Daily Archives: January 17, 2014

NASA technology (85)

At Work in the Destiny Laboratory of the International Space Station

NASA – NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins, Expedition 38 flight engineer, performs in-flight maintenance on combustion research hardware in the Destiny laboratory of the International Space Station in this image taken on Dec. 30, 2013.

Hopkins replaced a Multi-user Droplet Combustion Apparatus (MDCA) fuel reservoir inside the Combustion Integrated Rack (CIR).

The Combustion Integrated Rack (CIR) includes an optics bench, combustion chamber, fuel and oxidizer control, and five different cameras for performing combustion experiments in microgravity.

The Rise and Fall of the Failed-State Paradigm

By Michael J. Mazarr – From a third angle, however, it could be seen as a solution to an unusual concern confronting U.S. policymakers in this era: what to do with a surplus of national power.

The United States entered the 1990s with a dominant international position and no immediate threats. Embracing a substantially reduced U.S. global role would have required a fundamental reassessment of the prevailing consensus in favor of continued primacy, something few in or around the U.S. national security establishment were prepared to consider.

Ever since World War II, the United States has labored mightily to underwrite the stability of the international system. more> http://tinyurl.com/myoo4ds

An Experiment with Basic Income

By Frances Coppola – In 1795, the parish of Speen, in Berkshire, England, embarked on a radical new system of poor relief.

Due to the ruinous French wars and a series of poor harvests, grain prices were rising sharply. As bread was the staple food of the poor, rising grain prices increased poverty and caused unrest.

Concerned by the possibility of riots, the parish decided to provide subsistence-level income support to the working poor. The amounts paid were anchored to the price of bread. Each member of a family qualified for a payment, so the larger the family, the more they received. In effect, it was a system of in-work benefits.

And it worked. The Speenhamland system did relieve poverty and malnutrition, and prevent riots – which was its purpose. Because of this it was widely copied, and Pitt the Younger even tried to write it into national legislation.

But it was not without its problems and its critics. more> http://tinyurl.com/n4r38bx

Eye-catching electronics

By Peter Rüegg – The aim is to weave these types of components into textiles or apply them to the skin in order to make objects “smart”, or develop unobtrusive, comfortable sensors that can monitor various functions of the body.

The membrane consists of the polymer parylene, which the researchers evaporate layer by layer into a conventional two-inch wafer. The parylene film has a maximum thickness of 0.001 mm, making it 50 times thinner than a human hair. In subsequent steps, they used standardised methods to build transistors and sensors from semiconductor materials, such as indium gallium zinc oxide, and conductors, such as gold. The researchers then released the parylene film with its attached electronic components from the wafer.

An electronic component fabricated in this way is extremely flexible, adaptable and—depending on the material used for the transistors—transparent. more> http://tinyurl.com/m76p5pz

Best Buy’s Unhappy Holiday Season

By Megan McArdle – In response to the competitive threat of Amazon.com Inc., Best Buy decided to match its prices. You can understand why it wanted to do this, but you can also easily see why this is insane. Best Buy is never going to beat Amazon on price; Amazon’s warehouses give it giant economies of scale. And it doesn’t have to spend money making the display space pretty.

Back in November, when Best Buy announced this strategy, I wrote, “It’s hard to see this ending well.” And it hasn’t. more> http://tinyurl.com/kgnt4a6

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CONGRESS WATCH Duffy Introduces BROWSE Act, YouTube [VIDEO 1:21]

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CONGRESS WATCH Guest Column: Bill would change military for better, Jaime Herrera Beutler, tdn.com Lawmakers: Washington not revisiting CRC, Eric Florip, Columbian PUD board covers lots of ground, Diana Zimmerman, waheagle.com Jaime Herrera Beutler votes for budget deal, chinookobserver.com

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CONGRESS WATCH Sen. Cornyn Speaks at Press Stakeout Jan. 14th, 2014, YouTube [VIDEO 1:22]

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CONGRESS WATCH Fifty Years of Failure, Steve Chabot

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CONGRESS WATCH Griffin Announces State of the Union Essay Competition for High School Students, US Congress