Sunday, 3 September 2006

Intros and rockets

I was intending get away from the autobiographical bullshit here and use this as a forum for rants on current events, heavily tilted towards sci/tech obviously! Plus, I'll probably stick up any book reviews/overviews that i get around to finishing, if mostly to prevent me loosing them in the even of another hard drive crash (that could have been so much worst).

Here's a particually thorough one for Alastair Reynolds - Ceturary Rain. I got a little carried away describing the whole plot, but the discusion thereafter is fairly worth while, dewling on the philosophy of sci/tech as i so do, largely in private.

Ok, to current affairs: something that's been annoying me for a time is the whole resurgance of manned space missions . It is, of course, part and parcle of the wildly misguided world view of the Bush administration, which you might say is non of my concern, being a UK resident. But, while it's not my money that's being directly missapropriated, it will still affect me. The huge volumes of dollars that will potentially be thrown away on the oversized, rocket propelled phallus, could be used for something equitable instead!

As far as space exploration/utilisation is concerned, the best projects for NASA to splurge on would be space elevators (teathers or even fountains). See recent New Scientist article for example. This type of engineering project will eventually bring about an exponential groth in Earth to orbit (and beyond) travel by means of a safe, easy, efficient (estimated as thousands of times cheaper than rocket launches) and down right sensible route. Instead, private industry is being left to fund it alone, with nothing more than a half hearted prize system to encourage such efforts. TBH, private enterprise is a more reliable way of getting this done anyway (tis the American way!), which begs the question: what the hell use is NASA anymore?!

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