Yeah… I want to go to Scotland.

Why We Need To Frack Some Space Rocks

I’ve been at the Future Is Here festival, sponsored by Smithsonian Magazine this weekend, and like any nerd-filled festival worth it’s salt, space has been a ubiquitous topic of conversation.

That being the case, I perked up when a former NASA engineer raised the point about the need to make space exploration profitable, if we’re ever going to make a go of it.

As a good free market advocate, this is something I’ve long advocated for, and I’m not the only one. Dr. Philip Metzger, a physicist at NASA, posits that there are three ways to make space exploration profitable:

Harvest the magic resources? Build the big colonies with giant infusions of cash? Put self-reproducing robots into space first?

Personally, I think the answer has to start with space mining. At least one private company, with big name backers like James Cameron and Larry Page, has the same idea.

I love NASA, but so long as the goal of our space program is to run cool science experiments, space exploration will never receive the resources necessary to flourish. Period.

After all, Christopher Columbus wasn’t funded by the Spanish crown to going stumbling across the Atlantic and into the New World for altruistic aims - he got the money and made the voyage because he and his royal patrons thought they could get fabulously rich.

Saw this incredible demo of a real-life jet pack at the Smithsonian’s #FutureIsHere festival, yesterday. It was built by Jet PI and runs on a mix of hydrogen peroxide and nitrogen gas.

New Adventure

Excited to start a new adventure, joining FP1 Strategies as a partner to launch a digital media practice. We’ll win the tough fights for our public affairs and political clients.

Are we on the cusp of another World War I?

Are we about to witness a parallel version of World War I play out in 2014? But this time in the Pacific?

Shinzo Abe, the prime minister of Japan thinks so. He apparently stated that China and Japan are in a “similar situation” to Britain and Germany, prior to 1914.

The comments came at last week’s annual summit in Davos, Switzerland, and are being echoed by a number of thinkers who believe a war between the two Asian great powers is increasing likely.

One article relays an influential Chinese professor stating that he believed China could move troops onto the disputed Senkaku Islands, and that:

this limited strike could be effected without provoking a broader conflict. The strike would have great symbolic value, demonstrating to China, Japan, and the rest of the world who was boss. But it would not be so egregious a move that it would force America and Japan to respond militarily and thus lead to a major war.

This is how wars between great powers begin. One side misjudges the red-lines of another, and believes it can make a move without risk of a counter-blow. The opposing player, unwilling to appear weak, and risk future aggression, responds with force.

And then you have a hot war in Asia. America will almost certainly becomes involved on the side of one of its top allies, against its 2nd largest trading partner.

Is it possible for there to be a lose-lose-lose situation? Because this would be it.

washpostpr:

The Washington Post today announced a partnership with The Volokh Conspiracy, a blog that covers law, public policy, politics, culture and other topics.

Eugene Volokh, a law professor at UCLA, founded the blog in April 2002, and it quickly became a regular destination for Supreme Court junkies,…

Great stuff.

Draining George Lucas’ Swamp

This weekend, I re-watched Star Wars Episodes 1 & 2 (no, not the ones with Han, Luke and Leia).

Some parts were as bad as I remember (George Lucas will certainly be spending time in purgatory for Jar Jar Binks), while the music (oh God the music) was still epic, and you can’t beat a good Star Wars laser battle. Natalie Portman isn’t hard on the eyes either.

That said, I’m already pumped for the 2015 release of Episode 7, to be directed by J.J. Abrams (he’s like the evil emperor of all nerd-dorm, he must control ALL the movies).

According to an article in ars technica, ahead of Episode 7, Disney (Star Wars’ new master) is going to scrub decades of accumulated narrative from Star Wars’ “extended universe:”

The giant swamp of the EU stretches out before them, threatening to ensnare and swallow up any potential ideas they might try to include. They need to be able to re-launch the franchise in a direction that they control, and that requires the freedom to let Empire Strikes Back writer Lawrence Kasdan pen the script without worrying about stumbling over years’ worth of baggage.

And good riddance, say I. Having read Star Wars novels growing up, they can be entertaining pulp fiction - but they’re no foundation on which to build a new film trilogy.

Finally, since we’re on the topic of reboots, can Disney release a Non-Director’s Cut of Episode 1 that completely removes Jar Jar Binks from the film?

Yeah, that’d be great.

Wow, my tumblr blog turned 4 today! I’m such a proud parent.