Friday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of forty-two. Sunrise is 7:03 AM and sunset 7:03 PM, for 11h 59m 52s of daytime. The moon is a new today with 1% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the four hundred ninety-first day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.
On this day in 1926, Dr. Robert H. Goddard tests the first liquid-fueled rocket:
Goddard launched the first liquid-fueled (gasoline and liquid oxygen) rocket on March 16, 1926, in Auburn, Massachusetts. Present at the launch were his crew chief, Henry Sachs, Esther Goddard, and Percy Roope, who was Clark’s assistant professor in the physics department. Goddard’s diary entry of the event was notable for its understatement:
March 16. Went to Auburn with S[achs] in am. E[sther] and Mr. Roope came out at 1 p.m. Tried rocket at 2.30. It rose 41 feet & went 184 feet, in 2.5 secs., after the lower half of the nozzle burned off. Brought materials to lab….:143
His diary entry the next day elaborated:
March 17, 1926. The first flight with a rocket using liquid propellants was made yesterday at Aunt Effie’s farm in Auburn…. Even though the release was pulled, the rocket did not rise at first, but the flame came out, and there was a steady roar. After a number of seconds it rose, slowly until it cleared the frame, and then at express train speed, curving over to the left, and striking the ice and snow, still going at a rapid rate.:143
The rocket, which was later dubbed “Nell”, rose just 41 feet during a 2.5-second flight that ended 184 feet away in a cabbage field, but it was an important demonstration that liquid propellants were possible. The launch site is now a National Historic Landmark, the Goddard Rocket Launching Site.
Recommended for reading in full —
➤ Nicole Perlroth and David E. Sanger report Cyberattacks Put Russian Fingers on the Switch at Power Plants, U.S. Says:
United States officials and private security firms saw the attacks as a signal by Moscow that it could disrupt the West’s critical facilities in the event of a conflict.
They said the strikes accelerated in late 2015, at the same time the Russian interference in the American election was underway. The attackers had successfully compromised some operators in North America and Europe by spring 2017, after President Trump was inaugurated.
In the following months, according to a Department of Homeland Security report issued on Thursday, Russian hackers made their way to machines with access to critical control systems at power plants that were not identified. The hackers never went so far as to sabotage or shut down the computer systems that guide the operations of the plants.
Still, new computer screenshots released by the Department of Homeland Security on Thursday made clear that Russian state hackers had the foothold they would have needed to manipulate or shut down power plants.
“We now have evidence they’re sitting on the machines, connected to industrial control infrastructure, that allow them to effectively turn the power off or effect sabotage,” said Eric Chien, a security technology director at Symantec, a digital security firm.
“From what we can see, they were there. They have the ability to shut the power off. All that’s missing is some political motivation,” Mr. Chien said.
(Again and again, one sees that Putin’s regime is adversarial to America. See Department of Homeland Security, Russian Government Cyber Activity Targeting Energy and Other Critical Infrastructure Sectors.)
➤ David Frum considers The Words Trump Refuses to Speak (“For the most verbally belligerent president in history, Trump’s comments about Russia’s nerve-agent attack have been conspicuously weak”):
The most verbally belligerent president in history—who has abusive things to say about allies like Japan, South Korea, and Canada—cannot summon up any harsher adjective for a nerve attack on NATO soil than “sad.” Today’s tentative words and belated actions are already being hailed by Trump partisans as proof that at last the president has gotten tough. The Republican National Committee released a statement today hailing Trump’s “TOUGH ON RUSSIA RECORD.”
The balance of forces within the Trump administration apparently does not forbid all criticism of Russia or Vladimir Putin. Nor does the president veto all actions against Russia. While the president still refuses to implement the sanctions voted on to punish Russia from intervening in the 2016 election, he has allowed other sanctions to go forward and has sold lethal weapons to Ukraine.
But if it’s not nothing, it’s also true that it has taken extraordinary pressure to move Trump even the small interval he has moved. It’s progress, and it’s welcome. But it does not begin to dispel the haunting doubts about why Trump so hesitates to condemn Russia and Putin—not nearly.
➤ Misha Glenny calls for Hitting Putin Where It Hurts:
It is now high time for Britain to make a concerted effort to ascertain where all of this fabulous wealth comes from. Russian oligarchs have made an indelible mark on London. Some own newspapers, others our most successful soccer clubs, while many more own huge chunks of high-end property in the most fashionable parts of the capital.
And some of those characters are close collaborators and friends of President Putin. Thanks to some tenacious journalists, it has come to light that the children of Vladimir Yakunin, the former head of Russia’s railway network and a Putin pal, have been purchasing luxury houses in the capital through anonymous companies. This is now an ever more popular trick — squirreling away corrupt money by passing it on to relatives in the hope that it will evade scrutiny.
If Mrs. May is convinced that Russia is behind this attack, then she needs to devise a way of getting to President Putin’s friends and collaborators. And that means great transparency. She should reintroduce the stalled proposal to force anonymous companies to reveal the sources of their cash. If any members of Parliament or the cabinet tried to oppose a move now, their motives would immediately look suspicious. Now is the moment to confound her critics by acting decisively.
(An oligarchy cares for nothing so much as its oligarchs.)
➤ It’s PutinCon today – 3.16.18 in New York City:
#PutinCon is coming up tomorrow 3/16 in NYC. Join us for a day-long masterclass on #VladimirPutin as he prepares to start his 4th pres. term. We’ll hear from @Kasparov63, @Billbrowder, @vkaramurza, @PreetBharara, & many more #Russia experts. Livestream at https://t.co/ihsm7hXzBv. pic.twitter.com/5lqvCskmlV
— HRF (@HRF) March 15, 2018
Live streaming is available via YouTube at PutinCon 2018.
The Putin regime is the gravest threat to democracy and Western values that exists in the world today. Putin’s power as Russia’s leader is based in fear, mystery, and propaganda. Putin has wielded violence as the key tool in shaping a system that gives him unrivaled power and wealth, both within Russia and worldwide.
PutinCon will show how thin the façade of his control truly is. This gathering of Russian democracy activists, Kremlin experts, Putin biographers, law enforcement professionals, historians, foreign policy leaders, and intelligence analysts will tell the story of how Russia is crippled by totalitarian rule.
➤ One can learn a bit about The ‘Most Elusive’ Man in North America:
Somewhere in the mountains of Vernon, British Columbia lives a 76-year-old man by the name of Dag Aabye. He has no cell phone or email address. Revered by locals for having escaped from the shackles of modern society, he is the champion of the 80-mile ultramarathon aptly named the “death race.” Aabye is the oldest person to have ever finished the race.
Determined to locate and interview Aabye, filmmakers Adam Maruniak and Justin Pelletier spent weeks canvassing the nearby town, leaving postcards with their contact information. They visited the bar that the reclusive septuagenarian is said to frequent and even summited a mountain in search of him—to no avail. Then, the day before the co-directors had planned to scrap what they thought was a futile project, Dag called them from a payphone. Their resulting documentary, Never Die Easy, is named after Aabye’s motto.
“Never die easy,” Aabye says in the film. “To me, there is no age. Age is something other people put on you. You put a person in an old folk’s home, and this person’s gonna die pretty quick because you tell them, ‘You’re old now—you’re ready to go.’”
True to local lore, the filmmakers were taken by Aabye’s ardent self-reliance and motivation. “In our final moments with Dag,” Maruniak said, “he embraced us both and told us, ‘Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping, and always have a mountain in life to climb.’ Those words will resonate with us forever.”