Tuesday, March 31, 2015

How space exploration could become an issue in 2016

Universe Today asked on Monday what role would space exploration play in the 2016 presidential election? Jeff Foust of Space News, reflecting conventional wisdom, tweeted a one-word answer. No.

Children of Apollo Trilogy

Why aren't we on Mars yet?

Decades ago, while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were first walking on the Moon, a panel of experts called the Space Task Group was putting together recommendations for what America should do in space next. One of those was a human expedition to Mars in the 1980s.

The Man from Mars: The Asteroid Mining Caper

Harry Reid boasts of his McCarthyite smear of Mitt Romney

The soon to be outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid was interviewed on Tuesday by the Washington Free Beacon. The subject turned to some of Reid’s more outrageous statements on the floor of the Senate, including his accusing 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney of not paying his taxes. His answer to the question of whether he had any regrets for making the accusation that he knew was not true was illuminating and unapologetic.

House of Cards: Season 1

FBI is Offering Six Figures to Anyone Who Can Catch this International Cybercriminal
Trevor Noah causes outrage 24 hours after being picked to replace Jon Stewart

When Jon Stewart announced that a bi-racial South African comic name Trevor Noah would be taking over as the master of snark on “The Daily Show,” as reported on Monday by CNN, most people in North America had never heard of him. But, thanks to some digging into some old social media posts, some writers are starting to make Noah known. The results are not very pretty. One wonders if the suits at Comedy Central had vetted the man.

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents America (The Book) Teacher's Edition: A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction

Monday, March 30, 2015

China mulling space based solar power stations for clean, limitless energy

A Monday story in Xinhau reports that Chinese scientists are expressing interest in building a solar power station in space to capture energy from the sun and beam it back to Earth. The Chinese are interested in alternatives to fossil fuels which cause pollution, a scourge that afflicts Chinese cities. The SPS would in no way be an immediate solution to that problem. The first experimental model would not be aloft until 2030 with a commercial station deployed in 2050.

High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space

A third of Republicans are afraid of Obama

Reuters reported on Monday the results of a poll that asked people what sorts of people, countries, and things that people are most afraid of. One data point has eyebrows raising across the punditocracy. 34 percent of Republicans cited President Barack Obama as an immediate threat. That compares to 25 percent who view Vladimir Putin of Russia and who view Bashir Assad of Syria as threats.

The Amateur

In 'Conquer,' 'The Walking Dead's' Rick finds his place in Alexandria (spoilers)

At the end of “Try,” the second to last episode of the current season of “The Walking Dead,” it looked as if Rick had gone too far in getting into a bloody fight with Pete, the husband of a woman named Jesse at the Alexandria enclave whom he is sweet on. But, at the end of “Conquer,” the last episode of the season that aired Sunday, Rick, who seemed destined for exile, finds himself the final arbiter of life and death in the community. Since the latest big bad, a gang called “the Wolves,” is about to threaten the community, it is about time. Alexandria’s leader, Deanna, is not up for what is about to come.

The Walking Dead, Vol. 1: Days Gone Bye

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Scientists slam cancellation of Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter & Mars Opportunity

While NASA looks forward to the results of ongoing planetary missions such as Dawn, now orbiting the dwarf planet Ceres, and New Horizons, headed for a flyby of Pluto, the space agency is planning to shut down two of its most production missions. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and the Mars Opportunity rover are slated for termination in NASA’s FY 2016 budget proposal, according to a Friday story in Space.Com. The scientific community is, naturally, unhappy

Blogging the Moon (Once & Future Moon Collection)

Roving Mars: Spirit, Opportunity, and the Exploration of the Red Planet

Was Harry Reid beaten up by mobsters?

The speculation has been running rampant ever since Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid showed up with bruises, cracked ribs, and without the use of his right eye. His story was that he had a mishap with an exercise machine. But, as the Daily Caller reported on Friday, radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh was the first high profile person to speculate openly that there was another reason Reid looked like someone worked him over.

Harry: Money, Mob & Influence In Harry Reid's Nevada

Saturday, March 28, 2015

NASA and Russia in discussions for a post-ISS space station

RT reported on Saturday that NASA and the Russian Space Agency had agreed to build a joint space station after the International Space Station is decommissioned in 2024. However, as with a lot of pronouncements in Russian media, there is less than meets the eye. Space News’ Jeff Foust, consulting his own sources, tweeted, “It’s my understanding that NASA and Roscosmos did *not* agree today to develop a post-ISS station; only discussing potential future plans.”

Bigelow Aerospace: Colonizing Space One Module at a Time (Springer Praxis Books / Space Exploration)

NASA's Scott Kelly and Russia's Mikhail Kornienko on a year-long stay in space

As NASA noted on Friday, astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko have flown to the International Space Station for a year-long stay, during which they will be studied to determine the long-term effects of spaceflight on the human body. Kelly’s twin brother, former NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, will serve as a control on the ground, undergoing the same experiments and tests that Scott Kelly will be subjected to on the ISS. NASA says that the year-long mission is a preparation for an eventual voyage to Mars, which would be about a three-year round trip.

You Are Here: Around the World in 92 Minutes: Photographs from the International Space Station

Hillary Clinton wiping her server means she must become president

One of the often talked about what-ifs of history concerns the question of what would have happened if President Richard Nixon had burned the secret tapes, the contents of which had eventually sunk his presidency. It looks like we’re about to find out. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has wiped the infamous server clean, though after handing over emails which she had judged to be relevant to her job as America’s chief diplomat, according to a Friday story in Hot Air. That means that an independent investigation of her electronic correspondence has been made all the more difficult, if not impossible.

Hard Choices

Friday, March 27, 2015

NASA Says Mars Has More Water Than Arctic Ocean
Lena Dunham steps in it again with 'Dog or Jewish Boyfriend?' article

Lena Dunham, the actress and producer who is the purveyor of the low-rated HBO series “Girls,” has stirred up controversy and brought down condemnation on herself once again. According to Fox411, on Friday the latest outrage concerns a piece she wrote for the New Yorker in the form of a quiz called, “Dog or Jewish Boyfriend?” The juxtaposition has proven to be awkward, to say the leas

Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's "Learned"

Harry Reid is leaving the Senate and there was much rejoicing

The New York Times reported on Friday that Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nevada, the Senate minority leader, has announced that his current term in the Senate will be his last one. He claimed that neither his recent eye and facial injuries nor the fact that the Democrats are in the minority in the Senate were factors in announcing his retirement. The announcement set up a scramble for who might replace him as the leader of the Senate Democrats and another one for who will be elected to his seat back in Nevada. It also, as Hot Air noted, caused much rejoicing among Republicans and other conservatives.

Is Ted Cruz a Republican Barack Obama? Not really

In a Friday column, Peggy Noonan presented an insightful analysis of Ted Cruz and his prospects for winning the presidency. She touched upon an interesting but ultimately superficial comparison that people are making between Cruz and another man who used to be a first term senator running for the Oval Office. Of course, that man is Barack Obama.

The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream

Obama appeasement seen as leading to a nuclear Iran

According to a Thursday story in the Washington Free Beacon, the Obama administration is preparing to strike a nuclear bomb deal with Iran by caving into all of the Islamic Republic’s demands. Alarmed at the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran, Saudi Arabia has not ruled out acquiring its own nuclear weapons. The prospect of a deal that many see would ratify rather than prevent Iran’s drive to acquire a nuclear bomb makes it unlikely that Congress will approve of such an agreement, setting up a constitutional crisis between the White House and Capitol Hill on top of a nuclear standoff in the volatile Middle East.

Nuclear Iran

Thursday, March 26, 2015

UFOs Seen Across South America As Raelians Propose an ET Embassy
In 'Justified' Ava takes her fate in her own hands (spoilers)

In “Trust,” the episode of “Justified” that aired Tuesday, Ava Crowder did something that she probably would never have considered just a few episodes before. When Boyd, her loving fiancĂ©, managed to separate Avery Markam from $10 million, the last thing he expected was for Ava to shoot him in the chest and separate him from the money. Raylan Givens, who saw what went down, was dumbfounded to say the least. He promised that he was going to come after her. “I know,” she said as she drove off into the night.

Raylan: A Novel

Scientists to use new infrared instrument to search for Dyson spheres

Hitherto, much of what constitutes the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence has consisted of using huge, radio telescopes to attempt to detect radio and television signals from planets in other star systems. In the over 50 years such efforts have been ongoing, researchers have come up short in the search for ET. IO9 reported on Thursday that a new facility, located at the Lick Observatory near San Jose, California, is going to try a different approach called near-infrared optical SETI or NIRSETI. It is part of an effort called optical SETI that tries to detect artificial light pulses to look for alien civilizations.

Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100

NASA's Asteroid Redirect Mission unlikely to be funded

When NASA announced that the Asteroid Redirect Mission was not going to move an asteroid to lunar orbit, but rather take a boulder from an asteroid and move it to lunar orbit, renewed questions were raised about whether the project is worth doing. The Houston Chronicle reported on Thursday that Rep. John Culberson, R-Texas, who chairs the House subcommittee that allocates NASA funding, is dubious about the ARM, to say the least. “I don’t think there’s a clear consensus on much in Congress, but we all agree that pushing a rock around in space is a waste of taxpayer dollars that we don’t have to spare.”

The Last Moonwalker and Other Stories

In 'The Americans' Elizabeth becomes the villain in her own story (spoilers)

Wednesday’s episode of “The Americans” has the improbable title of “Do Mail Robots Dream of Electric Sheep,” though the plot has nothing to do with Philip K. Dick or the movie “Bladerunner,” which was having its first run around that time. However, the episode featured a bone-chilling confrontation between Elizabeth, the true believing Soviet spy, and a woman named Betty, played by Lois Smith, who choose the wrong night to work late. The episode ended up with Betty dead and, we can hope, Elizabeth scarred for life.

Reagan's War: The Epic Story of His Forty-Year Struggle and Final Triumph Over Communism

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Gabriella's War: A Vampire Gabriella Novel (The Vampire Gabriella) (Volume 4)
Arnold Schwarzenegger to star in 'Maggie,' a different zombie apocalypse movie

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s post-Governator movie comeback has not gone over very well with audiences, with a series of forgettable action pictures starring the 60 something former Conan the Barbarian. But that may change with the release in early May of “Maggie” another zombie apocalypse movie with a different twist. The Los Angeles Times noted that the trailer, seen above, was released on Wednesday.

The Walking Dead: Compendium One

The Walking Dead: Compendium Two

NASA's ARM will take a boulder from an asteroid and take it to lunar orbit

NASA announced Wednesday more details of its controversial asteroid redirect mission. The space agency has chosen to not snag an asteroid in deep space and move it to a retrograde orbit around the moon. Instead, an uncrewed spacecraft with a solar electric propulsion system will snag a boulder off of a larger asteroid and bring it to lunar orbit for an Orion spacecraft to visit.

Asteroid Mining 101: Wealth for the New Space Economy

Cornell assistant dean caught on camera endorsing pro-ISIS club on campus

Project Veritas, the guerilla journalism group founded by James O’Keefe, has struck again. Wednesday the group released a video depicting the Assistant Dean for Students of Cornell University, Joseph Scaffido, expressing sympathy to a “student,” who was actually a Project Veritas operative, for his desire to set up a pro-ISIS and a pro-Hamas club on campus. Scaffido even went so far as to offer advice on how to obtain funding for the clubs which would send care packages to both of the terrorist organizations and how to bring an ISIS representative to set up a “training camp.” Scaffido seemed to equate the idea to a sports camp.

Rise of ISIS: A Threat We Can't Ignore

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope on track for 2018 launch, but concerns remain

The House Subcommittee on Space Committee on Science, Space and Technology held a hearing on the James Webb Space Telescope, due to be launched in late 2018, on Tuesday. While a spokesperson for NASA was upbeat about the project finally being on budget and on schedule, the General Accounting Office warned that challenges remain to keep it so. In the meantime, a group calling itself the Tea Party in Space denounced the project, suggesting that the telescope might be rendered useless should the sun screen fail to deploy once the JWST arrives at the Earth-Sun L2 point about a million miles away.

The James Webb Space Telescope Mission

Episcopal Church head declares global warming skepticism against God's will

Sen Ted Cruz, R-Texas, a candidate for president of the United States, once chided global warming advocates for “speaking in the language of theology” when attacking skeptics of the theory. The Christian Science Monitor reported on Tuesday that Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, head of the Episcopal Church, did just that when she denounced global warming skepticism as, in essence, being against the will of God. “Episcopalians understand the life of the mind is a gift of God and to deny the best of current knowledge is not using the gifts God has given you,” she said.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The case is made for a Ceres settlement'

With NASA’s Dawn space probe orbiting Ceres, the dwarf planet residing in the asteroid belt between the orbits of Jupiter and Mars, some are imagining what might come after. The Next Big Future on Monday mused about the advantages of establishing a human settlement on Ceres. The idea is that such a settlement would be a hub for miners who would exploit the resources of the asteroid belt.

The Man from Mars: The Asteroid Mining Caper

After Apollo?: Richard Nixon and the American Space Program (Palgrave Studies in the History of Science and Technology)
Obama angry that Israel spied on the Iran nuclear bomb talks and told Congress

Tuesday, Hot Air, citing a recent Wall Street Journal story, reported on the revelation that not only did the Israeli Mossad penetrated the nuclear bomb talks with Iran, but revealed what it had found out to members of Congress. The Obama administration is not upset at the espionage since it recognized that even friendly countries do that all the time. But it is incandescent with rage that the Israelis spilled the beans to the Congress, a body, though charged with oversight of foreign policy, Obama was very keen to keep in the dark.

Sierra Nevada's Dream Chaser could land at Ellington Space Port near Houston

Despite having been rejected in NASA’s commercial crew program, Sierra Nevada has been very busy trying to develop its lift body spacecraft, the Dream Chaser. Having rolled out a smaller, cargo version of the spacecraft for the second round for contracts for commercial cargo to the International Space Station, the company has amended the unfunded Space Act Agreement with NASA to add a closeout review milestone that would help transition the Dream Chaser from the preliminary design review to the critical design review step. Finally, Sierra Nevada announced a new agreement on Tuesday with the Houston Airport System to use Ellington Spaceport as a landing site for the cargo version of the Dream Chaser.

How Ted Cruz is more gay-friendly than Barack Obama

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas delivered what many are calling the “Imagine Speech” at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia on Monday in which he, perhaps channeling a more conservative John Lennon, asked audiences to imagine a more conservative America, One of the less talked about aspects of his candidacy is the fact that his agenda is actually more friendly toward gays than that of President Barack Obama, especially the Obama who ran in 2008. This revelation seems counter-intuitive but is true nevertheless.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Overcoming Shakespeare, Richard III gets his royal funeral at last

Modern politicians who are called names by their opponents and are accused of everything from wanting to starve children to killing old people can take comfort that they at least didn’t have a job done on them by Shakespeare, as was done to Richard III. The BBC reported Monday that the former King of England has finally gotten a royal cortege and a requiem mass over 500 years after his death. He is to be interred at Leicester Cathedral, with full honors that he was denied after being cut down at Bosworth.

The King's Grave: The Discovery of Richard III's Lost Burial Place and the Clues It Holds

Ted Cruz announces for president, is compared to Reagan and Luke Skywalker

Sen Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has become the first major candidate to announce a run for the presidency for 2016. He made his announcement early Monday morning, just after midnight, with a tweet, “I'm running for President and I hope to earn your support!” The tweet was accompanied by a 30 second video that include classic scenes of Americana, farms, factories, a baseball game, an urban landscape, and children saying the pledge of allegiance. Cruz is scheduled to make a personal announcement at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Wild Shore: Three Californias (Wild Shore Triptych)

The Gold Coast: Three Californias (Wild Shore Triptych)

Pacific Edge: Three Californias (Wild Shore Triptych)

Jerry Brown is mad Ted Cruz is running for president because of global warming

The Houston Chronicle reported on Saturday that Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas intends to announce his candidacy for president on Monday at a speech at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. California Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, was first to denounce the Cruz candidacy, stating on “Meet the Press” that Cruz was “unfit to be running for president” because of the Texas senator’s skepticism of the theory of global warming, which Brown blames for the current drought in his state. But, if a study by NOAA is to be believed, concerning any relationship between the drought and global warming, Brown is the science denier.

California will not run out of water in a year, but new desalination tech needed

The now four year long drought that has afflicted California is a serious problem, illustrated by a recent article by a NASA scientist named Jay Famiglietti that the state’s reservoirs have a year’s supply of water left. This led to screaming headlines across the media that California is going to run completely out of water sometime in 2016 unless something draconian is done. The Los Angeles Times reported on Friday that Famiglietti has made some clarifications. California is not going to go bone dry in a year. It has decades worth of water from other sources, including groundwater. But, that does not mean that tough decisions are not in the offing.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Cool IT (Movie Tie-in Edition): The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming
Greenpeace co-founder has become a global warming 'denier'

One of the most noxious aspects of the global warming debate concerns the tactics employed by climate change advocates. Some accuse global warming skeptics of bad faith, as they did Wei-Hock Soon by suggesting that he is in the pockets of big oil. Others try to argue by appealing to authority, claiming that the “consensus” of the scientific community is that global warming is real and is human caused. The science is settled and “deniers” must shut up and conform. However, in a Friday story in the Heartland, Patrick Moore, who holds a Ph.D. in Ecology and is a co-founder of Greenpeace, offered a devastating critique to the whole theory of human-caused global warming.

Is Ted Cruz about to announce for president?

According to a Friday story in the Texas Tribune, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas has informed the media that he intends to make a “major speech” at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia on Monday. The announcement has spurred speculation that Cruz intends to either announce his intention to run for president of the United States or, at the very least, form an exploratory committee in advance of doing so. It is an open secret that Cruz, who was elected to the Senate in 2012, is interested in moving up to the Oval Office.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Could Joe Biden save the Democrats from Hillary Clinton?

As Hillary Clinton, the formerly once and future inevitable next president of the United States, continues to be mired in scandal and controversy, Democrats are desperately trying to find someone else – anyone else – who could be their nominee for president in 2016. Hot Air reported on Friday that someone has created a Draft Joe Biden site. The proposition has some entertainment value, for reasons that should be obvious.

The Children of Apollo Trilogy
Mars One answers its critics

In light of recent accusations levied against the Mars One project by one of the people selected to be a Mars settler, the project’s CEO, Bas Lansdorp, issued a response on Thursday in both a video and in a written interview on the project’s website. The accusation, made by Dr. Joseph Roche, indicated that some of the final 100 Mars settlers were selected for their ability to raise money for the project rather than their qualifications. Lansdrop accused the author of the article, Elmo Keep, of making false claims and being sensational.

DARPA Looks at New Ways for Humans and Computers to Communicate
The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer
Obama's 'reassessment' of relations with Israel could kindle a Middle East War

According to a Thursday story on CNN, President Barack Obama finally called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “congratulate” him on his triumph in the recent Israeli elections. Obama took the opportunity to issue a threat to the Jewish state. In light of Netanyahu’s recent opposition to a Palestinian state, the president suggested that the United States would “reassess” its policy toward Israel. One thing being considered is the United States would no longer stand in the way of a UN Security Council resolution calling for the creation of a Palestinian State and demanding that Israel withdraw to behind the pre-1967 borders.

Ted Cruz and Barack Obama on collision course over fossil fuels

Hydraulic fracking, the technique that extracts oil and natural gas from shale formations, has caused a plunge in energy prices and is a bright spot in an otherwise moribund American economy. Naturally, President Obama wants to clamp down federal regulations on the process, at least on Federal lands, according to Politico. But Breitbart reported on Thursday that Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas and Rep. Joe Bridenstine, R-Oklahoma, are proposing a different approach in the form of the American Energy Renaissance Act.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

How Netanyahu’s U.S.-Based Digital Gurus Helped Him Pull Out a Surprise Victory
Scientists conclude that lunar lava tubes safe for human settlers

NASA may have abandoned plans to return to the moon for now, thanks to President Obama’s mandate, but other countries and a lot of private groups are interested in setting up shop on the lunar surface. According to a Thursday story on the BBC, scientists at this year’s Lunar and Planetary Conference have concluded that underground lava tubes would be stable enough to house as many future lunar settlers as needed.

The Last Moonwalker and Other Stories
Hillary Clinton's adult camp idea is not as ominous as it sounds

Hillary Clinton addressed a convention of summer camp counselors and suggested that what America needs is camps for adults, Hot Air reported on Thursday. Even though we are assured that these camps would not be the kind the reader must be thinking of, the mockery has started fast and furious on Twitter. However, her idea of conservatives and liberals being segregated in “red cabins and blue cabins” who will then be forced to meet and talk to one another is one of the more original public policy ideas to come out of a politician’s mouth, especially a Democrat’s, for quite some time.

Mars Up Close: Inside the Curiosity Mission
Obama's idea for mandatory voting may not be constitutional

Fox News reported on Thursday that President Obama, casting about for more ways to become a transformative figure, has proposed making voting mandatory. He cites, as an example, the law in Australia that exacts a fine for anyone who does not duly show up at the polls. Naturally, the president has a hidden, political agenda that goes beyond just promoting doing one’s civic duty, He believes that nonvoters tend to be the young, the poor, and ethnic minorities who make up the natural base of the Democratic Party. However, such a law, as Obama suggests, would likely run into constitutional problems

Driverless cars could mean fewer police, bans of human driven automobiles

The prospect that in the future most cars will be driven by onboard computers has sparked quite a bit of discussion about their long term effects. Mashable reported on Wednesday that Elon Musk. of SpaceX and Tesla fame, opined that human driven cars may be made illegal since driverless cars would be so much safer. Business Insider added that the advent of driverless cars may allow the reduction of police forces in half.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

It's time to reboot 'Forever Knight'

From time to time, studio executives, bereft as they sometimes are of original ideas, try to reboot old movies and TV series. These sorts of exercises rarely work, with a few exceptions, such as “Battlestar Galactica.” The Canadian-produced series “Forever Knight” about a Toronto police detective who happened to be a vampire could prove to be another exception in the right hands.

The Man from Mars: The Asteroid Mining Caper
Senators to pursue breast cancer cure

While breast cancer is one of the most treatable cancers, especially if it is caught early in a mammogram or a self-examination, it nevertheless kills millions of women every year. A group of United States senators, Republican, and Democrats, are banding together to do something about that. They mean to eradicate breast cancer, according to a Wednesday story in the Washington Examiner.

The Asteroid Threat: Defending Our Planet from Deadly Near-Earth Objects
NASA's Dawn detects ice plume rising from Ceres

As NASA’s Dawn spacecraft moved into orbit around Ceres, a dwarf planet residing in the asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, scientists were in rare excitement about two bright dots that were spotted on its rocky surface. Phys.Org reported on Wednesday that, even though Dawn has yet to start its principle investigation of Ceres, scientists believe that he white dots are the result of plumes rising from what may be a subsurface ocean, similar to what are thought to exist at Europa, Ganymede, and Enceladus. This conclusion has led to further speculation that some parts of Ceres may contain life

Obama, media react negatively to Netanyahu landslide

When the polls closed in Israel Tuesday, the exit polls suggested that Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party and the opposition Zionist Union were neck and neck with about 27 seats each in the new Knesset. Because of Israel’s coalition politics, most analysts suggested that Netanyahu had the easiest path to forming a government. But with the votes counted, it looks like Netanyahu scored a landslide victory, picking up 30 seats to the Zionist Union’s 24, the reverse of what polls leading up to the election suggested would be the result. Neither the Obama administration nor some elements of the mainstream media is happy.

Missouri state senator demands that the EPA back off regulating barbecues

The Washington Examiner noted on Monday that the Environmental Protection Agency had given a $15,000 grant to the University of California Riverside to develop technology to make backyard barbecues less polluting. The EPA assured the public that it does not regulate backyard barbecues and that the grant was just for a student project. At least one Missouri state senator has seen fit to raise the alarm and call for a protest. The theory is that what is a study today could become a mandate tomorrow.

Historical Society Says Historical Account of Alien Abduction is Historical Fact

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Dark Hunt (The Vampire Gabriella Book 2)
Obama fails to take out Netanyahu

It looks like Barack Obama struck at Benjamin Netanyahu and failed to kill him. The Times of Israel reported Tuesday, based on exit polls from the Israeli elections, that Netanyahu’s Likud Party won the same number of seats as the opposition Zionist Union Party in the next Knesset. However, because of the nature of Israeli coalition politics and the fact that there are more minor parties that naturally align with Likud, Netanyahu is likely to form the next government. The Israeli president, Reuven Riven, has called on Likud and the Zionist Union to form a unity government.

Calls for an Al Gore presidential candidacy grow on both sides of the aisle

Al Gore, former senator, vice president, failed presidential candidate, and current global warming scold, rose at the SXSW conference in Austin recently and demanded that “climate change deniers” be “punished” and that a stiff tax be slapped on carbon. In the meantime, Democrats are casting about in panic for an alternative to Hillary Clinton as she continues to circle the drain. Thus, in that spirit, Hot Air called on Tuesday for the creation of a “Republicans for Gore” movement.

Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey - "The Parting Glass"

For an old friend, whom we would fain wade share a glass with once more.

Nuclear bomb propelled space ships might have happened in the 1960s

Back in the late 1950s and early 1960s, a little-known project called Orion (not to be confused with the current NASA spaceship) envisioned gigantic space going cruisers propelled with the explosions of nuclear bombs. The commonly understood narrative has been that the project died because of a combination of technical problems, the Test Ban Treaty, and the reluctance by then Defense Secretary Robert McNamara to fund space going battleships. But a Monday story in The Space Review, citing newly declassified documents, suggested that a nuclear bomb propelled space fleet came closer to reality than anyone hitherto thought

Project Orion Nuclear Pulse Rocket, Technical Reports on the Orion Concept, Atomic Bombs Propelling Massive Spaceships to the Planets, External Pulsed Plasma Propulsion

The Martian
Mars One comes under increasing criticism, accused of being a scam

Mars One, the project being conducted by a Dutch nonprofit that purports to have as a goal the establishment of a Mars colony, is coming under increasing criticism. A Monday article in Space Review suggests that the people running Mars One have not thought through the challenges of Mars colonization and lack the resources, technology, and knowledge to accomplish such a fear. Medium, having interviewed a Mars One finalist who happens to be a former NASA researcher, goes a step further and accuses the project of being an elaborate scam designed to separate people from their money.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas
Ted Cruz accused of frightening a little girl to death

Usually, the left uses conservative politicians to frighten children. However, it is very rare indeed that conservatives are accused of frightening children. But that happened to Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas in the pages of Raw Story in a Sunday story. The story was headlined, “‘Your world is on fire’: Ted Cruz scares the hell out of a terrified little girl in New Hampshire.” The truth is somewhat less dramatic than the headlines would suggest.

Cruz's space support good for Florida, but will Florida be good to Cruz?

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas championed space exploration at a recent hearing of his Space, Science, and Competitiveness Subcommittee and in print. Now, that support got kudos on Sunday in the pages of Florida Today. The senator from Texas is good to Florida by supporting space exploration. Will Florida return the favor when the Republican primaries come rolling around in about a year?

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Only Reagan can fix global warming

That the global warming or, as many prefer to call it, climate change debate has generated more heat than light is a truism in American politics. The latest example of this phenomenon was demonstrated by Vice President Joe Biden, a man given to saying alarming things at the drop of a hat. According to a Saturday story in The Hill, Biden said, “I think it’s close to mindless. I think it’s like, you know, almost like denying gravity now.”

Gabriella's War: A Vampire Gabriella Novel (The Vampire Gabriella) (Volume 4)
Anti-robot protest breaks out at Austin technology conference

Science fiction writers have been exploring the societal implications of human-like robots from time immemorial. The late, great Isaac Asimov suggested, in his series of robot stories, including “The Caves of Steel,” that the introduction of such machines would cause social unrest from workers who would find themselves displace. Dr. Asimov, meet “Stop the Robots.” According to a Sunday story in USA Today, a group of a couple of dozen protestors showed up at the SXSW tech and entertainment festival in Austin, Texas to express their rage against the machine.

The Caves of Steel (R. Daneel Olivaw, Book 1)

The Terminator

Battlestar Galactica: The Complete Series [Blu-ray]

Colossus - The Forbin Project

A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts
Could Morpheus take RESOLVE to the moon?

NASASpaceFlight.com published a piece on Saturday about NASA’s Morpheus program, which tested a prototype lunar lander that tested a methane rocket engine and an automatic landing and obstacle avoidance system. The project, which lasted from the summer of 2010 to December 2014, was wildly successful even considering one of the test vehicles was destroyed. Morpheus was also cheap, costing just $14 million. The reason it was so cheap was that, atypical of most aerospace projects, it accepted some risk and kept down paperwork and overhead. The space agency is looking at new projects using the Morpheus model.

Is Putin sick, overthrown, or dead?

Vladimir Putin, the Russia president, has not been seen in public since March 5. Naturally, the rumors are flying fast and furious. Sunday, Sputnik International listed the five top explanations for his disappearing act. He’s either dead, horribly ill, overthrown in a coup, attending the birth of a love child or binge watching “House of Cards,” the Netflix show about political intrigue and backstabbing. The latter is a possibility. Frank Underwood certainly has lots to teach Putin about dealing with one’s enemies.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Dreams of Barry's Stepfather
Ted Cruz responds to criticism of his space policy

Recently the Houston Chronicle took Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, the chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness, to task for an alleged inattention to the needs of NASA’s Johnson Spaceflight Center. More recently, Cruz found himself in a sparring match with NASA Administrator Charles Bolden over the question of whether Earth science is being funded at the space agency at the expense of its core mission of space exploration. Friday, Cruz took to the pages of the Houston Chronicle to explain himself further.

Seveneves: A Novel
Bet that the measles is psychosomatic costs vaccination denier 100,000 Euros

ZME Science reported on Friday that a vaccination denier named Sefan Lanka is being compelled by a German court to pay 100,000 Euros as part of an ill-considered bet that the measles is not caused by a virus, but is rather a psychosomatic disease A German doctor named David Barden mailed Lanka documentation of the latest research with a demand that he pay up. When Lanka refused, Barden took him to court.

Seattle minimum wage law devastates local restaurants

Seattle is the latest city to engage in the progressive/liberal experiment of raising the minimum wage to provide a “living wage” for low-income workers. As Hot Air reported on Saturday, many small restaurants are closing as a result, unable to meet their margins, throwing those same low-income workers onto the street. Part of the problem, according to Townhall, is the Byzantine complexity of the law, with numerous exemptions, provisions, and a phase in over several years depending on the size and nature of the business being affected.