Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
May 20: Trash pickup in most of Baghdad ended with the rule of Saddam Hussein. Now the garbage chokes the capital’s streets and clogs the sewage pipes and canals, which overflow and burst. The sewage that leaks out of broken pipes seeps through the dirt of roads that were once paved, but now have mostly turned to dirt because the tracks of American tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles have destroyed the asphalt over five years of war.
Above the roads, low-slung electric wires hang like an enormous web woven by some apocalyptic spider, strung from street generators to poles to homes, from one street to the next. Yet, most Baghdadis receive less than four hours of electricity a day. Running water, too, is a rare commodity. As far as safety is concerned, a quiet neighborhood is one where gunfire and explosions are something residents only hear, not see.
But whenever American soldiers ask the locals how they live, the Iraqis’ first response is typically: Much better, thank you. Then they list the basic services they do not have.
“They say it’s better, but I wonder if it’s really better,” muses Maj. Kelly Dickerson, a U.S. Army reservist and a civil affairs officer who is trying to help the 4-64 Armor Battalion of the 4th Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division reinstate basic services in southwestern Baghdad. Dickerson’s current project is to bring sewage-pumping trucks into the lowlands of Risala, a Shiite militant stronghold where stagnant lakes of raw sewage flood squares and streets. The idea that having human waste pool outside one’s home is somehow a sign of progress doesn’t sit well with Maj. Dickerson.
Better compared to what? I ask. Better compared to 2003, when sewage was still mostly consigned to pipes and canals?
Or better compared to 10 months ago, when stray dogs were feasting on the dead bodies of victims of sectarian bloodshed, which were left to lie in the streets for days? If you ask a patient who has just come out of a coma how he’s doing, he will probably say that he’s much better, thank you — never mind that he is connected to IVs and a respirator and is missing a leg.
Anna Badkhen has reported from Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Somalia, the West Bank and Gaza. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, David Filipov, and their two sons.More Anna Badkhen.
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.