Tag Archives: big-tech

How Space Science Might Have Gone

But for an accident of history, this is how space science would have been done: This is the launch a few days ago of the Compton Spectrometer and Imager, a soft gamma-ray (0.2 to 10 MeV) telescope designed to look … Continue reading

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The Human Population of Space

… is currently about six.   That is, if one adds up all the person-years spent in space by various crews, it comes to about six for recent years.  In a previous post from 2010, “The Population of Space”,  I had … Continue reading

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Adding Glitz to NASA: the Interstellar Probe

Hmm, what should NASA do next after the spectacular Curiosity mission?  A solar observer?  Seen that.  A lunar orbiter?  Like the ones China and India already did?  A Mars orbiter?  Like the several that are already there?    Even I … Continue reading

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Peak Nuclear Has Passed…

… for both weapons and power.  Nuclear weapons have been the great looming threat for most of my life. These were devices built to end civilization.  So it’s startling to see how fast they have been declining: Source: “Global Nuclear … Continue reading

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Big Data Comes to Politics

The January 2013 issue of MIT’s Technology Review has an interesting article on the Big Data techniques used by the Obama and Romney campaigns in the US 2012 election: “A More Perfect Union” by Sasha Issenberg.  No, this is not … Continue reading

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Why Did Car Companies Cave on CAFE?

Car companies have been complaining about fuel economy standards ever since they began back in the 1970s.  All through the 80s, 90s and Zips they’ve managed to block increases in the standards, by spreading Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt about their … Continue reading

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“BLAST!” and Good, Cheap Science

“BLAST!” is a documentary about the Balloon-Borne Large Aperture Sub-millimeter Telescope, and it  opens with this teaser: The telescope is that huge instrument on the end of crane.   It’s supposed to measure light in the far infrared from the early … Continue reading

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The Oldest Active Computer

Digital computers are a fairly old technology at this point.  The first ones date from the mid-1940s, which makes them older than nuclear reactors, integrated circuits, polypropylene, and orbital satellites. What they aren’t is a durable technology.  Computers age fast, … Continue reading

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The Robot Population of Deep Space

In 1978 I heard Carl Sagan speak at MIT.   The two most important space probes ever, Voyager 1 and 2, had just launched the year before, and  Sagan had been deeply involved with them.  It was his idea to do … Continue reading

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The End of the Shuttle and the Start of Nothing

So last Friday I watched the liftoff of the last Space Shuttle on the NASA feed in my office.  I saw it for real once in 1992, when I went down to Florida just for the show.  I had just … Continue reading

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