House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi beat back an insurrection against her status as leader of the House Democrats, winning 134 to 63 against Rep. Tim Ryan. That Pelosi has presided over the decimation of the House Democratic caucus seemed to matter less than party loyalty. Pelosi will lead the tattered, decimated ranks of her party as part of a leadership team who are in their 70s. The happiest with the results, according to Hot Air, were Republicans. Kellyanne Conway quipped tartly on Twitter, “What a relief. I was worried they had learned from the elections & might be competitive and cohesive again.” The National Republican Congressional Committee endorsed Pelosi for Democratic leader.
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Team Trump has chosen a #Space insider named Christopher Shank as part of the NASA landing or transition team. Shank worked for the space agency between 2005 and 2009 where he was a close adviser to then-NASA Administrator Mike Griffin. Since then, after a brief stint in industry, he has worked in Congress for the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology chaired by Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas. The appointment is causing some consternation in some parts of the commercial space fan club.Update and Bumped: Rand Simberg screams and leaps.
#Space News reports that Part Time Scientists, the German-based Google Lunar X Prize team, has acquired a launch contract from a Seattle-based company called Spaceflight Industries. Spaceflight is a broker for secondary payloads on existing launches, in this case likely a SpaceX Falcon 9. To date, three competitors, Moon Express, Synergy Moon, and SpaceIl, the latter an Israeli team, have confirmed launch contracts. Team Indus, the Indian team, claims a launch contract, but this is not yet certified. A number of other teams are scrambling to nail down their own launch arrangements before the December 31, 2016 deadline. The time limit for mounting a private mission to the moon and claiming the cash prize of the Google Lunar X Prize is the end of 2017, just over a year later.
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
The media, such as the UK Guardian, is replete with stories on the theme of “#Donald Trump wants to scrap #Climate Change research” and with the accompanying “We’re all going to die of global warming,” echoing the cry from the millennial DNC staffer named Zach who cussed out Donna Brazille for shortening his life by failing to stop Trump. While the idea of draining the climate change swamp, as politicized as any area of science ever was, to pay for more #Space exploration is beguiling, the people who are panicking are not understanding what game Trump is playing.
The death of Fidel Castro, the monster that has blighted Cuba for the past nearly six decades, may have another casualty. The collateral damage seems to be the reputation of #Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whose accolade for the fallen tyrant has made him the laughing stock of the world.
“Timeless,” the NBC series about three time-traveling special operatives who hop from historical period to historical period, took us to July 20, 1969, in its most recent episode, the day man landed on the moon. Our heroes, engineering genius Rufus, historian Lucy, and soldier Wyatt, have to stop the time traveling criminal Garcia Flynn from turning civilization’s greatest triumph to a tragedy by stranding Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon. The series, as in previous episodes, depicts real-life historical figures, including a hitherto unsung hero named Katherine Johnson.
Monday, November 28, 2016
Hot Air notes that French #politics are about to take a turn that is as earth shaking, in its own way, as what just happened in the United States. A round of voting called “the conservative primary” has propelled a man named Francois Fillon to become the favorite to become the next president of the French Republic. This development is a hopeful one for a couple of reasons.
“Star Wars: Rogue One” is an eagerly awaited film depicting the operation that stole the plans for the Death Star, something that featured so prominently in the first film that hit the theaters in 1977 and changed science fiction cinema forever. However, the writers of the movie, Chris Weitz and Gary Whitta, decided to pop off, somewhat indirectly, about Donald Trump on Twitter, according to Heatstreet, Weitz declared, “Please note that the Empire is a white supremacist (human) organization.” Team Trump have been scurrilously accused of being racists. Whitta added, “Opposed by a multi-cultural group led by brave women.”
Sunday, November 27, 2016
The political commentariat is all ablaze about President Elect #Donald Trump’s latest tweet in which he stated, “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally." The tweet comes on the heels of claims on some of the right of widespread voter fraud taking place during the recent election, especially in California. Hillary Clinton beat Trump in the popular vote by about 2.2 million people. Indeed some have suggested that the president-elect lacks a mandate because of this fact.
Most dreams of human colonization of #Space involve the moon or Mars. But, in a recent article in Scientific America, Charles Wohlforth and Amanda R. Hendrix, authors of a new book entitled “Beyond Earth, Our Path to a New Home in the Planets,” do a little outside the box thinking and hit upon Titan, a moon of Saturn, as the first home of humanity in outer space.
Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate whose performance in the recent presidential election resulted in a dismal showing, is refusing to remove herself from public attention. First, she was one of the addled people ranging from Jesse Jackson to the prime minister of Canada who marked the passing of Cuba’s tyrant Fidel Castro with inappropriate praise. “Fidel Castro was a symbol of the struggle for justice in the shadow of empire. Presente!” Then there is her initiative to force a recount of votes in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania states that Donald Trump won which placed him over the top. The Hillary Clinton campaign has joined in that effort.
Saturday, November 26, 2016
Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential candidate, is still on the short list for #Donald Trump’s secretary of state. He has a lot of qualifications, most important being that of an elder statesman with a lot of respect around the world. However, Romney was also one of Trump’s most fervent enemies during the Republican primaries, though he choose not to run himself in 2016. Team Trump would therefore like to see him grovel for the job, apologizing for all of the mean things he said. The problem is that even after that Romney would by no means be assured of the job.
If the death of any human being came decades too late but still offered hope for a better life for millions of people, Fidel Castro’s much-belated departure from this Earth at the age of 90 is one of those occasions. Castro, who seized power in Cuba from the dictator Batista, established a savage tyranny that repressed the civil rights of its people in pursuit of a communist state. Many Cubans choose to flee to the United States, changing the demographics of South Florida and American #politics in ways that cannot possibly imagined. Two prominent American politicians, Sen. Marco Rubio and Sen. #Ted Cruz, the past and maybe future candidates for president of the United States, are children of Cuban refugees.
Friday, November 25, 2016
With astronauts spending months on board the International Space Station, they often find themselves away from home during the holidays. How did the crew of the ISS spend #Thanksgiving? It turns out that the American crew members took the occasion to share the holiday tradition with their Russian and French crewmates with a feast that included turkey (rehydrated), stuffing, potatoes, green beans, and candied yams. The food was stored in plastic pouches and consumed out of them. The meal was washed down with sweet tea. So that food induced coma could not ensue, the portion sized were strictly consumed.
Black Friday is the traditional start of the holiday shopping season during which millions of Americans head to the mall to engage in combat over presents that won’t be given for another month, suggesting that people really don’t need to engage in fisticuffs over the latest smartphone or video game console. Business Insider reports that more and more shoppers have decided to eschew the annual holiday shopping wars for online ordering.
#Black Friday is so-called because it is the day most retailers move from being in the red to being in the black as the holiday shopping season kicks off. It is also the day when millions of Americans, having given thanks for what they have, engage in unarmed combat to get more. Finally, and this seems to be the start of an annoying tradition, the day of frenzied shopping is serving as the occasion for Black Lives Matter to become annoying in pursuit of its cause.
Thursday, November 24, 2016
For most people, the only danger to come on #Thanksgiving will be the risk of heart burn brought on by too muck turkey and stuffing and the millennial home from college with a basket for of resentment over the election of Donald Trump. But, as Fox News reminds us, some of the sailors on the USS Eisenhower, now on station in the Middle East, will mix their turkey and dressing with launching air strikes against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. Currently as motley coalition that includes the Iraqi Army, Kurdish fighters, and American special ops troops are conducting operations against that special man-made hell on Earth. The United States Navy and Air Force are dropping precision bombs on ISIS fighters in support of said operations. The long war on terror does not stop simply because it is a holiday.
#Thanksgiving is supposed to be a time when you gather with family to stuff yourself silly with Turkey and then pass out on the couch watching football. It is also meant to be a time of giving thanks for all the good fortune that has occurred in the previous year, as did our pilgrim fathers did in days of yore. But 2016 is no ordinary year. A lot of people, because of the election, do not think they have anything to be thankful for and are keen to inflict their disquiet on their relatives over Thanksgiving table. According to the Washington Post, something called Showing Up for Racial Justice has provided a hotline for the vexed millennial or other progressive when confronted by a conservative relative. Mainly, when Uncle John or Granny Sally is unresponsive to appeals to their sense of shame for having voted for Donald Trump, the hotline will provide talking points on a variety of subjects.
Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Attempts to ban books in a country that prides itself on freedom of expression is always a sad spectacle, harkening as it does to Nazi era #Book burning. Add to the list of books too dangerous to be allowed by authors such as Mark Twain and J.K. Rowling is the “Rush Revere” series by radio talk show host and political commentator Rush Limbaugh. School officials in Marshall, Wisconsin have told a six-year-old boy in no uncertain terms that he could not bring any of his “Rush Revere” books to school because they contain “inappropriate material.”
President Barack #Obama handed out the last batch of Medals of Freedom he will ever give out. Recipients included Hollywood actors such as Tom Hanks and Robert De Niro, artists such as Maya Lin, and sports stars such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Perhaps most deserving of the award were two female computer pioneers, the late Admiral Grace Hopper and Margaret Hamilton.
When the Trump administration begins in January and starts changing course at NASA, the new president will have at least one Democrat backing him. Sen Bill Nelson, D-Florida stated, in a wide ranging interview on WESH TV that he supported the incoming president’s plans to ramp up NASA space exploration and establish private/public partnerships.
Tuesday, November 22, 2016
All of the Trump supporters who chanted “lock her up!” at rallies will no doubt be disappointed by Kellyanne Conway’s announcement that the President-Elect is not interested in pursuing Hillary Clinton for her various crimes great and small. But, at Hot Air suggests Trump’s power to make that mercy stick may be limited. Congress can investigate her until the end of days without a by your leave from any president. The same applies to the FBI. Trump’s nominee for Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, seems less inclined to let the Clintons slink into the sunset without a nice perp walk and a fitting for an orange jumpsuit.
One of the significant changes that the incoming Trump administration is contemplating in defense #Policy is the development of #Space-based weapons. These weapons will not just consist of missile defense systems, such as once proposed during the Reagan administration’s SDI program, but defenses for American satellites. Both Russia and China are developing weapons that would attack satellites that the United States military relies on in the event of an armed conflict. The Trump administration would also create weapons that would strike at an enemy’s space assets, according to Roll Call.
Much is being made of the controversial past of various people in President-Elect Donald Trump’s orbit, including Steve Bannon, the newly minted White House Counselor, who is being accused, falsely, if being an anti-Semite. However, it looks like the Democrats are preparing to name as the head of the Democratic National Committee a man, Rep Keith Ellison, who used to be a member of Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam. Ellison, a member of the farthest left of the left of the #Democratic Party, has been endorsed not only Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen Elizabeth Warren but also Sen. Chuck Schumer, according to the Weekly Standard.
Monday, November 21, 2016
When Vice President-Elect Mike Pence went to the theater to see a performance of “Hamilton” he got booed by some members of the audience and then received a lecture in diversity by one of the cast members at the end of the performance. The incident created a firestorm on social media and cable news over what many perceive to be the rudeness of the way Pence was treated. During a performance of the play in Chicago, a pro-Trump audience members started a profanity laced rant and had to be led away by security. Pence, for his part, expressed bemusement, suggesting that what he had heard was freedom. However, congressional Republicans may be prepared to get the last laugh concerning a tax write off for #Broadway performances, according to BizPac.
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” brings the wizarding world of Harry Potter to America of the jazz age, decades before the adventures of the boy wizard. The story involves Newt Scamander, a sort of magical version of Frank Buck, the famous capturer of big game from around the same era, who studies and sometimes protects magic creatures, and an exciting visit he pays to New York. He is carrying a box that is much larger on the inside than on the outside, containing a menagerie of creatures great and small, sort of like Dr. Who’s Tardis. Because of a series of unfortunate events, some of the animals escape and chaos ensues.
The Washington Times noted that law enforcement fought off an army of 400 protestors who attempted to cross the bridge on state Highway 1806 in North Dakota near an uncompleted oil pipeline that has been the venue of violent demonstrations and illegal acts. The officers used water cannon and tear gas to turn back the demonstrators and made at least one arrest. Thus proceeded the latest action of an ongoing mess that President Barack #Obama is leaving for Donald Trump.
Sunday, November 20, 2016
Weather satellites have revolutionized the science of forecasting. In times past, events such as storms, especially hurricanes, would beset a community with very little warning, leaving them unprepared. Now storms can be forecast a few days in advance and hurricanes can be tracked from their point or origin, allowing coastal communities days to prepare. Weather satellites have saved untold thousands of lives and many billions of dollars.
One of the parlor games being played around official Washington has been asking the question who will be President #Donald Trump’s NASA administrator. The question has some pertinence, considering the increased importance that the #Space agency is likely to play in the incoming president’s plan to “make America great again.” Will the new space agency chief be a visionary such as Jim Bridenstine, a former astronaut such as Eileen Collins, or a more institutional figure such as Scott Pace or even former NASA Administrator Mike Griffin?
Add to the mix, at least according to the National Review, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Saturday, November 19, 2016
The best that can be said about Vice President-Elect #Mike Pence’s night to see “Hamilton,” the smash hit musical about the founding father, is that it was not nearly as unpleasant as Abraham Lincoln’s last outing at the theater. He was greeted by mixed boos and cheers when he arrived to take his seat. Some of the musical numbers were interrupted by audience members carrying on about the vice president-elect. At the end of the performance, one of the cast members came out and offered a plea to Pence to respect the diversity of America and to protect all Americas, even those who might be illegally in the country.
Neil deGrasse Tyson, the celebrity astrophysicist and media personality, proved that even the smartest people can get into trouble on Twitter when he imagined a meeting between him and #Donald Trump. He recently tweeted, "When I meet President Trump, I may first grab his crotch — to get his attention — then discuss #Science with him.” The attempt at humor was an apparent reference to things that Trump said that were recorded during the infamous Hollywood Access tape that almost cost him the election. Tyson likely cost himself any chance he had of getting a private audience with the president-elect.
Friday, November 18, 2016
Eric Berger over at Ars Technica is reporting that NASA has issued a request for information about how to make its heavy lift #Space Launch System cheaper to build and operate. The RFI also allows respondents to suggest alternative launch vehicles. Those vehicles might include the SpaceX Falcon Heavy and the planned Blue Origin New Shepard and New Armstrong rockets.
Less than two weeks after he was elected president, #Donald Trump has started to make appointments to his cabinet. The Washington Post reports that Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama has been selected as Attorney General. Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kansas has been tapped as CIA Director. Previously, Trump had asked General Mike Flynn to be National Security Advisor, but he had not yet accepted as of this writing.
While the expressed #Space policy goal of the incoming Trump administration has been to explore the solar system with astronauts by the end of the century is bold enough, people as varied as Stephen Hawking and Glenn Reynolds are thinking even more daring. They, as well as two rivals in the commercial space business, are urging that Earth starts colonizing space to preserve human civilization.
Thursday, November 17, 2016
With President Election #Donald Trump putting together a government in the heights of the Trump Tower, he is getting plenty of advice about which policies should change, especially NASA’s #Space program which the transition team is in for a considerable change. Robert Bigelow, like Trump, a hotel developer and unlike the future president a space entrepreneur, has a modest proposal. President Trump should double NASA’s funding from less than half of one percent of the federal budget to a full one percent, according to Space News. Thus, Bigelow suggests, the space agency will have plenty of financial resources to carry out Trump’s visionary plan to explore the entire solar system by the end of the 21st Century, starting with a return to the moon.
The latest news of one of the streams of people who are streaming up to the Trump Tower to bend the knee and kiss the ring of the president election is that Mitt Romney, the 2012 nominee for president, will arrive during the November 19-20 weekend for a possible cabinet position. The guessing is that he will either be considered for secretary of state or secretary of the treasury. A number of things are wrong with either office and with Romney himself for that matter being in a Trump government.
When NASA released a request for information (RFI) for payloads that could fly to the moon on commercial spacecraft, Moon Express was the first company to offer an extra incentive, costing $1.5 million for three payloads to be flown on its vehicles. Now Moon Express’ main competitor, Astrobotic, has upped the ante with an incentive package of its own.
The biggest shale oil field in the United States was just confirmed in the Permian Basin, called the Wolfcamp Formation. The field is said to contain 75 billion barrels of oil and vast amounts of natural gas. It is three times the amount of the Bakken field in North Dakota and second only to Saudi Arabia’s Ghawar field.
#Hollywood, like most of liberal America, is acting as if they were in Warsaw and Hitler had just invaded Poland in the wake of #Donald Trump’s election. The blind panic has luminaries like Joss Whedon calling for Trump to be stopped from becoming president by any means necessary. Aaron Sorkin wrote a hysterical letter to his daughter describing what he thinks is the triumph of racism and sexism. But then Tom Hanks stood up before a gala at the Museum of Modern Art and became the voice of reason with a speech that began with, “We’re going to be alright” and proceeded to remind the actors and other celebrities present that America has been in worst times than now, having elected a mercurial real estate tycoon and reality show star as president. Later he told the Hollywood Reporter, "I hope the president-elect does such a great job that I vote for his re-election in four years."
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
According to the #Houston Chronicle, the ridesharing service Uber and the city of Houston have come to an agreement over background checks for drivers. The city agreed that #uber drivers would no longer be subject to a physical examination and that Uber cars would no longer be required to carry fire extinguishers. Drug tests will only be needed if there is probable cause. In return Uber agreed to require its drivers to be subjected to a fingerprint background check. The deal is designed to get the ridesharing service in Houston through the Super Bowl, which is expected to generate a significant amount of business.
Thanks to the Kepler Space Telescope and a number of ground-based observatories, we now know of thousands of planets that orbit other stars. Some of those worlds are thought to be of the size and distance from their home suns that they might be other Earths. A new private undertaking, called Project Blue, is raising money on Kickstarter to go the next step, to build a #Space telescope capable of imaging another planet in the Alpha Centauri system and determining whether it has water and an atmosphere capable of supporting life.
One of the casualties of the Trump Apocalypse may be, at long last, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. While House Republicans have re-elected Speaker Paul Ryan and his leadership team by acclimation, House Democrats have delayed their leadership votes the better to find an alternative to the aging liberal representative from San Francisco.
Sen Ted Cruz, R-Texas slipped into the Trump Tower November 15 to have a secret meeting with Donald Trump. Afterward, Cruz told the media that he was there to give the president-elect his sage advice. No one believes that. Speculation abounds that Cruz is up for an office in the new administration, either attorney general or a place on the Supreme Court. The senator would grace either office, though accepting would mean he would have to leave the Senate and would have to give up any thought of running for president.
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
People continue to lose their minds as a result of the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States, from college students rioting in the streets to a Texas mom who literally threw her young son out of the house for voting for the Republican in a mock school election. According to the American Spectator, the first person to have a meltdown over the Trump election was #Hillary Clinton herself.Dark Crusade: A Vampire Gabriella Story (The Vampire Gabriella Book 5)
Rep Jim Bridenstine, R-Oklahoma, currently considered a front runner for the post of NASA Administrator under the upcoming Donald Trump administration, is a warm supporter of a return to the moon. In a recent speech to the Lunar Exploration Group, Bridenstine made a case that access to lunar water would help to extend the lives of large satellites, which tend to be abandoned when their station keeping fuel runs out. Rocket fuel refined from lunar water would be used to top off the satellites’ tanks, extending their useful lives and mitigating against #Space debris, caused when derelict satellites break apart and collide with one another.Why is it So Hard to Go Back to the Moon?
One of the most madcap court rulings in recent memory has taken place in Oregon. A group of 21 children and adults recently filed suit in federal district court against the federal government claiming that they have a constitutional right to a stable climate. U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken ruled against the government’s motion to dismiss, thus allowing the suit to proceed. The case is called Julianna v. United States. Environmentalists are hailing the ruling, claiming it will bring about an “eventual court-mandated, science-based plan to bring about sharp emissions reductions in the United States” according to Slate.
Looking at the tatters that is the Democratic Party, the left is looking at ways to survive the Trump Apocalypse. One idea is that the Democrats should eschew professional politicians when choosing a presidential candidate and look to the entertainment industry for new talent. The idea makes some modicum of sense. President Ronald Reagan was an actor, and President Election Donald Trump was a reality TV star. Besides, with multiple elections having decimated the down ballot Democrats in Congress and the states, the bench of professional politicians is pretty thin.
When people guessed who would fill which cabinet positions in the coming Trump administration, Rudy Giuliani’s name was most often mentioned for attorney general of Secretary of Homeland Security. The posts made sense, considering Giuliani had been a United States Attorney before he was elected mayor of New York in the 1990s. However, according to Fox News, Giuliani is being mentioned for secretary of state rather than attorney general. John Bolton, President George W. Bush’s United Nations ambassador, is his main rival for the job. Previously, Newt Gingrich was mentioned for the job of secretary of state.
Monday, November 14, 2016
The same sex marriage vs. religious liberty controversy has claimed a casualty at the ballot box, according to the Daily Caller. Brad Avakian, the commissioner of the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, lost his bid to become Oregon Secretary of State. Dennis Richardson, a former Oregon state representative, and candidate for governor won instead, becoming the first Republican to win a statewide office in that deep blue state in 14 years.
The Washington Post noted that a pro-Hillary Clinton protestor held a sign that stated “Rape Melania Trump” at an anti-#Donald Trump rally in Washington recently. The spectacle, calling for sexual violence to be committed against the future first lady of the United States, has sparked outrage. Twitter has come under some criticism for allowing the meme to trend, even in the form of critical tweets. But a more disturbing aspect of the incident has been the silence of both Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama.
How important will #Space exploration be in the coming #Donald Trump administration? Team Trump has spoken eloquently about how it desires NASA to not only explore the moon and Mars but the rest of the solar system with astronauts by the end of the century using commercial partnerships.Why is it So Hard to Go Back to the Moon?
Sunday, November 13, 2016
Hot Air is reporting that President Elect Donald Trump has named Republic National Committee Chair Reince Priebus as White House Chief of Staff. Steve Bannon, Trump’s campaign CEO, will be a Senior Counselor to the president. Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager, is said to be in line for a senior position in the West Wing. Rumor has it that she may be offered the post of White House press secretary.
With the possible exception of a mentally disturbed mom in Fort Bend, Texas who put her seven-year-old boy out of the house for voting for #Donald Trump in a mock school election, few people in America are as disappointed in the outcome of #Election 2016 an actress, producer, and public nuisance Lena Dunham. A fervent Hillary supporter, Dunham posted an account on her blog about her experiences on Election Day 2016.
#Donald Trump’s election as president has caused a lot of disturbed behavior, including entitlement-addled college students rioting in the streets, screaming invective and at least one young man having a meltdown because he thinks he will die from global warming. Nothing was quite so disturbing as the reaction of a mom in Fort Bend Country, Texas, who devised a bizarre punishment for her young son upon learning that he had voted for Trump in a mock school election.
Saturday, November 12, 2016
Some shows slip in little sight gags in scenes, sometimes of politicians that they don’t like. “Gamer of Thrones” displayed the decapitated head of former President George W, Bush on the walls of King’s Landing, for example, before having to digitally remove it after an outcry. Now, according to Konbini, some are suggesting that the zombie of none other than Donald J. Trump, president-elect of the United States, was seen in a recent scene in “#The Walking Dead” crawling across a road, hand outstretched, growling for human flesh.
Two new names have rocketed to the top of the list of people being considered for the post of NASA administrator in the Trump administration. Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Oklahoma is now considered the front-runner for the job. Bridenstine, a warm advocate for #Space exploration and commercial space partnerships, is the author of the American Space Renaissance, an attempt to reform every aspect of American space activity, NASA, military, and commercial. Bridenstine is an early supporter of #Donald Trump and is a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus.
Friday, November 11, 2016
One of the aggravating aspects of “#Westworld” is that it doesn’t delve into the whole myth of the Wild West that thousands of movies and TV shows depicted over the decades. The show has instead set out to deal with the robot hosts and how their experiences and the artificial intelligence is
Negan, by slaughtering both Abraham and Glenn, has broken Rick’s spirit in the first episode of the current season of “#The Walking Dead.” But, according to an interview with Lauren Cohen, the actress who plays Glenn’s wife and the mother of his child Maggie, he may have badly miscalculated. Maggie, according to Cohen, is not broken at all. She is out for vengeance and may well get it.
The center of the mythos of “#Westworld” is the technology of humanoid robots that look like human beings and, in a limited way according to their programming, behave like people. Leaving aside the theme of teasing something resembling consciousness from these animated theme park hosts, Screener TV asked Dr. Mary Ellen Foster, a Lecturer at the University of Glasgow’s School of Computing Science, how far away we are from having robots like the ones on the TV show.
The reaction to #Donald Trump’s election from certain quarters, ranging from a collective meltdown in the media to triggered college students rioting in the streets, howling for blood, has been entertaining. But the Huffington Post relates the bizarre reaction of them all, as a young DNC staffer named Zach called out Donna Brazile, the interim chair of the DNC, for failing to stop Trump and virtually ensuring that he will die young from the ravages of #Climate Change.
#Donald Trump is not yet president of the United States but NASA is already drumming up some options for his incoming NASA Administrator concerning what kind of vehicles will take astronauts into deep #Space, according to Ars Technica. In a Request for Information concerning the Orion deep spaceship the space agency has quietly asked commercial companies if they might have any alternatives. Boeing and #SpaceX are already developing spacecraft that will take astronauts to and from the International Space Station. Blue Origin envisions taking passengers to low Earth orbit on its planned New Glenn launch vehicle and beyond in the follow on New Armstrong.
Thursday, November 10, 2016
But Gabriella is beset on all sides, with the leaders of two great nations determined to give her the true death. From the White House to the Kremlin to the hell on Earth known as the Islamic State, the next move of the 500 year old vampire may be her last. But the woman who survived Cesare Borgia, Napoleon, and Hitler will surely prevail against Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin.
As an added note I had this one largely written early last summer with the final chapter added after the outcome of the election was known. As an added bonus, I reveal who the real source of the WikiLeaks documents that brought down Hillary Clinton was. It is not who everyone thinks.
Be sure to check out the other volumes in the Vampire Gabriella saga.
Does anyone remember the fears that if Donald Trump were to be defeated for election that his supporters would grab guns and march on Washington? Good times, good times. The Washington Examiner reports that young people are rioting in the streets under the banner “#NotMyPresident.” The election of #Donald Trump has triggered a lot of entitlement-addled millennials who have suddenly realized that no safe spaces exist anywhere, especially when Trump is sworn in.
One of the leftover tasks of #Election 2016 will be what to do with the problem known as Hillary Clinton. During one of the debates, Donald Trump promised to send Clinton to jail. The media went to the fainting couch with the idea that the now president-elect pledged to take revenge on a political opponent. But, Ms. Clinton’s various crimes are so many and legion that they could occupy a special prosecutor for years.
Wednesday, November 09, 2016
One of the positions that President Election Donald Trump needs to fill and quickly is that of NASA administrator considering the great many changes he plans for the #Space agency. The two men who head up his NASA transition team. Former Rep. Bob Walker and Mark Albrecht, the executive director of the National Space Council under President George Bush 41 have become the front runners for the job.
Nothing so illustrates the reason for the Donald Trump Apocalypse than the reaction of the elite media to it. Thomas Friedman of the New York Times now feels “homeless” in America because of the apparent repudiation of everything he believes in at the hands of a vulgarian capitalist. Of course, since Friedman believes that Red China is a great model for how countries should be run, he should not be surprised that the hoi polloi rose in rebellion and denied Hillary Clinton a chance to continue the liberal project of turning America into something more like China, a place where wise men and women in the capital make decisions from on high for the benefit of the commoners.
One of the many things that the incoming Donald Trump administration will do is to change the way NASA operates. Robert Walker, the former congressman who has advised Team Trump on #Space policy, has already suggested that there will be a renewed emphasis on space exploration and public/private partnerships. Walker was interviewed by Space News and suggested that the first change in direction will be toward the lunar surface. President Barack Obama had explicitly eschewed allowing the space agency to conduct a return to the moon program, which had been a centerpiece of the George W. Bush-era Constellation program.<.P>
Every conservative president since the dawn of American history is going to be a disaster of biblical dimensions, according to the people who oppose them. Donald Trump, who ran on a mainly conservative agenda dressed up in populist clothes, is seen as the onset of the apocalypse according to some. He is not.
The unhappiest person on the planet must be Hillary Clinton. Everything she strove for and suffered for turned to ashes in her mouth as the presidency was snatched from her grasp by a man who should never have won the prize instead. All of the scheming, the moral compromises, the pain inflicted on others, the pain endured, the corruption and the crimes were for naught. Clinton has suffered a tragedy of Shakespearean dimensions.
When Donald Trump first announced for president, very few if any people gave him a chance to win the nomination, not to mention actually come out on top in the general election. Yet, about a year and a half later, the most unlikely man ever to gain the White House will become the 45th president of the United States. He had a lot against him, including a lack of political experience, a temperament that could be best described as shocking, and, of course, the Hollywood Access tape that should have sunk him.
Tuesday, November 08, 2016
The conventional wisdom is that Hispanic Americans are turning out in droves to vote against Donald Trump. Trump has taken a hard line against illegal immigration, even going so far as to suggest that many illegals are murderers and rapists. Most polling data backs up this supposition. On the other hand, a couple of pieces in the Washington Examiner suggests that possibility that more Hispanics will vote for Trump than is generally believed.
The election, as of this writing, is not over but already a member of the media, Chuck Todd of NBC News, is starting to place blame. How is it that we came down to a choice between a blowhard like Donald Trump and a soulless fiend like Hillary Clinton? Todd casts his net wide, pointing fingers at the Democrats, the Republicans, and even the media. But the explanation is very simple.
Whoever is elected president in 2016 will be asked to govern a bitterly divided country half of whom will hate him or her. If Donald Trump is elected president, many people will think he is a racist, sexist pig given to intemperate outbursts. If Hillary Clinton is elected president many people will think she is a criminal who has spent decades violating the rules and breaking the law and getting away with it due to her relationships with the rich and powerful.
In the American political system, the president and vice president is elected by the Electoral College consisting of representatives of the various states which have a set number of electoral votes. The candidate who has 270 or more electoral votes will win. But what happens if neither major party candidate wins the number of votes necessary to win the election? Theoretically, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton could each get 269 electoral votes, making the vote a tie. Also, special circumstances, such as Evan McMullin winning Utah or a faithless electoral voting for another candidate, as some have threatened to do, could cause both candidates to fall short.
One of the quirks of the American electoral system is that the president and vice president are not elected by a popular vote but on the electoral votes of the various states. Usually, the same method of counting comes up with the same results. But four times in American history, a president was elected by the Electoral College who did not get the majority of American votes. Three of those instances took place in the 19th Century. But the most famous occurrence happened during the 2000 election in which then-Vice President Al Gore beat then-Governor George W. Bush in the popular vote but lost the electoral vote. But that was only part of the circus that ended that strange election year.
An American citizen who happens to be absent from the United States but the planet, astronaut Shane Kimbrough, cast his ballot remotely from the International Space Station in the current election. The way the system works is that a digital version of the ballot is beamed to the ISS, Americans on the station fill it out, then transmit it back for NASA to send it to the voting authorities. The arrangement has been around for quite some time, first having been used in 1997 when Dave Wolf was on the Russian space station Mir.
#Donald Trump is not yet president and, as of this writing, may not achieve that high office. However, rumors have started about who will grace his government. Two interesting names have come to the fore. Rudy Giuliani would become attorney general, and Newt Gingrich would become secretary of state. Both men are in their 70s, and both have been Trump’s warmest supporters during the #2016 Election.
“The Big Bang Theory,” the smash hit sitcom about four socially inept geniuses and the women who love them, has been a machine for making money for almost a decade. Naturally, the powers that be are looking for ways to squeeze out more lucre from the show. So, the inevitable spinoffs are being mulled. The first one that has been greenlit for development has the working title of “Sheldon” about the tortured, arrogant, but intelligent off the charts, Sheldon Cooper.
It is entirely possible that the gentle reader knows what is not known when these words are set down, that is to say, who will be the next president of the United States. The #2016 Election has been the most divisive, aggravating contest in living memory. The campaign had pitted to remarkably flawed people for the office of the most powerful person on the planet.
Monday, November 07, 2016
Details of the scientific paper that NASA scientists at the Johnson Spaceflight Center’s Eagleworks lab wrote about the EM drive have been leaked. The paper contains some interesting particulars of the engine that does not require propellant to operate but instead relies on microwaves bounced around inside a cavity. Even though the idea seems to violate physical laws, the engine appears to have worked during numerous tests.
The death of #Janet Reno, Bill Clinton’s Attorney General, of complications of Parkinson’s disease serves as a bitter reminder of two of the greatest atrocities of the 1990s, the military assault on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas in 1993 and the kidnapping of Elian Gonzalez from his family in Miami and his taking back into bondage in Cuba. The latter act likely turned the Florida Cuban vote against Al Gore and handed the presidency to George W. Bush in 2000.
Clinton supporters are high-fiving one another now that FBI Director James Comey has – again – cleared Hillary Clinton of illegal acts surrounding her unsecured email server. Of course, Clinton aides such as Huma Abedin are still in legal jeopardy. Donald Trump, who is pretty sure, along with tens of millions of his supporters that the fix was in would likely reopen that matter again should he be elected president. And, as Stephen Hayes at the Weekly Standard reminds us, there is still the matter of the pay to play scandal surrounding the Clinton Foundation. The FBI is still investigating the operation in which foreign powers, the well-heeled, and other dubious characters got favors from the State Department in exchange for generous contributions to the Clinton Foundation.
Sunday, November 06, 2016
In the tradition of Marvel Comics being a machine to make money, “Dr. Strange,” the surgeon turned wizard, is the latest superhero to make it to the big screen. The character, a neurosurgeon named Dr. Steven Strange, is played by Benedict Cumberbatch with one part arrogance and one part vulnerability.
In “The Cell”, the latest episode of The Walking Dead, we see what happens to Daryl when he was taken by Negan and his Saviors back to their community. Negan has Daryl placed in a cell and subjected to a number of torments, assigning one of his top lieutenants, Dwight, to help break him. The idea is not just to tear down his individuality and his dignity, but then to rebuild Daryl into a tool, Negan can use as one of his own.
One of the more outlandish fan theories that exist is that “The Walking Dead” is really a sequel to “Breaking Bad.” The latter series, for those who do not remember, depicted the descent into evil of a nebbish science teacher named Walter White who, having been stricken with cancer, has decided to become a meth dealer to provide for his family after he was gone.
HBO has two of the best series on television, the science fiction series Westworld and the fantasy epic Game of Thrones. Vanity Fair recently noted that George R. R. Martin suggested that a crossover between the two might be possible. The idea is that the same folks who recreated the wild west in #Westworld will have done the same for Westeros in Game of Thrones – the theme park.
On the surface, #Westworld, the place, is a vast theme park meant to simulate the wild west of the 1800s, centered on a town inhabited by “hosts,” robots with sophisticated artificial intelligence software designed to make them characters with whom human guests can interact. The wealthy can enjoy the pleasures of a saloon and a brothel, go off chasing bandits as part of a posse or indulge in darker fantasies as the so-called Man in Black does. But Westworld is an experiment designed to create robots that can pass a Turing Test and thus become indistinguishable from human beings.
Saturday, November 05, 2016
SFGate is reporting that a group of people who favor California leaving the Union is going to meet in the state capitol of Sacramento to get the ball rolling to have a referendum put on the ballot in 2019 for secession. The notion seems to be a little odd. Ordinarily, red states such as Texas, chafing under the tyranny of Washington, are considered hotbeds of secession talk. That deep blue #California could actually make a go of it as an independent country seems quaint.
The Planetary Society blog reported on a closed-door meeting that recently took place at NASA’s Johnson Spaceflight Center among representatives of the International #Space Station partners to plan the next big human space goal, a deep space station in the vicinity of the moon. The idea is that the station would serve as a prototype for technologies to be used on the Journey to Mars as well as a base for robotic lunar exploration in its first stage. In its second stage, the station would become a deep space ship, perhaps to visit an Earth-approaching asteroid or as a component for the first expedition to Mars.
As proof of how #Space exploration has become one of the issues that may sway the presidential election in Florida, vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine visited Central Florida and, along with the usual denunciations of Donald Trump, claimed that he and #Hillary Clinton are warm supporters of NASA’s space program. Both Trump and Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence had been in Florida previously and had touted their plan to renew the space program and to refocus it on exploration and science, using public/private partnerships.
Friday, November 04, 2016
#Sarah Palin was one of Donald Trump's earliest and warmest supporters during the Republican primary contest, abandoning her former favorite Republican, Sen. Ted Cruz. Now Palin and Cruz are on the same side again, as Palin is slated to stump for Trump in Michigan and North Carolina during the last weekend of the general election campaign. She will also attend what Team Trump hopes is a victory party in New York on election night.
Presidential candidates are often afflicted by scary supporters, but none is quite as scary, not to mention obnoxious and (in every sense of the word) ugly Lena Dunham, the actress, producer, and public nuisance who has become one of Hillary Clinton’s warmest supporters. Dunham has just posted a video in which she suggests that white men are “the problem” and that straight white men are a “bigger problem.” She then celebrates the extinction of straight white men.
Speaking recently at a meeting of theNASA's Lunar Exploration Analysis Group (LEAG), Rep. Jim Bridenstine. R-OK touted a return to the moon, and the exploitation of its resources as a means to jumpstart America’s #Space program. He is attempting to move legislation that will allow the FAA to grant mission approvals for commercial companies to conduct lunar voyages much as it already authorizes private launches. So far, only Moon Express has been given a mission approval on an ad hoc basis for planned lunar excursions to take place in 2017. Such approvals are required as part of a provision of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty.
Team Indus is the latest competitor in the Google Lunar X Prize to get a launch contract in the worldwide competition for the first private expedition to the moon, according to the Business Standard. The #India-based team has signed a deal with Antix Corp, the commercial arm of the India #Space Research Organization, for a launch on the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) for late in 2017. The X Prize has to certify the launch contract for Team Indus to be officially in the final leg of the modern race to the moon.
Thursday, November 03, 2016
Queso, that beautiful, cheesy confection that is part of a number of TexMex dishes such as nachos and enchiladas, is as part of Texas culinary tradition as is barbecue and chili con carne. Though there is no documented time when queso, or as it is correctly named, chili con queso, was first, it is thought to have originated in Mexico and then spread northward through Texas and then throughout the southern United States. Now, however, the Wall Street Journal reports that Arkansas is laying claim to the invention of queso, which it calls by the uninspiring name of “cheese dip.”
The news has been focused on the reopened FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email server scandal. To be sure, the report that at least five foreign actors hacked the server is a bone chilling development. But now, according to Fox News, a separate investigation by the Bureau into the Clinton Foundation pay for play operation is moving into high gear. FBI agents are dealing with an “avalanche” of new evidence, including WikiLeaks emails and interviews with Clinton and her top aides. FBI sources are reporting that “barring obstruction” the probe is likely to lead to indictments.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas has spent most of #Election 2016 campaigning for down-ballot Republicans. Aside from a tepid endorsement he has not gone so far as to mention #Donald Trump, the GOP presidential nominee. But that is about to change. Cruz is slated to campaign with Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence, according to CNN, in Iowa and Michigan. He will make some remarks at each stop before Pence goes on stage.
Wednesday, November 02, 2016
Incredibly the Chicago Cubs managed to beat the Cleveland Indians in game 6 of the 2016 World Series, evening things up and setting up a winner take all contest in game 7. Whoever wins, the Cubs, who have not won a World Series in over a century, or the Indians, the real winners of the most memorable baseball contest in living memory have been the ticket scalpers and resellers. According to Yahoo Sports, a ticket to the climatic game of the World Series will cost anywhere from $1,000 to $20,000 depending on where you happen to sit at Progressive Field. Standing room, according to Sports Illustrated, is just shy of $1,000.
Nothing quite suggests a presidential campaign in a death spiral that the candidate and her chief surrogate going berserk against hecklers in the crowd. Hot Air reports on two instances of this happening. First #Bill Clinton started yelling at someone who had some pointed things to say about Obamacare, which Clinton himself once referred to as “the craziest thing I ever say.” Then Hillary Clinton had a public meltdown over a “Bill is a rapist” protestor in the audience.
The Never Trumpers have held fast to the idea that Donald Trump is as unfit for office as is Hillary Clinton, so opposing him and going third party, supporting Evan McMullin by preference, has been easy. Indeed what seemed to be the likelihood of a Trump defeat made the principled stand an inevitable one. However, with Hillary Clinton in freefall in the polls thanks to the revelation of her many crimes committed as secretary of state and Trump exercises discipline again, the Never Trump movement is facing the prospect of the guy they detest becoming president. Steve Berman at The Resurgent is going through the stages of grief, arriving at bargaining and then acceptance.
In a rally in Columbus, Ohio, President Barack #Obama made a bizarre appeal for men to realize that their opposition to #Hillary Clinton is actually based on sexism and that they should adjust their thinking accordingly. He also said that Clinton had conducted herself “so much better” in public life than has “the other guy” meaning Donald Trump.
Tuesday, November 01, 2016
A report in the Texas Tribune reports that former Texas Gov. Rick Perry is urging Rep. Michael McCaul to primary Sen. Ted Cruz when he is up for reelection. So far Perry won’t comment on the story, and McCaul refuses to say whether he will challenge Cruz or not. Perry has declined to run for the Senate, a place he might find irksome after being governor of Texas with executive authority that a senator lacks.
In response to a new NASA initiative to select and fund payloads to fly on commercial spacecraft to the moon, Moon Express has made a complimentary proposal. The private lunar exploration company has put up $1.5 million in incentive money for NASA selected payloads that would fly on its spacecraft to the lunar surface. The incentive program would kick in up to $500,000 each for three payloads that would fly on Moon Express’ first flights to the moon, starting in 2017. The initiative is called the Lunar Scout Program.
NASA has made the next step toward establishing partnerships with commercial enterprises to restart the exploration of the Earth’s moon. The #Space agency’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD) has put out a request for information for small payloads that could be placed on commercial space probes that could go to the moon as early as the 2017-2020 timeframe. Organizations including corporations, universities, non-profit groups, NASA centers such as JPL, and other agencies of the United States government could propose such payloads.
Before the 2016 baseball season, one of the more outlandish predictions has been that the Chicago Cubs would play in the World Series. A 1993 student quote in a High School yearbook by a Cubs’ fan not only made that prediction but also pegged 2016 as the year it would happen. A year or two ago, an episode of the now-defunct sitcom “Parks and Recreation” made the same prediction and pegged a Cubs win on the same year. The line was treated as a joke. The last time the Cubs had been in a World Series had been in 1945, with World War II just concluded. The last time that Chicago’s hard luck team had won was during the Roosevelt administration – Teddy Roosevelt.
The last time NASA’s #Space program was an issue in a presidential campaign was during the 2012 campaign when Newt Gingrich proposed building a moon base by 2020 to an appreciative crowd in Florida. However, Mitt Romney turned the issue against Gingrich, ridiculing the idea, effectively killing the proposal and then Gingrich’s campaign. Fast forward over four years later and #Donald Trump, locked in a close contest with Hillary Clinton, proposed refocusing NASA on space exploration and science and forming more NASA/commercial partnerships. First Trump then his running mate Mike Pence advocated the idea of making space great again in stump speeches near Florida’s space coast to enthusiastic audiences of aerospace workers.Why is it So Hard to Go Back to the Moon?