Friday, February 12, 2010

Car Lust: The best streetcar ever

It's a little out of my area, but I'm posting this because (1) I like trains, or anything on rails, and (2) I went to grad school in Pittsburgh, where these ran until 1999. (The Car Lust blogger is from Pgh. himself, and he has a whole history of the city's streetcars.)

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Quodlibeta--whatever you like

Figulus recommends this blog: Quodlibeta. Excellent mediaeval/classical studies by knowledgeable guys. Nice emphasis on the intersection and compatibility between science and religion.

I'm going to add it to our Blog Roll when I have some time. Until then, enjoy it from this link.

P.S: check out their post on Oresme and the moving earth!

Launching NASA on a Path to Nowhere: Analysis

Launching NASA on a Path to Nowhere: Analysis

Former astronaut Tom Jones (whom I've had the pleasure to meet) also wants us to break out of Low Earth Orbit. This is a knowledgeable article by a NASA insider.

Giving up on the Moon?

Giving up on the Moon?

I've disagreed with Rand Simberg on space policy for a while. After some time I finally realized that he wasn't anti-manned space travel, but rather anti-NASA. He wants a strong private space industry, as do I.

But in the near future, the big manned space projects are simply going to be NASA projects. And so Obama's cutting the Constellation project and the Aries rocket out of NASA aren't going to mean that private companies do it instead. Rather, it means we won't do it at all. We've lost the Moon. For the better part of a decade, NASA has been reorganized around going to the Moon and Mars. Manned missions, at long last! Billions(?) spent on developing the hardware, lots of time in institutional reorganization (which everybody just loooves). All of that...apparently poured down the drain, thanks to Obama's budget.

Projects like this can't be done on the spur of the moment. They require years'-long commitments and some level of consistency out of the Federal government, which is tough to get. When we went to the Moon under Apollo, we were lucky to have enough consistency to carry it through three separate administrations: Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon. This time around, it was started in Bush's first term, carried through his second, and is on track to be killed in the second year of Obama's.

If this is lost now, what have we gotten for our money? And how many more decades will we be stuck in *%*&! Low Earth Orbit??!!