By Robert A. Vella

Here are some interesting hodgepodge news items for this Thursday:

The Trump Administration definitely has no shortage of perceived enemies and threats, and it is always on the lookout for more.  That’s just the way fascists are, I suppose.  They love to fight… on land, on sea, in the air, over social media, and now in space.  From:  Pence outlines plan for new Space Force by 2020

Vice President Mike Pence told a Pentagon audience that the plan fulfills President Donald Trump’s vow to ensure America’s dominance in space — a domain that was once peaceful and uncontested that has now become crowded and adversarial.

“Now the time has come to write the next great chapter in the history of our armed forces, to prepare for the next battlefield where America’s best and bravest will be called to deter and defeat a new generation of threats to our people, to our nation,” said Pence. “The time has come to establish the United States Space Force.”

Trump marked Pence’s announcement with a tweet: “Space Force all the way!”

Have you ever wondered what the face of white privilege looks like?  From:  A woman told police she’s a ‘thoroughbred, white girl’ as she tried to avoid jail for DUI

Lauren Elizabeth Cutshaw, 32, was charged with a number offenses, including drunken driving, speeding and marijuana possession, after an early Saturday traffic stop in Bluffton, South Carolina.


During the course of the arrest, Cutshaw gave a number of reasons why she shouldn’t be jailed, some of which were used as evidence of her intoxication, according to police records obtained by the Associated Press

Among the statements Cutshaw made to police:

  • She is a “very clean, thoroughbred, white girl.”
  • She was a cheerleader and in a sorority.
  • Her partner is a police officer.
  • She had good grades, was in the National Honor Society and graduated from a “high accredited university.”

At the police station, Cutshaw allegedly used her race and cleanliness as a reason she didn’t belong in jail. An officer, who was also white, questioned why that would matter.

Cutshaw reportedly replied, “You’re a cop, you should know what that means.” She also said the officer should know her meaning “based on the people that come in this room.”

A dashcam video of the arrest shows Cutshaw begging not to be jailed and calling herself a “pretty girl,” . In the video she also expressed worry that the arrest would “ruin her career.”

Saudi Arabia really likes President Trump, and it really doesn’t like the countries that Trump hates.  So goes our bizarre geopolitical world.  From:  A tweet, then a trade freeze: latest row shows Saudi Arabia is asserting new rules

Saudi Arabia’s latest diplomatic spat began with a tweet and very quickly escalated to include the expulsion of an ambassador, the suspension of flights and a freeze on trade deals.

But analysts and regional officials say that Riyadh’s actions have little to do with Canada; instead, the kingdom’s actions are a broader signal to western governments that any criticism of its domestic policies is unacceptable.

The row began with an expression of concern by Canada’s foreign ministry over the arrest of Saudi civil society and women’s rights activists.


And the country’s powerful crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, feels he has the backing to do it.

Projecting strength has become a central concern of the 32-year-old heir to the throne. So has upsetting allies, and starting rows without an apparent follow-up plan.

The new Saudi thinking is that its largesse has been abused and its allies – particularly Barack Obama – have let it down.

Donald Trump’s arrival in the White House changed all that. And the US president’s stance towards the kingdom – and foreign policy in general – has given Riyadh great comfort.

Not only does the Trump administration refuse to discuss human rights with its friends or foes, the issue seems of very little interest to him.

Ruh-roh!  North Korea told Trump a bunch of lies in their meeting.  Or, was it Trump who was lying?  From:  North Korea has not stopped nuclear, missile program: confidential U.N. report

North Korea has not stopped its nuclear and missile programs in violation of United Nations sanctions, according to a confidential U.N. report seen by Reuters on Friday.

The six-month report by independent experts monitoring the implementation of U.N. sanctions was submitted to the Security Council North Korea sanctions committee late on Friday.

“(North Korea) has not stopped its nuclear and missile programs and continued to defy Security Council resolutions through a massive increase in illicit ship-to-ship transfers of petroleum products, as well as through transfers of coal at sea during 2018,” the experts wrote in the 149-page report.

The North Korean mission to the United Nations did not respond to a request for comment on the report.

The U.N report said North Korea is cooperating militarily with Syria and has been trying to sell weapons to Yemen’s Houthis.

Pyongyang also violated a textile ban by exporting more than $100 million in goods between October 2017 and March 2018 to China, Ghana, India, Mexico, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey and Uruguay, the report said.

The report comes as Russia and China suggest the Security Council discuss easing sanctions after U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met for the first time in June and Kim pledged to work toward denuclearization.

The science of biological evolution is altering to accommodate increasing evidence of hybrid speciation where individuals of different but similar species mate and produce viable offspring.  From:  Don’t call dolphin hybrid spotted off Hawaii a ‘wholphin’

HONOLULU (AP) — Scientists are touting the first sighting of a hybrid between a melon-headed whale and a rough-toothed dolphin in the ocean off Hawaii. But don’t call it a “wholphin,” they say.

The melon-headed whale is one of the various species that’s called a whale but is technically a dolphin.


While some news organization have described the melon-headed whale and rough-toothed dolphin hybrid as a new species, in order for that to happen other things need to occur, including more widespread hybridization, Baird said.

“That isn’t the case, although there are examples where hybridization has resulted in a new species,” he said. “There’s no evidence to suggest it’s leading toward anything like species formation.”

The male hybrid presents an opportunity to look for others. Hybrids generally occur when there’s a decline in the population in one of the parental species, so scientists will be looking out for such a decline.

A likely scenario for how the hybrid came to be is a melon-headed whale getting separated from its group and ending up traveling with rough-toothed dolphins.

And finally, good old Albert Einstein has been proven right once again.  His two relativity theories have been challenged time after time, but every case has fallen short.  From:  Einstein’s theory of relativity passes yet another test

NEW YORK — More than a century after Albert Einstein proposed it, his theory of general relativity has passed another test.

With giant telescopes pointed at the center of our galaxy, a team of European researchers observed a fast-moving star that got close to a monstrous black hole. They saw that the black hole distorted the light waves from the star in a way that agrees with Einstein’s theory.

The result was reported Thursday in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

Einstein’s theory says the fabric of the universe is not simply space, but a more complex entity called space-time, which is warped by the presence of heavy objects.


The new study “feels like we’re kind of beating a dead horse,” said Ohio State University astrophysicist Paul Sutter, who wasn’t part of the research team led by Reinhard Genzel of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, Germany.

“I, just like every physicist in the world, would have loved to finally see a crack in Einstein’s relativity,” Sutter said. “But he’s outsmarted us.”

Scientists know that the theory still doesn’t explain everything about the universe. So they keep testing it time and again. So far, nobody has been able to overthrow it.

14 thoughts on “Thursday Potpourri: Space Warfare, White Privilege, Geopolitics, Nukes, Evolution, and Einstein

  1. I watched Vice-President Pence making his announcement of the proposed US Space Corps on the early evening BBC news (I should say fake news, I guess) and I watched him very, very carefully. My conclusion is that either:
    a) he has an exceptional poker face, or
    b) he has control over his unconscious reflexes like a Zen master (or even Steven Seagal) or
    c) he is 100 percent on board with the whole USSC thing and regards it as objective reality.
    Cases a) and b) are, I feel, quite impressive, in their own way.
    Case c) I find really, really scary.

    Liked by 1 person

    • All those conclusions scare me. If a) is true, then it’ll be difficult to determine whether Pence is being truthful or lying. If b) is true, then Pence must be some kind of Machiavellian mastermind. If c) is true, then space could soon become a deadly battlefield which would effectively end peaceful robotic and manned science exploration missions.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Agreed. I have lived with the idea of the Machiavellian politician who need to be watched like a hawk for a long time though. It saddens me that my expectations of the elected holders of public office are so low. Perhaps a general acceptance of this poor state of affairs is the really scary thing?
        That said, I have a feeling that the Martians could give a good account of themselves in battle.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I just think is has no expression because his brain is numb or perhaps dead. I think he has a really brain disorder, worse than Trump’s. Different. But worse.

      Liked by 4 people

    • Because that’s the nature of the scientific method: A discovery is made which spurs various hypotheses to explain it. Researchers then seek empirical evidence to verify or disprove each hypothesis through the “peer review” process. Only when the weight of evidence is sufficient to form a scientific consensus can a hypothesis be considered an accepted scientific “theory.”

      However, this process never ends. New discoveries can be made which can trigger reexamination of accepted theories. A good example is Isaac Newton’s classical (i.e. mechanical) theory of gravity. It worked perfectly well for three centuries, and it still works today as a basic formula for planetary motion; but, Einstein’s general relativity superseded it as observational technology (e.g. telescopes) vastly improved.

      Sometime in the future, if we humans don’t destroy ourselves first, Einstein’s theories will be similarly superseded or at least modified to some degree.


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