The news that Jim Nabors had died, at the ripe old age of 87, took me by surprise, mainly because I was surprised that he was still alive this far into the 21st Century. Nabors was best known for his portrayal of the klutzy, naïve but lovable, Gomer Pyle. He played at first, the most incompetent gas station attendant in Mayberry on the “Andy Griffin Show,” and next, the funniest Marine private in the history of the Corps in, “Gomer Pyle, USMC.” Nabors was famous for a couple of other things as well, but more of that anon.
Thursday, November 30, 2017
Space News is reporting that Rocket Lab will launch its second Electron launch vehicle sometime in December. The New Zealand based company is opening a ten-day launch window starting December 8. The first launch attempt in May resulted in the Electron making it into space but did not reach orbit because of a software error. If the second launch attempt is successful, the way will have been opened for Rocket Lab’s first commercial customer, Moon Express, to launch for the moon.
Wednesday, November 29, 2017
It is a rare occurrence that two liberal media icons fall and for similar reasons, on the same day (Nov. 29). #Matt Lauer, co-host of NBC’s “Today Show,” has been told to leave the building for what appears to be an incident that occurred during the Sochi Olympics, but the woman in question filed a complaint just the day before. Garrison Keillor, until recently the host of “The #Prairie Home Companion,” has been given the royal order of the boot for “inappropriate behavior” from Minnesota Public Radio. Which story, not just the incident but how it was rolled out, was the creepier? A report by CNN confirms facts relayed below.
If #North Korea takes out an American city with a nuclear missile, or if the #United States has to lose 20,000 servicemen in a preemptive strike to prevent it from doing so, we can safely blame the Democrats. The cause of the North Korean Missile Crisis does not just reside in President Bill Clinton’s misbegotten deal that was supposed to deny Pyongyang the Bomb but actually allowed it to build one. The roots of the calamity we face, now that North Korea has a working ICBM, are in the Democrats’ decades-long jihad against SDI.
Vice President Mike Pence, at the first meeting in decades of the National Space Council, announced that American is going back to the moon. The announcement did not have quite the drama of President John F. Kennedy before a joint session of Congress or even the speeches given by the two presidents named George Bush. One can be forgiven for believing that we have seen the return to the #moon movie before. The last two times it ran the end did not take place with American moon boots on the #Lunar Surface.
Tuesday, November 28, 2017
The main title above demonstrates both the potential for success and the real possibility of controversy for Steven Spielberg’s next movie, “The Post,” [VIDEO] starring #Meryl Streep as Washington Post publisher Katherine Graham and Tom Hanks as chief editor Ben Bradlee. The outrage over the moral equivalence with which “Munich” treated terrorists and the people who hunted them blindsided the famed director. He thought he was directing a meditation on the cycle of violence that the war on terror engenders. Many saw it as historical sophistry and as an apologia for terrorism. A similar fate may await “#The Post,” a paean to the power of a free press, set during the 1971 Pentagon Papers controversy.
Deadline Hollywood is reporting that Eddie Redmayne and #Felicity Jones are in negotiations to star in a new Amazon.com original movie “The Aeronauts.” The film will be based on a real-life story of a pair of Victorian adventurers who took a #Hot Air Balloon into the stratosphere in 1862, the highest anyone ever flew until well after the adventure of the airplane. However, Hollywood seems to have altered history for purposes of drama and even, one might suggest, political correctness, as it tends to do.
Monday, November 27, 2017
Morrisey, the aging British musician, has suggested that if he could assassinate President Donald Trump, he would do so “for the sake of humanity.” The singer has been known to make wild statements about political figures. By all accounts, he did not find much use for President Barack Obama either, though he failed short of advocating that he be killed. However, like many people in the entertainment business, Morrisey is not thinking his bloodlust through.
Japan, according to multiple media accounts, is very anxious to participate in the burgeoning return to the moon program. The technologically oriented country sees the moon as a means to increase its economic strength as well as build relationships with other countries. Japan is also concerned that China will steal a march by taking possession of the moon’s resources. Thus, Japan is reaching out to NASA to become a partner in that space agency’s return to the moon program and is exploring a joint #Sample Return Mission with India, another country that sees itself as a participant in an Asian race to the moon.
Sunday, November 26, 2017
Voters in Alabama are in a quandary. They are faced with a special election in which they have a choice between a man who has been accused by multiple women of chasing teenage girls for sexual relationships when he was in his 30s and another man who is a liberal Democrat. Ordinarily, someone like Roy Moore [VIDEO] would have no chance of becoming a United States senator.
Saturday, November 25, 2017
The image of a second #Korean War suggests an apocalyptic scenario in which a fanatical #North Korean Army rolls south behind a curtain of massive artillery barrages to overwhelm the American and South Korean defenses by weight of numbers and extreme will. However, some analysts are taking a second look and are discovering that North Korea has inherent weaknesses that may inhibit its ability to fight. Also, South Korea may decline to play the game of a war of attrition and take a page from General Douglas MacArthur’s playbook to rapidly win a second Korean War.
Friday, November 24, 2017
Konrad Szocick, a cognitive scientist and a professor of philosophy at the University of Technology Rzeszow in Poland, suggests that future Mars colonists are going to need something besides air, water, food, and shelter if they are going to survive and thrive on the #Red Planet. They are going to need religious faith to help them find a reason to live in the harsh conditions that are present on #Mars. The interesting aspect of Szocick’s suggestion is that the Mars religion has to be somehow created. One wonders about all of the other religions that already exist, some of which have comforted groups of people who have found it necessary to immigrate to a new place.
The New York Times’ Thomas Friedman journeyed to #Saudi Arabia recently to interview the reformist Crown Prince #Mohammed Bin Salman. Friedman tends to have a somewhat distorted view of the world. For example, he is too much in love with the way China organizes its society and economy. However, if what he found happening in the Kingdom is anywhere close to accuracy, it is the most hopeful development to occur in the Middle East in a very long time. One would have wished that Friedman had not used the shopworn phrase “Arab Spring” however.
Thursday, November 23, 2017
By all accounts, “Artemis,” [VIDEO]#Andy Weir’s new novel of economic intrigue on a future moon colony, is selling briskly, with a film on the way. The reaction to the book has been mostly positive. However, two writers at “Wired,” Justice Namaste and Sarah Scoles, decided to have something called “A Conversation about Race and Gender in Andy Weir’s Artemis.” What was contained within had more to do with what #social justice warriors think about the subject than what was depicted in the book, set on the moon in the 2080s.
Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Most Americans love #Thanksgiving, gathering with the family to eat to excess, especially on Turkey, stuffing, and all the trimmings. To be sure contemporary politics, with Trump-loving adults sparring with their millennial children, can make the holiday exciting, However, Thanksgiving and all that it stands for seems to have triggered Mayim Bialik, best known for playing Amy on “The Big Bang Theory.” To her, the holiday represents everything she loathes.
Tuesday, November 21, 2017
“The Brave,” which has been airing on NBC Monday nights since it first premiered in September, is one of the great contemporary #military series that not a lot of people are watching, but should. It avoids the anti-Americanism of “Homeland” and the soap opera of “#Seal Team.” The episodes have been great set piece depictions of special operations in which a force of commandos supported by a team of analysts back stateside help America with her problems, primarily by eliminating them.
Of all the accusations of sexual harassment and abuse of #women by celebrities, the most unlikely seeming ones are against Charlie Rose, the venerable on-air personality for PBS and CBS. Yet, Rose has admitted to touching some of the female help in an inappropriate manner and parading around naked in front of them. Eight different women report of such behavior as well as lewd phone calls. The women worked directly for Rose and not for either of the networks where Rose lent his grace with his presence. Rose has been suspended from both CBS and PBS. At the age of 75, the suspension may well be the equivalent of firing.
Monday, November 20, 2017
Futurism Magazine had a recent story in which it polled a number of experts to list all the reasons we should not try to colonize #Mars for the foreseeable future. The reasons include that it is too far away, that the conditions are too severe, that a Mars colony does not have an economic benefit for Earth, and that colonizing Mars is just too expensive. To be sure, these are all valid reasons to not undertake the settlement of the Red Planet for the foreseeable future. However, three reasons exist for sending human colonists to make new homes on Mars.
The cliché that everyone’s death diminishes us does not apply to Charles Manson. The career criminal, a #Cult Leader, failed musician, and mass murderer finally died at the age of 83 at Kern County Hospital. Manson had been serving nine consecutive life sentences for multiple murders he instigated in late 1969. He initially received the death penalty, but that punishment was overturned briefly by the United States Supreme Court in 1972, commuting it to life in prison.
Sunday, November 19, 2017
While Rep. #Jim Bridenstine, R-Oklahoma, awaits a Senate floor vote on his nomination to be NASA administrator, Sen. #Marco Rubio, R-Florida, continues to express doubts about him. While the entire Democratic membership of the Senate Commerce Committee voted against Bridenstine’s nomination, he passed on a party-line vote. How the vote will stack up on the floor, likely to come after the Thanksgiving recess, is uncertain.
Saturday, November 18, 2017
World Nuclear News is reporting that #NASA is gearing up to test what it calls a kilopower reactor at the Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. The idea is to provide future #Space Probes and even human expeditions into #Deep Space a new power source that will serve as an alternative to solar power [VIDEO] or Radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs). The work is being done with the help of the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Friday, November 17, 2017
While the study mentioned in the tabloid, The Daily Mirror, surveyed people in the UK, its results will likely be replicated worldwide. People, responding to a poll conducted by an online live casino, choose the Apollo 11 moonwalk as the most momentous television event in history. The fall of the Berlin Wall and the funeral of Princess Diana followed as second and third most momentous. Americans might choose a different third most memorable event, say the JFK assassination or the Challenger accident, but Apollo 11 remains on top. The irony is that, as NASA Watch points out, half of Americans alive today never saw the moon landings live as they happened.
The news that #Christopher Tolkien has stepped down at the age of 93 from his post as director of the Tolkien estate, along with the amicable resolution of a long-running legal action between the estate and Warner brothers, means good news for fans of high fantasy. The recently announced “Lord of the Rings” TV series that will air on Amazon [VIDEO] is just the beginning. The Tolkien Estate will now be free to monetarize the entirety of the author’s body of work, including “The Silmarillion.”
Thursday, November 16, 2017
#Al Franken, United States Senator and the least funny person ever to be on Saturday Night Live, is the latest powerful man to be called out for sexually assaulting a woman. [VIDEO]Journalist Leeann Tweeden recounted a story of a series of incidents when both were on a #Uso Tour in 2006 to entertain the troops in Afghanistan. The juiciest part of the story is that photographic evidence exists of Franken groping Leeden’s breasts while she was asleep on the plane coming back to America with the failed comedian grinning at the camera.
The argument that some in the public policy community make for investments in solar energy [VIDEO] is that it is a way to fight #Climate Change, the theory that the use of fossil fuels is causing the Earth to warm uncontrollably. However, according to the Clarion-Ledger, a newspaper in Jackson, Mississippi, solar is getting a full acceptance in the south, a region that traditionally is suspicious of the motives of environmentalists, for more traditional reasons. Solar is becoming cheaper and more competitive with fossil fuels such as natural gas and coal, and it is allowing homeowners and business owners to achieve energy independence.
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
Having punted twice on Obamacare, #The Senate Republicans have decided to try to redeem themselves by including a repeal of the individual mandate, which states that everyone must have health insurance or pay a tax penalty. The mandate has forced millions of people who are not on an employer or government health insurance plan to buy policies on the exchanges that are expensive and do not fit their individual health needs. How can the Senate include such a provision in a #Tax Reform Bill? One can blame or credit the United States Supreme Court.
Using its planet-hunting High-Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) instrument, the European Southern Observatory in Chile has discovered an Earth-sized planet orbiting a #Red Dwarf Star called Ross 128 residing just 11 #Light Years away from Earth. The planet, designated Ross 128 b, has a good chance of being the home of extraterrestrial life due to the distance it orbits its home star.
Tuesday, November 14, 2017
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is considering appointing a special counsel to delve into the various illegalities and other shenanigans revolving around the Clinton Foundation, especially the Uranium One deal. Ordinarily, this news would elicit groans about a replay of the 1990s with Team Clinton going to war with the special counsel with the help of their media enablers. Kenneth Starr can relate to the hot hell that will follow. However, the Clintons may be stuck without their media allies this time. Some folks have started to wake up to what a beast Bill Clinton was toward women and their role in letting him get away with it.
Coming Soon notes that a “#Deadwood” movie is now in the works which is supposed to tie up some loose ends left from the HBO series that starred #Timothy Olyphant and Ian McShane as rivals in the wildest of Wild West towns. This project is all well and good. However, many other defunct shows cry out for movie sequels. Some were canceled prematurely. Others were well beloved, and thus a revival would be welcomed.
Monday, November 13, 2017
One of the most astonishing discoveries of the now concluded Cassini space probe that spent years orbiting Saturn was that of plumes of water shooting out of cracks in the ice crust of #Enceladus’ South Pole. Scientists believe that the plumes are coming from a subsurface ocean similar to the one that resides inside the ice crust of Europa. #NASA is now contemplating a $1 billion New Frontiers mission to explore Enceladus further, flying through the plumes with a suite of sensors designed to detect organic material, to launch in the mid-2020s. #Yuri Milner, a Russian born entrepreneur and philanthropist is also thinking about such a mission, privately financed, cheaper, and taking off sooner than the one NASA is thinking about.
#Andy Weir’s second space novel, “Artemis,” is coming out and will in short order be a major motion picture, just like his first novel, “The Martian.” One of the fascinating aspects of the background of the novel is that it is set in a resort town on the moon, [VIDEO]called like the novel “Artemis.” #Business Insider notes that by the 2080s, enough people are willing to shell out $70,000 for a lunar vacation to justify building and maintaining such a city. Other moon based industries exist, which triggers part of the plot of the novel but we can just concentrate on what is involved in a lunar vacation for this piece.
Sunday, November 12, 2017
When President George W. Bush first proposed commercializing Earth to low Earth orbit transportation in the wake of the Columbia accident, the initiative was thought to be radical, albeit one that cheered commercial space advocates. When President Obama doubled down on the concept, eliminating #NASA’s direct role in low Earth orbit transportation, cries of outrage could be heard from Congress. To be fair, most of the anger from Obama’s initiative resulted from his cancellation of the Constellation program, which many thought to be high-handed and politically motivated.
Saturday, November 11, 2017
The news that Hollywood is going to develop a movie about Wendy Davis, the hapless Texas state senator who is famous for a futile 11-hour filibuster against an anti-abortion bill and a doomed run for the governorship has raised eyebrows in Texas political circles. The fact that Sandra Bullock has been attached to play Davis has faces hitting palms. Of course, former Senator Davis is more popular in Hollywood than she ever was in the Lone Star State, but this sort of hagiography is just absurd. The title of the movie, “Let Her Speak,” is astonishing. Davis is most famous because she would not shut up.
Friday, November 10, 2017
During recent hearings about the state of the development of NASA space exploration systems before the House Science Committee, chairperson Rep, Lamar Smith, R-Texas issued a warning that Congress is beginning to lose patience with delays of the first flight of the Space Launch System. He warned that commercial alternatives being developed by SpaceX and Blue Origin are starting to look more attractive. Ars Technica speculates that Smith, who is retiring after his current term, may feel freer to speak out about such matters.
Republican voters in Alabama are caught in a quandary. A story in the #Washington Post had accused Judge #Roy Moore of initiating sexual contact with a 14-year old girl in the late 1970s when he was 32. The accusation, nearly 40 years later, is almost impossible to prove or disprove. However, in the wake of Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and Bill O’Reilly, the last thing a politician needs is an allegation of a sordid sexual encounter with a child that is not only immoral but illegal under Alabama state law. The accusation at the very least follows the old principle that was once expressed by Lyndon Johnson. Moore is forced to deny it, keeping the story in the public eye.
Thursday, November 09, 2017
When a deranged gunman entered a church in the small town of Southerland Springs [VIDEO], Texas and started to shoot people, including pregnant women and crying babies, a lot of people on social media were quick to place blame on people and entities beyond the shooter. TV personality Chelsea Handler was pretty sure it was the Republicans. Former “Star Trek” child actor Wil Wheaton cursed the NRA, a narrative that fell apart when the news broke that a former NRA instructor stopped the shooting and put the monster to flight with his personal weapon.
Shakespeare once wrote that love makes fools of us all. That statement may be true, however, if the Bard had lived in the modern age, who might have written Twitter makes fools of us all. Some people would point to the president’s frequent missives as a case in point. However, perhaps the dumbest tweet of the year may have come from #George Takei, best known for playing Lt. Sulu in the original “#Star Trek” and who is now an Internet Social Justice Warrior.
Wednesday, November 08, 2017
As Deadline Hollywood reports, the first trailer of the upcoming Steven Spielberg directed period drama, “#The Post,” is available and can be seen below. The movie, which will be released in selected theaters in December to qualify it for the Oscars before being released wide in January, stars Tom Hanks as Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee, and Meryl Streep as the Post’s publisher Katherine Graham. The story is about the struggle in the early 1970s to publish the so-called Pentagon Papers, a series of documents that revealed the American government’s unvarnished assessment of the Vietnam War, one that was wide of its public stance.
Dick Gordon started his career as a naval aviator in 1953 and then as a naval test pilot in 1957. Gordon was selected in the third group of NASA astronauts 1963. He flew on Gemini 11 and as command module pilot on #Apollo 12. He was slated to command Apollo 18. However, that mission was canceled due to budget cuts. Gordon died on November 6, 2017, at the age of 88. Thus the ranks of the Apollo-era astronauts continue to dwindle as time and age call them to that final journey.
Tuesday, November 07, 2017
#Zombie Apocalypse TV series, which include “#The Walking Dead,” its spinoff “Fear the Walking Dead,” and their quirky cousin on the SyFy Channel, “Z Nation,” have started to notice something. These shows have begun to #Run stale and, indeed, run out of gas. Each of these shows has gone beyond its McGuffin, that most of the human race has died and have risen as undead, flesh-eating creatures, to wreck civilization and menace the few living humans left alive. The zombie apocalypse scenario, once the initial shock wears off, either becomes something that can be adapted to or else one has to conjure up other threats to keep the suspense going.
If you have not gone to Newt Gingrich’s alternate history Facebook page, “What If, History that Good Have Been,” you ought to. The page consists of short videos by the former speaker, writer, and history teacher in which he describes counterfactuals, what if a historical event went differently than it did in real life. The one that interested me the most, for reasons you’ll find obvious if you have been following my work, is “What if Nixon had Continued Kennedy’s Space Program?”
Monday, November 06, 2017
As the New York Times reports, a new Saudi Arabian “anti-corruption” sweep has nabbed 11 princes of the extended royal family, including billionaire investor Prince #Alwaleed Bin Talal, as well as four sitting ministers and a great many former ministers. The alleged criminals are as of this writing cooling their heels, rumors suggest, at the Ritz Carlton in Riyadh which is being turned into a holding center for royals and other officials who have been targeted. An airfield that services private planes has been closed as a measure to keep anyone else from fleeing the country.
#Andy Weir, whose debut novel “#The Martian” was a runaway bestseller and the basis of a hit movie, is due to release his second book, “Artemis,” on November 14. “Artemis” is set on a #Lunar Colony and is a slightly different story than “The Martian.” Weir sat down with Business Insider recently and discussed, among other things, the economics of colonizing the high frontier of space.
Sunday, November 05, 2017
As Deadline Hollywood reports, “The Orville,” #Seth Macfarlane’s take on a Star Trek-style space adventure series has been renewed for a second season, a remarkable accomplishment considering how hard it is to keep such a series on the air. The gentle reader is invited to think about what happened to “Firefly” to illustrate the point. The news is even more surprising considering that an actual Trek series, “Star Trek: Discovery” is also airing, albeit on the new CBS Access channel for which one has to pay a subscription. What is even more surprising is that while the critics like “Star Trek: Discovery” far more than “The #Orville” the fans are flocking to the latter series.
Saturday, November 04, 2017
As Cinema Blend notes, the fall of Kevin Spacey [VIDEO] from grace due to allegations of his sexual harassment and abuse of underage boys is going to affect the future direction of “House of Cards.” For the first five seasons, Spacey played the nefarious, Frank Underwood, starting as Chief Democratic Whip in the House of Representatives and ending as a disgraced former president. Now Spacey has been fired from the show, both as its star and executive producer. His behavior had created what can be described as an “unsafe work environment.”
With the great success of “Game of Thrones,” speculation has abounded about what the next great high fantasy TV series will be. Remarkably, according to Deadline Hollywood, “The Lord of the Rings” is being shopped around as a series. At one point HBO, Netflix, and Amazon were in the running as venues for the TV show based on the books by J.R.R. Tolkien. Eyebrows are being raised across the entertainment industry for a number of reasons.
Friday, November 03, 2017
Part of the emerging strategy that NASA is employing to get astronauts back to the moon is to partner with commercial companies to provide lunar landing services. Even before the election of Donald Trump and the subsequent pivot back to the moon, the space agency had signed an agreement with a number of companies under the Lunar Cargo Transportation and Landing by Soft Touchdown, or CATALYST, initiative to develop lunar landing technologies. Such technologies will be used by commercial companies to provide lunar landing services for both NASA and commercial payloads. NASA has just renewed the CATALYST agreement with three companies, Moon Express, Astrobotic, and #Masten Space Systems.
Secretary of Energy Rick Perry recently returned from a trip to Africa and noted a relationship between the availability of energy and #Crime Prevention. According to the Houston Chronicle, Perry recounted a conversation with a young girl in South Africa who noted that her family needed electricity so that she could read without using an open fire. He stated, “--"those fumes literally killing people. But also from the standpoint of sexual assault." He also noted that street lighting helps to reduce crime such as sexual assault and that electricity can be easily generated by #fossil fuels.
Thursday, November 02, 2017
#Donna Brazile has served a number of roles in the Democratic Party. She was, for example, Al Gore’s campaign manager. Her most recent office was as the interim chairperson of the Democratic National Committee, starting on July 24, 2016, when Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned from that position in disgrace. She has set forth what she found in a new book, “Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns that Put Donald Trump in the White House.” An excerpt from the book describes the shocking extent to which Hillary Clinton [VIDEO] and her team had “taken over” the DNC before she won the presidential nomination. Generally, a presidential candidate does not gain control of the party apparatus until after he or she clinches the nomination.
The Washington Post reports that Rep. #Jim Bridenstine, R-Oklahoma had his confirmation hearings before the Senate Commerce Committee for the post of NASA administrator. Led by ranking member Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, committee Democrats tag teamed against him, accusing the Oklahoma lawmaker of being everything from a climate change “denier” to a partisan politician. Bridenstine was also savagely attacked for his opposition to same-sex marriage to his vote (on Constitutional grounds) against the Violence Against Women Act. The Democrats conducted what amounted to a coordinated attempt to take down Bridenstine’s nomination.
Wednesday, November 01, 2017
The results of NASA’s 45-day study to map out a path to a return to the moon is still a few weeks away. However, it looks like that both the space agency and industry is looking at the so-called #Deep Space Gateway, as it is now being called, as a crucial part of the architecture to get robots and humans back on the lunar surface. John Thornton, the chief executive of a company called Astrobotic, recently penned an op-ed in Space News supporting the DPG concept.
Recently, as the gentle reader may recall, a group called Latino Victory started to run an ad in Virginia that depicted a white, Ed Gillespie supporter attempting to run down minority children with his pickup truck. The Ralph Northam campaign at the time refused to condemn the ad, and its supporters claimed that it accurately reflected the racist nature of Republican Trump supporters.