Sunday, August 02, 2009

Week in Review: McKinnon, China's Ubermen in Space

ITEM: China has set some pretty tough standards for its astronaut corps:
No scars, no history of serious illness in the last three generations of your family, and no tooth cavities.

These are amongst the 100 health requirements for would-be astronauts vying to be part of China's next space team, the Yangtse Evening Paper reported on Saturday.

The selection process, which the paper said is for the second batch of Chinese astronauts, will disqualify those who have runny noses, ringworm, drug allergies or bad breath.

In case any of this sounds vaguely familiar, it echoes the rules laid out for SS initiates by Himmler:
Himmler insisted that the candidate be racially pure, that is being of good German stock and able to prove his Germanic roots back to 1800 (officers back to 1750). If it was later discovered that the candidate had Jewish ancestry then he would be thrown out of the Waffen SS. This sometimes infuriated Sepp Dietrich who complained that some first class soldiers were being expelled from his ranks. Also the candidate could have no criminal record, have no history of mental illness and be aged between 17 and a half and 22. Also he had to be the correct height (5 ft 11 inches) and build with perfect vision, even as far as no filled teeth! Alcoholism was a definite refusal of entry.
Not a comforting precedent, given China's growing military and economic power.

ITEM: Did Heinlein unwittingly create the Nazi UFO myth? The UFO Iconoclast gets to the bottom of it:
A very disturbing theme recurs from time to time in the UFO literature. Some maintain that Nazi scientists had perfected advanced aerial craft including "flying saucers" - both in Germany during WWII and as captured "Paperclip" scientists in the US. This supposed Nazi technology is seen by these "researchers" as the genesis of early man-made UFOs. Even now it is seen by some as the reason for today's state-of-the-art "Dreamland" flying machines- or even as the true cause of the Roswell crash!

The belief that secret Nazi UFO technologies existed during WWII -and that the US took these technologies to develop further- is as unsettling as it is untrue. "Nazi UFOs" have been proposed by some on numerous websites and in such books as "The Facade," "Pentagon Space Aliens," "The Hunt for Zero Point," "Man-Made UFOs" and "Hitler's Flying Saucers." They elevate Nazi scientific know-how to a level that it does not deserve.
ITEM: Scientists are working on flying saucer technology using plasma lasers. The results aren't terribly impressive so far. At least judging by this video.

ITEM: NAZCA NASA astronaut Gordon Cooper believed that UFOs are visiting the Earth.

ITEM: UFO hacker Gary McKinnon loses his final appeal:

The British computer hacker Gary McKinnon failed today in his latest legal attempt to avoid extradition to the US where he could face a sentence of up to 60 years in a high-security prison.

The high court dismissed two claims for judicial review, dismaying McKinnon's family and supporters. Janis Sharp, his mother, said: "We are heartbroken. If the law says it's fair to destroy someone's life in this way, then it's a bad law."

My guess? The US probably wants to put his skills to work in the Cyberwarfare Department. A good hacker is worth his weight in gold.