The Soyuz carrying the second tourist, Mark Shuttleworth, to the space station took off this morning from Baikonur for an eight day visit to the station. Meanwhile, news is starting to emerge about an overly rough return flight for the first visitor, Dennis Tito, last year. [via NASA Watch]
The Futile Search For "Root Causes" Of Terrorism: Michael Radu argues that looking for the underlying reasons for terrorism is a hopeless cause and then goes on to propose just such a reason: the Muslim poor's lack of political power.
Socioeconomic grievances, or so some assert, explain (though they do not justify) terrorism in general and Islamic terrorism in particular -- the factors Al Gore famously called this February "another axis of evil in the world: poverty and ignorance; disease and environmental disorder; corruption and political oppression," all of which lead to terrorism. But do they?
Crossing Lines: Charles Krauthammer sets up four arguments against therapeutic cloning.
The heart of the problem is this: Nature, through endless evolution, has produced cells with totipotent power. We are about to harness that power for crude human purposes. That should give us pause. Just around the corner lies the logical by-product of such power: human-animal hybrids, partly developed human bodies for use as parts, and other horrors imagined--Huxley's Deltas and Epsilons--and as yet un imagined. This is the Brave New World Factor. Its grounds for objecting to this research are not about the beginnings of life, but about the ends; not the origin of these cells, but their destiny; not where we took these magnificent cells from, but where they are taking us.
See also: A Weak Argument Against Cloning
As the daily political and military atrocities magnetize our attention, it does us good now and then to take a step back and try for some longer-range perspectives on the world situation, and politics in the U.S. of A. So here, in short takes, are some reflections on four areas that could use some deeper examination: political despair, Bush's coming downfall, the new face of warfare, and America's response to Islam.