Monthly Archives: April 2020

Car sales continue crash in April

The beatings will continue until morale improves: According to one car industry analysis, the April sales of cars will continue to plummet.

“April auto sales took the biggest hit we’ve seen in decades,” said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds’ executive director of insights. “These bleak figures aren’t just because consumers are holding back on their purchases — fleet sales are seeing an even more dramatic drop as daily rental business has dried up. Like many other industries, the entire automotive sector is struggling as the coronavirus crisis continues to cripple the economy.”

They hope that the end in May of some of the government shut downs imposed because of the Wuhan flu panic will ease the crash, but recognized that with millions out of work, people may no longer have the crash to buy new cars.

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In-person voting in Wisconsin produced no new Wuhan flu cases

Surprise! Surprise! Despite many predictions of disaster by our lordly “experts,” the data now shows no increase in Wuhan flu cases at all in Wisconsin following its decision to allow in-person voting during its primary earlier this month.

There is of course uncertainty in this conclusion, but even the “experts” agree with this conclusion.

But then, we shouldn’t be surprised. The normal gathering of people in a sane normal society does not result in wholesale deaths from these kinds of viruses. If anything, it serves to strengthen the population’s immunity to them.

We are unfortunately living in a time of mass hysteria, where such common sense facts are ignored, and panic and fear rule the day.

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Starlink satellites, not aliens, are those strings of lights in the night sky

Apparently many people have been seeing the reflected strings of SpaceX’s new Starlink satellites in the night sky, and are calling news organizations asking about them.

Some viewers have noticed the “lights” in the sky will go dark, one by one. This is due to the reflection of light from the moon and Earth and how the position of the satellites change.

Elon Musk, the founder and CEO of SpaceX, detailed a plan this week to “mitigate the impact of their Starlink satellite constellation on night sky observation,” according to an article on Tech Crunch.

In that Tech Crunch article, Musk describes how they are installing sun visors on the satellites to prevent the reflections and make them hopefully invisible to the Earthbound observers.

This will make the astronomy crowd happy, which wants its new big ground-based telescopes to be useful. I think they should instead be focusing their effort in building more space-based telescopes.

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New documents prove FBI targeted Flynn and framed him

Newly released documents now prove that FBI management targeted and framed the Trump administration’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn as part of their effort to overthrow Trump and the 2016 election.

The documents show two things. First, after doing its initial investigation and finding no evidence of wrong-doing at all, the FBI closed the case against Flynn. Fired FBI agent Peter Strzok then insisted on reopening it. Second, other newly released documents show that the goal of this reopened investigation was “to get him to lie so we can prosecute him or get him fired.”

They then set up interviews with Flynn, and when they didn’t quite get what they wanted, Strzok rewrote the interview reports to his own personal satisfaction.

I expect Flynn’s case to be thrown out this week, exonerating him completely. This also lends weight to the other rumors last week that the investigations of this FBI and Justice misconduct against Trump will result in actual indictments in the coming days.

If so, I sing “Hallelujah!” At last some of these corrupt individuals will face the consequences of their abuse of power. It can’t happen too soon.

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The Sun fluctuates far less than other similar stars

A new survey of 369 sun-like stars has confirmed what earlier studies have shown, that the Sun is remarkable inactive compared with similar stars.

A comprehensive catalogue containing the rotation periods of thousands of stars has been available only for the last few years. It is based on measurement data from NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope, which recorded the brightness fluctuations of approximately 150000 main sequence stars (i.e. those that are in the middle of their lifetimes) from 2009 to 2013. The researchers scoured this huge sample and selected those stars that rotate once around their own axis within 20 to 30 days. The Sun needs about 24.5 days for this. The researchers were able to further narrow down this sample by using data from the European Gaia Space Telescope. In the end, 369 stars remained, which also resemble the Sun in other fundamental properties.

The exact analysis of the brightness variations of these stars from 2009 to 2013 reveals a clear picture. While between active and inactive phases solar irradiance fluctuated on average by just 0.07 percent, the other stars showed much larger variation. Their fluctuations were typically about five times as strong. “We were very surprised that most of the Sun-like stars are so much more active than the Sun,” says Dr. Alexander Shapiro of MPS.

It is possible that this inactivity might be because the Sun just happens to be going through a quiet phase, but that is becoming increasingly less likely as the surveys find more and more sun-like stars, and none as inactive as the Sun.

If the Sun is this unusual, we must ask if this inactivity is a fundamental requirement for life to form. Active stars provide a more inhospitable environment. If inactive stars like the Sun are very rare, however, that suggests that life itself in the universe could be very rare as well.

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NASA contract award for manned lunar landers rejects SLS

Capitalism in space: NASA today announced the award of contracts to three different private companies to develop manned lunar landers for the 2024 Artemis Moon mission, all of which will not use the SLS rocket to get to the Moon.

The press release described the awards as follows:

  • Blue Origin of Kent, Washington, is developing the Integrated Lander Vehicle (ILV) – a three-stage lander to be launched on its own New Glenn Rocket System and ULA Vulcan launch system.
  • Dynetics (a Leidos company) of Huntsville, Alabama, is developing the Dynetics Human Landing System (DHLS) – a single structure providing the ascent and descent capabilities that will launch on the ULA Vulcan launch system.
  • SpaceX of Hawthorne, California, is developing the Starship – a fully integrated lander that will use the SpaceX Super Heavy rocket.

All, including NASA and the Trump administration, are aiming to get these landers built and launched by the Trump administration’s 2024 deadline.

The first thing that stands out like a beacon is the exclusion of SLS as the rocket to launch any of these landers. Instead, the aim is to use the cheaper privately built rockets of either SpaceX, ULA, or Blue Origin.

The second thing that stands out is the commitment by SpaceX to use its Super Heavy/Starship rocket, not its Falcon Heavy. This means they are directly telling the world that they expect this rocket to be in operation much sooner than most expect. It also suggests that they hope this rocket will supplant SLS as the main rocket to get to the Moon. The award also means that NASA is agreeable to this.

The third thing that stands out is the exclusion of Boeing, which submitted a bid but did not win. Not only does this exclusion reinforce the sense gotten from an earlier report that NASA was very dissatisfied with Boeing and was thus going to rank it very low in future bidding considerations, it also indicates once again that NASA is seriously looking at other options to SLS. Boeing’s rejected bid was apparently the only one linked to SLS, and was rejected.

In fact, that SLS was not mentioned as the rocket for any of these landers strongly indicates that NASA and the Trump administration is finally abandoning SLS as the rocket to get Americans to the Moon.

Which immediately raises the question: Why the hell are we spending any money building it? It no longer has any purpose at all.

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Yutu-2 and Chang’e-4 complete 17th lunar day on Moon

According to China’s state-run propaganda news agency, Yutu-2 and Chang’e-4 have successfully completed their 17th lunar day on the far side of the Moon, and have been put into sleep mode for the coming long lunar night.

Yutu-2 apparently traveled another 23 meters (about 75 feet) to the northwest.

Other than that single tidbit, the news report is nothing more than garbage Chinese propaganda, some of which is merely cut and pasted from earlier reports.

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New technical problems for SLS?

A new GAO report [pdf] issued yesterday has revealed that SLS engineers are concerned that the rocket’s core stage will develop leaks during its first full test, hopefully scheduled for this year.

[T]he new “Assessments of Major NASA Projects” report released on Wednesday contains what seems to be an entirely new bit of information about the Space Launch System rocket NASA is developing for deep space exploration. The report asserts that engineers at NASA and the SLS rocket’s core-stage contractor, Boeing, are concerned about fuel leaks.

Earlier this year, NASA moved the big rocket’s core stage to a test site at Stennis Space Center in southern Mississippi. Before the COVID-19 pandemic temporarily halted work, NASA and Boeing teams were working toward a critical summer exercise. During this “green run” test, the clamped-down rocket will ignite its engines and burn for about eight minutes to simulate an ascent into orbit.

“Program officials indicated that one of the top remaining technical risks to the green run test is that the core stage may develop leaks when it is filled with fuel,” the report states on page 82. “According to these officials, they have conducted extensive scaled testing of the gaskets and seals used in the core stage; however, it is difficult to precisely predict how this large volume of liquid hydrogen will affect the stage.”

My god, for them to think that the core stage might leak when it is filled with fuel for the first time illustrates the entire bankrupt nature of this entire project. This is why you do tank tests early in the process (as SpaceX has been doing with Starship), so that you don’t get surprised late in the game.

The report also notes further issues with the Orion capsule.

The Orion program plans to reduce the 7-month-long pre-launch processing period by 1.5 months. The program plans to use a mass simulator—instead of the Orion spacecraft—to conduct some prelaunch tests that would otherwise be done after integrating Orion with SLS—providing the program with extra time to complete work before delivering Orion for integration and further testing according to officials. With this shortened process, the program has only 1 week of schedule reserve remaining to the November 2020 launch date, and program officials have said this date will likely be delayed

I must remind everyone that Lockheed Martin got the contract to build Orion in 2005. They have had fifteen years to build this one capsule, and will still deliver it late.

Personally, I hope SLS leaks. If it does, it will force a very long new delay to the program, and very well might finally force Congress and the Trump administration to face reality and cancel it.

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Air Force study rubber-stamps Air Force desire to limit launch companies

Garbage in, garbage out: An Air Force commissioned RAND study released yesterday has confirmed the Air Force’s desire to restrict the award of launch contracts for the next decade to only two companies.

“We asked RAND to independently double check the assumptions we used to build our acquisition strategy,” said Col. Robert Bongiovi of the Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center in California. “What we found was that our acquisition strategy encompasses RAND’s recommendations as we are already making prudent preparations for a market that will only sustain two providers with our phase two contract structure.”

…Part of the RAND report also recommended that the military closely watch companies over the coming years to see which are the most stable. “The U.S. Space Force should make prudent preparations for a future with only two U.S. providers of NSS-certified heavy lift launch, at least one of which may have little support from the commercial marketplace,” RAND Corporation said of its first main recommendation.

Though the report does suggest that the military continue its development program to help three companies through 2023, it reiterates the military’s belief that there simply isn’t enough business to support more than two companies.

For this reason, the Air Force space division, now the Space Force, had wanted to restrict bidding in the 2020s on its future satellite launches to only two companies out of the four (ULA, SpaceX, Northrop Grumman, Blue Origin) that hope to compete for this business. This report is their attempt to justify that decision.

However, the decision has been repeatedly delayed, partly because of a protest of the plan by Blue Origin and partly because a lot of political pressure in the background from those four companies, none of which want to be excluded from future bidding. It was originally going to be made last year, and is now delayed to later this year.

With the release of the report, the military also suggested that if Congress gives it more money, it might be able to open up bidding to more companies. How typical. Instead of trying to trim costs by allowing competition, the Space Force is now maneuvering elected officials to pump up its budget so that these companies all get more cash while picking the pockets of the taxpayer.

This is the same thinking that caused Boeing and Lockheed Martin to merge their launch operations into ULA and for the Air Force to give that new company a monopoly on launches in 2005. The Air Force assumed then that there wasn’t enough launch business for both companies. Rather than compete to lower costs so that both the Air Force and the private sector could afford more launches, the two companies agreed with this Air Force conclusion and teamed up with the Air Force to form a cartel to control the bulk of the U.S. launch market, while charging the Air Force $200-$500 million per launch.

Then SpaceX comes along and proves them completely wrong. It not only gets more than enough business to make a lot of money (in the billions), it charges only $60 million per launch. When the Air Force tried to deny it the right to bid against ULA for military launches, SpaceX sued, and won.

Now the Space Force wants to do the same thing in the 2020s, limiting to two the number of companies that can bid on contracts. All this will do is raise launch costs, and limit competition.

In the end, I doubt seriously if the Space Force effort here will work. All four companies are developing rockets, and all four should have the right to bid on all future launches. If the military tries to exclude any, they will sue, as SpaceX did, and win. Moreover, the military’s assumption that all four companies cannot survive because it doesn’t have enough business for all four is patently false. SpaceX proved them wrong. All these companies have to do is what SpaceX did, keep their launch costs low enough so that other private customers can buy their services.

There will then be more than enough business to go around, for all.

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Small rocket start-ups disqualified by SBA for Wuhan flu relief loans

Capitalism in space: Because of its arcane rules for defining what makes a small company, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has disqualified hundreds of small rocket start-ups from relief loans being issued to help companies whose business has been suspended due to the government-imposed shut downs due to Wuhan flu.

[Space industry groups] claim that hundreds of U.S. startups have been disqualified from loan programs — created under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the Paycheck Protection Program — because of the way the SBA defines “small business.”

Many startups are funded by venture capital firms that typically invest in a portfolio of companies. To be eligible for the SBA loan program a business has to have fewer than 500 employees. When defining a small business, the SBA applies an “affiliation rule,” requiring companies to include in their worker count all the employees of companies with which they are “affiliated.” That rule requires venture-backed startups to aggregate the employees of all the unrelated companies in which their investors have equity positions, pushing many beyond the 500-employee threshold.

According to the industry groups, 98 percent of U.S. startups have fewer than 100 employees.

In other words, the SBA counts the employees of the venture capital firms as part of the company, when all they are essentially are investors. The start-up itself generally has far less than 100 people employed.

What really has to happen is to shut down the government shut downs. The government has got to get out of the way, and allow freedom to function again. Sadly, I do not see that ever happening, which means that many of these companies will fail, not because they couldn’t get it done but because our fascist new government rulers killed them.

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Rocket Lab completes new launchpad at Wallops

Capitalism in space: Rocket Lab has signaled the completion of new launchpad at Wallops Island in the U.S. by the first roll out of an Electron rocket.

The actual launch of a Space Force test satellite is set for sometime in the summer.

Meanwhile, the company is ready to resume launches in New Zealand, but is stymied by the Wuhan panic.

Beck tells the Herald that his company’s Mission Control centre in Auckland is now fully operational with NZ’s move to level 3.

However, its “Don’t Stop Me Now” mission from Launch Complex 1 on the Mahia Peninsula – originally planned for March 24 – is still on hold, with no estimated launch date. “We’re now ready to launch, but currently border restrictions are preventing specialists from entering the country, which is having a negative impact. Our team is on standby to launch as soon as those restrictions are eased,” Beck says.

I hope the company has the resources to weather these government-imposed delays.

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Arianespace to resume launches in June

Capitalism in space: Arianespace now plans to resume launches from French Guiana in mid-June with the first Vega launch since that rocket’s first failure in July 2019.

That launch will place 40+ cubesats in orbit. Arianespace hopes to follow with an Ariane 5 launch near the end of July. Of that mission’s three payloads is MEV-2, Northrop Grumman’s second Mission Extension Vehicle to launch, planned to dock with another defunct geosynchronous communications satellite and reactive it for five years.

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Ducey extends Arizona shut down two weeks

Fascist: Republican Arizona governor Doug Ducey today announced a two week extension of his so-called “shelter-in-place” order, what is really a house arrest for the general population and a shut down of business that is putting one quarter of the population out of work.

Ducey’s new edicts call for some businesses to begin opening sooner, but with many restrictions. Restaurants however will be locked down until May 12. The edict also said that “no county, city, or town may issue orders, rules, or regulations that conflict with the executive order.”

I wonder if there might be some pushback from local authorities in some areas, as has been seen in other states, especially because of this minor detail:

One in four small businesses in Phoenix could be gone for good, according to the city’s economic director. It could take six years to recover all the jobs that have been lost. “Seeing that 20% to 25% of our small businesses won’t be here when this is over is terrifying for me,” said Christine Mackay, Director of Community and Economic Development for the City of Phoenix.

What does Ducey care if one in four people are out of work? He made himself look good, and now can preen himself as a hero.

To me, he looks like a jackbooted thug. May he roast in hell.

And I dare him to send some police storm troopers to my house to arrest me for saying so.

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Fascist America: Brought to you by our elected officials

This week brought another slew of arrests against ordinary Americans, some for daring to protest the house arrest orders imposed nationwide by most state and city elected officials, some for simply going about their lives, their “pursuit of happiness.”

These are just a sampling. If you have been paying any attention at all, you will have seen many many other similar stories.

Meanwhile, these same fascist thugs have been releasing convicted criminals onto the streets, including high risk sex offenders.

This pattern is not new during this madness. The ruling Democratic politicians in both New York and California have made it very clear that they consider freeing such criminals as their goal, even as they ramp up their efforts to arrest innocent citizens for the most innocuous behavior.

Where will this end? Never I fear. The original lie that justified the shut downs was an effort to ease the country into the epidemic so that the healthcare system would not be overwhelmed. This was a lie because the virus was never going to overwhelm the healthcare system, and the evidence since has not only proven this, it has shown that the shut downs actually did significant harm to that healthcare system.

Even so, the shut downs didn’t end when that it was clear the healthcare system could handle the virus. Instead, a new lie was propagated, calling the shut downs an effort to stop the spread of the virus.

This lie is more blatant and disgusting. Not only is it impossible to stop the spread of this virus, the lock downs will have no effect at all. Eventually, the virus will spread through the entire population, with most never even knowing they got it.

This however is a feature, not a bug to the fascist government officials imposing martial law on Americans while nullifying the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Because the infection can never be stopped, the justification for the lock downs, the house arrests, the arrests of protesters, the imposition of martial law, will never end. Whoopee!

Unless Americans begin defying these orders, we are faced with a fascist state. And I see no sign that most Americans are really willing to defy these orders. If anything, they support them.

Welcome to fascist America. The dark age is no longer coming. It has arrived.

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Perseverance’s helicopter named Ingenuity

After sifting through the 28,000 name suggestions submitted by K through 12 American students for naming the Mars rover Perseverance, NASA has chosen to use a suggestion from an Alabama high school student to name the rover’s prototype test helicopter Ingenuity.

As a technology demonstration, Ingenuity is a high-risk, high-reward experiment. The helicopter will ride to Mars attached to the belly of the Perseverance rover, which is preparing for launch in July or August. For several months following the rover’s landing, Ingenuity will remain encapsulated in a protective cover to shield it from debris during entry, descent and landing. When the timing in the rover mission is right, Ingenuity will be deployed to stand and operate on its own on the surface of the Red Planet. If the 4-pound (2-kilogram), solar-powered craft – a combination of specially designed components and off-the-shelf parts – survives the cold Martian nights during its pre-flight checkout, the team will proceed with testing.

If successful during its 30-Martian-day (31-Earth-day) experimental flight test window, the small craft will prove that powered flight can be achieved at Mars, enabling future Mars missions to better utilize second-generation helicopters to add an aerial dimension to their explorations.

The student, Vaneeza Rupani, had proposed the name for the rover. She instead is honored for the helicopter.

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US 1st quarter GDP crashes

Are you enraged yet? Due to the government-imposed shutdowns due to the Wuhan panic, the gross domestic product (GDP) shrank 4.8% in the first quarter of 2020, the most since 2008.

Consumer expenditures, which comprise 67% of total GDP, plunged 7.6% in the quarter as all nonessential stores were closed and the cornerstone of the U.S. economy was taken almost completely out of commission. Durable goods spending tumbled 16.1% while expenditures on services were down 10.2%.

Exports dropped 8.7% while imports fell 15.3%, including a 30% drop in services.

The count of all goods and services produced in the U.S. shows that even though the first quarter saw only two weeks of shutdown, the impact was pronounced and set the stage for a second-quarter picture will be the worst in the post-World War II era.

As the article notes, we ain’t seen nothing yet. And it will only get even worse should our all-wise supreme leaders continue to stretch out this shut down, initially imposed under the big lie that it was merely intended to “flatten the curve” during the epidemic’s onset so that the healthcare system would not be overwhelmed.

It was not overwhelmed. In fact, it never would have been overwhelmed. As I said, it was a big lie.

Now the big lie is that these fascist government lock downs must be maintained in order to prevent the spread of the disease, a goal that is infinitely impossible but if accepted by the public will allow these petty dictators to keep their jackboots on our necks for the rest of time.

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ICE & FBI agents took bribes

Agents of both ICE and the FBI took bribes to provide protection as well as cook the records for an indicted Los Angeles lawyer.

We only know this because conviction of the lawyer says so. The FBI agent is named and has been charged. The ICE agent however remains a mystery, for unknown reasons.

But don’t worry. The government is wise and all-knowing. The best thing we can do during this Wuhan panic is give them a lot of power!

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Long March 5B moved to launchpad

The new colonial movement: China’s first Long March 5B rocket has been rolled to its launchpad in advance of its first launch, now expected around May 5th.

The launch was originally scheduled for mid-April, but it appears two recent Chinese launch failures, plus the Wuhan flu, caused the two-three week delay.

The payload is a test prototype of China’s still unnamed next generation manned capsule, which according to the article, will come in two variants:

The spacecraft has two variants of around 14 and 20 metric tons respectively. The mission will test the latter, which is designed for deep space. The mission will be uncrewed and will not include life support systems.

The spacecraft will be able to carry up to six astronauts, or three astronauts and 500 kilograms of cargo to LEO. The three-module Shenzhou can carry three astronauts to LEO and has been used for all six of the country’s crewed missions. The new spacecraft also features improved heat shielding than that used by the Shenzhou. The advanced shielding is required to survive the higher-energy reentries involved deep space missions.

Once in low Earth orbit, the two-module, 8.8-meter-long, 21.6-ton uncrewed spacecraft will use its own propulsion to raise its orbit to an apogee of around 8,000 kilometers. It will then attempt a high-speed reentry to test new heat shielding. The mission also will test avionics, performance in orbit, parachute deployment, a cushioned airbag landing, and recovery. Planned partial reusability — by replacing the heat shielding — will also be tested.

China’s entire manned and planetary program depends on the success of this launch. Should it fail, as did the early launches of the Long March 5, the program will likely experience a one to two year delay.

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Freedom rallies planned nationwide for May 1st

The growing movement to force governors to end their nationwide house arrest of the American citizenry is now coalescing into a swelling number of freedom rallies set for May 1st:

The “drive-in” rallies for freedom encourage participants to head to their state capitol or local government building to protest the nationwide lockdowns and demand independence from China, not allowing the country to “control trade, supply chains, or anything else that affects the daily life, health, happiness of American citizens.”

A schedule shows events slated to pop up in Honolulu, Hawaii; Phoenix, Arizona; Northampton, Massachusetts; Los Angeles, California; Huntington Beach, California; San Diego, California; San Francisco, California; Ventura, California; Louisville, Kentucky; Salem, Oregon; Chicago, Illinois; Springfield, Illinois; Atlanta, Georgia; Morehead City, North Carolina; Smithfield, North Carolina; Brookfield, Wisconsin; Carson City, Nevada; Boise, Idaho; and Limerick, Pennsylvania.

“It shouldn’t need to be said that the US Constitution will not be infringed upon, but it is under attack by local and state government tyrants across the country,” the event’s page reads:

This slate of protests is a warning. Right now the demonstrators are trying to be peaceful and law-abiding, but if the Constitution-nullifying restrictions are not removed soon, we should not be surprised if things turn violent. Americans were raised with the expectation that they will be free to follow their pursuit of happiness, and these fascist shut down orders by state governors are preventing that pursuit.

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Hubble photographs break-up of Comet ATLAS

The break-up of Comet ATLAS
For the full images go to April 20 and April 23.

Cool image time! Scientists using the Hubble Space Telescope have captured the break-up of Comet ATLAS over a period of several days. The two images to the right, cropped and annotated to post here, were taken on April 20th and April 23rd respectively.

Hubble identified about 30 fragments on April 20, and 25 pieces on April 23. They are all enveloped in a sunlight-swept tail of cometary dust. “Their appearance changes substantially between the two days, so much so that it’s quite difficult to connect the dots,” said David Jewitt, professor of planetary science and astronomy at UCLA, Los Angeles, California, leader of one of two teams who photographed the doomed comet with Hubble. “I don’t know whether this is because the individual pieces are flashing on and off as they reflect sunlight, acting like twinkling lights on a Christmas tree, or because different fragments appear on different days.”

That there are fewer pieces in the later image could also be because the smaller fragments had crumbled even more during the three days between photos, and thus were simply too small to see any longer.

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Global warming crowd demands censorship of documentary by Michael Moore

They’re coming for you next: The global warming activist crowd is now demanding that a documentary about the green movement by leftist Michael Moore be censored, removed from any venue so that no one can see it.

The film, Planet of the Humans, was released on the eve of Earth Day last week by its producer, Michael Moore, the baseball cap-wearing documentarian known for Fahrenheit 9/11 and Bowling for Columbine. Describing itself as a “full-frontal assault on our sacred cows”, the film argues that electric cars and solar energy are unreliable and rely upon fossil fuels to function. It also attacks figures including Al Gore for bolstering corporations that push flawed technologies over real solutions to the climate crisis.

Planet of the Humans has provoked a furious reaction from scientists and campaigners, however, who have called for it be taken down. One distributor, Films for Action, temporarily took down the film after describing it as “full of misinformation”, though they later reinstated it, saying they did not want accusations of censorship to give the film “more power and mystique than it deserves.”

I have zero sympathy for Moore himself, as he has called for similar censorship of conservatives and scientists whose opinions or conclusions he doesn’t like. However, this effort to censor him, a star in the leftist firmament, illustrates well the totalitarian nature of the left and the global warming crowd. It is the same approach revealed in the climategate emails, where Michael Mann and other global warming scientists teamed up to try to get people fired and careers ruined because those individuals expressed skepticism about human-caused global warming.

The goal of the global-warming crowd has never been to save the planet. Their goal has always been power, and this story proves it once again.

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The most tragic case of governmental, medical, and media malpractice in the history of the world

Link here. The author takes a blunt look at the Wuhan panic, and finds the actions of our leaders to be very wanting, to put it mildly.

I will keep asking this question until the groupthink-thought-police come to arrest me: “When has it ever been sound medical or governmental practice to sacrifice – and destroy – the economic, mental, and physical well-being of the 99 percent to MAYBE protect and save the one percent…or less? When?”

This same doctor I spoke with also stressed to me that the “experts” our nation and the world relied upon to shut it down, could not answer one simple question. That being: Is COVID-19 less or more lethal than the Hong Kong flu pandemic (H3N2) of 1968? A pandemic that mirrored COVID-19 in that it was highly infectious and was primarily lethal to those over 65 with pre-existing conditions. A pandemic that infected millions of Americans and killed approximately 100,000 out of a then population of about 200 million. A pandemic which worldwide, killed upwards of 4 million people.

He then outlines in detail the corruption of the data in the U.S., which appears strongly to be padding the numbers of deaths from the Wuhan flu for political reasons. Or as he says,

How could we possibly account for one-quarter of all the COVID-19 deaths in the entire world?

Easy, if say, you start counting pianos falling out windows and dropping on people as COVID-19 related deaths.

And we have plenty of evidence that this corrupt practice is exactly what government officials are doing.

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Europe turns to private enterprise for future space transportation

Capitalism in space: The European Space Agency (ESA) has announced a permanently open call for private companies to develop “space transportation to space, in space, returning from space, or any combination of these.”

To be eligible, the economic operator should demonstrate that its space transportation service is a ‘complete offering’. This means that customers should not need to procure any additional essential service elements such as access to facilities, transport or logistics, to obtain the full service.

The economic operator should take full responsibility for the service project, including finding the funding and resources necessary to develop and deploy the service.

The new space transportation services should justify commercial viability, oriented toward private sector customers, without relying on a guaranteed European institutional demand during the operational phase and with a long-term vision of service provision. Preference will be given to such service projects that are conceived, developed and commercialised in the Participating States.

Though the announcement is filled with the typical hard-to-translate bureaucratic language typical of ESA’s projects, the intent here seems clear. The ESA no longer wishes to do any designing and developing of its rockets, as they have done from the beginning of the space age. This also means they are facing the reality that the Ariane 6 rocket, developed for them by the joint partnership of Airbus and Safran dubbed ArianeGroup, is going to be a financial failure, unable to compete against the lower cost SpaceX and Russian rockets now on the market.

Instead, they are now following what appears to be NASA’s path — the path I outlined in Capitalism in Space — to have ESA act merely as a customer, buying these services from competing private companies (not just ArianeGroup) who will develop the rockets themselves and (most important) own the rockets themselves.

If this is so, it is very good new for the future of space travel. It ups the competition, and it will allow for the development of European rockets able to provide this service at low cost.

The one wrench in the process is that this announcement also includes a bidding process for allowing these new private companies to get development money and technical assistance from ESA. That process appears to have some strings attached that might in the end prevent competing private companies to grow, independent of this governmental body. For example, the submission process allows “ESA to check compliance with Programme objectives and general eligibility. After a positive assessment, ESA will invite the economic operator to submit a full service proposal.” In other words, if you want ESA’s help, you will have to have ESA’s stamp of approval.

Still, this proposal does not require ESA’s help. The agency does appear to be willing to now entertain the use of any rocket system developed by any private operators within the participating ESA’s member nations of Germany, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

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A Trip Through New York City in 1911

An evening pause: I’ve posted similar early 1900 film footage for Paris and San Francisco. My one reservation about this restoration is the adding of color. They don’t over do it, but adds an element of inaccuracy to the footage.

Hat tip Mike Nelson, noted some of the same things I did with the previous examples.

What strikes me is how well dressed everyone was, how there was no trash on the streets (despite no obvious public trash cans), no graffiti, no road rage despite the complete lack of traffic control, and the air quality looked significantly worse than today. Other than cleaner air I’m not so sure we can call today a big improvement.

I personally am not sure the air quality was worse either. Watch, and get a sense of what America was once like.

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Confirmed: Almost 15% of NY population infected with COVID-19

Further random testing in New York state has now confirmed that 14.9% of the population has been infected with the Wuhan flu without exhibiting any symptoms.

Cuomo said 14.9% of those tested statewide tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies, which is up from the initial 13.9% statewide when a previous sample of 3,000 people was done on April 22. Cuomo said the 1% increase is statistically in the margin of error.

While the bulk of infections is in the densely populated NYC area, the data is more evidence that the Wuhan virus’s mortality rate is much lower than previously estimated, and is actually much closer to that of the flu.

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Arizona Governor Ducey to delay end of lockdown?

According to this article, Republican governor Doug Ducey is delaying any action relating to ending his “shelter-in-place” order that is bankrupting one quarter of Arizona’s industries and putting that many people out of work.

The reason? He apparently has a financial interest in keeping the emergency going for as long as possible.

Insiders tell NATIONAL FILE that Ducey might not be a trustworthy leader in the cause of re-opening the state economy. Ducey is delaying setting a firm date on re-opening the state, citing safety concerns while testing is underway. Ducey presides over legislature-approved state emergency spending and also a portion of his state’s $1.5 billion from the federal government.

Ducey also…

…sits on the Board of Governors for an institute that is accepting state health department funding to conduct Coronavirus testing in the state of Arizona. That institute happens to be an affiliate of a nonprofit that is working to develop a Coronavirus vaccine that is not expected to begin clinical trials until late 2020.

In other words, as long as the emergency lockdown is maintained, Ducey is in a position to funnel money to this institute that he also is on the Board of Governors.

This is unconscionable, especially because the shut down is bankrupting private businesses across the state. Worse, it is par for the course.

When I called the local Republican office here in Tucson, they told me that Ducey is working closely with Senator Martha McSally (R-Arizona), which might also explain his position. One of the reasons McSally lost to Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema in 2018 is because the two are both pretty liberal. For conservatives there really wasn’t any point in voting for McSally, so many stayed home. This is also why she is presently trailing in polls to Mark Kelly, her Democratic opponent for the 2020 election. McSally doesn’t offer an alternative to the big government, Washington swamp politics that now dominate. She is part of it, as is Kelly and Sinema.

As apparently is Ducey as well. I have made several calls to his office, expressing my outrage over the shut down, all to no avail. They say they will call back, but never do.

And our political class wonders why they got Trump. This is why, and if they don’t change their behavior we will get more, and it will be far worse than Trump ever was.

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