On NPR today, I heard a radio version of this Slate article where Bruce Ackerman and Ian Ayres propose to change the electoral system by having each person ‘vote’ their portion of a Federal election fund. In this scheme, private/corporate/etc. funds which form the majority of the funding in today’s major campaigns would be balanced by a sufficiently large Federal fund. The Federal fund is to the tune of 3 billion dollars, which I admit sounds like a lot, but remember that the 2007 Federal budget is to the tune of 2.5 trillion dollars (US Gov’t Printing Office). I’m not convinced by this scheme, mostly because I can’t imagine it ever getting enacted. I have a hard time imagining a politician suggesting a plan which A) raises taxes (or cuts programs) and B) alienates the influence of their own fiscal supporters. I have my own thoughts on how to reform the campaign funding process (see below), but first I want to talk about New York state.
Archive for June, 2007
Nate is starting his second month today. The Photographic Growth Chart has been updated.
People keep asking us which one of us Nathan takes after, or who’s eyes/ears/etc. he has (answer: his). We can’t decide… so we’re hoping you’ll help us. If you’re willing, go to the rest of the article and take a look at each set of pictures. You will then be able to vote on who you think Nate has the most resemblance to.
As I was sitting down to my few minutes of computer time that I get a day, I noticed a news article from our local ABC station on sunscreens. It jumped out at me because I have been searching for the best sunscreen to use on Nate when we go out for our walks. The article links to a study that was done on 800 different sunscreens to determine how much protection was actually being provided. I suggest that everyone take a look at the study and the sunscreen ratings, and find the one that will work best for you and your family.
Two nice passes of the ISS and space shuttle Atlantis tonight. The first was in twilight and the pictures didn’t come out. This later pass was low in the sky but allowed me to get this picture with several other interesting objects… including Earth’s natural satellite. The two tracks nearly blend together in the resulting image. Atlantis is scheduled to land tomorrow, so there will probably not be another opportunity to snag a picture of them for a while.
If you haven’t been out to see the space station lately, I encourage you to do so. It’s brighter than ever. This particular image doesn’t do it justice, but it’s easily as bright as Jupiter under most conditions and can rival Venus in some circumstances. The easiest way to find out when the ISS will be visible is to find a nearby city on NASA’s page. I use the Syracuse info even though that’s 25 miles away. It’s close enough to get me outside at the right time. You can also run an applet for your exact location.
SpaceX has released their report containing the flight review of the Demo Flight launched back on March 20th. I previously blogged several times about this launch when it occurred. It’s exciting to see a private company building world-class launch technologies, even if they had a small setback from what was possible on their test flight. To be fair, it WAS a test flight and most of the risk-reduction goals were achieved.
You can get the report in PDF format from SpaceX.