Saturday, April 30, 2005

Tony Blair is a slippery customer, poll driven and without principle, his opponents say. Yet, the Prime Minister of Great Britain is most hated in his country for an act of courageous statesmanship in assisting the United States in ridding the world of Saddam Hussein and bringing freedom to Iraq. Despite all of that, he will be reelected comfortably, if not overwhelmingly.
Today marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of Saigon to Communist tyranny and a shameful defeat for the United States. As Professor Reynolds notes, there are some people who dream of the same thing happening in Iraq, in a kind of Vietnam War Protestor Nostalgia. Fortunately I think that not only is our ability to fight wars enhanced since 1975, but so is our will.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Jonah Golderg has found, much to his surprise and delight, a kind of environmentalism that uses free market princibles to clean the environment.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

The Fairness Doctrine was like a Berlin Wall keeping conservative opinion out of the air waves. Fortunately Ronald Reagan tore it down.
At least one part of NASA now seems to be open to outside ideas and advice. Most encouraging, that part of NASA proposes to take people back to the Moon, to Mars, and beyond.
Someone writing into NRO has uncovered the underlining symbolism of the metaphor for the movie Titanic. The ship stands for the Clinton 1990s. The iceberg is 9/11. A remarkable achievement, considering that Jim Cameron made the movie five years before 9/11.
Empire, the miniseries about the assasination of Julius Caesar and the rise of Octavian, airs on ABC this June.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Austin Bay has a fun scenario upon the breakup of Canada.
Rand Simberg has noticed an interesting development regarding the CEV. I'm sure he'll have more about it anon.
Glenn Reynolds has come out against court imposed solutions to the gay marriage issue.
I support gay marriage, though no doubt with less intensity than Andrew, but it's clearly a minority position in the country, and last year's courtroom "victories" seem to have done more harm than good. You go from being a minority position, to a majority position, by convincing people that you're right.

I could not agree more.
The most formidable barrier to private space development is not physics, or engineering, or even (these days) money. It's government red tape.
Some people have been trying to give Maggie Gyllenhaal some slack for saying this:
In a statement issued Monday by her publicist, Gyllenhaal said Sept. 11 was "an occasion to be brave enough to ask some serious questions about America's role in the world. Because it is always useful as individuals or nations to ask how we may have knowingly or unknowingly contributed to this conflict.

"Not to have the courage to ask these questions of ourselves is to betray the victims of 9/11."

Perhaps, some suggest, she meant that we were remiss in appeasing Islamo-fascist terrorists in the 1990s. However a little voice is telling me I should doubt it.

What makes this even more hurtful is that Gyllenhaal said these things after appearing in a movie about 9/11. Imagine, if you will, if Ingrid Bergman had suggested that we had "contributed to the conflict" with the Nazis when Casablanca first opened.

Addendum: Not that I'm comparing Gyllenhaal, most famous for getting spanked a lot in an S&M film called Secretary, to Bergman or any film to Casablanca (g).
Looks like may take over the Democratic Party, just in time to drive it off a cliff.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Jim Oberg announces the following:
My editor-in-chief at SPECTRUM magazine (
has just informed me as follows:

From: "Susan Hassler"

Date: April 26, 2005 12:50:24 PM EDT

Subject: SNAP Excel Awards "Titan Calling" wins silver feature article award

I am pleased to report that "Titan Calling," (October, 2004) has been given

the silver award in the Magazines, Feature Article, 100,000 and over category

by SNAP, the Society of National Association Publications.

Jim Oberg was the author, with lots of additional reporting by Stephen Cass.

The awards gala will be on Wednesday, June 29, at the Renaissance Washington DC Hotel.

The full list of winners should be posted shortly.

Congratulations Jim and Stephen!


My congratulations as well. The original article can be found here.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, in opposing private accounts in Social Security, has been bombastic in his suggestion that Social Security is the "most successful" social program in history. And yet, at least at one time, he wanted to exempt himself, his fellow federal elected officials, and federal employees from Social Security's benefits.
The Democrats have been crowing that their unrelenting attacks on House Majority Leader Tom Delay have made him vulnerable. So, why is it that they are having trouble finding someone credible to run against him?

Monday, April 25, 2005

Putin's statement, that the breakup of the Soviet Union was a "catastrophe" is remarkable. Imagine if a German leader had said that the same thing about the fall of Nazi Germany. There would be universal calls for his head, not the least coming from within Germany. But I'll bet Czar Vladimir gets a pass.
Sam Dinkin proposes space commercial subsidies on a grand scale indeed.

Addendum: Rand Simberg begs to differ.

Addendum 2: Sam responds.
A team at the University of Houston is seeking a NASA grant to develop a prototype of what amounts to a mobile factory to transform lunar soil into solar panels.
Will David Rosen, Hillary Clinton's former Finance Director who goes on trial in about a week or so for campaign finance violations, rat out his former boss? Dick Morris sure does hope so.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

The state of Florida may be dropping the ball by not taking measures to turn the Cape into a commercial space port.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Is it just me, or does everyone who saw last night's episode of Enterprise believe that the next Star Trek series should be set in the Mirror Universe?

Friday, April 22, 2005

David Corn clearly does not like Tom Delay's support for space exploration. Whether it is because Corn thinks Delay is evil, or space exploration is evil, or both are evil is unclear.

As an aside, he makes the mistake of quoting John Pike, a man who demonstrates how little he knows every time he opens his mouth.
Teddy Kennedy's brother-in-law is an FBI informant. I wonder who has reason to be nervous about that?

Addendum: Michelle Malkin has much more.
Charles Krauthammer inveighs against both a judiciary run amuck and what he sees as super heated rhetoric against the same. I disagree with his conclusions about the Schiavo case. It's clear that her 14th Amendment rights were violated. However, Krauthammer ends with an interesting conclusion:
This is all true and deeply depressing. But the answer is not to assault the separation of powers. Certainly not to empower Congress to regulate judicial decision-making by retroactively removing lifetime appointees. The non-deranged way to correct the problem is to appoint a new generation of judges committed to judicial modesty.

Yet the recent eruptions of DeLay, Cornyn and some of their fellows may, like FDR's court-packing overreaching in 1937, have a salutary effect after all -- scaring the bejesus out of judges, maybe even shocking them into a little bit of humility, something that does not seem to come to them naturally.

One can only hope.
Apparently there is a film about to show on MTV (of all places) that shows celebs like Cameron Diaz gushing over the "Earth friendly" lifestyles of third worlders. I guess that is one way to describe nasty, short, and brutish lives lived in squalor.

Addendum: Rand Simberg is just--well--amazed.
One of the dangers of running to the courts to get gay marriage is that it may make the issue the abortion of the 21st Century, in the manner described by David Brooks (see below), with millions of people resentful over something being imposed by judges. Fortunately, the state of Connecticut has shown the way by passing a civil unions bill. Of course no one is happy. Gay groups seem to be unhappy over terminology, insisting on the word "marriage" even though there doesn't seem to be any practical difference between that and civil unions. Religious conservatives are unhappy because they know there is no practical difference. But, at least in Connecticut, the matter can be fought over in the politcal realm.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

David Brooks laments the poison injected in the political process by Roe V Wade which established the right to an abortion as a Constitutional right. Now, while I am generally on the pro choice side (at least for the first trimester), I think Brooks has a point. Decisions like abortion need to be made by the people through their elected representatives, not by unaccountable judges.

The problem goes beyond abortion to a whole series of decisions made by fiat by judges that are not only unpopular, but beyond reason. The killing of Terri Schiavo is just the latest in these outrages. When Supreme Court justices openly boast that they use foreign law and not the US Constitution to inform their opinions, then there is a deep problem. That's why I cannot understand how Glenn Reynolds, who is ordinarily a voice of sanity, can heap such disdain on people who are unhappy with the way the judicial system has run amuck.

I depart from Brooks on the Constitutional (misnamed the "Nuclear") Option. The Democrats, by using the filibuster to block judges in an unconstitutional manner, have given the majority Republicans no choice. The Democrats can defuse the situation by backing down. But, it seems, they would prefer to be seen as crazy for "blowing up" the Senate rather than weak for caving in.
I wonder what is so explosive in this report about the Clinton Administration that has caused Senators Kerry and Dorgan to want to cover it up.
Peter Van Pels was one of the people who hid in the secret annex with Anne Frank and like Anne was caught and later died in a concentration camp shortly before liberation. But what if he had survived and immigrated to America?
Suspended animation technology may be around the corner. The bad news is that the smell may be unsupportable.
Cases like this will ensure that the death penalty will never be abolished in the United States. Indeed, a quick death is too good for a person who would do that.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, Howard Dean sure is a funny guy.
Between a speech he delivered without notes and a question-answer session, Dean regaled an appreciative audience for nearly 90 minutes without once raising his voice, as he did after last year's Iowa primary election. But he did draw howls of laughter by mimicking a drug-snorting Rush Limbaugh.

"I'm not very dignified," he said. "But I'm not running for president anymore."

So being the head of the National Democratic Committee does not require dignity. Thanks for letting us know, Doc.
Brent Bozell describes hoiw the main stream media tries to keep the Tom Delay story alive.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Speaking of turncoats, Senator "Jumpin'" Jim Jeffords, having tasted the bitter fruit of his treason in the loss of all influence and credibility after the 2002 midterms, has decided to end his political career.
Michelle Malkin heavily blogs the fallout of Senator George Voinovich's treason here and here. I'm astonished that Voinovich would lose his spine over such an obvious smear ploy by Democrats. A woman--an obviously partisan liberal Democrat--suddenly and at the last minute claims "harassment", taking place years ago, having never before raised the issue, and having no evidence that it took place. I'm somehow reminded of the way Clarence Thomas was treated, though in his case the charges were more salacious.
I am certain that if Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D) Ohio were named Tom Delay, there would be tons of outrage over this.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Conservative talk radio has been a key part of the alternative media, balancing out the liberally biased mainstream media. Conservative radio talk shows have been very popular with listeners, while the liberal variety (such as Air America) have--at best--struggled.

The Left seems to have arrived at a solution to this (from their standpoint) problem. They propose to reinstate the fairness doctrine, which existed from 1949 to 1986. Obstensively the fairness doctrine would force radio stations to "balance out" conservative talk radio with the more liberal variety, whether people want to listen to it or not. Of course the likely effect is that, as was the case when the fairness doctrine was last in effect, radio station owners will avoid the hassel of compliance by not running any political programing at all, in effect shutting up the Rush Limbaughs, the Sean Hannities, and their local compatriots. That is, in my opinion, the real purpose of reinstating the fairness doctrine, to shut up voices that dissent from the Left's agenda.
The Chinese have some interesting ideas for robotic lunar exploration.
White smoke. Looks like they've selected a Pope.

Addendum: It's Joseph Ratzinger, a German. He has taken the name Benedict XVI.
Bob Zubrin has some interesting thoughts on human exploration beyond low Earth orbit. He's still fixated on Mars, the sooner the better, but it's worth a read.

Presenting the far left take on the subject is my old Deaniac friend, Rich Kolker, and Robert Oler. Basically, they are against sending people beyond low Earth orbit and advocate a return to the Clinton era space program of going into endless circles around the Earth, albeit in a more commercially friendly manner. The problem is that if a leftist administration were to come to power that would do this, it would also increase taxes and regulations, smothering private sector space flight in the crib.
During the last election, campaign finance reformers (principally John McCain) were mad as hell that people were able to use 527s to circumnavigate the restrictions imposed by CFR. Let by McCain, the reformers are now moving to close that loophole and legislate 527s out of existence. Of course, it will make no difference and, from the point of view of the reformers, make things worse.

Monday, April 18, 2005

The decision to cancel the Hubble servicing mission was one glaring mistake made by Sean O'Keefe in an otherwise stellar tenure as NASA Administrator. Fortunately, the new NASA Administrator, Michael Griffin, is in an easy position to reverse that decision,
I have never before heard of Mad Max reenactors and would rightly be very alarmed if I ever ran into them.
Looks like a biography of Pete Conrad, Apollo 12 commander, entitled Rocket Man, will shortly be out.
Sam Dinkin offers some space policy proposals.
Was the infamous ABC poll that indicated wide spread public support for the death of Terri Schiavo actually a push poll for euthanasia?

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Jay Cost is not impressed with Hillary Clinton. I agree that she's actually a lousy politico and may well be the Ed Muskie of the 2008 Campaign.
Women, it seems, are running as fast as they can from the well coiffed, sented, sensitive metrosexuals and are embracing real men. That has a political dimension. The last election was between a metrosexual and a real man. The Democrats may want to nominate the latter in 2008 if they hope to win.
The notion that we shall soon recover long lost works of classical literature has got to be very exciting.
Thirty five years ago today, the crew of Apollo 13 returned home safely, saving had their lunar mission aborted due to an oxygen tank explosion.
Over on the Amazon Auctions site (Amazon's equivalent of Ebay), I'm offering a hundred copies of Children of Apollo. The price comes out to about $14.00 a copy, or just over half of the retail price. I can do this experiment because of a volume discount offered by the publisher. So if you're a book seller (or some other kind of merchant), or just someone with a lot of gifts to give, consider the offer. If it works, I may do it again.

Of course if that is too heavy a purchase for you, Children of Apollo is available at regular retail prices. See the ads on the left hand side of the page.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

More juicy stuff about Canada's Watergate.
The final volume in Newt Gingrich's alternate history Gettysburg trilogy will soon be out. In the first book, Gettysburg, Lee won the Battle of Gettysburg. In the second book, Grant Moves East, Lee was turned back at the gates of Washington. Now, in the third book, Never Call Retreat, Lee will face Grant in the final campaign to decide the Civil War. I am looking forward to this book in keen anticipation.
Howard Dean, former Governor of Vermont, former Presidential candidate, and now head of the Democratic National Committee, is, if nothing else, an entertaining man. He has actually proposed make the Terri Schiavo case a partisan issue, supposing that people will punish Republicans for efforts to prevent her judicial murder.

There's a couple of problems with this. First, Congressional efforts were bipartisan. People like Senator Tom Harkin, Jesse Jackson, and Ralph Nader--hardly charter members of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy--were on the let Terri live side. (And the let Terri die side was also bipartisan, since some conservatives and libertarians misread the Constitution to suggest that the principle of federalism empowered state judges to do anything they wanted, even violate the 14th Amendment.) Second, polling data is a bit suspect on the case. People were either for or against Terri depending on how polling questions were framed.

I can also imagine what might happen if the autopsy report comes back revealing the Terri was possibly not as brain damaged as some folks thought. Also, wasn't Dean going to reach out to religious conservatives? Slapping them in the face over an issue of life and death that was (and is) important to them seems an odd way to do it.

Friday, April 15, 2005

More praise for NASA Administrator Michael Griffin.
Yet a new film version of The Amityville Horror is due to be released, alleged to be about a family driven from a house infested with demons, ghosts, and other horrific creatures. The truth, as you might imagine, is a little less exciting.
I noticed that Michael Kube-McDowell's classic alternate history novel, Alternities, has been reissued. The premise is that Dwight Eisenhower was killed in a plane crash in January 1951, and Robert Taft was elected president in 1952, beginning a course which resulted in a more isolationist, reactionary America. In the late 1970s, the government secretly exploits a mysterious route to a half dozen alternate Earths for technical gain. As a showdown with the Soviet Union becomes imminent, plans are laid to use one alternate as a bolthole for elite politicos.

I enthusiastically recommend this book.

Bernie Sanders, the only member of Congress who admits to being a socialist, is mad as hell at being compared to Tom Delay.
The SCIFI Channel just announced a slate of new series for the 2006-7 season. The one I'll be particularly interested in is the revival of The Time Tunnel.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

The idea that robots alone can explore other worlds is a supposition that is silly beyond belief. However, NASA is experimenting with teams of humans and robots to find the best way for each to conduct space exploration.
Matthew McConaughey, star of the Clive Cussler adventure Sahara, would like to do more Dirk Pitt adventures. All well and good, but it looks like Cussler is so peeved at the changes made for the movie from his book that he has filed suit to prevent any more of his books from being made into movies.

Why does Hollywood insist on doing this? Cussler is not the first author to be appalled by what the film industry has done to his books. I remember how Tom Clancy has been annoyed by changes (largely politically inspired) made to his novels being translated to the screen.
John McCain wants to cripple the science of archeology in the United States. No, seriously.
Ann Coulter discusses the latest argument that liberals are using against conservatives like her, which is apparently to throw food. Clearly lefties do not have mothers, otherwise they would have been broken of this habit by the age of--well--two.
Barbara Boxer for President? It seems that some of the far left Anybody but Hillary crowd finds the idea attractive.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Michael Griffin has been confirmed as NASA Administrator by the Senate.
Will the first real community of humans beyond the Earth be located at the lunar north pole?
Back in the bad old days, when the Soviet Empire was threatening the world, a common practice of the Soviets was to claim that some invention or another purported to have been invented in the West, was actually invented by a Russian, like the air plane or the automobile. The Russians are at it again, accusing NASA of stealing the concept of the space elevator from some obscure Soviet scientist.
I wonder if Chris Shays will now demand that Bernie Sanders resign.
Michael Griffin will likely be NASA Administrator by early next week. Just in time for Your Humble Servant to offer some congratulations and some unsolicited advice.
Rand Simberg is somewhat skeptical that a return to the Moon would generate any public excitement. I have to beg to disagree.
What's so exciting about NASA sending a few government employees back to the Moon? NASA's been there, did that, got the hat, a third of a century ago. The public found it boring then. Why, in the twenty-first century, amidst the explosion of technological wonders that we've seen since, would they get jazzed about it now? What would make it so newsworthy as to knock the death of a great Pope off the headlines? Why is NASA astronauts walking around on the Moon any more fascinating to a modern, jaded public than NASA astronauts circling the earth in a can, something that is never in the news unless something goes wrong?

Rand ignores several facts. First, the public was excited when men walked on the moon--the first time. The public became bored with each lunar expedition that followed. I think there were a couple of reasons for this. One, (and Rand has a point here) it did not appear that lunar exploration would ever progress beyond "a few government employees." Two, public support for human space exploration was quite low, according to polling data of the time. The reasons for this stem from the politics of the early 70s, the popularity of the idea that "all that money" being spent on space could be spent better on social programs.

The way the Vision for Space Exploration is shaping up will make it a bit different than Apollo. It will not, ultimately, consists of just "a few government employees." Attention to the commercial possibilities of a return to the Moon will open up that world to all people, in my humble opinion. The idea that what will (if all goes as planned) happen in a decade (or less if Michael Griffin has his way) may lead to will, in my judgment, heighten public excitement.

Second, the political zeitgeist of the 21st Century is different than that of thirty five years ago. Current polling data indicates a much higher public support for lunar exploration than was the case thirty five years ago. Only a few far left liberals think that social programs need a large expansion.

Also, the youngest person who ever saw humans walk on the Moon at--say--the age of five is now in his or her forties. Most people alive have never seen a person exploring another world.

I can tell you that, as a die-hard space enthusiast, I sure can't get excited about it. In fact, I don't think that the current VSE, at least as put forth by some of the major contractors (and like the Shuttle and ISS), is worth the money. And I (unlike most of the public) actually know what a tiny percentage of the federal budget it constitutes. If Mark can't sell me on it, why does he think that those who don't have that much interest in space (the vast majority, at least when it comes to relative depth of interest), and think that NASA consumes half the federal budget, will be excited?

I can't speak to Rand's lack of enthusiasm and won't try. I do think he sells people short, projecting his feelings and assuming that most people share them. I think (again) the polling data backs me up. Most people do not have his skepticism of government run and financed space programs. Perhaps they should, but they don't.
I will tell you what might have knocked those other things off the headlines, at least temporarily (at least based on the response to the SpaceShipOne flights)--if Paul Allen walked on the Moon, with his own money, and was selling tickets so that others could do so.

That would be something, wouldn't it. But I don't think people will very much care whether the next person to walk on the Moon is paid by NASA or Microsoft. The excitement will be much the same. What will sustain it, though, is the consciousness that the first return to the Moon will lead to much more than a few flags and rocks. I've written about that previously, here, here, and here.

Of course, even with that, there will be a few naysayers, as I suggest here and here.

Addendum: In a response, Rand says this:
I'm not aware of any polling data that backs him up. He'll have to show some, rather than simply asserting it, if he wants to convince me or (I would hope) my readers.

For those like Rand, who do not remember, I refer to the Gallup and Dittmar studies.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Dr. Ronald Cranford, hired by Michael Schiavo as an expert neurologist, was very sure that Terri Schiavo would never recover. He was just as sure twenty five years ago about David Mack. The problem is, David Mack woke up and later recovered 95 percent of his intellectual capacity.

Did Judge Greer know about this, before he condemned Terri to a slow death, based partly on Dr. Cranford's expert testimony? If so, what does one say about a judge who ignores such evidence?
Roger Blandford, well meaning that he is, shows how out of touch with reality many scientists are.
Most astronomers and physicists have reacted to the president’s announcement and NASA’s response with suspicion. I do not think their response is because of hostility to the manned space program. Although some of us embrace it enthusiastically, others have a position similar to mine on football. I do not care much for football, but most Americans, including the rest of my family, do. So when the Superbowl comes around, I am happy for them and do not storm around the house trying to turn off the TV.

Then there's Robert Park, who has to be physically restrained from taking a baseball bat to the TV,

Blandford seems to think that there's a "headlong rush" to send explorers beyond low Earth orbit.
The manned space program does not seem to be following the “go as you pay” strategy advocated in 1990 by the Augustine Commission and echoed by subsequent National Research Council studies. Instead, there appears to be a headlong rush to commit precious resources in a manner that could lead to disappointment and waste.

You would think we have a crash program to get men on Mars in two years, the way Blandford wrings his hands.

Blandford does make a good case for increased funding on the sort of space science projects he favors. However, he has an exaggerated expectation of public enthusiasm for such things.
Moreover, NASA will need to sustain public interest and political support over the coming decade, and wonderful discoveries like the magnetar explosion should surely help.

As interesting as such things are, I'm afraid that NASA need something else besides that to sustain public interest. I had never heard of this discovery before I read it in Blandford's piece. It certainly did not supplant the death of the Pope, or Terri Schiavo or (please God) the Michael Jackson trial. A human return to the Moon this year would have done all of those things.

Now, an observatory on the far side of the Moon, doing all sorts of good science, should make Blandford reassess his indifference to the Vision for Space Exploration.
Now I have read everything. The author of this little tome is wide of the mark. Bill Clinton is not an honerary adopted Bush son. He's more like a stray animal brought into the house out of pity, with the humans worrying that he'll make a mess on the carpet or maybe bite the children.
Michael Griffin appears to have total support from the Seantors at his confirmation hearings. But does he really? The test will be when he has to take measures that will make constituents and/or campaign contributers uncomfortable. Also, will Congress give him the funds he needs to get the Vision for Space Exploration off the ground, especially since Griffin wants to do it sooner? Rand Simberg also has some thoughts.

Addendum: Jeff Foust has some more thoughts.
Two books on not only the same subject, but almost the same name are coming out soon. One is Return to the Moon: A Practical Plan for Going Back to Stay by Harrison Schmitt, Apollo 17 astronaut and former Senator. The other is Return to the Moon, apparently a collection of essays edited by Space Frontier Foundation head Rick Tumlinson.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Jason Verheyden is happier than I have every seen a human being at the continuing collapse of Canada's liberal party.
Robert Novak reveals the depths to which the New York Times is willing to descend to try to get a Republican to turn on Tom Delay. So far, except for Chris Shays, who can always been counted on to turn his coat at any time, the plot has not succeeded.
Michael Barone cautions against holding too much stock in polls on unfamilier issues. The underlying numbers tell a different story.
According to Keith Cowing, Alan Binder appears to have used his lunar prospector memoirs not so much to tell the story of a successful space mission done on a shoe string, but rather to take revenge on just about everyone who ever dissed him in the past fifteen or so years. Too bad.
A remake of the classic George Pal film, When Worlds Collide, is in the works by the director of the Mummy films and the upcoming Flash Gordon remake. One idea that will likely not be pursued would be to set the story in the 1930s, as was the case with the original novel. Forget about an "asteroid the size of Texas." The novel, which was the very first story about Earth being wiped out by a celestial object, had the planet being taken out by a gas giant.

Addendum: More from Aint it Cool.
Sam Dinkin interviews Dr. David Criswell on the subject of lunar based solar power. Then Dinkin provides a flinty analysis of the problems and promises of the same.

My own view (and I've told Criswell this) is that the market place will ultimately decide how energy will be produced in the future. My suspicion is that lunar based solar power, space based solar power, helium 3 fusion, hydrogen fuel cells, and other solutions are going to be tried and will prosper or not depending on factors that are unknowable right now.
Michael Huang gives the three reasons for human space settlement.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Buttressing my idea that Hillary Clinton's most fanatical enemies may be on the left wing of the Democratic Party, comes news of a tell all book by a liberal author.

Mind you, I have no idea what secrets to be revealed that could "sink her candidacy." Of course, Bill's mojo for skating scandal may not translate to her.
An emailer to NRO makes a conservative case for the recently passed Medicare Drug Benefit.
Is that Zogby Poll that showed overwelming support for saving Terri Schiavo just as flawed as the main stream media ones that showed support for killing her? Michelle Malkin thinks, sadly, it could be.
According to George Will, there's a guy in Arizona who has an idea that will really make the teachers' unions mad as hell.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Jason Verheyden revels in the virtual collapse of public support for the Canadian Liberal Party.
Can John Rambo save the UN from Al Qaeda? The latest pitch for a fourth movie.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Deaniacs, overwelmingly white, highly educated, non religious, well to do, will continue to be a potent political force in American politics, according to a Pew Study. I think this may bode ill for Senator Clinton's strategy of moving to the center in order to win in 2008. The Deaniacs will have none of that, thinking that a lurch to the left would be a better idea. There's also a certain degree of support for a leftist third party, though they're not quite ready to bolt from the Democrats yet. That might change if Senator Clinton or some other centrist gets the nomination.
More on efforts to get the Moon, Mars, and Beyond Vision into high gear.
Now, I'm not usually impressed with slippery slope arguments. But this case of a woman being starved to death in the manner of Terri Schiavo, despite her expressed wishes not to have it done, and in clear violation of state law (not that it would matter to a state judge), has to give one pause.
The far left have decided that Tom Delay must be destroyed. He's been too effective a House Majority Leader to be allowed to live. The problem is that the faux outrage rings hollow when they are so obvious about wanting the man's blood.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Robert Zimmerman points an accusing finger at the Congress and the White House for business as usual in space exploration.
For NASA's management culture truly to change, there must be fundamental reforms, not only within NASA, but also - more important - in the way Congress and the president oversee the space agency.

More than two years after the shuttle Columbia accident, however, it does not appear that elected officials have made much effort to reform their own behavior when dealing with NASA.

There is one point I would tend to disagree with.
It seems reasonable for the president and Congress to demand discipline from NASA in the efforts to retire the shuttle, but what if circumstances require this arbitrary retirement deadline to be reconsidered? What if there is a delay in completing the space station? What if there is a need for the shuttle to continue to supply the station after 2010?

Will Bush and Congress then demand the 2010 deadline to be met anyway, forcing NASA to compromise its efforts in order to fulfill their original arbitrary commitment?

It seems to me that 2005 is a little early to start talking about schedule slippages for the retirement of the space shuttle in 2010. NASA has shown a tendency to regard schedules more as guidelines than hard and fast time tables. No need to encourage that this early.
Looks like biotech food, so disdained by certain environmental hysterics, is healthier than organic food.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Rep Ken Calvert, chairman of the Space and Aeronautics Subcomittee of the House Science Comittee, has some thoughts on the future of space.
The American West was settled by an often fractious coalition of Government Administrators, Commercial Investors, Military Protectors, and wild-eyed entrepreneurs -- risk takers all --- sound familiar?

It's a good thing that we've retained that American collection of colorful characters as we try to settle the final frontier.......because we're going to need them all.

Read it all.
It seems that Japan is serious about going to the Moon.
The Prometheus Project to develop space based nuclear power will open up the solar system to exploration, if it doesn't suffer the fate of all the other attempts to develop space based nuclear power.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D) California seems to up to some shennanigans that, were her name Tom Delay, would cause her to be run out of the Congress on a rail.
The latest Space Access Update is stuffed full of new and interesting information.
I know it is a little late, but here is a supposed list of the greatest April Fools jokes of all time. I am shocked that none of mine have been included, like the time I announced that Oliver Stone was going to do a movie based on the notion that the Apollo Moon landings were faked. Instead, Stone made Alexander and we all know what happened.
Carle Pieters, Professor of Geological Sciences at Brown University, will be an investigator on India's Chandrayaan-I mission to the Moon. Pieters will lead a team of US scientists to map mineral composition of the moon through the state-of-the-art Moon Mineralogy Mapper, called M3 and pronounced M-cube.

This, obviously, has great implications for the eventual commercial exploitation of the Moon.
Sean Connery is back as James Bond, though not in a movie.

Monday, April 04, 2005

A disagreement between the United States and Russia may mean a pull out by the US from the International Space Station early. This may provide some opportunities for the United States and a big headache for Russia who would have a white elephant on their hands.

Addendum: More from Jim Oberg, who thinks a last minute deal will be struck.

Addendum: Rand Simberg is both frightened and confused.
Along with Stalinist press relations, Canada has a Stalinist health care system. Notice what are considered "acceptable" wait times for certain surgial proceedures.
Jason Verheyden deplores the crushing of dissent and the assault on freedom of expression by the Canadian government in a manner resembling Joe Stalin rather than a country that calls itself a "liberal democracy." Angry in the Great White North, among others, remains defiant.

That all seems to be over a scandal that looks like Canada's version of Watergate. But imagine if Woodward, Bernstein, and all the rest were being threatened with jail for reporting it.

Of course, Canada's "liberal" (which must, it seems, be the Canadian word for "fascist") government's effort to suppress the truth in this manner is not only evil, but futile. The truth about the scandal will still be reported on sites in countries where such is still permitted. And folks under the merciless heel of the Canadian government can still link to the truth, unless Canada really starts to take measures such as are being taken in Communist China.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

For those of you who liked the film Sidways (and I found it an interesting flick, despite the total lack of sympathetic characters), there's a way to take a wine trip sort of like in the movie in Texas.
Michelle Malkin finds an honest poll about the Terri Schiavo case and finds, oddly enough, that when given the true facts, the vast majority of Americans did not want her killed.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Alan Binder has a new book out about Lunar Prospector, entitled Against All Odds. Looks interesting.
Pope John Paul II died at 9:37 PM Rome time in his Vatican apartment. One of the remarkable things is that the Nazis could not kill him, the Communists could not kill him (even with an actual murder plot), and when God himself called him home, he took his time answering. He was one of history's giants, whatever religion (or no religion) one happens to believe in.

Addendum: Rand Simberg relates an entertaining story which, even if not strickly true, is still fun to read.

Addendum 2: George Will has some thoughts.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, best known for their work on Star Trek, have a tech thriller about flights to the Moon:
Charles Krauthammer says Syria is next.
Italian news is reporting that Pope John Paul II has died. I'm not Catholic, so I'm not equipped to comment on his Papacy's effect on the Church. However, John Paul was, along with President Ronald Reagan and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, one of the prime movers in the destruction of the Soviet Empire. For that only, he will be remembered as the most important Pope in the past several centuries.

Addendum: The Vatican says he's not dead yet.
In a move that will probably anger the international community, but may please space advocates, the Bush Administration is planning to withdraw from the Outer Space Treaty and claim the Moon as sovereign United States territory. This will lead in turn to a program to sell off parcels of lunar real estate and mineral rights in order to finance the President's Moon, Mars, and Beyond Vision. With the prospect of helium 3 mining and other commercial ventures on the Moon, Dr. Lirpa Sloof, a space policy analyst from the European Union, suggests that policy change will not only pay for the exploration of the Moon, Mars, and other destinations, but will turn a tidy profit for the US treasury. There has been no comment from world leaders, though certain Congressional Democrats are said to be concerned.
One of the fallouts of the murder of Terri Schiavo will be a heightened effort to reform the judicial system, which seems in some cases to have gotten out of control. Many, like Teddy Kennedy, will resist this effort as an assault on the "independence" of the judiciary. The effort is, nevertheless, necessary if respect for the rule of law is to be restored.

David Limbaugh also has some thoughts.