Monday, May 04, 2009

Potpourri XXXII

Some strange phenomena are "going viral" these days, including Zombies, instantaneous crowds, and "slider" mini-burgers (which were originally nasty hangover food at the White Castle in Chicago). What's next? Nehru jackets?

New from Hu:

  • Even the New York Times is saying it now: Obama needs to pick a NASA Administrator.
  • It looks like Congress will extend Shuttle ops into 2011. The rationale is to reduce our dependence upon Russia. However, I agree with Mike Griffin: unless we double NASA's budget (or some other improbable occurrence), extending the Shuttle will only move the "gap" in human spaceflight, not shrink it.
  • The Rocket Racing League is slowing down its plans.
  • Technology Review discusses Ares I-X (even if they do call it "1-X").
  • A 9/11-focused coloring book has been removed from the FEMA web site. Didn't know they had one. Still, one must ask why. Who is this benefitting?

Just forwarded this to Dar, but I might as well post it here, too. NASA is looking for high school students to appy to join the INSPIRE program. Here's how the press release explains what INSPIRE is:

The selectees will participate in an online learning community in which students
and parents have the opportunity to interact with their peers and NASA engineers
and scientists. It also provides appropriate grade level educational activities,
discussion boards and chat rooms for participants and their families to gain
exposure to the many career opportunities at NASA.

Students selected for the online learning community will have the option to compete for experiences during the summer of 2010 at NASA facilities and participating universities throughout the nation. The Inspire project is designed to encourage ninth through 12th grade students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math.

The summer experience provides students a hands-on opportunity to investigate education and careers in those disciplines. The Inspire project is part of NASA's education strategy to attract and retain students in the science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, disciplines critical to NASA's missions.

Tip o' the fedora to Nickomundo for this one: Got $375 plus some change? Lego is now selling a deluxe version of the Millennium Falcon. As my Gen Y buddies would say, "Sweeeeet."

Obama plans to cut back on tax exemptions for corporations that move their businesses overseas. The natural reaction to this will not be what Obama expects. They will not end up paying more taxes here, they will move their corporate headquarters overseas to avoid the taxes here.

Speaking of our president, his Spanish could use some work. But, of course, it's not Bush, so it's not a story.

Here's a whups moment for our pirate friends in Somalia: they attacked a French gunship. What's the Somali word for "Oh $#!T!!!!"?

Eventually I'll get around to a longer piece on the Chrysler situation, but the short version is that the Obama administration is "putting their thumb on the scale" (as someone once accused Mike Griffin of doing) to ensure that their favored parties--the UAW and the government itself--will retain majority ownership of the company. In a bankrupty, primary debt holders get first crack at taking over the bankrupt's debt. That is not what is happening in Chrysler's situation, and that is a serious reversal of bankruptcy law and practice.

And, for a little fun, Star Trek fans are decrying the new prequel.

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