SpaceX’s Launch This Weekend Is a Monument to Space Capitalism—Just Ask NASA | Nextgov.com


Emphasizing the freedom NASA’s commercial partners have to work in their own KSC (Kennedy Space Center) areas, Robert Cabana says that during the Space Shuttle era, launch sites were governed by some 2,200 safety requirements.

He asked his team to strip down the rules, eliminating best practices, and came up with just 500 core safety requirements for NASA launches. But at commercial launch sites, there are only 55 safety requirements. “Requirements are costly,” Cabana says.

This underscores perhaps the single biggest difference between NASA and its commercial partners: risk tolerance. NASA likes to have next to none, and pays for it, while the companies tend to embrace calculated risk as a way to iterate and learn while still developing their products.

Sometimes that’s all too apparent: Pad 40 is still undergoing reconstruction after a Falcon 9 caught fire during fueling in Sept. 2015.

This clash of philosophies is playing out as Boeing and SpaceX work to have their rocket and spacecraft designs certified for human flight by NASA.

Source: SpaceX’s Launch This Weekend Is a Monument to Space Capitalism—Just Ask NASA – Nextgov.com

Americans Just Experienced Their Biggest Spike in Stress in a Decade | GovExec.com


Americans are seriously stressed out.

After a bruising election that saw Donald Trump take the reigns of a divided nation, two-thirds of Americans—including a majority of both Democrats and Republicans—say they are stressed about the future of the country,

Love him or loathe him, Trump is undeniably an unpredictable figure. Unpredictability causes uncertainty, Vaile Wright said, and uncertainty causes stress.

Source: Americans Just Experienced Their Biggest Spike in Stress in a Decade – Promising Practices – Management – GovExec.com

Rift in GOP threatens ObamaCare repeal | TheHill


.. the bill being pushed by the Freedom Caucus would repeal ­­ObamaCare’s expansion of Medicaid, an option that centrist Republicans are wary of supporting, particularly in the Senate.

Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) , like many other more centrist lawmakers, argues Republicans should work out a replacement plan before voting to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Source: Rift in GOP threatens ObamaCare repeal | TheHill

Renewables are no longer ‘alternative.’ Fossil fuels are ‘legacy.’


At stake is not only retirement security but whether the fossil fuel era ends with a crash landing or a (relatively) smooth transition to the low-carbon future — and whether that future comes quickly enough to avert the most extreme effects of climate change.

The shape of the future is becoming clearer, as first coal, and now oil and gas, give way to solar, wind and battery power.

Can I interest you in a soot-belching coal plant? Thought not.

How about a tar sands pipeline or long trains of coal or Arctic drilling?

Source: Renewables are no longer ‘alternative.’ Fossil fuels are ‘legacy.’

The very microbes that helped us evolve now make us sick | Aeon Ideas


Between the mid-1990s and the mid-2000s alone, the likelihood of having a classmate with a food allergy increased by 20 per cent in the United States.

In fact, over the past five decades, the incidence of all allergies and autoimmune diseases – caused by your body attacking itself – has skyrocketed.

So what has changed?

In short, it’s the standard for what constitutes a good microbe versus a bad one. ‘Take bacterial species that increase nutrient absorption from food,’ Ruslan Medzhitov says.

These were immensely beneficial at a time where you had to go days without eating. Today in the parts of the world with an overabundance of food, having such bacteria in your intestine contributes to obesity. ‘Microbes that cause intestinal inflammation are another example of what we call bad microbes because they induce [detrimental immune] responses. But in the past, these microbes could have protected you from intestinal pathogens,’ he adds.

Source: The very microbes that helped us evolve now make us sick | Aeon Ideas

Aetna, Humana walk away from $34 billion deal after court ruling | Reuters


Aetna and Humana announced the deal in July 2015, just a few weeks before Anthem Inc and Cigna Corp said they would also combine. A year later, the U.S. Justice Department sued to block both transactions and won in separate lawsuits, derailing what would have been a massive industry consolidation to three insurers from five.

Aetna will pay Humana a $1 billion breakup fee, or $630 million after taxes, and terminated its plan to sell some Medicare Advantage assets to Molina Healthcare Inc, the companies said.

Source: Aetna, Humana walk away from $34 billion deal after court ruling | Reuters

Anthem’s Claim Comes Due | Bloomberg Gadfly


The $1.85 billion breakup fee Anthem Inc. is on the hook for gives it a monetary reason to appeal the federal ruling that its combination with Cigna Corp. would undermine competition and it’s moving forward with that immediately.

.. Anthem also could have waited to see what regulators would do with the Aetna-Humana transaction before entering the fray with such a large gambit.

Just because your friend jumps off a cliff, it doesn’t mean you have to, as the saying goes. Or if you’re going to jump, pack a parachute.

Source: Anthem’s Claim Comes Due – Bloomberg Gadfly

Whole Foods Finally Gets Religion | Bloomberg Gadfly


Whole Foods spread successfully across America because customers were drawn to a healthy food haven with organic fruit and other items they couldn’t get anywhere else. Now that Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Kroger and other traditional grocers offer similar items, Whole Foods has turned into just another grocery store.

And, if Whole Foods is just another grocery store, then it doesn’t make sense its shares are so much more expensive than those of its competitors. Whole Foods trades at 22 times forward earnings, compared to multiples of 14.9 and 9.2 at Kroger and Supervalu Inc., respectively.

Source: Whole Foods Finally Gets Religion – Bloomberg Gadfly

Mercedes’s Pink Noise Says: Prepare For Impact | IEEE Spectrum


Dumb cars shield against crashes. Smart cars avoid them. Shrewd cars prepare you for them.

This year, Mercedes-Benz is introducing what surely is one of the shrewdest precrash features yet: a burst of sound that causes a muscle inside the ear to contract, bracing the eardrum against the potentially deafening noise of the crash itself.

Source: Mercedes’s Pink Noise Says: Prepare For Impact – IEEE Spectrum

When We Say Someone Is Drunk on Love, Is It Chemically True?


Take romantic love. Even a happy lover shows all of the characteristics of an addict.

Foremost, besotted men and women crave emotional and physical union with their beloved. This craving is a central component of all addictions. Lovers also feel a rush of exhilaration when thinking about him or her, a form of “intoxication.”

As their obsession builds, the lover seeks to interact with the beloved more and more, known in addiction literature as “intensification.” They also think obsessively about their beloved, a form of intrusive thinking fundamental to drug dependence.

Lovers also distort reality, change their priorities and daily habits to accommodate the beloved, and often do inappropriate, dangerous, or extreme things to remain in contact with or impress this special other.

Source: When We Say Someone Is Drunk on Love, Is It Chemically True?