03 August 2007
SETI League
PriUPS Project

Listen to or download MP3 version of this blogitem

A Blogblast from the Past

I see that the issue of recording telephone call patterns is back in the news.  Just what was the Bush administration's eavesdropping plan anyway?  And who authorized or didn't authorize it?  A year ago in May I wrote a series of blogitems on the subject to discuss the government's scheme, and came to a potentially startling conclusion.  What are they up to?  Is it legal?  What is the program really all about?  Is it more than it seems or is even suspected?  I'm pleased to note that other than one suspicious "survey" telephone call shortly thereafter, I don't seem to have suffered any repercussions from publishing these items, so maybe it's just my usual goofy musings.  Or some weird conspiracy theory.  Or, possibly, entirely accurate.  Here's an opportunity for thousands of new millireaders who understandably haven't had the patience to return to May 2006 to ignore my theory.

  • Part I, in which I explain a bit about "traffic analysis."

  • Part II, in which I present a hypothesis and a few large, but not that large, numbers.

  • Part III, in which I pretend to check my own sanity and, just possibly, ethics.

Astronomy, Geology, What's the Difference?

Not quite a year ago, an entirely different and even more public controversy erupted:  Is Pluto a planet?  My thoughts on this subject inevitably turned to this notion:  Astronomers really should be required to at least have licenses to practice their trade.  You can read here how I came to that conclusion.

Wall Street Journal excerpt 03 August 2007 about "witchers."And there the matter would have rested, except I just read an article about "dowsers" or "witchers" and how they are employed to discover water so that wells can be dug.  It seems that "While 'low-tech' witching isn't illegal a few witchers who purport to be scientists and use high-tech equipment such as radar to supplement their witching are violating a 1968 law that bans practicing geology without a license."

Clearly the astronomers, who also use high-tech equipment, have a more powerful lobby.

NP:  "Like Flames" - Berlin

Richard Factor

Yesterday  |  Tomorrow