16 May 2011

Endeavour's Last Journey

Photo by Robert Pearlman. Twitpic location http://twitpic.com/4yfylb

Today marks another milestone towards the end of NASA's shuttle mission. Endeavour took off today on its last journey into space. As a child, I was always fascinated by the shuttles and even wanted to become an astronaut. But I still remember to this day watching Columbia, the first shuttle, launching into space.

It is odd to think how every shuttle launch used to be on network TV. They would pre-empt shows and commercials to show the launches. Then around the time of the Challenger disaster, networks no longer seemed to air the launches, but the new cable channels like CNN would show them. But then over time, even they quit airing the launches. It fell to NASA TV and their internet site's streaming to show launches. I tried to watch them when I could, but after the Columbia shuttle disaster in 2003, I managed to only watch about 1 in 4 of the launches or landings.

It is a shame to see an outlet for tremendous amounts of scientific research going to the wayside with no replacement ready to take over. It is sad that we will have to start relying on the Russians to continue work on the International Space Station.

09 May 2011

Rugby Pics - MARFU Div III semi-finals - Blacksburg v. Virginia

Here are the pictures from when Blacksburg played Virginia. Open up the article to view the full gallery.

The pictures can be found on my Picasaweb site at http://picasaweb.google.com/jpates

The sad part is this is probably my last set of pictures of the Blacksburg Rugby team. I will be moving next month to Richmond, and I do not think I will continue doing rugby photographs. Blacksburg was a team that I truly enjoyed. Even though I only played less than 2 seasons with them, they have always made me feel like a welcome addition to the team whether or not I was able to play. For this, I feel incredibly lucky to have known many great people from the team.

I do wish Blacksburg Rugby the best of luck in the upcoming seasons, and I may make it out when they play James River. I might have to dust off my camera for that.

02 May 2011

Osama bin Laden dead

Just before I was about to go to bed on the 1st of May, 2011, a friend had pointed to a Wall Street Journal headline that said Osama bin Laden was dead. I could not find any reference anywhere else to back it up. Then about an hour later, NBC was airing President Obama's speech informing us that Osama bin Laden was indeed dead, killed in a firefight in Abbottadad, Pakistan and that his body is in US military custody.

Take a moment to remember the lives of Americans taken by Al-Qaeda during 9/11 and in the Middle East wars of Afghanistan and Iraq. Know that our lives will be forever different after those attacks. But take solace that the mastermind of such evil is now dead. And here is to those that have served in the military and those that serve now.