Monday, August 03, 2009

Potpourri LXXXVII

Let's see, what's out there today? Oh yeah, a weird world. Let's surf together, shall we?

Dar the Science Cheerleader talks about a citizen science workshop at Chicago's Adler Planetarium. Huzzah!

Our British cousins are calling for a debate on the use of autonomous robots capable of killing without a human order. About bloody time. Friendly fire never is, but who do you blame if the machine does it? Whom do you hold liable?

Speaking of robots, here's their warmer, fuzzier side: companion robots.

The Down Under Defense Expert (DUDE) has another weekend sojourn recommendation (so far he's about 8 for 10): this time, a fly-in for Beechcraft airplanes in Tullahoma.

Taylor Dinerman reviews the potholes in space law and policy. Also on The Space Review, my buddy and fellow space geek Pete Garretson analyzes the requirements of space policy.

Another good take on the Augustine Panel. Keep an eye on the public meetings August 5 and 12. That's where we might learn where the Panel will take us. At least we'll know a little more before their report comes out at the end of the month.

New from Hu:

  • Lockheed's Aegis ballistic missile defense system has destroyed additional targets. Good timing, because...
  • Iran might be a year away from building a nuclear weapon.

Another plane had a bad day on the way from Brazil to somewhere else. Wonder how long before someone blames it on global warming producing stronger thunderstorms.

A good article from The New York Times on how and why we visit museums and what we continue to get out of them. Food for thought as my countdown to museum overload continues.

No doubt there's more excitement out there, but that's it for now.

1 comment:

lin said...

One way establish the value of goods is to recognize that all of the materials that comprise them already exist somewhere in the universe. That is to say that they need not be imported from another dimension. While seemingly facetious, it helps to illustrate the theory that the cost of producing any product is labor.

Whether it is mining, shipping, smelting, taxing and regulating the use of, advertising, distributing, and storing the finished products, the cost of changing iron ore into razor blades is labor.

When it costs three or four times more to employ a steel worker in Ohio or Pennsylvania than it does in China or South America, US consumers begin to look beyond the domestic market for steel products. Otherwise, businesses that use steel in their products cannot compete with those that buy abroad. Even a business that produces the finest buggy whip in all of recorded history will close its doors without demand for what it produces.

Competition is an inherent part of capitalism; jobs are sometimes lost, and industries change. Workers are laid off in the rust belt and are forced to take lower paying jobs. Their offspring pursue other careers in different geographic locations. Under capitalism, the price for all commodities, including labor, is still determined by the market forces of supply and demand.

Left to itself, capitalistic competition tends to improve products, drive down their costs, and make them more readily available to the public. While it is possibly harsh, it is not cruel. We get to vote with our dollars and our feet.