Tag Archives: travel

At the rim

at the rim

On a lark, last week I called Xanterra, the vendor that runs the hotels on the south rim of the Grand Canyon, to see if they had any rooms available anytime during the summer. Diane and I wanted to do a day hike down the Hermit Trail, and to do it we needed to stay at a hotel the night before and the night after.

To my surprise, they had a rim view room available in Bright Angel Lodge, for tonight and tomorrow. The picture on the right is taken from our room, right after we arrived earlier today. I am right now sitting at that window, watching the sun set on the canyon buttes even as I type. Yowza!

I will post more tonight, and some tomorrow night as well. I will also do my podcast with John Batchelor tomorrow, live, from this room. Most cool, I must say.

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Off to Israel + new op-ed!

My April travels continue. It has been too long since I traveled to Israel to visit family, so today I am heading out for the long flight, arriving tomorrow afternoon. I will be there until April 20. I expect I will be able to post, as I have in the past, though my commentary will likely be reduced somewhat.

Note that I will have a new op-ed published sometime this week at The Federalist entitled “What Trump’s space policy should really do.” I am positive that my conclusions will not be what most people expect. The op-ed was inspired by this comment by Edward Thelen, part of comments in connection with this Zimmerman/Batchelor podcast, where I talked about space exploration in the context of the American settlement of the west.

The comparison with the American west is appropriate. There have been other expansions throughout the world, too. In the 19th century, the US was not the only country that had a frontier. We have several examples of expansion from which to learn, but the frontiers in the Americas were clearly the largest, complete with immigration from the Old World straight to the frontier.

An example of a lesson — beyond Robert’s example of the Homesteading Act — is the need for better communication between the US east coast and California. Messages and people needed to move across the continent in far less time and in a safer manner than those that were available in 1860, so government funded a transcontinental railroad, a line longer than had ever been built or operated before. Earthbound or space-born governments may also have needs for similar large projects. Although the needs of We the People has been shown to be best met through private-ownership of free-market capitalist commerce, there will be times when government should also fund projects that solve its needs.

Edward was suggesting that the focus of the federal government — and Trump’s space policy — should be building an infrastructure that will make it easier for private companies and individuals to work in space. My initial response had agreed with him:

What NASA should do is build the kind of infrastructure that private enterprise needs to explore the Moon, the asteroids, and Mars. Build a communications network. Put communications satellites behind the Moon. Set up radiation monitors that private tourists trips will need to monitor solar and cosmic radiation. And even here, the model should be that used in the west with the transcontinental railroad, where the government hired private companies to do the work for it.

I need to think about this more. This needs to be written up properly.

In thinking about it, however, I completely rejected my initial response, and Edward’s suggestion. The infrastructure that the federal government needs to build in space has nothing to do with physical objects. This is the mistake everyone has been making for decades. In my op-ed I argue for something else entirely, and I hope the Trump administration is listening.

Stay tuned. When the Federalist op-ed gets posted I will post the url here immediately.

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IRS given power to revoke passports

What could possibly go wrong? A new federal law, passed by a Republican Congress, gives the IRS the right to revoke your passport, even as another federal law will soon require many to use that passport for any airline travel, even within the United States.

What should happen is that both these laws should be repealed, now. Otherwise, I fully expect in the coming years that this new IRS power will be used to squelch opposition to those in power, just as the Obama administration used the IRS prior to the 2012 election to block conservatives from fighting his re-election.

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On the road

On Thursday and Friday I will likely not be able to do much posting, as I am heading up to Kitt Peak to watch an amateur astronomer do overnight observations using the 2.1 meter telescope on the mountain. I will also be taking a tour of the numerous facilities on the mountain top. All of this is in connection with an article I am writing for Sky & Telescope.

I am unsure if I will have internet service there. If I do, I will continue to post. Otherwise I will return Friday afternoon and pick up from there.

Update, Friday mid-day: I am back. Though I had access to the internet, I was too busy with other business to post. A lot of news stories since yesterday, so there will be a lot of posts in the next few hours.

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On the road

Posting for the two weeks shall sometimes be limited to the evening hours, as Diane and I are heading east for the first time in two years to visit the Smoky Mountains on the border of Tennessee and North Carolina.

We decided to drive, partly because it is cheaper, and partly to avoid the TSA (Airlines: Pay attention!). It also will give us a vehicle for driving north after our hiking vacation to visit friends and family in Maryland and Pennsylvania.

I intend to post about our trip. I should also do most of my appearances on the John Batchelor Show as well. The only negative is that I will be out in the real world when both Falcon 9 and Cygnus finally complete their next flights. I will only be able to post about it after the fact.

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Back from Israel

After a long flight beginning yesterday I am finally back in Tucson. I have a lot of clean up work to do, but I will be posting a series of short essays about what I saw and learned while visiting Israel, beginning either later tonight (if I can stay awake) or tomorrow.

I would have posted some of these essays during my visit, but my old laptop finally died on me early in the trip. Time to buy a new one.

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In Israel

After a plane journey that took far longer than it should, I have finally arrived at my brother and sister-in-law’s place in Israel. It is rainy, windy, and colder than normal. Yuch.

The Sabbath begins shortly, so I will be off line until tomorrow. On Sunday I will be doing some sightseeing with family. Posting will be difficult here, but if I have the chance I will. If not, I will write up something when I get home.

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On the road

Walk with the lamas

I must apologize for the light posting the past few days. I am on a trip with my wife Diane visiting friends in Colorado. (The picture on the right of me (on the left) having lunch in the woods with Diane (standing) and friends Joel and Marianne will give you a taste of some of the fun we are having. The lamas were the pets of our host, who took the picture.)

I will be back home Sunday, when posting should resume with vigor.

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Because of a new federal regulation, passengers who use US Airways for only part of their flight will have to check their bags and go through security again when they switch airlines.

Thank you DOT and US Airways: Because of a new federal regulation, passengers who use US Airways for only part of their flight will have to check their bags and go through security again when they switch airlines.

It appears that US Airways is at much at fault here as the DOT. Read the article.

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