Friday, June 11, 2004
1. THE REAGAN LEGACY: AN EPONYMOUS EPIDEMIC GRIPS WASHINGTON.
The Ronald Reagan Legacy Project is dedicated to making sure that Americans are reminded of Reagan every day as they go about their business. The top priority is to replace Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill. But Reagan is too big for a sawbuck. Too big even for Rushmore. So why not go for the moon? Everybody loves the moon, and it's badly in need of a real name. Other planets have moons with dynamite names like "Phobos" and "Titan." What do we call our moon? "The moon." It's an embarrassment. Why not call it "Reagan"? We were there first, and we should name it. But we'd better do it before China gets there and names it "Mao."
2. IT'S THE PITS: GOP LAWMAKER SLASHES FUNDS FOR NUCLEAR WEAPONS.
The infamous Nuclear Posture Review, which leaked two years ago, (WN 15 Mar 02), outlined a secret plan to develop a new class of nuclear weapons, while publicly opposing nuclear proliferation. David Hobson (R-OH), powerful chair of the House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee, and a true fiscal conservative, was having none of it. Funding was eliminated for a new pit facility, clearly capable of making plutonium pits for new weapons, and a nuclear bunker-buster bomb.
3. DARPA: A MOMENT OF SILENCE TO REFLECT ON OUR FALLEN PROGRAMS.
Last week marked the demise of the Isomer Energy Release Program, (WN 04 Jun 04) but this was only the most recent DARPA program to be too strange even for the Pentagon, like Total Information Awareness (WN 20 Dec 02). Then there was the Policy Analysis Market, a plan to base intelligence estimates on betting in a futures market (maybe that's where the intelligence on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq came from), and the LifeLog comprehensive personal database http://www.wired.com/news/privacy/0,1848,62158,00.html.
4. SPACESHIPONE: IS "LOW-COST SPACE FLIGHT" AN OXYMORON?
Scheduled for launch on June 21, SpaceOne is the first attempt to send a private spacecraft beyond Earth's atmosphere with a human cargo. If it can safely ferry three passengers to an altitude of 100 kilometers twice within two weeks, SpaceShipOne will win the $10 million Ansari X Prize, a contest intended to stimulate interest in the space tourism industry. They hope to "show that people can fly to space for very low cost" by using "the lowest technology possible, not the highest." Perhaps they 'll be kind enough to fix Hubble (WN 26 Mar 04) while they're up there.
Paul Gresser contributed to this week's issue of What's New.