Thursday, December 30, 2004

The American Physical Society came out against the President's Moon, Mars, and Beyond Initiative. That opposition was not based on scientific objectivity, but on purely partisan and power politics.
Here are some space related predictions for the year 2005.

The return to flight of the space shuttle will proceed on schedule and without a hitch. By the end of the year, there will be a myriad of stories in the media along the lines of “is NASA getting complacent?”

The flight of the Shenzhou 6 will be a success, leading to rumors of further Chinese space exploits.

The new NASA Administrator will be a former military officer,

At least one of the companies selected to build the CEV prototype will be one of the new, entrepreneurial companies (Scaled Composites?)

Russia will threaten to pull out of the ISS coalition and join with the Chinese. This will be (partly) a ploy to extract more money from the West.

A fourth country will announce a serious, independent human in space program.

President Bush will make a “Rice University” style speech supporting his Moon, Mars, and Beyond Vision—possibly at Rice University. The speech will include economic justifications. Probes to be launched to the Moon in the 2011-15 time frame to test certain commercial applications (lunar mining, solar power, etc) will be announced.

One or more of the losers in the X Prize race will nevertheless fly a sub orbital vehicle.

NASA’s budget request will fare better than most next year and will pass, after a lot of noise and confusion, pretty much intact.

Cassini will not discover a monolith floating in Saturn space.

There will be three crew members on board ISS by the end of next year. Also, one or more private companies will be signed to develop alternate resupply capabilities.

At least one well know player will quietly join Bigelow’s race for the orbital prize.

Serenity, the space opera movie by the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, will be a massive hit, leading to rumors that it will be developed as a TV series.
The Times of India plays one of the most tiresome games in politics. The game goes like this. Oppose some space exploration project by pointing out something that isn't being funded (according to the entity playing the game) and suggesting that's where the money would be better spent. In this case, the Times of India suggests not exploring the Moon, but rather set up an effective tsunami warning system in the Indian Ocean.

I have another idea. How about doing both?

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

The Council on American Islamic Relations is mad as hell that the new season of 24 will depict (gasp!) Muslim terrorists. I should not be too concerned. It will likely turn out that the real terrorists are either Republican, corporate oil billionairs or Central European Neo Nazis or some other politically correct group of baddies.
Looks like America hater and former Attorney General Ramsey Clark has joined Saddam's defense team. Looks like the trial may become a circus.
Jonah Goldberg examines the "stinginess" of American disaster relief funding and along the way gives the United Nations the back of his hand.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Hugh Hewitt celebrates the destruction of the Old Media.
Charles Murrays book on Apollo, focusing on the unsung heroes who made the program work, has been reissued. I highly recommend it.

Can earthquakes be prevented? Not any time soon, as it turns out.
Sir Arthur C. Clarke has, fortunately, survived the great tsunami that has devestated South Asia.

Monday, December 27, 2004

The drug companies are fightened that Michael Moore is going to trash them in his next "documentary." I would not worry. Bowling for Columbine has followed by the collapse of gun control as a viable issue. Fahrenheit 9/11 was followed by the electoral triumph of George W. Bush. So, if the pattern persists, Moore's latest screed will be followed by unparalleled profits and prosperity for the drug companies.
For those of you who doubt the utiliry of deep space exploration, I submit this story about an asteroid that may be headed our way.
NASA has some choices to make concerning the Hubble Telescope.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Time now for the year in space awards. I’ve been struggling with some of these categories so, in the spirit of wussing out, I have decided to divide them into public and private space. It is, in any case, appropriate for the new age we find ourselves in.

Winner in the private space category goes to Burt Rutan and his team at Scaled Composites. Before SpaceShipOne made its series of flight, the idea of private space flight seemed, to most, to be fanciful. But there is nothing like actually doing a thing to make prove that the thing is possible. The coming age of sub orbital barnstorming, cruises in low Earth orbit and, in the fullness of time, tourist hotels in Earth orbit and on the Moon owes its prospect to Rutan and his people.

Winner for public space goes to President George W. Bush for announcing the Moon, Mars, and Beyond Vision and, more importantly, for proving that he meant it. The Vision will take NASA out of low Earth orbit, leaving it to the activities of the new space commercial sector, and transform the space agency from a high tech, space taxi service to a modern day Corps of Discovery. A lot of people, including some of the President’s friends, didn’t think he was serious. During the fight to fund the Vision, the President and his true allies proved the skeptics wrong.

Loser in the private space category goes to the Canadian Da Vinci Team in the X Prize race who, for a time, looked like was going to give Rutan a race. They did not.

Loser for public space goes to Lori Garver, the erstwhile NSS Executive Director and NASA Associate Administrator who discovered that the price of being considered for John Kerry’s NASA Administrator would be to turn on the President’s Moon, Mars, and Beyond Initiative which she had initially supported. To paraphrase the playwright Robert Bolt (who was paraphrasing God), “It profits not a person to sell her soul even for the whole world, but Lori, for NASA Administrator?” Turns out she did not get even that.

Best pictures from space. Saturn and her Moons from the Cassini probe.

Best pictures from space runner up. The surface of Mars from Spirit and Opportunity.

Most hopeful development in space. Transformational Space’s free market proposals for fulfilling the President’s Moon, Mars, and Beyond Initiative.

Runner up. The passage of the Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act.

Most fun development in space. Sir Richard Branson’s announcement of Virgin Galactic and sub orbital jaunts on two ships that will have familiar names: VSS Enterprise and VSS Voyager. I hear that Captain Kirk and Flight Officer Ripley have already signed up.

Best space opera movie (by default, I think, for being the only one released this past year.) The Chronicles of Riddick, which was not half bad given its poor box office.

Best space book (that I have actually read). Moonrush by Dennis Wingo, for presenting an intriguing rationale for going back to the Moon, though an insider tells me that the idea has been percolating in certain quarters for years.

Best space book runner up. New Moon Rising by Frank Sietzen and Keith Cowing for the inside look at the development of the President’s Moon, Mars, and Beyond Vision.

Best space reporter. James Oberg, for actually knowing of what he writes and talks about, which is not necessarily true for all reporters on the space beat.

Award for most idiotic statement on space policy. Sherwood Boehlert for suggesting that the President’s Moon, Mars, and Beyond Vision was the right way to go, but that Congress should not fund it adequately.

Space hero in the private space category. Mike Melvill for flying SpaceShipOne not just once, but twice

And, finally, space hero in the public space category. House Majority Leader Tom Delay for standing like a stone wall against the House Appropriators’ attempts to gut the President’s Moon, Mars, and Beyond Vision.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Snow? In Houston? On Christmas eve?!

God has a sense of humor.
President George W. Bush has signed into law HR 5382 and thus, once again, has summoned the future.
Here are my wishes for Christmas, 2004.

For President Bush, more people for that ever lengthening list of enemies who have gone up against you and have lost, never understanding why nor how.

For those bravest of the brave fighting for civilization in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, success and--in the fullness of time--a ticket home, safe and sound.

For NASA, an adequate budget and the wit to spend it wisely.

For those in the private sector striving to make space travel profitable, more markets and more access to venture capital.

For the main stream media, enlightenment of what ails them and the wit to fix it.

For the French, a better government and an understanding that the bureaucrat is not their friend.

For Ridley Scott, for The Kingdom of Heaven to be a hit, thus bringing the historical epic from the ashes where Oliver Stone left it.

For Peter Jackson, a quick production schedule for King Kong so that he can get to making The Hobbit.

For for all the rest, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas.
A group of medical students have put Gollum on the couch.
His two personalities -- Gollum and Smeagol -- convinced some students it was a case of schizophrenia or multiple personality disorder.

But schizophrenia was ruled out because delusions were not in keeping with Gollum's culture. The interaction between the two personalities shows Gollum is aware of both Smeagol and Gollum at the same time, which is inconsistent with multiple personality disorder, in which one is usually suppressed.

His bulging eyes and weight loss also suggests a thyroid problem, they added.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

The use of lunar resources could make space settlements not only self sufficient, but economically viable.
Merry Christmas, Fidel Castro.
Is the opening of the high frontier of space worth the loss of human lives?

Yes, it is.
Kathy Wright notes a big problem that Los Angeles has with timidity in facing rampant political correctness. Then she pays my city a great compliment:
You see, in Houston, people would be in your face across the restaurant, collaring each other in the streets to take back their City from the ACLU. This problem goes beyond the right to shout, “Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas! and Happy Kwanza!” It’s about the City itself, it’s sbout the “Good Will to All!” that is the hallmark of a great city, where there is a community of purpose and feeling that “good” prevails.

Durn right.
The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission is beginning to take shape
Ann Coulter puts things in perspective as only she can.
Since the attack of 9-11, we've won two wars, liberated millions of people from monstrous regimes, presided over one election in Afghanistan and are about to see elections in Iraq and among the Palestinian people. Focusing like a laser beam on the big picture, liberals are upset that, during this period, the secretary of defense used an autopen.
China's bid to become a major space power will proceed apace with the launch of Shenzhou VI with a crew of two for five days.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Space travel is but one aspect of human activity that will be enabled by nanotechnology.
Rand Simberg returns to Bastogne in the year of grace 1944, and has some more fun at the expense of the main stream media.
As all the world knows now, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince is coming out July 16th, 2005. It is now number one on the Amazon list where it will remain, I suspect, for the foreseeable future.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Jeffrey Bell launches a hysterical attack on his critics, calling them everything from "extremist" to something resembling religious fanatics to simple scam artists, while assuming upon himself the mantle of a "moderate" who is being persecuted by some vast, "space cadet" conspiracy. The article is the most damning study in cynicism and self absorption that I have seen in a long time. The telling paragraphs in this latest embarrassment goes thus:
Now many readers have rightly asked, "Since you say the Clinton/Kerry space program was pointless, the Bush space program is unaffordable, the space activist program is technically impossible, and most firms are investment scams, what kind of moderate, centrist manned space program DO you support? When will you write an article giving all the programmatic and technical details of this program?"

All I can say to that is: I'm trying. But every time I start doing background research for that article, severe problems turn up with most ideas for a meaningful and sustainable manned space program.

Very convenient. And very sad. Translated that means, "I don't really want to have you think that I think space flight is utter bilge, but that is what I have been telling you fools who are too stupid to believe me." Bell has spent a lot of time attacking people and no time offering any positive solutions.

And I'll leave the finding of Bell's many factual errors, not to mention his many ad hominen attacks, as an exercise for the reader. It will be a very easy exercise.
Dr. Gregory House, M.D., featured in the TV show of the same name, is certainly the fellow I want treating me if I were sick with some horrible wasting desease. However, as S. T. Karnick points out, House is in need of a little healing of a spirtual kind.
John Barnes offers and appreciation on one of my guilty pleasures of a few decades ago, the TV series UFO.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Bob Novak points out that if Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist unleashes the "nuclear option" to break Democrat obstruction of the President's judicial nominees, he will only be following the example of one Robert Byrd.
Jeff Foust looks at the year 2004 in aerospace and finds it good.
Sam Dinkin talks to Mike Gold of Bigelow Aerospace, and then examines that company's dreams for the future.
Taylor Dinerman provides an appreciation of outgoing NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe, while Dwayne Day gives Alex Roland a long over due, and well deserved beating.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Ursula Le Guin offers a common lament of the author whose work is translated to the screen and finds it wanting. Still, isn't the use of the word "honky" to descibe a white person kind of--well--quaint? Also perhaps the equivilent of using the "N word" to refer to a black person.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Your Humble Servant examines the legacy of Sean O'Keefe upon his departure as NASA Administrator.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Charles Krauthammer, a practicing Jew, gives the back of his hand to those weenies who want to ban Christmas to avoiding offending people.
When Sean O'Keefe cancelled the Hubble servicing mission out of concern for safety, the not unreasonable question arose that if one thought sending people to the Hubble was unsafe, how does one justify an even more hazardous mission to the Moon or Mars? While I don't think I agree with this analysis that the National Research Council's contradiction of O'Keefe's decision had anything to do with O'Keefe leaving, I do think that O'Keefe's departure makes a shuttle mission to Hubble all the more likely. And that is a good thing.
Rand Simberg is having too much fun again with a retelling of the Battle of the Bulge with modern sensibilities. Of course in a universe in which this would happen, Ike would have already been sacked because of D-Day.
The smoke of Fallujah has barely cleared and now Hollywood want to make a movie about it, staring Harrison Ford. Considering how Hollywood feels about the War in Iraq, this fills me with apprehension.
Speaking of stealing elections, Dick Morris describes Vladimir Putin's attempt to hijack the one in the Urkaine, with results that do not seem to be what was expected. The Russians used to be more adroit at assassinating people.
Sixty years ago today, the Battle of the Bulge began.
Are Democrats trying to steal the election for Governor of Washington State? Looks like it to me and it's as brazen as a highway robbery in daylight.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Speaking of the Moon as a power source, I had a fascinating lunch with Dr. David Criswell about his concept for lunar based solar power. I will be discussing more about this and other economic potentials of space exploration anon.
A group is touting the potential of lunar mined Helium-3. All well and good, but this group also claims to have mineral rights to a large part of the lunar surface. I suspect that is very debatable.
Serenity, the film version of the short run TV show Firefly is looking good.
Newt Gingrich sees health care as an economic opportunity instead of a problem.
Terence Jeffrey offers two very weird arguments against space exploration. First, if Sean O'Keefe is not willing to sacrifice his children's education to remain at NASA, then obviously what NASA does is not worth anything. Second, Americans ought not to go back to the Moon if it means that the evil Russians and the even more evil French get to go too.

It boggles the mind.
One of the many things that needs reforming before people return to the Moon, is NASA's technology transfer process, according to a new report. Among the recommendations:
Establish technology transfer as a core element of NASA's mission.
Move the Technology Transfer Office to the NASA administrator's office.
Let associate administrators identify outside technology that NASA needs to bring in.
Let field center directors oversee outward technology transfer.
Develop a comprehensive evaluation scheme that includes output measures, economic impact assessments, and performance standards for the responsible individuals.
Streamline NASA's national technology transfer network.
Increase use of information technology in daily operations and public outreach.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

One person who has been mentioned as a successor to Sean O'Keefe is retired Admiral Craig Steidle. He has already accomplished much at the Office of Exploration, making NASA ready to be a modern day Corps of Discovery.
If Oliver Stone has wrecked the historical epic with Alexander, Ridley Scott may yet save it with The Kingdom of Heaven, just as he did with Gladiator. Warning, contains spoilers.
Lunar exploration will focus on the South Pole of the Moon where, it is presumed, deposits of ice lay.
Looks like Americans have a chance to look down their noses at the Europeans for a change. The Dutch kill babies deemed to be terminally ill. Now a British lawmaker wants old people to commit suicide lest they be a burden. I wonder if Britain's vaunted socialistic health care system will pay for that.
Radiation, in various forms, would be a hazard for future astronauts on deep space missions. The solution may be an electronmagnetic shield.

Monday, December 13, 2004

In case anyone cares, it looks like it's up the tall ladder and down the short rope for Scott Peterson.
Ursula Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness has been optioned for a movie.
Mark Helprin warns of the next great super power challenge from China.
As if liberals didn't have enough problems, it seems that people in the Red States are out breeding the people in the Blue States.
Sam Dinkin looks upon the Commercial Space Launch Act and finds it good.
Dwayne Day examines media myths about the Moon, Mars, and Beyond Initiative.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Film critic Michael Medved gives the back of his hand to Hollywood for marketing films with a left wing agenda, thus alienating the majority of its audience who are not left wing.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

It used to be an old joke that fusion energy was fifty years away and has been that way for decades. That may no longer be true.
Film Director Peter Jackson has a video production diary from the set of King Kong.
Fred Kiesche has some good things to say about Children of Apollo, my alternate history novel about the Apollo program. The book in planning that Fred refers to is tentitively called Children of Orion and will be about an Orion space craft built during an alternate Reagan administration. The project will be quite a long time, because of the need for research and other writing projects.
Sean O'Keefe will shortly step down as NASA Administrator. According to NASA Watch, General Ronald T. Kadish, currently director of the Missile Defense Agency, is in line to replace O'Keefe.

Addendum: I'm informed that General Kadish retired in September.

Second Addendum: More on O'Keefe here and here. Looks like besides General Kadish, Bob Walker and former astronauts Bob Crippen, Ron Sega, and Charles Bolden are on the short list to replace O'Keefe.
Among the other candidates, Sega is perhaps next closest to the White House staffers advising the president. The former shuttle astronaut is serving as a director of research and engineering for Pentagon and was involved in drafting Bush's moon-Mars policy.

Crippen, retired and living in Florida, piloted Columbia on the first shuttle mission in 1981 and once was director of the Kennedy Space Center.

Bolden also recently served on a National Academy of Sciences panel that recommended reversing O'Keefe's January decision to cancel a shuttle repair mission to the Hubble Space Telescope. Without O'Keefe's opposition, the shuttle mission to Hubble would be easier to reinstate.

Walker retired in 1997 after two decades in the House of Representatives, where he had become one of Congress' leading experts on aerospace and space exploration.

Third Addendum: Pete Worden's name is now being mentioned. Still, I would not be surprised if O'Keefe's replacement turns out to be none of the people being talked about.
NASA's concept for a return to the Moon seems very much like the Earth Orbit Rendezvous configuation first proposed by Von Braun over forty years ago.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Brent Bozell piles on Oliver Stone.
One of the "and Beyond" parts of Moon, Mars, and Beyond might be a nuclear powered probe to Neptune.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Here's another view on the recently passed Commercial Space Launch Act that should give commercial space advocates some pause.
Nonetheless, some of the new bill's language contains ominous possibilities for squelching this hatchling industry. For example, one clause requires AST to regulate as soon as any "unplanned event or series of events during a license or permitted commercial human space flight (occurs) that (poses) a high risk of causing a serious or fatal injury."

If this language had been in force last October, the uncontrolled spins experienced by SpaceShipOne during its first X Prize flight would have forced AST to halt the second flight, thereby preventing Bert Rutan's ship from winning the $10 million award.

Sounds like language the needs to be fixed.
The civil war for the Democrat Party has begun with MoveOn.Org declaring, of the Democrat Party, "We bought it, we own it, we're going to take it back."

One simply cannot make up stuff like this.
Gabriele Garibaldi has a fascinating article on super power (US vrs China) conflict in space. It does start with one glaring error:
The Ronald Reagan years saw the introduction of the US space program.

Actually it was Eisenhower who started the modern US space program with the creation of NASA in 1958. I suspect that the author was referring to space based missile defense.
Reader Steve Johnson sends the following from a work colleague about an impediment to lunar mining that really needs to be addressed:
Steve ... Thanks for sending this fascinating article on the space age fuel of the future? ... But who is going to ensure that the He3 miners (collectors) on the moon comply with Env, MESA and OSHA regs? And do they apply?

I vote to send the EPA enforcement people to the moon to check it out when it happens (but without moon suits) - jack

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Looks like H.R. 5382, "The Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act", was passed by the Senate this evening by unanimous consent. This is a great victory for the private commercialization of space.

Addendum: Details from Alan Boyle.
Your Humble Servant touts the promise of lunar mined Helium-3.

Addendum: There's a reference to nine tons of oxygen, water, and so on and six tons of hydrogen for every ton of helium 3 that be be extracted from lunar soil. That should have been nine thousand tons and six thousand tons respectively. I regret the error.
Looks like a big screen Babylon 5 movie will start shooting in the Spring.
The following seems to be an unusual alternate history. More like alternate astronomy, in a way:

A robotic mission to repair Hubble is looking increasingly iffy. I predict that it will never fly and if NASA is serious about a Hubble repair mission (something that some folks question) it will have to send a shuttle.

Addendum: Looks like the National Research Council agrees with me.
Future space explorers will grow their own food. But how to process harvested crops into something edible?

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Another view in the Times of India, this time touting space cooperation.
Several people have solcited my comments about Darkside, a series under development at Fox about a party of astronauts who are "lost" on the "dark side" of the Moon. Of course, as anyone with even a modicum of knowledge about astronomy knows, there is no "dark side" of the Moon, as the Moon's orbit around the Earth creates a day/night cycle of about twenty eight days. Fox really should spring for a good science advisor during the development of this kind of series.

Of course, nothing had yet topped Space: 1999, that depicted the Moon as a star ship, visiting a different star system every week.
Sixty three years ago dawned the first Day of Infamy. And speaking of infamy, the most incompetent Democrat Party Chairman ever decides to dish out some of his own.

Monday, December 06, 2004

t/Space is developing some interesting concepts for the return to the Moon.
School choice may be coming to Texas.
What follows is a request to the readers. Does anyone know of any instance when an official of NASA, the Department of Energy, or the White House mentioned lunar mined Helium-3 as a justification for going back to the Moon in the recent past? This is for an article that is scheduled to appear in a major publication.

Thanks in advance.
A movie about werewolves on the Moon. I once suggested that the football team for the first High School on the Moon should be the Fighting Werewolves, but this may be going a bit far.
Greg Zsidisin goes nuts again on the subject of the President's Moon, Mars, and Beyond Vision. It seems that just because the first year's funding has passed, it doesn't matter because (a) George Bush is evil and won't be President past 2008 and that (b) Tom Delay, who helped to pass the funding, is also evil and must and will be destroyed by phony ethics charges.

(Yes, I realize that Greg doesn't consider them phony, but they are. Ronnie Earl, the partisan Democrat prosecutor who wants to indict Delay tried to use the same tactics to bring down Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. One suspects that Delay will be a power in Congress well into this century and will likely be Speaker after Hasteret retires.)

Sustaining the Vision past 2008 is a simple matter. NASA should avoid the mistakes it made with the space shuttle and space station, thus giving the enemies of space exploration ammo. Given that, very likely, everything else will fall into place.

The Times of India has some interesting advice about cooperation in space vrs going it alone.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Ben Stein celebrates those proud rebels who have the politics that dare not speak its name---at least in Hollywood and Malibu.
How House Majority Leader Tom Delay helped to summon the future.
All of your Kerry supporters, suffering from PEST, who are contemplating running north to the socialist paradise that is Canada may want to pay heed to Nora Jacobson's story. She moved to Canada in the year 2000 and found a strange kind of passive-aggressive hatred and discrimination because she was American.
Who would have thought that there would come a day when the singing of Christmas carols would become an act of civil disobedience.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Oliver Stone, fresh from the critically panned, box office disaster epic Alexander apparently is contemplating a biop of Maggie Thatcher, whom he claims to admire. Stone's tendency to twist history may get the better of him, though.
He could have fun casting Reagan - and scripting the 'were they, weren't they lovers?' storyline."

This is, of course, as absurd as suggesting that FDR and Churchill were lovers. Not that it would stop Stone.

Mind, a study of Reagan and Thatcher and how they won the Cold War and pulled their respective countries out of economic doldrums would, in the right hands, make a wonderful film. But if all Oliver Stone can think to do is to speculate whether they were doing the nasty thing, then all I can say is stop that man before he films again.

Friday, December 03, 2004

We just saw the film I am David, the story of a boy who escapes from a Bulgarian concentration camp in 1952 and makes a journey of discovery, faith, and freedom across Europe and found the film powerful and compelling. I agree with the sentiments of this review.
Prizes as a means to spark technological advancement has been embraced by NASA as part of the new Moon, Mars, and Beyond Vision. Naturally the idea is entangled in a number of legal, bureaucratic, and political impediments.
NASA and the Russians are working a deal that swaps research time on the Internatonal Space Station for rides on the Soyuz.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Speaking of Holiday gifts, I am reminded that the latest Harry Potter movie is out of DVD:

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Speaking of triumphant returns, looks like William F. Buckley is coming out with a new Blackford Oakes novel:

Day by Day makes its triumphant return.
The following are some gifts that we recommend for holiday giving.

Weapons of Choice starts when an international naval battle group from the year 2021 finds itself in the middle of the Battle of Midway in 1942. While the story at times hits some PC themes a little hard, it is still a gem and well worth reading. Alas, it is the first of a trilogy and we'll have to wait for the seoncd and third books:

Grant Comes East is the second in the trilogy penned by Newt Gingrich and William Forstchen about the consequences of a Confederate victory at Gettysburg. That development does not necessarily mean a Confederate victory in the Civil War. We also recommend the first book in the series, Gettysburg.

It's the Lord of the Rings. What more need we say:

Rome: Total War is one of the best strategy/military games ever created:

The recent conference on lunar science had some interesting results, including an endoresment for a human return to the Moon, with a "robotic village" and a lunar base. However, there is also this:
Lastly, the statement recommends that the 1979 "Moon Treaty" be "revisited, refined, and revised as necessary in light of the present-day impetus for expeditions, both robotic and human, to the Moon by several nations."

Refined and revised, certainly. The original treaty, with its pernicious "common heritage of all mankind" clause would have had the effect of forbidding commercial development of the Moon. Any new treaty should include a mechanism allow for and governing the same, including protection of property rights.