Culture: June 2016 Archives

Space Sells in India

Keith's note: This TV commercial is titled "Astronaut lachaar, khatam hua aachar". You have to watch the entire thing to figure out what it is selling. Its hilarious.

Orlando and the miraculously bad timing of the NASA-UAE Space Agency deal, op ed, Danny Bednar, Space News

"On Sunday, June 12, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden was in Abu Dhabi finalizing an agreement with the chairman of the United Arab Emirates Space Agency Khalif Al Romaithi. The deal is also significant in that on the same day in which hatred and bigotry lead to the senseless death of 50 innocent people inside an LGBTQ Orlando nightclub, the leaders of a federal agency (with deep ties to the state of Florida) essentially said that in the desire to explore space, with the best science and technology humanity can develop, it is A-OK to overlook archaic laws regarding homosexuality and LGBTQ rights."

Canadian astronaut offers to help UAE's space aspirations, The National (2014)

"A Canadian astronaut, whose social-media postings from the international space station inspired millions, has offered to consult with authorities here about setting up a space agency. Chris Hadfield, who had an instrumental role in the formation of the Canadian space agency, has spent the past four days visiting Emirati engineers in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. On Monday he gave a talk at President Sheikh Khalifa's majlis in the capital. The UAE last week announced its intention to set up a space agency and launch an orbital probe to Mars by 2021. "It's going to take a lot of international cooperation in order to make that work," said Mr Hadfield. "Hopefully it's an opportunity for Canada and the UAE to work together."

Keith's 13 June note: It is repugnant to see people lazily conflating the devastating, bigotry-centric tragedy in Orlando, by virtue of a coincidence of the calendar, with a totally unrelated government-to-government activity planned months ago so as to score a political point - and impugning the motives of an entire space agency in so doing. In addition it is the height of hypocrisy to see someone complain about another nation's space agency for things that their own country's agency has embraced. Danny Bednar (a Canadian) apparently thinks it was OK for canadian space legend Chris Hadfield to visit UAE in 2014 to help set up a space agency but it is not OK for America's space agency's administrator to work with the same space agency in 2016 that Hadfield helped to set up? If working with UAE is so terrible then where was Bednar's outrage in 2014? Why does he make no mention of this contradiction now?

Space cooperation is not a vehicle for LGBTQ rights, OpEd, John Sheldon, SpaceNews

"And now, Danny Bednar, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Western Canada, writes in these very pages perhaps the most vapid attempt at politically linking what happened in Orlando to the agreement reached between NASA and the UAE Space Agency in Abu Dhabi on June 12, 2016. ... The ridiculousness of Mr. Bednar's stance beggars belief, and implies a political agenda that, doubtless unwitting on his part, mirrors that of xenophobes like Donald Trump. On top of that, it reeks of the kind of breathless, hypocritical, and self-righteous identity politics that poisons the body politic."

What Were They Thinking? Bednar SpaceNews Opinion Piece Misses the Mark, SpaceRef Canada

"I'm not sure why SpaceNews published the opinion piece After Orlando, NASA-UAE deal gives reason to ponder space partnerships of Danny Bednar, a PhD candidate in the Department of Geography at Western University, the day after the Orlando terror attack. I can only surmise it was to pull a Buzzfeed and post something controversial to attract readers. It worked."

Keith's note: Dava Newman likely only has 7 months or so left in her job as Deputy Administrator - maybe a few more as acting administrator while the next Administration picks their team. Meanwhile, her old job at MIT is waiting for her to return. So, she does not have any job security issues to worry about. As such, one would think that instead of spending all of this time overseas (she is currently in Austria) that she'd be back in the U.S. doing whatever it is that she does at NASA. As for Charlie Bolden: he has told folks that he plans to increase his travel in his final year - and that is exactly what he is doing.

Universal Faces $20M Lawsuit By Homer Hickam Over 'October Sky'

"Author and former NASA engineer Homer Hickam is suing Universal for north of $20M over its October Sky musical. In a breach of contract, fraud and multi-claim jury-seeking complaint filed today, the Rocket Boys memoirist claims that Universal Pictures "has taken the completely fallacious position" that Hickam gave over all the rights to the source material to the studio. Its 1999 film October Sky was based on Rocket Boys, and the musical premiered onstage last year."

Author Sues Universal Over Musical Theater Adaptation of 'October Sky', Hollywood Reporter

"A decade later, Hickam developed and produced Rocket Boys into a live stage musical with the approval of Universal, according to the lawsuit. In 2015, Universal decided to create an October Sky musical, purportedly based on the film and Hickam's memoir, and has shut down the author's stage show."

- Text of lawsuit
- October Sky, Wikipedia

Elon Musk plans manned mission to Mars by 2024, Mashable

"If things go according to plan, [we] should be able to launch people by 2024 with arrival in 2025," said Musk. Musk noted that in order to build growing cities on Mars - putting his multi-planet species idea in action - SpaceX will need to develop the ability to transport larger numbers of people and millions of pounds of hardware."

Why does SpaceX market space better than NASA?, Teslarati

"The question of what makes SpaceX so different in marketing space technology is still a difficult one for me as my personal reasons for admiring their progress has little to do with the aesthetics of the achievements. I admire the true progress they're making and the relatability of what they're developing to what their larger goals are. NASA may be truly making progress towards a "Journey to Mars", but when compared to the advancements SpaceX has achieved, it seems more like thus far, they just have a guitar amp that "goes to 11"."

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos: We Should Settle Mars 'Because It's Cool', Fortune

"We could build gigantic chip factories in space and just send little bits down," he said. "We don't have to build them here." But then, sensing the obvious next question from the audience, Bezos interrupted himself to declare: "We will settle Mars. And we should, because it's cool."



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