Saturday, August 30, 2003

Aw Sean O'Keefe sets about reshaping NASA for the challenges of the 21st Century, he can look to some examples of past success for inspiration.

Friday, August 29, 2003

Homer Hickam doubts that any amount of reforms will make flying the space shuttle as safe as people would want.
So what should be done? Let's get practical. We can't just shut the thing down instantly. History's got us by the throat. We need the Shuttle to finish the space station and to also keep the Russians and Chinese from dominating space. I for one am not willing to see that occur while we dither. Human spaceflight is important to this country. But I think the Shuttle is as safe as you're going to get it pretty much with what is in place today. Let's fire the managers responsible for Columbia (they are not difficult to identify) so as to warn the next crop they'd best be competent, put the toughest engineers we can find to be in charge of the program, fly the thing eight to ten more times over the next four years to finish the space station and meet our international obligations. Then let's close the program down in a controlled fashion and replace it with proven expendable launchers and a shiny new spaceplane. And, this time, put it on top.

Of course even though I suspect Homer is right in the implication that the OSP will be more reliable that the shuttle, I'm dubious of the idea of NASA building and operating a new space transportation system. It would perpetuate the role of NASA as high tech, space taxi service. My hope (and I will encourage this is writing) that the White House's new space proposals will include enablement of a commercial launch industry to replace the space shuttle,.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

Looks like President Bush, having heard the will of the people, will propose a resumption of true space ecploration. And Keith Cowling over at Nasa Watch says that there will indeed be more money to pay for it. Lots of it.

Of course, even though the proposals are months away and have not been actually made, Rand Simberg is pretty certain they will be horrible.
Meanwhile, Laughing Wolf has some excellent musing on what a government space agency should do. He's even in favor of exploration.
Rand Simberg has some interesting things to say on space on the National Review Online Site. Some points bear expanding on:
the shuttle was primarily authorized as a reelection tool for Richard Nixon, who wanted to staunch the bleeding from the Apollo layoffs, particularly in his home state of California, with its wealth of electoral votes.

Of course the shuttle was also sold as the solution to the high cost of space travel. The theory was that should the cost of going to low Earth orbit be lowered, then things like space stations, lunar bases, and the exploration of Mars become more possible. A valid theory, but the shuttle failed to fullfill that promise. The reason was that the development budget of the shuttle was inadequet, that the shuttle was envisioned as performing too many incompatable functions (one wag described it as trying to haul cargo in a winibego), and that it was to be operated by a governmeny bureaucracy.
The space station, authorized by President Reagan in 1984, was primarily approved because NASA needed something to do as the shuttle development wound down.

The space station was also sold as a world class space laboratory and as a jumping off point for space exploration. It failed in that promise because of its reliance on the shuttle, too many incompatable functions in the same facility, and breathtaking incompetence on the part of NASA management.
Even Apollo, for all of the lofty rhetoric surrounding it, was not really about space, or opening the high frontier — it was about demonstrating technological superiority over totalitarianism. Sadly, rather than making it a race between free enterprise and socialism, we instead (partly in order to keep the American Left and the Europeans on board, partly because there was a Cold War on) made it one between democratic socialism and totalitarian socialism, by setting up a monolithic government agency to accomplish the mission.

While there is some truth to this, the analysis is simplistic. Apollo was sold as the begining act in the opening of the high frontier of space, just as Columbus started the exploration and settlement of the New World, and Lewis and Clark the exploration and settlement of the American West. Only the quirky and unique politics of the late sixties and early seventies deferred this promise.

Also, much that was good was done under the auspicies of Apollo besides showing up the Godless Commies. Apollo helped to invent the art of space travel. Rendeavouz and docking, space walks, travel to and from another world, and operations on the surface of another world were developed in the years between 1961-1972.

Of course, calling Apollo "socialism" is an example, in my mind, of rhetorical inflation. If Apollo served a national security purpose, as Simberg suggests, it can hardly be called that, unless one is of the view that even maintaining a military and diplomatic establishment are inappropriate functions of a government.

Where NASA and the United States lapsed into error was not in doing cutting edge research, development, and exploration under Apollo, which to my mind are appropriate functions of a government. They lapsed into error when they decided that the bulk of the civil space program would be the operation of a high tech, space tax service. If the United States is to have a government run civil space program, it would behoove us to commercialize space transportation to Low Earth Orbit and to get back to helping to opening up the high frontier of space.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

It has always been a cliche that no matter what mistakes are made at NASA, no one seems to lose their jobs over them. That no longer seems to be the case.
The French allow over ten thousand of their old folks to bake to death, so naturally the French government is contemplating cancelling Christmas.
Investor's Business Daily seems to get it.
The logical thing, in retrospect, would have been to turn the existing space technology over to the private sector, to be transformed into a world-beating space-launch industry.

Instead, it's as if the federal government, 40 years after Lewis and Clark, were clinging to a monopoly on wagon trains. It is long past time to let the settlers do their thing and give the pioneers more meaningful work to do.

At this point, Congress and the president need to think seriously about alternatives, both to the shuttle and to NASA as we know it.

Lighter, cheaper, unmanned craft could do much of the shuttle's work, and private capital could be found to build them if there were reasonable hope of profit. A refocused space agency could then be freed to work on projects at the edge of technology, such as new propulsion systems and craft needed for interplanetary travel.

Rand Simberg suggests what should be done in response to the CAIB Report:
It's time to write your congressman and senators, and say, not I want to send astronauts to Mars, or I want to send astronauts to the Moon, but I want my children to be able to go into space, and I want to see a payoff from space, in new resources, and energy, and political freedom. And I want to go into space myself, and it's none of your damned business why I want to go, any more than one had to fill out a form in the seventeenth century to explain why one wanted to go to America from Europe. I want a debate on the purposes of why we're spending money on NASA, and I'm tired of the space program being used as an excuse for jobs in the right congressional districts, or foreign aid to countries that don't act like allies, with no attention being paid to any actual accomplishments in space.

This of course sounds great, but if I were a typical member of the House or Senate it might get me confused. The hypothetical letter starts with what ought not to be done, that is to send astronauts to the Moon or Mars. Then it suggests what ought to happen, but it doesn't give me a clue what policies I need to support to make it happen.

Here are a few of my humble suggestions, if you feel the need to write letters. Urge your member of Congress to undertake the following:

One. Perform Congress's oversight responsibility (for a change) and compel NASA to follow the recommendations of the CAIB Report.

Two. Support tax and regulatory incentives for commercial space enterprises.

Three. Cancel the Orbital Space Plane. Instead enact an X Prize which would reward at least a billion dollars and a contract to the first entity to deliver people and supplies to the International Space Station. Also, stop operating the space shuttle fleet as soon as ISSis completed.

Four. Vastly increase NASA's technology development budget. Of course, no matter what the libertarians think, this will involve sending astronauts to the Moon, Mars, and other locations because that's the best way to test technology.

Five. Establish as a national goal the founding of settlements, first on the Moon, then Mars and other places. I poersonally do not envision this as a purely government function, though certainly government will be involved. I may have more to write on that subject anon.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

The political sniping over the CAIB Report has begun. Naturally, the Democrats say that it's all Bush's fault.
Keith Cowling has some interesting thoughts on the CAIB Report and what happens next.
Fox News just reported that it is safer to be a soldier in Iraq, where the death rate is 1.7 people per day, than to be anyone in California, where the murder rate in 6.6 people per day.
Well, I guess this is one way for Macaulay Culkin to revive his acting career.

Monday, August 25, 2003

Over at the Winds of Change, we have a good rundown of what I would call the libertarian view of government space exploration. The common theme seems to go something like this: Stop NASA from actually flying anything in space. NASA will henceforth only "develop enabling technologies" that will permit other people to fly things in space.

On the surface, it sounds like a compelling vision. NASA has certainly not covered itself with glory these past thirty years, with the space shuttle, the space station, and the various attempts to replace the space shuttle. However, the idea tends to fall apart on close examination.

First, as Jim Oberg and others have noted (see below) unless NASA's corporate culture is changed, and unless certain people are made to benefit the US civil space program with their seperation from it, it will not matter what NASA is tasked to do. Whether it is tinkering with rocket engines or sending people to Mars, the possibility of embaressing and potentially dangerous failures is only enhanced if NASA is not reformed.

Second, those who blithely talk about making NASA "develop enabling technology" that others will use forget a crucial part of doing that when they also maintain that NASA will not fly things in space. That crucial part is testing. Developing a collection of cool technology, ranging from advanced propulsion to closed loop recycling systems, is pretty useless unless they are integrated together and tested under real world conditions. To put it another way, if one proposes to build the "enabling technology" that will make it easy to--say--send people to Mars, then it all needs to be put together and tested by--well--sending people to Mars.

The nearest real world analogy I can think of is a gentleman named Prince Henry the Navigator. Prince Henry lived in Portugal in the early 15th Century. He led a development effort--the NASA of his time--which resulted in the ocean going caravel. The caravel was the sailing ship that Columbus and his peers used to discover and explore the New World.

Now, Prince Henry did not follow the model of people enraptured with "enabling technology" by tinkering with new methods of sail construction, new methods of hull design, and new navigational techniques and then just left them aside for others to use. He incorperated those new technologies into actual sailing ships and then sailed the hell out of them--far out into the Atlantic and down the coast of Africa.

NASA (and its predecessor NACA) has done much the same sort of thing in the aeronautics area. To be sure a lot of technology gets developed and tested in the lab. But when it comes time, these are built into X planes and then flown.

So how would a NASA which follows the Prince Henry the Navigator model operate? To be sure a lot of things would happen that would please its libertarian critics. The space shuttle would either stop flying or else would be retained only as a technology test bed. Earth to low Earth orbit operations would be conducted by the private sector. The space station would be spun off to an NGO.

However, the NASA as run by Prince Henry the Navigator would conduct voyages to the Moon and beyond. The main purpose of such voyages would be to test all of that "enabling technology" under real world conditions. If any science is done, it would be as an after thought (and probably run by a seperate entity.)

That is indeed how the old SDIO (Strategic Defensive Initiative Organization) ran Clementine. Clementine was a technology test vehicle for certain sensors needed for missile defense. Some folks had the bright idea that such sensors could be tested on the Moon. So SDIO got its technology test and we learned quite a few interesting things about the Moon as well.

This, I would submit, is the NASA that is needed for the new century. Not the "let's muddle through" model that I suspect some will wish for after the CAIB report is issued. Not the "develop enabling technology, but by heaven do not test them" model suggested by certain libertarians. But a vibrant, cutting edge agency which is an instrument for opening the high frontier of space for all.
Like most European countries, France equates compassion with the amount of government money spent by its bureaucrats on its citizens. So the mass deaths of up to ten thousand old folks, apparently abandoned in sweltering apartments by their children and grand children who went off for the month long French August vacation probably should give the French pause, but it will not.

I predict that in order to distract the people of France from expressing their fury over the mass slaughter of their old on the French government, Chirac and his minions will find a way to blame the tragedy on the United States.
In advance of the Columbia accident report, Jim Oberg talks about the dysfunctional NASA culture which led to it and other failures and how it must change.
According to Michelle Malkin, Cruz Bustemente, Democrat candidate for Governor of California, has a very shady past indeed.
As a student at Fresno State University in the 1970s, Bustamante was an active member of the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan, or MEChA, which stands for the Chicano Student Movement of Aztlan. Bustamante repeatedly denies having a "radical ethnic agenda," but has refused to disassociate himself from his Mechista roots. In fact, Bustamante recently returned to Fresno State for a separate Latino commencement ceremony founded by two of his Chicano activist classmates.

MEChA has been dismissed by some as a harmless social club, but it operates an identity politics indoctrination machine on publicly subsidized college and high school campuses nationwide that would make David Duke and the KKK turn green with envy. MEChA members in the University of California system have rioted in Los Angeles, editorialized that federal immigration "pigs should be killed, every single one" in San Diego, and are suspected of breaking into a conservative student publication's offices and stealing its entire print run in Berkeley.

MEChA's symbol is an eagle clutching a dynamite stick and machete-like weapon in its claws; its motto is " Por La Raza todo. Fuera de La Raza nada (For the Race, everything. For those outside the Race, nothing)." The MEChA Constitution calls on members to "promote Chicanismo within the community, politicizing our Raza (race) with an emphasis on indigenous consciousness to continue the struggle for the self-determination of the Chicano people for the purpose of liberating Aztlan." "Aztlan" is the group's term for the vast southwestern U.S. expanse, from parts of Washington and Oregon down to California and Arizona and over to Texas, which MEChA claims to be a mythical homeland and seeks to reconquer for Mexico ( reconquista ).

Malkin suggests that MEChA is sort of the hispanic equivilent of the Nazi Party. Of course, Bustemante still gets a pass, unlike an Anglo who might have been a member of the Nazis or the Klan.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

Interesting piece on the complications of learning how to see again after a protracted period of blindness.
The reopening of the Mosul to Haifa pipeline will surely cause howls of outrage among the enemies of civilization everywhere.

Saturday, August 23, 2003

The calls for a better, more worthy mission for NASA are rising. Indeed, geopolitics may make it necessary as well as desirable.
So how about another space race? China may be planning a manned launch later this year and aspires to land a crew on the moon. If China succeeds, says Democratic Rep. Nick Lampson of Texas, "we need to be on the moon saying, `Welcome, China.' " Perhaps geopolitical gamesmanship here on Earth will again propel NASA beyond orbit.

Actually that sentiment, should such an event happen, ought to be accompanied with a demand for visas.

Friday, August 22, 2003

Tom James responds to Rand's attack on government sponsered Mars missions.
Rand Simberg seems to have come up with some creative applications of the word socialism. A NASA sponsered expedition to Mars is socialism. Yet, a NASA sponsered program to develop technology that would permit an expecition to Mars is not socialism. Also, Lewis and Clark's government sponsered expedition into the unknown in the early 19th Century was not socialism because they didn't have to develop the technology to do so.

So, let me see. A government sponsered expedition to the unknown (where it be to the Pacific or to Mars) without the development of technology is not socialism. A government sponsered program of technology development without using it for exploration is not socialism. But, combining the two in a single program is socialism.

Read the comments section as well. The confusion only deepens.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Susan Estrich gives Arianna Huffington a good thrashing.
The Oberg tag team of Jim and Alcestis hammer NASA's upper management pretty thoroughly. I think the idea of O'Keefe leaving is a bit silly, but the Obergs are almostly certainly correct that there are a lot of managers beneath him who would benefit the US civil space program by leaving it.
We are being presented with the spectacle of a State Supreme Court Chief Justice in Alabama committing, in effect, an act of civil disobedience over a monument to the Ten Commandments. Now I am not a particularly religious person, however I wonder how the existence of such a edifice at a Court House constitutes a grave threat to the Republic. I am also surprised that the Supreme Court of the United States has chosen not to get involved. I believe that there is a picture of the man whom the Bible says brought down the Ten Commandments from Mount Sinia where it sits in judgement. But then again, maybe that will
be the next to go.

I suspect this sordid affair is going to end the only way it can, which is having the Ten Commandments monument removed to some less offending place. So what happens between now and then clearly depends on how far this Chief Justice and his supporters are prepared to go. From what I hear, that troubles me.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Some testimony from people with actual experience in their use about the role of robots in space exploration.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Al Franken has made a good living putting out odious little screeds like Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot. These are marketed as satire, but tend to be about as funny as racist or sexist humor of the sort that would send one into counseling or even unemployment in the modern work place.

Franken has done it again in a book entitled Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, which apparently suggests that all conservatives are-well-dishonest. But now Franken has been caugh telling some whoppers of his own and has been forced to apologize.
Newt Gingrich wants to reform Medicare to make it more flexible, user friendly, and cost effective. I predict that the liberals will see this as more proof that Newt wants to kill old people.
Meanwhile, Europe dreams of a lunar settlement within twenty years, in conjuction with China and India but, oddly enough, not the United States.
This story and this story in USA Today constitute a further attempt to gauge public support for the American space program in the wake of the Columbia disaster. The poll finds a certain ambivalence on the part of the American public toward the civil space program. There's support, to be sure, but not when its stacked up against defense, education, health care, or the environment (though oddly enough welfare-the main excuse for cutting the space program in the 70s-is less popular now than NASA funding.)

Part of this ambivalence, in my opinion, is based on ignorance. Other polls show that many people have an exagurated view of how much the federal government spends on space per year. This poll shows that few people know that the Clinton administration cut the space budget during the 1990s.

The other part, in my opinion, stems from the nature of the manned part of the space program. We have not, strickly speaking, done manned space exploration since Apollo 17 left the Moon. The Zogby Poll taken earlier this summer shows a majority favoring a return to the Moon and a plurality an effort toward Mars. One wonders how public support would change if the human space flight effort stopped going around in circles and started going somewhere.

Also, I wonder what effect the coming revolution in private space launch efforts will have. If the efforts of people like Rutan, Musk, Carmack, and Bezos bear fruit, thus taking a large chunk of space flight (at least Earth surface to low Earth orbit) out of the realm of politics and into the realm of commerce, and incidentally lowering the cost, I suspect that support for doing other things will widen and deepen.

Monday, August 18, 2003

Tom James has some interesting news about Space X's Falcon launcher. He also has something to say about Jeff Bezo's project:
Jeff Bezos' "Blue" project has "non-trivial financial resources", and is a vehicle similar to DC-X. Bezos is a longtime advocate of human spaceflight, and Musk sees Blue as the primary competitor for SpaceX in the long run. Blue is likewise not an X-Prize contender, and Musk sees the rivalry between the various startups (X-Prize or not) as a friendly rivalry, with each focused on developing low-cost access to space rather than wasting resources on cutthroat competition.

Does that mean, I wonder, that someday Delta Clipper will fly after all?
Meanwhile, Europe's first probe to the Moon, Smart 1 draws closer to launch.

Sunday, August 17, 2003

David Criswell thinks that space based solar power could prevent blackouts like the recent unpleasentness in the north east. Well, maybe, but others argue with that supposition.

Saturday, August 16, 2003

Some comments about Mel Gibson's The Passion by someone who has actually seen the movie.
Doing a sequal to this famous British gangster film should be a neat trick. As I recall, everybody was offed or were about to be offed by the IRA by the end of the first movie.
Idi Amin Dada, former tyrant of Uganda, now burns in Hell.

Friday, August 15, 2003

While the cause of the Great Blackout of 03 is still unknown, the Democrats are pretty sure that it is George W. Bush's fault.
India's first probe to the Moon will be called Chandrayaan-I.

Thursday, August 14, 2003

The Medea of far left politics does not seem to have paid her fair share of taxes.
Efforts are under way to remove the last barrier to Cheap Access to Space, which is not oddly enough gravity but government red tape.
Ralph Peters compares Europeans to Americans and finds much to disdian about the former.
We are products of the immigrant spirit and the pioneer mentality. Our ancestors (as well as today's new immigrants) dared to take a chance, instead of remaining in the "old country," with its degrading social and economic systems.

The Europeans with whom we must deal today are those whose ancestors lacked the courage to pack their bags and board the ships in Hamburg or Antwerp or Danzig. They chose a miserable security over hope that carried risks.


Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Speaking of media bias, CNN's Ken Bode claims that neither Michael Dukkakis nor Walter Mondale were liberals. I'm not kidding.
Tony Blankley begs to differ with George Will's disdain (see below) of the California recall election.
Rand Simberg has some thoughts on civil rights for Martian germs.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Looks like some members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, for reasons not apparent to your humble servant, want to make waging the War on Terror more difficult and complicated by restricting the use of Special Ops units.

I can see, for instance, how difficult it would be to grab (or sanction) Osama or Saddam if we have to get a special Presidential finding every time one of those thugs is located in order to take them out.
The latest redistricting circus in Texas, which involved State Senate Democrats hiding out in New Mexico in order to stop a vote on the GOP redistricting plan, just got real ugly.

In fact, using the last resort of the liberal scoundrel, the Dems are screaming racism.
Walter Cronkite has begun to offer droplets of his percieved wisdom and in the process makes your humble servant a little sad.
We [journalists] reached our intellectual adulthood with daily close-ups of the inequality in a nation that was founded on the commitment to equality for all. So we are inclined to side with the powerless rather than the powerful. If that is what makes us liberals so be it, just as long as . . . we adhere to the first ideals of good journalism.

The problem is that the mainstream media has tended to be quite the opposite, siding for instance with big, bureaucratic government against the people who are expected to pay for it. There is more.
I believe that most of us reporters are liberal, but not because we consciously have chosen that particular color in the political spectrum. More likely it is because most of us served our journalistic apprenticeships as reporters covering the seamier side of our cities -- the crimes, the tenement fires, the homeless and the hungry, the underclothed and undereducated.

That may have been true when Cronkite was practicing his craft in the 1930s; it is not true now. Most journalists who work for the mainstream national media come from upper and upper middle class backgrounds, many attended Ivy League universities, and are paid saleries which hardly put them with the hoi paloi.
We reached our intellectual adulthood with daily close-ups of the inequality in a nation that was founded on the commitment to equality for all. So we are inclined to side with the powerless rather than the powerful. If that is what makes us liberals so be it, just as long as in reporting the news we adhere to the first ideals of good journalism -- that news reports must be fair, accurate and unbiased. That clearly doesn't apply when one deserts the front page for the editorial page and the columns to which opinion should be isolated.

Here Cronkite repeats himself. If the good liberal media establishment "are inclined to side with the powerless rather than the powerful", then I await with baited breath the stories on CBS/ABC/NBC/CNN about-say-small businessmen struggling against high taxes and overwelming regulations, or perhaps about white and Asian students discriminated against by University "affirmative action programs."
The perceived liberalism of television reporters, I am convinced, is a product of the limited time given for any particular item. The reporter desperately tries to get all the important facts and essential viewpoints into his or her piece but, against a fast-approaching deadline, he or she must summarize in a sentence the complicated story. That is where the slippage occurs, and the summary too frequently, without intention, seems to emphasize one side or the other.

So, in effect, Cronkite admits that there is liberal bias in the media, but that it is "unintentional." He offers no real solution on how to fix this problem-say hiring reporters and editors with an eye for idealogical diversity (as opposed to the other kind usual prevelent in newsrooms.) Instead he says this:
The answer to that problem, as with much else in television news, is in more time for the dominant evening newscasts. In our ever more complicated and confusing world, those newscasts need an hour.)

That of course does not explain CNN or MSNBC which have tended to offer heaping helpings of liberal bias 24/7. An hour of Peter Jennings or Dan Rather would just be twice as unbearable.
Incidentally, I looked up the definition of "liberal" in a Random House dictionary. It gave the synonyms for "liberal" as "progressive," "broad-minded," "unprejudiced," "beneficent." The antonyms it offered: "reactionary" and "intolerant."
I have always suspected those fine folks at Random House of being liberals. You just can't trust anybody these days.

This is pretty cute, but doesn't really describe modern liberals or liberalism. Modern liberals favor socialism at home and appeasement abroad. And they hate. Good, lord, how that hate. They hate anyone who disagrees with them in the slightest, calling them names like "fascist", or "racist." They hate President Bush. They hated President Reagan. Hate in fact defines them.

It is very sad to note that age has not brought Walter Cronkite wisdom, but rather nostalgia for days gone by, when Liberal Democrats held sway and all way riight with the world. Like too many people, for Cronkite it is always 1968 (if not 1933.)

My saddest Cronkite story goes back to 1989, when Bush the Elder had just come out with the Space Exploration Initiative. Cronkrite was interviewed on Face the Nation on the subject by Leslie Stahl, a deeply commited leftist whose biased is so ingrained that I doubt she recognizes it as anything other than objective reality. Cronkite, having been the reporter who best explained the Apollo Moon landings, was naturally all for the idea of returning to the Moon and going to Mars. Stahl was so derisive about the idea that she literally laughed in Cronkite's face.

I wonder who Cronkite thinks about the unrelenting hostility of the modern left toward the exploration of space. Sadly, I think he would deny that it exists, pointing to JFK. But then JFK favored tax cuts, a strong military, and opposition to Soviet tyranny. But then liberalism was different forty years ago. And that is the saddest thing of all.

Monday, August 11, 2003

Speaking of people who deserve plauge and destruction, Al Franken is being sued by the Fox News Network.
George Will wishes plague and destruction on all involved in the circus now taking place in California.

Sunday, August 10, 2003

Scaled Composites' SpaceShipOne completed its first drop test recently.

Saturday, August 09, 2003

John Carter McKnight recently discussed an issue which on the face of it should be too silly to discuss, but probably needs to be anyway. The question is should the presence of Martian microbes preclude the human settlement of Mars? Now as I am just recovering from a severe case of bronchitis, I have to take a dim view of civil rights for germs. Yet, I sadly suspect that when the day arrives when we are actually ready to consider planting settlements on Mars, the crazies will march and riot for the sake of any bacteria which might be inconvenienced.
Al Gore rose up from under his rock just long enough to pander to the black helicopter crowd on the left. These are the folks who believe that GW Bush planned and executed 9/11 for his own neferious purposes.
What is the Greej word for Chutzpah? You gotta hand it to Arianna Huffington. After hijaking Arnold's event to denounce Republicans, she literally tripped over a microphone to get a touch of Schwarzenegger as he came strolling out.

Arnold had best beware. Arianna has a history of attaching herself to powerful men, using them, then discarding them when they are of no further use to her. Just ask Newt Gingrich. Indeed, just ask Michael Huffington.

Thursday, August 07, 2003

The Palestinians are reneging on their obligations to suppress terrorism under the Road Map. Naturally the State Department wants to punish Israel for trying to defend itself against that terrorism.
A report in the journal Science throws cold water on the robots uber alles additude taken by Robert Park and other people concerning space exploration.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Now Malaya wants to do the man in space thing. Presumably this would be on a Russian rocket.
With due respect to Justice Ginsberg, I have to wonder where it states that the opinions of foreigners should be taken into account when interpreting the Us Constitution.

Monday, August 04, 2003

Friday, August 01, 2003

Looks like ABC has picked up Taranus as an eight part miniseries with an option for more. The original concept, which had the teenaged Octavius adventuring with a gladiator body guard/confidant has apparently been expanded with include the sweep of intrique and conflict following the murder of Caius Julius Caesar.