Early-morning Comet

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“Comet Bradfield (C/2004 F4), which flew by the Sun on April 17th, is emerging now from the Sun’s glare. Look for it rising in the eastern sky just before dawn. The comet is barely visible to the naked eye, but it’s a beautiful sight through binoculars.” — spaceweather.com

Our Hidden WMD Program

Why Bush is Spending So Much on Nuclear Weapons: “There is no nuclear arms race going on now. The world no longer offers many suitable nuclear targets. President Bush is trying to persuade other nations—especially “rogue regimes”—to forgo their nuclear ambitions. Yet he is shoveling money to U.S. nuclear weapons laboratories as if the Soviet Union still existed and the Cold War still raged.

These are the findings of a virtually unnoticed report written by weapons analyst Christopher Paine, based on data from official budget documents, and released earlier this month by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The report raises anew a question that always springs to mind after a close look at the U.S. military budget: What the hell is going on here? Specifically: Do we really need to be spending this kind of money on nuclear weapons? What role do nuclear weapons play in 21st-century military policy? How many weapons do we need, to deter what sort of attack or to hit what sorts of targets, with what level of confidence, for what strategic and tactical purposes?” — Fred Kaplan, Slate

Man Survives 18-Floor Plunge

“A South African man survived an 18-floor plunge from a Cape Town hotel room and was well enough to call out to amazed rescuers, police said on Thursday.

Nicholas du Plooy broke both arms and a leg and also injured his neck late on Tuesday after he toppled out of a 19th-floor window at the Cape Town Ritz Hotel late on Tuesday…

Police said they believed du Plooy’s plunge was accidental but would not speculate on the circumstances. “There’s no foul play suspected. The guy just fell out of the window,” police spokeswoman Priscilla Ndongeni said.” — Yahoo! News It may be an urban legend, but a certain degree of intoxication may contribute to avoidance of injury by keeping one loose and relaxed. Of course, it may also contribute to the tendency to fall in the first place.