History

Of course, the Columbia and Challenger accidents have reminded us we need to be ever vigilant. Despite more than two years of careful work to prevent foam shedding from the shuttle’s main tank, my STS-114 mission lost a large piece of foam on ascent, in a circumstance very similar to what happened to Columbia on […]

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John Fraser, former head of Massey College, has an article in today’s National Post: Canada’s First Nations and the Queen have a kinship like no other. I’d like to see a rebuttal from someone like Pamela Palmater. Personally I think it’s rather questionable to be upholding the idea that the crown has behaved honourably less […]

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The [redacted by the CIA] picture [of Khallad, alias of Walid bin Attash] had been in the CIA’s possession when Steve Bongardt and the Cole team had been shown the [redacted] three pictures on June 11, 2011. If it has been shown to the Cole team, Steve and the other agents would have identified the […]

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‘So let me get this right,’ I said. ‘I am one of less than a handful of people working inside al-Qaeda for Western governments. I have identified senior leaders, was on the inside of plots in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and provided the only intel you have on al-Qaeda’s WMD programme. And in my spare time […]

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One big surprise from Michael Leinbach and Jonathan Ward’s Bringing Columbia Home: The Untold Story of a Lost Space Shuttle and Her Crew is the claim that people at NASA hadn’t anticipated the catastrophic loss of a Shuttle during reentry. That despite of the delicacy of the thermal protective tiles and the fatal consequences expected […]

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Tanya Whyte, one of my classmates at U of T, has been integrally involved in setting up Lipad: a searchable online database of everything said in Canada’s Parliament since 1901. It’s sure to be valuable to everyone from elementary school students researching projects to academic researchers, journalists, and politicians. There was a segment about it […]

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A tweet of mine, written in a moment of irritability aggravated by the sound of jets roaring overhead, has gotten some attention by virtue of being incorporated into some news articles about social media commentary on the Toronto Air Show. In addition to my standard gripes about the wastefulness of jet engine use, the undesirability […]

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A couple of days ago the New York Times published a long and controversial article by Nathaniel Rich which purports to explain why, despite decades of strong scientific consensus about the seriousness of climate change and the action needed to keep it under control, we’re still on track for catastrophic warming: Losing Earth: The Decade […]

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NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has some great free software available that lets you see many solar system bodies (from the sun to Jupiter’s absurd abundance of tiny moons) as well as a wide variety of space missions. Some interesting objects: Miranda, Phobos, Deimos, Io, Europa

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Supposedly, Canada is in the midst of a national effort at moving toward reconciliation after centuries of exploiting and oppressing its Indigenous populations. Signs include efforts to protect and investigate crimes against Indigenous women and girls; the renaming of buildings and monuments to people who played a role in Canada’s troubling past; and supposedly efforts […]

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