5:29 PM Jul 29, 2007

by Rob Ritchie

I wish the couple much happiness.

11:22 AM Jul 29, 2007

by Rob Ritchie

Do we still live in a country that values free speech?

8:18 AM Jul 28, 2007

by Rob Ritchie

Victim in Mojave explosion remembered as lifelong rocketeer

MOJAVE, Calif.—Charles May was the consummate rocketeer. As a child, he would build model rockets in his spare time. When he got older, he would rig them on bicycles and canoes to make them zip.

"He was outgoing. I wouldn't call him a geek type of person," recalled older brother Gary May.

The younger May, 45, was killed Thursday during a routine test of a propellent flow system for a new space tourism vehicle at a Mojave Desert airport site used by Scaled Composites LLC. Also killed were Eric Blackwell, 38, and Todd Ivens, 33.

Like most Scaled employees, the trio were lured by the promises of working in cutting-edge rocketry. May was part of Scaled's history-making SpaceShipOne team, which launched the first private manned rocket into space.

He left after SpaceShipOne won the X Prize to work at another space-related company and had just returned to Scaled on Monday, his family said.

"He always felt like he was part of history" because of SpaceShipOne, his brother said.

Rocketry was in May's blood. His parents gave him the middle name Glen after the NASA astronaut John Glenn. Born in Tennessee, he would often go to Huntsville, Ala., to watch rocket firings, his brother said.

It sad whenever someone dies like this, but on the other hand to go out doing what you love is a wonderful thing. Few people get to define themselves in the minds of their family and friends in such a way.

Dangerous careers are, well, dangerous. A police officer who dies in the line of duty or a firefighter who dies saving someone from a burning house know the risks and choose the life anyway.

I suspect that part of the joy of such a life is coming home at the end of the day, knowing that tomorrow it may not happen. And then, one day, it doesn't.


7:20 AM Jul 27, 2007by Rob Ritchie

I'm recovering, but it's slower than I imagined. Oddly enough, you don't shake this off in a few hours.

The first night was, as you might imagine, the worst. They put packing in my sinuses which meant breathing exclusively through my mouth. It's difficult to sleep like that, and when I awoke my tongue was as dry as the blanket!

Yesterday morning, however, I visited the doctor's office and the nurse yanked the packing out of my head. Not pleasant, but once it was out I could actually breathe through my nose, which felt delightful.

But, there's bleeding because they don't put in stitches or cauterize or anything like that so I have to be careful of my movements, get up slowly, etc. Afrin-soaked cotton swabs will stop most nose bleeds, something I didn't know before.

Anyway, I'm on the mend and my prognosis is good. Doc said that when he got into my head, he realized that basically every anatomical detail in there was conspiring to close off my sinuses from one another, and he's confident that once I heal up I'll have relief from much of the headaches and pressure I've been having.

Endoscopic sinus surgery tomorrow

9:22 AM Jul 24, 2007by Rob Ritchie

It occurs to me that I haven't posted on this.

Tomorrow morning I'll be going in for outpatient surgery to fix my sinus problem (or, at any rate, a few of my sinus problems).

I'll be under general anesthesia. The only time prior to this that I've been under was close to 25 years ago when I had my wisdom teeth removed. I don't recall much about it, I was pretty sick and groggy when it was over.

Recovery should take a few days, and then I'll return to my regular pattern of sporadic posting and infrequent updates.

8:27 AM Jul 19, 2007

by Rob Ritchie

Gareth Groves found out just how bigoted his neighbors were when they smashed his car and scratched hate-filled messages into the door.

Cause of the attack: Religious differences

4:53 PM Jul 17, 2007

by Rob Ritchie

Myths and Realities of the George Bush Presidency

As I listen to people discuss the Presidency of George Bush, I find myself hearing the same things over and over. He has been too ideological, too closed-minded, too partisan, and too incompetent, resulting in a disastrous Presidency. I am not sure that this analysis will survive a more sober, detached perspective. Later in this essay, I will spell out what I see as the myths embedded in the conventional wisdom.

Since I seem to be completely swiping Glenn Reynold's post, I may as well echo his "Read the whole thing."

Cry me a river

9:04 PM Jul 11, 2007by Rob Ritchie

Glasgow attack suspect 'dying'

EDINBURGH, Scotland (AP) -- A suspect in the failed terror attack on Scotland's busiest airport was unlikely to survive his severe burn injuries, a doctor who treated him said Tuesday.

Khalid Ahmed, 27, is in a Scottish hospital with burns suffered after allegedly crashing a Jeep Cherokee into the Glasgow airport a day after police found two unexploded car bombs in central London.

"The prognosis is not good and he is not likely to survive," a member of the medical team that treated him at the Royal Alexandra Hospital near Glasgow said on condition of anonymity because details about patients' condition are not to be made public.

"He has third-degree burns over most of his torso and limbs. It is beyond repair and because he has lost so much skin he is now vulnerable to infection and won't be able to fight it."


10:00 AM Jul 11, 2007by Rob Ritchie

There have been some fairly significant technical changes on this site that I guess I should tell you about. I changed hosting services, which other than some sporadic downtimes last weekend should have been transparent to you.

One thing that is pretty neat is that I was able to upgrade the database underpinnings of this blog from Access to SQL Server. This results in much faster page loads, so you might actually see an improvement.

I've also been working on the game sites that I support for the Stone Hill SF club, as well, which explains my sub-normal number of posts. Lots of my energies are devoted over there for the time being.

9:44 AM Jul 4, 2007

by Rob Ritchie

Jeeze, he blogs all day long over at buzz.mn, and yet he's still got a good head of screed going for the Fourth:

And so another Fourth comes. The vast majority of Americans of all political stripes will greet the day with pride – the reasons will vary, but the core ideas are still shared. The future, however, contain a very big question, and it’s not one we haven’t faced before: together, or apart? Except now the terms have been redefined: “together” implies that we must throw our weight in with a portion of the world that seems intellectually incapable of apprehending the concept of a greater foe, and takes refuge in the dream of “disaffected” or “disenfranchised” physicians disconnected from a greater meme. “Apart” has come to mean we define our culture in opposition to another, and confront it with values we truly believe to be superior, and do so with full knowledge of our own flaws. Yesterday was the anniversary of Gettysburg, a day in which the divisions were horrible and bloody, and had to be hammered out to make the great experiment whole again. Rent apart, we had to work our way back to the whole. This is different. We have to come together, in order that we may stand apart, and defend the things in which we believe.

Read it all!

Happy Fourth!

8:35 AM Jul 4, 2007by Rob Ritchie

Happy Independence Day to all!

I've been doing some technical upgrades on my site over the last few days, but I think they are mostly over. So today, I'm going to enjoy the day in style. I may even post!