Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
Newsweek follows up with its own play-by-play of what went wrong with the Quran-abuse story. The magazine’s blunder was a big one, and any argument in its own defense merits some skepticism. But staffer Evan Thomas gets it right in his assessment of the greater backdrop for the Islamic world’s violent reaction. Though the Bush White House is plenty eager to make Newsweek (rather than its own foreign policy) responsible for the flames of anti-Americanism burning around the globe, the magazine’s reporting debacle was more akin to a fresh piece of tinder tossed on a smoldering bonfire.
“The Newsweek report arrived at a particularly delicate moment in Afghan politics,” writes Thomas. Militant Islamic clerics in Pakistan and Afghanistan quickly seized upon the piece, he notes, using it to incite the faithful. “Opponents of the Karzai government, including remnants of the deposed Taliban regime, have been looking for ways to exploit public discontent.”
And does U.S. post-invasion policy bear any blame for that discontent? Most Americans are aware of just how well the reconstruction job has gone in Iraq — after all, a lot of our uniformed men and women are still camped out there in harm’s way — but a still seriously shaky Afghanistan is more a land of the forgotten: “The Afghan economy is weak, and the government (pressed by the United States) has alienated farmers by trying to eradicate their poppy crops, used to make heroin in the global drug trade. Afghan men are sometimes rounded up during ongoing U.S. military operations, and innocents can sit in jail for months. When they are released, many complain of abuse. President Karzai is still largely respected, but many Afghans regard him as too dependent on and too obsequious to the United States. With Karzai scheduled to come to Washington next week, this is a good time for his enemies to make trouble.”
While abusing the Quran wouldn’t legally qualify as torture, one astonishing quote from the Newsweek follow-up shows just how strategically out of touch U.S. interrogators have been in terms of winning the war of ideas, if they did in fact do it. (And anyone who argues that the Newsweek debacle means case closed on allegations at Gitmo, that they’re nothing more than the lies of Islamic militants, is kidding themselves.) “We can understand torturing prisoners, no matter how repulsive,” said a computer teacher Muhammad Archad, who was interviewed last week by Newsweek in Peshawar, Pakistan, where one of the protests took place. “But insulting the Quran is like deliberately torturing all Muslims. This we cannot tolerate.”
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins
On December 28, 2013, Expedition 38 crew member Mike Hopkins participating in the second of two space walks to replace a degraded pump module on the International Space Station. (NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio is reflected in his helmet!)
The Soyuz TMA-10M
The Soyuz TMA-10M headed towards the International Space Station with crew members from Expedition 37 onboard.
40 years ago the Apollo 8 mission flew up to the moon, orbited it ten times and then returned to Earth. This picture was taken from that flight and shows the Earth as it seemingly rises in similar fashion to a sunrise.
Sunrise from Expedition 36
NASA Flight Engineer Karen L. Nyberg of Expedition 36 took this photo of the sun rising -- a sight they saw nearly 16 times per day due to the speed of the International Space Station's orbit around the earth.
A pair of NanoRacks CubeSats -- nanosattelite spacecrafts carrying experiments -- were launched by Expedition 38.