Monday, March 02, 2020

Science post

Let's do a science post. CNN reports:

The moment is finally here. NASA is accepting applications for aspiring astronauts.
NASA wants to send another man and the first woman to the moon by 2024. This next class of astronauts, part of the Artemis Generation, will help it get there -- and eventually to Mars -- by the mid-2030s.
"America is closer than any other time in history since the Apollo program to returning astronauts to the Moon," NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a news release. "We will send the first woman and next man to the lunar South Pole by 2024, and we need more astronauts to follow suit on the moon, and then Mars."
Before you get lost in visions of yourself floating in space, keep in mind that the competition is stiff. The last time that NASA took applications for new astronauts in 2015, a record-breaking 18,300 people applied.
Eleven were selected.

To be one of the eleven was a great honor. I would never qualify, not even if they selected 100. But it would have been a nice thing, being an astronaut. Maybe in another life, as they say.

Space is exciting. But, let's be honest, our planet is pretty exciting as well. In fact, Ian Sample (THE GUARDIAN) reports:

Scientists have found evidence that Earth was covered by a global ocean that turned the planet into a “water world” more than 3bn years ago.
Telltale chemical signatures were spotted in an ancient chunk of ocean crust which point to a planet once devoid of continents, the largest landmasses on Earth.

Ashley Strickland (CNN) adds:

"The history of life on Earth tracks available niches," said Wing, "If you've got a waterworld, a world covered by ocean, then dry niches are just not going to be available."
At least single-celled life on early Earth wouldn't have needed to barter dirt or scoot around on floating islands -- so perhaps its best that "Waterworld" is in our past and not a dystopian future

Okay, let's do some Curiosity Tweets to see what our favorite Mars rover is up to.

  2. The view on Mars right now. At the base of Greenheugh pediment - sol 2671 Subset of previous panorama taken by Curiosity rover on Mars.
  3. Majestueux ! Ce panorama à 360 ° combine 85 expositions prises par Mars Curiosity le 27 février 2020
  4. Majestueux ! Ce panorama à 360 ° combine 85 expositions prises par Mars Curiosity le 27 février 2020

  1. I'm attempting to climb my steepest slopes yet — 25 and even 30 degrees — in order to investigate the top of ' Greenheugh pediment. Analysis shows this won’t put me at any unusual risk, so there’s no reason not to try. Excelsior!

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Monday, March 2 ,2020.  Two depart the race for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination and a prime minister-designate in Iraq announces he's out.

And then there were . . . how many?  As the race for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination continues, it continues with two less candidates.  Saturday, Tom Steyer dropped out after coming in third in the South Carolina primary.  Yesterday, Pete Buttigieg dropped out.

Though Tom ran a campaign on issues, you'd never know it to watch the laments that followed.  With regards to Tom, immediately various 'leaders' spoke up to inform the country how Tom could now best use his own money. Pete ran a campaign devoted to assisting the corporations.  The post-Pete drivel was all about how he'd proven so much and he'd inspired so many and this was the first in a long line of campaigns to come.

Really?  Well let's hope in future campaigns that he does better than 8.2% of the voters.

It goes without saying that it was the Neera crowd lamenting Pete.  The White-White crowd.  Realizing how far she'd gone, one White former actress felt the need to Tweet a photo of one of her adopted children.  No word on whether, like last time, she Googled her name and "black child" to find the photo this time.

Some tried to insist that Pete would make a great Secretary of Veterans Affairs.  This group wasn't a group of veterans or a group representing veterans.  As we noted here throughout his campaign, Pete didn't register with veterans.  That's because he never spoke of veterans issues.  Also, it's because he's really not a veteran.  He's a cut-in-line guy who avoided the boot camps and other requirements by who he knew.  He wanted a title and, when he could be given one, he signed up.  Real veterans don't tend to respect the Toy Soldiers.

Pete hurt his case further by never knowing what a veterans issue was.  US House Rep Tulsi Gabbard and US House Rep Seth Moulton both had the respect of their fellow veterans.  Whether that would translate into votes or not, other veterans did look at the two and know that they were fighting for all veterans.  And Tulsi and Seth actually saw combat.

All Pete had was the laughable 'Vote Vets' -- a hideous and partisan front group that might be in trouble with the FEC.  No candidate had less experience than Pete.  But Steve Bullock dropped out without getting the easy praise.  Kamala Harris was not treated like a hero when she dropped out.  He never happened but the press is still trying to make him happen.

Tomorrow is Super Tuesday.  NPR provides a run down of what that means.  The following Tweet goes to what it means for most Americans.

This single 45-second video explains the difference between and . In a 5-day period, Republicans tried to cut Social Security. You’ll see which side Bernie and Joe were on. Take 45 second to watch it — and retweet.



In Iraq, Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi will no longer attempt to become prime minister.   Ghassan Adnan and Isabel Coles (WALL STREET JOURNAL) report, "Iraq’s prime minister-designate withdrew his candidacy for the position on Sunday, saying he faced obstruction from some political factions over reforms, deepening political turmoil in the country as it faces a growing coronavirus challenge."

: Iraqi Prime Minister designate Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi announces his withdrawal after failing to secure parliamentary support for his cabinet selection.

Abbas Kadhim offers this take.

Prime Minister Candidate Mohammad Tawfik Allawi withdrew his nomination after the passing of his constitutional 30-day deadline to secure a CoR vote of confidence. (1)

  • Mr. Allawi blamed the “corrupt partisan politicians” for his inability to form a government. That is true in part. But, on the other hand, he submitted a partial cabinet whose members are completely unsatisfactory. (2)

  • Some of Mr. Allawi’s proposed ministers are accused of acts which, if true, should disqualify them from office and call his judgment into question. Others are too old and/or not in touch with for a long time. (3)

  • Mr. Allawi made several mistakes, other than the bad selection. He accused MPs of conspiring to bring him down, calling those who didn’t support him corrupt & essentially dishonorable. (4)

    This development will bring ’s President Dr. back to the drawing board to nominate another candidate in the next 15 days, as PM ’s govt. continues its caretaker role for up to 45 days, or more if no new PM is confirmed. (5)

    THE DAILY SABAH notes:

    Allawi's withdrawal a month after having been selected plunges the country into further uncertainty at a critical time, as the country weathers troubled times, including ongoing anti-government protests and the constant threat of being ensnared by festering U.S.-Iranian tension. Allawi's departure leaves President Barham Saleh with 15 days to propose a new candidate, whom he could name unilaterally without consulting parliament. According to political sources, the president intends to propose intelligence chief Mustafa al-Kazimi.

    This is not the first time that it's been rumored Saleh will back al-Kazimi.  Back in December, AFP reported Saleh was considering al-Kazimi "who is seen to have US backing."

    And the protests continue.

    Teachers in march in protests to underscore the peacefulness of the revolution, a day after announced withdrawing his candidacy for prime minister amid public rejection |


    protesters in Al-Tahrir square, , chant "the people want the fall of the regime" after withdrew his candidacy for prime minister | Telegram Channel: