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Using 1960s technology the Russians developed a solid, rugged ground-to-orbit booster rocket and various basic modules that have stood test of time. But at this point some would argue they're running purely on Cold War inertia and not much else. They're also the ones we're currently stuck paying gigabucks to for launch services while Congress piddles around.

This is a not a wedge issues, it's a bipartisan imperative, one of the few things left and right agree on. Repub or Dem or Indie, take a moment to ask your own readers to contact Congress here, tell them to bring back those jobs and benefits, to repatriate our tax dollars and return that excitement back to We the People.

  • It's time for a new generation of companies right in the United States to take over the reins with far superior, next-generation vehicles that cost far less and have benefited fully from the latest innovations in materials and computer-aided design and production.


  • A marrow transplant may have eliminated HIV in two men. Here's a guess at how that worked.
  • Pluto's newest moons have official names now. In less than two years we're going to get a detailed, high-resolution look at this complex system which has, up to now, been only a small blurry disk surrounded by tiny points of light in our most powerful telescopes.
  • Speaking of changes, I'll never be Schwarzenegger and I'm self conscious as hell about this: but I'm also very proud of dropping 40 lbs. Here's some near naked photo proof of that progress.
  • America really is beautiful!
  • I'm told Forcechange.com may be looking for one or two new bloggers. Here's a way you can help even if you're not interested in contributing: reward good corporate behavior:
    As Microsoft works toward its carbon neutral goal, it sets a good example for other multinational corporations ... Please let Microsoft know that they are heading in the right direction with their internal carbon fee and the resulting investments in sustainable innovations. Sign this petition!

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sat Jul 06, 2013 at 06:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by SciTech.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Congrats on the weight loss! (13+ / 0-)

    Having lived that struggle myself, I know it's not easy -- and that it makes a huge difference in a person's health, energy, and self-image. So kudos, and enjoy!

  •  Memo to Manchin.....Obama isn't killing coal... (5+ / 0-)

    Natural gas is........Check out their commercials....'Kleener Than Koal'

  •  How about using those new space technologies (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    palantir, RiveroftheWest

    to provide moderately priced services to deliver high-level nuclear waste to near space and push them toward the sun? You might then eliminate much of the rejection of nuclear power, making it a potentially valuable too in Climate Change mitigation. I just saw a preview of a new documentary coming out called Pandora's Promise. Stewart Brand, the iconoclastic founder of the Whole Earth Catalog, among others, has reconsidered and converted to support of nuclear power in the face of climate change. Having evaluated where we are and where we need to get to, he's concluded that there is absolutely no hope of getting there with solar and wind. One key assumption, I gather, is current levels of energy use (i.e., no conservation). That may not be wrong given the tepid response conservation ("reduce", in addition to reuse and recycle) has always gotten, even from the left.

    For me, there's always been the two issues: safety and security of the plants, and waste. Dealing with these adequately drives up the price, but they can't be negotiable if we're going to put nuclear back on the table. And we'd need to begin by implementing solutions with existing plants before licensing new ones.

    The reason the 1% is so powerful is that 99% of the 99% has a sleeping sickness. ☮ ♥ ☺

    by Words In Action on Sat Jul 06, 2013 at 06:17:35 AM PDT

    •  The problem with nuclear (6+ / 0-)

      is that the people running it are incompetent, lying morons.  That's a bigger deal with the dangers and timescales involved.  Nuclear might be a good option for people who aren't us.

    •  You don't want to launch nuclear waste into space (9+ / 0-)

      some of those launches are going to fail, and then you are going to have nuclear waste in some bad places.

      "The Obama Administration has been an unmitigated disaster" - Osama Bin Laden

      by Explorer8939 on Sat Jul 06, 2013 at 06:56:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Right. Over the past 40-50 years since (0+ / 0-)

        we began using nuclear power, there have been some accidents. No doubt there would be some in the future. I've always been strongly opposed in the past. But as I think about Climate Change, I begin wonder, aren't there some risks worth accepting in order to mitigate some of that change? I mean, sure, implement all the solar and wind we can, but, knowing that will fall short by light years, shouldn't we consider nuclear more carefully?

        The reason the 1% is so powerful is that 99% of the 99% has a sleeping sickness. ☮ ♥ ☺

        by Words In Action on Sat Jul 06, 2013 at 10:04:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Or use newer reactors that burn that waste... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Words In Action

      such as liquid fueled designs or the thorium cycle.

      -We need Healthcare Reform... but i'm selfish, I Need Healthcare reform-

      by JPax on Sat Jul 06, 2013 at 07:50:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The U.S. currently has over 70,000 tons of waste (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Words In Action, RiveroftheWest

      in storage. The Falcon Heavy (still on the drawing boards) could boost about 13 tons to geostationary transfer orbit for about $100 million per launch.

      The casks used to transport high-level waste by rail in the U.K. are made of 14" thick steel. They weigh 50 tons and contain only 2.5 tons of waste. If a Falcon Heavy were launched with a similar ratio of waste to container, we could move just 2/3 of a ton of waste per rocket.

      Let's factor in the weight of a small booster and fuel to nudge the payload from Earth orbit toward the Sun and say we can move half a ton of waste per launch.

      At half a ton of waste per launch, to transfer the waste currently stockpiled in the U.S. we'd need 140,000 launches at a cost of $14 trillion. We could lowball the launch cost to $80,000 each, for a total of $11.2 trillion, but that still doesn't include the cost of transporting the waste to launch sites.

      These costs might compare favorably with those of long term storage over thousands of years. But right now we need to put our money into green energy... in a big way.

      Moving radioactive waste to space is an idea will have to wait until after we build a space elevator.

      “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
      he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

      by jjohnjj on Sat Jul 06, 2013 at 09:35:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Signed the petition (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skillet, palantir, RiveroftheWest

    as I usually do, those it is hard to imagine any of them are working. :(

    Now if MS would agree to reject it's cooperation with the NSA without warrants, I'd really sit up and take notice. Ditto for Google. Give me a reason (and an alternative) to get rid of my iPhone.

    The reason the 1% is so powerful is that 99% of the 99% has a sleeping sickness. ☮ ♥ ☺

    by Words In Action on Sat Jul 06, 2013 at 06:22:04 AM PDT

  •  Hurrah for science... and a healthier you! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    palantir, shpilk, TerryDarc, DarkSyde

    Way to rock the iPad selfie!

    Our country can survive war, disease, and poverty... what it cannot do without is justice.

    by mommyof3 on Sat Jul 06, 2013 at 06:25:23 AM PDT

  •  Current Congress specializes in pettiness... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest

    ...and partisanship, don expect any vision for the future other than petulance, obstruction, bullshit and the standard apocalyptic predictions from Republucans every time they don't get their way...

  •  I've never known a conservative or Republican (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mike Kahlow

    who was in favor of Americans getting jobs.

    Y'all must hang with different folks than I do.

  •  Warmest congrats on the weight loss! (7+ / 0-)

    Thanks for providing the HIV bit.  As a retrovirologist, it's a fascinating data point for me; one of the questions the HIV virologists have been trying to answer for decades is: where's Waldo?  HIV, like all retroviruses, converts itself from RNA to DNA early in the process and integrates into the host cell's genome.  Most cells, though, have a finite life: they divide a certain number of times and then that "line" of cells dies, taking the virus with them.  Few white blood cells keep dividing permanently.  So where does HIV go to keep itself going?

    It's long been thought that there was a bone marrow reservoir but never been conclusively proven.  This is STRONG evidence that there is, in fact, progenitor cells (cells which have yet to specialize into white blood cells) with HIV in the bone marrow.  Progenitor cells, unlike white blood cells, divide infinitely (but slowly).  Lots of leukemia comes from these progenitor cells, too, because they already are immortal (they keep dividing); they need fewer genetic mutations to become malignant.

    •  I find it a bit odd that the article suggests that (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ArchTeryx, RiveroftheWest

      stem cell therapy is too expensive to be applied on a large scale ... as if it is always going to be as expensive as it is, and as if treating AIDS as a chronic infection is cheap.

      I expect that in the future you'll see therapies along these lines:

      A. Remove (presumably healthy) skin cells from patient
      B. Use recombination techniques to knock out their own CCR5 and replace with mutated CCR5 (it may even be possible, eventually, to directly mutate the native CCR5).
      C. Treat the cells so as to transform them into marrow cells
      D. Kill the patients' marrow cells, and transplant the re-engineered marrow cells back into them.
      E. Profit.

      To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

      by UntimelyRippd on Sat Jul 06, 2013 at 08:52:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Conservatives would rather shut down the program (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest

    rather than give small companies contracts for crew launches. Unless Boeing or Lockheed gets the contract, there isn't going to be a commercial crew launch mission for the space station.

    Commercial crew will be stalled until the space station is retired.

    "The Obama Administration has been an unmitigated disaster" - Osama Bin Laden

    by Explorer8939 on Sat Jul 06, 2013 at 06:58:49 AM PDT

    •  But, but... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mike Kahlow

      Free market. Capitalism. Job creators. Truth, justice, the American Way. Letting Reagan Be Reagan or some such.

      What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted! Thrice is he arm'd, that hath his quarrel just; And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted. King Henry, scene ii

      by TerryDarc on Sat Jul 06, 2013 at 08:38:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Some ironies about New Horizons. (8+ / 0-)

    The spacecraft is powered by 238Pu, the first isotope of the element plutonium.     Glenn Seaborg, the element's discoverer named it because he thought Pluto was a planet  - it will always be a one in my heart - and thus the name followed those of Uranium and Neptunium, both named for planets.

    Seaborg's first sample of Pu-238 is on display at the Smithsonian institution's Museum of History, along with Seaborg's Nobel Prize Medal.

    In the middle of a brilliant career as a scientist, Seaborg interrupted it to engage in public service, serving - as a result of his environmentalism - as Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, where he pushed for and oversaw the construction of 70 of more than 104 nuclear reactors built in the United States.  In this capacity, he was treated as if he were a cabinet official, and frequently attended John F. Kennedy's cabinet meetings, where he was welcome, among other reasons, because he was also a lifelong Democrat.    Because of their close personal relationships, Kennedy appointed Seaborg as a diplomat to negotiate the test ban treat of 1963.  In this capacity, Seaborg came to know Nikita Khrushchev very well, and to regard him as a friend.    These meetings opened up an era of Soviet/Russian US nuclear cooperation that helped step away from nuclear confrontation.

    The New Horizons spacecraft is powered by Russian plutonium, which the Russian nuclear authorities sold to the United States because, in yet another triumph of American fear and ignorance over science, the United States stopped making the stuff that powered Pioneer, Voyager, Apollo instruments, Mars Missions, including Opportunity, Galileo (Jupiter) and Cassini (Saturn).    The 238Pu launched to Pluto is some of the last 238Pu available on earth.

    So the first plutonium isotope is heading to the last (dwarf, apparently) planet named by one of the premier American chemists in history - the man who first made 238Pu -  whose relations with a Soviet Premier helped pave the way for American access to Russian plutonium in service to science.

    A further word on the career of Seaborg, the environmentalist.    Another great American scientist (and activist) - ironically a NASA scientist - Jim Hansen has recently quantified how much Seaborg's activism in pushing nuclear power has ended up serving humanity.    Hansen published a paper, now having the status of one of the most widely read papers in the primary scientific literature, that nuclear power has historically saved about 1.8 million lives and prevented about two years worth of dangerous fossil fuel waste - mostly carbon dioxide but other dangerous materials as well - dumping on this planet.    Many, maybe most of those 1.8 million lives saved were American lives.

    Prevented Mortality and Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Historical and Projected Nuclear Power (Environ. Sci. Technol., 2013, 47 (9), pp 4889–4895)

    Seaborg was one of the greatest scientists ever to grace an American educational research institution.    It's nice, even if its too late, to see his public service work vindicated in the face of so much fear and ignorance that became attached to it.

    •  You should diary this. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NNadir, foresterbob, myboo, RiveroftheWest

      That's a fascinating story, and a type example of how fear and ignorance became ascendant even during the peak of science in The U.S.

      •  Thanks. I wrote 399 diaries here... (6+ / 0-)

        ...but it seemed like a good place to stop writing them, particularly as I have come to regard - given the 2013 figures showing the fastest rate of atmospheric decline to be the highest ever observed - the climate change situation as intractable, and have recognized that a rational response to it is impossible.

        What passes for environmental rhetoric here only frustrates and upsets me, and makes me feel even more hopeless.   I mean if Democrats have as much contempt for science as Republicans, well, what then?

        I do still occasionally write on the internet, albeit in "sciency,"  a word used by a commentator here coined that I love - he or she said my diaries were "too sciency" - terms, although far more rarely now.

        My most recent post was on The Energy Collective website was on the potential use of the fission product element technetium as a replacement for rhenium in superalloys:

        Technetium: Dangerous Nuclear Energy Waste or Essential Strategic Resource?

        I have also submitted a post there on the potential use of uranium and other actinide catalysts for reducing the enormous energy costs associated with nitrogen fixation, but I have not heard back from the editors as to whether it will be published.    It's called:  "Uranium Catalysts for the Reduction and/or Chemical Coupling of Carbon Dioxide and Carbon Monoxide and Nitrogen."

        Thanks for your kind words.

    •  Or you can ignore the IAU's definition of a planet (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NNadir, TerryDarc

      and call it one if you like. It's not like they have a police force or any authority over language.

      I think they got it wrong, and having a late night vote with hardly any members present makes it's legitimacy questionable. I'd rather they made a hierarchical taxonomy like biology has with Kingdoms and Phylums (Phyla?), etc.

      -We need Healthcare Reform... but i'm selfish, I Need Healthcare reform-

      by JPax on Sat Jul 06, 2013 at 07:55:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Really? I thought the IAU and the NSA had... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TerryDarc

        ...tight ties and that all of my Verizon phone calls were being monitored to see if I used the word "dwarf" whenever referring to Pluto.

        Thanks for letting me know.   I'm relieved, since I think I may have used the word "planet" without "dwarf" around the house when speaking with my boys and you never know who's listening.

        ;-p

  •  HELP A FELLOW LIB OUT GUYS... (0+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    Hidden by:
    Mike Kahlow

    i hope I don't get kicked  out of dailyKos for this... but I need your help guys! please vote for me for the Etisalat GeekForce competition. If I win i'd get a job with good pay, health benefits and a pension plan... which is a big f**king deal to me

    My name is Tajinere Sagay

    http://etisalatgeekforce.tumblr.com/

    I'M BEGGING Y'ALL....PLEASE!

  •  Thanks, DarkSyde, especially for your call to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest

    encourage people to demand that we reinvigorate our capabilities in space - - that is one technology that nobody does better than us!  We need to bring those jobs back home!

    Also, thanks for that link to ForceChange, I was unacquainted with those folks and that site until today.  Good stuff there, thanks again, Sir!

    Pessimism of the intellect; optimism of the will. - - Antonio Gramsci

    by lehman scott on Sat Jul 06, 2013 at 07:32:36 AM PDT

  •  ... (2+ / 0-)
    The emei toad grows a spiky mustache for just a few weeks to fight over girls with http://t.co/... http://t.co/...
    @pourmecoffee
    @pourmecoffee Don't tell John Bolton.
    @DemFromCT

    "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

    by Greg Dworkin on Sat Jul 06, 2013 at 07:58:12 AM PDT

  •  I wouldn't cheer "advanced rockets" that much... (0+ / 0-)

    Simple can get the job done and it costs less. I love high tech and higher tech and think a lot of that can be used to make old dumb rockets better, which is what Musk is doing. Well, sorta. From what I read they still get gelling problems from running the fuel through the cryogenic oxygen instead of around it.

    But at least it's a step ahead to having cheap access to space, which the STS never was. The russian designs are robust, and that's how a rocket should be, robust, cheap, and plentiful. If we can make rockets like that again, then space missions will be cheaper and more affordable.

    -We need Healthcare Reform... but i'm selfish, I Need Healthcare reform-

    by JPax on Sat Jul 06, 2013 at 07:59:55 AM PDT

  •  Thanks DarkSyde nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Sat Jul 06, 2013 at 08:01:45 AM PDT

  •  electrostatic capture (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    myboo, palantir, Mary Mike, wader

    http://www.natureworldnews.com/...

    Spider Webs React to Electrically Charged Insects, Increasing Capture Chances [VIDEO]

    He also suspects that a special type of lighter spider silk used on top of the stiffer silk that forms the spokes of a spider web was evolved because it can more easily deform the wind and alter electrostatic charges to aid prey capture.

    "Electrostatic charges are everywhere, and we propose that this may have driven the evolution of specialized webs," Ortega-Jimenez said in a statement.

    No country can completely leave behind its history or forget its tragedies nor should they. But countries can choose to put their futures first and act for the well-being of generations to come. ~ Joe Biden

    by anyname on Sat Jul 06, 2013 at 08:36:05 AM PDT

  •  What's the secret diet? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DarkSyde

    Maybe you could have a new career as author of top-selling diet book of 2014? Or 2013 if you hurry.

    What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted! Thrice is he arm'd, that hath his quarrel just; And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted. King Henry, scene ii

    by TerryDarc on Sat Jul 06, 2013 at 08:57:48 AM PDT

  •  A couple of things (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest

    First is an incredibly moving Ted seminar:

    http://www.upworthy.com/...

    Second I have lost 45 lbs myself taking it sloooooow and easy. And it has been a journey of discovery. I find I cannot eat regular bread without starting up cravings. I get sandwich rounds whole wheat and they seem okay but regular bread not so good. Or rolls. Or breadsticks. Or even pizza.

    Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. - Eleanor Roosevelt

    by glitterscale on Sat Jul 06, 2013 at 09:03:12 AM PDT

  •  Congrats on the weight loss! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest

    And the abs look great!

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