Curmudgeons Corner

Random thoughts on politics, current events, popular culture, and whatever else interests me.

Mark R. Whittington is a writer residing in Houston, Texas. He is the author of numerous works of fiction and nonfiction, including the novel of suspense Nocturne which he coauthored with his wife, Chantal, The Children of Apollo trilogy, The Last Moonwalker and Other Stories, Gabriella’s War, The Man from Mars: The Asteroid Mining Caper, and Why is it So Hard to Go Back to the Moon?

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Thursday, March 23, 2017
Soon Maine may not discriminate based on climate change skepticism

According to the Associated Press, the oddest piece of #Civil Rights Legislation had just been introduced in the #Maine State Legislature. If passed, the bill would prohibit the state attorney general from investigating or prosecuting people or corporations based on their views on climate change. The bill would also forbid the state from instituting economic boycotts or handing out government contracts based on the same reason.

The Paris Climate Change Agreement begins to fall apart

The #Paris Climate Change Agreement has officially gone into effect for a few months, and it is already falling apart. Part of the reason is that President Donald Trump is taking a dim view of measures that will do little to affect carbon emissions and at the same time continue to put a damper on the economy. The attitude is likely to be shared by other countries that are part of the agreement that attempts to control carbon emissions by government fiat may have consequences, but those will mainly be political and economic.

Schumer declares a filibuster to stop Neal Gorsuch

By all accounts, Judge Neal Gorsuch is shining at his confirmation hearings for his nomination for #Supreme Court Justice. He is deftly handling every and all questions, showing up the Democratic senators on the Judiciary Committee on his vast knowledge of the law. Indeed, Gorsuch is demonstrating what ciphers people like Sen. Al Franken are. And so, as Hot Air informs us, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has declared that Gorsuch’s confirmation shall be filibustered. Clearly, a man like that should never be allowed near the Supreme Court.

In wake of a brutal rape by illegals Maryland moves to become sanctuary state

The Washington Times reported that the House of Delegates in Maryland has voted to make that state a so-called “sanctuary state.” The law, if passed, would mean that state officials would be prohibited from cooperating with federal immigration agents to locate and deport #illegal aliens living in Maryland. The timing of the bill’s passage was exquisite coming as it did in the wake of the rape and sodomizing of a 14-year-old girl in her high school bathroom by a pair of illegal immigrants. The image of Maryland state lawmakers, in effect, extending a middle finger to the rape victim, her family, and the good people of Montgomery County is something that should not be lost on anyone.

Nunes incidental surveillance revelation rocks official Washington

When President Donald #trump, in one of his famous Twitter rants, claimed that President Obama had wire tapped him, he elicited a lot of eye rolling that rose to a crescendo of outrage when FBI Director Jim Comey told a congressional committee that no evidence existed that such ever took place. But now the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep Devin Nunes, suggested that something like a wiretap may well have occurred, all perfectly legal, for the most part.

Has Mike Lee saved Obamacare repeal and replace?

As of this writing, the classic sausage making that is surrounding the House version of the #Repeal and Replace Obamacare law is going at a feverish pace behind closed doors on Capitol Hill. The House leadership is scrambling to find a way to craft a bill that will be acceptable to conservatives and can still pass the Senate with 51 votes under reconciliation. According to the Washington Times, Sen #Mike Lee, R-Utah may have found a way to save the bill from defeat.

After the Westminster Bridge Massacre the big, burning question

The attack in London that took the lives of four people, including a police officer, a mother, and the assailant himself, and injured nearly 40 followed the familiar and sad pattern of terrorist outrages that have rocked western civilization in recent years. A man described as “Asian” mowed down dozens on #Westminster Bridge, jumped out just outside the halls of the British Parliament, stabbed a police officer, and then was finally gunned down. The mourning, the defiant speeches, and the questions remain in the wake of the dead and the maimed.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Shaquille O’Neal thinks the Earth is flat and the moon is 10 hours away

People have been rolling their eyes ever since basketball great Shaquille O’Neal announced that the world is flat, something that has been known not to be true since the time of the ancient Greeks. Now, according to For the Win, Shaq’s friend and colleague Charles Barkley mentioned that he has even more bizarre views on astronomy. It seems that the former basketball player believes that the moon is closer to Los Angeles than Atlanta, the theory being that Shaq can see the moon from his house but not Atlanta. He believes that the moon is about ten hours away by plane. It actually took the Apollo astronauts three days.

How realistic is the biowar story arc in ‘The Americans?’

“The Americans” is well into its new season and already a plotline has developed that could be out of a Clancy novel, the twist being that the #United States is alleged to be engaged in a nefarious plot to destroy the protagonists’ country, the Soviet Union. Philip and #Elizabeth, the deep-cover Soviet spies, believe that they have uncovered an American plot to destroy the Soviet grain supply, causing a famine, and bringing the USSR to its knees. The two KGB agents have discovered a greenhouse in Illinois and a research lab in Oklahoma that is developing, or so they think, weaponized midges, an insect that likes to eat grain. But how realistic would such an attack be in the real world?

Democrats and Republicans support nuclear power bill in the Congress

Republicans and #democrats confront one another with daggers drawn in Congress on a variety of issues, from immigration to taxes to the nomination of Neil Gorsuch as a Supreme Court justice. But a bi-partisan consensus seems to have developed around a bill that would simplify the process to approve a #Nuclear Power plant in the United States. While much of the rest of the world is rethinking nuclear power thanks to the accident at Fukushima, Japan, Americans are looking at the technology as the solution to a number of problems.

SpaceX’s Elon Musk unhappy with NASA Authorization bill

While politicians such as Sen Ted Cruz and Rep. John Culberson, both Republicans of Texas, expressed satisfaction as President Donald Trump signed the NASA Authorization bill, that joy was not shared by #Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX. According to CNBC, Musk complained that the bill provides no support to his Mars ambitions, which include an eventual settlement on the Red Planet. Musk is also planning a private robotic mission to Mars, called Red Dragon, now scheduled for 2020.

The Man from Mars: The Asteroid Mining Caper

Trump’s first foreign trip will be to a NATO meeting in Brussels

During the 2016 campaign, then-candidate Donald #trump was critical of the NATO alliance, which has kept the peace in Europe, except the 1990s conflicts in the Balkans, ever since the end of the Second World War. So the irony that President Trump’s first foreign trip will be to #Brussels for a meeting in May of all of the leaders of the member states of the alliance was delicious in the extreme. The announcement will likely go a long way toward mollifying the ire of many in #NATO over the fact that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will not be attending an earlier meeting in April to instead meet with Chinese leader Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago along with Trump. Tillerson is also scheduled to meet with Vladimir Putin in Moscow later that month.

Ted Cruz provides the nerdiest moment in Supreme Court conformation history

The second day of the Gorsuch #Supreme Court hearing was the first in which the nominee for associate justice had to endure questions from members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The question and answer sessions consisted of senators trying to get Neil Gorsuch to reveal how he might rule on this case or that and the nominee deflecting the question with answers containing as little information as possible. The Democrats did not lay a glove on him and, for the most part, beclowned themselves. Fortunately, Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, provided a rare moment of levity.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Sony contemplates the future of the ‘Ghostbusters’ franchise

In the wake of the box office bomb of the all-female “Ghostbusters” reboot, the suits at #Sony Pictures are contemplating the future of the franchise, according to IO9. To be sure content is still being produced. A #Comic Book is coming out that will feature a cross-universe crossover of the new gals and the old guys. And a VR experience called “Ghostbusters: New Hire” is being rolled out. But new live action movies are on hold for the time being, or in the parlance of Hollywood, development hell.

President Trump touts jobs as he signs NASA Authorization bill

President Donald Trump signed the latest version of the NASA Authorization bill, the first since 2010, while congressional space leaders of both parties looked on appreciatively. While the president touted space exploration and commercial space, his primary concern seemed to be on how the space agency can create jobs, "a lot of jobs, and these are great jobs." However, the real news was the announcement by Vice President Mike Pence that the executive order reforming the #White House Space Council would soon be signed.

Arnold Schwarzenegger taunts Donald Trump in ongoing Twitter war

The great #Donald Trump #Arnold Schwarzenegger #Twitter feud continued as the aging action star tweeted a video in which he taunted the president for poll approval numbers that show him in the high 30s. ““But what do you expect? I mean when you take away after-school programs for children and Meals on Wheels for the poor people, that’s not what you call ‘making America great again.’ Come on!”

Tim Allen gets into trouble with 1930s Nazi Germany comparison

#Tim Allen, a well-known actor and Hollywood conservative, recently suggested that the atmosphere in the entertainment industry toward people on the right was akin to 1930s #Nazi Germany. The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect has decided to invoke Godwin’s Law and ask whether Allen has “lost his mind.”

Canadians are starting to be dubious about illegal immigration too

One of the little noticed stories surrounding the Trump administration’s hardline attitude toward illegal immigration has been the flow of people to Canada who had been living outside the law in the #United States. The theory is that illegal aliens will find a more welcoming environment in America’s northern neighbor, an attitude that is being encouraged by liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. However, a #Plurality of Canadians are starting to push back on open borders and now support deporting illegals from the country by a 46 to 41 percent margin.

Bathroom bill boycott of North Carolina a bust

North Carolina was the first state in the union to pass a so-called bathroom bill, mandating that a person should use the public restroom that matches the sex on his or her birth certificate and not the one that identified with. The measure was meant to spare females, especially children, the trauma and the potential danger of sharing facilities with people who are anatomically male. The law was seen by some groups as being bigoted against transgendered people, resulting in an economic boycott of the state. But, except the NCAA championships, the NBAA All-Star Game, and Bruce Springsteen, the boycott is pretty much a bust.

Monday, March 20, 2017
Neil deGrasse Tyson still refuses to admit Pluto is a planet

A group of scientists, including some associated with the New Horizons space probe, are working diligently to restore #Pluto’s status as a full-fledged planet. They believe that a planet should be defined by its inherent physical properties and not by its surroundings, as the scientists who downgraded Pluto did. But the effort will not succeed if Neil deGrasse Tyson has anything to say about it.

The next frontier in space exploration will be commercial space habitats

The Space Angels Network has a piece on commercial space habitats and how they are going to shape the future of exploration and the eventual settlement of the high frontier starting in the 2020s. NASA has already begun a number of public/private partnerships geared for the development of commercial space stations, lunar bases, and habitat modules for interplanetary voyages, say to Mars.

Corruption and bribery charge of Democratic Senator Menendez to proceed

Hot Air is reporting that the United States Supreme Court has cleared the way for a #corruption trial for Sen. Robert #Menendez, D-New Jersey. Menendez is accused of accepting campaign contributions and gifts from a friend named Salomon Melgen in exchange for interceding on his behalf, including an $8.9 million Medicare funding dispute. The trial is slated to start this fall.

Part Time Scientists from Germany are shooting for the moon

While five teams from across the world are vying to be the first private group to land on the moon as part of the Google Lunar XPrize competition, a sixth team, which did not qualify for the final cut, is still making an effort to be the first on the moon. According to the UK Telegraph, #Part Time Scientists, a team based in Germany, has a Falcon 9 launch contract for early 2018 and are still planning to shoot for the moon.

Will no one get rid of Negan on ‘The Walking Dead?’

One thing that the latest Walking Dead episode, “The Older Side,” proved is that there seems to be a dearth of people in the #Zombie Apocalypse world who know anything about irregular warfare. That fact explains why Negan continues to prosper. It also explains why he has not been taken out.

Live action ‘Beauty and the Beast’ smashes box office records

The live-action version of the Disney princess film, “Beauty and the Beast,” has smashed all #Box Office Records over the first weekend, making $350 million worldwide, $170 million domestically. The remarkable success of the movie proves three things.

Sunday, March 19, 2017
Hillary Clinton is not ready to come out of the woods yet

#Hillary Clinton, who recently failed for the second time to be elected the first woman president of the United States, recently announced that she is ready “to come out of the woods.” She believes that she has it within her to find unity in a divided nation. By expressing this remarkable sentiment, Clinton demonstrated that she still does not understand the reason why the American electorate rejected her for one of the most unlikely men to ever achieve the presidency. She should stay in the woods, find a quiet place, and think about her life until she reached some kind of understanding.

Justin Trudeau and Ivanka Trump attend Broadway performance of ‘Come from Away’

Recently “Come From Away,” a feel-good musical about 9/11, opened at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theater on Broadway to rave reviews and standing ovations. Canadian Prime Minister #justin trudeau and #Ivanka Trump, daughter of American President Donald Trump, attended the official opening night’s performance. Trudeau made a speech before the performance touching on how the events that the play depicts illustrate the special relationship that the United States and Canada, two nations who share the same continent, have.

Saturday, March 18, 2017
Russia recruiting cosmonauts for an expedition to the moon

Recently Roscosmos has put out a call for new cosmonauts, specifically to fly on board a new spacecraft called the Federatsiya to the moon. The idea that one can apply for a job to be the first Russian to fly beyond low Earth orbit is a great selling point and will no doubt cause many to respond eagerly. Whether any Russian will fly to the moon on board a Russian spacecraft remains to be seen.

Colin Kaepernick has earned the hatred of professional football

#Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback who made a spectacle of himself by taking a knee during the playing of the #National Anthem during the last Football season, is having trouble signing with a team as a free agent. The Mercury News suggests that the reticent of team owners to include him goes beyond just business considerations.

Friday, March 17, 2017
College student writer thinks milk is racist

Who knew that milk is racist? That is the conclusion of Samantha Diaz, a writer at the Daily 49er, the student newspaper at California State University. Diaz suggests that just about everything about America has racist roots, so the government’s dietary guidelines that people should include a certain amount of milk in their diet must also be racist. Curiously, Diaz does not mention that milk is white. (Does that mean chocolate milk is not racist?)

The World of Tomorrow and self-driving cars

Big Think recently ran a piece that had the feel of one of those “world of tomorrow” rhapsodies about how technology is going to change our lives for the better. The idea is that self-driving cars are going to make traffic jams, expensive urban parking, auto accidents, and even shopping trips obsolete. The future it paints, occurring as soon as 2030, is a beguiling one.

Venezuela begins to seize bakeries and arrest pastry chefs

#Venezuela has a bread shortage, something that is utterly predicable considering the mad cap, apocalyptic socialism that country is now being destroyed by. Also, just as predicable, has been the regime’s reaction, which is to seize bakeries and arrest pastry chefs.

John McCain and Rand Paul have it out over Montenegro joining NATO

One would wonder how the same party, the Republicans, could contain both Sen. John McCain and Sen. Rand Paul. The two honorable senators are in the midst of a feud that started when Paul objected to a resolution that would allow Montenegro, a tiny country in the former Yugoslavia, to join NATO. McCain shot back that apparently Paul was working for Russian President #Vladimir Putin. Paul returned with an implication that the octogenarian McCain had gone unhinged and was an argument for term limits.

Is cutting funding for Meals on Wheels a path to Hell?

One of the more controversial budget cuts tucked into the Trump #Funding proposal, which also trims research and limits NASA spending, is one that eliminates $3 billion a year to #Meals On Wheels, a program that prepares meals for seniors who either cannot afford them or are unable to prepare their own food. The proposal has arrived with the usual accusation that the president wants to starve old people. However, as Forbes points out, Meals and Wheels is a private charity that only takes 3.3 percent of its funding from government. Most of the program comes from corporate, foundation, and individual contributions.

About that story that Sean Hannity pulled a gun on Juan Williams

One of the most bizarre instances of fake news to occur in modern times appeared as a story on CNN to the effect that conservative media personality Sean Hannity “pulled a gun” on liberal journalist #Juan Williams during a heated argument. As the American Spectator reports, there is a less about the story than meets the eye. In fact, the story says more about stereotypes about gun toting right wingers than it does about objective reality.

Thursday, March 16, 2017
Stephen Colbert goes after Rachel Maddow without mercy

Even as Rachel Maddow was breathlessly revealing President Donald Trump’s 2005 tax return as if she had a copy of the Pentagon Papers, the MSNBC host was mercilessly mocked, particularly on rival Fox News. The ridicule proceeded nonstop on conservative talk radio as well. But now it looks like the fiasco was too much even for Maddow’s ideological soul mate Stephen Colbert, the host of “The Late Show.” Colbert joined in the pile on against Maddow, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Trump tries to kill the Asteroid Redirect Mission and the Europa Lander

With its new budget proposal, the Trump administration is trying to shut down two major NASA projects. One, the Asteroid Redirect Mission, is a no brainer as hardly anyone outside the space agency likes it. But going after the Europa Lander is the definition of a futile gesture because of one man who supports it.

Trump goes after arts and culture funding in his new budget

One of the many targets of the Trump budget blueprint is funding for arts and humanities, primarily those Great Society high brow relics, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The president intends to succeed where previous Republicans, President Ronald Reagan and House Speaker Newt Gingrich, failed to do, in eliminating these subsidies. The argument for doing so has never been more reasonable.

Chelsea Clinton to publish a children’s book ‘She Persisted’

Only a few weeks has passed since Sen. Elizabeth Warren was told to sit down and be quiet while she was in the midst of slandering then Sen. Jeff Sessions in violation of Senate rules. Part of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s explanation for his sanction was, “She had appeared to violate the rule. She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.” The statement has been turned into a slogan by the radical, feminist left to paint Warren as something of a cross between Joan of Arc and Xena Warrior Princess. Now the last sentence has become the title of a new children’s book that Chelsea Clinton is putting together and is publishing under her name.

A rapper and a journalist make nasty remarks about First Lady Melania Trump

The campaign to delegitimize President Donald Trump took an ugly turn recently as a rapper and a journalist made vile, nasty remarks about First Lady Melania Trump. Other first ladies, in particular, Hillary Clinton, have been the recipient of political and even personal attacks, but Ms. Trump has been targeted in the crudest way possible.

Trump budget proposal would devastate science and medical research

As the Washington Post notes, NASA aside, the Trump administration proposes to take a chainsaw to science and #medical research in its first budget proposal. It can be actually be said that the new president’s proposed cuts at the National Institutes of Health, the Energy Department, NOAA, and other parts of the government are not designed to make America great again. In fact, the effects of the budget cuts will likely have the opposite effect.

First Trump NASA spending proposal not as horrible as many feared

The best thing that can be said about the Trump administration’s proposed NASA budget is that it was not as horrible as rumors had suggested it would be. Some indications had suggested that the new president would cut the #Space Agency by more than a billion dollars. The actual budget proposal would slice space spending by a couple of hundred million, a blessing compared to the hit that some non-defense spending took. That doesn’t mean that Congress is going to swallow the proposed spending with any enthusiasm.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Lab grown meat tastes just like chicken

A variant to an old joke would go something like this: “What does lab-grown meat at #Memphis Meats tastes like?” The answer, as it turns out, is “Just like chicken.” The startup, according to the Wall Street Journal, recently had a taste test and diners pronounced the breaded chicken strips that had been grown in a vat to be tasty enough to eat again. Memphis Meats hopes to start a food revolution that will make traditional livestock raising obsolete. Traditional meat producers, such as Tyson Chicken, are starting to take notice and are investing in the technology.

Michelle Obama’s ‘healthy food’ initiative may soon be at an end

One of the most onerous public policy blunders of the Obama presidency came not from the president but from First Lady Michelle Obama. Ms. Obama pushed for a got standards imposed that mandated healthy foods be served at #school lunch cafeterias across the country. The goal was laudable, but as with much else in the Obama era the execution left much to be desired. The resulting menus consisted of unappetizing swill that public school students declined to eat in droves, increasing food waste and making many school cafeterias money losing propositions. The situation created its own hashtag “#ThanksMichelleObama” as students posted images of the slop and swill they were being fed at school.

What was Rachel Maddow thinking?

What was Rachel Maddow thinking? That is the question that media watchers have been asking themselves and one another ever since she took to the airways to announce that she had Donald Trump’s #Tax returns with the same breathlessness as if she had the secret Nixon tapes. The returns, as it turned out, actually made the president look good as a man who made a lot of money and paid a lot of taxes. Despite her hyperactive musings about Russian oligarchs, that was all there was. Even the folks at Hot Air are scratching their heads.

NASA and Russia mulling a joint expedition to Venus

Unlike Mars, #Venus has always been the ugly stepchild of planetary exploration. The cloud-shrouded world is a hell of blistering temperatures and crushing pressure on its surface. Various Soviet landings on the second planet from the sun have either failed or lasted only a brief time. The United States has studied Venus safe from afar, starting with Mariner 2 in the early 1960s and ending with Magellan in the 1990s. Now Russia would like to revisit Venus and #NASA is interested in joining in, according to

‘The Americans’ is a stunning look at Soviet paranoia during the Cold War

Season 5 of “The Americans” is turning out to be a delicious study in #cold war paranoia from the point of view of two deep-cover KGB agents. Moscow has decided, for whatever reason, that the United States government in 1984 is planning to poison the wheat it is so generously shipping to the #Soviet Union, committed genocide to win the superpower contest once and for all. The story line depends on the viewer’s ignorance of history as well as the mindset of Philip and Elizabeth, the two deep cover agents in question, about the intentions of the enemy with whom they have been living for decades.

How Rachel Maddow swung and missed at Donald Trump with 2005 tax returns

One of the most sensational farces in the history of broadcast journalism took place when MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow announced on Twitter that she had the first two pages of President Donald Trump’s 2005 #Tax returns. The implication was that she had dirt on the president that might well bring him down, as he has studiously refused to release any returns. However, before air time, the White House scooped Maddow by revealing that in 2005 Trump had paid $38 million on $150 million in income, not to mention various other kinds of taxes. When Maddow went to air, she started with breathless and unsubstantiated speculation about Russian oligarchs and what not. Then only facts that she was able to give that #Donald Trump paid a lot of taxes on a lot of income.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017
American based airlines begin to cancel routes to Cuba

One of the benefits of President Barack Obama’s reopening of relations with #Cuba was supposed to be a new tourist industry. Americans would be able to jet down to the island paradise just 90 miles away, untouched by civilization, and be able to buy Cuban cigars and rum to bring back home after a few days of lolling on the beach and exploring the quaint colonial architecture of old Havana. The reality, according to the Miami Herald, has not lived up to its promise. Two airlines, Frontier and Silver, have canceled flights to Cuba citing weak demand and high costs.

Bernie Sanders claims that ‘thousands will die’ under Obamacare repeal & replace

A lot of conservatives to not like the current bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, primarily because it keeps too many features of the Affordable Care Act and leaves off many reforms such as the ability to buy health insurance across state lines. While Sen Ted Cruz’s idea to have the vice president declare every reform germane for reconciliation and thus needing only 51 votes in the Senate may mollify Republicans, nothing short of socialized health care will satisfy Sen Bernie Sanders. According to Newsmax, Sanders declared that if the Republican bill is passed, then “thousands will die.”

Russia may be a problem for the Boeing Starliner crewed vehicle

While SpaceX is the cool kid of the aerospace business, albeit with a bad boy reputation due to its tendency to not fulfill promises in the time frame indicated, its crewed version of the Dragon is not the only commercially operated, publicaly funded spacecraft being developed. Boeing is building and testing the Starliner, a crewed vehicle that, like Dragon, will take astronauts to and from the #international space station in a year or so. However, as Hot Air suggests, the Starliner has run into an unexpected problem, that being the #Atlas 5 launch vehicles it will use and the Russian-made rocket engine, the RD-180.

New season of ‘Veep’ to feature the post-presidency of Selina Meyer

The new season of “Veep,” depicting the further misadventures of #Selina Meyer, the former vice president, and former president played with such foul-mouthed zest by Julia Louise-Dreyfus. The show, which long ago burst out of its original premise of a madcap female vice president whose ambitions and appetites were only exceeded by her incompetence, will examine Selina Meyer’s post-presidency. Meyer had been an accidental president for the previous two seasons but only for a few months of real time. Through the most unlikely of events, she has now been retired to the private sector. That doesn’t mean she does not lust any less for power and relevance. To be sure, most previous former presidents ease into their private roles with ease. But Meyer has had just a taste of power before having it snatched away. She is not a happy person.

Bill Nye and the Planetary Society has some suggestions for NASA

The Verge reminds us that #bill nye the Science Guy had some helpful suggestions before the last election about the future direction of NASA for the “next president.” No doubt the bow tied head of the #Planetary Society had no idea that the president was going to be Donald Trump, a man he has no use for because of differences on the issue of climate change. Nevertheless, the report has some resonance as the Trump administration mulls future space policy.

A year after chasing out Uber and Lyft Austin still lacks reliable ride sharing

Last May, #uber and Lyft, the two largest ride sharing companies, left Austin, they said being forced out due to onerous regulations, the city said to avoid necessary safety measures. About ten months later, according to TechCrunch, a number of local alternatives such as Ride Austin, Fasten, and Fare, all of which comply with the city’s background check regulations, have risen to fill the gap. For the most part, these services provide the same experience their now vacant larger competitors once offered. Unfortunately, unlike Uber and Lyft, the smaller alternatives saw their apps crash when too much demand occurred. This phenomenon took place on the biggest night of SXSW, an annual tech and entertainment conference that has become well attended in the capital of Texas. People could not load the apps to summon cars. Cars could not connect with riders.