Sunday, January 31, 2010

Jeffrey Anderson has some harsh things to say about Obama abandoning the Moon, this time in the Weekly Standard.
Last night the moon was not only full, but it was about as close to the Earth as it will be all year. Looking up at its magnificence in the night sky, one cannot help but feel a sense of loss in knowing that President Obama does not want us to go back there.

Word has leaked out that Obama's budget will call for scrapping plans to go back to the moon or on to Mars. As I have written elsewhere, this shows President Obama's horizons aren't very high.

Charles Krauthammer has been excellent on this point, in these pages and elsewhere. Thankfully, those with hearts more bold and adventurous have shepherded our space program in the past. But, unfortunately, President Obama's world-view appears to be rather earth-bound.

Gee, I guess that real conservatives are not buying into Obama's "conservative" space policy.
Obama - Health Care Reform Has 'stray Cats and Dogs'
Tom Beven at Real Clear Politics has uncovered an amazing admission by President Obama about health care reform legislation. Sarah Palin noticed it as well and unleashed her deadliest Facebook page in cyberspace.
Saturday Night Live Does Scott Brown
Saturday Night Live had a sketch featuring Scott Brown and the Democratic leadership that involved the awesome hunkiness of the former and the somewhat twisted fantasy life of the latter.
President Obama Embraces Nuclear Power
To paraphrase a line often made by Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds, they told me that if I voted for John McCain we would see a massive push for nuclear power—and they were right! It seems that President Obama has embraced nuclear energy.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Orlando Sentinel, which has published a number of stories critical of the current space exploration effort, is now editorializing against entirely cancelling that effort.
This Fox News Poll is somewhat unscientific as most Internet polls are. But as of this writing Obama's decision to not go to the Moon is opposed 71 to 15 percent.
Jeff Foust has proclaimed some of the reactions to President Obama's plans to scrap the exploration program silly. I'm not so sure about that. If people are overreacting (How does one overreact to abandoning the Moon?) then it would seem to be a function of Obama administration and NASA's inability to communicate effectively. In any case I look forward to a lot of spinning, not only by the administration, but by some of their strange bed fellows on the Internet. Then I suspect that if, as expected, the new budget runs into trouble in Congress, the attempts at bribery will begin. If I were Senator Shelby or Senator Bill Nelson, I would be wary of any carrots offered. Look how well they worked for Senators Landrieu and Ben Nelson.
No Trial for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in New York City After All
The Obama administration has abandoned plans to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other Guantanamo detainees in Federal court in lower Manhattan, in the shadow of where the World Trade Center used to be.
What James O'Keefe was Really Up to in Mary Landrieu's Office
James O'Keefe, the documentary film maker who was arrested after entering the office of Senator Mary Landrieu in the Federal Building in New Orleans, has offered his own account of what he and his three associates were up to.
Is Obama's Space Policy 'conservative?'
Is the expected Obama space policy, which cancels the space exploration program started by President George W. Bush and begins a commercial space flight initiative actually a "conservative" policy?

Friday, January 29, 2010

Obama space policy to cause job losses in Houston area
Apparently NASA will study the use of VASIMR to propel a LEO to lunar orbit/lagrange point tug A good idea, but does not constitute using it as part of any future architecture, despite the somewhat misleading headline on NASA Watch. NASA does studies like this all the time without any subsequent hardware development/acquisition.
Both Rand Simberg who is, as usual, clueless and Allahpundit who should know better, not only proclaim Obama;s abandonment of the Moon, but express amaze that so many conservatives are unhappy about it. Rand even goes so far as to proclaim Obama's space policy as "conservative."

Mind, keeping in mind that commercializing Earth to LEO space flight is a good idea, it remains only half a manned space program. Canceling the space exploration program and keeping Americans in low Earth orbit for the foreseeable future is not conservative. It is a conceding of the high frontier of space to other countries, some of them unfriendly.

Mind, if there were any evidence that the new policy was going to cobble together a commercial or private/public program to get people back to the Moon, I might support it. But there is no evidence, baring some vague talk of a heavy lift vehicle that the President and his people do not regard space exploration with anything but loathing. Obama regards the idea of American exceptionalism with deep contempt. And human explorers on other worlds has been, so far, the perfect expression of American exceptionalism.

Just a couple of other retorts. Canceling the space exploration program does not constitute fiscal responsibility. The cost of sending human explorers beyond LEO is a rounding error compared to the stimulus bill and other madcap spending by this administration. If simply cutting government spending were in and of itself a conservative value, then conservatives would be in favor of gutting the military and homeland security.

Finally all the grousing about the technical problems that Ares 1 ran into ignores the two facts expressed by the Augustine Committee.

First, every rocket development program runs into problems. Elon Musk's Falcon 1 failed four times before succeeding twice in a row. No one is suggesting that SpaceX is a mess or that its COTS funding should be cancelled. There seems to be a recognition insofar as private space projects go that technical challenges and setbacks are part of what happens when developing new technology. Why not when the same occurs at NASA? There seems to be a double standard here.

Second, the only problem with the program of record it that it was underfunded; Norm Augustine has said so, though the people dancing a jig about the proposed cancellation seem to ignore. One wonders if the Obama plan, if it ever sees the light of day, will not also be underfunded. If so we'll be right back with a special commission asking why our space program is so dysfunctional during the next administration and another few years and billions will have been wasted as we propose changing course and starting new paradigms yet again.
Jeffrey Anderson writes, OBama is no JFK.
Scott Brown on Jay Leno
Senator Elect Scott Brown of Massachusetts appeared on Jay Leno on the 10@10 segment. Viewers of Jay Leno learned a number of things about Scott Brown's exercise regime, his taste in movies, and his criminal record.
The Politics of Not Going Back to the Moon
Jeff Foust, who blogs for Space Politics, whose subject matter is self explanatory, asks a very pertinent question about President Obama's plans for NASA, which include cancelling the space exploration program.
'Burn Notice' Season 3 Episode 11 'Friendly Fire'
'Burn Notice' Season 3 Episode 11 'Friendly Fire' finds Michael Weston meeting the mysterious Mason Gilroy, whom he describes as a "psychopath for hire" with the view of infiltrating his organization in order to bring it down.
Keith Cowing has a strange post called No ESAS-2 Needed that I'm trying to figure out the meaning of.
Forget the long-rumored, ponderous "ESAS 2" activity folks. It is not really needed. Charlie Bolden and a small team have already (quietly) put the basic architecture in place.

I sincerely doubt that. Bolden and company may have a concept of what might be salvaged after the wreckage the administration is about to make of the space exploration program, but that is not an architecture.
Think LEO, cis-lunar, near-Earth, and inner solar system utilization and exploration of space - all with a significant, paradigm-shifting emphasis on the use and participation of the private sector and (eventually) partnerships with other nations.

Sounds like a scaled down "Look But Don't Touch" program. As intrigued as I am about private sector participation, I would like something more solid than vague generalities.
Look back a few years at previous "architectures" and you will get the basic idea. All Bolden's team needed to wait for was the final word from the White House.

I'm not even sure what all that means. The previous years' architecture has been Ares 1/Ares V/Orion/Altair. But all that is suppose to be slated for death.
After half a decade, NASA's human space flight program may have unfortunately "lost the Moon" -- but it may be about to gain the solar system - that is, if Congress wants it to happen. Stay tuned.

Lost the Moon but gained the Solar System? What does that even mean?
Both NASA and NOAA are guilty of climate data manipulation. And yet climate research is getting a hefty increase in Obama's new budget.
Jeff Foust wonders who in the Congress will support his cancellation of the space exploration program? So far no one seems to be doing that.

Addendum: Clark Lindsey is quite wrong about the politics. He makes some rather dubious assumptions to buttress his confidence that there will be no opposition to Obama's space plans. These are:

That the Congress will believe that the jobs generated by the space commercialization plan will actually materialize. The record of Obama administration claims of "jobs created or saved" by the stimulus package makes claims about 1700 jobs hard to believe.

That Florida Congressmen will insist on continuing the shuttle program. That will not happen; that train has left the station because of the great cost of overhauling the orbiters.

That the discretionary freeze will be accepted. It hasn't been. Pelosi has already killed it by insisting that DOD be included, which it can't in the middle of a war.

That jobs are the *sole* reason for a member of Congress to support space spending. It may be mawkish to think so, but one suspects some members at least also see the science, commerce, and nationalk security benefits as well.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Jeff Manber has an interesting idea for a capitalist space program. NASA must not only buy goods and services when needed, but also sell them.
White House opposes funding health bill for 9/11 victims
Johnson Space Center looks to Return to the Moon cancellation with concern
Mike Griffin speaks on the abandonment of the Moon.
"If the Constellation program is canceled completely then there won't be a human return to the moon led by the United States. We will watch as other people do it."
President Obama State of the Union Speech
President Barack Obama's first State of the Union Address was a surreal combination of combative defiance and vague detachment from reality. Except for a couple of proposals for tax cuts and deficit reduction, it is as if the past year never happened.
Howard Zinn, Author of 'A Peoples' History of the United States,' Dies at 87
Howard Zinn, the radical author of 'The Peoples' History of the United States,' has died of a heart attack at the age of 87. Howard Zinn was as much known as a political activist as he was an author of polemics disguised as history.

Addendum: More by Ron Radosh.
Chris Matthews: Forgot He was Black
One of the more amusing exercises when covering an event like the State of the Union is listening to all of the other pundits analyze it and try to divine some cosmic meaning. MSNBC's Chris Matthews, in this vein, was very entertaining.
Memories of the Challenger Explosion
I remember quite clearly the day the space shuttle Challenger exploded. I was driving back to my office from lunch when the news came over the radio. I almost drove off the road before I gathered myself, pulled over, and listened to the news.
NASA to Get $6 Billion for Commercial Space Flight
In response to stories that the Obama administration is planning to cancel the return to the Moon program, the White House arranged from a conference call with the Orlando Sentinel and Florida Today to clarify its plans for NASA.
Six Enlightened Ideas Brought to You by Evil Empires
Rob Coppinger has his own take on what Obama had planned for NASA. Endless reviews that go nowhere.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The administration set up a conference call with Florida Today and the Orlando Sentinel about Obama plans for human space flight. Apparently 5.9 billion will be spent over the next five years developing commercial space craft capable of taking people to and from Low Earth Orbit. The return to the Moon is still canceled. But there is some vague reference to a "Saturn V Class" heavy lifter that will be developed to go beyond LEO and some vague reference to commercial vehicles to go beyond LEO.

This changes nothing. The stark fact is that the return to the Moon program is canceled. Whatever may replaced it is vaguely defined, with no hint as to when any missions will happen or where people will go when they do.
For what it's worth, sources at Marshall say that the reports of the death of the space exploration program are greatly exaggerated
The Heritage Foundation suggests that the Obama cancellation of the space exploration program is all about global warming.
The real reason is that liberals have long viewed NASA as a global warming research entity rather than the exploration agency that President John F. Kennedy ably set on a course for the stars. And this is despite the recent discoveries that NASA’s global warming leaders, such as James Hansen, may have been manipulating data to suit their political needs for some time. While exploration enthusiasts wanted to see rockets lift for the heavens, environmentalists wanted to see satellites watching ice caps. President Obama will most likely face stiff congressional opposition from both sides of the aisle if he continues on this path towards charging NASA with a purely Earth science mission.

Addendum: In the spirit of being fair and balanced, the Village Voice has different view.
We, too, wish Obama would rethink this plan, and allow these folks to take the first spaceship out.

Be careful what you wish for.
Popular Mechanics asks the question cancelation of Constellation - what next?
The Internet Rocketeer Club is dancing a gig. I'm pretty sure that things are not going to turn out as they expect.

Clark Lindsey is quite wrong about the politics.
Regarding the resistance in Congress to cancellation of Ares I, I'd bet the administration would love that fight. With deficits a huge concern in the general public, the killing of a giant boondoggle government rocket project is exactly the sort of symbolic act that the administration would be happy to see receive a lot of attention. The fact that most of that resistance comes from a handful of Republicans in Alabama and Texas would only highlight the irony of a situation where the President will be fighting conservatives to kill a government program and use private sector services instead.

The problem is that a lot of Democrats, like Bill Nelson in Florida, are going to be put out to. Support for space exploration in the Congress is bi partisan.

Also Clark makes the common mistake that a lot of Internet Rocketeers make in thinking that everyone thinks as they do. Most people either support space exploration in general, not really caring all that much about the inside baseball politics of this rocket design or that, or they oppose it in general, believing space exploration as a concept is boondoggle.

Clark also does not realize that the commercial space initiative proposed by the Obama administration, while certainly a good idea on its face, will only take people to and from low Earth orbit for the foreseeable future, provided that it is funded and implemented. Private expeditions to Mars will remain a fantasy without huge government participation and subsidies.

Of course if more space advocates had a clear understanding of politics, this situation will not have arisen. Instead of squabbling over this perfect rocket design or that perfect space ship concept, they would have united to defend the space exploration program in general. Instead they choose to fight like a bunch of second graders over favorite toys and are shocked, shocked when someone like Obaama has come along to take them away.

Addendum: Congressman Bill Posey, while a little nutty with his shuttle extension crusade, has it exactly right about Obama's pretensions as a born again deficit hawk.
“This Administration has thrown hundreds of billions of dollars into a failed stimulus bill, but when it comes to keeping America first in space his ‘plan’ is to cancel the development of America’s next human space vehicle, outsource our good-paying Shuttle jobs to the Russians, place all of our hopes on a yet unproven commercial adventure, rush/force the transition to yet unproven commercial alternatives, and shifts money from human space flight to global warming research.

So much for Clark Lindsey's theory about the stingy Obama vs. the profligate GOP. The sad part is that in the ensuing fight, the commercial space plan is likely to suffer.
Obama to Announce High-Speed Rail Line in Florida
While President Obama intends to cancel the space exploration program that was designed to take Americans back to the Moon, a high-speed rail initiative he will propose will take Americans from Tampa to Disney World.
One of the bitter sweet experiences of Obama's assault on space exploration is hearing the lamentations of the Obamanauts who actually thought that their guy was the second coming of JFK. For an example, look to NASA Watch's Keith Cowing, who was assuring his readers of great things anon for space exploration coming from the White House.
NASA has just spent more than half a decade telling Americans that we are all going back to the Moon - and why. In the process, billions of dollars have been spent. Children have grown up being told this again and again - just like my generation heard in the 1960s. Now this is being taken away from them. I can only imagine how my generation would have reacted. It is one thing to alter a plan, change rockets, etc. But it is quite another to abandon the plan altogether.

Indeed. While I always suspected that Obama was a heart just another anti space liberal, it must be very hard indeed to feel the knife between the shoulder blades if one hitherto thought the One to be more enlightened than that. I had thought that Obama would at least have some kind of space exploration program out of political expediency if nothing else.

Still, Keith seems to be in deep denial about the long term effects if this decision stands.
NASA is simply going to have to do more with less. NASA has little choice at this point than to look for the silver lining in all of this. In so doing, Bolden's people - all of them - contractor, civil servants, and others - need to step up to the task of finding this silver lining - or get out of the way and find something else to do so that others can fix things.

Actually NASA will be doing less with less. Things cost what they cost and not all the wishing that it were otherwise will change that.

Just as added note, Charles Bolden and Lori Garver should resign in protest. I suspect neither of them will. Bolden will convince himself that he can hold things together and wait for new developments. Lori Garver is not going to let a simple matter like a Proxmireite President rob her of her cushy government job.
The Apple iPad Tablet Computer Introduced
Apple CEO Steve Jobs has revealed the new Apple iPad, a tablet computer with a ten inch color screen, weighing just over a pound. The device, which will cost between $499 and $829 depending on storage, appears to be somewhere between an iPhone and a lap-top computer.
James O'Keefe, Three Others Arrested
James O'Keefe, the film maker who has been such an embarrassment to ACORN, and three other individuals have been arrested; it is alleged, as a result of a caper right out of Burn Notice, if it were attempted by a group of amateurs.
Obama: We Choose Not to Go to the Moon
Press reports suggest that the Obama administration intends to scrap the space exploration program started six years ago by President George W. Bush. NASA will be tasked with devising alternatives based on options from the Augustine Report.

Addendum: In the meantime, while Obama destroys our space program, India is forging ahead with its own. Drudge is already calling Obama the "UnKennedy."

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

It seems that instead of a firm decision on the future direction of space exploration from the Obama administration, NASA will be tasked with conducting another study. Meanwhile work of Ares 1, rumored to be on the block for cancellation, will go on.

Addendum: Or will it? It looks like Obama will propose cancelling the entire Constellation program. We will have abandoned the Moon, in essence.
When the White House releases its budget proposal Monday, there will be no money for the Constellation program that was to return humans to the moon by 2020. The Ares I rocket that was to replace the space shuttle to ferry humans to space will be gone, along with money for the Ares V cargo rocket that was to launch the fuel and supplies needed to return to the moon. There will be no lunar landers, no moon bases.

"We certainly don't need to go back to the moon," one administration official said.
Friday will be a day of remembrance for the crews of Apollo 1, Challenger, and Columbia.
James Cameron: Avatar a "Tribute" to Marines
Appearing on the Jay Leno Show, James Cameron sought to respond to criticism that his biggest grossing film of all time, Avatar, besmirched the honor of United States Marines. Cameron's answer, according to John Nolte, was rather strange.
Tim Tebow Super Bowl Ad Stirs Feminist Outrage
One football player will be making an appearance at the Super Bowl even though he is not playing for either team and has yet to sign an NFL contract. His name is Tim Tebow, former quarterback of the University of Florida.
Obama: Three Year Freeze on Domestic Spending
President Obama is going to propose a spending freeze on discretionary accounts, excluding defense, veterans' programs, foreign aid, and homeland security. Some critics are already suggestion that the exercise is a kabuki dance.
'House' Season 6 Episode 11 'Remorse'
'House' Season 6 Episode 11 'Remorse' features a powerful, beautiful, and ruthless female executive who comes down with intense pain in her ears. This is, of course, just the tip of the iceberg of what is wrong with her.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Paul Spudis asks the question Have We Forgotten What Exploration Means?

As usual with one of Paul's essays it is thoughtful and thought provoking. Paul demolishes the idea that exploration must solely be about science. There is one passage I'd like to expand on:
What is missing from our current program of space exploration is a firm understanding that it must generate wealth, not just consume it.

True as a general rule, but one has to recognize that wealth is often generated in the long term after a lot of short term investment. A lot of the voyages of exploration in the 16th through 18th centuries lost money, sometimes loosing ships and lives. A green eye shade view of exploration would be aghast at the idea of spending years or decades doing space with the idea that at the end of it will be wealth beyond the dreams of avarice. Private companies especially tend to want profits asap, not ten or twenty years from now. Nation states are not much better, though the term "profit" takes on different meanings in the public sector.

In any event, if we want to properly do space, we have to be prepared to think in the long term and not just to the next quarter or the next election.
Obama - Difference Between 1994 and 2010 "You Got Me"
Politico is quoting an astonishing account by retiring Arkansas Congressman Marion Berry about a meeting he had recently with President Barack Obama. The subject of whether the 2010 midterms were going to be a repeat of 1994 came up.
President Obama, the Teleprompter, and the Sixth Grade Class
The blogosphere is buzzing over a picture of President Barack Obama in a sixth-grade classroom at an elementary school in Falls Church, Va. The picture shows the president, with a Secret Service man at his back, flanked by two Teleprompters.
'Chemical Ali' Makes Date with the Hangman
Ali Hassan Al-Majid, popularly known as "Chemical Ali", was hanged after his fourth sentence of death. Chemical Ali had been given multiple sentences of death for his participation in mass murder and genocide during the regime of Saddam Hussein.
Beau Biden Declines to Run for US Senate
Beau Biden, the son of Vice President Joe Biden, has decided after all not to run for his father's senate seat in Delaware. This means that Republican Congressman Mike Castle is now the favorite to take the seat in the fall elections.
NASA to Propose Commercial Space Initiative
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that starting with the FY2011 budget request for NASA, the Obama administration intends to propose a new program to encourage the development of a commercial space flight industry.
"Ellie Light" responds (sort of) to her critics.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The good news is that the Obama administration wants to commercialize space in a big way. The bad news is that the administration may not pay for it, may gut other NASA programs to do it, and Congress may not go along with it anyway.
Latest This Week in Space with Miles O'Brian

This Week in Space, January 24, 2010 from Spaceflight Now on Vimeo.

The Revolutionary Holocaust Parts 1 - 6

Who is Ellie Light?
Who is Ellie Light? That is a question that a number of newspaper editors are now asking themselves. Ellie Light not only seems to be a prolific letter writer, but also a great supporter of President Obama.
Johnson Space Center in Houston to host "Tweetup" for NASA Twitter followers

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The "Flexible Path" expedition to Phobos or the almost but not quite voyage to Mars. Also a huge telescope deployment missions seems about to supplant expeditions to Earth approaching asteroids. And, of course, lunar expeditions.
Memories of Jean Simmons
The British actress Jean Simmons has died at the age of 80. It tends to be a cliché, of course, but Jean Simmons' career on stage and on the screen large and small literally lasted decades, with her last role in last year's Shadows in the Sun.
Report - Obama to Propose NASA Budget with Smaller Than Expected Increase
The aerospace industry journal Space News is citing unnamed Obama administration sources in describing decisions that have been taken by President Obama concerning the future of NASA and human space exploration.
J.D. Hayworth to Challenge John McCain in GOP Primary
Former Arizona Congressman J.D. Hayworth has resigned from his radio talk show in anticipation of mounting a primary challenge against Senate John McCain. J. D. Hayworth will likely run as a "true conservative" against McCain.
Paul Spudis champions something called a flexible path to the Moon which in a way is a even more scaled back version of a space exploration program than is anticipated to come out of the Obama administration.

Flexible path to the Moon suggests abandoning the entire current architecture in favor of using commercial vehicles to build up refueling capacity at the Lagrange points while conducting a vigorous unmanned exploration program of the lunar surface focusing on resource prospecting.

While Flexible Path to the Moon does make the best use of a bad situation, i.e. the anticipated reluctance of the current administration to fund a proper space exploration program, I find a number of problems with it.

I'm very certain that putting in space refueling in the critical path (and the Augustine Committee agrees with me on this) is very risky. It adds a level of complexity to any voyages to the Moon that would be avoided by producing a heavy lifter. In space refueling, I've maintained, will be a great add on later, once humans are established on the Moon.

Flexible Path to the Moon does suggests that humans will return to the Moon at some indefinite time in the future when a lunar lander can be built "as the budget allows." This, to my mind, is a kicking down the road a fight that should be settled sooner rather than later. There is no guarantee a decade or two hence that the "budget will allow" anything without leadership and political persuasion. It is better in my mind to have that argument now and not twenty years from now.

The third problem is to bring up a crass but unfortunately very real situation in funding space projects. Government funded space projects have to provide enough jobs in key congressional districts to get congressional support. Without the new development of a heavy lift launcher or a new space craft like Orion, even the smaller, "more affordable" Flexible Path to the Moon is not likely to get funded. While we can wish that there would be more members of Congress that would eschew parochial interests for the national interest, a realistic regard would assume that is not likely to happen any time soon.

The main failing of Flexible Path to the Moon is that it violates an important maxim once expressed by Napoleon. Napoleon once said, "If you propose to take Vienna, then for God's sake, take Vienna." Flexible Path to the Moon does not actually go to the Moon. It simply gets ready to go to the Moon with the actual decision to go the rest of the way put off indefinitely.

In other words, if you propose to go to the Moon, then for God's sake go to the Moon.

Friday, January 22, 2010

'Bones' 'The Proof in the Pudding'
'Bones,' a show about an overly cerebral forensic scientist and a hunky FBI agent, steered into the bizarre with the episode 'The Proof in the Pudding' that involved mysterious government agents and even more mysterious remains.
The Death of 'Air America'
Air America, which was supposed to be a liberal alternative to conservative talk radio, has become bankrupt and has ceased operations, this time for good. The network that helped transition Al Franken from comedian to senator is no more.
Jon Stewart Skewers Keith Olbermann
Illustrative of the civil war that has broken out in the mainstream media in the wake of Scott Brown's victory in the Senate race in Massachusetts, Comedy Central's Jon Stewart teed off on Keith Olbermann for his tirade against Senator-Elect Brown.
'Burn Notice' Season3 Episode 10 'A Dark Road'
'Burn Notice' Season 3 Episode 10 'A Dark Road' started with Michael Weston trying to clean up the mess created in the previous episode, with two men dead, Fi wounded (both in her pride and her arm) and his unburning officially off.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Did Stanley Kubrick produce the faked moon landing and then leave hints of what he did in The Shining?

Of course not, but there are people who think he did.
Can Sean Duffy knock off David Obey this Fall? It would be wonderful on a lot of levels if he could.
Zhang Xuping a Folk Hero for Killing Corrupt Communist Offical
Zhang Xuping, a 19 year old Chinese youth, is under sentence of death for the assassination for hire of a Communist Party official, Li Shiming, in the northern Chinese town of Xiashuixi. As a result, Zhang Xuping has become a local folk hero.
Ralph Nader: Change the First Amendment
Ralph Nader is not happy with the recent Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v, FEC that freed corporations and labor unions to directly support political candidates. Ralph Nader, though, thinks that he has a solution.
Pelosi: Senate Health Care Reform Lacks Votes to Pass House
The idea of ramming through the senate version of the health care reform bill through the House, with a view of fixing it later, is dead. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has announced that there are not the votes in the House to pass it.
Supreme Court Strikes Down Restrictions on Corporate, Labor Union Speech
The Supreme Court, in a five to four decision, has lifted a decades-old prohibition against corporations directly paying for campaign ads supporting or opposing political candidates. The decision likely also applies to labor unions.
John Edwards Admits Paternity of Rielle Hunter's Daughter
John Edwards, the former senator, former vice-presidential candidate, and former presidential candidate has finally admitted that he fathered a two-year-old girl named Francis Quinn with his campaign cinematographer Rielle Hunter.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

More proof of media bias at MSNBNC and CNN.
How Barack Obama Brought Us Together
One year after the inauguration of President Barack Obama, and it seems like a hundred years, it is time to take stock of the Obama presidency so far. But we shall eschew grousing about his various mistakes and celebrate his one great accomplishment.
Sarah Palin to Stump for McCain, Other Republicans
Part of Sarah Palin's plan to increase her power and recognition inside the Republican Party will be to campaign for a number of candidates in the 2010 election. The first person Sarah Palin will stump for is, not surprisingly, John McCain.

Hitler is very cross indeed with Obama.
Jayne Cobb (aka Adam Baldwin) has an appreciation of George W. Bush.
Private Space Stations Drawing Nigh.
And thus:
Beyond low-Earth orbit, Bigelow Aerospace also has its sights on expandable space habitats for Lagrangian Point L1, partway between the moon and the Earth.

Lagrangian points are where all the gravitational forces acting between two objects cancel each other out and therefore can be used by spacecraft to "hover" in one spot.

"If we can deploy and gang together modules in low-Earth orbit, you can do it in L1...and you are 85 percent of the way to the moon," Bigelow said. In fact, one scenario Bigelow Aerospace has already blueprinted is the soft landing of a trio of attached BA-330 modules — including astronauts — on the moon.

The result: instant moon base, something the size of the International Space Station, Bigelow advised. The self-propelled base could even blast itself into lunar orbit, or move from spot to spot on the moon, he said.

"We would lease those lunar facilities to our clients. That keeps the price down. If we sell something instead of lease something, the price really jumps," Bigelow said.

Part of the spin being put out is that we have to abandon the Moon because we can't afford to build Orion, a rocket to send it to the Moon, and a lander all at the same time. This is a crock; the real reason is lack of will. But Bigelow's idea seems like an interesting one to pursue as part of a partnership. The government could gen up some low guarantees, tax breaks, and other incentives to get his prefab Moonbase built and then merge it with the Orion/Ares architecture.
Scott Brown's Lessons for Political Victory
Scott Brown's winning campaign for United States Senator in Massachusetts has some lessons that everyone seeking political office should take to heart. This is particularly true of Republicans looking to the 2010 elections.
Scott Brown Has Killed Health Care Reform
One of the great ironies of Scott Brown's victory in the special election for the senate in Massachusetts is that in turning Teddy Kennedy's seat into the People's seat, Scott Brown also drove a stake into health care reform.
Scott Brown and Massachusetts Awakening
In the end Scott Brown's victory over Martha Coakley was not even close. Scott Brown won by a convincing five percent, taking fifty two percent of the vote. There would be no last minute recount drama with attended opportunities for cheating.
Cassy Fiano looks at the liberal reaction to Scott Brown's victory. It is what one might expect.
Jeff Foust gives Barack Obama an incomplete on space policy after one year in office. That seems about right, though it is likely to change in a week or two.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Massachusetts Awakening.

Much more anon.
RIP Robert Parker and Erich Segal
Two authors passed on recently whose styles and genres were, to say the least, very different. One of them was Robert Parker, author of the Spenser detective series. The other was Erich Segal, author of the late 60s popular novel "Love Story."
Scott Brown and Keith Olbermann's on Air Meltdown
Keith Olbermann, the uber-lefty, uber-angry talking head at MSNBC had a melt down on the air when he unloaded upon Massachusetts Senate candidate Scott Brown. Olbermann seems to be reflecting the feelings of many people on the Left.
The Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel has advised against abandoning the Ares 1 as part of any revised space policy. This would tend to complicate President Obama's rumored plans to do just that.

Addendum: Elon Musk responds.
Brown vs. Coakley - the Circular Firing Squad is Formed
With the Scott Brown vs. Martha Coakley race in the special election for the U.S. Senate increasingly looking like the first Republican about to be elected to the Senate in Massachusetts since the 1970s, the Democrats are getting ready to respond.
Scott Brown vs. Martha Coakley - What Will Obama Do Now?
If Martha Coakley is defeated in the special election for US Senate in Massachusetts by Scott Brown, as expected, the Obama White House is expected to make a "combative response," according to the Politico.
'24': Season 8, Episodes 3 and 4
'24' Season 8, Episodes 3and 4 continued to ramp up the tension and stakes on Jack Bauer's latest bad day. A number of murders, an assassination attempt, a betrayal or two, and the return of former FBI agent Renee Walker occurred.
Closure of the Outpost Tavern, iconic astronaut bar, mired in legal dispute

Monday, January 18, 2010

How Cruise Ships and Capitalism Can Save Haiti
One of the arresting dichotomies surrounding the Haiti earthquake disaster concerns that fact that about sixty miles from where people are suffering and dying in Port-au-Prince, cruise ships are still docking at private resorts.
It looks like Senator Russ Feingold is trying to become the heir of William Proxmire.
John Strickland responds on the subject of space fetishism>. Jeff Foust examines the intersection of science and human space flight.
'24: Season 8, Episodes 1 and 2
When season/day 8 of '24' begins, Jack Bauer is contentedly watching cartoons with his toddler granddaughter, looking good and happy after several months recovering from being poisoned and abused on his last bad day.
Scott Brown and Martha Coakley Vie for Votes
As Scott Brown sprints to the finish line, with Martha Coakley staggering after him, one gets the sense that the greatest blow for human freedom is about to take place in Massachusetts since the Battle of Lexington/Concord.
The Rise of 'Avatar Babies'
Avatar, the blockbuster science fiction film by James Cameron, has garnered about a billion and a half in box office receipts, Golden Globes for best drama and best director, and a round of criticism for its anti-American, anti-capitalism, and anti-military message.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Neptune and Uranus may have oceans of liquid diamonds. Now if that is not enough to have a real space program, I will just have to despair.
Obama to Stump for Martha Coakley
President Obama is headed for Boston Sunday afternoon for a rally at Northeastern University in a last ditch effort to save the faltering campaign of Martha Coakley for US Senate, Recent polls suggest the effort may be too little too late.
Martha Coakley, the Armiraults, and the Greatest Miscarriage of Justice in Centuries
One of the ways one judges a candidate is on their record of public service. There is an incident in the career of Martha Coakley so chilling in its mendacity that it should disqualify her from any office of public trust, even in blue state Massachusetts.
Scientists Create Pork in the Lab
Dutch scientists have started growing something resembling pork from stem cells taken from the muscle tissue of pigs. The problem is that, so far, the resulting meat likely does not taste like regular pork nor does it have pork's protein content.
Clinton Bush Relief Fund Headed by Two Former Presidents
At the behest of President Barack Obama, two former Presidents, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, are heading the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund to raise money for Haiti Earthquake Relief. The two former Presidents have cut a PSA
James Cameron believes in eco terrorism. Well, of course he does.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Martha Coakley - Curt Schilling a "Yankees Fan"
Martha Coakley, the Democratic candidate for US Senate in the special election in Massachusetts, added to her long list of gaffes and missteps when she attested that Boston Red Sox's great Curt Schilling was a "Yankees fan."
26 patients in a Cuban mental health facility died of hypothermia. This proves two things. Unlike what Michael Moore would have us believe, the Cuban health care system is not superior. And if people can freeze to death in the tropics, global warming really is a crock.
'The Book of Eli' - a Post Apocalypse, Christian, Samurai, Western Quest Story
'The Book of Eli' is, on the surface, another example of Apocalypse chic, set as it is thirty years after the near destruction of the Earth. But it turns out the 'The Book of Eli' is a Post apocalypse, Christian, Samurai, Western Quest Story.

This Week in Space, January 15, 2010 from Spaceflight Now on Vimeo.

Rasmussen Poll - fifty percent favor cutting NASA funding

Friday, January 15, 2010

'Veggiegate' Roils 'Iron Chef America'
A minor scandal has arisen over a recent episode of Iron Chef America, which purported to use as the secret ingredient vegetables harvested from the White House garden under the supervision of First Lady Michelle Obama.
World Trade Center Used in Anti Scott Brown Attack Ad
According to Hot Air's Ed Morrissey, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee launched an attack ad against Scott Brown to paint him as a Wall Street crony. The background used was the now destroyed World Trade Center.
Danny Glover - Haiti Caused by Failure of Copenhagen Summit
According to blogger Tim Blair, people calling themselves Christian like Pat Robertson are not the only ones who can say crazy, insensitive things about Haiti. Danny Glover, the actor/activist, is pretty sure that global warming caused the Haiti earthquake.
Scott Brown Surges in Latest Polls, Now Leads
Scott Brown, the insurgent candidate for the United States Senate in Massachusetts, has surged to a small lead according to a Suffolk University poll. Scott Brown now leads his opponent, Martha Coakley, 50 to 46 percent.
US Military Haiti Relief Operation
The relief effort for Haiti, ravaged by a devastating 7.0 earthquake, is being spearheaded by the US military. The composition and amount of forces being deployed in and around the impoverished island nation rivals that for a small war.
John Birmingham discusses Google growing a backbone concerning China.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Scott Ritter Caught in Sex Crime Sting
Scott Ritter, a former chief UN weapons inspector and a harsh critic of the War in Iraq, has been caught in another sex sting. Scott Ritter made contact with an undercover police officer in an Internet chat room whom he thought as a 15-year-old girl.
Doomsday Clock Set Back One Minute
The Doomsday Clock, maintained by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists as an illustration of how close it is thought the Earth is to total destruction, has been moved back one minute to six minutes before midnight.
Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck Have a Conversation
Sarah Palin spent the entire hour of Wednesday's Glenn Beck Show talking with Beck about a variety of topics, ranging from the importance of faith and family, to her possible political aspirations, to the idea of the two hosting Saturday Night live.
Poll: Most Would Vote Against Obama
If the latest poll taken by the National Journal is any indication, Americans are suffering buyer's remorse over President Barack Obama. In a poll of 1200 adults, fifty percent would now vote for "someone else" with only 39 percent re-electing the president.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pat Robertson: Haitians 'Made Pact with the Devil'
Pat Robertson, the controversial televangelist and former presidential candidate, made the remarkable claim that the people of Haiti "made a pact with the Devil" to get free of French colonial rule, thus perhaps deserving the earthquake.

Addendum: More from Allahpundit.
Obama space exploration plan taking shape?
India's first manned space mission will apparently take place in 2013 and will use a purchased Soyuz and a hired Russian commander along with two Indian astronauts.
Jon Goff has an interesting (albeit not original) idea that at least deserves discussion. Got back to the Moon and stay there (for a while.)

I don't see it ever happening in any conceivable political environment, except maybe by a purely private expedition.
Martha Coakley Attends Fund Raiser with Insurance and Drug Company Lobbyists
Martha Coakley, who is running for the US Senate in a special election in Massachusetts, left the campaign trail to attend a fund raiser attended by lobbyists for many of the biggest drug and insurance companies in America.
The New Computer Age as Seen by a Senior Citizen
7.0 Earthquake Brings Haiti Incalculable Death and Destruction
A 7.0 earthquake, the strongest in 200 years, rocked the island nation of Haiti. When it was over, the death toll and the extent of the damage were too great to be calculated as of yet. The world community, led by the United States, began mounting relief efforts.
Sarah Palin Appears on Fox News' O'Reilly Factor
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin appeared on The O'Reilly Factor last night for the first time in her capacity as a Fox News contributor. The conversation seemed to be less about world events than it was about Sarah Palin.
Google May Leave China Over Cyber Attack, Censorship
A huge cyber attack originating from China aimed at hacking Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists, as well as ferreting out industrial secrets of Western companies, especially defense contractors, may have proven to be the last straw for Google.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Vatican Unimpressed With Avatar
The Vatican has weighed in on James Cameron's controversial and celebrated science fiction film, Avatar, and in fact weighed it in the balance and found it wanting. This is not surprising, considering Avatar's approach to faith and transcendence.
Martha Coakley Declares Afghanistan "Terrorist Free"
The campaign of Martha Coakley, Scott Brown's Democratic opponent in the race to elect a US Senator in Massachusetts, is being plagued by a lot of unforced errors. The name of the state, Massachusetts, was misspelled in a recent Coakley attack ad.
Scott Brown Debates Martha Coakley, Raising Over a Million in One Day
Scott Brown, the Republican candidate for US Senator running in Massachusetts for the seat once held by Ted Kennedydebated his Democratic opponent Martha Coakley last night. In the meantime, Scott Brown scored a huge fund raising victory.
Clark Lindsey has the highlights of an interview with Robert Bigelow up. It seems that Bigelow is on track to having an operational private space station by 2015, serviced by SpaceX and/or ULA. NASA is also expressing an interest in buying a Bigelow inflatable module for ISS. The latter represents a good merging of the public and private for mutual benefit.

Note they seem to be looking at an Ares V to launch a super sized "Big Bertha" module (unless, of course, it is a misprint and Atlas V was meant.)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Roxxy the Latest Model of Animatronic Sex Plaything
A company called TrueCompanion has introduced Roxxy, the latest model in an animatronic sex partner. Roxxy, wearing a sexy negligee, was on display at an adult entertainment event in Las Vegas.
Robotic Sample Return and Interpreting Lunar History: The Importance of Getting it Right by Paul Spudis
Is Scott Brown a Republican JFK?
Is Scott Brown the new John F. Kennedy? Not if Martha Coakley and the Massachusetts Democratic establishment has any say in the matter. But the parallels between the two men, separated by decades, are striking.
Proposition 8 Trial Begins in Federal Court
Arguments will begin in a landmark trial in federal court in San Francisco to decide whether Proposition 8, passed last year by the voters of California to ban same sex marriage, is Constitutional. The case will likely end in the Supreme Court.
Sarah Palin to Become Fox News Contributor
Sarah Palin, according to the New York Times, has signed a deal to become a Fox News contributor. She will not have a show of her own, but would appear on other shows and may host specials and the occasional series.
Is Avatar Racist?
Reid, Blagojevich, Clinton Racist Remarks
Recently revealed racially charged comments by a number of Democratic politicians have raised the question, how prevalent is racism among the leaders of the Democratic Party? What does this say about what was once considered the post-racial era of Obama?
Liz Cheney's "Keep America Safe" Has New Anti-Obama Ad
Liz Cheney's political advocacy group, Keep America Safe, has produced an ad entitled "100 Hours" which echoes some of the criticisms leveled by Cheney's father, Dick Cheney, against the slow response to the attempted Christmas bombing.
The Simpsons Celebrate Its 20th Anniversary
The Simpsons celebrated its 20th anniversary with a one hour special, hosted by Morgan Spurlock, a documentary film maker most famous for "Super Size Me." The Simpsons 20th anniversary special aired after the 450th episode.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Scott Brown Ahead by One, According to PPP Poll
Public Policy Polling now puts Republican Scott Brown one point ahead of Democrat Martha Coakley in the special election in Massachusetts at 48 to 47 percent of the vote. The news is a preliminary in what could be an 10 point earthquake.
Harry Reid "Forgiven" for Racially Charged Remarks
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is being forced to offer apologies for remarks he said in 2008 about then candidate Barack Obama's race. Harry Reid referred to Obama as "light skinned" and "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one."
Oliver Stone to Put Hitler and Stalin "In Context"
Showtime is preparing to launch a ten-part miniseries called "Secret History of America" produced by none other than Oliver Stone. Among other things, Oliver Stone promises to put Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin "in context."
NASA is planning an asteroid visit as part of the "Look, But Don't Touch" plan. Though now apparently some attempt will be made to touch:
“Mission objectives could include: Basic reconnaissance to assess potential hazards that may pose a risk to both vehicle and crew (as did Ranger, Lunar Orbiter, and Surveyor for Apollo), such as binary or ternary systems, rapid rotators, potentially active surfaces, etc.; and non-benign surface morphologies.

“Surface assessment for future activities to be conducted by human mission in order to maximize mission efficiency: proximity operations, surface operations, and sample collection. Preliminary determination of NEO target characteristics: surface morphology and properties (i.e., boulders vs. pebbles), gravitational field structure, rotation rate and pole orientation, mass/density estimates, general mineral composition.”

That is if the rock being visited is not found to be tumbling too much.

The propose refocusing of the exploration program away from establishing a permanent base on the Moon and toward brief visits to asteroids would be a tragedy if undertaken. The characterization of the lunar return plan as "Apollo on steroids" has been hooted at by the Internet Rocketeer Club rather unfairly. By returning to the Moon, we would learn how to live in space. We can't do that by brief visits to asteroids. The "Look But Maybe Touch" scheme has all of the disadvantages of Apollo and more. It is foots steps and flags without the foots steps and without the flags.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Of the three proposed New Frontiers missions, Paul Spudis kind of likes the Moonrise sample return.
Jerry Doyle Publishes "Have You Seen My Country Lately?"
Jerry Doyle has certainly lived an interesting life. Jerry Doyle has been, in his time, a corporate air pilot, a Wall Street stock broker, a television actor, and unsuccessful candidate for Congress, and now a radio talk show host.

Scott Brown's Swearing in as Senator to Be Delayed
There seems to be a kind of panic setting in among Massachusetts Democrats that Scott Brown, the Republican candidate for a special election to the United States Senate, might actually win, providing the deciding vote to block health care reform.
Australian KFC Commercial Brings Charges of Racism
A TV commercial for KFC now running in Australia is causing charges of racism. The KFC commercial has a volatile mix of a crowd of jovial West Indian cricket fans, a lone white man, and a bucket of KFC chicken that seems to calm the former.
Muhammad Abu Tahir's Air Rage Grounds Atlanta to San Francisco Flight
Proving that the weeks after the attempted Christmas bombing of a plane over Detroit was the wrong time to be disruptive on an airliner, Muhammad Abu Tahir, age 46, is awaiting federal charges for interference with a flight crew.

Friday, January 08, 2010

It looks like the Democrats have a plan for ramming through health care reform even if Scott Brown is elected as the 41st vote against it.
The A-Team Movie Trailer Now Up for Viewing
The trailer for the film version of the 1980s action TV series The A-Team is now up for viewing on the Internet. The film version of The A-Team seems to follow the format of the TV show, albeit updated for the 21st Century.
Nuclear power on the Moon.
Israel Tests "Iron Dome" Missile Defense System
Israel has successfully tested its new Iron Dome missile defense system, designed to stop everything from mortar shells to longer range missiles regularly lobbed from Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas from Gaza.
2010 is certainly not like 2010.
Ray Stevens' "We the People" Anthem of the Tea Party Protest Movement
Every protest movement, if it thrives, eventually gets protest songs. The Tea Party movement seems to have gotten its anthem courtesy of Ray Stevens latest, "We the People," which takes aim at Obamacare.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

First a Charlie Brown Christmas, now the Lost Premier"? Does Obama want to be impeached?
Does Cell Phone Use Treat Alzheimer's?
One of the reoccurring horror stories in the media is how using cell phones might cause brain cancer. Opinions vary on cell phone use and brain cancer, but one study seems to suggest that cell phone use protects against Alzheimer's.
'Apocalypse Man' Teaches Useful End-of-the-World Skills
Apocalypse Man, starring former Marine Rudy Reyes and airing on the History Channel, is the latest example of what might be called "End-of-the-World Chic." Apocalypse Man is a self help show about how to survive when billions aren't.
Will Michael Leiter Be Fired for the Underwear Bomber?
Usually when a screw-up of the dimensions of the underwear bomber happens, one of the ways to handle it is to find someone to fire. Rumor has it, according to the New York Daily News, that someone is Michael Leiter, head of the NCTC.
Ben Nelson Reflects on Health Care Reform, National Priorities
There is nothing like the self-ruination of hitherto thriving political career to place Senator Ben Nelson in the mode for reflection. In an interview with the Fremont Tribune, Senator Ben Nelson rendered judgment on the priorities of the federal government.
Will T Pyxidis Explode and kill us all?

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Heat--Texas Heat
The latest addition in the Breitbart media empire, big journalism debuts.
In which Kobe Bryant and LeBron James fight to the death.
Bron objected to fighting in a functioning factory, pointing out the potential to injure innocent bystanders.

"If they are bystanders, then they are not innocent," I replied.

"Okay, again, Kobe, that doesn't make sense."
Harold Ford Jr. May Seek New York Senate Seat
Harold Ford Jr. is looking at the possibility of running for the Senate again, this time for the New York seat now occupied by Kirsten E. Gillibrand. Harold Ford is a former Congressman and ran for the Senate once before, in Tennessee, in 2006.
C-SPAN's Brian Lamb Demands Secret Health Care Meetings Be Televised
Perhaps in a quaint belief that politicians should keep their promises, perhaps with a realistic view that they will not but should be held to account anyway, C-SPAN CEO Brian Lamb has written a letter to the leadership of Congress.
Byron Dorgan, Chris Dodd, Bill Ritter Announce Retirements
n what shaped up as a kind of "night of the long knives" for Democrats, three officer holders announced their retirements. They are Sen. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut, and Gov. Bill Ritter of Colorado.
Tsutomu Yamaguchi, Survivor of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Dies at 93
Tsutomu Yamaguchi was an engineer working for the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries shipyard in Nagasaki when he happened to be in Hiroshima on a business trip. World War II was still raging in the Pacific. It was August 6th, 1945.
Avatar, a parable about China?

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

The great battle of 2010--President Barack Obama vs. Ronald Reagan?
How to the tall blue people on Pandora--well--do it?
Brit Hume Gives Tiger Woods Some Spiritual Advice
Brit Hume, a commentator and former anchorman for Fox News, has caused a little bit of a kerfuffle for suggestion that the remedy for Tiger Wood's problems would be for him to convert from Buddhism to Christianity.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden made a speech before the American Astronomical Society. No word on the pronouncements on space policy from the Mount Olympus where President Obama dwells. But there does seem to be mania for international partners, even to the extent of having them in the planning sessions.

And then there is the notion of having smaller country's space agencies doing joint projects. Nigeria is mentioned. One cannot resist:

"Hello, beloved in Jesus. I am the wife of a Nigerian astronaut who was recently killed in a secret joint US Nigerian space mission. My husband acquired some precious material from an asteroid he visited and I need your help moving it to the United States, for a share of the profits..."

Addendum: Jim Oberg relates the following:

Art imitates life again.... I have a copy
(somewhere) of an email i got about six years ago
from the family of a Nigerian cosmonaut who had become stranded on Mir
when the Russians abandoned it -- and the clan was raising funds for
a rescue mission. Of course, you'd be given a portion of the movie
rights to his story.
I almost -- ALMOST! -- answered to see where that delightful devious mind was headed
with this scam..
Israeli Officers Cancel Great Britain Trip Under Threat of War Crimes Charges
A group of Israeli military officers were forced to call off a trip to Great Britain for fear of being arrested and charged with war crimes in a British court. The threat stems from Great Britain's legal concept of universal jurisdiction for certain crimes.
Remember when Candidate Obama promised to have all negotiations on health care reform televised on C-Span? Pesident Obama hopes you don't. Unfortunately for Obama, C-Span CEO Brian Lamb does.
The Democrats' Secret Plan to Pass Health Care Reform
Ordinarily when a bill such as health care reform passes the House and the Senate in different forms, a House-Senate Conference Committee is formed to reconcile the differences, with a single bill being drafted to be passed by the House and Senate.
Kepler Space Telescope Discovers Five Exo-Planets

Monday, January 04, 2010

Some predictions for space in 2010.
More progress in helping the blind to see.
Can Scott Brown Win Teddy Kennedy's Senate Seat?
Can Scott Brown, a Republican running to capture Teddy Kennedy's old Senate seat in Massachusetts, actually win? There is some anecdotal evidence that Scott Brown is doing far better against his opponent, Martha Coakley, than many suspect.

Addendum: Brown within 11.
Scott Erti offers the following bleg:
Our elementary school started a new "Kids Read and Ride" program this year where students ride exercise bikes while reading fun magazines and books. We received 41 exercise bikes from donors around town who wanted to see them being used instead of just gathering dust in their basements or closets. We had an empty classroom that we were able to fill with 30 exercise bikes for teachers to bring their classes for 15-minute periods throughout the day for every student to ride their own bike while reading their own magazines or books. We have an additional 11 bikes in individual classrooms where they are parked in the corner for students to ride when they complete their work, as an incentive or when they need to release some extra energy.

We really want to inspire more schools to start similar programs for children to be more active and excited about reading. It's our fun approach to promoting literacy and preventing childhood obesity at the same time. Teachers have noticed a huge increase in students' interest in reading this year.

Would you be willing to help us spread the word by writing an article about our program? Our website is Kids Read and Ride.

We have everything online for schools to solicit exercise bike donations, write a press release, suggestions, and photos. And the best thing is that everything is free!


Scott Ertl
Kids Read and Ride Coordinator
Ward Elementary School

Sounds like a neat way to deal with two problems at once.
Annise Parker Sworn in as Mayor of Houston
Houston -- Today Annise Parker, an openly gay woman, was sworn in as Mayor of Houston, with her partner Kathy Hubbard holding the Bible. Houston thus became the largest city in America with an openly gay mayor.
A new life for the Goode Family?
2010 - The Book, the Movie, and the Year
James Cameron secret conservative?
Tallest Building in the World to Open in Dubai
The tallest building in teh world is set to be opened in the Arab emirate of Dubai amidst a continuing economic crisis that is making real estate hard to sell even in the oil rich, Arabic Gulf region. Nevertheless the Burj Dubai opens 90 percent occupied.
Worst Cooks in America vs. Iron Chef America
The Food Network aired two cooking competition shows Sunday night, a special Iron Chef America and the premiere of a new series, The Worst Cooks in America. The first was fun to watch; the latter someone degrading.
Taylor Dinerman describes 2010 as NASA's most dangerous year.
If the Constellation program is killed—and make no mistake, if Ares 1 is killed Constellation dies as well—then the result will not be a smooth transition to a new “Flexible Path” program, but an ugly fight over money and jobs in which any exploration goals will be of secondary importance at best. It is hard to see how a new policy could be sold to either Congress or the public.

Meanwhile Bob Clarebrough defends the notion of commercial space flight.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Is Barack Obama actually putting us all in physical danger?

At the end of the first year of Barack Obama’s administration, there’s something moving in the shadows of Mount Doom. It wasn’t there while George Bush was in charge.
A detailed description of MoonRise one of the missions in competition for the next New Frontier expedition.
AV Week's Person of the Year - the Space Entrepreneur.
John Kerry Banned from Iran
It looks like that Senator John Kerry will not be going to Iran after all. John Kerry, the liberal Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, had announced his desire to go to Tehran. The Iranian government has denied a visa to Senator Kerry.
I found a couple of blogs managed by David Portee that covers alternate/future plans for space exploration dating back to the beginning of Apollo. They are Beyond Apollo and Beyond Shuttle. Check them out.
A Hole in the Moon - Humankind's Next Home?
Scott Rasmussen - the Latest Enemy of the People
Having failed to make either Rush Limbaugh or Sarah Palin the number one enemy of the people, the Obama White House and Congressional Democrats have hit upon a new albeit unusual candidate. His name is Scott Rasmussen.
Saudi Terrorism Rehab Uses Art Therapy and Video Games
The Prince Mohammed bin Nayef Center for Care and Counseling is one of the rehab centers in Saudi Arabia where captured terrorists are encouraged to express their feelings in non violent ways and to turn away from terrorism.
US Embassy in Yemen Closes as Strikes Against Al Qaeda Heat Up
The US Embassy in Yemen has closed as the Al Qaeda threat in that country gains more attention due to the revelation that the attempted Christmas bombing of an Americana airline over Detroit was planned and supported in Yemen.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

A 200 metric tonne heavy lift launcher is being considered an an option for the exploration program.
While the presentation is far-reaching on various mission outlines – including missions to Near Earth Objects (NEOs), GEO Space Telescopes, and manned missions to Mars (all of which will be reported in an upcoming article) – a monster 200 metric ton human rated “Exploration Class” launch vehicle is referenced several times.

A human-rated system with LEO throw-mass on the order of 200 mt, designed purposely for extremely high reliability and minimum operations cost, rather than being sized directly by an architecture that may change later,” noted the presentation. “200 mt, sized by ‘knee in the curve’ of LV economics. Not driven by the architecture de jour.”

No specific designs are included in the presentation, with a Saturn V schematic shown next to the 200mt references. However, such a vehicle would likely to be a three stage Ares V type heavy lifter. How such a massive vehicle could be afforded is questionable.

That last is true, but we are talking about an administration that thinks trillions of dollars is just pocket change.

Besides, I'd love to see it happen, aside from the capability it would give us, for two reasons.

One. It would be impressove as hell to see it launch.
Two. The Internet Rocketeer Club will have fits almost as impressive.
Irish Atheists Protest "Blasphemy" Law
A law making "blasphemy" punishable by a fine of up to 25,000 Euros or over $35,000 has gone into effect in Ireland. Atheist Ireland, a group of Irish atheists, has published a list on their website of statements that would be actionable under the new law.