Thursday, April 4, 2002  [!]

NASA dodges a bullet The launch that was originally scheduled for 5pm eastern (that woulda been about a half hour ago) was scrubbed due to leaking fuel. Hydrogen. Very flammable. The launch is postponed until Sunday (at earliest).

My uncle tells a story about his childhood attempt to create hydrogen by combining a couple of household substances. After the substance ignited, my grandmother is said to have taken corners on two wheels when she drove him to the hospital. My grandfather, when he learned what my uncle had been doing, said, "Didn't you remember that hydrogen is extremely flammable when mixed with oxygen in concentrations of 5 to 95 per cent?"

[From the above-linked Washington Post story] While hydrogen can "auto ignite" in the atmosphere if the concentration is above about 4 percent, Leinbach said the launch team was never overly worried about the prospects of a fire, saying it was "very, very unlikely at that location." [Read More]

More Israel-Palestine Links This is backgrounder material.

Ha'aretz: The war looks different abraod - and maybe so do the facts [via Ethel the Blog]
A journey through the TV and radio channels and the pages of the newspapers exposes a huge and embarrassing gap between what is reported to us and what is seen, heard, and read in the world - not only in the commentaries and analytical pieces, but also in the reporting of the dry facts.

Israel looks like an isolated media island, with most of the reporters drafted into the cause of convincing themselves and the reader that the government and army are perfectly justified in whatever they do. Some have actually been drafted - Yedioth Aharonoth has started running a regular column by its reporter, Guy Leshem, who reports with determination from the heart of the West Bank, straight from his military reserve service. This is another step in erasing the line between the defense framework and the editorial framework that is supposed to report and criticize.

An Israeli citizen interested in a more complex picture of reality has to rely on the remote control and the computer mouse. "I've been here many years but I don't remember such a dark period in the Israeli press," complained one foreign correspondent, who indeed has been here many years. But even if he slightly exaggerated, it's not a totally unrealistic assessment.

More First-hand reports Under Fires: An American Student in Ramallah "My name is Tzaporah Ryter. I am an American student from the University of Minnesota. I currently am in Ramallah. We are under a terrible siege and people are being massacred by both the Israeli army and armed militia groups of Israeli settlers. They are shooting outside at anything that moves."

Mar 31: Last Night the Israeli Military Tried to Kill Me by Jordan Flaherty "I'm staying in the al azzeh refugee camp, in Bethlehem, along with about twenty other international civilians. We're here to act as human shields, because we've heard an Israeli invasion is imminent. It's 1:30pm right now, on Easter Sunday, and some are expecting the invasion within the next two hours."

Washington Post: He Kept Bleeding A wounded man takes refuge at a stranger's house and dies there; what's going on in the churches in Bethlehem.