Tag Archives: policy

First manned Artemis Moon mission might not go to south pole

In order to meet the Trump administration’s 2024 deadline for the first Artemis manned lunar landing, NASA is now considering sending that first mission to an equatorial target, rather than the Moon’s south pole.

The Artemis program landing site issue came up at two separate events with agency leaders this week, beginning with NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine’s comments to open a digital meeting held by a NASA advisory group called the Lunar Exploration Analysis Group, on Monday (Sept. 14).

“For the first mission, Artemis 3, our objective is to get to the south pole,” Bridenstine said. “But … it would not surprise me if, for example, if we made a determination that the south pole might be out of reach for Artemis 3, which I’m not saying it is or isn’t,” interest in the Apollo sites may win out.

The engineering to get to the polar regions is more challenging, so rather than delay that first mission they are considering simplifying it instead.

The fact remains that Congress has still not funded any Artemis missions beyond the first unmanned and first manned flights, neither of which will land on the Moon. Whether that money will ever be forthcoming really depends entirely on the November election, as well as the success or failure of the upcoming full-up static fire engine test of the SLS first stage.

Mt Wilson Observatory survives wildfire

Firefighters in the past few days managed to stop the wildfire that had come within 500 feet of the historic Wilson Observatory, saving it from destruction.

There were some tense moments on the afternoon of Tuesday, September 15th, as the Bobcat Fire approached within 500 feet of the observatory complex. The battle was on after a 500–1,000 acre spot fire jumped Highway 2 in the Angeles National Forest. Fire crews rallied, cutting fire lines while aircraft flew fire suppression sorties overhead to defend the observatory. By Tuesday night, the worst had passed, though officials stressed that the effort was far from over.

The article also notes the tragic destruction of an amateur telescope observatory in another California wildfire. It will take $30,000 to local club to rebuild.

SpaceX raises Falcon Heavy launch price for U.S. military

Capitalism in space: It now appears that SpaceX has significantly raised the price it is charging the U.S. military for its Falcon Heavy rocket

In winning the military’s new long term launch contracts, awarded to both SpaceX and ULA through 2026, SpaceX apparently doubled the Falcon Heavy price.

In 2018 he said the rocket would cost no more than $150 million to loft heavy payloads into orbit. But the award SpaceX received for a single mission in the first year of Phase Two was $316 million. That’s quite an increase.

The article is clearly one of those industry hit pieces against SpaceX. At the same time, I completely accept what it has found to be true. SpaceX no longer needs to undercut ULA by gigantic amounts to gain military contracts. Moreover, since the military decided to restrict bidding for all launches for the next five years to just these two companies, SpaceX has no reason to offer the same low prices it has in the past. All it needs to do is undercut ULA’s high prices by a little, and get the deal.

In a sense, it isn’t SpaceX’s fault the military will now have to pay so much. Blame our vaunted military bureaucracy, which choose to limit the competition to just two companies for the next five years. They are getting what they wanted, even if it ends up screwing the taxpayer.

Due to Wuhan panic, India might launch no rockets in 2020

The new colonial movement: Due to Wuhan panic, it is now possible that India’s space agency ISRO will launch no rockets in 2020, delaying all until 2021.

ISRO’s launch calendar has been heavily impacted by the pandemic, and there has been no launch from its spaceport, Sriharikota, this year. In fact, the only ISRO launch this year was G-SAT 30, but it was carried by a French rocket, Ariane, which took off from French Guiana on January 17. Although officials confirm that there may be around three to four launches before the year is over, they admit that the deadlines of several launches planned for the latter half of this year may slip into the next calendar year. This could have a cascading effect on the next year’s plans, too.

The article outlines in detail the status of many of India’s space projects, all of which seem stymied by the lock down restrictions that have been imposed. It also notes how other countries, such as China and the U.S., have not allowed the epidemic to shut them down as drastically.

India had hoped to complete a record twelve launches in 2020.

NASA reorganizes its manned space bureaucracy

Gotta rearrange those deck chairs! NASA has finally completed a long-planned reorganization of its manned space bureaucracy, first begun several years ago.

At a Sept. 16 Washington Space Business Roundtable webinar, Kathy Lueders, who took over as NASA associate administrator for human exploration and operations three months ago, said that NASA Associate Administrator Steve Jurczyk formally approved a reorganization of her mission directorate the previous day. “It addressed some of the concerns that folks have had and is really getting us set up for our future missions going forward,” she said of the reorganization.

Those concerns include findings from a review called a Program Status Assessment carried out earlier this year. That review cited issues with system engineering oversight for the Artemis program and a lack of a formal Artemis program organization. “We are also using these adjustments to solidify and better define division roles,” the agency said in a statement to SpaceNews.

NASA does this Potemkin-type reorganization about once every decade or so, with little major effect other than to allow the upper management preen itself as it makes believe it has accomplished something. This particular rearrangement however might be a bit more beneficial that past ones, in that it appears aimed at aligning the agency’s bureaucracy with its new status of being a customer of the private sector, rather than its boss and overseer.

Practically no COVID-19 illnesses among professional athletes

In another example of data that shows the coronavirus is essentially harmless to the young and healthy, there have been practically no deaths or even serious illnesses among professional athletes, even though these athletes have been aggressively tested for COVID-19, resulting in a lot of positive tests.

Despite hundreds of thousands of tests, vanishingly few serious cases have been reported among professional athletes. Most players testing positive had apparently few or no symptoms.

…What’s clear from the statistics that are made available, though, is that the infection rate for those athletes involved in return to play is vanishingly small, and that they may have been more protected by resuming work with their teams, especially as societies gradually reopened. The Premier League, for instance, ran some 20,500 tests in its 14 rounds between the middle of May and mid-July. According to the league’s own website, only 20 players tested positive, a rate of just 0.1 percent, or about one in 1,000 tests—lower than most estimates for the virus’s spread throughout the general population.

In the rare cases where more detailed reporting is available, it’s notable that even among the small number of positive cases, few players developed symptoms. Though news of the first ten German players to test positive prompted speculation that the league would call off the restart, none of those ten displayed symptoms. Shortly before the European women’s Champions League was to resume in mid-August, officials announced five positive tests among players at Spain’s Athletico Madrid, but subsequent reporting showed that all five were asymptomatic. When 16 NBA players tested positive in late June heading to the league’s “bubble” in Orlando, league commissioner Adam Silver noted all were either asymptomatic or displayed mild symptoms.

We have become insanely afraid of a relatively normal respiratory virus, that poses no threat to the general population at all, and requires no extreme measures. If anything, the best thing we could do is go about our lives normally, allowing the virus’s harmless spread through that general population to eventually kill it off.

This common sense approach, which the human race has followed throughout history, is no longer acceptable. Instead, we must do stupid things, such as this: Soccer team loses 37-0 in socially distanced match:

A German football team lost 37-0 to their local rivals after fielding only seven players who socially distanced throughout the match. Ripdorf fielded the minimum number of players on Sunday because their opponents SV Holdenstedt II came into contact in a previous game with someone who tested positive for Covid-19. Their team tested negative but Ripdorf said the conditions were not safe. If Ripdorf had not played, they would have faced a €200 (£182) fine.

During the game Ripdorf players were ordered to never get closer than six feet to anyone. Holdenstedt took full advantage, scoring every time they got the ball. As the Holdenstedt coach said quite logically, “There was no reason not to play this game.”

Logic and ordinary courage however no longer applies in the dark age that has now arrived. Instead, we must fear everything. like stone age savages huddled in their caves at the sound of thunder.

Modern fascist America: No mask, no healthcare

Right now my inclination to post or write or do anything is low. In fact, emotionally I am beginning to think there is no point living, as I do not wish to live in a nation as oppressive as America is becoming.

Today I learned unequivocally that in today’s America, you will be denied healthcare if you do not wear a mask, even if you have legitimate medical issues for not doing so. I have both asthma and heart issues, and according to numerous long-standing advisories by both doctors and government health agencies (until May of this year), wearing a mask when you have such conditions is a mistake. To quote just one such advisory from the California Department of Health,:

“Mask use may give the wearer a false sense of security, which might encourage too much physical activity and time spent outdoors. Also, wearing a mask may actually be harmful to some people with heart or lung disease because it can make the lungs work harder to breathe.” [emphasis mine]

Yet now doctors are demanding all patients, no matter their health, wear these feel-good useless muzzles, or they will deny you all treatment.

In late May I simply raised this issue with my long-standing GP, only to receive a letter from him the next day telling me he had cancelled me as a patient. Just raising the issue with him was verboten. Since then I have been trying desperately to find another GP, without success. None will see me without demanding I wear a mask. None will even consider my own health issues in the mix, at all.

Today I arrived at what I thought would be my new GP. I had called his office twice beforehand to explain my health issues and to make sure I would not have an issue when I arrived. All a waste of time. As I was signing in the office manager marched up to demand I put on the mask that she was nonchalantly fingering with her hands. When I pointed out how unsanitary that was, irrelevant of my own issues, she seemed shocked and surprised, as if she had no idea what I was talking about.

Nor was she interested in considering my own situation, or the actual law in Tucson. When I noted that the local ordinances also permit no masks if you can either socially distance (which would be easy to do in her office) or have medical issues, she said that doesn’t matter. Their office requires masks at all times, regardless. Common sense and basic medical science were irrelevant to them.

I was forced to walk out. I presently do not have a doctor to handle my medical issues. Nor do I expect to find one, unless by some miracle there is some local doctor in southern Arizona who understands the absurdity of this mask obsession, reads this post, and offers their help. Personally I have zero expectation of that.

Welcome to the new America. Obey, or you will be denied your most basic human rights of existence.

Dynetics’ manned lunar lander requires multiple launches and in-space refueling

According to company officials, the manned lunar lander being developed by Dynetics — one of three under NASA contract — will require three quick ULA Vulcan launches and in-space refueling before it will be capable of landing humans on the Moon.

Dynetics’ proposed Human Landing System (HLS) depends upon fuel depots and multiple rocket launches to achieve NASA’s goal of landing two astronauts on the moon in 2024, officials said during a webinar earlier this week. “Our lander is unique in that we need lunar fueling to accomplish our mission. In the next couple years, we will take in-space cryogenic propellant refueling technologies from the lab to [technology readiness level] 10 and operational,” said Kathy Laurini, payloads and commercialization lead for Dynetics’ HLS program.

The lander would launch on one Vulcan rocket, with the next two launches bringing the additional fuel.

More details here.

While it is good that this design does not require the long delayed and likely not-ready SLS rocket, it appears to require in-space capabilities that will not be ready by 2024, the Trump administration’s target date for its manned lunar landing. Instead, this design seems more aimed at subsequent operations in later years.

Since Congress has not yet funded the 2024 mission, though both parties seem interested in later manned lunar operations, this design seems cleverly aimed at that reality, designed to encourage long term government funding.

Regardless, everything hangs on the November elections, and who ends up in charge, both in the White House and in Congress. We presently have really have no way of predicting what will happen, until we know those election results.

Anti-maskers invade Target, demanding everyone “Take off that mask!”

We need more of this: Anti-maskers this week marched through a Florida Target shouting “This is the United States of America, take off that mask!”

They didn’t harass anyone, they simply went down the aisles cheerfully calling for people to get rid of the mask. Watch the video below the fold.

The sad part is how few people in the store remove their masks. Many clearly agreed with the protesters, but still kept the mask on.
» Read more

Nashville authorities cover up proof bars & restaurants do not spread COVID-19

Local authorities in the mayor’s office and health department in Nashville, rather than release the data and open things up, kept secret evidence that showed there was no reason to close bars or restaurants. [The quote below comes from a local Fox TV news story that has since been taken down.]

Emails between the mayor’s senior advisor and the health department reveal only a partial picture. But what they reveal is disturbing. The discussion involves the low number of coronavirus cases emerging from bars and restaurants and how to handle that and most disturbingly, how to keep it from the public.

On June 30th, contact tracing was giving a small view of coronavirus clusters. Construction and nursing homes causing problems more than a thousand cases traced to each category, but bars and restaurants reported just 22 cases.

Leslie Waller from the health department asks “This isn’t going to be publicly released, right? Just info for Mayor’s Office?”

“Correct, not for public consumption.” Writes senior advisor Benjamin Eagles. [emphasis mine]

In other words, these corrupt officials, who appear quite typical of today’s government rank and file, had found in June that closing bars and restaurants was pointless, that their focus should be nursing homes and construction (though I suspect a deeper dive in the data would discount construction as well). Instead, they kept this data secret so that the lockdown of bars and restaurants could continue, putting thousands out of work.

The fact that they should have been focusing on nursing homes once again confirms the nature of this virus. Like the flu, it attacks the sick elderly, with everyone else barely noticing their symptoms, or if they do, recovering without serious harm.

ULA reveals Chinese-owned company attempted to steal rocket data

In an interview yesterday ULA’s CEO Tory Bruno revealed that a Chinese-owned software company tried to infiltrate the supply chain being set up to build their next generation Vulcan rocket.

Bruno said the Chinese-owned vendor identified in ULA’s supply chain was a provider of software for tools used to manufacture the company’s next-generation rocket Vulcan Centaur. Because the issue was detected quickly, no sensitive information was extracted by that supplier, Bruno said.

The company flagged as a risk was a tool supplier working with KUKA Robotics. According to ULA, KUKA had no access to ULA’s intellectual property. “ULA envisions no further future work involving KUKA or KUKA products,” the spokesperson said. “There was no evidence they attempted to obtain data, however, we have an obligation to our customers as well as our company to ensure we have taken all necessary steps to protect our IP as well as information the government has entrusted us with.”

The Pentagon has shown growing concern about Chinese ownership of U.S. suppliers and continues to impose cybersecurity requirements on contractors. “But I have to tell you this is just shocking in terms of the scale and ubiquity of this threat and this effort on the part of China to not only gain access to intellectual property through traditional means — hacking or espionage — but through infiltration of the supply chain,” Bruno said.

The article also notes that while the top tier subcontractors ULA might hire are almost all American owned, foreign companies own 70% of the smaller subvendors, and the number of Chinese-owned subvendors has grown 420% since 2010.

China’s effort to steal American technology has been a serious problem that has been ignored for too long.

California wildfire threatens Wilson Observatory

One of the many wildfires raging across California has now come with 500 feet of the Mt. Wilson Observatory.

Officials at the observatory said all personnel had been evacuated as the fire was “knocking on our door.”

Firefighters battling the blaze had made slight headway in recent days in trying to control the flames that erupted September 6, but containment shrank from 6 percent to 3 percent Tuesday, according to the Angeles National Forest. “They are in a firefight right now, because it is so close,” LA County Fire Captain David Dantic told the Los Angeles Times, referring to crews positioned at Mt. Wilson.

He said the fire, located about 16 miles (25 kilometers) northeast of downtown Los Angeles, had grown to 40,000 acres (16,200 hectares). “It’s a bigger area now,” Dantic said. “Before, we had 6 percent containment when it was about 30,000 acres, but now the fire has gotten bigger. It’s a bigger footprint. That’s why the containment is down.”

KNX radio said the fire was also threatening broadcast towers in the area worth more than a billion dollars.

If destroyed I doubt seriously there would be money to rebuild Wilson, especially because its location near the bright lights of Los Angeles limits its astronomical value. Astronomers have shifted its use to other purposes that are not as badly affected by the light pollution, but once gone it will be hard to raise the cash to bring it back.

Seven weeks after mask mandate, 40% of Ohio counties show an INCREASE in COVID-19

Seven weeks after the governor of Ohio imposed a mask mandate, it now appears that 40% of the state’s counties show an increase in coronavirus cases.

35 of 88 counties (40 percent) experienced a net increase in cases. … A total of 47 of 88 counties, or 53 percent, saw either a net increase or no more than a 20 percent reduction in cases. Fourteen of 88 counties saw a 50 percent to 70 percent reduction. Only five of 88 counties saw a 70 percent or more reduction.

This data confirms what has been seen in other states as well. Mask mandates have completely failed to stop the spread of COVID-19. While some places saw a reduction in cases, most did not. Worse, the data above as well as elsewhere suggests that the mask mandates might actually be contributing to the disease’s spread, mainly because almost no one in the general public uses them properly. Instead, everyone uses them over and over without washing, while touching them with unwashed hands continually. They thus act to collect pathogens, at exactly the place you breathe.

Masks are useless. They don’t do what too many foolish and ignorant politicians claim. Take them off. Throw them out. Claim you have legitimate medical reasons for not wearing them and stand firm. You will find that almost everyone will agree, and let you be. And the few control freaks that try to harass you can and should be ignored.

Trump: He kept his promises

Trump at a recent rally
He does what he says.

In my long life, I have seen many politicians come and go. The one abiding constant for them all was that you could expect them to break their promises once elected.

Until 2000 Democrats routinely spouted moderate and even conservative ideas during campaigns, only to quickly move left once elected. Some, like Bill Clinton, lied routinely on all matters, simply to please whoever he was talking to. After he left office Democrats have since been more public about their socialist and even communist ideologies, but still they have often lied whenever they found it convenient, such as Barack Obama’s support for normal marriage, until he found he could support perversion and get away with it.

Republicans have been even more dishonest. For decades they would paint themselves as the defenders of small and limited government, of freedom, of balanced budgets, only to throw all those ideas out the window once they gained control. Until 1994 they could make these claims without fear of revealing their untruthfulness, since they had not run both houses of Congress since just after World War II. They were the loyal opposition, whining from the sidelines about Democratic overreach.

After 1994 that excuse disappeared, and the result was blatant lying. Even though the Republican Congress during the latter half of Bill Clinton’s administration managed to balance the federal budget for several years, they did not do this by reducing government. No, all they did was allow inflation to catch up so that a thriving economy would cover their big budgets. No agency got trimmed. No agency got eliminated. Power and money continued to flow into Washington and into the pockets of politicians of both parties.

Under George Bush Jr. this dishonesty became even more obvious. » Read more

Empty Chinese apartment complex overrun with plants and mosquitoes

The coming dark age: A Chinese apartment complex, designed to be an “eco-paradise,” has instead become an empty jungle overrun with plants and mosquitoes.

An experimental green housing project in a Chinese megacity promised prospective residents life in a “vertical forest,” with manicured gardens on every balcony. All 826 apartments were sold out by April this year, according to the project’s estate agent, but instead of a modern eco-paradise, the towers look like the set of a desolate, post-apocalyptic film.

The problem? The mosquitoes love the plants too. Only a handful of families have moved into Chengdu’s Qiyi City Forest Garden because of an infestation, state media reported.

The pictures at the link are quite incredible. Imagine being surrounded by neighbors who allow their property to fall apart and you have a sense of what these buildings look like.

College English Department to only accept students studying “Black Studies”

The coming dark age: The English Department at the University of Chicago will next year only accept new students who focus all their literature work on “Black Studies.”

The University of Chicago’s English Department declared it will only accept applicants interested in ‘working in and with Black studies’ for its 2020-2021 graduate admissions cycle.

In a statement uploaded to the English department’s website in July, the faculty announced their commitment to the “struggle of Black and indigenous people, and all racialized and dispossessed people, against inequality and brutality. For the 2020-2021 graduate admissions cycle, the University of Chicago English Department is accepting only applicants interested in working in and with Black studies. We understand Black studies to be a capacious intellectual project that spans a variety of methodological approaches, fields, geographical areas, languages and time periods.”

“…English as a subject, the department says, has provided ‘aesthetic rationalizations for colonization, exploitation, extraction and anti-Blackness.”

The statement goes on to deem the “collective responsibility” of the faculty to be “undoing persistent, recalcitrant anti-Blackness in our disciplines and in our institutions.”

Or to put it another way, the literature of western civilization can go to hell. All that matters now is race. And race comes first in order to groom that next generation of racists and bigots, now educated to hate whites.

I cannot imagine any parent or student wanting to attend such a program, unless their goal is is to learn how to become a Black-Power bigot aimed at oppressing all other races.

Japan chooses Hayabusa-2’s next asteroid target

The new colonial movement: It appears that Japan has chosen the next asteroid that its probe Hayabusa-2 will visit in 2031, after it releases its samples to Earth in December from Ryugu.

Japan’s Hayabusa2 space explorer will aim to probe the asteroid “1998KY26” located between the orbits of Earth and Mars in 2031 after completing its current mission of collecting samples from another asteroid, the country’s science minister said Tuesday.

It is hoped Hayabusa2 will approach the ball-shaped asteroid, which has a diameter of around 30 meters and rotates about every 10 minutes, in July 2031, Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Minister Koichi Hagiuda said.

It will not obtain samples from this second asteroid, only observe it close up by camera.

China launches rocket from ocean launch platform

The new colonial movement: China today successfully put nine Earth observation smallsats into orbit using its Long March 11 rocket, and it did it by launching from a floating launch platform.

I have embedded video of the launch below the fold. Notice that the rocket appears to ignite its first stage engines after it is flung upward from the platform, similar to the launch of an ICBM from a submarine. This is not surprising, as the Long March 11 solid fueled rocket is based on ICBM technology.

The leaders in the 2020 launch race:

23 China
15 SpaceX
9 Russia
4 ULA
4 Europe (Arianespace)

The U.S. still leads China 24 to 23 in the national rankings.

» Read more

China’s Kuaizhou-1A rocket fails at launch

China’s Kuaizhou-1A rocket yesterday failed during launch, though no details have been released.

Kuaizhou 1A and Kuauzhou 11 are rapid response rockets derived from intercontinental ballistic missiles that are capable of placing satellites into orbit on short notice. Launches are managed by ExPace, a commercial subsidiary of the state-owned China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation.

The Kuaizhou-1A is the smaller of the two rockets. This was its first failure after ten successful launches.

Another Arab country normalizes relations with Israel

In a second major victory for the Trump administration, Bahrain has agreed to normalize its relations with Israel, including recognizing the Jewish state.

According to a formal statement issued by the three countries, they agreed to “the establishment of full diplomatic relations between Israel and the Kingdom of Bahrain.”

“This is a historic breakthrough to further peace in the Middle East. Opening direct dialogue and ties between these two dynamic societies and advanced economies will continue the positive transformation of the Middle East and increase stability, security, and prosperity in the region,” the statement said.

The statement said that Israel had also affirmed that all Muslims may visit and pray at the Al Aqsa Mosque, and Jerusalem’s other holy sites will remain open for peaceful worshippers of all faiths.

This follows the opening of full diplomatic relations with the UAE, as well as the rejection by the Arab League of a Palestinian Authority resolution condemning that UAE agreement. In addition, there have been a slew of other countries in the past few weeks agreeing to move their embassies to Jerusalem.

All in all, a kind of peace is breaking out in the Middle East, rejecting the hate-mongers in the Palestinian territories who only wish to kill all Jews and have thus refused all reasonable offers of neighborly relations. It now appears that many Arabs are finally realizing that their alliance with the Palestinians has brought them nothing but problems, and it will be better to align with Israel.

Stay tuned. There have been rumors that Saudi Arabia will soon recognize Israel as well. If that happens, it will not only signal a true end to the violence in the Middle East, but the failure of the so-called “peace process” since the 1990s. It accomplished nothing while helping to escalate the worst sorts in both the Palestinian territories as well as in the Arab states, leading to Islamic terrorism worldwide. These new deals, engineered by the Trump administration, will hopefully help to put an end to that terrorism.

At a minimum it will help isolate those bad actors, making it far more difficult for them to instigate violence and murder.

CDC admits the uselessness of masks against COVID-19

In issuing its guidelines for dealing with the smoke coming from the numerous forest fires in California, the CDC on August 30th admitted the complete uselessness of masks in stopping the coronavirus.

From the CDC:

Cloth masks that are used to slow the spread of COVID-19 offer little protection against wildfire smoke. They do not catch small particles found in wildfire smoke that can harm your health.

As the author at the first link above notes,

Let’s take a quick look at this info through the lens of actual science. They just told us that smoke particulates are too small to be stopped by a cloth mask. While N95 masks will protect up to 95% of particles, down to .1 microns in size, a quick Google search will tell us that smoke particles and debris are usually .4 to .7 microns in size. According to the CDC, cloth masks are not effective in stopping materials that size.

Another quick Google search will tell us that the Wuhan Virus is .12 microns in size, about a quarter in size of the smoke and fire debris particulate. Even if we factor for the “respiratory droplets” that are allegedly to blame for the spread of coronavirus, those droplets are as small as .5 microns, or as small or smaller than smoke and fire debris particulate. These factors and figures aren’t hidden in some CDC vault that only their scientists are capable of accessing. Yet another quick Google search will show these figures within seconds.

The masks you are using can’t protect you, period. They are nothing more than an empty feel-good gesture imposed for political reasons. Worse, their improper use, something that people are doing routinely, will increase the chances of infection from all kinds of pathogens, including COVID-19.

Stop wearing these idiotic things. And if anyone challenges you, tell them you don’t wear it for justified medical reasons. Most local rules allow for this exemption, and do not require any explanation. Use it. Stop being a sheep to stupidity.

September 11, 2001 through the Eyes of a Child

Link here. The horror of that terrorist act, no different than the horrifying acts of rioting and looting dressed up as fake protests today, should not be forgotten. This article gives us possibly the most important perspective, the impact that horror had on the innocent children of the time.

Matthew John Bocci wrote the book Sway as a way to sort out his feelings. He was nine years old when his father died during the collapse of the World Trade Center. It took one week for the family to find out his father was dead. “Even though I knew he was dead, I still needed to find out the how. I became obsessed. I wondered if he had jumped, since he worked on the 105th floor and I saw all the smoke. My thoughts were that if he had jumped, maybe I could see him looking out a window beforehand. Even though I found out my dad did not jump, when I see the footage, it brings a lot of sadness. I look at it and think my father was in that building and he never had a chance to get out. In the book, I wrote, ‘What could you say, especially to a nine-year-old whose father was obliterated?'”

He went on to say, “My dad was selfless. He actually called my mom two minutes after the plane hit the building to tell her he loved her and us. He said goodbye. I now try to look at the positives he left behind. He was honorable, put family first, and was very humble. I think how brave he was, smart, resourceful, funny, determined, hardworking, and caring.”

Because of his father’s death, Matthew’s life spiraled out of control. He searched for answers and a father figure. Unfortunately, his Uncle Phil filled that role. He took advantage of Matthew’s grief by sexually abusing him. To cope, Matthew turned to drugs. But thankfully, after many years of drug abuse, he got himself straightened out, had his uncle arrested and convicted of child abuse, and is now five years sober.

To my mind, the worst result of both 9/11 and today’s riots is our society’s generally weak response. We never really did wipe out the scourge of Islamic terrorism after 9/11, which since then has only worsened. For children like Matthew, who lost his father, there is thus no closure or a feeling of justice.

And today we seem paralyzed to act against the home-grown terrorists in our midst, allowing them to commit some equally ugly acts while doing little to stop them. We must therefore ask ourselves, what are today’s children learning from this failure?

For evil to flourish good men need only do nothing. And sadly nothing is much of what America has been doing for the past two decades.

Japan delays launch of new rocket one year

Capitalism in space: Because of a problem discovered in the development of its new first stage engine, Japan has now delayed the first launch of its new H3 rocket one year, to ’21.

Mitsubishi is building the rocket for Japan’s space agency JAXA, Since you design and build your rocket around your rocket engines, having a problem with that rocket engine puts a serious crimp on construction. Thus, identifying and dealing with such engine issues early in development is wise.

Still, Japan continues to lag behind the other space-faring nations in the development of its space industry.

NASA to buy lunar mined material from private companies

Capitalism in space: NASA yesterday announced that, rather than develop its own lunar sample missions, it wants to buy such lunar mined material obtained from private companies.

NASA on Thursday launched an effort to pay companies to mine resources on the moon, announcing it would buy from them rocks, dirt and other lunar materials as the U.S. space agency seeks to spur private extraction of coveted off-world resources for its use.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine wrote in a blog post accompanying the announcement that the plans would not violate a 1967 treaty that holds that celestial bodies and space are exempt from national claims of ownership.

The initiative, targeting companies that plan to send robots to mine lunar resources, is part of NASA’s goal of setting what Bridenstine called “norms of behavior” in space and allowing private mining on the moon in ways that could help sustain future astronaut missions. NASA said it views the mined resources as the property of the company, and the materials would become “the sole property of NASA” after purchase.

This announcement continues NASA’s transition under the Trump administration from trying to run everything to simply being a customer buying what it needs and wants from the private sector. The idea is smart, as it will guarantee that these samples will be obtained in the cheapest and fastest way possible, while simultaneously sparking the development of a competitive and thriving private industry capable of flying all kinds of planetary missions. The lower costs of these private planetary probes will in turn will spark the creation of a new private sector of customers buying those probes for their own profit-centered needs.

Boeing strikes deal to avoid harsher ethics probe in NASA’s lunar lander scandal

Boeing has struck a deal with both NASA and the Air Force in order to avoid a harsher and more extensive ethics probe into its part in the NASA lunar lander contract bidding scandal.

The agreement, signed in August, comes as federal prosecutors continue a criminal investigation into whether NASA’s former human exploration chief, Doug Loverro, improperly guided Boeing space executive Jim Chilton during the contract bidding process.

By agreeing to the “Compliance Program Enhancements”, the aerospace heavyweight staves off harsher consequences from NASA and the Air Force – its space division’s top customers – such as being suspended or debarred from bidding on future space contracts. The agreement calls for Boeing to pay a “third party expert” to assess its ethics and compliance programs and review training procedures for executives who liaise with government officials, citing “concerns related to procurement integrity” during NASA’s Human Landing System competition.

Since Loverro resigned in May, Boeing has fired one company attorney and a group of mid-level employees, three people familiar with the actions told Reuters.

The deal seems like a bureaucratic whitewash, designed to take the heat off the company. And since Boeing as a company has many problems, I remain skeptical that any of this will make a difference in getting things fixed.

Northrop Grumman shuts down Omega rocket program

Having lost any chance of getting launch contracts or development money from the military for the next five-plus years, Northrop Grumman has chosen to shut down its Omega rocket program.

“We have chosen not to continue development of the OmegA launch system at this time,” Northrop Grumman spokeswoman Jennifer Bowman said in a statement. “We look forward to continuing to play a key role in National Security Space Launch missions and leveraging our OmegA investments in other activities across our business.”

Bowman said the company will not be protesting the U.S. Space Force’s decision to select United Launch Alliance and SpaceX for the NSSL contracts.

This was a typical big space Washington project, aimed solely at getting government contracts, as well as government cash to develop it. The company had no interest in trying to develop it with its own R&D funds in order to garner market share in the general launch market, or even to make it cheaper and more useful to the military than SpaceX’s rocket.

In this sense this is no great loss. What we need is real competition, aimed at coming up with better ideas that will lower cost and increase capabilities. What Northrop Grumman was offering was none of those things. It was fake competition, and of no real value.

Texas sees 400% increase in homeschooling

The silver lining? Faced with odious rules and remote zoom classes in the public education system due to fear and terror over the corona virus, Texas parents are choosing to homeschool their children this year, with the numbers rising by 400%.

The spike, the group reported, stems directly from the Texas Education Agency’s (TEA) pandemic schooling guidelines sparking a mass exodus from the public school system as parents opt to teach their children at home over enrolling them in a digitized, remote state-run classroom.

Our government public schools have been corrupted by leftist indoctrination for years, while they have steadily done a worsening job at educating children in the basics. (Witness for example the ignorance exhibited by the Antifa protesters about American history.) Maybe this disaster created by the Wuhan flu panic might have some benefits, such as getting parents more involved once again in their kid’s education, and thus improve it.

Because, based on everything I’ve seen and read about modern public school education and culture, parents really can’t do worse.

No coronavirus illnesses after 1,000 HS football games

Why am I not surprised? Despite more than a thousand high school football games across several states in the past month, there have been no COVID-19 outbreaks related to those games, with cases continuing to drop in each state.

Utah, for example, launched youth sports more than five weeks ago. Alabama, Indiana and Tennessee commenced with high school football roughly four weeks ago. Alaska has been allowing games for more than two weeks.

Many have been wondering whether these events would ultimately lead to an increase in COVID-19 cases being spread within communities.

Despite more than a thousand individual games having taken place, no significant recorded outbreaks of COVID-19 have occurred as a result.

Since the very start of the epidemic the evidence strongly told us that young people did not get sick from this virus. Nothing, absolutely nothing, as occurred since to change that initial assessment.

And yet American politicians tremble in terror at the idea of having children return to classrooms, and mandate that little kids wear masks. It is beyond stupid.

The lockdowns were a bad idea and did not work

Link here. The key quote compares this epidemic with the last two large similar epidemics, and finds this one hardly an issue:

As novelist Lionel Shriver writes, “We’ve never before responded to a contagion by closing down whole countries.” As I’ve noted, the 1957-58 Asian flu killed between 70,000 and 116,000 Americans, between 0.04 percent and 0.07 percent of the nation’s population. The 1968-70 Hong Kong flu killed about 100,000, 0.05 percent of the population.

The US coronavirus death toll of 186,000 is 0.055 percent of the current population. It will go higher, but it’s about the same magnitude as those two flus, and it has been less deadly to those under 65 than the flus were. Yet there were no statewide lockdowns; no massive school closings; no closings of office buildings and factories, restaurants and museums. No one considered shutting down Woodstock.

He then notes the failures of the lockdowns this time, and its apparently inability to really make much difference in the path of the epidemic, while causing enormous harm to the economy, to the lives of millions, and to many who were denied healthcare for other reasons due to the panic and shut downs.

If only someone had pointed this out back in March.

NASA solicits lunar landers to bid on bringing science instruments to Moon

UPDATE: It appears I misunderstood the nature of this NASA solicitation in my initial post. I have rewritten it to correct it. Hat tip reader Rex Ridenoure.

Capitalism in space: NASA has issued a request from the private companies building unmanned lunar landers to bid on carrying a variety of science instruments to the Moon by ’23.

Initially NASA had indicated it was farming out the design and construction of the lunar landers to private companies, but would have the science instruments designed and built in-house. Since ’19 however NASA has had private companies designing and building these fourteen small science payloads, and is now in the process of determining which private landers will bring them to the Moon.

Though this approach is not very different than past NASA arrangements, what is different is NASA’s public approach. Instead of touting NASA’s part in this work, the agency is touting the work of the private companies.

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