Monday, March 30, 2009
It's a well written piece that lays out our current available arsenal of proven/semi-proven/unproven techniques for asteroid deflection. (National Geographic also did a great job of examining these techniques recently in their "Naked Science: Asteroids" program- the winner, or most logical in my opinion, is the gravity tractor- and the ex-astronauts at the B612 Foundation agree). It also links to the upcoming 1st International Academy of Astronautics Planetary Defense Conference, which is April 27th-30th in Granada, Spain. There's one vacation I wish I had planned earlier, because geeking out with asteroid freaks by day and some Paella at night is sort of my idea of heaven......
.......what? Shutup. Yes, I know, I'm a dork.
Anyhoo, the Wired article still holds off from making the one point I'm always railing about that never seems to get more attention whenever the subject of asteroids comes up: We are spending WAY TOO SMALL of a percentage of NASA's budget on Asteroid Mitigation. Wired breaches the subject at the end of the article by pointing out what the current spending is for our funding of Asteroid Mitigation and Detection; around $4 MILLION.
NASA's projected budget for 2009 is around $17 BILLION
There is something seriously wrong with this breakdown in this humble tax payers perspective. We should know TODAY or at least SOON what is the best and most readily available method to deflect a potentially devastating Asteroid. We have ideas, but none of them are getting tested the way they should. NASA has less than 1 tenth of a percent of its budget devoted to asteroid mitigation.
For comparison, NASA spent $278 million on a satellite to measure co2 in the atmosphere, or more specifically one that does it better then the ones we already have. That satellite didn't make it, and is now at the bottom of the ocean.
I'm beginning to think the ESA is way ahead of NASA. And NASA hasn't been behind anyone on anything space related since Sputnik. This is just wrong to me for some reason. Maybe I'm crazy.
I haven't posted this before, but here's how I'll end this post-one of my favorite all time asteroid impact videos. Make sure you hit the high def-
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Your recent return of the Churchill bust to Britain, along with the DVD Gift errors seem to mean this administration is giving a cold shoulder to Britain, which is in great contrast to the previous administration. Is there anything personal behind your animosity that could be contributed to Churchill's decision to put down the Mau-Mau uprising in Kenya, where your grandfather was tortured by British troops?"
Nope. You probably won't hear that one for a while.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Monday, March 16, 2009
As the 'Villain and others have pointed out, the collapse in value of all assets other than cash has crushed the net worth of the Baby Boomers. It has also had a disproportionate impact on the rich and near rich.The number of American households with a net worth of $1 million or more, excluding the value of their primary residence, fell 27% to 6.7 million in 2008 from an all-time high of 9.2 million the year before, according to a report from market research firm Spectrem Group.
"America has a lot fewer millionaires than when this economic crisis began," said George Walper, president of Spectrem Group, in a written statement.
But don't weep only for the 2.5 million fewer millionaires. The report, which is based on surveys of 3,000 affluent households, also showed the number of both multi-millionaires and aspiring millionaires plummeted last year.
Affluent households, defined as those with a net worth of $500,000 or more, declined 28% to 11.3 million from 15.7 million.
And, of course, it has only gotten worse since the beginning of the year.
Well, good thing Obama isn't going to do what they did in Massachusetts with their Universal Healthcare program-
Via The Boston Globe:
The subsidized insurance program at the heart of the state's healthcare initiative is expected to roughly double in size and expense over the next three years - an unexpected level of growth that could cost state taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars or force the state to scale back its ambitions.
It's not like he's going to propose a trillion dollar healthcare program that will double in two years, right?
I mean, look at Medicare, last year it was only $30.4 Trillion in debt! With a 13 trillion dollar GDP we'll have that paid off in no time!
See, what I'm trying to say is that I may not be an economist, but you say a trillion here, a trillion there and sooner or later you're talking real money!
Sunday, March 15, 2009
This one is my favorite so far- Thru-you 03- I'm New
There a few more too. Unbelievable..
Update: Correction, I have a new favorite-awesome Talkbox and the beat is sinful.
And you can download all the tracks mp3's here- Thru you
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Friday, March 13, 2009
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
I've had a bit of a bad luck patch over the last month (losing my job, watching my 401k completely disintegrate, etc., etc.) and ended up relocating from a high rise in Lincoln Park to a new neighborhood along the Fullerton underpass on the Kennedy Expressway. I was a bit worried about the move at first, but my new neighbors have been great. In fact on move-in day they greeted me with a grocery cart "welcome wagon" containing some lovely and practical gifts like cans of Sterno, cardboard, fortified wine, and a hypo-allergenic harmonica. I would like to show my appreciation with thoughtful "thank you" gifts. Can you recommend something nice that won't break my budget ($3.00 total for 6 gifts)? Please help!
Barbara in Chicago
With my busy schedule of entertaining foreign dignitaries and celebrities at the White House, I know how important a well chosen gift can be. Two weeks ago, for example, we received a visit from British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The Prime Minister brought a few housewarming gag gifts including a pen set made from a boat, a framed paper thing from another boat, and some old books by Churchill (not Ward, but that English guy). Obviously we wanted to return the nice gesture so I sent my interns out on a scavenger hunt for an appropriate present. They couldn't find anything in the West Wing, but luckily Costco was open and was running a 25-for-the-price-of-10 clearance sale in the DVD department. You should have seen Mr. Brown light up when he opened that sack of classic titles like "Wizard of Oz" and "Baby Geniuses 2." I like to think those DVDs helped cement our Anglo-American "special relationship" even if, as he mentioned to me, they probably wouldn't work in his European player. Thinking quickly, I told the PM I would send him an American DVD player as soon as I earned enough cash-back points on my Costco card. Crisis averted, but that episode taught me a valuable lesson: always keep a stock of gifts handy in case some foreign poobah or supreme religious figure or failing industry leader pops by for coffee. As a result, I make sure the Oval Office closet is filled with pre-wrapped Sham-Wows and Snuggle blankets and trillion dollar bailout packages for whatever gift emergency might arise......
Read the rest...