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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Tuesday, October 31, 2017
Campaign ad depicts Ed Gillespie supporter trying to murder minority children
The Virginia governor’s race is winding down ugly with a new ad by a group called Latino Victory that depicts a white man attempting to run down an African American, Hispanic, and Muslim child with his pickup truck. The truck bears an Ed Gillespie campaign bumper sticker and flies the Confederate battle flag. The sequence, fortunately, turns out to be a nightmare experienced by one of the children. “Is this what Donald Trump and Ed Gillespie mean by the American dream?” the Narrator inquires.
In Kevin Sorbo’s ‘Let There Be Light’ an atheist has a near-death experience
“Let There Be Light” is a new film starring and directed by Kevin Sorbo, best known for the 1990s TV series “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.” The story concerns a professional atheist who undergoes a #Spiritual Awakening after undergoing a near-death experience. The movie also stars Sam Sorbo, the real-life wife of the star, as the character’s estranged Christian spouse. The film is produced by Fox News’ #Sean Hannity, which means that he provided the bulk of the financing.
Monday, October 30, 2017
Who is the more scandalous, Paul Manafort or Kevin Spacey? As this is being written, the media is convulsed with two scandals. One involves a political operative and businessman named #Paul Manafort who is accused of a variety of white collar crimes that include money laundering and conspiracy. The other concerns a famous Hollywood actor named #Kevin Spacey who was charged with attempting to sexually assault a 14-year-old boy back in the 1980s. Which scandal is the most outrageous?
‘The X-Files’ is coming for yet another season in 2018
The trailer for the next ten-episode season of “The X-Files” has been released and can be seen below. Once again Mulder and Scully are the only two people standing in the way of the secret government conspiracy, as personified by the #Cigarette Smoking Man, and its nefarious plot to destroy the world, killing all seven billion of us. That is a pretty substantial burden for a couple of aging federal agents. One wonders if they are up to it?
Sunday, October 29, 2017
Is the return of ‘Quantum Leap’ finally going to take place?
#Donald Bellisario has been retired for the past ten years. He decided to retire after he lost creative control of the last TV series he created, “NCIS,” during a dispute with the #show’s star, Mark Harmon. Now the creator of shows including “Magnum PI,” “Jag,” and “Air Wolf,” is attempting to make a comeback. He has written a feature motion picture screenplay based on one of his most celebrated TV shows, “Quantum Leap.”
Nathan Fillion’s next TV show will be called ‘The Rookie’
Those who have followed the career of #Nathan Fillion, the star of such TV series as “Firefly” and “Castle,” have wondered what his next project will be. According to Deadline Hollywood, Fillion, after passing the time with a number of guest roles, has landed his next TV show, as both lead actor and executive producer. The series will be called “Rookie” and will feature Fillion as John Nolan, the oldest rookie cop in the history of the Los Angeles #Police Department. The series is said to be based on a true story.
Plaque honoring George Washington to be removed from church where he worshiped
Some months ago, in what CNN termed “a meltdown for the ages,’ President Trump commented on the war against the statues. "This week it's Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson's coming down. I wonder, is it #George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after?" At the time, the president was accused of rendering aid and comfort to alt right Neo-Nazis. Taking down monuments to George Washington? Whoever heard of such a thing?
Saturday, October 28, 2017
Ed Gillespie enlists the help of Robert E. Lee in the Virginia governor’s race
Ed Gillespie, the Republican running for governor of Virginia, seems to be surging in the polls as of late, with some showing him comfortably ahead of his Democratic opponent, Ralph Northam. Gillespie, according to Hot Air, has seized on three issues in order to pull off an upset win - sanctuary cities, restoring voting rights to felons (he is against it) and the war on statues. He has even cut an ad accusing his opponent of wanting to pull down “civil war monuments.” The left is reacting as if Gillespie had just done a goose step in public, which is likely all part of the plan.
When will people return to the moon?
Those people who have been following the Trump push to return to the moon may be wondering, when will people actually arrive at Earth’s nearest neighbor? After all, when President Kennedy stated the man on the #moon goal in 1961, he said, “Before this decade is out.” By hard work, lots of money, and no little luck, the thing was accomplished on July 20, 1969. However, no one is discussing deadlines for the current lunar effort. This oversight may be wise, considering the tendency of NASA and commercial space to miss deadlines.
‘Suburbicon’ is officially a box-office flop
The Hollywood Reporter is noting that the latest George Clooney Matt Damon collaboration, “Suburbicon" is crashing and burning at the box-office. The movie, which fetched a devastating review in Breitbart, is set in a 1959 suburb and is directed by Clooney and stars Damon and Julianne Moore. From John Nolte’s review, we can gather, it is a comedy of some sort that once against exposes the sordid, violent underbelly that is flyover country where people live in beautiful houses, with well-manicured lawns and have lives of quiet desperation. An element of race is interjected into the movie when a black family moves in just in time to get blamed for a crime that is committed.
Friday, October 27, 2017
Why Catalonia declaring independence from Spain is a bad thing
I first became aware that there was a #Catalonia #Independence movement when I was writing for the Capitalist Review a couple of years ago. Catalonia is a region of #Spain that is centered on Barcelona. Even though it has been a part of Spain since the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, Catalonia has its own distinct language and culture. Pro-independence parties won regional elections in 2015. Now Catalonia has gone the next step and has declared independence. Authorities in Spain are not amused and are moving to crush the independence movement and take the region under direct control.
Solar reactor that extracts oxygen from lunar soil invented by German engineer
Phys.org is reporting that a German engineer named Thorsten Denk, working at the Plataforma #Solar de Almeria in Spain, has developed the first step for a solar-powered reactor that can make water and then oxygen from #Lunar Soil. The use of such a machine would enable lunar explorers to live off the land and not have to ship oxygen from Earth.
The future of space journalism (Part 2)
In Part 1 of this essay, I examined the pitiful present and the glorious past of TV space journalism. However, what about the future of reporting on and (perhaps in the fullness of time) from space? We can’t go back to the past of Jules Bergman and Walter Cronkite The nature of both #space exploration and the media have changed dramatically since the days of the Apollo program.
TV space journalism is in a poor state (Part 1)
Recently #Tim Peake, a British astronaut who did a six-month tour on the #international space station, sat down for an interview with Amanda Holden on ITV’s “This Morning” that airs in the UK. Holden asked Peake a peculiar question. “When you went to the Moon did you take a piece of the Moon and bring it back with you?” Palms struck faces and jaws dropped across the United Kingdom. Apparently Ms. Holden, who also hosts “Britain’s Got Talent,” was unaware that the last man to walk on the moon was the late Gene Cernan in December 1972, long before Ms. Holden or Peake had been born. Peake blandly explained that he went to the International Space Station and not the moon.
Trump Justice Department settles with Tea Party groups over IRS abuse People who have been following the various scandals that accompanied the Obama administration may remember the operation involving Lois Lerner, in charge of the #IRS division that handled applications for tax-exempt groups, which targeted Tea Party and conservative groups. When a group that Lerner and company considered opposition to the Obama administration applied for non-profit status, their applications were held up, and the groups were made to jump through hoops and were asked a great many intrusive questions as a way to entangle them in red tape.
Saudi Arabia to invest $1 billion in Virgin’s space launch enterprises
Space News reports that the Virgin Group and the Public Investment Fund of #Saudi Arabia have reached an agreement for an investment of $1 billion into Virgin’s #Space Launch enterprises. The deal includes an option to add another $480 million in financing. The agreement represents a financial shot in the arm for the space launch company that has been struggling to get off the ground for the past 13 years, ever since the winning of the Ansari X-Prize,
Thursday, October 26, 2017
Aidan Gillen to appear in UFO-themed series for the History Channel ‘Blue Book’
Deadline Hollywood is reporting that Roger Zemeckis is set to executive produce a new scripted series for the History Channel called “#Blue Book,” which will depict the United States #Air Force’s efforts to investigate UFO phenomena. #Aidan Gillen, best known for his role as “Littlefinger” on "Game of Thrones" is set to star as astronomer and UFO expert Dr. J. Allen Hynek who was the chief science advisor for Project Blue Book.
Hillary Clinton is concerned about the state of the Republican Party
#Hillary Clinton, who turns 70 as this piece is being written, has a host of troubles to contend with, from the Uranium One scandal [VIDEO] to the revelation that he campaign colluded on the so-called Trump Russia dossier [VIDEO]. However, neither her birthday nor her latest legal troubles have stopped her from expressing concern for the #Republican Party. She says that the GOP is “imploding” and that this process frightens her.
Sen Patty Murray opposed to Jim Bridenstine’s nomination as NASA Administrator
The Senate Commerce Committee has announced that Rep. Jim. Bridenstine, R-Oklahoma, will finally get his hearing on the subject of his nomination to be #Nasa Administrator on November 1. Bridenstine’s appointment will be considered along with three Commerce Department Nominees, so the opportunity for questions will be limited.
Sarah Palin reacts to accusations of sexual harassment against Mark Halperin
CNN is reporting that NBC news analyst #Mark Halperin is accused of #Sexual Harassment by five different women from when he worked for ABC. Halperin has pretty much admitted to the misbehavior, stating that he did pursue relationships with women he worked with but now realizes that his behavior was “inappropriate and caused others pain.” #Sarah Palin, who was a subject of a controversial book Halperin co-wrote called “Game Change” that was turned into an HBO movie starring Julianne Moore as the former governor of Alaska, expressed a degree of schadenfreude in her Twitter feed.
Iran declares United States in breach of nuclear weapons agreement
The Washington Free Beacon is reporting that the Iranian government is accusing the #United States of 18 separate violations of the #Nuclear Weapons accord. The accusation is seen by foreign policy experts as a ploy to distract from the Islamic Republics own violations of the agreement. The Iranians took this initiative hard on the heels of the Trump administration’s decision to decertify the agreement that was first concluded under the Obama presidency and has been controversial ever since.
Report calls for support of commercial space to enhance national security
The Washington Free Beacon is reporting that a new report by Center for a New American Security has concluded that encouraging commercial #Space exploration will enhance America’s strategic edge over Russia and China in space. The Trump administration is already pursuing a strategy of using commercial companies such as SpaceX and #Blue Origin as partners for its plans for deep space exploration. Initiatives such as partly funding the development of the SpaceX Raptor engine [VIDEO] will enhance military space as well.
Wednesday, October 25, 2017
Is the military helping to pay for commercial space exploration technology?
#The United States #Air Force recently granted SpaceX $40.77 million dollars to go toward the development of the Raptor, a liquid methane liquid oxygen burning rocket engine envisioned to power the Big Falcon Rocket (BFR). The BFR is designed to support lunar bases, Mars colonies, and point to point transportation on Earth. Slate theorizes that the Trump administration is channeling money to help commercial sector space exploration through the military rather than NASA. The idea is that expenditures of money on that scale are less conspicuous going through the Defense Department rather than NASA because of the relative sizes of their budgets.
Actress files suit against the Weinstein Company
Hot Air is reporting that the first lawsuit against the #Weinstein Company as opposed to #Harvey Weinstein himself concerning the disgraced Hollywood producer’s long history of sexual abuse and perhaps worse against young women. The suit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court by a struggling actress named Dominique Huett. She is asking for $5 million.
Israeli company creates new 3D food printer
One of the ways that 3D printing technology promises to change the world is in the production of #food. The idea is to take the raw components of food, run them through a printer, and produce something that is at once nutritious and tasty. NASA is interested in the application as a way to feed astronauts on deep space missions. Some commercial kitchens are already using #3D Printing to create chocolate sculptures and custom cake decorations. The Foodini is a 3D food printer that can be programmed to generate dishes that seem identical to those that are made naturally. An eatery in London, Food Ink, serves from a menu that is entirely made up of 3D printed dishes,
Crown Prince Bin Salman wants Saudi Arabia to ‘return’ to moderate Islam
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the heir apparent to the throne of #Saudi Arabia, is determined to be a transformative monarch. He has announced that under his rule, the kingdom will be “returning” to a form of moderate Islam. Leaving aside whether Saudi Arabia, well known for its kind of radical Wahhabism, was ever moderate, a singular reason exists for the Kingdom to lessen its support for extreme Islam. It is running out of oil revenues and needs to reinvent itself while it still can.
The DNC and the Clinton campaign helped to pay for the Russia Trump dossier
The revelation that the DNC and the #Clinton Campaign, working through Democratic lawyer Marc Elias, funded the research conducted by Fusion GPS into the so-called Russia Trump dossier starting in April 2016 has rocked Washington to its foundations. The document, the veracity of which has been called into question by a number of intelligence sources, has formed the basis of conspiracy theories that the Trump campaign colluded with Russian intelligence to steal the 2016 presidential election.
Tuesday, October 24, 2017
Jeff Flakes calls it quits in the Senate
Sen. #Jeff flake, R-Arizona has announced his retirement. He made it pretty clear that he is bringing his Senate career to a close because Flake is sick and tired of Donald Trump, a man with whom he has clashed repeatedly. #Hot Air speculates that Flake has looked at his reelection numbers, measured them in the balance, and has found them wanting. He has a formidable primary opponent in Kelli Ward and, beyond that, a strong Democratic challenger Krysten Sinema. Better, perhaps, to tell the voters of Arizona, “You can’t fire me. I quit.”
Russia was secretly supporting the anti-Dakota Access Pipeline protests
Buzzfeed is reporting on another example of Russian attempts to influence the American political process and sow discord among Americans. However, the operation in question had nothing to do directly with the 2016 presidential election. It had everything to do with pouring gasoline on the fire of the #Dakota Access Pipeline controversy. A coalition consisting of a Native American tribe and environmental groups attempted to block the pipeline through legal action and direct protest , which included civil disobedience at the site where it was being built.
Nelson and Scott are neck and neck in the 2018 Florida Senate race
According to the Miami Herald, the senate race shaping up in Florida between Sen. #Bill Nelson, the incumbent Democrat, and Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican who is term-limited, is a dead heat more than a year out, 37 percent to 36 percent. The same poll showed that 20 percent of Florida voters are not aware of who their choices are. However, since Nelson has won his Senate races comfortably in 2012 and 2006 after winning narrowly for the first time in 2000, the poll suggests that he is in trouble.
EPA ends the practice of ‘sue and settle’ to impose regulations
The #epa has ended a #Practice known as “sue and settle” by which regulations could be imposed by a backdoor method that lacked the usual transparency required for new rules by government agencies, according to the Washington Examiner. The practice has cost the private industry $68 billion since 2005 and has imposed an annual cost of $26 billion. Moreover, the practice has caused millions of hours of paperwork and red tape to be mandated on the private sector.
A math professor finds racism in mathematics
Campus Reform relates the story of a University of Illinois #Math professor named Rochelle Gutierrez who has concluded in a new book that mathematics is racist because it encourages #White Privilege. People who think that math simply describes the universe as it is have apparently got it all wrong. The thesis may come as a surprise to the Indians and Arabs who helped to develop algebra. Katherine Johnson, the African American math genius who made herself useful to the early space program, never knew she was promoting whiteness by being so good at the subject.
Now parents are worried their little girls want to dress as Moana for Halloween
Sadly, stupid politically correct nonsense has intruded on Halloween, in particular, the selection of costumes for the kids to wear while they go out pestering the neighbors for candy. Apparently, parents are having conniptions over whether or not their daughters should go out dressed as the latest favorite Disney princess, Moana [VIDEO], the heroic Polynesian navigator who braved the Pacific in the company of a deity played by Dwayne Johnson, the actor formerly known as “the Rock.” Such a thing might be considered #cultural appropriation.
Monday, October 23, 2017
What a former NPR head found during a journey through red state America
Ken Stern, a former CEO of NPR, decided to spend a year exploring red state #America. He attended church with evangelicals, hunted on a Texas ranch, drank with unemployed factory workers, went to Tea Party meetings, and even to a NASCAR race. When he found and related in both a New York Post piece and an upcoming book “Republican #Like Me: How I Left the Liberal Bubble and Learned to Love the Right.” The title of the book was obviously a takeoff of “Black Like Me,” the 1961 book by a white journalist named John Howard Griffin recounting his journey in the Jim Crow south with his skin darkened to make himself resemble a black man. Stern’s experiences will not quite as horrific as Griffin’s, but were illuminating to him nevertheless.
‘Geostorm’ is officially a box office disaster
“#Geostorm,” the global disaster movie directed by Dean Devlin and starring Gerard Butler, looks like that it is going to be such a box office bomb that it is going to lose its investors between $50 million and $100 million, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The response of audiences should not be much of a surprise as the movie was shot in 2014 and had its release date pushed back multiple times due to weak test audience reaction. The question arises, why?
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.