SpaceShipOne's launch crowd
I just volunteered for SpaceShipOne's launch crowd on Sept 29th, 2004. It is also (and, I hope, not coincidentally in the minds of many) the day my favorite asteroid, Toutatis
, make the closest approach to earth of nearly any major asteroid, roughly 1.6m km - or only 4 times the distance from here to the moon -
that's a short hop to some of the most desirable real estate in the solar system - packing billions of tons of useful materials and radiation shielding, on an elliptical orbit that leads to Venus, Mars, the Belt, and the moons of Jupiter....
Traditionally, I hold a party for that - an asteroid appreciation day - instead, I'll be in the Mojave desert, with 30,000+ people, urging on the first contestant for the Ansari X-Prize, SpaceShipOne, helping willing a private spacecraft 100km above the Earth, and doing whatever is needed to help the team get there. It's really the first time since I was a member of the L5 society in the 80s, that I've done anything concrete, real, physical, connected to space.
As an oft-lonely space advocate, I'm really jazzed about sharing space - touching it - in the desert with so many others who share the same dream.
I won't mind missing Toutatis, this time
Heinlein said - "Once you reach earth orbit - you're halfway to anywhere." Only months after the US and USSR put their first men in suborbit - we had men IN orbit -
and I hope, feverently, that this start to private spaceflight makes all my childhood dreams of colonizing the solar system a reality before I retire from this earth, too. We're a long way to orbit, but one day, maybe even in the next 10 years, we will be sending men and women into space, to stay
- and maybe, one day, 20 or 30 years later, my sweetie and I could go ourselves, like I feverently dreamed we could so many years ago.
However: I'm glad I can put all those fevered dreams aside, for a day, and just concentrate on crowd control and the 80 seconds of pure joy in the launch itself. For now. But I can't help looking at Simone
, and Dawn
, and daydreaming of SpaceShipNinetyThree....
Computers that are faster, cheaper, louder, less filling, with extra whitening, and leave you with better breath
Intel announces it's dual-core plan, and an ambitious plan to halve power consumption for its laptop chips, with a completely un-ambitious plan to do it by 2010.
Dear Intel - few except gamers want a power-guzzling, fan filled, uber-fast home computer, they just want one that's good enough. Think of your current product plans as the 1970s model american automobile - before massive inflation, a defense buildup, and an oil shortage. If you don't find a killer post-multi-media software application worth driving your cpu chips into the home, your revenues will continue to decline.
Ericson drops bluetooth
In the multi-media PC, you're just imitating Via's growth market, and you still haven't figured out that your component (the cpu and motherboard chipset) is the only part of the system whose cost seems likely to decline.
Also: Worrying note for you - Remember RISC? See all the arm and mips and competing x86-clone cpus going into embedded devices all around you - it's baaaaack. If you stuck floating point in a shipping arm cpu, you will cannibalize sales from the x86 - but solve your power management problems long before 2010.
, signifying mostly that bluetooth's life will be long, but stuck in the IR and wireless handset replacement market....
while the big handset and wifi providers get behind wifi
- signifying the slow squeezeout of independent wifi operators similar to what happened in the ISP market post-AOLhell (1995)
DirectTV plans an ambitious launch schedule to expand HDTV broadcast capability
. No sign of what kind of launch vehicle they intend to use. But speaking of that...