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Hometown: Atlanta
Home country: US
Member since: Sat Jun 1, 2013, 01:19 AM
Number of posts: 4,327

Journal Archives

The Obamas Trade Escalating Twitter Threats With Prince Harry And Queen Elizabeth II

Source: Huffington Post

Relations between the British royal family and the American royal family president and first lady of the United States are cordial. Friendly, even. They pose for photos, have dinner parties together, and share similar views surrounding mental health awareness. They even touch.

Or they used to, that is.

Everything changed Friday thanks to a scathing* Twitter war regarding the upcoming Invictus Games, an Olympics-style sporting competition founded by Prince Harry in 2014 for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women. This spat has the potential to cause a rift in relations as large as the pond that separates these two nations.

It all started with a threat from Michelle Obama, who grabbed her husband, put on her best tough guy face and sent Prince Harry a bone-chilling message:

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/prince-harry-obamas-twitter-war_us_57236a82e4b0f309baf094a0

This is kind of awesome. I'm going to miss the Obama's being in the White House.

Compromise struck on criminal justice reform

Source: Politico

Top senators who have been quietly revising a controversial overhaul of criminal justice laws unveiled their reworked compromise on Thursday that they believe addresses conservative criticisms that could have derailed the bill in the Senate.

Influential Senate Democrats and Republicans held a news conference trumpeting the changes and to try and show a renewed sense of momentum behind the long-stalled legislation that tries to ease mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent offenders.

Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois, the top Democratic co-sponsor of the bill, added: “This is the best chance in a generation to reform our criminal drug sentencing laws.”

Republican Sens. Dan Sullivan of Alaska and Steve Daines of Montana are among the new co-sponsors of the revised legislation. GOP Sens. Mark Kirk of Illinois and Thad Cochran of Mississippi also endorsed the bill after changes were made in recent weeks. New Democratic backers include Sens. Michael Bennet of Colorado, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Bill Nelson of Florida.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2016/04/criminal-justice-reform-senate-222577

How Profitable Is SpaceX? How Much More Profitable Will It Become?

Space math

Yesterday, we discussed the Falcon 9 relanding (and how SpaceX will follow up on it) in some depth. We covered SpaceX's history of failed landings, culminating in last week's success, and what SpaceX plans to do next to build on its success and make reusable rocket launches routine. Today, we're going to delve even further into the details of what this accomplishment will mean for SpaceX as a company, and what it will mean for companies like Boeing (NYSE:BA) and Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT), which must compete against that company.

So let's begin at the beginning. According to SpaceX's published list of launch prices...

...an average Falcon 9 launch currently costs $61.2 million. (The new Falcon Heavy, which will make its maiden voyage later this year, will cost a bit more.) That's already half the best price that Boeing and Lockheed Martin charge for a launch over at United Launch Alliance. It's cheaper, too, than the $77 million that Airbus' (NASDAQOTH:EADSY) joint venture Airbus Safran Launchers will charge for its new Ariane 6 rocket.

Already, SpaceX is a formidable competitor, and one its foes will be hard-pressed to beat on price.

The transition period
Beating SpaceX on price, a job that already looks mathematically impossible, will get harder in a month or two, when SpaceX plans to relaunch its recovered Falcon 9 rocket on a second mission to space. According to SpaceX COO Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX could offer as much as a 30% discount on a mission utilizing the pre-owned rocket. This would cut the price tag to perhaps $40 million (thus undercutting Airbusand Ariane by nearly 50%).


Ohio woman accused of live-streaming rape on Periscope

Source: CNN

An Ohio woman has been accused of live-streaming the rape of a 17-year-old friend on the Twitter-owned video app Periscope, according to Franklin County prosecutor Ron O'Brien.

Marina Alexeevna Lonina, 18, is accused of using the app to live-stream video while an acquaintance, Raymond Boyd Gates, 29, allegedly committed the rape at a home in Columbus on February 27, the prosecutor said in a statement.

The two were indicted Wednesday on multiple charges, including kidnapping, rape, sexual battery and pandering sexually oriented material involving a minor, the prosecutor said.

In addition, Lonina was indicted on charges of illegal use of a minor in nude-oriented material or performance, the statement said. She also is accused of taking nude photographs of the young woman on February 26, according to the prosecutor.

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2016/04/14/us/ohio-periscope-rape-case/

WTF is wrong with people?

NASA scrambles as Kepler telescope goes into 'emergency mode'

Source: Christian Science Monitor

The Kepler spaceship is in trouble again, and NASA scientists are diligently working to find creative fixes for a telescope flying three times further away from Earth than Venus.

NASA received a transmission on Thursday that Kepler space telescope had entered "emergency mode," according to a NASA statement. The spacecraft had switched to its maximum power setting 36 hours earlier, just as it readied for a readjustment to point towards the Milky Way galaxy center.

This transmission is not the first to send NASA scientists scrambling to find a fix during a Kepler mission. But emergency mode will force Kepler to burn quickly through its power supply, so mission control engineers for NASA's Deep Space Network in California have a tight deadline to save the $600 million spaceship.

One major challenge to fixing a spacecraft mid-mission is the remoteness of the work. No extra materials will become available to aid repair, and scientists can use only the models they have on the ground and the reports they receive. Fixing Kepler is especially difficult because its mission has taken it so far from Earth, even for a spaceship. At a distance of 75 million miles from Earth, even light-speed transmissions take 13 minutes to travel roundtrip from Kepler to its home base at NASA and back.

Read more: http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2016/0409/NASA-scrambles-as-Kepler-telescope-goes-into-emergency-mode

Trump reveals how he would force Mexico to pay for border wall

Source: Washington Post

Donald Trump says he will force Mexico to pay for a border wall as president by threatening to cut off the flow of billions of dollars in payments that immigrants send home to the country, an idea that could decimate the Mexican economy and set up an unprecedented showdown between the United States and a key diplomatic ally.

The proposal would jeopardize a stream of cash that many economists say is vital for Mexico’s struggling economy. But the feasibility of Trump’s plan is unclear both legally and politically, and also would test the bounds of a president’s executive powers in seeking to pressure another country.


In the memo, Trump said he would threaten to change a rule under the USA Patriot Act antiterrorism law to cut off a portion of the funds sent to Mexico through money transfers, commonly known as remittances. The threat would be withdrawn if Mexico made “a one-time payment of $5-10 billion” to pay for the border wall, he wrote.

“It’s an easy decision for Mexico,” Trump said in the memo, which was written on campaign stationery emblazoned with “TRUMP Make America Great Again.”

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-would-seek-to-block-money-transfers-to-force-mexico-to-fund-border-wall/2016/04/05/c0196314-fa7c-11e5-80e4-c381214de1a3_story.html

1.5 Years to Mars? Russia Could Do It in 1.5 Months

Source: Motley Fool

In a recent address to the Federation Council (Russia's Senate), former Prime Minister-turned-nuke-exec Kirienko proposed an ambitious project to cut the time needed to travel to Mars by 92%. For some years, Rosatom has been working on the development of a megawatt-class "thermonuclear battery" for use in powering spaceships. Declared the former PM: "Installing a nuclear engine will allow [a spacecraft] to fly to Mars in a month and a half and to come back."

What's more, the spacecraft could make course changes en route if necessary, and even turn around and fly back to Earth, because with nuclear power, "the spacecraft would retain the ability to maneuver."


Last year, we learned that privately held space contractor Ad Astra is developing a prototype nuclear engine for NASA. Like Rosatom's invention, the Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket, or VASIMR, would use a nuclear reactor to heat and ionize propellant, then emit it through electromagnetic thrusters to propel a spaceship between planets. And although the technology sounds similar, Ad Astra believes its VASIMR engine will take a spaceship from Earth to Mars in just 39 days -- faster than Russia's rocket.

Nuclear research lab MNSW is looking into even farther-out options -- everything from nuclear fusion reactors to "plasmoid thrusters" and "electrodeless Lorentz force" (ELF) engines. And other NASA researchers continue to explore the ionic "EM Drive" concept, converting electricity directly to impulse power, potentially cutting travel time to Mars down to just 10 weeks.

Read more: http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2016/04/03/15-years-to-mars-russia-could-do-it-in-15-months.aspx?source=yahoo-2&utm_campaign=article&utm_medium=feed&utm_source=yahoo-2

Interesting science here.
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