THINGS WE DON'T UNDERSTAND
It's always been the case. Politicians love to "rob Peter to pay Paul." Remember the flap some years ago about the Congress using Social Security Trust Fund monies for other things, or at least threatening to? Well, in Arizona the Legislature has apparently been dipping into funds earmarked for schools to complete other projects. Now, according to the Arizona Republic newspaper, a judge has ruled that "enough is enough."
Meanwhile, many members of the Legislature say they might have to ignore the judge's orders in order to continue with plans for the next fiscal budget, plans that would again borrow from a fund that was set up to provide money for school repairs.
The judge who made the ruling noted that although he understands the problem of balancing the state budget, there's a little matter of constitutionality to deal with.
NEWS OF OTHER LIFE FORMS
Technically, a space-age substance called "aerogel" isn't alive; but it might as well be. NASA says it now holds the Guinness record for being the lightest substance on earth. It seems to float and appears to be breathing ... but it's a solid.
It was designed for the agency to be a kind of "sponge in space," positioned to attract and catch tiny roaming particles in the solar system.
Although scientists have had the formula for aerogel since the 1930s, it's only been recently that experts at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., have realized that it would be perfect as a "solar dust magnet."
Aerogel is so light and porous that only two-tenths of a percent of its mass is actually substance ... the rest is air. Some scientists jokingly call it "frozen smoke."
TODAY'S SIGN THE WORLD IS ENDING
In the 1960s Soviet missiles were planted on the island nation of Cuba and aimed at the United States. Now, according to the Dallas Morning News, the next threat from "Castro's island" could be a biological one.
Sit on the beach in Key West, Fla., any evening and you'll feel the warm breezes of the Gulf blowing in from across the straits ... from Cuba. What if those otherwise gentle winds were filled with anthrax or other biological agents? That's what scares some terrorism experts.
John Bolton, an undersecretary of state for arms control, told a Washington think tank this week that the scenario could eventually be put into play. And other so-called "rogue nations" might try the same thing.
AND FINALLY, TODAY'S UPLIFTING STORY
It's no secret that this country and Canada have the longest peaceful border in the world. As a matter of fact, in a recent conversation with United Press International, some Canadian crossing guards at Victoria, British Columbia, commented that the events of Sept. 11 have caused them to be more "in your face" than they would like to be. In the "old days" they would just wave at American tourists entering their country. Now they have to do searches.
But through it all Canadians continue to treat America with respect, even if the U.S. dollar is worth 1.5 times what theirs is!
If you need proof that our neighbors to the north like us, witness what happened this week at a Brooks & Dunn concert in Vancouver, British Columbia. The CMT network says that when the duo opened its show with "Only in America" the reaction was louder than at American venues. The two had debated whether to include the song, but told the network that they are glad they did. At the beginning of the song is an audio-video montage with statements from three American presidents, including John F. Kennedy. "The crowd went wild" when the montage appeared.