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Columbia debris and the power of God

Debris from space shuttle Columbia is laid out on the floor of this hangar at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, June 4, 2003.  Credit: Reuters/Karl RonstromOfficials may have discovered a piece of the Space Shuttle Columbia in Lake Nacogdoches, 160 miles northeast of Houston. The record drought which has gripped our state has lowered lake levels everywhere. With Lake Nacogdoches down nine feet, authorities found a large round object, four feet in diameter, which appears to be a tank of some kind. Debris from Columbia has been found in more than 2,000 locations across eastern Texas and western Louisiana, perhaps in this lake as well.

Scientists are announcing a much more pleasant celestial discovery today. They have found Earth's first Trojan asteroid—a rock which shares our solar orbit and leads us around the sun like a tugboat pulling an ocean liner. The asteroid, given the glamorous name 2010 TK7, is nearly 1,000 feet in diameter and leads us by about 500 million miles. The bad news is that it could destroy a major city if it collided directly with our planet. The good news is that since it is locked ahead of us in our planetary path, it never will.

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The debt deal and divine sovereignty

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) speaks with reporters after meeting with House Democratic leadership on the debt ceiling crises on Capitol Hill in Washington July 31, 2011. REUTERS/Joshua RobertsAre there mornings when you wonder if the King is still in charge of his Kingdom?

A debt-ceiling deal yesterday was not enough to save the Dow from a tough day. U.S. stocks fell 110 points on disappointing manufacturing data and worries that ratings firms might still downgrade our government's credit. Neither Republicans nor Democrats are happy with the arrangement, while the average American wonders what the fight means for the future of our economy.

Overseas, the Chinese government says that Islamic radicals were behind violence in which at least 19 people were killed. Islamic militants have also launched an offensive in famine-stricken Somalia. And supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood have been flocking to Cairo's Tahrir Square recently, demanding that the nation implement Islamic law.

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Welcome to Ramadan

Ramadan in the Old City of Jerusalem (Courtesy of user Khmad at en.wikipedia.org)Ramadan is the holiest month in the Islamic year. Muslims believe that the prophet Muhammad received his first revelation from the angel Gabriel on the 17th day of this month in the year A.D. 610.

For years, the businessman had retreated during Ramadan to a cave near his home in Mecca to pray and fast. On that fateful day, called "the Night of Power and Excellence" by Muslims, he was gripped by an experience which marked him for the rest of his life and birthed a global movement. He heard, or felt, a voice commanding him to "recite!" The words he "recited" that day formed the first revelation of what became the Qur'an (the "recitation").

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The flu, cellphone cancer, and radical Islam

A nurse prepares a flu vaccine shot at a hospital in Budapest in a file photo. (Credit: Reuters/Karoly Arvai)There's good news and frightening news in today's headlines. Let's start with the good. First, a universal flu vaccine may be on the way. Researchers in Britain and Switzerland have identified an antibody which neutralizes both main groups of influenza A viruses. Since the flu kills 36,000 people every year in the United States, this is significant progress.

Second, mobile phone use apparently doesn't raise the risk of cancer in children and teenagers. Researchers in Switzerland and Scandanavia have determined that regular cellphone users are no more likely to be diagnosed with brain tumors than nonusers. Since my sons are never without their cellphones and can text faster than I can talk, this is good news.

Now to the frightening news. By now you may have heard about the Muslim American Army private who was arrested yesterday near Fort Hood. This is the nation's largest military installation and scene of the 2009 shooting tragedy which left 13 people dead. Authorities in Killeen, Texas have now averted another such attack.

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The largest water cloud in the universe

Quasar Drenched in Water Vapor (Credit: NASA/ESA)We've been dealing with a difficult subject this week, so let's change the tone today with this announcement: I have solved the drought problem plaguing much of our country. We simply need to siphon water from a galaxy 12 billion light-years away, where the most massive cloud of water yet discovered in the universe resides. According to today's National Geographic website, the cloud would fill 140 trillion Earth oceans.

How do we get the water back to our planet? I'll cite Will Rogers, who told our military that we could solve our problem with Nazi subs by boiling the oceans. When the subs bob to the surface, we could then pick them off. A reporter asked, "How do you propose to boil the oceans?" Will smiled and replied, "I've given you the solution. It's up to you to work out the details."

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