boondoggles

Space Taxi
Space Taxi
NASA-Certified Space Taxi

It sure seems like that’s what NASA is doing. NASA has to do something in order to maintain its relevance as the space age dawns in the era of commercial space flight. NASA is still running scientific-exploratory missions to Mars and elsewhere in the solar system, but even this role will be soon be overtaken by private enterprises like Planetary Resources.

From Space.com comes news that NASA has launched a private space taxi certification program. The program will consist of a two-stage “process aimed at ensuring commercial passenger spaceships currently under development will meet the agency’s safety standards, schedule and mission requirements.” Yay, NASA’s record of safety, timeliness, and priorities with minimal bureaucratic waste leaves me reassured.

Budget cuts no doubt have something to do with the certification program as well. “NASA expects to award multiple firms a Certification Products Contract (CPC), each of which will run for 15 months and be worth up to $10 million.” Restrict competition, rake in the dough, ensure the continuation of your own jobs, and retain control of the space industry — all in the name of safety, science, human progress, and protecting taxpayer “investments.”

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Another political-bureaucratic boondoggle at NASA. Just abolish the agency already and get out of the way of private space enterprises.

The future of computing is near:

  • 1,000-Core Chip Could Make PCs 20 Times Faster: The fastest consumer processors such as Intel’s Core i7 are limited to 6 cores, but “Scottish scientists have built a 1,000-core processor, claiming it will run 20 times faster than today’s chips while using less power. Dr. Wim Vanderbauwhede led a research team at the University of Glasgow to create the futuristic processor using a programmable chip called a field programmable gate array (FPGA).”
  • Super Memory Breakthrough: Store Every Movie Made This Year on Your Phone (With Room to Spare): “IBM says they have made a significant leap forward in the viability of “Racetrack memory,” a new technology design which has the potential to exponentially increase computing power. This new tech could give devices the ability to store as much as 100 times more information than they do now, which would be accessed at far greater speeds while utilizing “much less” energy than today’s designs. In the future, a single portable device might be able to hold as much memory as today’s business-class servers and run on a single battery charge for weeks at a time.”

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