Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Private Russian company proposes lunar base

According to a Wednesday article in Sputnik, a private Russian company called Lin Industrial has announced that it is capable of building a lunar base. However, according information contained to a recent post in Parabolic Arc, this announcement may be more the result of idle braggadocio than an objective assessment of actual ability. Nevertheless, Lin seems to be one of the few entrepreneurial startups in Russia in the style of much more robust enterprises in the West such as SpaceX and Blue Origin.

'Big Bang Theory' Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting makes feminist heads explode

Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, one of the stars of “The Big Bang Theory,” has raised feminist hackles as a result of an interview reported Tuesday in People Magazine. Not only does she relate that she enjoys cooking and serving dinner to her husband. Ryan Sweeting, but announced that she is not a feminist. Twitchy, a site that monitors conversations taking place on Twitter on issues of the day recorded heads exploding. Many of the irate feminists apparently had not seen the show.

NASA Offering Big Bounties to Anyone Solving Science’s Greatest Issues
Oliver Stone is pretty sure that the CIA is behind the Ukraine crisis

The continuing crisis in the Ukraine has taken a beeline into a retro 1970s narrative. According to a Tuesday story in the Hollywood Reporter, radical film maker Oliver Stone has come up with another conspiracy theory. According to Stone, the Ukraine crisis is the result of a coup perpetrated by the CIA. In the meantime, Bloomberg reports that President Obama has reached out to Henry Kissinger in an attempt to repair relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose imperial ambitions have led to the prospect of a new Cold War.

Lena Dunham's 'Republican rapist' outed as a Democrat, son of former NPR host

The story of Lena Dunham’s alleged rapist, as recounted in her memoirs “Not that Kind of Girl,” took a bizarre turn thanks to a Tuesday story in the Gawker, a gossip site, which claims to have a copy of Dunham’s original book proposal. Dunham had identified her alleged rapist as a college Republican named Barry. The Gawker has now identified him as Philip, the adopted son of a former NPR host, and currently a registered Democrat. Moreover, the sexual encounter may not have been a rape in the conventional sense, but rather sordid, unprotected sex that Dunham regretted after the fact.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Science historian slams commercial space as 'ego-driven'

Slate published a polemic against commercial space on Tuesday that has the Internet buzzing, mainly with outrage. The premise of the article is that commercial space ventures such as SpaceX and Virgin Galactic are crass, ego driven enterprises that do not advance space exploration in any way. The article caused Space News reporter Jeff Foust to tweet, “After reading this ‘Billionaires' Space Club’ piece, I can only assume Slate's editors are taking this week off.”

Jonathan Gruber explains how 'death panels' work in Obamacare

Radio talk show host and Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr suggested that 2015 is just going to get worse for Jonathan Gruber. Gruber is the MIT math professor who was so instrumental in crafting Obamacare and now may be instrumental in sinking it through his intemperate boasting about the deceptions used to sell the health care reform law preserved on YouTube. The Daily Caller noted Tuesday that one such headache consists of a briefing paper Gruber wrote in 2009 for the White House that contains a number of bone-chilling revelations.

Push back against James Webb presidential ambitions has begun

Former Sen. James Webb is the only Democrat to, thus far, officially express an interest in running for president. He is considered a long shot next to Hillary Clinton and even liberal favorites like Sen. Elizabeth Warren. However, the media and political pushback has already begun. Business Insider reported on Monday that Webb is experiencing his first campaign finance scandal. In the meantime, a Clinton operative has been shopping some racy passages from Webb’s novels to talk radio as proof that he has politically incorrect views on women.

Mars advocate Robert Zubrin takes a dim view of Venus cloud city scheme

The media has been filled with stories about a NASA concept to explore and eventually colonize the skies over Venus using airships and helium balloon attached habitats. The authors of the plan point out that 31 miles above the surface of the second planet from the sun, the atmospheric pressure and gravity is about the same as Earth’s. Venus is also better protected from radiation than Mars or the moon. Robert Zubrin, a long-time advocate of Mars colonization, took to his Facebook page on Tuesday to take a dim view of the scheme.

Monday, December 29, 2014

How to return to the moon part 5: Selling it to the media

At first glance, selling a return to the moon plan to the media should be the easiest task at all. As skeptical and as cynical as many reporters pretend to be, they can become wide eyed children when they get to cover a space mission. This situation was true during the Apollo era, when Walter Cronkite melted down with awe and wonder when the pictures of the first men to walk in the moon aired on hundreds of millions of TV screens across the planet. It is true, for the most part, 45 plus years later.

Reported Marian Apparitions Are Still Happening Around the World
Obama ruins Army couple's wedding so he can play golf

A recent survey reported that President Obama enjoys just a 15 percent approval rating from servicemen and women. Many reasons, no doubt, can explain this low rating. But one example was reported by Bloomberg on Monday. The president of the United States ruined the wedding of two army officers because he wanted to play golf at the Kaneohe Klipper Golf Course in Hawaii where they had planned to hold the ceremony. The couple was forced to relocate the wedding, even though, more on a lark than anything else, they invited President Obama to the ceremony.

NASA critic misreports origin, nature of heavy-lift Space Launch System

Frequent NASA critic Rick Boozer took to the pages of Pulse on Sunday to inveigh against what he sees as overly favorable media coverage of NASA. Boozer is particularly vexed about the heavy-lift Space Launch System, which NASA is touting as the key to exploration beyond low Earth orbit, and he regards as pernicious. In laying into the SLS, Boozer offers from misinformation about its origins and nature.

Obama hints at diplomat relations with Iran, which once took diplomats hostage

According to a Monday story in The Hill, President Obama held open the possibility of diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran. The two countries have not had diplomatic relations since a group of Revolutionary Guards posing as student activists took American diplomats as hostage in 1979 and held them for 444 days. Nevertheless, Obama said, "I never say never, but I think these things have to go in steps.” One of the necessary steps is resolving the issue of Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Jeb Bush rockets to the top of the CNN 2016 GOP presidential poll

CNN reported on Sunday that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is now on top of the 2016 Republican nomination race, according to a recent poll. Bush polls at 23 percent of the voters responding to the poll. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie trails at 13 percent and the rest of the pack in double digits. Curiously, the 2012 nominee Mitt Romney was not included in the poll.

Neil degrasse Tyson reacts to Christmas Newton tweet kerfuffle with bemusement

Neil deGrasse Tyson, the celebrity astrophysicist and media personality, recently angered Christians with a tweet that celebrated December 25 as the birthday of Sir Isaac Newton. The tweet, which read, ““On this day long ago, a child was born who, by age 30, would transform the world. Happy Birthday Isaac Newton b. Dec 25, 1642,” was widely seen as trolling believers on the day celebrated as the birthday of Jesus Christ. Tyson took to Facebook on Friday to respond with an air of bemusement and boasting about how much his message was retweeted.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

North Korea compares President Obama to 'a monkey in a tropical forest'

A well-known political leader, objecting to what he believes is one of President Obama’s policies, has made a racial slur against the president. Is that political leader Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin or some other of the usual Tea Party suspects? According to a Friday story by the Associated Press, a spokesperson for North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un said of President Obama, "Obama always goes reckless in words and deeds like a monkey in a tropical forest.

American Thinker proves why Sarah Palin is the most powerful female politician

The end of 2014 marks, as the ends of all years do, the creation of “best of” and “worst of” awards. It was in that spirit that the American Thinking awarded former Alaska governor, former vice presidential candidate, and most powerful female politician on the planet, the “American Achiever of 2014” award in a piece on Saturday. As she contemplates her political future, such as a possible run for the presidency, Palin can indeed look back on 2014 as a year in which much was achieved.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Jackie Chan to star in 'Dragon Blade' pitting Chinese against ancient Romans

IO9 reported on Friday that the trailer for “Dragon Blade,” a historical action movie being filmed in China, has been released. The movie stars Jackie Chan as Huo An, a Chinese general during the Han Dynasty period, who is falsely accused of a crime and enslaved. John Cusack and Adrien Brody star as rival Roman generals Lucius and Tiberius respectively who show up in the far west of China with their legions. Martial arts mayhem ensue.

【天將雄師 Dragon Blade】正式預告No.1

Neil deGrasse Tyson celebrates the birth of Isaac Newton, gets the date wrong

Neil deGrasse Tyson, the celebrity astrophysicist and media personality, took to Twitter on Thursday, Christmas Day, and contributed some backhanded snark to the celebrations. “On this day long ago, a child was born who, by age 30, would transform the world. Happy Birthday Isaac Newton b. Dec 25, 1642.” The only problem is that Tyson got the date wrong. Newton was born on January 4, 1643.

As New York bans fracking, a new technology could make it environmentally benign

New York State has banned fracking, a process of extracting oil and natural gas from shale formations using water laced with chemicals. The reaction to the ban is decidedly mixed, with some property owners in update New York appalled at the ban, according to a Friday story in the Daily Signal. However, Think Progress chimed in that roughly 55 percent of New Yorkers approve of the ban, despite the fact that the science behind it is dodgy at best. However, a new fracking process that eschews the use of water and chemicals may upend the environmental debate over the technology.

Hillary Clinton moves to shore up her left flank against Elizabeth Warren

Christmas 2014 is barely history, but by all accounts the 2016 race for the Democratic presidential nomination has started heating up. Even though Elizabeth Warren, the junior senator from Massachusetts, has publicly eschewed any intention to run for president, the Washington Times reported Friday that she has become a favorite alternative to Hillary Clinton among progressives. The Washington Post chimed in that Clinton is not about to let herself be outflanked on the left and so is staking out a number of far-left positions in advance of the 2016 contest.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

2014 is like 1968, but with no Apollo 8

December 24 marks the 46th anniversary of the famous broadcast from lunar orbit by the crew of Apollo 8 in which they read from the Book of Genesis. The mission sent three American astronauts around the moon at the end of 1968, that hell year of assassinations, riots, war, and political and civil strife.

White House science adviser Holdren says global warming is holding off ice age

White House Science Advisor John Holdren recently held an online question and answer session in which he fielded questions from the general public. One question, according to a Tuesday story from MRC TV, concerned global warming. Is global warming, or as its acolytes prefer to call it, climate change, the result of human activity or the result of the natural cycles experienced by the Earth since before the dawn of time? Not surprisingly for an official of the Obama administration, Holdren hews very closely to the human beings are causing global warming orthodoxy. However, he also adds a little caveat.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Sony to release 'The Interview' after all

Sony will release “The Interview,” a comedy depicting a pair of bunglers played by Seth Rogan and James Franco who attempt to assassinate North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, will be have a limited release on Christmas Day after all. A handful of cinemas, including the Alamo Drafthouse, will screen the film. “The Interview” will also be released on Video on Demand.

House report reveal political bias, coverup of targeting scandal at IRS

The Washington Times reported on Tuesday that the House Oversight Committee has issued an interim report on the IRS scandal surrounding the targeting of conservative groups. Among the revelations in the report is the fact that the tax agency has a culture that was decidedly hostile to conservatives of the kind that were targeted. Fox News added that the Deputy IRS Commissioner Steven Miller knew of the targeting, considered revealing his knowledge at a July 2012 hearing of the House Ways and Means Committee, but decided ultimately not to do so.

Tom Coburn takes a Parthian shot against NASA programs

The soon to be former Senator Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to take a Parthian shot against NASA. He had a number of policy prescriptions that mainly consisted of ending some of the space agency’s flagship programs that he considers wasteful. In essence, Coburn would like to end American support for the International Space Station and to end development of the heavy-lift Space Launch System. Then he would like to focus NASA on some particular mission, to be determined later.

Monday, December 22, 2014

'The Librarians' has the most original Christmas TV episode in decade

Sunday’s episode of “The Librarians" was one of the most imaginative takes on a Christmas show since “It’s a Wonderful Life” had its first run in movie theaters, The episode also had the best casting for Saint Nick in Bruce Campbell, late of “Burn Notice,” and in the middle of developing “Ash vs. the Evil Dead.” Instead of his usual goofing while dealing mayhem to villains, Campbell was a somewhat nebbish, clean shaven Santa who keeps referring to himself in the third person.

Will Global Climate Change Ground Commercial Airlines?
John McCain finds the idea of Sarah Palin challenging him funny for good reasons

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona was asked about the possibility of his old 2008 running mate, Sarah Palin, primarying him in 2016. He laughed at that scenario but admitted that he would likely face someone in the primaries. The Tea Party is very anxious to see McCain retired to the private sector. McCain has also been in the Senate since the Reagan administration and would be in his 80s during his next term in office should he win one.

Chris Christie wants Cuba to hand over cop-killer Joanne Chesimard for justice

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie would like to take advantage of President Obama’s opening to Cuba and have that country hand over cop-killer Joanne Chesimard to finally face justice. Christie has sent a letter to the president demanding that Chesimard be handed over before the White House proceeds with any more diplomatic moves. The White House has not responded to Christie’s demand, but it is likely it will not welcome this complication for its plans for American-Cuban relations.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies' Thorin did not understand capitalism

Watching “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” one comes to the inescapable conclusion that a lot of the trouble in the second half of the movie could have been avoided if Thorin Oakenshield had known a few things about economics. For most modern states, wealth is a source of power since it can be used for doing things, everything from building industries and infrastructure to buying the good will of allies. The concept is called capitalism For Thorin, the huge horde of gold and jewels was something to be wallowed in, to fill some obvious hole in his soul. Hence, the disastrous battle as everyone showed up for their share.

Murder of two NYPD officers touches off political firestorm for Bill de Blasio

A deranged gunman named Ismaaiyl Brinsley walked up to a parked police car in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn and shot to death the two police officers within, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu. Brinsley was apparently inspired by anti-police protests surrounding the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Gardner and has vowed to kill police officers. He died by his own hand in a nearby subway station. The shooting is already causing a political firestorm for the mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio.

Can Rep. John Culberson save NASA's space exploration program?

Sunday, the Houston Chronicle’s Eric Berger has published the seventh in his series of articles about the American space program and what ails it. The piece focuses on Rep. John Culberson, R-Texas, who has two fascinating aspects. The first is that he is taking over the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees NASA funding. The second is that he has a keen appreciation for the benefits of space exploration for its own sake and not just for his Houston area district.

Culberson wants to save NASA and the space program from his fellow politicians and return it to its true glory. He favors sending American astronauts back to the moon and a robotic space probe to Jupiter’s moon Europa. He would like to enact budget reforms that take funding decisions away from the Office of Management and Budget and gives them solely to Congress. He favors a steady increase in NASA funding to pay for a proper program of space exploration. To say the least, he has his work cut out for him

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The first Hyperloop line may be ten years away

As anyone who travels with any regularity knows, plane travel has become such a torturous experience that it is surprising that it has not been condemned as a human rights violation. Between long security lines, cramped seating, bad food, and arbitrary fees for extra luggage, airline travel has become something to be endured and not enjoyed. Wired reported on Thursday that relief may be on the way in the form of a concept first developed by Elon Musk called the Hyperloop.

Ted Cruz invokes family history to condemn Obama's move toward Cuba

President Obama’s recent call to normalize relations with Cuba has brought almost universal condemnation from the potential Republican presidential candidates, with the exception of Sen. Rand Paul, who makes the libertarian argument for the move. However, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, along with the usual arguments that Obama is appeasing a dictator, invoked family history in a Thursday op-ed in Time Magazine. “My family knows this hard truth about Cuba all too well. My father was imprisoned and tortured by Batista, and my aunt was imprisoned and tortured by Castro. Both fled for America and for freedom.”

In tit for tat with Obama, Sony hints audiences will see 'The Interview

Coming Soon reported on Friday the strange tit for tat exchange that took place between President Obama and Sony Pictures executives over the latter’s cave to North Korean inspired cyberterrorism over the pulling of “The Interview” from distribution. The president wagged his finger at Sony during a press conference and suggested that they should have called him first before knuckling under to Kim Jong-un. Sony responded that it had not choice and that, besides, audience will have a chance to see “The Interview” at some point.

Friday, October 31, 2014