Monday, July 30, 2012

The Fight for Space folks are now shooting for $100,000. They say it will enable the film to be distributed to theaters.
Report: NASA Essential to American National Security
New Poll: Ted Cruz Surges to Commanding Lead in Texas Senate Race
Mitt Romney is Not a Wimp
Why Dick Cheney Put Sarah Palin Down
New Theory: Rogue Planet that Created Moon Survived Earth Impact
Sarah Palin's Chick-fil-A Visit Causes Outrage and Controversy
Romney Comes to Israel Bearing Obama's Gifts
Why a Elizabeth Warren Keynote Slot in Charlotte is a Good Thing
Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Proves Our Flags are Still There
Sarah Palin Supports Ted Cruz, Chick-fil-A in The Woodlands, Texas
Chick-Fil-A Kerfuffle Starts Backlash Against Political Correctness
2012 London Olympics Ceremony a Bizarre Left-Wing Extravaganza

Sunday, July 29, 2012

I usually don't do frog mineral water, but this is too wonderful for words:

I want one of these

Congratulations to Paul Hildebrandt and the Fight for Space team for surpassing their $65,000 fund raising goal in less than nine days.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Thursday, July 26, 2012

This is a cute rendition of a trailer using modern film techniques for "2001." Of course, the quick cutting and the loud music makes a slow, cerebral movie seem something that it is not. Also, if it came out today, it would count as alternate history

NASA Greenland Ice Melt Report Sparks Global Warming Debate
House Passes Ron Paul's Audit the Fed Bill
Obama: Stop Being Mean by Quoting What I Said About Businesses
The Chick-Fil-A Same Sex Marriage Kerfuffle
The 2012 Emmy Awards: Shows That Should Win Awards
The great J.R.R. Tolkien responds to an impertinent question about his ancestry from a German publisher about 1938.
Thank you for your letter. I regret that I am not clear as to what you intend by arisch. I am not of Aryan extraction: that is Indo-Iranian; as far as I am aware none of my ancestors spoke Hindustani, Persian, Gypsy, or any related dialects. But if I am to understand that you are enquiring whether I am of Jewish origin, I can only reply that I regret that I appear to have no ancestors of that gifted people. My great-great-grandfather came to England in the eighteenth century from Germany: the main part of my descent is therefore purely English, and I am an English subject — which should be sufficient. I have been accustomed, nonetheless, to regard my German name with pride, and continued to do so throughout the period of the late regrettable war, in which I served in the English army. I cannot, however, forbear to comment that if impertinent and irrelevant inquiries of this sort are to become the rule in matters of literature, then the time is not far distant when a German name will no longer be a source of pride.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Sarah Palin Travels to Texas to Campaign for Ted Cruz
NASA Considers Apollo-Era F1 Engine for Space Launch System
Why Palin and Gingrich Should Both Speak at the Republican Convention
One of the funny things about the far left is how everything thing is political to them. As an example, one should read some of the commentary in Jeff Foust's post about the death of Sally Ride. While most were mourning her passage and noting her accomplishments, one commenter named Robert Oler decided that it was a great opportunity to take shots at the conservatives and to freak out over Dr. Ride's sexual preference. Oler's posts started with some ill informed and wrong statements about California inheritance law and the Defense of Marriage Act, with some attacks on Sarah Palin and several other posters on the side. Foust somewhat inartfully closed the comments section just as Oler attacked a three year old toddler, leaving that bit of vileness as the last word.

Roger Ebert takes the occasion of Ride's passage and her sexual preference to take a shot at Mitt Romney. I suspect Romney is like me and most other people: Don't ask. Don't care.

Romney Defends American Power Before the Veterans of Foreign Wars

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Paul Spudis recounts the story of SpaceX's Falcon 1, something that seems to gone down the memory hole in the blaze of the glory of the recent publicly funded success of the Dragon.

For a company to spend six years and start up money developing a needed launch system, only to abandon it just as success and profit is at hand, is difficult to sort through. One could be forgiven for imagining that the development of the Falcon 1 as a commercial launch system was never intended but rather a pretext to flight qualify the pieces (specifically the Merlin 1 engine) used in the nine-engine cluster that powers the Falcon 9 launcher. Interestingly, others have noted that the now-cancelled NASA Constellation Ares I launch vehicle (“The Stick”), purportedly designed to launch the new Orion spacecraft to LEO, likewise appeared to be more of a development effort than a flight project, in that its various pieces (e.g., cryogenic upper stage, five-segment SRB) were all needed to build the large Ares V heavy lift rocket.

Meanwhile, customers in need of low-cost options for launching small payloads are out of luck. Falcon 9 has yet to launch an ounce of commercial payload and Falcon 1 is not for sale. Of course, one can launch small satellites using Orbital’s Taurus launch vehicle, but its ~$50-70 M cost and recent record of unreliability (e.g., the Glory satellite launch failure) engender neither comfort nor confidence. More significantly, after investing in the R&D effort of a new, unproven company that was offering a low cost, small launch vehicle, SpaceX’s original DoD customers, banking on the creation of a quick, inexpensive capability to launch small satellites, saw their support of Falcon 1 go by the board. It appears that SpaceX dropped their initial operational vehicle for the promotion and promise of far more ambitious and distant goals.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Time to Save the Great Pyramids from the Islamists
In the Wake of Colorado Shooting, Political Crazies Come Out
NASA Johnson Spaceflight Center working on the next generation space suit
Another kickstarter project for your consideration. Fight for Space

"Fight for Space" is a feature length documentary film that explores the current state and future of the U.S. space program. Since the Apollo era of the 1960s, NASA's budget has been shrinking and our ambitions in space have been decreasing. We are producing a documentary that will examine the reasons why our space program is not all it can be. We are also going to show that space IS worth the time, money, and energy that it needs, not for only exploration and scientific reasons but for economic, planetary security, and cultural reasons as well. Many problems have occurred in just the past 10 years that have lead to the consistent underfunding of NASA, the cancellation of multiple space programs, and the decline of America's role in space.

We are not producing your average space documentary where we show restored footage from the moon landings and CGI galaxy renderings. We are covering the real political and economic issues of the recent past, today, and tomorrow. We are covering both sides of the argument and we promise to produce a fair and objective film.

The fact is, the United States as a nation has lost our edge in space, not just as a leader but even as a participant. We want to know the real reasons behind why we are in this scientific slump and what we can do about it. We are asking hard questions to the people that know what is going on and we will not stop until we receive real answers and real solutions to these problems. We are also speaking with everyday citizens off the street, so we can discover how the American public feels about space exploration. In our democracy, all voices must be heard.

Rand Simberg, of course, pans the movie without having seen it and, indeed, before it has been completed. I can only suggest that Dana Rohrabacher, who is one of the interviewees in the film is likely to hold up the commercial space aspect. I suspect there will be more interviewed along that line if they get funding. The producers indicate that this is so. In any case Simberg's knee jerk response is worthy of a Brian Ross, in my humble opinion.

Just in passing, by the way, I suspect that if one put a few drinks in Elon Musk, he might express complete agreement with Neil degrasse Tyson's One Percent Solution for NASA, if only because there would be more money for subsidies and contracts for SpaceX. One thing that the New Space Visigoths forget, a well funded NASA would be a more prosperous customer for the commercial space sector.

Addendum: Funds being raised for 'Fight for Space' documentary on Kickstarter

'The Dark Knight Rises': Awe Inspiring and Magnificent

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Romney Touts Free Enterprise at NAACP Houston Convention
AIAA Space Exploration Event Ignites Controversy
Imagine a World with No Tooth Decay
A wonderful tribute to SpaceX from the living Apollo astronauts, even those with reservations about current Obama commercial space policy.
Rand Simberg bemoans how California seems to prefer high speed trains to rocket ships, driving the latter industry to Texas. As a Texan, I find the whole state of affairs pretty funny. But XCOR is just a tiny part of the mass migration of business from California to Texas.

Addendum: XCOR Midland deal points the way to government support of commercial space

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Of all the various derangement syndromes (Bush, Palin, and so on) the one I find most puzzling is Mike Griffin Derangement Syndrome, especially as practiced by Keith Cowing
Once again Mike Griffin and Scott Pace are using a third party forum to (1) whine about the big game they lost in high school and (2) advance their personal views - views that may or may not represent the Romney campaign - which is (3) an organization that they may or may not represent depending on how they (4) want the media to report what they say or did not say so as to (5) stay in the news so that (6) one of them gets to run NASA (again).

I wonder, first of all, about the mentality of someone who thinks that the ongoing debate about the future of the American manned space program is a big game in high school. It certainly shows where Keith is coming from

As for the rest, both Griffin and Scott Pace have the right to express themselves about anything, especially about space policy, and in any venue that they want and will have them. Finally, strangely after the Bolden/Garver fiasco, the idea of either Pace or Griffin as head of NASA does not frighten me as much as it evidently does Keith

The Curtain Has Fallen on Peter O'Toole's Career
50th Anniversary of Telstar Commemorated
Ted Nugent Silly for Wishing for a Southern Civil War Victory
Texas Voter ID Law Goes to Trial
To Be Happy, it is Better to Be Right Than Left
Reaction to Brad Pitt's Mom's Letter Shows Hate and Intolerance

Monday, July 09, 2012

How HBO's 'The Newsroom' Smeared the Tea Party
Sequels of 'Stargate' and 'Independence Day' in the Works?
XCOR Aerospace Announces Midland, Texas, R&D Headquarters
Rick Perry: No Medicaid Expansion, Insurance Exchanges in Texas
Obama's Tax Hike on the Rich Same Old Proposal Twice Rejected
The Discovery of the Higgs Boson Could Lead to Transporters
How 'True Blood' Slanders American Servicemen
Loooking for a Job? Better to Live in a Republican State
Sarah Palin Treated Differently by Media Because of Gender Bias
New Poll on Obama Presidency: Lots of Change, Not Much Hope

Thursday, July 05, 2012

'Dark Hunt' - Chapter 2

This video from Masten looks so cool partly because it shows a proper looking rocket ship

Police Release Sketch of Suspect in Texas Lesbian Couple Shooting
This story of a visitation of angels> at the crash site of Flight 93 is too beautiful to play the skeptic about. This seems similar to the story from World War I about the angels at the Battle on Mons that British troops were alleged to have seen. The incident has been attributed by skeptics to battle stress on the part of the British soldiers and perhaps the ex-FBI agent's post traumatic stress may be the explanation.

Still, what a lovely end to that modern Thermopylae or the Alamo.

ATK Claims Enhanced Crew and Cargo Capacity for Liberty Rocket

Just as a note to the gentle readers, if Liberty makes the final cut, the entire purpose of the huge government subsidies that have been paid out under the commercial crew program is called into question. ATK and Astrium will have built their rocket ship on the own dime, in the traditional commercial way, and not as a drain on the tax payers.

Cure for Diabetes Would Save Health Care Expense, Improve Lives
Biden Fails to Make the Case for High Taxes and Profligate Spending
However Arafat Died, Polonium or AIDS, He Deserved It

Allahpundit is skeptical that it was polonium.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Reagan riding a freaking velociraptor!

Plus, JFK riding a mechanical horse on the Moon!

This gets a thrill up my leg:

Discovery of Higgs Boson Bittersweet News in Texas
Ironically, a Lawmaker's Mistake Brings Fracking to North Carolina
I really do not understand Chris Rock. America made him rich and famous beyond most peoples' wildest dreams. Naturally he hates this country with a remarkable passion. Very sad.
Why People Think Obama is the Second-Worst President
Scientists Propose Phobos Sample Return Mission
'Dark Hunt' - Chapter 1
Chapter 1 of 'Dark Hunt' an upcoming sequel of sorts of 'Dark Sanction,' in which the vampire Gabriella Doria and her friends confront one of the greatest enemies of civilization in the 21st Century - Osama bin Laden.
It seems that Arafat may have been murdered with radioactive polonium and not, as many suspected, of complications of AIDS. This is the same methods that the Russian FSB offed Alexander Litvinenko.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Jeff Foust has a fascinating account of a recent talk by Mark Albrecht, who was Bush the Elder's executive secretary of the National Space Council while the Space Exploration Initiative was born and then died quickly. Albrecht, who is now one of Mitt Romney's space advisers, is always fascinating to listen to and I recommend his book, Falling Back to Earth, highly.

That having been said, I have to note some of his talk was upon the subject of what is wrong with space policy. He divides that enemies of what is good and pure into three groups, the farmers, the committee, and the Tinkerbells

I'll likely have a more extensive analysis in due course, but I have to mention that in Albrecht's view the Tinkerbells are "--people who believe that if Americans just knew how great NASA was, 'the money would come pouring in and all of these things could be solved.'"

I interpret that as a slam against Neil deGrasse Tyson and his outside the box idea for doubling NASA's budget. I think there is a case to be made for that, if done gradually, and with changes within the space agency to allow it to absorb such an increase effectively.

This leads us to the ever entertaining Rand Simberg, who notes:

And in comments over there, Mark Whittington once again demonstrates himself to be a tinkerbell. [Update late evening] Hilarious. Tinkerbell has showed up in comments here, whining about being aptly named, and cluelessly clapping her little hands to keep the useless SLS/Orion alive.

One hardly knows where to begin. In his evident desire to be the Bill Maher of space advocacy, Rand has apparently accused me of being a fairy, even referring to me with the feminine pronoun. I'll leave it to the gentle reader to imagine what he must be implying.

I can only say that Rand has no idea how he appears when he behaves this way. One would wish he exercise a little more self control and a lot more self examination. He's done quite a bit of damage to the space cause over the years by making it appear that space advocates are a bunch of nut jobs who like to engage in flaming each other. His recent public performance when he mumbled and stumbled through his half baked space property rights proposal does not bear close examination either.

'Dallas' Renewed Thanks in Part to Monetary Incentives from Texas
Maher Off-Base of Zimmerman as Romney Running Mate