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  • PeterF

    Basically its the same old story, of the people who allocate the funds not being responsible for their economical use. Capitalism with all its perceived flaws is once again proven to be the best system for doing just about anything.

  • Cotour

    So far the nature of all Bureaucracy is to eventually become an inverted pyramid which creates an obligation to support it. The question that interests me is: Does Americas level of technology (access to information, internet, robotics, 3d printing, DNA manipulation etc. the list is long and at the beginning stages) and its status as the worlds reserve fiat currency, change in some ways my first statement?

    Is gold still relevant monetarily given that the majority of the world deals in the dollar and we are the best of the worst?

    Are these things truly paradigm / rule changing things related to the basic rules of existence? Is there a stepping off point where human activities actually change reality to that extent?

  • Cotour

    Can one of you NASA nerds please explain what I am looking at here please?


  • I don’t know what it is, but I can tell you that it isn’t something alien or weird, as suggested by this very poorly written article that clearly shows a significant level of ignorance about ISS, Soyuz craft, and the docking ports.

    The object appears to be attached to the front section of the Russian spacecraft. The article says it is a Soyuz, but I am not sure of that. To my eye it looks more like a Progress freighter. My guess is that it is an engineering experiment deployed by the Russians from the Progress freighter that just arrived at ISS. Depending on who is paying for it, there might be commercial proprietary reasons why they have said nothing about it and want the video feeds limited.

    I seriously doubt it is military in nature. The Russians would not send a military test up to a civilian station like ISS, especially because there are non-Russians aboard whom they cannot control.

  • Pzatchok

    Could it be an odd angle on the Olympic torch when it was up there?

    Could be strange perspective thing going on.

  • Cotour

    It looks more organically oriented in design and it appears to be connected (if it is connected) at something other than 90 degrees, which is how something would traditionally connect.

    And why was the free video stopped if it was not a secret military item which would not be seen in this kind of situation?

    You have to admit its a head scratcher, what is NASA’s official explanation of the event?

  • Cotour

    It appears to be aprox. 35 feet L X about 9 feet W, not small for something having to be put into space (depending on its weight and materials its constructed of). I can not find an official NASA comment on it, does anyone know where to find one?

  • Kelly Starks

    Looks like a slightly twisted solar or radiator panel off one of the Soyuz segments. Can’t see it clearly though.

  • Kelly Starks

    As to why ESA doesn’t make a profit with Ariane…isn’t it like asking why Shuttle never made a profit? I.E. their not supposed to.

  • Cotour

    What is the little round bubble thing on top?

  • Ah, but Arianespace was supposed to make a profit. It has always been touted in public as an effort to be the commercial part of ESA.

  • wodun

    “Is gold still relevant monetarily ”

    Gold is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. In a scenario of economic catastrophe and the collapse of the dollar, would anyone accept gold in payment for a good or service? Maybe but if we are thrown back into a barter system, gold may have little value.

  • Edward

    “The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy” — possible source: Oscar Wilde.

    Human nature is independent of technology, so a bureaucracy comprised of people (is there any other kind?) is going to behave as a bureaucracy behaves.

    As for the gold question, Wodun is right. The dollar is only worth what someone is willing to give for it, so is gold, and so is a can of peas, in a barter system.

    After reading Niall Ferguson’s “The Ascent of Money” I have decided to think of money as IOUs that are passed around (I hope he would not be appalled at my conclusion), as in: “someone else will gladly give you a dollar’s worth of something, later, for your dollar’s worth of canned peas, today.” Later, inflation (or lack of confidence in the currency/IOU) may make that dollar worth less than that can of peas.

    Meanwhile, gold does not have a steady price in any (non-gold-backed) currency. It, too, suffers from supply and demand economics.

  • Cotour

    My point is that the situation that America finds itself in today has never happened before in history. It is no mistake that of all of the currency’s on the planet only the American dollar has the confidence of the majority of the world. Do you have any confidence in China? No. Russia? No. Any other combinations of country’s? No, none are trusted and none are big enough. And there may well be able to be a crash of markets and still it will be the dollar that will be held on to and traded. (What am I talking about, of course there will be a crash. And still it will be the dollar)

    My concern was that if the dollar became worthless or displaced by another currency, what would I accept for payment? ( at the point I guess it really does not matter anyway) We may have arrived at a point at which gold is no longer relevant to the degree that it used to be. I see nothing to take the dollars place as long as the world has confidence in America. Confidence defines a fiat currency. No confidence, no currency, especially when there is no other alternative. I do not believe that this has happened by accident. Is America the New World Order?

    (Courts, judicial system, corporate law, patent & copyright, banking, “fair ” regulations & size = Confidence)

    The entire world is interconnected through capitalism and trade and dependent on each other like no other time in history, combine that with an unwillingness to go to war, technology and the one cohesive economy that is big enough, and I am beginning to believe that this is a very unusual point in earths history and America is at it core. Thank you Mr. Jefferson and company.

    Think about it.

  • Edward

    It looks like some lens effect, to me. In the early part of the video, there is a “ghost” of similar color and shape — but larger in size — that appears behind the Progress when the camera is not saturated by light. This “ghost” is less visible when there is cloud cover behind it. The curvature of both effects make it seem like an effect of the lens.

  • Pzatchok

    I have heard that at one time many years ago. The early 1700’s. That an once of gold was worth about one good mens suit. Not a great one but a pretty good one.

    It seems to still be worth about that today.

  • Cotour

    What you all are considering is appropriate, but have you considered the unique place that America holds in the world a this point in time. My theory is that it may be so special that we have embarked on a new paradigm in regards to money. The old rules may not all apply, and of course that also means that the people of the world are obligated to accept the varying lies that we tell, both large and small.

    Is size and the only economy that fosters confidence the new gold?

  • Kelly Starks

    Yeah and shuttle was going to be the launch provider for the free world shoving out all other launchers …. but talk is cheap, and they didn’t do the work.

    At least shuttles margin (per flight) costs were very low.

  • Kelly Starks

    Yeah more then a few folks have noted that through time a ounce of gold always is about right for a good suit.

  • Kelly Starks

    Gold is still relevant. Its a place you can park your money and get through wild swings of monetary values.

    As to what would happen if the $ stopped becoming the international currency standard? It would trash our economy with rapid hyper inflation (that really we’ve been loading the economy for, for several years now (a Obama admin economic person was explaining that they thought they could use this to trigger a recovery and stop it before the hyper inflation takes off.)

    Internationally – no one really trusts anyone else’s currency better – so if another currency became the standard, increased international instability in monetary exchange rates.

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