Category Archives: Business

The Delay In Spaceport Brownsville

Joe Pappalardo has the story. I wonder how much of it is due to environmental impact assessment, and if so, if it would be as hard if they were doing an airport instead? Back in 2004, we tried to extend the categorical exception that the aviation industry gets from the National Environmental Protection Act to space transportation, but the result was weak tea, leaving waivers up the discretion of the head of the EPA. Something I’d like to see in an amended version of the Commercial Space Launch Act would be to make it a clean extension, with no discretion from Gina (or any future administrator). It would be interesting to see if that made it veto bait for Obama, though.

The High Cost Of Space Access

Roger Launius has a brief history of the Shuttle, but this number is outdated:

The best expendable launch vehicles (ELV) still cost about $10,000 per pound from Earth to orbit.

As I commented over there (it’s awaiting moderation), Falcon 9 delivers ~30,000 lbs to LEO for ~$60M. That’s $2000/lb. Price, not cost. Falcon Heavy will roughly halve that. If they can reuse cores, they’ll drop the price further.


No, Newsweek, that’s not what Silicon Valley billionaires are seeking. They’re seeking indefinite lifespan. Immortality, if achievable, could/would be a curse. People just want to live as long as they want to live.

[Update a few minutes later]

OK, read it all the way through. The last graf shows a huge failure of imagination:

Perhaps the most worrying question that arises with the prospect of having millions (and even billions) of multi-centenarians running around on Earth is whether the planet can support this kind of growth. Current projections suggest that the world’s population will rise from 7 billion today to about 9 billion in 2050—at which point it will more or less level out. And abundant concerns have already been raised about what all these billions of people will do for work, not to mention where they will get safe drinking water and the food necessary to live healthily. But those forecasts don’t consider the possibility that we’ll stop dying. If we do, the next generation of innovative health-tech entrepreneurs will face perhaps an even greater challenge: redesigning the planet to accommodate its massive population of Humans 2.0.

Planet? Where we’re going, we don’t need “planets.”

My Site Improvements

For those curious about the differences between the out-of-the-box TwentyFourteen theme, and my child theme, I’ve done the following:

  • Changed header and sidebar backgrounds from black to dark gray.
  • Changed all instances of all caps to capitalized first letter.
  • Switched from the sans serif typeface “Lato” to Georgia.
  • Moved meta data from top to bottom of post.
  • Added time stamp (without seconds) to the post date, and the word “by” in front of post author.
  • Increased size of blog title.

Most of these involved style sheet changes, which will be preserved if I have to do a theme update, but a couple (adding time stamp and moving metadata) necessitated changes to the template and tag files in the parent theme. But they’re minor, and can be redone if needed.

One thing I’d still like to do, but have been unable to so far, is to change the color of the blog title from white to the same green as the search box. Not sure why a color change in the CSS won’t do it. I can change font size, but not color.

Lindzen Versus Grijalva

More thoughts on the climate witch hunt:

How would the mainstream media react if a Republican congressman lobbed threatening inquiries hounding seven university presidents regarding the funding of professors’ research? Or if Republican congressmen sent threatening letters to the heads of left-wing think tanks? They would summon the ghost of Joe McCarthy. The Times would lead the pack and we’d still be hearing about it.

Yeah, but those Republicans are evil.