Friday, March 12, 2010

Potpourri CXXVI

I'm in the process of remodeling and adding a lot more content to Rhetoric & Rockets (a.k.a. Bartacus), so if you see more than the usual number of book or product reviews, that is on purpose. I'm trying to see how much money, if any, I can make through my Amazon Affiliate activities. Here's the general premise: if I write a good enough review and you are tempted to buy a book/video/product based on said review, click on the product "badge" on the page, and buy it through Amazon. The writer/creator/producer gets the joy of a customer, and I get a tiny piece of the action as a reviewer.

Another week's worth of stuff to plow through, so my apologies if there isn't a lot of commentary attached. In response to a comment from one reader, I do not read EVERYTHING included in these links, but it would probably terrify you to know how much I do read. Shall we begin?

From Hu: The People's Republic of China is studying a Saturn V-class launch vehicle. There is only one practical purpose for such a rocket, and that is to send human beings to the Moon. What do they know that the Obama administration does not, hmmmm?

From Greg A.: In the spirit of the late Senator William Proxmire and his "Golden Fleece" award, here are the most 10 most absurd scientific papers published in recent memory.

From Tracy: A good article on how space was promoted back when our country believed that exploring space was a Good Thing.

From D2:
  • A Big Think video explaining the possible psychological bases of political ideologies. This one gets a "maybe" in my truthiness scale, but it's an intriguing notion.
  • Another article that will probably be of interest to Dr. OZMG re: the profit motive and keeping animals in captivity

From Science @ NASA: Some interesting things are happening on the Sun.

From Dar, who is visiting the South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference this weekend:
  • An article on the future of video games.
  • Science has become a serious political issue in the UK (about time it was taken seriously somewhere!).
From Hank Campbell: The Open Source Science Project, a page that encourages private citizens to participate in, and comment upon, research in progress.

How did they get that bug in the museum anyway? A 100-year-old mystery solved. I expect to see a CSI episode about this soon, but it wouldn't be the same without Grissom on the show.

President Obama has called for a space summit in Florida April 15. He'd better have really good briefings/message control, because there are a lot of angry people at Kennedy Space Center. Anyhow, there are several articles about this summit, which NASAWatch has conveniently put all in one place:
Jeff Foust also has a discussion about the summit on his Space Politics blog.

Is the Orion crew exploration vehicle being transferred to the commercial sector? This article says yes.

Some interesting stuff from OpenNASA…

Also from Jeff Foust's Space Politics/The Space Review blogs...
  • Some progress might be made on making export control rules more rational (i.e. not so tight that American aerospace companies cannot compete overseas).
  • An excellent analysis of how the unveiling of the Obama administration's NASA budget was rolled out and why they face challenges getting their way in fiscal year 2011.
  • What hope does the U.S. or NASA have for getting international partners for future space missions? Taylor Dinerman says the odds aren't great unless some serious structural changes are made. This is easily fixed, by the way. The Department of Defense is able to obtain "five-year" funds to build things like aircraft carriers without having to debate the whole thing every year.
Florida members of Congress are trying to keep the Shuttle flying longer.

Machines capable of reading thoughts? Maybe.

Here's an article on the fact that Twitter knows where you are tweeting from. But really, anyone familiar with the technology already knew this…

Like most large, bureaucratic organizations, the Department of Defense has a love-hate relationship with social media web sites.

This is kind of cool: a Flash feature showing the process/progress of assembling the International Space Station (ISS). Just a gentle reminder, all: there are only four more Space Shuttle missions planned, and once they're done and, if the President gets his way, the Constellation Program, NASA will NOT have a rocket that can fly up to ISS until 2016 at the earliest, leaving us dependent on the Russians to get our astronauts there. If you want to know why, I suggest calling your elected officials and demanding an answer. I already KNOW the answer, but I'm not going to share that. It's more fun for you to call and ask. Trust me.

From Martin: A Russian-language travelogue through a "boomer" (nuclear missile submarine) base. I'd be interested to know if this sub is considered "active," or if it's been retired. If it's been retired, has all the hot stuff--the ship's nuclear reactor and its missiles--been removed? Russian speakers are welcome to enlighten me.

The Echoes of Apollo group is interested in building or enhancing the Deep Space Network, which is a worldwide set of dish antennas used to collect data from satellites and vehicles farther in space. Gosh knows the U.S. system could use an upgrade or two.

From Regina: The European Space Agency (ESA) has upgraded its "Eduspace" web page for space education.

From Father Dan: A very cool map of weather conditions at every airport in the U.S.

From Lin: A new bicycle from New Zealand, the "Yike Bike."

And that will do for now. Your readership and patronage are appreciated!

No comments: