Thursday, May 31, 2018

In ‘The Americans’ the Cold War ends with a whimper

The second most searing scene in the final episode of “The Americans” take place in a parking garage when Stan, the FBI agent who has been living across the street from the Jennings, blissfully unaware that they are Soviet spies, confronts them with a drawn pistol. The confrontation has been long in coming [VIDEO], six whole seasons that spanned much of the decade of the 1980s. For Philip, Elizabeth, and their hapless daughter Paige, the Cold War ended not with a bang, but with a whimper.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The Iranian regime may be entering a death spiral
Bill Nelson touts his space shuttle junket in Senate digital ad

Sen Bill Nelson, D-Florida, who is in a tough reelection fight for his Senate seat against Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, has released his first digital ad for the campaign, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Zack Snyder may remake Ayn Rand’s ‘The Fountainhead’

“The Fountainhead,” the film version of Ayn Rand’s first novel, was a box office and critical failure when it was first released in the late 1940s. Rand’s uncompromising story in which the hero, an architect named Howard Roark, blow up a building he designed because a committee of government bureaucrats changed the design, has had a reappraisal in recent years with some modern critics considering it a classic. The movie certainly made the careers of its two stars, Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal. A report by Deadline provided most of the details for this article.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Available now from Amazon, a story of alternate history:

Jeff Bezos made another announcement at ISDC

Jeff Bezos, the CEO of and Blue Origin, made another announcement at the recent International Space Development Conference in Los Angeles. Besides saving the show “The Expanse,” [VIDEO] Bezos proposes to go back to the moon. He has a plan about how to do it and a vision as to why it should be done, according to Geek Wire.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Alan Bean explored the moon and then told the story in paint

It is usually not given for a human being to excel at one demanding profession, not to speak of three. However, Alan Bean was, during his eighty-six years of life, a test pilot, an astronaut, and an artist. He flew aircraft to the edge of the envelope during his early life in the Navy. As an astronaut, he became the fourth man to walk on the moon. Then, as an artist, he told the story of the first great age of lunar exploration in a unique medium, in paint.

From the Hill Newspaper Guess who’s unhappy about Elon Musk’s SpaceX

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Jeff Bezos’ Amazon has saved ‘The Expanse’

Jeff Bezos, the CEO of and Blue Origin, was engaged in a wide-ranging panel discussion at the 2018 International Space Development Conference. He ruminated about such topics as the return to the moon, lowering the cost of space travel, and the industrialization of low Earth orbit. However, the greatest cheers in the packed ballroom came when Bezos announced that Amazon’s live streaming service is going to pick up the space-based science fiction series “The Expanse” for its fourth season.

SyFy’s cancellation of ‘The Expanse’ represents short term thinking

Friday, May 25, 2018

John F. Kennedy "Landing a man on the Moon" Address to Congress - May 25...



NASA to begin buying rides on commercial lunar landers by year’s end

Matt Groening subverts the fantasy genre in 'Disenchanted'

“Disenchanted,” [VIDEO] Matt Groening’s sendup of the fantasy genre, is due to drop on Netflix on August 17, according to Deadline Hollywood. The series is set in the Kingdom of Dreamland where Princess Bean, who likes to drink to excess when she is not having adventures, resides. Her companions include a little green elf named Elfo and her own personal demon named Luci who looks more like an imp. The three adventurers are voiced by Abbi Johnson, Nat Faxon, and Eric Andre respectively.

Michael Bay comes to Netflix with 'Six Underground'

Michael Bay, the director of such big-screen blockbusters such as “Armageddon,” “Pearl Harbor,” and the “Transformers” movies has become the latest Hollywood A-lister to make the leap to Netflix [VIDEO]. Bay’s first project for the live streaming service is called “Six Underground.” The premise of the film is that six billionaires fake their own deaths and form a group dedicated to taking down bad guys. The movie will star Ryan Reynolds, best known for playing the title character in the “Deadpool” films. Screenwriters Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese, who previously wrote “Deadpool,” have written the script. “Six Underground” is due to go before the cameras in the summer for a 2019 release.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

NASA: Commercial Partners Key to Sustainable Moon Presence

NASA: Commercial Partners Key to Sustainable Moon Presence: As NASA shifts human exploration back to the Moon, U.S. commercial partnerships will be a key to expediting missions and building a sustainable presence on the lunar surface.
NASA’s Jim Bridenstine begins to win over Democrats

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine had his first congressional hearing before the Senate subcommittee that funds the space agency. He discussed various aspects of the NASA budget that the subcommittee is due to mark up, including the lunar exploration initiative and the troubled James Webb Space Telescope. However, the most critical exchange came with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii on the subject of climate change. [VIDEO]

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Private entrepreneurs are trying to find innovative ways to solve the housing crisis in Seattle. The one problem standing in their way is the city of Seattle.
‘Salvation’ will return on June 25 with season two

When we last left out intrepid heroes in “Salvation,” the oddest and yet most endearing science fiction show to appear on TV in a long time, it looked like that a nuclear holocaust might beat the asteroid to wiping out the Earth. A group of people chosen to survive the end of the world, no matter in what form it comes, is dancing in an underground bunker to “Fly Me to the Moon.” Meanwhile, Liam, the young genius who discovered the asteroid, has gone outside to tell Darius, the Elon Musk-like commercial space mogul who has chosen to die, something that will save the world after all. That synopsis doesn’t even mention the hacker terrorist group called Resist, the coup that overthrew the legitimate (and female) president [VIDEO] of the United States and the love triangle between Darius, a DOD official named Grace, and her boss Harris.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

On a December day in 1967, a pilot whose jet fighter is in the process of cracking up ejects a moment sooner and therefore lives when he otherwise might have died. A life that would have ended on the tarmac at Edwards Air Force Base continues on. Six years later, Major Robert Lawrence, United States Air Force, becomes the first black American to walk on the Moon.

It’s time for Netflix to hire Newt Gingrich as well as the Obamas

Netflix [VIDEO]has announced a production deal with former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama. The former first couple will now create original content, including documentaries, scripted series, and features. Business Insider reports that the deal has sparked outrage on social media, with many threatening to cancel their subscriptions and boycott the live streaming network.

Monday, May 21, 2018

How NASA Will Unlock the Secrets of Quantum Mechanics Aboard the ISS
China launches communications satellite called Queqiao toward the moon

China launched the first part of its latest probe to the moon in the form of a communications satellite called Queqiao, which translates to English as “Magpie Bridge.” The name is derived from an ancient Chinese legend about two lovers who separated by the Milky Way who are helped by a flock of magpies which builds a bridge with their bodies.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

From the Hill: Ted Cruz and Bill Nelson give NASA a reality check on privatizing International Space Station

In the wake of the Santa Fe High shooting, calls for banning guns increase

Another school shooting, another round of controversy about “common sense gun laws.” Of course, besides the fact that the shooting in question violated the laws against mass murder, the 17-year-old student, who shot up an art class, violated the laws that were already on the books by possessing a handgun and a shotgun that he had apparently stolen from his father. He did not use a so-called “assault rifle.”

Saturday, May 19, 2018

A Brother on the Moon is now available for the Amazon Kindle.

On a December day in 1967, a pilot whose jet fighter is in the process of cracking up ejects a moment sooner and therefore lives when he otherwise might have died. A life that would have ended on the tarmac at Edwards Air Force Base continues on. Six years later, Major Robert Lawrence, United States Air Force, becomes the first black American to walk on the Moon.

Harry and Meghan went to church and got married

For some reason, I’m a sucker for royal weddings [VIDEO] and not just because of my ancestral ties to what people once referred to as the “mother country.” I love pomp and pageantry and the adherence to ancient traditions. I got up early to watch Charles and Diana get hitched and even when William and Pippa walked down the aisle. So, naturally, I was up at a ridiculous time on a Saturday morning to watch Harry and Meghan take their vows. The ceremony had a lot of the old traditions, to be sure. However, it also had a few American flourishes that the British Isles have never seen before.

Friday, May 18, 2018

What Jim Bridenstine said and did not say about climate change

Recently NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine conducted a televised town hall during which he took questions from space agency employees about a variety of subjects, ranging from the return to the moon program [VIDEO]to the need of diversity in the workforce to the necessity of holding down the costs of projects such as the James Webb Space Telescope. However, virtually every media account of the town hall focused on one answer to a particular question.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The problem with the TV show 'Timeless’

Let me stipulate that “Timeless” is one of my favorite shows. To be sure, I’m a sucker for dramas about space travel and time travel. The series depicts the fight of a group of time travelers as they try to prevent a vast conspiracy called Rittenhouse from messing up history. It has had some great stories, many of which illuminate historical events that are not well covered in school. Indeed, with the cliffhanger that ended the second season, I fervently hope that the show gets a third season. After what was done to “The Expanse,” [VIDEO] I’m pretty sure I don’t want another disappointment.

For some background, read: The First Black Astronaut and America’s Secret Outer-Space Spy Program

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Bill Nelson’s second epic fail in the Florida Senate race

Sen Bill Nelson, D-Florida, as readers have come to know, was a fervent foe of the confirmation of Jim Bridenstine [VIDEO]for NASA administrator. Bridenstine was confirmed anyway, on a party-line vote, and has gone on to shake up the space agency to get it set to form commercial partnerships to return to the moon. Nelson took a political hit from his attempt to plunge NASA into a leadership crisis for his political aggrandizement. Some might observe that it was bad enough that the senior senator from Florida has proven himself to be the second coming of Tail Gunner Joe (“Are you or have you ever been a conservative.”)

Radical Chic: That Party at Lenny’s

For those looking for other great writing from the late Tom Wolfe: Radical Chic: That Party at Lenny’s
From the Daily Caller: Lamar Smith Causes Cognitive Dissonance By Getting NASA Back Into SETI or why a 'climate denier' is so enthusiastic about looking for alien civilizations.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Advice to the New NASA Administrator
Why ‘The Right Stuff’ is Tom Wolfe’s greatest book

Even though Tom Wolfe died at the ripe old age of 87, it still seems as if he passed too soon. His non-fiction works that read like novels and his novels that illuminated aspects of human existence in the late 20th Century were masterworks of the English language. If one had to pick out the one book that rises above the rest and will endure long after Wolfe is gone, that work has to be “The Right Stuff.”

Back to the Moon, Again: Will the Third Time Be the Charm?

My own take on the question, thanks to the Wall Street Journal: Fly Me to the Moon, Mr. Bridenstine
Why Trump Is a President Like No Other

Monday, May 14, 2018

From the Hill Newspaper The NASA drone headed for Mars

Earlier: NASA plans to fly a helicopter on Mars

SyFy’s cancellation of ‘The Expanse’ represents short term thinking

The cancellation of “The Expanse” by the SyFy Channel is the latest chapter of a story that is all too familiar to science fiction television fans. A favorite show with a loyal following gets canceled because it has not met ratings numbers.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

John McCain is not a snowflake so stop treating him like one

Even as he proceeds to go kicking and screaming into that good night, Sen John McCain, R-Arizona, is creating controversy. The latest kerfuffle happened when a White House staffer made a crass remark about the elderly senator and war hero dying. The statement, which was leaked to the media, has caused spasms of outrage and horror. McCain, as his friends and defenders often remind us, endured torture at the hands of the North Vietnamese. Therefore the question arises, why is he depicted as such a snowflake that words are an unbearable affront? McCain chose the profession of politics and part of the job description is to receive insults. And it should be noted that he had given as good as he has gotten.

Trump is greener than you think

Saturday, May 12, 2018

From Hot Air: A Long Awaited Plan To Curb H-1B Visa Abuse And about time too.
NASA plans to fly a helicopter on Mars

With Mars In Sight [VIDEO] having departed for the Red Planet for a late November landing, NASA is preparing for the Mars 2020 rover, an enhanced version of the Mars Curiosity that is currently rolling about the Martian surface. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine [VIDEO] announced on Twitter that the Mars 2020 would have another enhancement.

Friday, May 11, 2018

For those interested, here is a list of some of my recent space policy pieces in The Hill
Is Netflix ruining your sex life?

Netflix [VIDEO]has revolutionized the way that we consume video content, with its myriad of original content and system of dropping every episode of a single season of a TV series at once, thus giving rise to binge watching [VIDEO]. Indeed, the live streaming service seems to have altered the way couples spend the evening. The Urban Dictionary has a phrase, “Netflix and chill,” which means watch some Netflix and then have some sex.

How Mitch McConnell used Netflix to taunt a political enemy

Rarely does Netflix, the well-known live streaming service, enter into contemporary American politics. However, in the aftermath of the West Virginia Republican primaries, a graphic for “Narcos,” a program on Netflix about drug traffickers, was used to taunt one of the losers. Social media was, naturally, appalled.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Iran attacks Israel – and then wishes it hadn’t

The first concrete action that Iran took, besides issuing threats, in response to President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, was to bombard Israeli military positions on the Golan Heights. Israel, in turn, launched a massive air and missile campaign against Iranian bases in Syria. In the end, Iran was made, as so many enemies had been before, to regret that it had thrown down against the Jewish state.

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Who invented hummus?

From The Hill: Why Mars is not a priority for space exploration

This time it looks like America is really returning to the moon

NASA held an industry day for its plan for a commercial return to the moon [VIDEO], meeting with a group of interested companies. The space agency related its thoughts about what it would like for business services to the moon. In return, it solicited ideas from the commercial sector about a draft of a Request for Proposals (RFP). The final RFP will be issued on July 19, 2018. Companies will be required to respond 30 days later. NASA will release contracts for the next five years on December 31, 2018. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine [VIDEO]addressed the assembled industry partners, announcing that “this won’t be Lucy and the football again.” Just to buttress the administrator’s sentiment, the draft of the bill that funds NASA by the House Appropriations Committee fully supports the lunar program.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Trump withdraws from the Iran nuclear arms deal

As promised during the campaign and reiterated during the first months of the campaign, President Donald Trump officially announced that the United States is withdrawing from the Iran nuclear weapons deal. He denounced the agreement as flawed and one-sided and the Iranian regime as a duplicitous purveyor of terrorism. After a grace period that lasted several months, sanctions will be imposed back on Iran, which will include countries whose business dealings with the regime might be seen as being beneficial to its nuclear ambitions. The newly confirmed Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell has already informed German companies to wrap up operations in Iran and get ready to pull out.

Jeff Bezos getting hate for wanting to explore space

All of the sudden Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon and Blue Origin, is getting a lot of hate on social media. The reason seems to be that he is spending a lot of money in an attempt to open up the high frontier of space rather than making his business empire into a private poverty program.

Analysis Looks at Costs, Markets and Government Role in Private Space Stations

Monday, May 07, 2018

John McCain’s unkindest cut of all to Sarah Palin

Sen John McCain, R-Arizona, former Navy pilot, prisoner of war, and twice failed presidential candidate has the awful knowledge that he is going to die soon. The approaching abyss must daunt even a man of his considerable courage. On the other hand, McCain has time to prepare, to put his affairs in order, to say goodbye to family and friends, and, being who he is, to start settling scores.

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Trump statement on guns offends French government

When President Trump condemned the policies that Great Britain and France have toward the private ownership of firearms, his statement won an enthusiastic show of approval from the annual meeting of the National Rifle Association in Dallas. The French government, however, was not amused by the American president’s reference to the ISIS attacks in Paris that left 130 people dead. Trump suggested that had France allowed for the right of concealed carry, the ISIS terrorists would not have quite an easy time of it.

Saturday, May 05, 2018

John Kerry caught conspiring with Iran

It seems that former Secretary of State John Kerry has been colluding (though the term conspiring also comes to mind) with officials of foreign powers, including Iran, to try to preserve the Iranian nuclear arms deal [VIDEO] that he helped to craft. The effort, on its face, seems to be mainly brazen coming as it does in the wake of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netaynahu’s revelation [VIDEO] that the deal was a sham from day one. Still, it seems that Kerry had to try to preserve the tattered legacy of his and his former boss President Barack Obama’s signature foreign policy legacy.

Friday, May 04, 2018

The 5 Phases Of InSight’s Journey To Mars

NASA’s InSight probe is designed to study the interior of Mars and achieve two science objectives. It seeks to discover through the interior processes and structure of Mars how rocky planets formed and evolved. The probe will also measure tectonic activity and the rate of meteor strikes on the Red Planet. However, InSight’s journey to Mars must pass through five critical phases.

Thursday, May 03, 2018

NASA’s Kilopower experiment paves the way to powering lunar bases

With #NASA starting to get serious about sending astronauts into deep space, beyond low Earth orbit, with bases on the moon and eventually expeditions to Mars, the space agency is developing a technology called kilopower to give them enough power to operate. Kilopower is a small-scale #Nuclear Reactor capable of delivering one to ten kilowatts of energy. As a means of comparison, the typical American private home uses five kilowatts of power.

Fly Me to the Moon, Mr. Bridenstine

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

From the pages of the Wall Street Journal: Fly Me to the Moon, Mr. Bridenstine

Beto O’Rourke steps in it by defending the Iran nuclear weapons deal

Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas [VIDEO] has been touted as the great hope to knock #Ted Cruz out of the Senate. The trans-ethnic candidate has been relying on charisma, good looks, and a lot of cash from outside the state. However, he has taken quite a few policy positions on issues ranging from drug legalization to immigration that most Texans would tend to find off-putting. The latest problem to dog the long-shot Democratic candidate is the Iran nuclear weapons deal, which the Israeli Mossad revealed to be a sham [VIDEO]. O’Rourke is on record as being in favor of the agreement, according to the Washington Free Beacon.

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

From the Hill: NASA just proved it is serious about returning to the moon
Congressman Culberson offers a warning about the Space Launch System

Rep John Culberson, R-Texas, visited an aerospace contractor called Oceaneering Space Systems in Houston, the Houston Chronicle noted. The congressman, who chairs the House appropriations subcommittee, expressed concerns about delays that have occurred in the development of the heavy-lift #space launch system and the Orion spacecraft. Then, Culberson asked a strange question to an Orbital ATK executive that exposed the SLS’s potential obsolescence before it even flies.