Why Do People Hate America?

So, I’ve been reading this book called Why Do People Hate America?. I think every American should read it, if nothing more than to find more out more about themselves. Here are some of the more obvious reasons:

  • The US has been financing domestic growth through the savings of the rest of the world.
  • The US denies democratic control over their own economic destinies to over two thirds of the world’s population. Most of the world has no say in the IMF and little power in the WTO.
  • The US interprets “trade liberalisation” to mean one-way, open access for American multinationals and businesses.
  • The US systematically undermines the efforts of the least developed countries to combat poverty and feed their population by the use of massive tarriffs.
  • The US has consistently worked to bring down commodity prices in the developing world.
  • The US imposes unilateral coercive economic measure, otherwise known as sanctions, with regularity. In 1998 they had sanctions against 52% of the world’s population.

All this is just commonly known US foreign policy. I’m not going to go into their movies, music, and other cultural idiocy.

Off to Mars. BRB

So, Bush did it. He announced a new (long overdue) direction for NASA. To summarise, there are three goals:

  • Complete the ISS by 2010
  • Develop a new spacecraft, the Crew Exploration Vehicle, by 2008 with the first manned missions beginning no later than 2014.
  • Return to the moon by 2020

I hope it works out, but this seems like a bit of a re-election sound byte. Exciting that the ISS will be finished soon as I can collect more patches.

Home, Rover, and space records

Suzanne just found out from our builder that we are still about 10 weeks away from being able to move in. Sigh. Every day we look at each other and say, “It’s going to be so good when we can move into our own house!”. I thought we’d be about 6 weeks away, but we can hold out another few weeks. We’ll appreciate it that much more I think.

The MER-A rover is returning lots of nice pictures. I’d like to take one of the panorama ones to a printer and get a poster made of it. I saw one from Viking about 1.6m long at a shop when I was in Montreal. It really looked cool, but I had no way of getting it home because it was block mounted.

Still waiting in anticipation for Bush’s election enhancement announcement, but it looks like more than wishful thinking this time. NASA sent a press release detailing the announcement tomorrow at 4pm eastern US time. I’m excited about this, but in reality I can’t see a manned Mars trip happening. Collaboration with the Russians would be ideal, after all they have all the experience in the world with long endurance space missions. One of the last NASA press releases from December made me laugh… they made a big deal about Mike Foale (who is a Brit, by the way) setting a US cumulative space endurance record of 271 days, and by the time Expedition 8 returns from the ISS he will have spent more than a year in orbit. At last count, there are 20 Russians who have done this. The world record for cumulative time spent in space, 748 days, is held by Russian cosmonaut Sergei Avdeyev, who flew three missions on Mir. Russian cosmonaut Valery Polyakov holds the world record for the longest single space mission: 438 days.

Moon might happen

So, to revive a story from about a month ago, perhaps Bush is going to announce another round of moon trips, and maybe a trip to Mars. This story from from Associated Press on news.com.au indicates “senior US administration officials” talking about it. This story from Rueters has Bush proposing a permanent manned base on the moon. This story from UPI cites more senior US administration officials, saying that to pay for it “NASA’s space shuttle fleet would be retired as soon as construction of the International Space Station is completed.”

Mars Lander

The first Mars Exploration Rover landed a few hours ago. After a tense six-minute descent, followed by minutes of nail-biting silence, elated flight controllers have received a signal from the Spirit Rover indicating it had landed safely in the Gusev Crater on Mars. The second Mars Exploration Rover, Opportunity, is still to come — with landing on the other side of the Red Planet on January 25.