Monthly Archives: March 2012

Now we know: Jon Corzine gave “direct instructions” to illegally transfer customer funds to pay off MF Global’s debt.

Now we know: Jon Corzine gave “direct instructions” to illegally transfer customer funds to pay off MF Global’s debt.

In a different world behavior like this was called embezzlement. But Corzine is a Democrat and the go-to guy on economic matters for the Obama administration, which is why he still remains free with no criminal charges against him. Moreover, because he is so closely tied to the Obama administration we all know that any accusations or evidence against him must be racist.

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In discussions the last two days managers for the space programs of Europe and China began laying the groundwork for a Chinese docking at ISS.

In discussions the last two days, managers for the space programs of Europe and China began laying the groundwork for a Chinese docking at ISS.

The United States, which paid for and built the bulk of ISS, has no way of getting its own astronauts to the station. The United States at present also has no way to bring cargo up to the station.

The result: We no longer own our own space station. Though the U.S. has strict laws on the books to prevent the transfer of technology to the Chinese, restricting communications by government officials with China, the Europeans do not. And since they can send cargo to ISS while we cannot, they feel free to negotiation with the Chinese for the use of our space station. Moreover, the Russians I am sure will heartily endorse these negotiations.

And what can the U.S. government do? Nothing.

Instead of focusing on a solution to this situation, the members of Congress tasked with supervising NASA want NASA to build a giant heavy-lift rocket (SLS) to use with the Orion capsule, neither of which is designed to go to ISS. Moreover, neither will be capable of flying humans into space until 2021, one year after ISS is presently scheduled to be shut down. Even then a single flight will cost billions, which makes this system useless for resupplying ISS.

And people wonder why I consider these elected officials stupid. And if they aren’t stupid, they surely are irresponsible and incompetent, at least when it comes to the American space program.

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“The only thing the Democrats misjudged about Obamacare was everything.”

“The only thing the Democrats misjudged about Obamacare was everything.”

And speaking of the Democrats political misjudgment: At noon today there will be demonstrations in 140 cities across the U.S. against the Obama administration’s contraception mandate, imposed under Obamacare.

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Europe successfully launched its third unmanned freighter to ISS early this morning.

Europe successfully launched its third unmanned freighter to ISS early this morning.

The 13-ton cargo freighter is loaded with about 7.2 tons of supplies, including food, water, clothing, experiments and fuel for the space station, according to NASA. The unmanned ATV-3 is the heaviest load of cargo ever delivered to the station by a robotic spacecraft, ESA officials said in a statement.

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The reckoning

The reckoning.

Today, it’s the Catholic Church whose free-exercise powers are under assault from this cascade of diktats sanctioned by — indeed required by — Obamacare. Tomorrow it will be the turn of other institutions of civil society that dare stand between unfettered state and atomized citizen.

Rarely has one law so exemplified the worst of the Leviathan state — grotesque cost, questionable constitutionality and arbitrary bureaucratic coerciveness. Little wonder the president barely mentioned it in his latest State of the Union address. He wants to be reelected. He’d rather talk about other things.

Remember, the power of the state is not always wielded by those you agree with. From the right or the left, fear that power, because it will come after you both when it finally has the ability to do so.

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Stupidity on display

In hearings Wednesday, several members of Congress suggested that NASA force the new competing commercial space companies to combine their efforts in order to save money.

Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) asked NASA Administrator Charles Bolden during a March 21 hearing on the agency’s 2013 budget the same question he asked of the White House’s chief science adviser last month: would NASA’s partnership with commercial companies to develop astronaut transports be cheaper if the companies competing for NASA funds combined their efforts into a single “all for one and one for all” project?

Similarly, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) made the same stupid argument in her continuing effort to keep the funding of the Space Launch System, the rocket-formerly-called-Constellation, as high as possible, at the cost of cutting everything else in NASA if necessary.

If you needed any evidence that members of Congress are ignorant idiots, you only need read the comments of these elected officials at these hearings to get your proof. Wolf or Hutchison as well as several others from both parties very clearly haven’t the slightest idea what these various space companies are building. Nor do they have the faintest notion of the difficulties entailed in building these manned space vessels.
» Read more

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The Department of Energy has scrapped plans to build a neutrino experiment, costing $1.5 billion, in the now-closed Homestake gold mine in South Dakota.

A sign of the budgetary times: The Department of Energy has scrapped plans to build a neutrino experiment, costing $1.5 billion, in the now-closed Homestake gold mine in South Dakota.

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Only after a Democrat crook wins an election do Democrats want him gone.

Only after a Democrat crook wins an election do Democrats suddenly want him gone.

Three days ago, Democrats in Illinois went to bat for Derrick Smith, the state lawmaker who got arrested after taking a bribe from an undercover federal agents. Party officials on Chicago’s West Side even held a rally urging voters to support him in Tuesday’s primary against a former Republican challenging him for the nomination. Democrats succeeded in getting Smith the nomination.

Now, of course, they want him gone.

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Russia’s deputy prime minister today blasted the Russian space agency and one space contractor for the scandals and public backbiting involving both.

Soap opera: Russia’s deputy prime minister today blasted Vladimir Popovkin, the head the Russian space agency, and one space contractor for the scandals and public backbiting involving both.

The [contractor’s] accusations apparently come as a response to Popovkin’s comments on Monday. The official accused “space industry contractors” of disseminating false rumors about him because they were dissatisfied with his attempt to reform the industry. Popovkin was hospitalized earlier this month because of exhaustion caused by a hectic schedule and frequent jet lags, according to official statements. Some media reported it was due to injuries sustained in a brawl.

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New close-up photos of the asteroid Vesta from Dawn have discovered numerous bright spots scattered across the face of the asteroid Vesta.

New close-up photos of the asteroid Vesta from Dawn have discovered numerous bright spots scattered across the face of the asteroid Vesta.

The photos show surprisingly bright spots all over Vesta, with the most predominant ones located inside or around the asteroid’s many craters. The bright areas range from large spots (around several hundred feet across) to simply huge, with some stretching across 10 miles (16 kilometers) of terrain.

The scientists believe the bright spots might be the asteroid’s oldest material, excavated from below by impacts.

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The Supreme Court today ruled unanimously in favor of the landowners whose property was essentially stolen by the EPA because the agency had declared it contained a wetland.

A small victory against the EPA: The Supreme Court today ruled unanimously in favor of the landowners whose property was essentially stolen by the EPA because the agency had unilaterally declared it contained a wetland.

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After one year in orbit around Mercury, Messenger’s scientists have concluded that Mercury is not only dense but odd.

After one year in orbit around Mercury, Messenger’s scientists have concluded that Mercury is not only dense but odd.

The [proposed gravity] model, when combined with topography data and measurements of the planet’s spin, reveals that as much as 85% of Mercury’s radius is taken up by its dense iron core — an upward revision. “We knew Mercury had a large core,” says [Maria Zuber of MIT]. “Now we think it’s even larger.” What’s more, to compensate for a crust that’s enriched in sulphur and depleted in iron, the team has proposed a solid shell of iron sulphide that sits between the core and the mantle. While the shell satisfies the gravity constraints, it also makes it more difficult for a lot of convection to occur in the thin mantle that overrides it — which presents problems for those that invoke convection as a driver of the observed tectonic and volcanic features at the surface. “There isn’t a whole lot of mantle to be doing this lifting up,” says Zuber.

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