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+ - Letter to Congress: Ending U.S. Dependency on Russia for Access to Space 1

Submitted by Bruce Perens
Bruce Perens (3872) writes "I've sent a letter to my district's senators and member of congress this evening, regarding how we should achieve a swifter end to U.S. dependency on the Russians for access to space. Please read my letter, below. If you like it, please join me and send something similar to your own representatives. Find them here and here. — Bruce

Dear Congressperson Lee,

The U.S. is dependent on the Russians for present and future access to space. Only Soyuz can bring astronauts to and from the Space Station. The space vehicles being built by United Launch Alliance are designed around a Russian engine. NASA's own design for a crewed rocket is in its infancy and will not be useful for a decade, if it ever flies.

Mr. Putin has become much too bold because of other nations dependence. The recent loss of Malaysia Air MH17 and all aboard is one consequence.

Ending our dependency on Russia for access to space, sooner than we previously planned, has become critical. SpaceX has announced the crewed version of their Dragon spaceship. They have had multiple successful flights and returns to Earth of the un-crewed Dragon and their Falcon 9 rocket, which are without unfortunate foreign dependencies. SpaceX is pursuing development using private funds. The U.S. should now support and accelerate that development.

SpaceX has, after only a decade of development, demonstrated many advances over existing and planned paths to space. Recently they have twice successfully brought the first stage of their Falcon 9 rocket back to the ocean surface at a speed that would allow safe landing on ground. They have demonstrated many times the safe takeoff, flight to significant altitude, ground landing and re-flight of two similar test rockets. In October they plan the touchdown of their rocket's first stage on a barge at sea, and its recovery and re-use after a full flight to space. Should their plan for a reusable first-stage, second, and crew vehicle be achieved, it could result in a reduction in the cost of access to space to perhaps 1/100 of the current "astronomical" price. This would open a new frontier to economical access in a way not witnessed by our nation since the transcontinental railroad. The U.S. should now support this effort and reap its tremendous economic rewards.

This plan is not without risk, and like all space research there will be failures, delays, and eventually lost life. However, the many successes of SpaceX argue for our increased support now, and the potential of tremendous benefit to our nation and the world.

Please write back to me.

Many Thanks

Bruce Perens"

+ - U.K. Cabinet Office Adopts ODF as Exclusive Standard for Sharable Documents->

Submitted by Andy Updegrove
Andy Updegrove (956488) writes "The U.K. Cabinet Office accomplished today what the Commonwealth of Massachusetts set out (unsuccessfully) to achieve ten years ago: it formally required compliance with the Open Document Format (ODF) by software to be purchased in the future across all government bodies. Compliance with any of the existing versions of OOXML, the competing document format championed by Microsoft, is neither required nor relevant. The announcement was made today by The Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude. Henceforth, ODF compliance will be required for documents intended to be shared or subject to collaboration. PDF/A or HTML compliance will be required for viewable government documents. The decision follows a long process that invited, and received, very extensive public input – over 500 comments in all."
Link to Original Source

+ - UK to use Open Document Format for government documents->

Submitted by sfcrazy
sfcrazy (1542989) writes "UK has decided to use ‘open standards’ for sharing and viewing government documents. The announcement was made by the Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude. One of the primary objectives of this move is to create a level playing field for suppliers of all sizes. The move must put some pressure on Google to offer full support for ODF in Chrome, Android and Google Docs."
Link to Original Source

+ - France Bans Pro-Palestinian Demonstrations->

Submitted by Sun
Sun (104778) writes "Citing the violence these demonstrations deteriorate into, the French government has placed a ban on all pro-Palestinian demonstrations. The step is receiving criticism from all sides of this particular conflict.

One has to wonder whether more traditional means of crowd control wouldn't be more appropriate, such as limiting the number of participants or assigning locations not next to Jewish centers."

Link to Original Source

+ - Netflix pay us. Verizon keeps throttling.

Submitted by Chas
Chas (5144) writes "Even though Netflix caved to Verizon's demands and is now paying protection money to them to ensure better service, Netflix performance still has not improved on the Verizon network.

This is the problem with giving in to extortion like this. Sure, Comcast at least made a token effort to improve performance for end-users. Verizon just treated it as a payday, and maintained status quo, continuing to blame Netflix."

Comment: Re:Evolution (Score 1) 253

by Bruce Perens (#47485313) Attached to: New Treatment Stops Type II Diabetes

:-)

You make it sound like starving people are getting fat too.

If they are becoming obese, the particular individual has a surplus of caloric intake, if only for this year or month. This is not to say that they have proper nutrition. So I am not at all clear that the fact that there is obesity in the third world is confounding evidence.

Comment: Evolution (Score 1) 253

by Bruce Perens (#47480445) Attached to: New Treatment Stops Type II Diabetes
For most of the existence of mankind and indeed all of mankind's progenitors, having too much food was a rare problem and being hungry all of the time was a fact of life. We are not necessarily well-evolved to handle it. So, no surprise that we eat to repletion and are still hungry. You don't really have any reason to look at it as an illness caused by anything other than too much food.

Comment: Re: If you pay... (Score 1) 15

Martin,

The last time I had a professional video produced, I paid $5000 for a one-minute commercial, and those were rock-bottom prices from hungry people who wanted it for their own portfolio. I doubt I could get that today. $8000 for the entire conference is really volunteer work on Gary's part.

Someone's got to pay for it. One alternative would be to get a corporate sponsor and give them a keynote, which is what so many conferences do, but that would be abandoning our editorial independence. Having Gary fund his own operation through Kickstarter without burdening the conference is what we're doing. We're really lucky we could get that.

Comment: Re:One hell of a slashvertisement! (Score 1) 15

I think TAPR's policy is that the presentations be freely redistributable, but I don't know what they and Gary have discussed. I am one of the speakers and have always made sure that my own talk would be freely redistributable. I wouldn't really want it to be modifiable except for translation and quotes, since it's a work of opinion. Nobody should get the right to modify the video in such a way as to make my opinion seem like it's anything other than what it is.

Comment: Re:If you pay... (Score 2) 15

Yes. I put in $100, and I am asking other people to put in money to sponsor these programs so that everyone, including people who did not put in any money at all, can see them for free. If you look at the 150+ videos, you can see that Gary's pretty good at this (and he brought a really professional-seeming cameraman to Hamvention, too) and the programs are interesting. Even if at least four of them feature yours truly :-) He filmed every one of the talks at the TAPR DCC last year (and has filmed for the past 5 years) and it costs him about $8000 to drive there from North Carolina to Austin, Texas; to bring his equipment and to keep it maintained, to stay in a motel, to run a multi-camera shoot for every talk in the conference, and to get some fair compensation for his time in editing (and he does a really good job at that).

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