Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Like many other people, John Logsdon really hates Apollo. Why he does is really interesting and is bound up in his defense of the very different approach of Obamaspace.
There is a coherent explanation of what is being proposed, but NASA has given it little emphasis and it seems not to have registered with those trying to understand the new strategy. That strategy involves a restart — a five-year period of building the technological foundation for the future. That restart would be followed by another five to seven years of developing new systems based on that foundation, then a series of human missions to various destinations beyond Earth orbit. There is no commitment to a specific destination on a specific schedule; that avoids the narrowing effect that was a characteristic of Apollo. To me this is a quite sensible and easily understandable strategy, if the United States wants to be in the vanguard of 21st century space exploration. But it does not follow the Apollo model of setting a date to arrive at a specific destination that gave the United States unquestioned space leadership. It will be a challenge to maintain focus and technological discipline in implementing a strategy without a “date by” goal, but a capabilities-based approach can pave the way to U.S. leadership in reaching all the interesting destinations between the Earth and Mars. To me, the greatest threat to U.S. space leadership would come from our political system insisting on staying with the Apollo-era approach to the future, not from adopting this new strategy.

Think about what Logsdon is saying here. Apollo had a clear goal and a clear timetable and these are bad things. A vague, unfocused, goalless, directionless technology program is the preferred way to go.

For all of Logsdon's scholarship about Apollo, he seems to be clueless about why it worked and why something like he proposes cannot work. Even he suggests it will be a "a challenge to maintain focus and technological discipline" to do what he is suggesting.

Let me substitute the word "impossible" for the word "challenging." Projects that do not have goals or deadlines tend to go nowhere very slowly.

The problem with Apollo was not the fact that it had a goal or a deadline, but that the goal was rather limited. "To land a man on the Moon and return him safely to the Earth in this decade--" When NASA accomplished that goal, there was no consensus as to what to do next.

I posit a counterfactual argument. What if JFK had said instead, "---to establish a settlement on the Moon and to use that settlement as a base to expand human civilization across the Solar System and ultimately the stars."

That would have resulted in a far different space program that would not have become truncated but would have been open ended. The trick, therefore, is not to, as Logsdon suggests, not have goals or deadlines, but rather to set the goal so that it is not limiting and therefore accomplishes more than Apollo ever dreamed of.

Logsdon has this complaint:
It is really too bad that the announcement, and since then the defense, of a fundamental paradigm shift in the way the United States carries out human space exploration, and human spaceflight overall, have been so poorly articulated. The White House and NASA dug a rather deep hole in mismanaging the rollout of the new strategy, and the president really did not improve matters much by announcing a quickly conceived resuscitation of Orion, blowing off the Moon as a valuable destination, and setting an ambiguous target for a heavy-lift vehicle. NASA seems unable to provide clear or convincing answers to the congressional critics of the new strategy, and those of us who support it are having difficulty in getting our views heard.

Of course if ones plan is vague, unfocused, and flawed, ones explanation of it is likely to also be vague, unfocused, and flawed.
Margaret Thatcher starring Meryl Streep?

Addendum: A hit job of course.
Elena Kagan on the Twilight 'Edward Vs. Jacob' Controversy (Video)
Dismissal of Black Panther Voter Intimidation Case 'Racially Motivated' Charges Former Justice Department Lawyer
J. Charles Adams, a former Justice Department lawyer who now practices law and blogs in Virginia, is accusing Attorney General Eric Holder of dismissing a case against a group of Black Panthers due to racial motives.
Does this post supporting Constellation make Red State a hot bed of socialism?
Pete Stark Mixes it Up with Minutemen Member Over Border Security
Congressman Pete Stark, a Democrat from California, is well known for his sarcastic and unpleasant demeanor, either in dealing with his constituents or even his fellow House members, as the spirit moves him.
Tesla Motors, manufacturer of electric cars, has successfuil public offering
Terrafugia Transition 'Flying Car' Ready for Takeoff
The Terrafugia Transition "flying car," actually a combination light sport aircraft/luxury automobile, is slated to go into production, now that the FAA has given final approval. Drive away/flyaway cost is just about $200,000.
Yet another creepy, Hollywood type wants to hit on Sarah Palin.
So let's dream up an older star for him to get it on with. How about Sarah Palin? Uber-liberal film-maker gets it on with smokin' right-winger? "She's a colourful spice in the general recipe of democracy," Allen says, smiling. "She's a sexy woman. Yes. Me and Sarah: we could do a romance."

No, Woody, you can't. Not even in your dreams.
NASA MMO Game 'MoonBase Alpha' to Be Released
Constellation Vs. Obama Space Plan: House Appropriators Decline to Choose
In the first real congressional test between the Constellation return to the Moon program and the Obama space plan, which bypasses the Moon, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science declined to choose.
'Deadliest Warrior:' Sun Tzu Vs Vlad the Impaler
In "Deadliest Warrior:" Sun Tzu vs Vlad the Impaler, the show matched up one of history's master strategists against one of history's most vicious mass murderers, separated by 2500 years of history.
J. Paul Douglas maintains that Constellation and commercial space are not mutually exclusive. This is something that Obamaspace koolaid drinkers do not want people to figure out, but it is axiomatic. Indeed, both are mutually supportive.
Pamela Gorman Takes Aim at Her Political Opponents
That connection Saddam Hussein had with Al Qaeda? Turns out it was very real.
Bob Werb shows that he has no clue as to the meaning of the term "socialism." He suggests that the Constellation program to return astronauts to the Moon is "socialist" even though space exploration might be considered a proper national security function. On the other hand, heavy government investment in commercial space firms like SpaceX is not "socialist." It sounds all too Orwellian to me. Bob sounds a lot like a liberal who will scream, "Racist!" at someone in order to stop all debate. His use of the term "socialist" has a similar intent, in order to avoid a discussion on the merits of Obamaspace vs. Constellation.

It can also be argued that Obamaspace's exploration plan, with its excellent adventures to an asteroid, is more "socialist" than Constellation. Returning to the Moon and building a base suggests quite a bit of private sector participation, in resupply, crew transfers, and providing goods and services. None such is contemplated for Obamaspace beyond LEO.
Elena Kagan Refuses to Say that the Government Can't Make Us Eat Our Fruits and Vegetables (Video)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Obama to Correct the "Historic Mistake" of the Creation of Israel (Video)
What If Lassie Were a Cat? (Video)
Dude, where's my flying car? Maybe here it is.
Al Gore Sexual Assault Accusations: Credible Now?
Byron York, writing for the Washington Examiner, describes the alleged encounter between former Vice President Al Gore and an Oregon masseuse. The media seem to be shifting its assessment of the story from unlikely to credible.
Justice Department Nabs Russian Spy Ring
The Justice Department has broken up a 10-person Russian spy ring in an operation that seems reminiscent of the Cold War. Even though the Russian spies have been in place since the early 1990s, the incident is a diplomatic black eye for Russia.
President Obama's Retreat from the High Frontier of Space
The Obama administration has published its national space policy. Despite brave verbiage about international cooperation and the encouragement of commercial space, the policy suggests a scaling back and retreat from the high frontier of space.


President Obama Prepares to Throw Away an American Advantage in Space Weapons
The Obama administration's national space policy reverts to an arms control strategy for keeping the peace in outer space. In so doing, the new policy threatens to throw away a huge American technological advantage, and rely on a treaty that would be unverifiable.
"Space Battleship Yamato" Live Action Film Trailer (Video)

Monday, June 28, 2010

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Trailer" Now Out (Video)
Senator Scott Brown More Popular in Massachusetts Than John Kerry and Barack Obama
Proving that he was not a fad brought forth by voter anger against incumbents, six months after his election, Senator Scott Brown is polling better than not only Massachusetts senior Senator John Kerry, but also President Barack Obama.
No sex. please. We're astronauts.
Though he doesn't specifically attack it, William Pomerantz of the Google X Prize foundation articulates neatly why Obamaspace's bypassing the Moon is idiotic.
The three most prominent reasons for a lunar return, however, boil down to scientific research, energy and continued exploration of the solar system.

"Scientifically, the moon is an enormously interesting place to learn about the early history of our planet and the formation of our solar system," Pomerantz says. "It is a platform from which we can do absolutely unparalleled astronomy and observation. You're outside of the Earth's atmosphere. If you go to the far side of the moon, you're basically at the only place in the readily accessible universe that's totally shielded from all the television and other interference that broadcasts out from Earth."

On the energy front, vast quantities of helium-3 could provide an excellent source of raw materials for humanity's nuclear fusion future. Solar cells could also harvest solar energy and beam it back down to Earth.

"The main problem is that people are divided between those who just want to do research on the moon and those who really want to see it as the eighth continent," says Kokh, whose nonprofit is certainly behind the idea of an industrialized moon.

And if humans managed to not only establish permanent bases on the moon, but also harness its energy resources, then the moon becomes a handy stepping-stone to further missions into the outer solar system.

But, of course, Buzz Aldrin has already been there...
Senator Robert Byrd Passes into History
We have not come to praise Senator Robert Byrd, but to bury him. It is an approach to marking the passing of the longest-serving US Senator that we hope he could appreciate, fond as he was of Shakespeare, the Bible, and the Greek and Roman classics.
'True Blood,' Season 3, Episode 3: 'It Hurts Me Too'
In "True Blood," Season 3, Episode 3: "It Hurts Me Too," we get introduced to more werewolves, find out a little about hidden agendas, deal with loss, experience family problems, and learn that the path to true love never did run smooth.
Supreme Court Applies Second Amendment Right to State, Local Governments
The Supreme Court has voted to apply the Second Amendment of the Constitution, which upholds the right to keep and bear arms, to state and local governments, as well as the federal government. The case was a law suit against a ban on firearms in Chicago.
Dwayne Day takes a stab at certain myths and misconceptions concerning commercial space flight and Space leaders support commercial crew to ISS and accelerated human exploration beyond
Robert Byrd on Race Relations and White N------ (Video) and Senator Robert Byrd, the King of Pork

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Gay Rights Group Attacks Israel, the One Country in the Middle East Where Being Gay is Not a Capital Crime
Red State is inveighing against one of the weirdest stories to come out of the G8 Summit in Toronto, which naturally has nothing to do with the Summit as such. It involves an organization calling itself "Queers against Israeli Apartheid."

This is their term for themselves, no one else's.
It looks like the Obama regime is going to eschew Bush era space policy that was based on American national interests for a kind of gooey push for "global cooperation". And then there is this chilling bit:
Some industry official and outside policy analysts said the latest policy changes could set the stage for the White House to eventually embrace the concept of a global treaty barring deployment or use of weapons in space.

When a government starts to prattle about arms control agreements, things rarely turn out well.
Reporters Caught Mocking Sarah Palin After California State University, Stanislaus Speech

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Paul Spudis provides a detailed and clear refutation to Clara Moskowitz's pro Obamaspace article on "misconceptions."

Addendum: As he often does, Clark Lindsey misses the whole point of Paul's article and launches a full bore attack without actually understanding the position he is attacking. Fortunately, Dr. Spudis responds in the comments section to set him straight.

Addendum 2: Rand Simberg does the "It's All Bush's Fault" equivalent in the space community; "It's all Mike Griffin's fault!" Rand is also still pursuing his tiresome jihad against heavy lift.

But Rand does have a good point. It's very unlikely that the mess Obama has made of things will be entirely fixed while Obama is still in the White House. Persuading the next President (whomever she or he may be) to get things on track had best start now so that a new policy can be in place by 2013.

The problem is that there are so many discordant voices, yelling and screaming so many different opinions, who is a poor Presidential candidate to listen to? I have may own ideas, of course, but the sad fact of the matter is that what we so laughingly call Space Activism is so broken that's its ability to move policy into any direction, not to mention a sensible one, is seriously compromised.
Joe Biden Calls a Custard Shop Manager a 'Smart Ass' (Video)
It looks like there won't be any episodes on B--- S--- about scientology or Islam any time soon. Oddly, Christians come across as very gracious about being abused. All that bit about turning the other cheek, one supposes...
Kevin Costner, Hero of the Gulf Oil Leak Disaster
Actor and film producer Kevin Costner has become an unlikely hero of the Gulf oil leak disaster. Costner has a company that produces machines that separate oil from water using a centrifuge system. BP has purchased 32 of the machines.
Despite Obama Promise, Guantanamo Prison to Remain Open After All
It appears, according to a report in the New York Times, that President Barack Obama will not, after all, close the terrorist detention center at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba after all. Another Obama promise, the cynics will say, with an expiration date.
Will the Obama Administration Deport Mosab Hassan Yousef to Certain Death in the Middle East
The United States is attempting to deport the son of one of the founders of Hamas, the terrorist organization that now rules the Gaza Strip, Mosab Hassan Yousef, to the West Bank, even though he would surely be tortured to death should that happen.
Two crucial votes will test what if any support Obamaspace has in the Congress.

Friday, June 25, 2010

It appears that the administration is backing off just a little from the plan to manipulate the Deficiency Act to try to shut down Constellation.
Stephen Colbert goes to NASA's JSC in Houston: Part 3: Stephen flies the space shuttle
Karl Grossman continued to hate "nuclear rockets" but doesn't quite say why, until the very end of his screed:
We have been seeing -- for two months now -- the damage of technology run amok in the Gulf of Mexico. Consider the consequences of dangerous, expensive, unnecessary nuclear-powered technology running amok above our heads.

So nuclear powered propulsion is bad because of the BP oil leak disaster? I'm pretty sure there is no relation of one to the other.
A company called Declaration Entertainment proposes to produce movies that impart American values of freedom and so on. That is a laudable goal. However I have some doubts as to the financial model of having the films financed by public subscription.

In any event, first film under development seems to be a space adventure.
The Time: the Near Future. Life in America grows ever more regimented, regulated and controlled. But far out in the Mojave Desert, a small band of renegade entrepreneurs and engineers are building a vehicle capable of opening the entire Solar System to colonization and free enterprise, beyond the reach of bureaucracy.

After a catastrophic failure of their nuclear engine and the loss of their primary crew, this small but dedicated team races to re-design and re-crew Aurora, reaching back into NASA’s best days to move forward into the future – a future that depends on protecting and preserving the quintessential American frontier values: courage, optimism, ingenuity and daring.

Backed by oil money, running on nuclear power, Aurora and her crew set a course for the worst place there is: mighty Jupiter - a miniature solar system and a cyclotron of radiation; a place of unparalleled danger and grandeur. En route they will face death and disaster, and nothing but raw courage and sacrifice will bring them back alive.

I'm frankly intrigued, but have some questions.

Rand Simberg informs me, in his usual tart tongued fashion, that this is a private expedition, not commercial, hence it is not being done for profit. So, then, what is the motivation for spending money on a space voyage to Jupiter undertaken by a private entity just because, apparently, it is there? And what possessed oil companies to finance the expedition? Most stockholders in private companies would look askance at spending billions (and this is making the assumption that because it is private, it is cheap) on something without a tangible return.

In any case, I look forward to the production of this project, if it ever comes to pass, with keen interest.
The Return of 'Futurama'
"Futurama", like an undead ghoul, an alien pod person, or Mr. Spock, has arisen from the dead once again. Canceled once, then revived as a series of made-for-DVD movies, "Futurama" has come back to life with all-new episodes on Comedy Central.
'Burn Notice,' Season 4 ,Episode 4: 'Breach of Faith'
In "Burn Notice," Season 4, Episode 4 "Breach of Faith," Fi and Jesse find themselves on the fun-filled island paradise of the Bahamas, on the trail for information on a dead arms dealer who was, as such people are, up to no good.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

"Red" Starring Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich, and Morgan Freeman
Is Al Gore a 'Crazed Sex Poodle'?
Is former vice president, former presidential candidate, Nobel Laureate, and Oscar winner Al Gore a "crazed sex poodle"? A strange story from 2006 by a 54-year-old Oregon masseuse suggests yes, but logic suggests that there is some fantasy going on.
University of Texas researchers working on super efficient solar cells
Racist swans.
Clara Moskowitz tries to spin Obamaspace into something it is not and, through omissions of fact and exaggerations, fails to convince anyone besides the true believer kool aid drinkers.

Moskowitz fails to mention that the Constellation space exploration program is killed under Obamaspace. In its place are vague promises of a heavy lift vehicle to be started in 2015 with Apollo on Crack missions to asteroids, Mars orbit, and so on in the far future.

Obamaspace specifically bypasses the Moon because "Buzz Aldrin has already been there."

Moskowitz also fails to mention that the initial roll out of Obamaspace did not even feature those things, just a vaguely defined technology development program that "one day" would lead to some kind of space exploration. It was only after withering criticism about the lack of a mission that President Obama suggested the asteroid mission and so on. Few people think he is being serious. After all, he lied to space workers in Titusville about his support for Constellation. He is likely lying now.

Moskowitz also pretends that the whole plan was actually discussed by Augustine and others. In fact Obamaspace was crafted, as the critics point out, in secret by people unknown and sprung on the public and Congress by surprise without any vetting. Any relationship Obamaspace might have, even rhetorically, to Augustine or anything else is coincidental.
More evidence that Charlie Bolden is being set up to fall on his sword for Obama's train wreck space policy.
The Bigotry of Paul Kanjorski, Democrat of Pennsylvania (Video)
Robert Pattinson from 'Twilight' Related to Vlad the Impaler?
There is a report that Robert Pattinson, who plays the pale, cadaverous vampire Edward Cullen in the "Twilight" film series, is related to none other than Vlad the Impaler, the 15th Century Balkan noble who was the inspiration for Dracula.
Rasumussen: Plurality See Government as Threat to Rights
Thomas Jefferson once said, "When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty." If the
results of a new Rasmussen poll are correct, Jefferson would conclude that tyranny has returned to America.
Christians Arrested for Handing Out Copies of the Gospel of John Outside Dearborn Arab Festival
Three Haiku on Purple
Chaos reigns at NASA as officials continue to fund Constellation projects the administration wants to stop.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Rand Simberg is not impressed with the idea that Citizens Against Government Waste is, in effect, supporting Obama's space policy by opposing Constellation, falsely calling it "pork." Rand doesn't reveal that CAGW is a libertarian group that is against all government funded space exploration.
Stephen Colbert goes to NASA's JSC in Houston: Part 1: The Astronaut Job Interview and Part 2: astronaut training
McChrystal Relieved, Petraeus Appointed to Afghanistan
General Stanley McChrystal has paid the price of indiscretion, and has had his resignation from commander in the War in Afghanistan accepted by President Obama. General David Petraeus, currently commander of CENTCOM, will replace him.
Haley, Scott Wins in South Carolina Usher in New Political Era
South Carolina has nominated Nikki Haley, an Indian American, as Republican candidate for governor, and Tim Scott, an African-American, to be a Representative, the first Black Republican in Congress since 2003.
David Criswell's big idea: Lunar based solar power
Daniel Radcliff is going to be in a new version of "All Quiet on the Western Front." There will be, of course, Iraq nods aplenty.

Yeah, I recall with horror all of those hundreds of thousands one men killed when they went over the top in Iraq.
Interior's Salazar to Reinstate Deep Water Drilling Ban
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, having noted that a federal court has struck down the deep water oil drilling ban because the government lacked sufficient reason for it, has vowed to find a sufficient reason to reinstate the ban.
Feds Halt Sand Berms Off Gulf Coast
The chaos along the Gulf Coast, caused mainly by the vacillation of the federal government, continues apace. The Fish and Wildlife Service has now stopped the building of sand berms designed to protect the Gulf Coast from the oil leak.
'Deadliest Warrior:' CIA Vs. KGB
In "Deadliest Warrior:" CIA vs. KGB, the combat was between two spy services from the Cold War, circa 1979, which just happened to be at the dawn of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the end game of the US/Soviet conflict.
Is Citizens Against Government Waste carrying OBama's water" against Constellation? It would so seem, in effect.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Federal Judge Overturns Obama Deep Water Oil Drilling Ban
Judge Martin L.C. Feldman, a Federal district judge in New Orleans, has overturned an Obama six month ban on deep water oil drilling. Judge Feldman stated that the Interior Department lied about the findings of a panel of experts on oil drilling.
It seems that Teddy Kennedy, liberal lion of the Senate, was conspiring with the KGB to undermine American foreign policy.
The naming of Senator Shelby as a porker of the month says a lot more about Citizens Against Government Waste's opposition against any form of space exploration than Shelby's reputation as a porker. Mind, Shelby will not be affected one iota by this, not even to the extent of being shamed.
NASA's Bolden, the OMEGA biofuel project, Marathon Oil, and the conflict of interest
Arab Children Sing of the Joys of Death and Martyrdom
OMB's Peter Orszag to Depart Obama Administration
Peter Orszag, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, has announced that he intends to resign after 18 months. Orszag intends to marry soon, but the real reason for his departure would seem obvious.
A group of space business leaders and others have written a letter to the Congress. The letter, not surprisingly, urges funding for the commercial space initiative. But the letter breaks with the Obama administration in urging an acceleration of space exploration programs, while artfully refusing to endorse any specific destination, either an asteroid as in Obamaspace, or the Moon as to Constellation.
British wind farms paid to turn off turbines during breezy, summer nights
General Stanley McChrystal Has a MacArthur Moment in the Pages of Rolling Stone
Add to the list of erstwhile Obama supporters who have become disenchanted with the President a surprising figure. He is General Stanley McChrystal, the American commander of the War in Afghanistan.
'Saving Grace' Finale Ends with a Bang, Then a Whimper
"Saving Grace," a show that oddly combined the spiritual journey of a very flawed, yet heroic police detective living in Oklahoma City with police procedure stories, has come to the finale of its run. The end came with a bang, then a whimper.
Is lunar mined helium 3 the fuel for a clean energy future?
Things are really bad if one of the people who has lost confidence in Barack Obama's ability to be President is Barack Obama.

Monday, June 21, 2010

More on Can We Go to an Asteroid by 2025?
President Obama's proposal to land American astronauts on an asteroid by 2025 has been called into question, according to an article in USA Today. The resources and the technical expertise may not be available for such an effort so soon.
Taylor Dinerman asks the question The Collapse of NASA?
The attempt to kill George W. Bush's Constellation Program has thrown NASA and the US space industry into chaos. If the next human to set foot on the Moon is not a US astronaut, that change will be seen by the rest of the world as a major humiliation for this country. Those who say, "Been there, done that" will be answered with, "Can't go there, can't do that."

Some folks, misguided as they are, would regard that as a feature rather than a bug of Obamaspace.

Plus, this piece about space based solar power.
Abby, Amelia Earhart and Apollo 11
I was 12 years old the summer Neil Armstrong became the first man to set foot on the moon, and today, more than four decades later, Americans are still talking about it.

In fact, it's practically all we talk about. The moon landing is the first thing Barack Obama mentions when he's pressed to cite examples of the American people's resolve -- which is pretty depressing, considering how many administrations have gone by since then and how little they've generated in the way of worthy sequels to Apollo 11.

Of course the Apollo model of doing things is just so last minute, back when we actually did stuff like going to the Moon.
War on Best Friends Declared by Child Psychologists
The latest fad among child psychologists, educational bureaucrats, and other busy bodies is the idea that kids should not have best friends. Apparently, this leads to exclusivity, cliques, and even, at times, bullying.
Contrary to what Sam Dinken and, of course, Rand Simberg think, it is a long stretch indeed between launching satellites (or even people) into low Earth and a privately funded, privately operated Mars settlement. For a private company to go to the Moon, not to mention Mars, there has to be a profit motive involved. There is not any such, at least worth the cost of doing such things.

There is, however, a national security imperative to at least get back to the Moon as soon as possible. With more water there than in the Great Lakes, not to mention helium 3, the Moon is the most strategic real estate in the Solar System. It is the key to the Solar System.

Elon Musk, for all of his talents as a businessman (as well as getting fat government contracts), is not going to get people back to the Moon. By the time one of the scrappy entrepreneurs do manage it, lacking an American presence there already, he or she is likely to have his entry papers demanded by the other country that got there first.

Disdaining the "Apollo model" of space exploration is sort of the equivalent of disdaining the "Columbus Model" of trans ocean exploration or the "Lewis and Clark" model of North American exploration. People who talk like that are being foolish and do not contribute anything but incoherent noise to the space policy debate,

On the other hand, Jeff Foust may be on to something when it comes to private/public partnerships. One suspects that that model will still require a large commitment of government resources to make it work, at least in the initial years.
Adam Gadahn, an American Traitor and Al Qaeda Operative, Dictates Terms to Barack Obama
Alan Stern makes some good points about how commercial space flight can free NASA to do deep space exploration. Stern does not mention that these were points made during the Bush administration when the COTS program was first started. Sadly, the Obama administration, instead of following the Bush policy of having the commercial and exploration parts of space exploration complement one another, has pitted the two by canceling the Constellation exploration program. True there is airy talk about landing on an asteroid one of these days, but it's just talk with no real resources or money committed.
John Glenn has apparently awoken from a ten year nap and has discovered that the American civil space program is a mess. Mind, one wonders where this John Glenn was when he was a Senator.

Here is one howler concerning return to the Moon:
The principal rationale for establishing a base on the moon, aside from international prestige, was to gain experience in extra-terrestrial living in preparation for future space destinations. Those deeper space travels are far enough in the future that I agree with postponing a lunar base.

To establish a lunar base is extremely expensive and can wait, at least for now. Other expenditures pale beside that one.

Another rationale for establishing a moon base is the proposal for development of Helium-3 sources on the moon which could factor into our future fusion based energy needs.

Once again, that need is far enough in the future that we can address it when we learn more about control of fusion energy. The world's preeminent multi-billion dollar fusion energy project is well underway at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory but it will probably be decades before that research could lead to a national need for quantities of H-3 from the moon.

First, a lunar base has far many more rationales beyond a training base for deep space missions. In any case, Glenn contradicts himself in his "on to Mars!" recommendations.

As for Helium 3, I was not aware that Lawrence Livermore was doing that kind of fusion. The Fusion Technology Institute in Wisconsin is, but it is scraping by on private funding. A big, fat government grant would be of great use there. Besides, even on the Constellation schedule, helium 3 would likely not be mined in any quantity for a couple of decades at the earlier; more than enough time to start on a prototype reactor.
Snoop Dogg "Oh Sookie" a True Blood Tribute Music Video
Obama - No Border Security Without Immigration Reform
The author of Making the path for human spaceflight less rocky clearly has some problems with facts. Thus, the following howler:
Sure, we’d all like to have a human geologist picking up rocks on the surface of Mars, brushing them with a fingertip, and squinting at them through a helmet visor. But for the same cost we could spread telerobotic craft across the surface of the planet, inspecting rocks with higher observational facility than the human eye can provide. This all under the direction of humans who just happen not to be there physically. For a geologist who could do in a day what a robot could do in a month, a few dozen robots working 24/7 would be stiff competition.

The author clearly has not heard of the study conducted a few years back by the Royal Astronomical Society that suggested that humans are essential for scientific exploration of celestial bodies. Otherwise he would not have written the howler disdaining human geologists. The author also seems to not be very knowledgeable about physics, otherwise he would have been aware of the lag times necessarily to tele-operate robots on Mars.
'True Blood' Season 3 Episode 2 'Beautifully Broken'
"True Blood" Season 3 Episode 2 "Beautifully Broken" begins as the previous episode ended, with Bill confronting a pack of werewolves. The confrontation is going badly for the werewolves, with three killed and one with an ear missing.
'The Tudors' Season 4 Episode 10 'Death of a Monarchy'
In "The Tudors" Season 4 Episode 10 "Death of a Monarchy" even the most bloody, horrific reign, as well as great cable television, must come to an end. Time, unlike virtue and honor, cannot be regained once lost.
Report: Rahm Emanuel to Leave Obama White House Soon
Is Rahm Emanuel, President Barack Obama's chief of staff, getting itchy feet and thinking of resigning? If the London Telegraph is accurate, it would seem so, and, perhaps for the career of the mercurial Emanuel, just in time.
Obama plan to land on asteroid may be unrealistic for 2025

That assumes that this is more than just a Lucy with the Football maneuver.
Is Charlie Bolden being set up to take a fall? First the business of the algae biofuel conflict of interest. And now this.
According to NASA and Congressional sources, the problems associated with the completion and delivery of NASA's budgetary and policy information to Congress last week were not due entirely to White House's preoccupation with the oil spill. During part of the time the budget numbers were being crunched Charlie Bolden was 7 times zones away in Qatar. NASA and Administration staff have begun to raise questions about the amount of time that Charlie Bolden spends away from NASA Headquarters (and the communication issues that go with that) often dealing with issues that are, at best, peripheral to what the agency needs to be focusing on right now.

The real reason, if this is the case, is that Obamaspace has proven to be both a political and policy disaster. Someone will need to fall on his sword for it. The sad part of that Bolden was likely out of the loop when Obamaspace was formulated and was obliged to defend the indefensible like a good Marine.

Who will follow? I somehow doubt it will be Lori Garver. For one thing there is no tradition of bumping up the Deputy Administrator to the top job. Besides, Garver is detested even more than Bolden on Capitol Hill and is widely suspected of being one of the driving forces (along with Science Czar John Holdren) of Obamaspace.

Leaving, whom? For one thing, who will be willing to actually take the top job at NASA considering the mess that has been made there these past few months?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Fathers' Day from Mr. Spock and son.
President Obama, BP's Hayward Take Time Off from Gulf Coast Oil Disaster
BP CEO Tony Hayward and American President Barack Obama seem to share one quality in common: Both Hayward and Obama seem to have developed a tin ear when it comes to the political atmosphere of the BP oil leak disaster.
Facebook's Zuckerberg Threatened with Prosecution, Death by Pakistan Legal Authorities
It seems that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is under investigation by Pakistani legal authorities for violation of that country's anti-blasphemy laws surrounding the recent Draw Muhammed contest.
Miles O'Brien Talks to Mike Griffin About Obamaspace, Commercial Space, and Falcon 9 (Video)
Neda Agha Soltan Martyred One Year Ago Today (Video)

Here was what I had to say about the matter at the time.
Kesha Rogers, LaRouche follower, embarrasses Democrats in Houston area Congressional race

Addendum: Kesha Rogers, Democratic Candidate for Congress, Speaks on Impeaching Obama, Mars Colonialization

Saturday, June 19, 2010

'Jonah Hex' - Movie Review
"Jonah Hex" is a bloody mess of a movie, based on a comic book that seems at once too short and too long. The plot, such as it is, resembles an episode of "The Wild, Wild West," only much darker and drearier.
The Vatican - 'The Blues Brothers' a 'Catholic Classic'
The Vatican, for reasons known only to God, has decreed that "The Blues Brothers" is a "Catholic Classic," and is, therefore, recommended viewing for good Catholics everywhere. It seems that committing multiple felonies is fine if it's for a good cause.
One suspects that when the Congressional sausage factory is done, something like one of these may well become the heavy lifter needed to take humans beyond LEO.
Paul Spudis comments on the latest findings about lunar water.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Friends of Israel: Sign the petition
Elton John Defies Boycott, Plays Concert in Israel
Fresh from annoying the Left by playing at Rush Limbaugh's wedding, British rock and roll legend Elton John defied a musician's boycott of Israel and played a concert in Tel Aviv before an audience of 50,000 very appreciative fans.
Obama Administration to Sue Arizona Over Anti-Illegal Immigration Law
Astonishingly, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was telling the truth when she informed the people of Ecuador that the Obama administration would sue the state of Arizona over that state's anti-illegal immigration law.
Congressman Darrell Issa to Conduct Investigations of Obama White House If GOP Takes Over Congress
If, as expected, the Republicans take over Congress, the second half of the Obama administration looks to be very bleak indeed for the White House. That is because Congressional investigations will begin.
'Tomorrow when the War Began' Trailer (Video)
PETA protests NASA primate radiation experiments at JSC Houston
'Burn Notice' Season 4 Episode 3 'Made Man'
In 'Burn Notice' Season 4 Episode 3 'Made Man,' Michael, Sam, Fi, and Jesse go on the waterfront in Miami to run down an arms-smuggling operation. Naturally, they also run into some other trouble, in the form of the Mob.
Coast Guard Halts Louisiana Barge Oil Cleanup Operation for Inspections
Bobby Jindal, the much put-upon Governor of Louisiana, had another reason for exasperation as the Coast Guard halted for an entire day an operation to use barges to suck up the oil from the Gulf of Mexico and place it in storage tanks.
Japanese Ikaros 'Sunjammer' Sails the Airless Ocean of Space
Sunjammer on the deep, black ocean of space.
Mexican Drug Runners, Human Trafficers Overrun Three Arizona Counties

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Blue-Sky Boys, a play about how a group of very strange engineers put a man on the Moon, with the help of such entities as the God Apollo, Buck Rogers, The Red Baron, and Galileo.
Rep. Joe Barton Apologizes to BP for White House Shakedown
Congressman Joe Barton (R Texas) is getting both praise and condemnation for his apology to BP CEO Tony Hayward for the $20 billion dollar shakedown by the White House. The "escrow account" for victims of the oil leak disaster is controversial, to say the least.
Jon Stewart Turns on Barack Obama for the War on Terror (Video)
More Water on the Moon Than in the Great Lakes
A recent NASA funded study by the Carnegie Institution's Geophysical Laboratory in Washington, along with other scientists across the nation, has concluded that there is a hundred times more water on the Moon than hitherto thought.
Obama Most Hated American President in Great Britain Since Nixon
If one believes Nile Gardiner, President Barack Obama has made himself the most hated, despised American President in Great Britain since Richard Nixon. The problem goes beyond Obama's trashing of BP over the Gulf oil leak disaster.
Victor Davis Hanson says, "Bush did it!" is not a foreign policy.
Jeff Foust asks, when is the right time for heavy lift?

Answer: The sooner the better. Also the bigger the better.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader Trailer (Video)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Japanese porn star is offering to apologize to Chinese students by having sex with them for Japan's invasion of China. Of course some wise ass in the comments section had to mention Pearl Harbor and the Bataan Death March. Anri Suzuki is going to be a very busy girl.
Lunar water - more than in the Great Lakes.
Obama - worse than Jimmy Carter.
Eric Sterner is the latest to poke holes in Obamaspace.
In isolation, each of the administration’s initiatives is worthy of a great space program and, in many ways, overdue. They do address many of the resource-driven shortfalls in the program the administration inherited. But, the fact that the administration feels compelled to raise the possibility of new destinations, some of which aren’t so new (Moon-Mars), without truly committing to them suggests that it recognizes the obvious. Its initiatives may be worthy of a great space program, but in eliminating the focus of returning to the Moon and going on to Mars—as well as the political consensus behind it — the administration has robbed the nation of a great space program.

An even more blunt assessment.
Obama has gone out of his way to ensure everything this country stands for…innovation, excellence, pioneering…goes by the wayside. We are to be nothing but average. No better then the rest of the world and no worse.

This program requires all the traits that has made America great. It would allow us to explore the moon with new technology, investigate the origins of our universe all the while striving to get mankind onto our nearest planet.

But in Obama’s America we are not an exceptional people. So why strive for excellence.
Anti-War Teachers Disrupt School Assembly Honoring Student Military Enlistees
Six members of the graduating class of the Dennis Yarmouth Regional High School have decided to enlist in the military after graduation. The school held an assembly honoring the students. Two teachers at the school decided to stage a protest.
'Atlas Shrugged' Soon to Be a Major Motion Picture (Finally!)
"Atlas Shrugged," the iconic philosophic novel by Ayn Rand, is finally before the cameras as a soon to be major motion picture - several major motion pictures, if the plans of the producers come the fruition. The process has been over 30 years in coming.
Will Space Center Houston get a space shuttle orbiter?
Obama BP Oil Disaster Speech Falls Flat
President Barack Obama's Oval Office address on the BP oil leak disaster was two-thirds chest-thumping and finger-pointing, and one-third trying not to let a crisis go to waste. The problem was that the first was 50 days too late, and the second was transparent.
Dad Nurtured Pursuits in Politics, Space and History
I know my dad is a living saint because I lived to see my 20th birthday without having him exercise that right that Roman fathers enjoyed as praetor familii by taking me out as he had brought me into the world.

Quite seriously, whatever good character I have, and there is some debate on that, is largely Dad's doing (and yes, Mom had something to do with that, too, but this is Father's Day after all.) In any case, I have never served time in jail, been addicted to illegal drugs, or have been elected to public office. Obviously Dad did something right.
'Deadliest Warrior:' Persian Immortal Vs. Celt Warrior
In Deadliest Warrior: Persian Immortal vs. Celt Warrior, two ancient warriors who were contemporary to one another, but separated by the classical civilizations of Greece and Rome, were matched up.
SpaceX has signed a $492 million dollar deal with Iridium to launch satellites. This constitutes a good, solid private market for the Falcon 9. However SpaceX still lacks a private customer for the Dragon in either its cargo or crewed configuration.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Report: Al Gore and Laurie David Had an Affair
When it was announced that Al and Tipper Gore were splitting up, the official story was that they had "drifted apart" and that their multi-decade marriage was thus ending. The Star is reporting, however, that the Gore marriage may be ending for a different reason.
Poll: Louisianans think Bush did better on Katrina than Obama’s doing on the oil spill
With sequels, reboots, retreads, and material based on TV shows, video games, and graphic novels bombing right and left, Hollywood now wants original material.
Julia Ecklar Sings of Apollo 11 in 'Hope Eyrie'

Also Julia Ecklar Sings 'The Ballad of Apollo XIII'
General Petraeus Swoons at Senate Hearing
State, Local Governments Defy Obama to Deal with BP Oil Disaster
Obama administration dithering and bureaucracy concerning the response to the BP oil leak disaster has caused some state and local governments along the Gulf Coast to move on their own, defying federal authority.
Return to the Moon in Literature
Dreams of Humans Back on the Lunar Surface

President Barack Obama may be hell bent on foregoing a return to the Moon by any American in the foreseeable future and Congress may or may not go along, but one can still read about what a lunar return might be like in literature.
Senator Nelson NASA Space Plan Extends ISS, Slows Down Commercial Space, Bypasses the Moon
In a letter to Senator Barbara Mikulski, who is the chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies, Senator Bill Nelson outlined his vision for a NASA authorization bill.
Daffyd Ab Hugh focuses on the sheer evil and mendacity of Obamaspace neatly.
I’ve always considered a presidential administration’s commitment to manned space exploration an excellent barometer of its belief in the grandeur of Western civilization; its belief in America’s future and exceptional greatness; and its understanding of what Konstantin Tsiolkovsky meant when he said that, “a planet is the cradle of mind, but one cannot live in a cradle forever.” Simply put, an administration that believes in manned space exploration — believes in Mankind.

So it’s hardly a surprise that Barack H. Obama is in the process of killing the Constellation program proposed by (of course) President George W. Bush to return human beings, Americans, to the Moon, this time to stay; to explore lunar science and geology, investigate the origins of our solar system, and exploit the vast mineralogical, energy, and environmental resources found on our nearest neighboring planet.

And it’s even less of a surprise that they’re doing it in a backhanded way, in violation of an act that Obama himself is about to sign into law — while mockingly flouting it.

Read it all, especially you Obamaspace enablers. And mark this:
There we have it: A grandiose narcissist who sees himself as simply too big for America’s britches must be horrified by a program of manned space exploration, the consequences of which threaten to overwhelm his own meagre achievements, assuming one can find any, in a Noachian deluge of science, technology, and future shock. Indeed, if we indeed returned to the Moon on a permanent basis, using that as a stepping stone to Mars and the rest of the solar system, then that would likely be the only thing anyone would remember, “generations from now,” about the administration of Barack Obama. Only our next faltering steps into the universe beyond; all else would be sucked down the memory hole, along with yesterday’s horoscope.

Addendum: Not surprisingly one of Obamaspace's chief enablers, Rand Simberg, declines to take my advice. He also falsely states that the Augustine Report says that the Constellation program was a "disaster." The report states, and Augustine has restated a number of times, that the Constellation program was doable if adequately funded. Obamaspace solves that problem by pushes out its own space stunt program into the administrations of Obama's successors and sticks them with the bill. The "Constellation was a disaster" has become the big lie of the space age, being spun by the useful idiots of Obamaspace.

Then there is this howler:

"--but NASA (why can’t the Brits learn to capitalize acronyms?) wasn’t making a “lunge toward Mars,” quixotically or otherwise. It wasn’t even making a “lunge” toward the moon. It was more of a slow crawl, unlikely to ever get there. And it was a smart decision, regardless of the economic environment. No matter how wealthy we are as a nation, it would be foolish to spend tens of billions on so little capability as Constellation offered when we could have much more for much less, and much sooner."

One wonders how an adult human being can write such nonsense. The sad truth is that Obamaspace will do none of those things. Not more. Not for less. Nor sooner. Not at all. A "slow crawl" is quicker forward progress than stopping and standing pat.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Looks like Princess Leia has gone over to the Dark Side.
I know there is a reason I liked John Birmingham. He hates soccer as much as I do.
The irrepressible Rick Tumlinson uses purple prose to hide the paucity of his arguments against Constellation. Mind, Falcon 9 is at least technically a fine thing, but it will not get anyone beyond Low Earth Orbit. Constellation, properly funded, would do that.
Looks like Bill Nelson is not with the commercial space program. Mind his fixation on Mars is a problem.
Prince Charles is Given to Saying and Believing Silly Things
That Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, is a ninny has been well-known and well-documented over the years. Christopher Hitchens, who wants to abolish the monarchy and create a British Republic, has some more examples
Democrats Make Excuses for Bob Etheridge Assault
The video of Congressman Bob Etheridge, a Democrat from North Carolina, assaulting a student journalist for asking him if he supported the Obama agenda, is starting to get a reaction from Etheridge's fellow Democrats.
The Moon has a hundred times more water than previously thought. But we're shutting down the back to the Moon program, firing five thousand engineers, and will bypass the Moon if we explore space at all. After all, as the President said, Buzz Aldrin has already been there.
Is Illinois about to turn red?
A film based on the premise that Don Quixote was not insane.
The first review of John Birmingham's latest novel, After America, is now in. The main critique seems to be that it is too pro American and too anti Islamofascist.

It is time for Congress to assert itself over space policy.
One of the projects of Obamaspace is a new, hydrocarbon based rocket engine. Anthony Young recalls the Saturn F1, the last such engine we built. Jeff Foust wants to elevate the debate about Obamaspace, Constellation, and the future of the space program in general. A noble aspiration, to be sure, but one has to respond, good luck with that. The Obama regime is less interested in debate and coming to a compromise than in winning at all cost, even if it means blowing up the space program. Giving five thousand engineers the royal order of the boot goes a long way toward crippling NASA's ability to do anything of substance for the foreseeable future. And Frank Stratford discusses the true benefit of going to Mars.
Space Policy Fight May Have No Winners
Obama's high handed end run to destroy the Constellation space exploration program may succeed, but on the other hand Congress may be in no mood to fund the commercial space initiative. Aviation Week is suggesting that everyone will lose.

On the other hand, if one thinks that the whole purpose of Obamaspace is to blow up the space program, then one might consider Obama the winner and everyone else (NASA, SpaceX, and so on) the loser.
More on Afghanistan Has a Trillion Dollars in Mineral Wealth
Since the days of Alexander the Great, the region we now know as Afghanistan has been known for its inhospitable terrain, its quarrelsome people, and, more recently, opium. But that, apparently, is about to change.

Addendum: Blake Hounshell urges caution.

Addendum 2: The Left reacts in a typical fashion. (Link fixed)
Congressman Bob Etheridge D-North Carolina Assaults a Student (Video)
'The Tudors' Season 4 Episode 9
'The Tudors' Season 4 Episode 9 concerns the application of justice in the latter part of the reign of Henry VIII, as well as the state of religion in England. Both, largely because of the times and the man, lead much to be desired.
'True Blood' Season 3 Episode 1 'Bad Blood'
'True Blood' Season 3 Episode 1 'Bad Blood' starts with our heroes and heroines dealing with the consequences of Season 2 and setting up new consequences. Vampire sex, vampire violence, and vampire witty repartee; it's good to be back in Bon Temps.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Keith Cowing poses the question Why Isn't The Rest Of America Upset About This? This being Obama's high handed shut down of Constellation. Mind, that it is being covered by national media as well as space state media does not suggest a cover up or that people don't care. But being outraged at Obama folly can consume all of ones time. Right now most people are focused on Obama blunders with immediate consequences, such as the oil leak and the economy. The evisceration of the space program will have dire consequences in the future. Still, I think that the lawless aspect of the move is starting to be noticed.
Another game changing resource find. A trillion dollars of minerals in--Afghanistan.
Obama wants fifty billion dollars for mainly liberal state and local governments that have spent themselves into penury. Mind, fifty billion would fix Constellation enough to get us back to the Moon by the end of the decade. But the administration has other priorities.
The following is published with great timing. The scenario is that as America abandons the Moon, a plucky entrepreneur puts together a private space expedition to mine lunar platinum. It's unlikely to happen (at least this way) in the real world, but it would be wonderful if it did. Alas in the world we live in, the most successful space businessman is straining just to get to LEO, fueled by fat government subsidies and contracts.

The Times of London has commentary on Obamaspace that rather misses the point.
President Obama is nothing if not rational. He came to office facing the collapse of the US economy and has since ordered a freeze on discretionary non-security spending. He has ring-fenced his education budget, committed the Treasury to paying $1 trillion (£690 billion) over ten years on health insurance subsidies, and still has two wars to fund. In the circumstances, Nasa’s quixotic lunge toward Mars with a “new generation” of distinctly old-fashioned rockets looked vulnerable at best. If Mr Obama has his way, it will be doomed.

If President Obama is the least bit rational, he has so far shown little evidence. The author of the commentary forgets in his litany of Obama spending that stimulus package that had the effect of burning a pile of a trillion dollars for all the good it did for the American economy. Buttressing American space exploration could easily have been accommodated in the stimulus package and would have had a far more beneficial effect on the American economy than most of what was spent on. But David Obey, the American Congressman and Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, had other priorities.

Then there is this:
There are stronger strategic arguments for maintaining America’s lead beyond Earth’s orbit. If it steps back, China will become the world’s dominant space-faring nation and its goals there remain unclear. Mr Obama understands this. He also knows that the idea of journeying to the next frontier retains a powerful hold on the American psyche, which is why he claims that his plan to outsource research and development for new propulsion technologies will lead eventually to Mars. Yet the frail US economy leaves his hands tied. For at least ten years American astronauts will fly to space in Russian capsules, or not at all — because American consumers borrowed too much for their houses.

There is some truth in this paragraph, though the author is wide of the mark insofar as what Obama understands and does not understand. Obama could care less about America's leadership in any arena, especially beyond Earth orbit. He is hell bent on destroying the American civil space program and is going about it in plain sight, with a lot of people who think they support a space future cheering him on.
Margaret Thatcher the first climate change skeptic.
Hayabusa Japanese Asteroid Probe Returns to Earth
Israel to Become a Natural Gas Exporting Country Soon
Bloomberg is reporting that a major natural gas discovery off the coast of Israel has created the potential of the Jewish state becoming an energy exporting country within the next two decades. The find has game changing implications.
Sarah Palin is come to the foreign trip stage of her ascent to power. She will visit Great Britain and pay a visit to Lady Margaret Thatcher. No doubt Lady Thatcher will give Governor Palin advice on what it is like to be a female world leader.
About a year ago, Neda Agha Soltan, clandestine music student, Iranian protester, young woman was foully murdered by an agent of the theocratic regime during a protest. A video was taken and distributed world wide via the Internet of her last moment. Her story is now the subject of an HBO documentary.
Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the Moon. voracious self promoter, and President Obama's adviser on not going back to the Moon, suggests that the BP oil leak disaster merits a new look at space based solar power. He may be on to something here. Of course, some who have analyzed this problem have suggested that it would be economical to build such stations using material found on the Moon or even to build them on the Moon. Of course, to do that, we have to return to the Moon even if, as the President once said, Buzz Aldrin has already been there.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

World Cup Soccer - Why is it Even Considered a Sport?
We usually don't comment about sports, even when sports figures (Tiger Woods comes to mind) embarrass themselves with their misbehavior. But the advent of the latest World Cup Soccer tournament has forced our hand.
Bill Maher - Oil Industry like Child Pornography
Sarah Palin Discusses the Boobs in the Media
'The A-Team' the Movie
'The A-Team', the movie based on the 1980s TV series by the same name, serves as a kind of origin story of the group of mercenary ex Army Rangers who are on the lam, having been falsely accused of committing crimes.
'Stargate Universe' Season 1 Episode 20 'Incursion Part 2'
In 'Stargate Universe' Season 1 Episode 20 'Incursion Part 2' Colonel Young, Camille, Dr. Rush, and company, who thought that being on an alien starship half way across the universe was stressful, start to find out what stressful means.
Israel's New Friend--Saudi Arabia?
Who would have thought that as the 21st Century grinds on, that Saudi Arabia, the oil rich theocracy ruled over by petro billionaire playboys, would prove to be a better ally of Israel than the United States, at least in some respects?
Sarah Palin ays that people who are obsessed by her bosom need to grab a shovel and go help clean up the Gulf of Mexico.

Friday, June 11, 2010

'Burn Notice' Season 4 Episode 2 'Fast Friends'
In 'Burn Notice' Season 4 Episode 2 'Fast Friends' Vaughn informs Michael that Jesse, the counter intelligence agent Michael had caused to be burned, has some information that his people would very much like to know.
As a break for the grim news about Barack Obama taking the Joran van der Sloot approach to space policy, here is some one who really doesn't like Obamaspace because it will build nuclear rockets. (Queue ominous music.) I'll leave the various departures from objection reality in the article as an exercise for the reader.
Why Obama Should Kick His Own Ass Over the BP Oil Leak Disaster
Lileks explains to his daughter why the President said, "ass."

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Scott Pace is also suggesting that this anti deficiency law gambit is more than a little dodgy.
Scott Pace, a former associate administrator for program analysis and evaluation at NASA and now director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University, said, “In a brief check with people more knowledgeable than me, NASA has never held contractors’ liable for termination liability.”

“If this is to be the new agency policy and practice, then NASA should shift responsibility for termination liability on all of its current contracts, not simply Constellation,” Dr. Pace said. “As it stands, this appears to be purposefully punitive against a specific set of NASA contractors.”

I would not be surprised if the whole thing winds up in court. There will certainly be Congressional investigations next year, when the GOP takes over, if not before. This entire matter has the odor of a desperate and, as usual, ill thought out attempt to circumnavigate the will of the Congress. It looks like Senator Bill Nelson, who was more or less on board with the new policy (with caveats) is now angry.
ATK is crying foul over the sudden invocation of the anti deficiency act. It seems that the law has never been used before.
In an email to Rand Simberg, Elon Musk further elaborates about the billion dollar figure quoted by the Wall Street Journal.

“I definitely didn’t tell Pasztor that our LES would cost $1B. He is off by a factor of ten! All I told him is that there is no way it would cost us more than $1B to demonstrate crew transport. That includes development, testing and certification to the most stringent NASA standards of everything needed for a seven-crew vehicle. I’ve also said that our price per person would be $20M, assuming the seven-person configuration and minimum of four flights per year. This compares to $30B for Ares I/Orion and a per person cost of ~$250M.”

So it seems that if one includes everything that is needed to get the Falcon9/Dragon man rated, the cost will be no more than a billion dollars. That seems to reconcile the disparate figures pretty well.
Space Center Houston is doing its summer season. I post the commercial because the young man walking toward the camera on the left in the first scene and spinning around in a centrifuge type ride is named Julian Donovan. He is my nephew.

Star Wars The Clone Wars Experience from Space Center Houston on Vimeo.

Why we fight...
Senator Hutchison responds to Obama attempt to kill NASA's Constellation through the back door
Arthur Laffer: Tax Hikes to Cause Double Dip Recession in 2011
Arthur Laffer, whose famous "Laffer Curve" demonstrated the relationship between tax rates and economic activity, is warning that, if we think 2009 and 2010 have been bad economic years, we better buckle up, because 2011 is going to be worse.
Sharron Angle is a Dangerous Radical, Says Harry Reid
Sharron Angle, who won the Republican nomination for United States Senate in Nevada, was supposed to be the one person Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wanted to run against. After all, Sharron Angle believes in so many radical things.
Former President George W. Bush delivers his Inaugural Facebook address from a library. Take that Paul McCartney!
Barbara Boxer Has Vapors Over Carbon 'Pollution'
'Not the Messiah (He's a Very Naughty Boy)'
Obama to Kill NASA's Constellation Program, Despite Congressional Approval
The Obama administration may have found a back door way to kill the Constellation space exploration program, even while Congress is mulling over ways to continue it. The move to kill Constellation involves the 120-year-old Anti-Deficiency Act.
Apparently, in Belgium, health care professionals can kill people without their consent.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

The Obama administration believes that it has found a back door way to kill Constellation regardless of what the Congress or what the law says. So much for talk of a compromise.

One suspects that this kind of high handed maneuver has doomed whatever chance Obamaspace has of being approved, in whole or in part.
The Obama administration believes that it has found a back door way to kill Constellation regardless of what the Congress or what the law says. So much for talk of a compromise.
Elon Musks disputes the Wall Street Journal article that suggests that SpaceX will need a billion in tax payer dollars to build a launch escape system that would man rate the Dragon space craft.
Andy Pasztor’s article in the Journal was, I’m sorry to say, rife with errors. He was off by a factor of ten on what it would cost SpaceX to develop a launch escape system. Also, under no circumstances would SpaceX be seeking a financing round from the taxpayers. That doesn’t make any sense.

This raises some more questions. Now, instead of the original $350 million first quoted for the LAS and the $1 billion in the WSJ article, Musk is suggesting that the LAS will cost just $100 million. Furthermore, he seems to be suggesting that SpaceX will not need any more government financing than what has already occurred or planned to occur.

This raises more questions than it answers. What is the correct figure? $350 million, a billion, or $100 million? From whence come these wildly different estimates?

Addendum: Jon Goff provides a possible explanation in an email:
Elon has always said that taking Falcon 9/Dragon to the point where it
could launch a crew would be $300-350M. This includes pad mods, the
LAS, and presumably any flight testing necessary, code upgrades, mods
to Dragon, etc. He often points out the LAS as the biggest remaining
item necessary (it is), so I guess it's common for people to take that
number and assume it's all for the LAS. But realistically the LAS
probably is only $100M of the total. Remember that Merlin, Kestral,
Falcon 1, and two launch pads were all done for less than that amount.

I think most of the confusion is caused by sloppy reporting and people
reading things into what has actually been said (and possibly sloppy
explanations on SpaceX's side).


From wench the $1 billion figure came is still uncertain. I don't believe for a moment the conspiracy theory that the WSJ made it all up. The Journal has been covering business for a very long time and is not in the habit of falsifying that kind of information.
Suzanne Corona is Taken in Adultery
Suzanne Corona, married mother of three, has been caught having sex with a man on a picnic table in a public park with a man twelve years her junior a short distance away from a children's play area in the small, New York town of Batavia.
Did Sarah Palin Get Breast Implants? Why Anyone Should Care?
Proving that being young, attractive, and politically powerful can be aggravating, the latest rumor being spread about Sarah Palin is that she has gotten breast implants. This is the sort of question that never gets asked about Hillary Clinton or Nancy Pelosi.
The biggest heartbreak of last night's primary night was the defeat of Mickey Kaus at the hands of Barbara Boxer. Kaus conceeds.
Sarah Palin Helps Make Primary Night Ladies' Night
Primary night was ladies' night on June 8, with the victories of Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina in California, Nikki Haley in South Carolina, Sharron Angle in Nevada, and the unexpected win of Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas.
Is Debrahlee Lorenzana Too Sexy for Her Job? (Video)
Keith Cowing has a weird flight of fancy disguised as a post over at NASA Watch:
Dale Thomas has simply picked up where Jeff Hanley left off and has told his staff that this is what he is doing. Nothing has changed and JSC still operates in open defiance of NASA Headquarters - starting with its center director.

I think that is called following the law. Keith is not impressed, though.
Editor's note: JSC staff work for Bolden at NASA HQ. Bolden works for the President. They do not work for Congress. They are not doing what NASA HQ tells them to do. They are in rebellion.

So let me get this straight. If an agency head tells someone in his employ to do something that is against the law and that someone refuses to do so, then that person is "in rebellion?" I think not wanting to go to Club Fed is a pretty healthy thing.
'Justified' Season 1 Episode 13 'Bulletville'
In 'Justified' Season 1 Episode 13 'Bulletville' things are starting to come to a head as past violence is starting to beget even greater violence, with everyone's life on the line. Not everyone will survive the episode.
'Deadiest Warrior: Somali Pirate Vs. Medellin Cartel'
'Deadiest Warrior: Somali Pirate vs. Medellin Cartel' was another pairing of two criminal gangs against one another. But, these two groups are actually trained and experienced in paramilitary weapons and tactics.
Houston Congressmen attempt to forge NASA space compromise with Obama administration