Saturday, January 23, 2010

Potpourri CXVII

Continuing to clear out my inbox...way too much going on these days.

First up from the Space Frontier Foundation, an editorial suggesting that President Obama exhibit "political courage" and kill the "boondoggle" that is the Ares I crew launch vehicle. Sorry to break it to my SFF friends, but in the midst of ten percent unemployment, political courage will be anything BUT present. Do they really think they're going to forcibly disemploy 7,000 civil servants and contractors in a hotly contested state like Florida just prior to the mid-term elections? Sorry, I don't see it happening. And until SpaceX or the Delta IV/Atlas V rockets have launched a crew to the International Space Station, NASA and the government won't consider them "proven" systems. Gonna be another long year.

Meanwhile, speculation continues on the future of NASA's budget--more money? Less money? Less additional money than they hoped? Friends and family ask me if I know what's going to happen. Answer? No. I can probably tell you in vague terms who the players are and what they want the government to do--like the SFF above--but as far as who has the President's ear and what that person or group of persons will tell him to do, I haven't a clue. And then there's Congress to consider. This is a surprisingly complex business for such a small industry.

The world's coolest jobs? Well, maybe. Not gung-ho to be a medical marijuana tester, but that's me.

From Berin Szoka: An editorial on the Supreme Court's recent ruling in Citizens United v. FEC (the Federal Election Commission) on allowing companies to make political ads defending their interests. Little hint here--it's called free speech.

Another state-level web initiative to provide more government transparency--this time on the State of Florida's budget. As the Down Under Defense Expert (DUDE) puts it, "Believe it when you see it." Speaking of which, when I tried to open the link to, I got bupkis. The site wouldn't open. Great transparency.

From Regina, some educational resources:
  • A catch-all site for teachers looking to augment their in-class resources.
  • Teacher resources from Annenberg Media.
  • The federal government's site for citizens to order government information publications (Pueblo).
  • Another teacher resource...this one seems to focus mostly on "social studies."
And finally, miscellaneous links from my regular surfing:
  • Recommended by Doc for its general entertainment value:
  • A one-person stealth plane, courtesy of NASA.
  • A sign of the Apocalypse is upon us: the late Ted Kennedy's Senate seat has gone to a Republican. Of course the Apocalypse probably really won't happen until the Cubs win the World Series, but that's just me being goofy.
  • Good news for my friend Anthony: Hong Kong remains the freest economy in the world. What do they know that America has forgotten?
  • NASA is making space program artifacts available to museums and other educational institutions. Hmmm. And speaking of making space program artifacts available, NASA is also lowering the price of retired Space Shuttles. Is all this really a good idea?
  • From D2, your word of the day: narratology.
  • Senator Russ Feingold has suggested delaying the Constellation Program. Oh, goody.
  • According to a Rasmussen poll, the American public generally favors cutting back on the space program. Right, because cutting that 0.57 percent of the budget is gonna make a whit of difference when we're spending gazillions on bailing out banks, fighting wars for oil, and increasing the size of government healthcare. Priorities, people. Gotta focus on priorities--those space geeks are obviously getting too much of your money!
  • Jerry Pournelle on a variety of topics.
  • The lead story on the front page from the Huntsville Times one day this past week. Oy.

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