Archive for the ‘Air Force’ Category

Santa Sighting: Japan & Korea

December 24, 2012

Across the International Date Line, Santa was sighted over Asian rooftops. NORAD continues to track  Santa’s flight, and you can monitor it here. Google even shows you Santa’s Dashboard.


“Why Did NORAD Start Tracking Santa?” Matt Soniak, Mental Floss

“Santa’s journey differs on Google, Microsoft trackers,” Craig Timberg and Hayley Tsukayama, Washington Post


Short Link:

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A Child’s Garden of Drones

June 7, 2012

A Child's Garden of Drones

“I can feel it in the air tonight, oh Lord” — Phil Collins

“Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Drones,” Cora Currier, Pro Publica

Almost 1 in 3 U.S. Warplanes is a Robot,” Spencer Ackerman and Noah Schachtman, Wired Danger Room

“Rise of the drone: From Calif. garage to multibillion-dollar defense industry,” Peter Finn, Washington Post


Italians to Bomb Libya

May 10, 2011

Italians to Bomb Libya

Italy has announced that it will join NATO forces in bombing Libya. It’s done that before:

“Libya 1911: How an Italian pilot began the air war era,” Alan Johnston, BBC News

Image (“da Vinci Anticipates Aviation”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

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Air Tanker Bidding Tanks, Big Time

December 15, 2010

 Air Tanker Bidding Tanks, Big Time

Forget Wikileaks. The Air Force doesn’t need help in spilling secrets — it delivers confidential bid data directly to competing defense contractors. An Air Force clerical error sent Boeing bidding information to competitor EADS and vice versa, fouling up the $40 billion contract for a mid-air refueling tanker plane that has been delayed for a decade.

The tanker dogfight began in 2001, when ex-fighter pilot Senator John McCain (R-AZ) shot down a Boeing deal. In the bidding war that followed, Boeing offered a job to the Air Force officer running the bid. Two Boeing execs were went down in flames and did jail time, and the firm’s CEO quit.


Veteran’s Day 2009

November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day 2009

This is Veterans Day in the United States. It was once called Armistice Day, marking the time the guns stopped in The Great War, at the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918. When that failed to be The War to End All Wars, the observance was renamed Veterans Day in 1954.

This year the holiday is marked by the launch of a new web site for vets, Today’s G.I. Bill, a guide to education benefits for post-9/11 veterans that is more user-friendly than the Department of Veterans Affairs or active-duty military sites. The project is supported by the Lumina Foundation and the American Council on Education.

While implementation of the education benefit is not without problems, it has been more successful than other vet programs. 131,000 U.S. veterans will be homeless tonight. 5.5 million vets are living with a disability. Up to 35% of Iraq veterans experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). You can help. Look here to find out how.


Hat tip: Inside Higher Ed

Hear and read the stories of veterans in their own words at the website of Veterans History Project of the American Folklife Center.

Image: Lumina Foundation.

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Astronaut Sex Scandal:Guilty!

November 10, 2009

Astronaut Sex Scandal: Guilty!

Ex-Astronaut Lisa Nowak, who attacked her rival in a love triangle, pleaded guilty today to burglary of a car and misdemeanor battery, avoiding kidnapping and attempted murder charges. Under a plea bargain agreement, she was sentenced to two days in jail (already served) and one year of probation, which she will undoubtedly serve in the company of a literary agent and ghost writer.

On February 5, 2007, Captain Nowak was arrested at the Orlando airport after driving 900 miles non-stop from Houston and pepper-spraying her romantic rival, Air Force Captain Colleen Shipman. Ms. Shipman was the current lover of Ms. Nowak’s old flame, Astronaut William Oefelein.

Nowak’s car contained latex gloves, a wig, a BB pistol and ammunition, pepper spray, a 2-pound drilling hammer, rubber tubing, plastic garbage bags, an 8-inch folding knife, and (apparently) the Astronaut’s friend, Maximum Absorbency Garments (adult diapers). Ms. Nowak denied wearing the diapers on her non-stop 24-hour drive. She also pleaded insanity before taking the plea bargain.



December 6, 2008


WTF? A UFO on Capitol Hill? NotionsCapital’s Mike Licht was an eye witness:

At 5 PM today I was on Barracks Row, walking toward Pennsylvania Avenue, SE. Looking to my left, I saw a round or spherical shape in the sky, back-lit in the dusk, when the sky is lighter at higher elevations.

Lighting conditions made it hard to judge size (weather or barrage balloon? Hot air balloon? Blimp headed towards or away from me?) and distance (over the Mall, SW or NW DC, Georgetown or Arlington?).  I wasn’t carrying a camera, of course.


14 More Turkeys Pardoned!

November 25, 2008

14 More Turkeys Pardoned!

Lame Duck President George W. Bush will pardon two birds on November 26th, but he pardoned fourteen turkeys today:

Leslie Owen Collier (Charleston, MO) Bald Eagle poisoner; killed three eagles.
Offense: Unauthorized use of a registered pesticide, 7 U.S.C. §§ 136j(a)(2)(F) and 136l(b); violation of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, 16 U.S.C. § 668(a).
Sentence: Feb. 2, 1996; Eastern District of Missouri; two years’ probation and $10,000 in restitution.

Milton Kirk Cordes (Rapid City, SD) Endangered Animal Smuggler
Offense: Conspiracy to violate the Lacey Act;[Control of Illegally Taken Fish and Wildlife]
18 U.S.C. § 371, 16 U.S.C. §§ 3372(a)(2)(A), 3373(d)(1)(B).
Sentence: Dec. 14, 1998; District of South Dakota; 18 months’ probation conditioned on loss of hunting privileges for one year, performance of 100 hours of community service and payment of a $2,000 fine.

Richard Micheal Culpepper (Mahomet, Ill.) False Claims
Offense: False statements to the United States; 18 U.S.C. § 287.
Sentence: Jan. 15, 1988; Central District of Illinois; five years’ probation conditioned on payment of a $1,000 fine and $4,351.90 in restitution.

Brenda Jean Dolenz-Helmer (Fort Worth, Texas) Covered up medical insurance fraud by her Doctor father
Offense: Misprision of a felony; 18 U.S.C. § 4.
Sentence: Dec. 31, 1998; Northern District of Texas; four years’ probation, with the special condition of 600 hours of community service and a $10,000 fine.


G.W. Bush — A Veteran’s Next Job?

November 11, 2008

G.W. Bush -- A Veteran's Next Job

In just a few weeks, George W. Bush will declare “Mission Accomplished” and leave Washington for Texas. What will he do after January 20th?

Daughter Jenna told Larry King her father wants to be Baseball Commissioner, but the President’s controversial  investment history with the Texas Rangers franchise makes that unlikely. And our best MLB players tend to be Latino immigrants, who might worry that a Commissioner Bush would surround team dugouts with a 20-foot-tall steel fence.

Mr. Bush loves to clear brush, so we have another job suggestion: caretaker of the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery, 11463 State Highway 195 at Chaparral Road, about six miles south of U.S. 190, in Killeen, TX. Mr. Bush has introduced thousands of young Americans to such facilities; this job would give him daily opportunities to admire his handiwork.


November 11th in Washington, DC

November 10, 2008

November 11th in Washington DC

The U.S. Congress taxed them. Congress declared war and sent them to serve. Some were wounded and some died defending our country, all without representation in that same U.S. Congress. Who are they? The citizens of the District of Columbia who have served in our armed forces.

Meet DC’s veterans today, Veteran’s Day, Noon to 1:30 PM, at Upper Senate Park, Delaware and Constitution Avenues, NE, near the Russell Senate Office Building, between the Capitol and Union Station. Join themas they rally for the DC Vote.