Wednesday, April 30, 2008

First Commercial Chartered Space Flight

Sorry I haven't posted; I was away on a business trip. But I'm back now, so without further ado:

Virgin Galactic announced a few days ago that an unnamed Dubai company paid the equivalent of $500,000 to charter an entire space flight on a SpaceShipTwo craft. This marks the first spaceflight to be completely chartered by a private company. This could be significant, as it may pave the way for similar chartered flights in the future, injecting much-needed cash into the space tourism industry.

Few details were provided by Virgin Galactic, but they did say that the flight was chartered for the company's management, and while the flight will be capable of taking six passengers, as few as two may go.

Hmm... I wonder how long it would take to ascend the corporate ladder at my company... Do I even want to? Probably not. I despise corporate politics. Still, if any of you out there are in a top-level position with a wealthy company, it's a thought...

Progress: 3.73%  Flight Time: 0:05:35

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Joe Space Tourist presidency?

So a friend and I were talking about politics just now, and he mentioned that I would make a much better president then George W. Bush. Modesty aside, I couldn't find a good argument to the contrary. So as I started thinking about it, I realized that it would be fun to hash out what I would do as President. The Joe Space Tourist administration would be way messed up, but I think messed up for the better. So without further ado, here is what my presidency would look like (and, as a result, why I will be the last man in the world to be President):

(Those easily offended by politics or social issues might want to skip this post)

EDIT: Hey, my friend Geoff is going to run against me! See his platform over at his blog,

1. I will make sane nominations for political appointments. I will never, ever, ever make an Arabian horse expert head of FEMA, unless he also happens to be a tested emergency management expert. I will ask Al Gore to be the head of the EPA. I will ask Dick Cheney to be the head of the ATF. Sound fair to you? Because it does to me. Oh, and by the way, these people know something about what they would manage! Hooray for that.

2. I am not a member of either the Democratic or Republican parties. Neither would be my Vice-President. Give us people with different opinions and creative ideas a chance. I would probably choose Ralph Nader. I know a lot of people out there are mad at him for "ruining" our elections, but if any of you have ever listened to what he has to say, you'll know that most of what he says is exactly right! The man is way smarter than me, and that is definitely a requirement for my Vice-President.

3. My first executive order? To give up the extra powers that have been hogged for the presidency in recent years. The executive branch was made weakest for a reason; the founders of this nation didn't want another king! Read your history, people.

4. I would urge congresspeople to abstain on ridiculous frivolous votes like what to rename this federal building and should we have a National Orphaned Amputee Leper Day. Do you realize that this kind of crap makes up 3/4 of what congress does these days? Those who do abstain will get to have lunch with me frequently, because they're my kind of people.
Oh, and any congressperson who participates in a baseball hearing will be taken out back and... well... told politely to leave. I am not in favor of shooting congresspeople. But I'll be visualizing it in my head.

5. Jon Stewart gets the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Don't like it? Suck on it; I get to give it to whoever I want.

6. I would mess with Texas. At every available opportunity.

7. Oh, and holy hell, do we really need a freaking military presence in every country in the world? Really? Really? Yeah, I would put an end to that. Ron Paul is right. If we just talked to everybody instead of stood around in their backyards with guns all the time, maybe they'd like us a little better, hmm? And we could save all that money, and, um, I dunno, pay off the national debt?

And here are the kinds of laws I would urge Congress to pass:

1. Get civics taught in school again! Holy hell, people! Do you realize that the majority of our population believes that the President creates laws? The President doesn't create laws; he or she just approves them! And if that's a shock to you, you're not alone! That's super-basic. It's the civics equivalent of 1+1=2. This country might run a hell of a lot smoother if people actually knew how it ran!

2. No person paid by a business (corporate or otherwise) may be paid more than 100 times the equivalent full-time wage of its least-paid employee or independent contractor. I think that that is way, way more than fair.

3. The only days Congress gets off are federal holidays plus the minimum required vacation for employees in the US. Do you realize that citizens of the United States get far less vacation leave than almost any other industrialized nation? Any congressperson missing any additional days without a doctor's note gets fired, and their district or state has to hold a special election. Congress needs to get more done anyway.

4. More money for NASA. Where has our sense of exploration gone?

5. Get rid of all the silly obnoxious protect-people-for-their-own-good laws. Smoke pot? Great! So long as you do it in your own home and don't operate heavy machinery. Motorcycle without a helmet? Stupid! But why not? The only person you're killing is yourself. I'll make exceptions for taking truly addictive substances since people doing that often hurt others trying to get more of the stuff. But in general, if the only person you're hurting is yourself, you should have the freedom to do what you want. Remember freedom? I don't. I was born during the Regan administration.
(Okay, that was a bit harsh, but I had a clever burn on Regan in my head and couldn't resist.)

6. Um... enforce anti-trust laws?

7. Publicly funded presidential and congressional campaigns! I used to be against this myself, but I changed my mind when it was put to me this way: what amount of money would you be willing to pay to eliminate corporate influence on the government? I mean, this wouldn't fix the problem, but it would help a hell of a lot. Also, since we could limit the money that campaigns get, we would effectively limit the amount of obnoxious campaign ads! And really, who wouldn't be in favor of that?

8. Maintain a concise web-accessible searchable database of where our tax money goes. This should be a constitutional amendment.

9. Sign on to the Kyoto Protocol. I mean, practically half the country has done it already independently of the federal government; let's just make it official. That's right, Texas! You have to clean up your crap!

And... that's all I can think of for now. I'll probably add more onto it later.

Progress: 3.73%  Flight Time: 0:05:35

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Not as much progress as I thought...

Well, I was able to do some recalculations, and it turns out that I did some pretty poor math earlier; I'm not quite as far along toward my trip to space as I thought. Turns out, I've only saved 3.73% toward my goal, putting me at a flight time of 5:35. But I'm still at tasting distance of 4%, and I will make it back there soon enough!

Progress: 3.73%  Flight Time: 0:05:35

I'm back! (Really!)

Yeah yeah yeah, I know I've been gone for two weeks without a word. Well, I don't have an excuse, but I do have a reason. My reason can be found behind this link, but do not click on it if you wish to have free time for the next couple of weeks.

Yeah, it's a game. And a dinky flash game nonetheless! I mean, I've played huge games like Horizons, Vanguard, and Eve Online with incredible graphics and dozens of programmers constantly looking for ways to make them more fun, and yet I got so addicted to a silly little game like Desktop Tower Defense that I've basically wasted my free time for the past couple of weeks! Hats off to its programmers.

Well, no more. I've finally managed to tear myself away from it, so I'll be able to spend way more time on things like: this website! Also, I've been reading a great new book lately called The Getaway Special by Jerry Oltion. If you like the sci-fi genre, or even if you are interested in what the effects that surprise interplanetary travel might have on our society, I highly recommend it. A mad scientist invents faster-than-light travel from (basically) parts you can buy at Radio Shack, and so the book is about how.. um.. stuff hits the fan. Very fun.

Fortunately, nothing too major happened in the world of space tourism while I was on my two week leave of absence, but I will catch you up on a couple of things in the coming days. Oh! And this month's contribution to my space tourism savings bumped me past 4% and the 6 minute mark! Very exciting. That's all for now!

Progress: 4.06%  Flight Time: 0:06:05