Saturday, October 31, 2009

Dede Scozzafava Drops Out of the New York 23rd Congressional Race
Multiple sources are reporting that Dede Scozzafava, the Republican candidate to fill the vacant seat in New York's 23rd Congressional district, has decided to withdraw from the race. There is no confirmation who she might endorse.
'White Collar' Episode 2 'Threads'
White Collar Episode 2 Threads brings the series into what apparently will be a comfortable formula of straight arrow FBI guy and "reformed" con man working uneasily together to solve or to prevent a stylish looking crime.
Morning in Cairo, 3 November, 1991
Whose Energy Future Will Work?
How one approaches energy policy depends on one's political affiliation. Democrats believe in top down, government centric mandates focusing on renewable energy. Republicans believe in free market approaches, but with tax and regulatory incentives.
Apparently Dede Scozzafava has dropped out of the race for New York 23.
Looks like India is getting ready for its own manned space program. Keith Cowing wonders why.
What is it about space that excites these countries, but leaves us mostly bored - except every few years in a few states when job cuts suddenly appear and we hoist up our grand space accomplishments as an excuse to not put people out on the street?

Who is this "us", Paleface? I certainly don't find this sort of thing boring nor do most people I know. I would be interesting to run a poll, not so much on support, non support, but on a bored, mostly bored, slightly bored, indifferent, slightly excited, mostly excited, excited scale.

I also found Frank Seitzen's comment especially puzzling. Haven't discovered greed? Besides being untrue, I don't even know what that comment means.

Addendum: More on Indian, Nigeria to join the human space flight club
Is there a force that surrounds us and penetrates us and binds the galaxy together? There may well be.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Ares 1-X first stage recovered, found to be dented
Dithering Obama Deliberates on Afghanistan
President Barack Obama has been accused of dithering when it comes to taking a decision on General McChystal's request for 40 thousand more troops to fight a counter insurgency campaign in Afghanistan. Not so, claim his supporters.
The Tragedy of Levi Johnston
Levi Johnston is a very troubled young man. Levi Johnston is a walking, talking advertisement for abstinence. Levi Johnston's troubles began, after all, when he got his girlfriend pregnant. Even in the normal course of events, that is a very hard thing to deal with.
South Park Whale Whores
South Park Whale Whores begins with the Marsh family at the Denver Aquarium, immersed in a large pool with some other tourists and a school of dolphins. It seems that young Stan is getting a special treat for his birthday.
A reader reminds me of this scene from Castle:

No cows in space? How does she know?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Study Tool to Improve Your Roulette Game
In my earlier overview article on roulette strategy, Play Smarter Roulette, I advised roulette players who were serious about honing their skill to learn the layout of the roulette wheel, as that is key to increasing your chances of winning. The reason why this is so
important is because knowing the wheel's number sequence will enable you to, upon hearing the previous winning numbers, be able to figure out in which part of the wheel's circumference you should concentrate your bets.
Thomas Sowell Column 'Dismantling America' Sounds an Alarm
A column by Thomas Sowell, an African American economist, teacher, writer, and social commentator entitled "Dismantling America" is causing quite a bit of buzz on the Internet and talk radio. It is a warning against Barack Obama.
Barack Obama the Most Powerful Writer Since Julius Caesar?
Rocco Landesman, Barack Obama's Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, knows how to suck up to the boss. During a recent speech, Rocco Landesman had fulsome praise for Barack Obama's impact as a writer as well as a patron of the arts.
The Schwarzenegger Veto Letter
Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger seems to have lost his patience with the California legislature. In a special veto letter to the Legislature, Governor Schwarzenegger left a caustic, coded response.
Trailer for Invictus, a Film by Clint Eastwood, is Now Out
The trailer for Clint Eastwood's upcoming film, Invictus, is now available on the Internet. Invictus tells the story of the attempt by South Africa's underdog soccer team to win the 1995 World Cup.
Ares 1-X launches successfully from Kennedy Space Center

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Eat Hearty in Houston for Thanksgiving
If you're a Houstonian who doesn't feel like cooking a large Thanksgiving dinner this November, or if you're a couple spending Thanksgiving together in Houston and don't need a large meal, now is a good time to start looking for Houston.
Paul Spudis discusses lava tubes on the Moon.
One of the more entertaining, if also bat s--t insane members of the Internet Rocketeer Club has decided to call it quits.
'Little Buddy Child Tracker' Rolled Out
The Little Buddy Child Tracker is a GPS device that an anxious parent can place in their child's backpack or lunch box to make certain that they know the whereabouts of their child at all times. The Little Buddy sends a signal to a computer or smart phone.
The finish for this year's lunar lander challenge occurs this Saturday.
Lord Stern: To Save the Planet, Stop Eating Meat
It is sometimes illustrative when two different forms of crazy political thought start to merge. In the case of Lord Stern of Brentfort, those are global warming hysteria and militant vegetarianism. To save the planet, we must stop eating meat.
John Hare struggles with the question of why do space and falls into a trap that many stumble into.
The desire to go splits between two camps fairly rapidly. Those that believe that whatever we do must pay it’s own way, and those that think society should pick up the tab.

Actually that is very wrong. There are radical libertarians who wish that NASA would just go away and some few who are less radical who wish that NASA would just become a conduit for corporate welfare for companies attempting to do things in space. There are not (or at least there are very few) people who think that space should forever be the province of governments.

The true argument is not government vs commercial, but rather what should government do and what should the commercial sector do and could they sometimes do things together. Hence there is wrangling over how much of NASA's operations should be commercialized and how. My own answer to that question is, as much as possible. But the definition of the word "possible" in this context is the thing that trips people up.

My supposition is that there will always be a place for the public sector in space, in areas of national security, science, cutting edge technology development, and exploration.
Launch of Ares 1-X scrubbed for Tuesday, October 27th
George P. Bush to Go to War
George P. Bush, the thirty three year old son of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and the nephew and grandson of two Presidents named George Bush will likely go to war in the near future as part of his Navy Reserve unit.
A public service annoucement from the Klingon Empire:

Addendum: A translation.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Helicopter Crashes in Afghanistan Kills 14
14 Americans, soldiers and civilians, have died in Afghanistan in two separate helicopter crashes, making October the deadliest year yet in the Afghan theatre of operations. Meanwhile, President Obama continues to wrestle on matters of strategy.
More on China's drive to the Moon. Wouldn't be just peachy if they beat us back while we're dithering and going to asteroids and points in empty space?
Jeff Foust on the Augustine Report, And now we wait. Dwayne Day looks at Saddams space program. Taylor Dinerman asks Is the RLV industry emerging from hibernation? Sam Dinkin muses on inmortality and space settlements.
Doug Hoffman Surges in New York Race
Doug Hoffman now leading in the New York 23rd special congressional election, if a poll done by the Club for Growth is to be believed, it is now Doug Hoffman 31.3 percent, Democrat Bill Owen 27 percent, and Republican Dede Scozzafava at 19.7 percent.
'Dexter' Season 4, Episode 5: 'Dirty Harry'
Dexter Season 4 Episode 5 Dirty Harry starts with Dexter showing actual, raw emotion. His sister Debbie, the foul-mouthed, mixed-up police detective has been shot, along with her off again on again lover Frank Lundy, in a parking lot.
Why launch the Ares 1-X?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

'White Collar' Pilot Episode
White Collar is another stylish light thriller from USA with character and snappy dialogue intertwined with the mystery of the week. White Collar seems to have some inspiration from a late 1960s series It Takes a Thief.
The psycho killer on Saw VI wants health care reform. Of course he does.
Imagine having amnesia and being only able to remember passages from an obscure fantasy novel.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Tea Party Express II Prepares to Roll
The Tea Party Express II, replicating the first Tea Party Express that consisted of a bus convey that crossed the country from California and ending in the March on Washington this past September 12th, departs from San Diego on Sunday, October 25th.
Alan Boyle on the Augustine Report.
Alan Boyle's new book draws nigh, in which he defends Pluto against its enemies.

Take that, Neil Degrasse Tyson.
Paul Spudis suggests that the Augustine Commission missed an opportunity in not including the idea of producing rocket fuel on the Moon in its report. If it had, the implication would be that an early return to the Moon would have been more desirable than "Look But Don't Touch." Still, it is not too late to tweek things. A "Look But Don't Touch" timeline that pushes a return to the Moon that does in situ production of fuel (and other resources) could be cobbled together.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Inexpensive Gifts for Texan Wine Lovers
Obama's Thesis, "So-Called Founders", and Economic Freedom
A quote attributed to Barack Obama's college thesis at Columbia University, unearthed at the blog Jumping in Pools, and quoted by Michael Ledeen at Pajamas Media is making some waves on the Internet and talk radio.
How Obama Lost the War Against Fox News
President Obama's war against Fox News seems to have run into withering fire from an unexpected direction. The White House tried to exclude Fox News from an interview with Pay Czar Kenneth Feinberg. The other news networks were not amused.
Will the Augustine Report spark a new age of space exploration in the 2020s?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Chantal has some suggests ways to Play Smarter Roulette.
A cave on the Moon.
'Ladette Culture' Creates Plague of Disgusting, Drunken Women in Britain
Ladette Culture is a growing phenomenon in which young British women reject the idea of acting "like ladies" and instead become drunken, brawling hooligans. According to the Daily Mail, Ladette Culture is especially horrible in Cardiff, Wales.
What if Republicans were in charge?
The final report of the Augustine Committee is now out. It is a sober, serious report put together by adults. One cannot agree with all of its conclusions, but one can at least appreciate that they are cogently written and argued.

My guess on what happens next? First, if there is to be any exploration program, the extra three billion/year has to appear. If that doesn't happen, nothing else matters.

Second, depending on how the stake holders react (and that can be very unpredictable), I think the dual Ares V Lite is going to get chosen and the Ares 1 will be scrapped. It'll be a budget decision more than anything else. The report is very clear that the current program is technically viable depending on money.

That means a commercial option for ISS has to be ramped up and quickly. That will be very interesting to watch.

Finally, "Look But Don't Touch", aka Flexible Path, seems to be in the cards, but with a firm commitment to the Moon as well. The time line for the Moon puts it about 2029, which I think is unacceptable. But, if one take on international partners and/or a commercially developed lunar lander (mentioned in the report) that date can be moved up.

My preference would be Moon first, then Flexible Path with a eye toward learning how to divert Earth approaching asteroids.

Addendum: More detailed thoughts.

Addendum 2: Then again, there may be some resistance from the Congress to any radical change.
Eric Berger has a good summary of the issues surrounding the release of the final version of the Augustine Report. Meanwhile Richard Shelby is none too happy. Mind, whatever one thinks of Shelby, he is a United States Senator and an appropriator, so what he thinks has considerable bearing in what will ultimately be.
Joseph Wiseman, Aka 'Dr. No', is No More
Joseph Wiseman, who played Dr. No in the movie by the same name that starred Sean Connery as the iconic British super spy, James Bond, has died at the age of 91. Joseph Wiseman was, therefore, the very first Bond villain.
Dick Cheney Admonishes Obama -- Again
Presidential administrations have a tendency to try to blame the previous administration for their trouble. The Obama administration has been no exception, blaming George W. Bush for its troubles in Afghanistan. Former Vice President Dick Cheney has responded.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Now you too can dress as smart as Don Draper.
Can Doug Hoffman Win in New York's 23rd Congressional District?
One of the interesting races for 2009 is a special eelction for the 23rd Congressional District of New York. That is because of the presence and surprising strength of Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman, a CPA who entered the race as an afterthought.
Penn of Penn and Teller got screamed at by Tommy Smothers for daring to appear on the Glenn Beck Show. This seems to have bummed Penn out, but I find it highly entertaining.
One thing about the departure of Teddy Kennedy from this vale of tears, an impediment to Cape Wind has gone too.
The Obama administration has reversed itself on missile defense in Eastern Europe. We'll be building the land based system there after all, thanks apparently to Russian intransigence.

Less than three weeks ago, I advised them to do just that.

First, the Obama administration should restore and increase funding for missile defense research and development. President Obama should personally travel to Poland and the Czech Republic and convince the leaders there that, in view of continuing Iranian intransigence as illustrated by the recent missile tests, that the United States would like to, after all, build a much larger missile defense system in Eastern Europe. Similar agreements should be made with countries surrounding Iran, such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. In this way, nuclear weapons become less valuable for Iran.

Well, they're sending Biden instead, but still it is nice to know that Obama can recognize at least one mistake when he has made it.
Sarah Palin to Launch Going Rogue on Oprah Winfrey
Sarah Palin, former Governor of Alaska and possible future Presidential candidate, will appear on the Oprah Winfrey Show on November 16th, 2009 to launch her memoir, Going Rogue. Palin has not appeared before on Oprah's show.
The Philadelphia ACORN sting tape has been released.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Apparently Nozette may also have been spying for India.
Anglicans to Be Attracted to Roman Catholic Church with New Conversion Framework
The creation of the Church of England in the 16th Century was one of the Catholic Church's greatest defeats. Now the Catholic Church has found a strategy to welcome Anglicans back to the fold, with a new framework to make it easier for them to convert.
Sarah Palin is going to launch her book on Oprah.
If sales of her book were already stratospheric, this ought to put them in lunar orbit.
Internet May Be Making Us Smarter, Says UCLA Study
We've heard for decades that the medium of the last half of the 20th Century, television, tends to rot ones brain. Now a study conducted by UCLA suggests that the medium of the 21st Century, the Internet, may have the complete opposite effect.
Where the Wild Things Are has inspired its first real live rumpus>.
I wasn't going to comment on the case of Stewart Nozette, who, according to media accounts, has been caught in an FBI sting operation trying to sell nuclear secrets to whom he thought were the Israelis. But a couple of things caught my attention and boy are they off putting.

First, from Rand Simberg.
I didn’t know he was Jewish. And maybe he’s not, but while I wouldn’t be shocked (in retrospect) to learn that he is, it seems more mercenary than ideological. I wonder if he was in financial trouble, or if something snapped after working in frustration for the government for three decades, with little progress in space. I mean, what “other foreign country”? It seems to be more anti-US than pro-Israel.

Mind, a lot of people are frustrated with the little progress in space that has been achieved, but one wonders what that has to do with an accusation of espionage? Is Rand suggesting that Nozette is somehow "punishing" the government for "little progress in space" by trying to sell nuclear secrets to people he thought were Mossad agents? That is not a road I think anyone should want to travel down, as it would suggest that some space advocates are potential criminals. I suspect Rand did not mean it that way but the implication is there.

But that is nothing compared to this little gem from the National Space Society.
Stewart Nozette has been arrested for Spying. Stu Nozette who was largely responsible for the Clementine Lunar mission which reawaken interest in the Moon. Without whom there would not have been a Lunar Prospector, a New Vision for Space Exploration, or LCROSS or any knowledge of the water on the Moon because no one would have cared or thought we could afford it. This is a tragedy in its most classic sense. A Tragic Hero is who caused his own downfall with the very things which made him great.

What? What? A tragic hero? The man stands accused of trying to sell nuclear secrets to a foreign government. But there is more.
Stu made himself a target of scrutiny by ruffling a lot of feathers and may have bent the rules too far this time. That which made Stu Nozette a hero, to all of us who long to see lunar development, may have been his downfall. It is so incredibly sad, it brings tears to my eyes. How I wish this was all some cruel joke. But this is reality, and we are watching the fall of a great man because of, not in spite of that which made he great. We are watching a real tragedy, the fall of a lunar hero.

This goes beyond the pale, even by the standards of what I call the Internet Rocketeer Club. Noting that everyone in our system is considered innocent until proven guilty, one has to counter that if Stewart Nozette is convicted of espionage, then he will be no hero. He will be scum, little better than a traitor who tried to sell nuclear secrets to a foreign power for money. And it doesn't matter that the foreign power is a friendly one. Just ask Jonathon Pollard.

Nor will Stewart Nozette's work on lunar probes matter. That cannot excuse what he has been accused of. Stewart Nozette was trusted with very sensitive secrets by our country in return for his service. If he violated that trust, then nothing else matters.

The implication that maybe Stewart Nozette "ruffled some feathers" and was therefore targeted is paranoia and excuse making at it's most absurd. If what the FBI states is true, then Stewart Nozette needed no prodding to commit the crimes he has been accused of. The implication that he was entrapped for embarrassing NASA is also laughable.

If Stewart Nozette is convicted of the crimes he is accused of, then he should be punished to the full extent of the law. He will not deserve pity of accolades by his friends in the space activism community. Such would not wipe away one iota of guilt and it would speak volumes of ill for that community.

Addendum : Keith Cowing is none too pleased either.
The Lessons of the Balloon Boy Story Will Go Unheeded
The balloon boy story is one of those things that could only have happened in America in the age of twenty four hour cable news. The story of the little boy who was not in peril and not being carried away in a balloon should prove to a lesson.
Ares 1-X Emerges From Vehicle Assembly Building, Rolling toward Pad 39B

Monday, October 19, 2009

Faster than light travel using quantum tunneling.
Lord Monckton Warns of Global Climate Change Treaty
Christopher Lord Monckton, the 3rd Viscount of Monckton of Brenchley, is an odd person to be a champion of human freedom. While Lord Monckton was Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's science advisor, he is a hereditary peer of Great Britain.
No Federal Prosecution for Medical Marijuana
The Obama Justice Department has decided to reverse a Bush administration policy involving the enforcement of federal marijuana laws in states that allow medical marijuana. In other words, the feds will not enforce marijuana laws in such states.
'Dexter' Season 4, Episode 4: 'Dex Takes a Holiday'
Dexter Season 4 Episode 4 Dex Takes a Holiday is a casebook study of how Dexter, the ethical serial killer, chooses, investigates, stalks, and finally kills his victims. If he were not a sociopath, Dexter would make a great detective.
Ronald Menich argues against heavy lift for space operations, favoring smaller vehicles and on orbit assembly. Taylor Dinerman wonders about what is to be done with ISS now that it is almost built. Jeff Foust asks how to make the commercial launch industry competitive? Doris Hamill thinks the next great step is Mars. Paul Spudis and others beg to disagree.
NASA's Regolith Excavation Challenge concludes with three winners

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Al Sharpton Threatens to Sue Rush Limbaugh for Defamation
Al Sharpton is angry with Rush Limbaugh and his threatening to sue the famous radio talk show host for an offending sentence on a Wall Street Journal op-ed in which Limbaugh accused Sharpton of involvement in a pair of violent incidents in the 1990s.
LCROSS detects debris plume over lunar surface

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Clark Lindsey has an update on the status of the Augustine Report. Disquieting enough, the administration seems to be leaning to "Look But Don't Touch", abandoning the Moon to go chasing after asteroids.
"Another administration official asserted that options that include returning astronauts to the Moon 'are not sellable to the public or to the president'."

One cannot speak for the President, but most polling data still shows solid support for returning to the Moon.

Going to asteroids without doing some work on diverting them, either to get a dinosaur killer to avoid hitting Earth or to get one in a safe orbit for resource utilization, is footsteps and flags without the footsteps and, considering the politically correct nature of this administration, the flags. Only by going to the Moon will we learn to live in space, but that may not be on the Obama agenda.
'Where the Wild Things Are' -- a Film Review
Where the Wild Things Are, directed by Spike Jonze, is an adaptation of an iconic children's book that is just four hundred words in length. The resulting just over an hour and a half film is at once funny and deeply disturbing.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Florida delegation has joined the Texas delegation in demanding stimulus money for NASA's exploration program.
Rush Limbaugh speaks out about the NFL scandal.
Keith Bardwell is "Not a Racist" -- Just Ask Him
Keith Bardwell, a Justice of the Peace in Louisiana, insists that he is not a racist. However he has refused a marriage license to an interracial couple seeking to marry because he does not believe in "mixing of the races."
Funds for Troops Diverted to Pork by Senate
Money meant to pay for fuel, ammunition, spare parts, supplies, and training for American troops, including those who are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, has been diverted to pork barrel projects, according to the Washington Times.
Is Anita Dunn a Fan of Mao Tse Tung?
Is Anita Dunn really a fan of Mao Tse Tung, who was one of the most prolific mass murderers of the twentieth century? Glenn Beck, quick the find anything bizarre in the Obama administration, thinks so. Joseph Lawler thinks she must be joking.
Sarah Palin comes out for drilling for oil, a controversial suggestion in Washington these days.
Former astronauts support commercial space

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A band of sisters in Afghanistan.
Ambulance crew barred from helping girl, 9, with fractured skull 'because they were having their lunch' Another story about socialistic medicine.
Steve Schmidt seems to have changed his tune about Sarah Palin.
Rush Limbaugh Out as Potential NFL Team Owner
Under pressure from various peoples and groups, including Al Sharpton and the NFL Players Association, Rush Limbaugh has been dropped as a limited partner in an investors group seeking to buy the St. Louis Rams.
Is Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Dead or in a Coma?
Rumor has it that the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran, is either dead or in a coma. Michael Ledeen, an Iran and terrorism expert, quotes an unnamed but he suggests reliable source that the rumors have something to it.
Job cuts in NASA's future?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Amazing Grace Baptist Church to Burn Bibles, Other Books for Halloween
The pastor of the Amazing Grace Baptist Church in Canton, North Carolina plans to celebrate Halloween by leading his fourteen member congregation by burning Bibles. Pastor Marc Grizzard is not a Satan worshiper or a militant atheist.
Rush Limbaugh Hits Back at Sheila Jackson Lee, Others for Racism Charge
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee Democrat of Texas took to the floor of the House to explain why Rush Limbaugh ought not to be allowed to own a NFL football team. Rush Limbaugh took to the airways October 14th to make her wish she hadn't.
Now the enemies of freedom have declared war on hamburgers.

From my cold dead hand...

'Family Guy' to Sell Microsoft Windows 7 with a Musical Variety Special

Microsoft is launching the latest version of its operating system, Windows 7, with a half hour television special to air November 8 at 8:30 PM EST on Sunday staring Seth MacFarlane and Alex Borstein of Family Guy fame.
Rand Simberg has an interesting piece about how Russian misbehavior, in this case concerning Iran's nuclear program, might affect the partnership with ISS and the space flight gap during which we will depend on Russian Soyuz space craft to access the space station.

The sad fact is that this has been a potential problem hanging over the partnership since it began. The Russian invasion of Georgia is another example of Russian misbehavior.

My guess is that the Obama administration will ignore anything the Russians do, not so much to keep the ISS partnership going, but because they are natural appeasers.
The Smearing of Rush Limbaugh
One of the more tiresome accusations that liberals like to throw against their opponents is the epithet "racist!" Rush Limbaugh, the famous radio talk show host and conservative pundit, knows the phenomenon only too well.
Maria Shriver Caught Talking While Driving
First Lady of California Maria Shriver was caught on video talking on her cell phone while driving a black SUV. The problem is the talking (not the driving) is a violation of a California law signed by her husband, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
'La Bella Principessa', Hitherto Unknown Da Vinci Work, Uncovered
The painting was thought to be an obscure 19th Century work known as Young Girl in Profile in Renaissance Dress. It has been revealed, though, to be a hitherto unknown work by Leonardo da Vinci and has been renamed La Bella Principessa.
Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier in the Bell X 1 sixty two years ago today

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

For a Reagan Peace Prize to be awarded to those who actually further the cause of peace.
Happy Birthday Margaret Thatcher.
Olympia Snowe Votes for Health Care Reform (For Now)
Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine has indicated that she will vote for the version of health care reform that is being considered in the Senate Finance Committee chaired by Senator Max Baucus. Olympia Snowe will be the only Republican voting in favor.
The Coalition for Space Exploration Produces Keep America in Space
USS New York Sets Sail for November Commissioning
The USS New York, built in part from steel salvaged from the wreckage of the World Trade Center, has set sail from New Orleans, en route to New York City for its commissioning ceremony. She was named in honor of the dead of 9/11.
The Dyson Air Multiplier Fan
People talk about the science of invention as "building a better mousetrap." James Dyson, a British inventor, has invented a better vacuum cleaner, a better hand dryer, and now a better fan, the Dyson Air Multiplier fan.
Obama Goes to War Against Fox News
The Obama White House has declared war on Fox News. An administration getting so angry at the media that it calls out specific networks or even reporters is not without precedence. It has invariably been a very bad precedence.
'House' Season 6, Episode 6: 'Instant Karma'
In House Season 6 Episode 4 'Instant Karma', along with the usual medical mystery, House continues to struggle to fine that middle ground between total jerk and tolerable human being. Also, apparently, Thirteen departs for her destiny.
Looks like Charles Bolden believes that heavy lift is mandatory and that an EELV based architecture will not work. Certain people will not be pleased.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Insurance Industry Strikes Back at Health Care Reform
>The health insurance industry, long the punching bag of President Obama and people who want single payer health care, has decided to strike back with a report from Price Waterhouse Cooper that suggests that Obamacare will cost people $4000/yr.
Space exploration--to fund or not to fund?
'Dexter' Season 4, Episode 3: 'Blinded by the Light'
Dexter Season 4 Episode 3 Blinded By the Light continued with the theme of how to conceal ones true nature from ones fellow human. That is a problem not just faced by Dexter and the creepy Trinity Killer, played by John Lithgow.
Director of 'Not Evil Just Wrong' Asks an Inconvenient Question of Al Gore
Former Vice President Al Gore, the patron saint of environmental hysteria, attended the meeting of the Society of Environmental Journalists. Gore agreed to take questions, which turned out to be a big mistake on his part.
Paul Spudis comments on the LCROSS mission.
In March of 2006, because of these uncertainties, those who had worked on the robotic precursor program laid out a sequential, incremental strategy to first map the deposits from orbit and identify the best candidate sites for ice. Following orbital mapping, we would soft-land with capable rovers and map and test the surface composition at a minimum of about 20 different sites. Although this strategy is more costly than a simple impactor mission, it would have provided us an unequivocal answer to the ice issue; we would know without doubt whether there is or is not water ice at the poles of the Moon. Moreover, rovers would collect information on the possible presence, physical nature and setting of other volatile substances (such as ammonia and methane) that have resource value. In other words, we would have collected the critical strategic information needed to locate, prospect, harvest and use lunar water.

Instead, the mission chosen and flown and heavily advertised by NASA as a citizen participation viewing event to find water on the Moon, could not answer key questions about polar water. If LCROSS detects water, we still won’t know where all the ice deposits are located, what other species might be present, what its physical state might be, and how it is distributed laterally and vertically in the surface regolith. If LCROSS detects nothing, it won’t prove that water doesn’t exist on the Moon, only that the wrong site was selected. In other words, after this mission, we will still know next to nothing about the material that will enable and advance permanent, sustainable economic presence on the Moon.

An impact plume wasn’t the only thing missing. Hopefully, NASA will recognize the real discovery of LCROSS – mission hype is a poor substitute for shortcomings in programmatic logic.
Brian Horalis suggests that The Emperor needs New Clothes. Jeff Foust profiles Charles Bolden. Doris Hamill muses about a vision and a mission for NASA. Arlin Crotts discusses his theories of water on the Moon.
One of the stories one often hears on the Internet is how NASA and its major aerospace contractors are run kind of like the Medieval Catholic Church, with managers acting with all the zeal and power of miniature Torquemadas, crushing dissent through fear and intimidation. This is one reason why one often sees snark ridden posts in the comments sections in various web sites under pseudonyms by people claiming to be an aerospace employee, cowering under his desk, anxious to get out the word about "what is really happening."

My impression is that a lot of this tends to be people who chaff at the idea that certain decisions have been made and that it is really counter productive to revisit them again and again and again. But leaving that aside, I was fascinated to see this about an email NASA manager Jeff Hanley has sent detailing his concerns about certain aspects of the Augustine Report.

The reaction of Frank Sietzen in the comments section was somewhat illuminating.
Since Jeff is so unable to cope with any deviations from Constellation, I am assuming that he will do the right thing and resign should the President so direct NASA?
This, on top of Mike Griffin's outrageous criticisms really don't serve NASA or the national interest. People should shut up and be patient-which is the professional thing to do.
And this is only my personal opinion.
These kinds of thoughtless public comments reflect poorly on those expressing them.

In other words, dissent should be crushed, alternate points of view should be ignored, and people caught expressing them should be shown the door. The irony could not be more glaring.
Global warming is caused by nature, not humans, and carbon dioxide is the hope of the planet, so say scientists.
The story of Moses done 300 style. I can just imagine what Pharaoh will look like.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A $2500 replica of Serenity. Shiny!
Guy Laliberte returns from 'Poetic Social Mission' in space
SNL sides with the terrorists:

Obama Promises Repeal of 'Don't Ask Don't Tell'
President Barack Obama pledged to end the "don't ask; don't tell" policy regulating the service of gays in the US military at a speech before the annual dinner of the Human Rights Campaign, a pro gay rights group The pledge was met with skepticism.
Not even the Mayans are buying the world ends in 2012 nonsense.
Another great tale of socialized medicine in Great Britain, that involves murdering old people.
While a proposed experiment on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN will not lead to hyper drive it might lead to the next best thing.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

David Kahane proves how sometimes reality is implausible as daram.
Obama Nobel Peace Prize--For What?
Reaction to the Obama Nobel Peace Prize, aside from the usual sycophants on the left, can be summarized by two words "for what?" Even so, the Obama Nobel Peace Prize has its defenders, including Laureates Jimmy Carter and Al Gore.

Marge Simpson Playboy Pics Arouses Amusement

So far as anyone knows, Marge Simpson's Playboy pics constitutes the first time that a cartoon character has ever appeared on the cover of that venerable magazine. It is also one of the rare occasions that a playmate has been a wife and mother.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Happy Columbus Day -- Despite the Naysayers
Columbus Day was once a celebration of discovery and exploration, commemorating the day a Genovese sailor in the service of Spain landed on the island of San Salvador, thus beginning the exploration and settlement of the Americas.
Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize -- Why?!
The winner of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize is none other than President of the United States Barack Obama. While Barack Obama is not the first US President to win the Nobel Peace Prize, he is the first to do so without doing absolutely anything.
LCROSS Impacts the Lunar Surface

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Saudi Arabia Demands Climate Change Bailout
Criminals Possibily Hired to Conduct Census
The Government Accountability Office has discovered that the Census Bureau may have hired two hundred people with criminal records to conduct door to door interviews as part of the 2010 Census.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden spoke at a breakfast meeting of the Space Transportation Association. There wasn't any news made and indeed much of the speech was boiler plate. But there was an amusing and eye opening story about Congressman John Lewis.

Back in the early 1990s, when the space station was having one of its near death experiences, Bolden, then a shuttle astronaut, was dispatched to explain to certain members of Congress the importance of the space station project. The meeting with John Lewis, a far left member of Congress, scion of the Black Congressional Caucus, and a hero of the civil rights movement was somewhat surreal.

Lewis spent forty five minutes expounding to Bolden, who had actually flown into space, the great importance of space exploration.

After the rhapsody about the importance of space, Bolden inquired whether the Congressman would vote for space station funding.

No, Congressman Lewish said, he would not.

Why not? inquired Bolden.

Because it does nothing for my district.

The reason this is eye opening stems from the tendency of many space activists to believe that many space supporters in the Congress are only that because of jobs and money in the district. There is certainly some truth to that. Much as we would like our representatives to be solely motivated by the national interest, that is a luxury many feel they cannot afford.

But John Lewis seems to suggest that the opposite may be true. Many of the most virulent opponents of space funding are that because there is no advantage to supporting such, given the makeup of their districts. Again, not acknowledgement to the national interest here. Lewis was even very blatant about it.

Cobbling together coalitions of Congressmen to support space spending on the basis of allowing them to "wet their beaks", to use a phrase from one of the Godfather films, is a hell of a way to run things. But it is the price one pays for doing business.
South Park: 'Dead Celebrities'
South Park has returned after a too long hiatus with a new episode, Dead Celebrities. South Park Dead Celebrities is a salute to The Sixth Sense and all things spectral. It was funny, but not as laugh out loud as has some previous episodes.
NASA Moon bombing to take place early Friday, October 9th, 2009
Masten's Xombie rocket takes second place in Level 1 of Lunar Lander Challenge
President Obama has expressed support for increased NASA funding. How much and for what remains to be seen. Then there is the oft quoted principle that everyone of the President's promises has an expiration date.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Massive Ordnance Penetrator Being Acquired by US Military
ABC News is reporting that the US military has requested and has gotten funds to develop and acquire the Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP). The Massive Ordnance Penetrator is a 30,000 pound bomb designed to destroy underground bunkers.
Charles Rangel Clings to Chairmanship of House Ways and Means
House Republicans have attempted to pass a resolution that would have removed Charles Rangel as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. Democrats managed to block the resolution, but Rangel's problems are hardly over.
Senator Richard Shelby pushes back against the Augustine Committee
'Blue Stonehenge' Discovered on the Banks of the River Avon
The site of a "second Stonehenge", known as "Blue Stonehenge" after the type of stones that were presumed to have been used there, has been discovered by archeologists a little more than a mile away from the original Stonehenge on the banks of the Avon.
Reasons for Exploring Space: the Political, the Commercial and the Inspirational
Why explore space? The question is a political one because the United States spends about .5 percent of its federal budget on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), though only a percentage of that is for space exploration.
Are we preparing to bomb Iran?

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

One thing about a robot pop tart, it will not get strung out on drugs or get involved in some sordid sex scandal.
Barack Obama Alleged to Have Committed Literary Fraud
One of the appeals that President Barack Obama has for his supporters is his pretensions as an intellectual. Obama did, after all, actually author a couple of books, including the autobiographical Dreams From My Father.
Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm Proposes Tax Hikes
Governor Jennifer Granholm of Michigan has presided over a state that was in a severe economic down turn long before it was cool. Michigan, despite every effort by the Governor to "diversify" Michigan's economy, has a 14.7 percent unemployment rate.
A new theory on the origin of lunar water
Texas Congressional delegation urges more NASA funding
'House' Season 7, Episode 3: 'The Tyrant'
House Season 6 Episode 3 The Tyrant featured a rare television appearance by the great James Earl Jones. It also featured the return of House the jerk and the original diagnostic team of Foreman, Chase, and Cameron.
Sarah Vowell is Wordy with John Stewart (Video Included)
Sarah Vowell, the diminutive, acerbic essayist and NPR personality was on The Daily Show with John Stewart to hawk the paperback version of her latest book, The Wordy Shipmates, which seems to be about the Puritans, but is about so much more.
Obama Snubs the Dalai Lama
The Dalai Lama, the great spiritual leader of millions of Tibetans, is visiting Washington for a week of meetings with Congressional leaders and other political movers and shakers. Those will not include Barack Obama and it is a deliberate snub.
The way the Terminator series should have ended:

Monday, October 05, 2009

It looks like that just about the entire Texas Congressional delegation, Republican and Democrat, wants Obama to pony up some stimulus money to properly pay for space exploration.
Supreme Court to Hear 'Mojave Cross' Case
The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case involving the Mojave Cross, a war memorial that consists of a Christian cross in the middle of federal land. The Mojave Cross is another of those church and state separation cases that have proven so contentious.
NASA tests nuclear powered Stirling engine for future Moon and Mars bases
Obama vs. McChrystal on Afghanistan
Apparently there is a rift between General Stanley McChrystal and President Barack Obama. General McChrystal is being a little too public with his insistence that 40,000 more troops are needed in Afghanistan to avoid a debacle.
SNL Makes Fun of Barack Obama
One of the phony dilemmas face by comedians has been, is one allowed to make fun of Barack Obama? President Obama is, after all, "the One", and making jokes about him may be an example of Lese Majeste. But SNL has broken the taboo.
Which Way is Up? in which Dwayne Day describes a recent Space Policy Institute seminar on the Augustine Committee report. The main takeaway, budget is policy.

Bob Werv remembers Gerard K. O'Neil. Taylor Dinerman celebrates the space vision of Mike Griffin.
Amy Sisking believes Sarah Palin deserves a second look.
Here's what we know: Sarah Palin did not have a governor's seat handed down to her, she earned it. She understands what it is to be a woman having to fight obstacles—some overt and others subtle—that only a woman can understand.
'Dexter' Season 4, Episode 2: 'Remains to Be Seen'
In Dexter Season 4 Episode 2 "Remains to be Seen" Dexter has come to, having somehow survived being flipped over several times in his vehicle while falling asleep at the wheel late at night. The EMTs are working to drag him from his wreckage and take him to the hospital.

'The Cleveland Show' Episode 2

In The Cleveland Show, episode 2 Da Daggone Daddy-Daughter Dinner Dance, Cleveland Brown is settling down to trying to become a good husband and father for his new family. With the usual step child resentments and Cleveland's own easy going wussiness, this is better said than done.
Is Michael Moore's polemic against capitalism anti Semitic? Ann Althouse suspects that it is so.
The most striking thing in the movie was the religion. I think Moore is seriously motivated by Christianity. He says he is (and has been since he was a boy). And he presented various priests, Biblical quotations, and movie footage from "Jesus of Nazareth" to make the argument that Christianity requires socialism. With this theme, I found it unsettling that in attacking the banking system, Moore presented quite a parade of Jewish names and faces. He never says the word "Jewish," but I think the anti-Semitic theme is there. We receive long lectures about how capitalism is inconsistent with Christianity, followed a heavy-handed array of — it's up to you to see that they are — Jewish villains.
Good old Cokie Roberts.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Jeffrey Manber discusses the push back happening against the Augustine Committee options. I knew it was going to happen the moment Norm Augustine admitted that there were no technical show stoppers to the current plan and that every option required more money. One can certainly make the case for some tweaking (more commercial certainly) but the case for a wholesale change is just not there.

Rand Simberg thinks that anyone supporting the current program is either corrupt or deluded. That is an interesting point of view, possibly actionable, but it is not a coherent argument for wholesale change. Jeff Krukin blames the push back on political inertia. He's wrong too. There are very seriois issues involving a lot of the Augustine options. Change for change's sake is not an option. Sometimes the best option is to hold ones course.

Mind, if President Obama actually makes the right decision on this, it would be a rare one. I don't think anything will happen that will make the Internet Rocketeer Club happy, but then nothing could. From the crazy conspiracy theories, to the made up "old space vs. new space" drama (In fact serious companies like SpaceX are already happily in NASA partnerships), that crowd seems to live in an alternate universe. And the impatience with political reality is just breath taking. It is rather futile to stand around and yell and complain about Richard Shelby and others like him. But one cannot get around such people. One can make deals, if one is smart about it. One does not, as has been suggested, just try to roll over them. United States Senators are not very sporting about that sort of bluster.

My fear is that what we'll wind up with is an anemically funded pretend space exploration program, certainly with no serious commercial component, maybe with some noises about international partners, but nothing of substance until a regime change takes place in Washington. The Obama people certainly did not want to hear that more money is needed. I also can't see them being all that enthused about commercialization. They are not all that supportive of capitalism on this planet, not to mention off of it.

Sadly those calling themselves space activists haven't got a clue.
How to get a play produced on Broadway? Having it be gay and anti religious appears to be a big help.
Paul Spudis expounds further on the uses of lunar water. He has a neat illustration of a space craft approaching the top of a lunar space elevator.
Five years ago a new era in commercial space began with the winning of the Ansari X Prize. Here is what I said about it at the time.

A space race to change the world--five years later

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Why we love Sarah Palin. I can only add that she knows something that President Obama and all of his people do not know. That is the greatness of her country and her people. That is why she is loved and reviled.
White House Science Czar John Holdren asks Congress to restore NASA funding
Was Ahmadinejad born Jewish?
Foreign Policy Advice for the Obama Administration
A number of foreign policy problems confront the Obama administration, some of which have the potential into exploding into full blow crises. So far the Obama administration has handled these problems badly.
Will Chang-Diaz's VASMIR open up the high frontier?
NASA faces plutonium shortage
Stargate Universe debuts with chaos and mayhem beyond the stars
Addendum: Another view. 'Stargate Universe' Airs on the SyFy Channel
Stargate Universe starts in the long, metal, sterile corridors of an ancient, alien space craft flying on its automatic course through the Universe. Within the space craft is a stargate, which turns on, creates the event horizon, and starts shooting out people.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Steve Schmidt: Sarah Palin 'Catastrophic' as 2012 Candidate
Steve Schmidt has stated flatly that former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin would be "catastrophic" if nominated as the GOP Presidential candidate in 2012. Steven Schmidt should know something about catastrophes. Steve Schmidt was McCain's campaign strategist.
Obama Fails to Bring Olympics Home
President Barack Obama pulled out all the stops to bring the 2016 Olympics to his adopted home town, Chicago. He not only personally flew to Copenhagen to lobby the International Olympic Committee, but brought his wife Michelle and Oprah Winfrey.
Guy Laliberte, of Cirque du Soleil, arrives at International Space Station
'2012' Extended Trailer Debuts
The 2012 extended trailer, seen on TV and on the Internet, depicts the final destruction of California on December 21st, 2012. Roland Emmerich, the director, seems to have decided to destroy just about everything and kill just about everybody.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

It looks like the recent discovery of lunar water might not have happened, thanks to the ineptitude of bureaucrats in the US Bureau of Control. President Bush had to personally intervene to allow the NASA instruments to fly on the Chandrayaan.
Left wing politics killed Law and Order.
Apparently ACORN will not endorse candidates in Houston for the 2009 election. Candidates in Houston are breathing a sigh of relief.
Garrison Keillor Wants to Kill Republicans
Garrison Keillor, the faux folksy host of the long running National Public Radio Show Prairie Home Companion, wants to kill Republicans who get sick. Garrison Keillor wrote this in a stream of consciousness oped in the Chicago Tribune.
The cinematic immunity clause. I especially like Number 37, but mainly because I can't tell the difference between Sri Lanka green tea and any other kind.
Going Rogue: An American Life is apparently getting unprecedented sales in the pre-order stage.
Tim Pawlenty Announced Freedom First PAC
Governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota has started the Freedom First PAC in what is widely seen as the first move for a run for the Presidency in 2012. Pawlenty will not run for a third term as governor, freeing his time for other political activities.
Alan Grayson Apologizes for 'This Holocaust'
For the second day in a row, Rep. Alan Grayson, Democrat of Florida, took to the floor of the House and produced the ravings of a politician out of control. Grayson refused to apologize for saying Republicans want the sick to "die quickly."
Jonah Goldberg believes that left wing politics wrecked Battlestar Galactica. He points to the New Caprica story line in the third season as the start of the wrecking.
Jeff Greason gives some insights into the workings of the Augustine Committee, upon which he sat. Here is an interesting takeaway:
He noted that one of the key challenges faced by NASA in implementing the current exploration plan, or alternative options, was the high cost of simply running the organization. “NASA is an organization that is dominated by fixed costs. In business terms everything is in the overhead,” he said. The committee delved into agency financial accounts and estimated that the fixed cost of maintaining NASA’s human spaceflight enterprise is approximately $6-7 billion a year. “The bottom line is that they can’t afford to keep the doors open with they money they’ve got, let alone do anything with it.”

Is there a way to reduce those fixed costs? Maybe but maybe not in the real political universe in which we live.
Greason, sadly, produces a straw man to imply support for the "Look but Don't Touch" option.
That lead to various options that either return to the lunar surface or go to other destinations (the “flexible path” option), that all prepare for eventual missions to Mars. All are necessary, he said, to prepare for Mars. “Literally the only question left is what sequence you do them in,” he said. “However, if you anticipate a world of budget constraints, there is a more obvious choice,” namely, the flexible path. That option spreads out the development costs since there’s no need for developing the lander and surface systems up front if you start with lunar orbit and NEO missions. “Unless you anticipate living in an Apollo-like era again, where NASA gets this huge infusion of funding that only lasts for a short time, one of them seems to lend themselves better to a budget-constrained environment than the other one.”

The problem is that no one is advocating Apollo era budgets, which would be perhaps $150 billion if one uses four percent of the current federal budget. The current NASA budget is just north of.5 percent of the federal budget. The Augustine Committee itself stated flatly that any option, Look but Don't Touch, return to the Moon, whatever needed three billion more per year. There is, after all, a vast middle ground between "constrained budgets" (meaning we just pretend to have a space exploration program) and an all out, but short Apollo style program.