Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 29th Aug 2013 14:14 UTC
In the News

Victoria Espinel, who until recently served as the White House's first intellectual property enforcement coordinator, will now head one of the most powerful trade groups in the tech industry. She's been tapped to become the new president and CEO of The Software Alliance (or BSA) starting September 3rd. In her new role, she'll be tasked with pushing the anti-piracy interests of major players like Microsoft, Dell, Apple, Oracle, and Intel. And while the BSA spends a large part of its time lobbying Congress and other governments to push that agenda, Espinel will be barred from engaging in such practices herself - at least initially. According to Politico, an ethics pledge Espinel took to secure her "copyright czar" position under President Obama prevents her from lobbying for at least two years.

No corruption here. Nothing to see. Move along.

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RE[5]: Wikipedia
by saso on Sat 31st Aug 2013 10:32 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Wikipedia"
saso
Member since:
2007-04-18

I was curious just how much of our taxes went to NASA after reading your post, it turns out not much at all and it's still being targeted for cut.

Of course it isn't much, NASA is a research organization doing cutting edge long-term research, so it makes sense that its budget is going to be limited, plus there's a shitload of other agencies in the federal government (as I noted). However, that having been said, I kind of appreciate its work and the fruits of its labor, which have paid off thousandfold. If NASA were to be broken up between states, though, it would be too small to do what it does. Advancing the space frontier requires non-trivial amounts of money and effort and that kind of implies a big budget of a big country.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[6]: Wikipedia
by Alfman on Sat 31st Aug 2013 20:08 in reply to "RE[5]: Wikipedia"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

saso,

"If NASA were to be broken up between states, though, it would be too small to do what it does. Advancing the space frontier requires non-trivial amounts of money and effort and that kind of implies a big budget of a big country."

Well, it's ironic that you'd say this because it seems like the future of space in the US is being privatized by ridiculously wealthy individuals. I cannot say whether this is a good or bad thing, but it (kind of) contradicts the notion that advancing the space frontier actually requires a big government.

However that said, I still feel sad we've abandoned our space shuttle program and that we're now dependent upon other countries for space travel. We're loosing our position at the top.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[7]: Wikipedia
by kwan_e on Sat 31st Aug 2013 23:11 in reply to "RE[6]: Wikipedia"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

it seems like the future of space in the US is being privatized by ridiculously wealthy individuals. I cannot say whether this is a good or bad thing, but it (kind of) contradicts the notion that advancing the space frontier actually requires a big government.


The future of space is being privatized, but they are hardly breaking any new frontiers. Private companies are doing what we already know how to do, so they can improve upon it. That's harder frontier work.

"Frontier" means the unknown, and only fundamental science and engineering can expose and solve those problems, not economics. The economics of doing those things can only happen after we know what actually needs doing.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[7]: Wikipedia
by saso on Sun 1st Sep 2013 00:38 in reply to "RE[6]: Wikipedia"
saso Member since:
2007-04-18

Well, it's ironic that you'd say this because it seems like the future of space in the US is being privatized by ridiculously wealthy individuals. I cannot say whether this is a good or bad thing, but it (kind of) contradicts the notion that advancing the space frontier actually requires a big government.

What SpaceX and others are doing is great, but it's not advancing a space frontier. We've known how to reliably get to LEO for 40 years now. There's no point in having NASA do it, so it's *right* that they cede that to private enterprise.
But when was the last time you saw private enterprise spend a couple billion on a new space telescope with purely curiosity-driven research goals in mind? I.e. no return on investment within the next couple hundred years. Or sending deep space probes to explore TNOs. *That's* how you advance a space frontier; not by hauling cargo to LEO.

However that said, I still feel sad we've abandoned our space shuttle program and that we're now dependent upon other countries for space travel. We're loosing our position at the top.

It's a good thing NASA got rid of the shuttle - the damn thing just cost way too much and provided little to no benefit over expendable launch vehicles. In the end, the shuttle was just a job security and government subsidy program for a few entrenched companies. Sadly, Congress is trying to force NASA to do it again in the crazy-ass SLS program, because many of these companies have quite a bit of lobbying (read: bribing) power.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[7]: Wikipedia
by zima on Thu 5th Sep 2013 22:58 in reply to "RE[6]: Wikipedia"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

I still feel sad we've abandoned our space shuttle program and that we're now dependent upon other countries for space travel. We're loosing our position at the top.

The shuttles (both programmes, also Soviet shuttle) were a costly mistake, they set us back. The STS was conceptually obsolete (by autonomously docking satellites, a feat we did at the end of 1960s*) before it seriously got onto drawing boards.
It looked impressive, that's almost all.

* There is some talk about taking few in-storage (not launched) ISS modules, attaching them to small orbital tugs (like Progress spacecraft), and launching using expendable rockets. Even with R&D on tugs, the cost would be much lower than a shuttle launch.

BTW, you might have noticed that I use "we"/"us" differently than you - beyond tribal sentiments, for entirety of humanity. :p

Edited 2013-09-05 23:15 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2