Curmudgeons Corner

Random thoughts on politics, current events, popular culture, and whatever else interests me.

Mark R. Whittington is a writer residing in Houston, Texas. He is the author of numerous works of fiction and nonfiction, including the novel of suspense Nocturne which he coauthored with his wife, Chantal, The Children of Apollo trilogy, The Last Moonwalker and Other Stories, Gabriella’s War, The Man from Mars: The Asteroid Mining Caper, and Why is it So Hard to Go Back to the Moon?

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Monday, October 23, 2017
 
Linda Billings thinks that the National Space Council meeting is a ‘spectacle’

Linda Billings, a self-described expert in communications, has just published her take on the recent meeting of the National Space Council, which she refers to, caustically, as a “spectacle.” She quotes from an obscure French philosopher about what such a thing is, as images and words meant to supplant reality. In this, as in much else, Dr. Billings is wide of the mark. The NSC meeting was only interesting to people who follow space policy. It also pretty much tracked reality in regards to what the current state of space policy is.



 
Hillary Clinton targeted in Russian spy plot

The story about the Russian spy plot to gain access to the Clintons reads like a plotline from “The Americans.” The Hill is reporting that Vladimir Putin targeted Bill and #Hillary Clinton to achieve influence over the then powerful political power couple in 2009 and 2010. Part of the operation was legal, albeit unseemly, involving lobbying the State Department to get the Uranium One deal. The effort provided a lot of support for the Clinton Global Initiative and helped to ensure Bill Clinton with a $500.000 payday for a one-hour speech in Moscow. Part of the effort was covert and illegal.



 
Trump to become more aggressive fighting the Taliban

The Daily Caller is reporting that the #trump administration has changed the strategy in Afghanistan with a view of bringing the civil war between the Afghan government and the Taliban [VIDEO]to a conclusion. Under Obama, American efforts had primarily been directed at Al Qaeda. Trump has unleashed American military and intelligence assets against the former rulers of the landlocked Central Asian country.



 
In ‘The Walking Dead’ the war against Negan begins (spoilers)

“#The Walking Dead” has returned to Sunday nights and with it the Great War against Negan and the so-called Saviors. We had finished the previous season with the usually cocky wielding of Lucille being sent packing from Alexandria thanks to the timely intervention of the Kingdom and the Hilltop, spearheaded at King Ezekiel’s attack tiger. In the first episode of the new season, the alliance of Alexandria, the Hilltop, and the Kingdom take the fight to #Negan.



Sunday, October 22, 2017
 
Environmental groups find new reason to oppose Bridenstine as NASA head

Rumor has it that the confirmation hearings for Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Oklahoma) for #NASA administrator will be held on November 1, though this date had yet to be officially confirmed. However, a number of #environmental groups and some science groups such as the Union of Concerned Scientists are marshaling to oppose Bridenstine’s appointment.



 
Nancy Pelosi is wistful for a Romney presidency

The following story is a couple of days old but is worth delving into since former President George W. Bush [VIDEO] has gotten the strange new respect treatment from the left. It seems that House Minority Leader #Nancy Pelosi said, during a speech, that "Wouldn't it be nice if [Romney] were president of the United States?" The statement has, to put the matter mildly, caused eyebrows to rise across the United States.



 
Trump to allow release of JFK assassination files

AFP, among multiple media outlets, reports that President #Donald Trump will not block the release of top-secret files concerning the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Some in the intelligence community had wanted to keep the records secret, the theory being that they might reveal still current sources and methods. However, Trump would like to see them released in the interests of transparency.



Saturday, October 21, 2017
 
Steve Bannon for United States Senate?

#Steve Bannon, former consigliere to #President Trump and current head of Breitbart News, gave a speech at the fall convention of the California Republican Party. The address was vintage Bannon, praising President Trump, excoriating the Republican establishment, and championing his brand of economic nationalism. The speech roused Hugh Hewitt, a radio talk show host and cable news commentator to offer an outside-the-box suggestion.



 
President Trump slams Frederica Wilson in a blistering tweet

As he tends to do, President #Donald Trump took to Twitter recently and launched on Rep. #Frederica Wilson. It was the latest salvo in one of the more degrading Washington battles in recent memory. It started when Wilson claimed that Trump had been “insensitive” when calling to console a widow of a soldier recently killed in action. Things spiraled out of control from there.



 
Why Newt Gingrich is vindicated by Trump’s return to the moon plan

If one person on Earth feels vindicated about the Trump administration’s push to return to the moon, it is former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. In a recent post in his newsletter, the former presidential candidate and current social and political commentator waxed eloquently about the recent meeting of the National Space Council chaired by Vice President Mike Pence. Gingrich stated, “I am especially excited about Vice President Pence’s recognition that it is important to put Americans back on the Moon – and that going to the Moon is about more than just landing there.” To understand why Gingrich is so excited, one has to go back over five years when the former speaker was a presidential candidate.



Friday, October 20, 2017
 
An Apollo astronaut reflects on why we haven’t been to Mars yet

Popular Mechanics caught up with #Apollo astronaut #Thomas Stafford recently. The 86-year-old former Air Force officer, test pilot, and astronaut voiced a complaint that is common with people of his era. Why have we not been to #Mars yet, not to mention even back to the moon since 1972? The spectacle of a burst of space exploration that included six successful expeditions to the lunar surface was a handful, followed by decades of being trapped in low Earth orbit was aggravating to those who lived through it. The reasons are complicated and I explain them in “Why is it so Hard to Go Back to the Moon?”



 
You can’t boycott Israel if you want Harvey relief money in Dickinson, Texas

The town of Dickinson, which resides south of the Johnson Spaceflight Center, was one of the hardest hit areas [VIDEO] in Texas due to Hurricane Harvey. Many homes and businesses wound up being flooded out. Six weeks after the storm, the community is still trying to recover.



 
Liberal students support the Trump tax plan when they think it’s Bernie Sanders’

Perhaps taking a cue from Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas who hammered Sen #Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont by asking him what parts of the Trump tax reform package he dislikes, a group called Campus Reform sent a man in the street interviewer to the campus of George Washington University and asked random students about tax reform. The answers were illuminating.



 
Why the left now misses George W. Bush too

Ten or so years ago, people on the left were making movies that fantasized about the assassination of then-President George W. Bush. The younger Bush was the recipient of the kind of hatred that is unprecedented in American history, except for the ire that every other politician with an “R” after his or her name gets. Bush had a brief moment of popularity after 9/11, but by the middle of his second term, it was all but gone.



 
Why the Senate passing a budget resolution is a big deal (maybe)

The Senate passed a #Budget Resolution last night on a near party-line vote, with Sen. Rand #Paul, R-Kentucky bolting to join the Democrats to vote against it. The substance of the resolution is not as important as the fact that it sets up a vote on a #Tax Reform measure that can pass the Senate for 50 plus one votes instead of 60 votes. The question is, will the Senate pass tax reform or, as Hot Air is afraid it will do, blow it like it did Obamacare twice?



 
Blue Origin conducts a hot fire of its BE-4 rocket engine

#Rocket Engine testing is a common occurrence. Engines are set up on test stands and are fired to make sure they work as designed before being put inside a rocket to send it to Earth orbit and, sometimes, beyond. #Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos’ space launch company, recently did a hot fire of its new BE-4 rocket engine. Ars Technica suggests that the test was historic for a number of reasons.



Thursday, October 19, 2017
 
A scientist has an explanation why we have not heard from ET

The Fermi Paradox looks at the mathematical probability that #Intelligent Life is teeming in the universe and the fact that we Earth people have not received any signals from aliens yet. A number of possible explanations have been advanced to solve the paradox, including the depressing idea that civilizations tend to destroy themselves, say in a nuclear war or an environmental holocaust. However, Science Magazine notes that Alan Stern, the scientist most famous for his association with the New Horizon space probe that flew by Pluto a couple of years ago, thinks he has a possible explanation.



 
Pluto Lander proposed by Global Aerospace Company

When #New Horizons soared past Pluto just over two years ago, it revealed a strange world with glaciers of frozen nitrogen and mountains of packed water ice. Much of the features and processes that were uncovered by the probe were entirely unexpected by scientists, which is pretty impressive for a former planet that was downgraded to a “dwarf planet” in a decision that is still roiling the scientific community. Now, according to Spaceflight Insider, a group of scientists and engineers at the Global #Aerospace Company are proposing a follow-up mission that would land on Pluto and then hop about its surface.



 
Let the War in Halloween commence

The folks at Hot Air are not the only ones who are puzzled why a school in the town of Walpole, Massachusetts decided to declare war on Halloween, except that the school and town reside in a state that sent Elizabeth Warren to the Senate and is thus capable of anything. In any case, school officials have decreed the Halloween is “not inclusive” and have thus canceled the annual Halloween Parade in which children get to wear their costumes while marching about. In its stead, the school will sponsor a “Black and Orange #Spirit Day” party after hours.



 
Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders clash over tax cuts in a televised debate

If one wanted to know what the 2016 general election campaign could have been like had it not been between Trump and Clinton, one would have gotten a hint during Wednesday night’s debate on tax cuts that aired on CNN between Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont. The hypothetical campaign between the champion of socialism in one corner and the defender of #Free Market Capitalism in the other would have been far more edifying than the one that features grabbing lady parts and shaming 12-year old rape victims.



 
Scientists locate and measure a lava tube on the moon

#Scientists have speculated that areas on the moon, called lava tubes, may be the perfect location for future lunar colonies. American and Japanese scientists, combining data from the Selene orbiter and the Grail probe, have located one of those lava tubes in the Marius Hills region of the moon. Moreover, they have been able to ascertain that it is large enough, potentially, to contain a #Lunar Colony with room to spare.



 
‘Salvation’ has been renewed for a second summer season

Deadline Hollywood has reported that CBS has decided to give “#Salvation,” it's summer drama that used an asteroid headed for a collision with Earth as the McGuffin, a second season to air in the summer of 2018. The announcement will be welcome to fans of #science fiction and political melodramas. The awesome thing about “Salvation” is how many genres it managed to encompass in one show.



Wednesday, October 18, 2017

 
The latest attempt to fix Obamacare has collapsed

The bad news is that the latest attempt to fix Obamacare has collapsed. The #Good News is that the effort was a bipartisan “compromise” that would have bailed out the health insurance companies without fixing the problems that made such a thing necessary, as Hot Air points out. Now both Republicans and Democrats in Congress are uncertain about what to do next.



 
Linda Billings thinks that commercial space is both libertarian and Nazi

The Trump administration’s push to return to the moon has caused rare excitement, perhaps not seen since the early days of the Apollo project. Scientists have started to develop strategies to begin delving into the secrets of the universe. The commercial space sector stands ready to lend a hand. Even NASA seems to be on board. Perhaps, at last, humans will venture beyond low Earth orbit for the first time since 1972. However, #Linda Billings, a self-described “communications expert” is less than thrilled and has attempted to state why in her blog.



 
Plurality of Americans believe the media makes up stories about President Trump

Politico, along with the Morning Consult, released the results of a poll that concludes that a plurality of #Americans, 46 percent, think that the media just makes up stories about President Donald Trump. 37 percent do not believe that the press engages in publishing fiction as fact and 17 percent are not sure. More Republicans than Democrats agree that the media publishes lies about the president. However, Americans, by and large, do not believe that the press should be punished by the government for this alleged practice. So while the news media lacks credibility with the public, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution still does.



 
Uber should not be allowed to operate in London because of GPS

The latest argument being mounted against Uber [VIDEO] by the #London transport bureaucrats is a real doozy. It seems that Uber drivers depend more on their GPS and Google Maps systems that every rideshare car is equipped with than the meticulous memorization of London streets and addresses that every #Black Cab driver has to go through before being allowed to take passengers hither and fro. Plus, #Uber drivers tend to have “funny names."



 
A Harvard professor’s plan to make Hillary Clinton president now

For the gentle reader’s edification, a Harvard professor named Lawrence Lessig has offered a path for Hillary Clinton [VIDEO] to become president, not in 2021 after she wins an election but, perhaps, early next year, presuming a series of unlikely events. The scenario is the sort of thing that might work in a satirical cable TV series like “Veep.” However, as a real-world proposal, it reads like the ravings of a madman.



 
Does the return to the moon require a mission statement?

Paul Spudis, a lunar and planetary scientist who has been an advocate for a return to the moon, turned to the pages of Smithsonian’s Air and Space to discuss what he calls a #Mission Statement for going back to the lunar surface. Such a thing would not only be useful for keeping the program focused but would also constitute a good answer for the question as to why we are doing it. He has come up with a short, succinct phrase: arrive, survive, thrive.



Tuesday, October 17, 2017
 
Why China will not be a partner in the return to the moon

In the wake of the announcement of the latest return to the moon proposal, space policy makers are casting about for international partners for the effort. As with the #international space station, having other countries join in the lunar initiative would help to share its cost and would serve as a vehicle for diplomacy.



 
‘The Brave’ is the TV show that ‘Homeland’ should have been

"#The Brave,” a new series that airs on NBC on Monday night, depicts the adventures of a group of analysts, spies, and special operators who deal with terrorist threats to the United States on a weekly basis. The show stars Anne Heche as Deputy Director Patricia Campbell and the leader of the group.



 
Raqqa has been liberated bringing the Islamic State to an end

As Hot Air notes, the Syrian city of Raqqa has fallen to the Syrian Democratic Forces, a coalition of Arab and Kurdish fighters, backed by the United States. As of this writing, the stadium complex, used by ISIS as a torture center and prison, is being cleared of mines and any die-hard #Islamic State fighters who remain. A number of #ISIS terrorists managed to escape, but much more were either killed or captured in the fighting. The vaunted Islamic State as a distinct territorial entity has come to an end.



 
Bigelow and ULA team up to build space station in lunar orbit

Part of the emerging architecture for a return to the moon is a Deep #Space Station that would be deployed in cis-lunar space. The idea is that astronauts would ride to the DPS or, as some call it, the Deep Space Gateway in an Orion spacecraft. Then they will ride a reusable lunar lander the rest of the way to the moon’s surface. The DPS would eventually serve as a refueling depot with rocket propellant refined by lunar water brought up from the surface to be used to top off spacecraft headed for destinations such as Mars.



 
Commercial companies want to help NASA return to the moon

As America, hopefully, this time for real, prepares for a return to the moon, the one problem facing the effort is actually landing on the moon. NASA and its associated contractors are developing two parts of the back to the moon infrastructure, the Orion spacecraft and the heavy-lift Space Launch System. In addition, commercial companies such as SpaceX and Blue Origin are developing their own heavy lift rockets, the Falcon Heavy and the New Glenn respectively.



 
Why Megyn Kelly is crashing and burning on NBC

#Megyn Kelly, by all accounts, is crashing and burning as the second coming of Katie Couric in her morning slot at NBC. It is not hard to understand why. The no-nonsense, hard-hitting Kelly who liked to make her guests sweat on #Fox News does not come across as very appealing as the gooey “Megyn in the Morning” fluff gal that NBC tried to make her into. So much for that $23 million a year contract. So how does the network salvage its investment and, more important, how does Kelly save her career?



Monday, October 16, 2017
 
Why Madison Clark is the most deadly person in ‘Fear the Walking Dead’

Two things have become self-evident about the zombie apocalypse by the conclusion of the third season of “Fear the #Walking Dead.” First, being bit by one of the “infected” (they are called “walkers” in the other show) is a horrible thing. The best that can happen is that the body part that gets bit can be amputated instantly and without painkillers. The worse that can happen is that a friend will have the mercy to shoot you in the head before you “turn” and become one of those shambling, growling creatures that wander about the land trying to eat every living thing, especially living humans.



 
Jimmy Kimmel philosophical about the loss of his Republican audience

Jimmy Kimmel [VIDEO], the former late-night comedian, turned after-hours political polemicist, was interviewed on CBS Sunday Morning about his sharp turn to leftwing rants during his monologues. Kimmel was not overtly political before the Trump presidency. Now he is making his views known on such subjects as gun control and health care but in a serious, unfunny manner. As a result, his audience, especially among Republicans, has taken a noticeable nosedive. Kimmel’s reaction has been, mildly speaking, unusual.



 
Republican candidate for Congress claims to have been a UFO abductee

Congress has had members who have flown into space. Harrison Schmitt, the Apollo 17 moonwalker, served one term in the Senate. Jake Garn, then a senator, and Bill Nelson, [VIDEO]then a congressman and now a senator, flew on the space shuttle in the 1980s. However, Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera, a #Republican candidate for a House seat in Florida, may be the first candidate for a major party to claim to have ridden on an alien spaceship as an abductee.



 
Bill Nelson may be in peril of losing his Florida senate seat

Politico is reporting that Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida may be in trouble for reelection in 2018. The betting is that Nelson will face Florida’s Governor Rick Scott, a Republican, who is term-limited and is expected to run for the senate. Scott will decide as to whether to run late in 2017 or early in 2018. He has every incentive to wait until the last minute because fundraising rules are more constrained for a federal candidate than a state one.



 
Study: Corporate tax cut to increase wages by $4,000 to $9,000 a year

According to a new economic study, the #Corporate Tax cut being proposed by President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans will provide a boost of between $4,000 and $9,000 a year in wages, the Washington Examiner is reporting. The study was published by Kevin Hassett, the newly-installed chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers. Democrats are, naturally, disputing this analysis, claiming that most of the benefit of lowering the lowering of the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent would adhere to shareholders.



Sunday, October 15, 2017
 
NASA proposes joining proposed Russian missions to the moon

With the Trump administration push to return to the moon, NASA is understandably looking for international partners for the great enterprise. According to Space News, one of those partners is Russia, a country that has lunar ambitions. Russia has a number of robotic missions to the moon in the works, and the space agency is expressing interest in participating in them. However, would such space cooperation work or even be appropriate in the age of Putin?



 
Hillary Clinton still doesn’t understand why she lost in 2016

#Hillary Clinton recently sat down for an interview on the UK’s Channel Four. Naturally, the subject of her good friend and political ally Harvey Weinstein came up. Ms. Clinton tried to deflect the question by stating, "Look, we just elected someone who admitted sexual assault to the presidency.” She was, of course, referring to #Donald Trump and the infamous Access Hollywood tape in which he boasted of crude, sexual advances on women. However, the reaction to her statement was not received well.



 
Biloxi School District pulls ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ from eighth grade reading

According to the Biloxi Sun Herald, the community’s #School District has pulled #Harper Lee’s classic novel of racial bigotry and #Coming Of Age in the depression era south “To Kill a Mockingbird” from the eighth-grade reading list because some of the language makes people “feel uncomfortable.” By “language” the school district means the period use of the “n-word” in casual conversation. The ghost of George Carlin was not available for comment on what has become the word no one should use or hear anywhere.



Saturday, October 14, 2017
 
The moon, been there, done that, not hardly

One of the most aggravating arguments against going back to the moon was expressed by then President Barack Obama in his now infamous April 15, 2010, speech at the Kennedy Space Center. “We've been there before. Buzz has been there. There's a lot more of space to explore, and a lot more to learn when we do.” Every lunar and planetary scientist who heard that had to have groaned in exasperation. In fact, there is a lot more of the #moon to explore and a lot more to learn about it, as Popular Science points out. The Apollo astronauts only landed on tiny portions of Earth’s nearest neighbor close to its equator.



 
Big aerospace mounts a defense of space exploration

#Marillyn Hewson of #Lockheed Martin has published an op-ed in the Washington Post that serves as a response to the one by David Von Drehle that attacks the very idea of human space exploration. Hewson mounts a defense of why Americans should send people to explore the heavens. None of what she said includes anything quite as crass as “because NASA wants us to spend a lot of money to do so” even though big aerospace is pretty much in favor of anything the agency that writes the checks is for.



 
Harvey Weinstein to demand his old job back

You have to admit, Harvey Weinstein has either got a lot of cajones, or he is seriously in the denial stage of what has happened to him. Multiple news sources, including Hot Air, is reporting that Weinstein is going to dispute his firing from the Weinstein Company. He intends to claim that he followed the terms of his contract in that he paid the legal costs and the “fine” for each of the settlements for his various instances of sexual misconduct under the so-called “prey for pay” clause. In any case, Weinstein also intends to claim that he has not been accused of sexual harassment since he signed his current contract in October 2015.



Friday, October 13, 2017
 
How would Mars colonists govern themselves?

One of the more interesting questions of the 21st Century will be what sort of law will prevail on permanent space colonies. Thus far, as Gbenga Oduntan, an associate professor of space commercial law at the University of Kent states in a recent piece in the Conversation, the only example of a community in space has been the International Space Station. By agreement of the partners in the ISS, the space station has a commander whose authority is similar to that of a captain of a ship.



 
Trump decides to punt on the Iran nuclear agreement...for now

#trump termed the nuclear arms agreement with #Iran as one of the worst deals ever. As late as August, President Trump called the agreement an “embarrassment.” However, it appears that the president has decided to punt on the nuclear weapons agreement. He intends to “decertify” the deal since he believes it is not in the best interests of the #United States. However, he will decline to impose sanctions again, following the lead of Secretary of State Tillerson and ignoring the advice of such Iran hawks as former UN Ambassador John Bolton.



 
Oliver Stone is the latest Hollywood player to be accused of sexual harassment

It looks like the famed director #Oliver Stone is the latest Hollywood player to be caught up in the #Sexual Harassment scandal that has rocked the entertainment industry to its foundations. Stone had come to the defense of Harvey Weinstein, according to Hot Air, stating that it was too soon to condemn him. Stone later revised and extended his remarks on Facebook, announcing how “appalled” he was and commending the courage of the women who had come forward. Now a former Playboy model named Carrie Stevens has come forward and accused Stone of grabbing her breast at a party about 25 years ago.



 
How did Harvey Weinstein get away with it for so long?

People who live in the real world, which is to say outside of Hollywood, have to wonder how Harvey Weinstein got away with doing what he did for all of those years. Sure, at some point, he would have mauled the wrong actress, someone willing to go nuclear in return in a courtroom. Every other workplace in the country, even Fox News, has come to take a dim view of powerful men molesting women. However, Hollywood, at least until recently, operated on a different set of rules, according to Hot Air.



 
General Atomics mulls using a railgun to launch small satellites

Back in the 19th Century, the French author Jules Verne imagined launching an expedition to the moon using a gigantic cannon. That method of space travel was problematic, mainly because the sudden acceleration would kill any living thing. However, a company called #General Atomics is proposing a similar approach to launch small satellites using an electromagnetic railgun.



 
Trump to cut off Obamacare subsidies to insurance companies

Hours after he signed an executive order that set up association health insurance plans that could be bought across state lines, President Trump signaled that he intends to end Obamacare subsidies to insurance companies, according to Politico. Two reasons exist for the decision. First, the subsidies, while authorized under the #affordable care act, were never appropriated by Congress and therefore are illegal. The second and perhaps more important reason was to put pressure on Washington lawmakers to repeal and replace Obamacare altogether. #Members Of Congress of both parties are not pleased.



Thursday, October 12, 2017
 
Making homemade pizza from scratch

The History Channel tells us that #Pizza originated as street food in #Naples in the 1800s as cheap flatbread with toppings. After Italy was unified King Umberto I and Queen Margherita visited Naples and, legend has it, sampled the local cuisine and gave it their royal approval. Pizza became a craze throughout Italy and was eventually carried to the United States by Neapolitan immigrants.



 
SpaceX’s Gwynne Shotwell reveals more details about the BFR

SpaceX Chief Operating Officer #Gwynne Shotwell gave a talk at Stanford recently and had some further details on the company’s plans for the BFR or, as she has called it decorously, the Big Falcon Rocket. She laid out plans for a manufacturing facility by the ocean in California so that it could be put on a ship or barge for transport without having to take it down the highway from the central SpaceX facility in Hawthorne. The fascinating thing Shotwell has to say was about where the BFR would be shipped to and ultimately where it will be launched from.



 
Lockheed Martin supports return to the moon

Aviation Week is reporting that Lockheed Martin Chief Technology Officer Keoki Jackson has declared that his company is more than ready to participate in the Trump administration’s plan to return astronauts to the moon [VIDEO]. He noted that the Orion spacecraft, for which #Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor, is well positioned to be the centerpiece of a lunar effort. However, Keoki had some nice things to say about his company’s competition, namely SpaceX and #Blue Origin.



 
President Donald Trump signs executive order upending Obamacare

Barack Obama, when he was still president, used the boast that if Congress failed to give him what he wanted that he had a pen and a phone to get it anyway. #President Donald Trump., stymied twice by Congress in his desire to repeal and replace Obamacare, has decided to use one of those tools to upend the structure of the #affordable care act and introduce some free market competition in health insurance. He has signed an #executive order that reads like a wish list from conservative health insurance reformers.



 
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s political plans were hit by sexual harassment charges

With allegations of sexual harassment against Harvey Weinstein and now actor Ben Affleck rocking Hollywood, it may be useful to note that a number of entertainment industry A-list men have been accused of having at women without their consent. During his 2003 campaign for #Governor Of California, actor #Arnold Schwarzenegger was hit with multiple allegations of sexual misconduct going back to the 1970's. The Los Angeles Times ran a story at the time with six women who pointed the finger of accusation at Schwarzenegger for incidents.



 
NASA tasked with delivering a plan for a return to the moon in 45 days

According to Space News, #NASA is working on a 45-day report to create a new roadmap for space exploration in response to the Trump administration’s mandate to return American astronauts to the moon. The new plan is not going to affect the planned first uncrewed launch of the Orion by a #space launch system around the moon. However, NASA is faced with a new choice. Should it build a facility called the #Deep Space Gateway in lunar orbit or at one of the Earth-Moon Lagrange points? Or should the space agency go directly to a lunar landing without that intermediate step?



 
Now Ben Affleck is being hit by sexual harassment accusations

The Hollywood #Sexual Harassment scandal that started with revelations of decades of misconduct by movie super-producer Harvey Weinstein has begun to spread, according to the UK Telegraph. Now A-list actor #Ben Affleck is being hit by multiple accusations of groping and unwanted touching. Breitbart is reporting that the scandal is hitting just as Affleck is set to star in the superhero action film “Justice League,” reprising his role as Batman.



Wednesday, October 11, 2017
 
How to create the perfect hamburger

The origin of the hamburger, the patty of cooked ground meat served between two buns or in a roll, is lost in the depths of time. In any case, you can get a hamburger at a variety of #Fast Food places and family-owned eateries that dot the landscape. Many #American households choose to cook their own burgers. Here is how to make the perfect hamburger.



 
Ted Cruz and John Cornyn invite Amazon to come to Texas

The push to bring the Amazon second headquarters to Texas has gone into high gear. Texas Senators #Ted Cruz and #John Cornyn, both Republicans, have sent a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos touting the virtues of the #Lone Star State. Cruz and Cornyn are not the only public officials trying to sell their states as the site of the new headquarters, but they are the highest profile and, in some ways, the most powerful.



 
A bizarre conspiracy theory surrounding the fall of Harvey Weinstein

The rapid fall of Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein [VIDEO] after decades of sexual misconduct has been breathtaking. Hollywood and the Democratic political establishment [VIDEO], each where Weinstein had an interest in, have been shaken to their foundations. Naturally, questions have arisen about why the #New York Times choose to expose Weinstein at this time and not at any point during his long, sordid career of abusing women and getting away with it. It turns out that the Times of Israel has a theory involving a movie the fallen super producer proposed to make. The story has since been spread by Rush Limbaugh and will, no doubt, show up on cable news in due course.



 
Moon Express and Nanoracks form partnership

The first commercial launch to the moon is still in the future. However, the outlines of a commercial lunar sector are starting to take shape. #Moon Express, a company that proposes to carry both government and private payloads to the lunar surface, has entered into a partnership with Nanoracks. Nanoracks is a company that already facilitates the running of experiments and the launching of CubeSats from the #international space station for small business and academic customers. The company now proposes to do the same service for payloads intended for the moon.



 
Vice President Pence visits the Mojave Spaceport

Vice President Mike Pence continued his tour of American space facilities, this time dropping by the #Mojave Space Port in California, the first time he has visited a commercial space installation. Pence has previously visited NASA field centers, the Johnson Spaceflight Center south of Houston, the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and the Marshall Spaceflight Center in Alabama. Pence’s visit, which included briefings on the plans by Virgin Galactic, Virgin Orbit, and Stratolaunch, underscores the importance of commercial space in President Trump’s policy.



 
Hillary Clinton pronounces herself ‘shocked and appalled’ at Harvey Weinstein

Five days after the revelations about her close friend, and personal political ally, Harvey Weinstein [VIDEO] exploded all over the media, Hillary Clinton [VIDEO] finally was stirred to react. To be brief, she pronounced herself to be “shocked and appalled.” She had nothing to say about all of the money that Weinstein raised for her and her party and favorite causes. Other Democrats are scrambling to offload that tainted money. She may not be able to afford to. In any case, Weinstein is the third sexual predator who found himself in Ms. Clinton’s orbit, the other two being Bill Clinton and Anthony Weiner.



Tuesday, October 10, 2017
 
Wendy Davis is thinking of running for public office again

#Wendy Davis has published a piece in Cosmopolitan relating what her life has been like since the 20 percentage point blowout she suffered at the hands of Greg Abbott in her run for governor of Texas in 2014. She has not allowed that thumping to discourage her. Davis suggests, depending on how the political climate in Texas shapes up, that she might run for #Public Office again. On the other hand, Davis might want to learn from the many missteps she committed during her abortive run for statewide office. Instead, she pins her defeat on two factors.



 
How the Texas Hyperloop will change travel in the Lone Star State

Crain’s Dallas has a piece on how a Hyperloop would change the way that business is done in Texas. The proposed route, one of the finalists of the Hyperloop One completion, would link Dallas, Austin, #San Antonio, Houston, and Laredo on the Mexico border in a system that would whisk people and goods at 700 miles an hour. A trip between Houston and Dallas, for example, would take about 45 minutes, as opposed to an hour and a half on the planned high-speed train and four hours by car. Unlike short-haul air travel, security checks would be kept to a minimum.



 
How much money would it take to return to the moon?

As a recent piece in the Verge suggests, the metric for understanding whether or not the #trump administration is serious about a return to the moon will be reflected in its budget request early next year. If significant funding is requested to get Americans back to the moon, then we can believe that Trump is in earnest. If only a token amount of money is asked for, we can be forgiven for suspecting that another fake space program is being foisted on us. That leaves out the possibility that Congress will allocate more money, which in this political climate it is capable of doing.



 
How Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart made Trump’s point for him

The Washington Examiner notes that #Stephen Colbert took up the challenge by President Donald Trump to give him equal time [VIDEO] on “#The Late Show.” He trotted out #Jon Stewart, looking and sometimes acting pretty much like a homeless person. Colbert would provide some rant about Trump, and then Stewart would say something “positive” about the president, which consisted of backhanded rants about the president. One good thing was that Stewart actually mentioned Harvey Weinstein. The routine is posted below. The gentle reader is invited to determine whether Colbert and Stewart made the president’s point that they are “unfunny.”



 
Why Hillary Clinton remains silent on the Harvey Weinstein matter

While #Harvey Weinstein’s former friends and associates in both the entertainment industry and the political world are proclaiming how “shocked, shocked” they are that the super producer was a creepy pervert, [VIDEO] twice failed #Presidential Candidate #Hillary Clinton is favoring the world with her silence. Since Weinstein was one of Clinton’s warmest supporters, the silence is being noticed and remarked upon. Even Jimmy Kimmel has left off savaging President Trump to notice Clinton’s tendency to associate with sexual predators, her husband, and Weinstein.



Monday, October 09, 2017
 
‘Blade Runner 2049’ is officially a flop

“#Blade Runner 2049” is officially a flop, having failed to make its expected numbers during the first weekend of release. Deadline Hollywood has a wonderful two-part post-mortem that has some of the usual reasons. The movie was too long. It was a sequel to another movie that came out over 30 years ago. Young people avoided the film in droves. The pace was too slow. The marketing was off.



 
How Apollo 8 gave Claire the courage to go back to the past in ‘Outlander’

The most recent episode of “Outlander,” entitled “Freedom and Whisky,” represents a turning point in the story of the two lovers separated by time, Claire, a #20Th Century woman, and Jamie, a #18Th Century man. Without delving into too many spoilers for the episode, Claire is given some information that suggests that she could go back in time to rejoin her beloved Jamie. However, she starts to have doubts? They have been 20 years apart in both of their timelines. Will he still love her? Has she grown too old and unattractive? Then a singular event in world history gives Claire the courage to make another leap into the unknown.




 
How modular nuclear reactors might have fixed Puerto Rico’s power woes

The destruction of Puerto Rico’s power grid by Hurricane Maria has put millions of people in the dark, likely for months. The situation has also caused some to start thinking creatively about how to restore power to that island territory with ideas that could have a broader application. Elon Musk is already moving to install his solar collector and battery systems and has already had discussions with #Puerto Rico’s governor. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry has a longer-term idea, involving #Nuclear Power Plants that can be shipped in the cargo holds of a C-130 transport and deployed relatively quickly.



 
How to sell the return to the moon

Vice President Mike Pence has made the official announcement that America is returning to the moon, both in the pages of the Wall Street Journal and at the first meeting of the National Space Council. Media response has been mostly positive or neutral, though a few naysayers have cropped up. However, as with any massive change in national space policy that will involve the expenditure of money, the return to the moon is going to require some selling. Here follows a couple of ideas.



 
Why Columbus Day is worth celebrating

Today, October 9, 2017, is the day most Americans celebrate #Columbus Day, even though the great #Italian navigator landed on the island he called San Salvador three days later. The holiday has been under attack by the social justice warrior crowd for decades. Jeanne Allen, writing in the Washington Examiner, lays out the case for why the Columbus haters are wide of the mark where it comes to the expressed excuse for their ire.



 
Why ISIS is on the brink of annihilation

One of the more under-reported stores of late 2017 is how ISIS, once the terror of the Middle East, is rapidly collapsing. The New York Times is reporting how #Islamic State fighters, who once pledged to fight to the death, are now surrendering en masse, pathetic, broken men who have soiled their clothes and wanted nothing more than an end to the war. The vaunted caliphate is folding up like the proverbial cheap suit. How was it that a problem that seemed to be intractable during the Obama years ceased to exist not quite a year into the Trump presidency?



 
Pence walks out of football game after player National Anthem protest

Vice President Mike Pence, family, and company were attending an Indianapolis #colts game back in his beloved Indiana. During the playing of the #National Anthem some of the players for the visiting team, the San Francisco 49ers, took a knee in protest. So, after the Anthem finished, Pence and his companions left the stadium in a demonstration of his own and then took to Twitter to make sure everyone understood why.



Sunday, October 08, 2017
 
Now ‘pilot wave’ theory could explain how an EM drive works

Ever since the EM drive was first reported in the news, arguments have raged in the scientific community over whether it should work or not. The idea of a device that uses microwaves to create thrust and not propellant, thus violating Newton’s Third Law of Motion, has been controversial, to say the least. However, tests of the device, notably at NASA’s Eagleworks lab at the Johnson Spaceflight Center south of Houston, has shown that it produces thrust. The trust could have been the result of experimental error. Now, according to Science Alert, a possible explanation has been proposed that would explain why the #Em Drive produces thrust without violating #Physical Laws.



 
President Trump trolls the Harvey Weinstein scandal

According to the Washington Examiner, someone asked President Donald Trump about the mess super-producer #Harvey Weinstein made for himself and the entertainment industry. The president, without going into details, quipped, "I've known Harvey Weinstein for a #Long Time. I'm not at all surprised to see it.” The president, whose own tendencies to behave boorishly with the ladies were revealed about a year ago with the Access Hollywood tapes, [VIDEO] apparently knows of what he speaks.



 
Confronting the naysayers of the exploration of space

As inevitable as night following sunset, the announcement by Vice President Pence that America is headed back to the moon on the way to Mars has brought out the naysayers. A case in point is a recent column in the Washington Post by David Van Drehle entitled “The Mission to Mars is One Stupid Leap for Mankind.” The piece, with very few changes, could have been run in 1965 to attack the Apollo program or in 1990 or 2005 to oppose the #space exploration initiatives of the two Presidents Bush. It trots out all of the old and long-discredited arguments against human space exploration. So, for a new generation, we have to deal with them once again.



Saturday, October 07, 2017
 
Donald Trump wants equal time on the late night shows

The Hill Newspaper noted that President #Donald Trump recently took to Twitter and suggested that he and Republicans need #Equal Time on #Late Night TV. Trump notably has been the butt of jokes by such late night hosts as Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel. Kimmel has begun to leave humor behind and turn his monologues into emotional rants about subjects ranging from gun control to health care. However, the president did not indicate how “equal time” would work.



 
ICE warns of unintended consequences of California sanctuary state law

#California Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill into law making his state the first “sanctuary state.” The bill would prohibit local and #State Law enforcement from cooperating with federal agents of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). In effect, the government of the state of California extended a middle finger to federal immigrations laws and those who are charged with enforcing them. #ICE has responded by informing Gov. Brown that some unforeseen and unpleasant consequences are about to ensue.



 
Could ‘climate McCarthyism’ derail Jim Bridenstine’s NASA nomination?

While Rep #Jim Bridenstine, R-Oklahoma continues to enjoy widespread support for his nomination as #NASA administrator, from scientists to even Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin, that support is not universal. Indeed, efforts seem to be organized to try to derail Bridenstine's appointment based on his skepticism of human-caused climate change, what Julie Kelly once referred to as “climate McCarthyism.”



Friday, October 06, 2017
 
Making the perfect dinner taco

Tacos, as far as can be determined, were eaten by Native Americans residing in the Valley of Mexico around the time Cortes and his men showed up. The original tacos contained #Fish wrapped in flatbread. Almost five centuries later, tacos have outgrown their #Native American and Hispanic roots and have become one of the favorite handheld food in the Americas, rivaling the simple hamburger. So, how does one make the perfect #Taco?



 
Scientists discover that the moon once had an atmosphere

One of the awe-inspiring aspects of the #Apollo #moon landings is that decades later they are still yielding good science. Tools for analyzing the rock and soil sample brought back by the astronauts are being invented all the time to gain new insights into the evolution and nature of Earth’s nearest neighbor. A case in point was reported recently by Phys Org about how NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute studied the samples collected and brought back by Apollo 15 and Apollo 17.



 
Elon Musk’s solar and battery technology could restore power to Puerto Rico

Could #Elon Musk’s solar panel and battery technology help restore Puerto Rico’s power grid, thus changing how the island territory generates electricity? According to GeekWire, a series of tweets between Musk and #Puerto Rico’s Governor Ricardo Rossello points to a widespread effort to deploy Tesla Solar’s technology on the hurricane ravage island. The result would be a wide-scale effort to replace a mostly antiquated system that relied on oil-fired power plants. Like most islands, Puerto Rico has had to import its fuel.



 
Jimmy Kimmel begins to turn off his audience

#Jimmy Kimmel, the former late-night funnyman, and current after-hours social justice warrior is starting to get pushback on social media from some of his former fans, according to the #Washington Examiner. Kimmel, who has displayed a number of emotionally charged rants during his monologue on subjects ranging from health care to gun control, [VIDEO] is also the subject of satire courtesy of the guerilla street artist known as Sabo. #Late Night comedy is suffering a decline in viewership, partly due to other factors, but certainly, because the hard-edged political content has started to turn off audiences.



 
Why Columbus gets a bad rap by modern protestors

#columbus Day is drawing nigh, at least in those communities that have not consigned #The Italian navigator to the outer darkness for alleged atrocities against #native americans. The celebration of the day that Christopher Columbus and his tiny fleet arrived in the Americas used to be something that united Americans, appreciative of the discovery of a new world where, in the fullness of time, a new nation called the United States was born. That is no longer the case. Columbus has become a flashpoint between those Americans who love their country, warts and all, and those who think that its very foundation was an unmitigated atrocity. However, the demonization of Columbus may not be entirely fair.



 
Are we really going back to the moon this time?

Should we take the new #trump initiative to go back to the moon seriously? Eric Berger over at Ars Technica suggests some skepticism, based on what happened to two previous presidential space exploration initiatives, both announced by presidents named Bush. NASA Watch echoes that cynicism, however, some hope exists that this time America might well be going back to the moon despite the two previous failures. The political realities of the Trump era are slightly different than what adhered in the early 1990s and the first decade of the 21st Century.



 
How the Harvey Weinstein scandal affects 2020 politics

When the #New York Times reported that Hollywood super-producer #Harvey Weinstein had been accused of sexually harassing actresses and female staffers for decades, speculation arose whether the revelations were career-killing. Hot Air suggests that this is not the case. Creeps such as Roman Polanski, Woody Allen, and Joss Whedon still find work. However, the effect may be felt in Democratic Party politics.



Thursday, October 05, 2017
 
Two ‘Stargate’ producers are producing fantasy series ‘The Outpost’

It looks like the success of “Wonder Woman” has started the ball rolling for a number of projects that feature female heroes. One such is called “The Outpost” which teams two people that were involved in different aspects of the “Stargate” franchise. Dean Devlin, who produced the original movie, will partner with Jonathon Glassner, who created the TV show “Stargate SG1” They will become executive producers of the new fantasy adventure series.



 
Report: Trump to ‘decertify’ nuclear agreement with Iran

The Washington Post is reporting that President Donald Trump intends to “decertify” the Iranian nuclear arms agreement, declaring it to be not in the national interests of the #United States. However, Trump plans to delay recommending to Congress that sanctions be reimposed, which would officially end the agreement. The president intends, according to sources, to reveal a broader strategy to confront the rogue nation in a speech late next week.



 
America is returning to the moon

As the redoubtable Eric Berger notes in Ars Technica, America is headed back to the moon, thanks to the Trump administration. The policy change was not articulated in the traditional way, with a presidential speech. Vice President Mike Pence announced the change in the Wall Street Journal and again at the first meeting of the National Space Council. One of the more grievous blunders of the Obama administration, the decision announced on April 15, 2010, not to return to the moon, was rectified.



 
Nancy Sinatra wants ‘murderous’ members of the NRA shot

Nancy Sinatra has not been in the news recently, probably not since her 1966 hit single “These Boots are Made for Walking.” Now the daughter of the famous crooner and actor Frank Sinatra, at the age of 77, is back in the headlines in the worst possible way, calling for the execution of NRA members [VIDEO] (it is unclear whether she means all five million of them) by firing squad.



 
Why gun control is a futile gesture for dealing with mass shootings

#Gun Control advocates ranging from late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel to just about any random Democratic member of Congress are beating their breasts, crying at times, raging at others, [VIDEO]while calling for" something to be done [VIDEO]!" John Lott provides a reality check for such proposals. The experience of Europe proves that “common sense” gun control measures are futile where stopping #Mass Shootings are concerned. Almost as important, terrorists have learned to use motor vehicles as weapons of mass destruction.



 
Pence sets forth goals for National Space Council

The #National Space Council, recently reconstituted by President Donald Trump, is having its first meeting in some decades on October 5, 2017. #Vice President Mike Pence, the Council’s chairman, set out the task it has to undertake in a recent piece in the Wall Street Journal.



Wednesday, October 04, 2017
 
Will there be an ‘Elon Musk Effect’ for NASA?

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the recent announcement by SpaceX’s #Elon Musk of accelerated plans to found a colony on Mars will put pressure on NASA, which has been mired in its own Journey to Mars until recently. Musk is claiming that he can do more, sooner, and for less money than the #Space Agency could ever dream of doing. Can NASA adopt some of SpaceX’s practices to become more efficient and less costly? What if NASA were to form a partnership with companies like SpaceX to get to Mars? If Musk can start a Mars colony by himself, do we even need NASA?



 
Marco Rubio has some questions about communist Army officer

The #United States Army and the Military Academy at West Point are mired in a scandal because of a newly minted officer named 2nd Lt. Spenser Rapone, who apparently revealed himself to be a communist in a pair of tweets recently. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, is not amused. He has sent a letter to Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy with some awkward questions about how the military could have nourished such a person in its bosom. The senator has some ideas about what should be done to Rapone and how to assure that no one like him would be allowed to put on the uniform.



 
Bill Nelson drags his feet on Jim Bridenstine’s nomination for NASA chief

Ever since Rep. #Jim Bridenstine, R-Oklahoma, was nominated to become NASA administrator, space observers have been wondering when his Senate confirmation hearings would be held. Initially, Bridenstine was going to go before the klieg lights in the last week of September. However, the hearings have been pushed back two weeks to accommodate Sen. #Bill Nelson, D-Florida who is said to be busy dealing with Hurricane Irma issues. However, NASA Watch suggests that Irma is an excuse rather than the reason for the delay.



 
The Houston to Dallas high speed rail project proceeds apace

While the vaunted California high-speed rail project is still mired in financial and environmental issues, a similar effort that would link Houston and Dallas with a stop near College Station is proceeding apace, with construction envisioned to begin in late 2018 or early 2019 and service beginning in 2022 or 2023. However, questions and some opposition persist, according to Crain Dallas.



 
The day that Sputnik ushered in the space age

Sixty years later it is #Hard To Imagine the astonishment followed by fright that accompanied the launch of Sputnik, the first artificial satellite by the Soviet Union on October 4, 1957. American attempts to launch its own satellite had been mired in technical challenges and bureaucratic inertia. Now, a rival superpower had accomplished a feat that the United States had not been able to achieve. The implications were considered grave.



 
Newt Gingrich’s big idea to rebuild Puerto Rico

By all accounts, Hurricane Maria has flattened #Puerto Rico more thoroughly than a military attack would have done. The electrical grid, the transportation infrastructure, and even the water distribution system were all but destroyed. The people of Puerto Rico have been cast back in one day to the 19th Century. The island territory will be months recovering to a modicum of civilization. It will be years getting back to something resembling normal. Along those lines, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich has one of his big ideas.



 
Lena Dunham is certain that Las Vegas was about race and gender

One of the more grotesque aspects of atrocities like the #Las Vegas massacre is the off-putting things the celebrities say about them. Usually, what is said is yet another call for gun control. However, #lena dunham, actress, producer, and public embarrassment, is in the running for the prize for the most awful tweet in the wake of the mass shooting.



 
Speeding up charging using asphalt-derived carbon

One of the complaints about electric cars, and, to some extent, #Handheld devices is that the lithium-ion batteries that are used to power them take a long time to charge. Depending on the make and model of the vehicle and other factors it may take anywhere from thirty minutes to 12 hours.



Tuesday, October 03, 2017

 
Shake Shack latest fast food chain to try automated ordering

#Shake Shack, a relatively small fast-food chain with stores mainly in urban areas, is dipping its toe into automation. A Shake Shack store in Manhattan has dispensed with cashiers and has instead deployed kiosks where one can order a meal. One can also order food via a smartphone app. The store will not accept cash, only credit or debit card. When the food is ready, a text message is sent to the customer who picks it up at the counter.



 
What would traveling halfway around the world on a rocket ship be like?

One of the most intriguing aspects of SpaceX’s #Elon Musk’s vision of the future that he laid out during a recent conference in Australia was the idea of point to point travel using the BFR launch vehicle on Earth. What would such travel be like? Is it even possible or financially feasible?



 
The Pavlovian drive for ‘common sense’ gun control

One of the more tiresome but predictable Pavlovian reactions to #Mass Shootings such as the one that occurred in Las Vegas [VIDEO] has been calls for more “#Common Sense” #Gun Control from the left. Twice failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton led the charge on Twitter [VIDEO]. The cry was taken up in Congress and on late-night TV, increasingly a venue for political nonsense. The calls for cracking down on gun ownership inevitably results on a pushback that can be expressed by, “Not this again?!”



Monday, October 02, 2017
 
Why is ISIS claiming the Las Vegas shooter as one of their own?

Hot Air is reporting that ISIS is persisting in claiming Stephen Paddock, the #Las Vegas shooter who sprayed a country music concert [VIDEO] with automatic weapon fire as one of their own. While terrorism experts suggest that the terrorist organization does not claim responsibility for every mass casualty attack, the Islamic State has been getting sloppy about that sort of thing recently. The question that arises is, why would ISIS claim a 64-year old Caucasian as a soldier for Allah?



 
The Las Vegas mass shooting brings out ugliness from some people

The #mass shooting that took place in #Las Vegas, in which a man named Stephen Paddock open fire on a crowd at a country music concert, has mainly elicited expressions of shock and sympathy. However, as with most tragedies of this sort, what is now being called the Mandalay Massacre has brought out the ugly in some people. The expressions went beyond Hillary Clinton’s attempt to get political.



 
What are some of the ‘nontechnical’ objections to Elon Musk’s Mars scheme?

Most of the objections to SpaceX’s Elon Musk’s Mars colonization plans have delved into its technological and financial aspects. Can Musk build the BFR launch vehicle and operate it as advertised? Will he be able to afford it? Linda Billings, a self-described communication expert and a frequent critic of space settlement schemes, offers a few objections that are not in either category.



 
United Arab Emirates to develop an astronaut corps

Space News is reporting that the #United Arab Emirates has started a human spaceflight program. The policy move is #Part of the UAE’s drive to change its economy from an #Oil And Gas based one to one based on technology. The Gulf country is already working on a robotic mission to Mars due to launch in 2020.



 
Hillary Clinton throws a political spin for the Las Vegas mass shooting

As law enforcement and the media were still trying to uncover the details of the mass shooting in Las Vegas, Hillary Clinton [VIDEO] took to Twitter and attempted to take political advantage of the crime. Like most people, including the president of the United States, she expressed her grief and sympathy for the victims. However, the twice-failed presidential candidate decided to go further.



 
Lyft invokes the spirit of Apollo to sell modern ride sharing

The Apollo missions to the moon have been used in advertising ever since Tang became the official powdered drink mix for the astronauts. The latest example is a series of Lyft ads featuring Tilda Swinton, a British actress, and Jordan Peele, an American actor, and comedian, in the command module of an Apollo spacecraft in orbit around the moon circa 1971.



Sunday, October 01, 2017
 
Is Trump using a ‘Madman’ strategy in North Korea?

When #Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced that the State Department had opened a direct line of communication with the North Korean regime, most observers of foreign policy nodded their heads in approval. The announcement seemed to indicate that the Trump administration was serious about trying to find a diplomatic solution to the #Korean Missile Crisis.



 
How ‘Blade Runner’ and its new sequel proves the future isn’t what it used to be

As the long-awaited sequel to “#Blade Runner,” “Blade Runner 2049” draws near, #Jonah Goldberg reminds us that the corporations depicted in what was in 1982 the far future #Los Angeles of 2019 either no longer exist or have been significantly altered. The movie and its new sequel remind us that the future is not what it used to be. Since some of those depicted futures were dystopias, that fact is reassuring, to say the least, from the perspective of the 21st Century.



 
NASA funds study of space-based mining using solar power satellites

#NASA does many things to enable the exploration and, beyond, the economic exploitation of #Space, at its core technology development. However, a new initiative is funding a number of studies examining the economics of space-based enterprises with the goal of finding out whether they can be viable as businesses. One of the more interesting studies is being conducted by the Colorado School of Mines and concerns the impact of space-based solar power on mining asteroids and the moon, according to Discover Magazine.