Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The pros and cons of Moon Base Gingrich

Jan 30th 2012, 21:38 by N.L. | CHICAGO (Online only)

AS VOTERS in space-mad Florida consider their options in tomorrow's Republican primary they may wonder if Newt Gingrich’s idea for a moon base is a shameless appeal to their parochial interests. But they'd be wrong to doubt his sincerity. For nearly three decades Mr Gingrich has been touting space colonisation; he co-founded the Congressional Aviation and Space Caucus and wrote a book that called for more space exploration. He is as space mad as the Floridians he hopes to win over. But that raises another question: how mad is this idea?

That depends. The idea for a moon base was a feature of George W. Bush’s space policy. But there is a world of difference between sending small groups of astronauts to a lunar base for months at a time, as Mr Bush envisioned, and having tens of thousands of people living permanently on the moon, as Mr Gingrich envisions. [More...]

Picture: Wikimedia Commons, dbking

Monday, January 16, 2012

Oiling the wheels

Jan 14th 2012, 18:09 by N.L. | CHICAGO Online blog only ..

ONE might have expected a humble presentation from Bob Dudley, head of BP, who spoke at the Economic Club of Chicago yesterday. In 2010, his company was responsible for a disaster in the Gulf of Mexico when an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig killed 11 men, injured 17 others, and released more oil into the ocean than any other accident in the history of the industry. But it was not to be that way. Instead, and reading between the lines, Mr Dudley had an interesting new year’s message for a country in the middle of hard economic times: you need us as much as we need you.

In the middle of 2010, BP’s reputation was in tatters. And let’s face it, 5m barrels of crude oil spilling into the Gulf were bound to upset the natives. But as the crisis unfolded, politicians made things much more difficult for BP by publicly tearing strips off the company. Eager to stay in tune with the nation, and cast off an image of impotence, the administration said it would keep its boot on the throat of BP, and the president even declared he was ready to “kick ass”. [More...]