One Giant Leap for the Private Space Industry
This weekend, the company SpaceX is set to make a giant leap for the private space industry. It is scheduled to carry supplies--but no people--to the International Space Station.
What's the Latest Development?
This weekend will mark a major advancement in private space enterprise as the company SpaceX launches an unmanned rocket carrying supplies to the International Space Station. SpaceX is one of several companies drawing sizable contracts from the federal government via NASA, which is undergoing significant change from a creator of space technology to a consumer. Since the space shuttle program was terminated, the US relies on Russia to ferry American astronauts to and from the ISS at cost of $60 million per launch. SpaceX believes it it will soon be ready to do the same for a third of the price.
What's the Big Idea?
Sending people into space is expensive and the market is currently limited to rotating crew members aboard the ISS, which for the US entails launching just two manned missions per year. As Congress grows increasingly weary of spending large sums on non-essential programs, a profitable private space economy is trying to gain its footing. To control costs, it will need higher passenger demand, i.e. space tourism, as well as reusable technology, such as rocket parts that can be located and reassembled after each launch. Eyeing these necessities, SpaceX is working to send people to mars in the next 20 years.
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Research by neuroscientists at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory helps explain how the brain regulates arousal.
The big day has come: You are taking your road test to get your driver's license. As you start your mom's car with a stern-faced evaluator in the passenger seat, you know you'll need to be alert but not so excited that you make mistakes. Even if you are simultaneously sleep-deprived and full of nervous energy, you need your brain to moderate your level of arousal so that you do your best.
A disturbing interview given by a KGB defector in 1984 describes America of today and outlines four stages of mass brainwashing used by the KGB.
- Bezmenov described this process as "a great brainwashing" which has four basic stages.
- The first stage is called "demoralization" which takes from 15 to 20 years to achieve.
- According to the former KGB agent, that is the minimum number of years it takes to re-educate one generation of students that is normally exposed to the ideology of its country.
When these companies compete, in the current system, the people lose.
- When a company reaches the top of the ladder, they typically kick it away so that others cannot climb up on it. The aim? So that another company can't compete.
- When this phenomenon happens in the pharmaceutical world, companies quickly apply for broad protection of their patents, which can last up to 20 years, and fence off research areas for others. The result of this? They stay at the top of the ladder, at the cost of everyday people benefitting from increased competition.
- Since companies have worked out how to legally game the system, Amin argues we need to get rid of this "one size fits all" system, which treats product innovation the same as product invention. Companies should still receive an incentive for coming up with new products, he says, but not 20 years if the product is the result of "tweaking" an existing one.
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