Devils Tower

The sheer face of Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming.

Devils Tower

Pine Cones

Taken on a Fall nature walk with my family.

Pine Cones

Forest Floor

Taken on a Fall nature hike with my family.

Forest Floor

Boeing P-26A

Taken at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.

Boeing P-26A

Fire

Patterns in the backyard fire.

Fire

Waterlogged

Fallen timber on Fortune Lake in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Waterlogged

Sacred Cow

The Sacred Cow was Franklin D. Roosevelt’s personal plane.  The term Air Force One was not used at that time.

Sacred Cow

Bewabic

Taken at Bewabic State Park in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Bewabic

Merry Go Round

Merry Go Round at The House on The Rock in Spring Green, Wisconsin.

Merry Go Round

Space Oddity

International Space Station commander Chris Hadfield recently handed over command of the station to Russian cosmonaut Pavel Vinogradov.  Before he left, however, he released an updated version of David Bowie’s song Space Oddity.  Variety.com has a nice write up on it.  Very cool indeed.

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Gun Free Zones

Silly me, all I had to do was post some signs!

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Dog Humor

This is for all the dog lovers out there.

Paper is NOT Dead!

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Passwords Suck

You know how it goes:  You try to login to a secure website and you forget your password.  You try every password you’ve thought up for the past 15 years and nothing works.  You try to answer the security questions but nothing you put in is correct!  After about three tries your account gets locked and you’re shut down until things reset themselves…that is IF they reset themselves.  I’ve actually had a retirement account locked permanently until such time as I could physically call the customer support department and beg to have it reset.  Because of all this, I HATE PASSWORDS.  Well, I’m not alone:
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Caden And Connor

Who would have thought that two little boys could inspire us all? I’ll admit to shedding tears while watching this.
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Hormones, Or How To Communicate With Women

Guys, you know the drill:  You ask a seemingly innocent question and…BAM…you never know what hit you.  Well, one of the things I like to provide here on my website are tools to help you survive day-to-day struggles such as communication with the opposite sex.  I offer up the following chart.  Read it carefully, there might be a quiz later.

womenquestions
You can find additional pointers in a post I made a while back HERE.

Pearl Harbor After Visiting Hours

When the Battleship USS Arizona sank at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, she took 1,177 officers and crewmembers with her.  What most people don’t realize, however, is that 334 people survived the sinking.  This video is about the dying wishes of some of those survivors:
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One For The Sportsmen

If you’re like me you can’t wait for summer to arrive.  Every time I walk by my boat, sitting all covered up in the garage, I imagine myself out on the lake reeling in a big one.

Tim decided to tie the knot with his longtime girlfriend.  One evening, after the honeymoon, he was loading some shells for an upcoming hunt.

His wife was standing there at the bench watching him.  After a long period of silence she finally speaks.  “Honey, I’ve been thinking, now that we are married I think it’s time you quit hunting, shooting, hand loading, and fishing.   And as long as you’re at it, maybe you should sell your guns and boat too.”

Tim gets this horrified look on his face.

She says, “Darling, what’s wrong?”

”There for a minute you were sounding like my ex-wife.” Tim said.

“Ex-wife!” she screams, “I didn’t know you were married before!”

”I wasn’t!” He replied.

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That’s Not A Planet!

Most of you are probably aware of the White House Petitions website.  You know, the place where over 100,000 people (myself included) signed a petition to deport Piers Morgan?  Well, it turns out that at least someone connected with the site has a sense of humor.  One of the petitions started there asserted that the government should “Secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016.”  I imagine this particular petition was thought up by either some socially backward nerd or a bunch of drunk college kids.  No matter, the White House has responded in fine fashion with the following reply:

This Isn’t the Petition Response You’re Looking For

By Paul Shawcross

The Administration shares your desire for job creation and a strong national defense, but a Death Star isn’t on the horizon. Here are a few reasons:

  • The construction of the Death Star has been estimated to cost more than $850,000,000,000,000,000. We’re working hard to reduce the deficit, not expand it.
  • The Administration does not support blowing up planets.
  • Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?

However, look carefully (here’s how) and you’ll notice something already floating in the sky — that’s no Moon, it’s a Space Station! Yes, we already have a giant, football field-sized International Space Station in orbit around the Earth that’s helping us learn how humans can live and thrive in space for long durations. The Space Station has six astronauts — American, Russian, and Canadian — living in it right now, conducting research, learning how to live and work in space over long periods of time, routinely welcoming visiting spacecraft and repairing onboard garbage mashers, etc. We’ve also got two robot science labs — one wielding a laser — roving around Mars, looking at whether life ever existed on the Red Planet.

Keep in mind, space is no longer just government-only. Private American companies, through NASA’s Commercial Crew and Cargo Program Office (C3PO), are ferrying cargo — and soon, crew — to space for NASA, and are pursuing human missions to the Moon this decade.

Even though the United States doesn’t have anything that can do the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs, we’ve got two spacecraft leaving the Solar System and we’re building a probe that will fly to the exterior layers of the Sun. We are discovering hundreds of new planets in other star systems and building a much more powerful successor to the Hubble Space Telescope that will see back to the early days of the universe.

We don’t have a Death Star, but we do have floating robot assistants on the Space Station, a President who knows his way around a light saber and advanced (marshmallow) cannon, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which is supporting research on building Luke’s arm, floating droids, and quadruped walkers.

We are living in the future! Enjoy it. Or better yet, help build it by pursuing a career in a science, technology, engineering or math-related field. The President has held the first-ever White House science fairs and Astronomy Night on the South Lawn because he knows these domains are critical to our country’s future, and to ensuring the United States continues leading the world in doing big things.

If you do pursue a career in a science, technology, engineering or math-related field, the Force will be with us! Remember, the Death Star’s power to destroy a planet, or even a whole star system, is insignificant next to the power of the Force.

Paul Shawcross is Chief of the Science and Space Branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget

Tell us what you think about this response and We the People.

You can read the original petition and the White House’s response HERE.