video shows the other lever, which is used to deploy the booms, was never moved, Hart said.
He added this was a statement of fact — Alsbury unlocked the feather system and the booms deployed — and not a conclusion about what caused the deployment.
The ship’s engine, fuel and oxidizer tanks were all recovered intact as part of a large piece of debris. They showed no sign of malfunctioning; all indications are that the engine burn went as planned. It was the first in-flight test of a new nitrous oxide/methane/plastic hybrid motor.
- See more at: http://www.parabolicarc.com/#sthash.7n95Ye0m.dpuf