Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Round Up ... or Round Down

Welcome to Tuesday, December 30th, 2008 ...

* The Paper of Record leads with an article regarding NASA's future, here.  Ironically enough a few friends of mine were sitting around discussing this last night - and then there was this excellent article this morning.  The article touches on two things ... the problems NASA has run into with the Ares rockets and BoldOrion capsule - both of which I think can be expected.  We are designing a new way to get into space, this certainly won't be easy, and I think that anyone who expects it to be so is just being foolish  The bigger issue at hand in the public eye is the suspension of Space flight from 2010-2015; as a way to save a ton of money and allow NASA funds and time to properly prepare Constellation for space.  Obama has expressed his interest in keeping the Shuttle flying, in the interest of national pride (from '10-'15 we would be hitching rides with the Russians into space).  I personally don't like the idea of us not having a way to get into space for 5 years, but unless Obama is promising additional funding to keep the shuttle alive and not impact the Constellation launch date/preparedness - I am not in favor of changing anything.

Since we are on the topic ... it should be noted that Corrupt and I had quite the argument last night in regards to Shuttle versus Orion capsule.  I have no background in space policy and am certainly not a rocket scientist ... but it seems to me that we have tried this whole 'reusable' spacecraft thing and it didn't work.  I personally think this is the best technology we have on hand ... and until we are able to get some kind of plane into space, this will be the best technology.  Every country still has trouble with the whole reentry process - its just not something we know much about and not much we know how to change in regards to it.

* GMAC got $6 Billion and will convert into a bank holding company ... woot for them.

* Personalized medicine ... maybe one of these days.  The Paper of Record has the story, here, about how drugs only work for about half the people prescribed to them - due to people's genetic differences.  At some point in the future drugs may be tailored to work for you, or at least checked to make sure they do work for you before you are prescribed them.

* The Paper of Record has an interesting twist, here, on the housing crisis' effect on divorce proceedings - who gets the house?  Couples in divorce proceedings are trying to dump the house on their former spouse because they don't want to be saddled with its costs and mortgages.  And what are the houses worth ... in most places it is certainly not near the price that many people paid for them.

* Caroline Kennedy ... can we just stop this joke. No. No. No.

* The Paper of Record has an article and a City Room post about the MTA fare increases.  New Yorkers should brace for a fare hike, but they probably won't know for sure how much it will be until the late spring.  And the new fares are expected to go into effect over the summer.

* Want an iPhone ... you can now get them refurbished from AT&T for $99.

* The 2009 sign in Times Square will be powered by Duracell batteries that were charged from people riding bikes.  Since December 2nd, visitors to the Charmin Public Restroom in Times Square have been able to hop on a bike an help do their part to power the sign.  Overall it took 137, 228 of them.  Check it out at The Paper of Record - Bits, here.

* Also in Times Square news ... the Ball will stay lit year round!  How exciting!  Last year the bulbs were switched to LEDs, and this year they have decided to keep the ball lit and aloft all year long.  Interesting ... Via NYT - Green Inc., here.

* Also from the Green Inc. blog, here ... many cities and municipalities around the country are jumping on the bandwagon of the roundabout trend.  Also known as a traffic circle (NY), rotary (MA), and probably a bunch of other names.  For years traffic planners have known (at least the smart ones), that they are the most efficient and safe way to move traffic through intersections, especially ones with odd angles.  In theory a true roundabout should not be controlled as much as they are in DC - we have 'over-lighted' our circles to the point where they actually don't allow traffic to travel more efficiently in my opinion.  Many people find them annoying, and don't know how to drive through them - but then again most people barely can drive, so it shouldn't be a problem.  They save carbon emissions because cars are less likely to come to a full stop and less likely to feel the need to speed up as soon as the light turns green.  They also have a traffic calming effect by encouraging people to slow down.  Do you have thoughts?

* Warner Brothers and 20th Century are in a court battle over the upcoming movie Watchmen.  The Paper of Record reports, here, that a judge has agreed to hear 20th Century's suit to stop WB's release of the film, which they say they never released the rights to.  The hearing will take place on January 20th, and hopefully everything is resolved in time for its March 6th release - because it looks pretty good.

* Sad news from the CityDesk, here ... Georgetown has once again rejected the Apple store as a tenant.  Are these people stupid.  Anyone over the age of 40 should be barred from sitting on an ANC because they have no idea what is going on with the world and are just overly concerned with stifling progress and preserving a non-existent history.

... I'm sorry this keeps dragging on.

* Via WaPo ... The JCCIC (Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies) is encouraging ticket holders to take metro or walk.  Insaneeeee.  Here.

* WaPo reports, here, on how the economic downturn is effecting school districts and their plans to modernize and shift around schools.  These districts are now being forced to close schools and scale back on plans due to proposed budget cuts.

* NYT Op-Ed about the Gays, here.  Yes Corrupt, its all about the gays.  Frank Rich hopes that Obama starts acting on his promises to the GLBT community very soon.

* WaPo says that Chicago Public Schools could be a national example, with current CEO Arne Duncan soon to become our Minister of Education.  Duncan has made sweeping changes in the Chicago school system and hopefully we can see those nationally.  Rhee anyone?  Here.

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