Mind Of A Millionaire
Despite being Columbia's 13th trip into space, and having been in orbit over Hallowe'en, STS-52 had proved a spectacular success. In fact, the mission lasted almost exactly the same length of time predicted in the pre-flight press kit. It was the second landing in Florida for NASA's flagship Shuttle for more than a year, KSC had officially been on 'equal footing' with Edwards as the primary end-of-mission landing site. In June 1991, NASA had announced its intention to routinely use KSC among other reasons it saved the agency the million-dollar cost of ferrying Shuttles back from California.
In the seventies, NASA started supporting small observing programs to the tune of a few million dollars per year (a couple of pennies from each American). Whereas Ozma had listened in on two stars, the new plan called for the world's largest radio dishes to sample radio waves from a thousand promising suns. Fortunately, a couple of billionaires, as well as many ordinary folks, came to the rescue, and American SETI was privatized and run out of the nonprofit SETI Institute in Mountain View, California. SETI benefited from the 1990s information technology bubble in Silicon Valley, when rich, altruistic visionaries were swarming the South Bay. Much of the funding to privatize SETI was provided by Bill Hewlett, Dave Packard, Gordon Moore (cofounder of Intel), and Paul Allen (cofounder of Microsoft). Each kicked in a million bucks of his pocket change.
Did the presence of what were essentially two secondary payloads require an entire mission, they asked, with all the risks involved, not to mention the enormous pricetag, which ran into several hundred million dollars NASA's reply was that its commitment to ASI to launch LAGEOS-2 had been signed before Challenger, and the agency intended to honour it. Questions over the worthiness of USMP-1 to fly on Columbia as a primary payload were best answered by Al Diaz, NASA's deputy associate administrator for space science, who rhetorically asked journalists, ''How do you determine how much Nobel Prize science is worth ''
Only one rocket can be launched on any one day, thus enabling the range to concentrate its full resources on that mission. The agreement of General Dynamics, who built the Atlas, to offer their 'slot' on 21 March to Columbia provided a much-needed boost, particularly to the Germans, who were reportedly paying a million dollars every day just to keep their Spacelab-D2 experiments and ground personnel flight-ready. The mission, with its 560-million pricetag, had already been criticised and the enormous cost of reunification since the Berlin Wall was torn down in 1989 had imposed restrictions on Germany's space ambitions.
One thing, however, is certain once harmful insects are well established in a new territory, it is impossible to eliminate them. Yet attempts to do so have been made. In America, millions of dollars have been spent dumping tons of insecticides on the most heavily infested areas. But to no effect. Edward O. Wilson has used the expression 'an entomological Vietnam' to describe the nature of this lost war. The pests prevail, the imported red fire ants thus vindicating their scientific name of invicta, meaning 'invincible'.
When you look at him, at the manicured beard and wellshorn, though balding, head, the Italian leather shoes and smart-cut suit, it's no longer easy to recognize Jonathan for the geek he truly is. Mostly you can see it in his hazel eyes, now that he's learned to clean his glasses so they're no longer covered with a grimy film. There are still lots of urns and ahs that punctuate his sentences, but he's gotten better at getting to the point. That Jonathan is a successful academic doctor who is invited to speak all over the world will surprise no one who meets him that he is responsible for millions of dollars of research grants seems perfectly appropriate. This is clearly an accomplished individual. However, he's changed a lot in the decade and a half we've known each other.
By the time the first assembly mission, STS-88, had finally carried a US-built connecting node called Unity into orbit in December 1998 and bolted it onto the Russian control module, the project was already running billions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule. More trouble was in store the habitat module, again Russian-built, would require another 18 months before it finally reached space, delaying the arrival of the station's first full-time crew until October 2000.
The impact of storms on power systems can be mitigated by reducing current flow with series capacitors in transmission lines or in the earth wires of transformers. Several such have been put in place in Quebec since 1989 but they are expensive and their installation is not straightforward. In the short term, effective forecasting might allow timely reduction in loading of the system to introduce more leeway and in other ways ensure that operators have emergency procedures in place.27 But restoring power after an extensive blackout is perhaps more problematic especially as demand can then be six times the normal level. Equipment is damaged, delaying restoration further. Large transformers can cost over 10 million each and may take over a year to replace. The cost of a major blackout in France lasting 4 h was put at a billion dollars a major blackout in the northeastern USA would now result in losses measured in several billions of dollars extrapolation to the flare of 1859 suggests...
Count Alexander Andreevich von Keyserling, 1815-91, Russian aristocrat, studied law in Berlin where he met Humboldt and became interested in geology. He was employed in the Russian Department of Mining (1842) and collaborated with Murchison on the geology of the Urals. Marriage in 1844 secured his financial independence.
In the USA, however, some palaeontologists I know who have been working their sites for a number of years are being turned away because commercial dealers can afford to pay private landowners good fees for exploring and exploiting their sites. A system of tax credits for fossils removed should be put into place for sites that are scientifically important. The landowner enters into an agreement with the museum or university group which allows them to quarry the dinosaur bones (or trilobites or whatever). In return, the landowner will receive tax credits based on the market value of the specimens. Of course, this scheme becomes unworkable when large and highly valuable skeletons, potentially worth hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars, are taken out of private land, as the landowner may not pay enough tax in his lifetime to reap any benefits. In such cases, the institution which is gaining such a specimen should be morally obliged to pay the landowner a reasonable percentage...
In sounds strange, but between December 1972 and April 1973 two stations were simultaneously in preparation at Baykonur, which was fairly buzzing with activity. One was OPS-1 for the military and the other was DOS-3 for the Soviet Academy of Sciences. The relationship between the TsKBM and the TsKBEM was strained by competition for access to the altitude chamber and other service test facilities. Mishin's engineers had also to prepare the Soyuz that was to deliver the first Almaz crew. And Chelomey's people were also preparing two Protons one for OPS-1, the other for DOS-3. All this activity followed the fiasco of the fourth N1 lunar rocket on 22 November 1972, which exploded after 107 seconds, a few seconds before the first stage was to have shut down and been jettisoned. The Kremlin finally accepted what had long been evident to many at the TsKBEM - the N1, and indeed the entire N1-L3 programme, was so complex that to perfect it would take much more money, resources and time than...
To prevent future terrorist attacks, the United States developed a staggeringly complex system of technologies and bureaucracies, culminating in the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, with an annual operating budget of 40 billion. Systems for detecting explosives, chemical weapons, and biological agents became central to the government's effort. And scientists are coming to understand that no instrument is more finely attuned to the environment, and more keenly responsive to trace chemicals, than the sensory system of insects. It should not be surprising that the U.S. government is investing millions of dollars in exploiting the potential of insects as guardians of the country.1 But this is not the first venture of this sort nearly a half century ago, military scientists pursued a similar line of research that was also driven by a sense of urgency and fear.
GlobalStar's demise prompted Teledesic to reassess its strategy. In February 2002 it announced that a new ''advanced network design'' would enable it to employ a constellation of 30 satellites in medium orbit rather than 288 in low orbit. The first 12 satellites (costing 1 billion) would provide an initial operating capability with coverage in selected (high revenue-generating) territories. The other 18 satellites would be added later to expand to global coverage.127 To preclude the Federal Communications Commission rescinding its operating licence, Teledesic issued a contract to Alenia Spazio in Italy to build the first two satellites.128 29 On 1 October 2002 it ordered a halt to this construction.130 31 Having reviewed the commercial prospects for broadband by satellite, the company had concluded that it was not prudent to continue purely on the speculation that a market would develop. Satellite point-to-point showed ''no foreseeable financial market or commercial prospects'', it...
It was a triumphant moment for both the crew and NASA as a whole. After more than a decade of planning and development, maddening problems with thermal protection tiles and main engines, boosters and fuel tanks and billions of dollars poured into the programme, it seemed that the Shuttle was finally beginning to prove its commercial worth. It still, as many astronauts pointed out, had nowhere to shuttle to - certainly, no space station was officially on NASA's
Following the huge success of Jurassic Park, Tim Haines at the BBC in London decided to try to use the new CGI techniques to produce a documentary series about dinosaurs. Year by year, desktop computers were becoming more powerful, and the CGI software was becoming more sophisticated. What had once cost millions of dollars now cost only thousands. This resulted in the series Walking with Dinosaurs, first shown in 1999 and 2000.
Kulik's second expedition was widely reported in British and American newspapers. The London Times of 26 November 1928 noted that Professor Kulik 'has reached Krasonyars having tolerably recovered from the hardships of his journey'. The New York Times reported on 2 December 'Professor Leonid Kulik, Russian geologist, is now reported to be on his way to Leningrad from the depths of North-eastern Siberia, where a relief expedition found him two months ago after he had been given for dead.' A phrase in the report's long headline also hinted at the treasures buried in meteorite craters 'meteoric iron deposits estimated at 1,000,000'. The Literary Digest of 16 March 1929 published an account of an interview with Kulik and Sytin, which concluded with the following comment 'The value of the metals in the Siberian find is estimated by Mr Sitin sic as between one hundred million and two hundred million dollars, chiefly for the iron and platinum . the chief object of further investigation of...
Humans are the only mammals to habitually walk and run on two legs. One of the million-dollar questions in human origins is why did a quadrupedal ape living at about 6 Mya start to walk bipedally Four legs are far superior over two for strength, speed, and balance. Also, what kind of selection pressure was needed to evolve adaptations for bipedalism from quadrupedalism The other question that goes hand in hand with the question of why is the question of when when did hominins become habitually bipedal and lose most of their arboreal adaptations
This book would not have been possible without the assistance of a number of individuals far more knowledgeable than I on the intricacies of the Solid Rocket Boosters, Shuttle main engines, External Tank fuelling procedures, crew training activities and, of course, the operation of the orbiter's multi-million-dollar toilet. I must thank the ever-patient Clive Horwood of Praxis for his support and advice, David Harland for reviewing each chapter, pointing out my mistakes and sharpening up the text, and to the project's copy editor, Alex Whyte.
Both landing opportunities for that day - at 10 47 am and 12 23 pm - were called off due to cloud cover to the east of the SLF runway that Air Force meteorologists were worried could drift over the runway and hamper Cabana and Halsell's visibility on final approach. The weather was fine at Edwards Air Force Base but, with anticipated good conditions in Florida on 23 July, and presumably unwilling to pay the million-dollar fee of ferrying Columbia back to KSC from California on top of a 747, NASA opted to keep the crew aloft for an additional 24 hours.
The satellite finally retired from US government service in February 1998, bringing to an end more than a decade of Leasat operations. However, its usefulness was not yet over. Under a multi-million-dollar contract with the Australian Defence Force, in May of that year it was moved into a new orbital slot at 156 degrees East longitude for use by the Royal Australian Navy. It was a reprieve for the satellite according to Hughes' spokesman Ronald Swanson, '' it was literally within days of being propelled into a useless 'graveyard' orbit, since its service to the Department of Defense had been completed''.
Chyba, a SETI Institute scientist and student of Carl Sagan, received a five-year NASA grant to study planetary biology, evolution, and the nature of intelligence. The funding was small, about one million dollars a year, but the symbolic value was large. SETI was back at NASA after an embarrassing defeat in Congress and a decade of exile.
We have been describing a search for signals beamed in our general direction by civilizations interested in communicating with us. We ourselves are not beaming signals in the direction of some specific other star or stars. If all civilizations listened and none transmitted, we would each reach the erroneous conclusion that the Galaxy was unpopulated, except by ourselves. Accordingly, it has been proposed - as an alternative and much more expensive enterprise - that we also eavesdrop that is, tune in on the signals that a civilization uses for its own purposes, such as domestic radio and television transmission, radar surveillance systems, and the like. A large radio telescope devoting half time to a rigorous search for intelligent extraterrestrial signals beamed our way would cost tens of millions of dollars (or rubles) to construct and operate. An array of large radio telescopes, designed to eavesdrop to a distance of some hundreds of light-years, would cost many billions of dollars....
Apollo 17 marked the end of the Apollo lunar missions. It seems clear, at least in the United States, that there will be a hiatus of a decade or more before further lunar exploration and lunar bases are organized. Apollo's primary orientation was never scientific. It was conceived at a time of political embarrassment for the United States. Several historians have suggested that a principal motivation of President Kennedy in organizing the Apollo program was to deflect public attention from the stinging defeat suffered at the Bay of Pigs invasion. Several tens of billions of dollars have been expended on the Apollo program. If the objective had been scientific exploration of the Moon, it could have been carried out much more effectively, for much less money, by unmanned vehicles. The early Apollo missions went to lunar sites of little scientific interest, because the safety of the astronauts was the prime, almost the only, concern. Only toward the very end of the Apollo series did...
Billions of dollars had been invested in the Shuttle, which was to be the most advanced spacecraft yet to depart Earth. The achievement had not, however, come without problems. Since the original contracts to build the Shuttle had been signed almost a decade earlier, its designers had faced setback after setback frustrating problems with the development of a patchwork of heat-resistant tiles to shield it during its searing, high-speed re-entry and maddening failures of its throttleable, liquid-fuelled main engines. There was political fallout, too, with the Shuttle's powerful Congressional opponents questioning the need for a multi-billion-dollar reusable manned spaceplane.
This book and my personal journey through Apollo, discovering how it all functioned and what happened on another world, owe an endless debt of gratitude more to one man than to any others I have encountered along the way. Geographical distance has so far prohibited me from having the opportunity to shake his hand and thank him personally, as he lives on the other side of the world. Yet the internet allows me to count him as one of my closest friends. Eric Jones took on the monumental task of compiling a journal of the first era of lunar exploration after becoming frustrated at how his country had shelved the lessons learned when they spent billions of dollars in going to the Moon. Inspired by J. C. Beaglehole's journals of Captain James Cook's exploration 200 years earlier, he recounted and explained every moment the Apollo crews spent on the lunar surface. By making his efforts freely available on the internet, I and people from around the world came on board, adding our time and...
The Shuttle, as advertised, was capable of carrying up to three communications satellites, together with their motors and sunshades, in her cavernous payload bay and NASA hoped that this could bring in millions of dollars of revenue each year. The launch of just two satellites by the STS-5 crew would net the space agency a first royalty payment of 18 million. Ultimately, it was hoped to out-compete for commercial contracts with the recently inaugurated European-built Ariane expendable rocket by offering 'free' seats on board the Shuttle to customers' representatives.
Criminal charges were laid against the Larsons and Peter Larson was eventually sentenced, quite harshly in view of the charges, to two years for retaining (buying) fossils valued at less than US 100 taken by a third party from Gallatin National Park, plus two counts of customs violations with respect to taking money out of the country. He had been convicted of only two counts out of 33 felony charges. The US government had spent millions of dollars on the case, but the Larsons were acquitted of the main charge, that of being involved in a conspiracy to steal fossils from public lands. The jury had not seen them, or their institute, as being in any way fraudulent. (I first met Peter Larson and his brother Neil at the inaugural Dinofest Conference in Indianapolis in 1994, and was impressed by the level of scholarship Peter exhibited in his presentation on the anatomy of the new Tyrannosaurus skeleton. Many of the other palaeontologists also commented upon his good work. He had...
These new responsibilities meant that he had to earn more money. The prospects for an imminent salary increase at Pisa were slender. Nor was the intellectual climate of his toga-clad colleagues especially inspiring with their stagnant Aristotelian dogmatics. Consequently, Galileo was most interested
Deimos were indeed captured asteroids, examining them from Mariner 9 was the equivalent of a free mission to the asteroid belt The proposed scan platform maneuver would save NASA two hundred million dollars or so. This argument was judged, at least in some circles, to be more compelling. After about a year of my lobbying, a planning group on satellite astronomy was set up, and tentative plans were made for examining Phobos and Deimos. The satellite astronomy working group was, at my suggestion, chaired by Dr. James Pollack, a former student of mine but it was a sign of NASA reluctance that the group was formed only after the launch of Mariner 9, and only about two months before its arrival at Mars. (Mariner 8 had, meanwhile, failed.)
So, yes, let's get billionaires to spend millions, or taxpayers to spend pennies, to build huge radio arrays. Let's scan all the stars we can in any way we can think of, for as long as we can. Because you never know. Still, after more than forty years, you do start to wonder
The egg cases were put to use as Randy visualized where and when Sonic hedgehog is active in the development of skates. He first studied whether Sonic hedgehog turns on at the same time in skate fin development as it does in chicken limbs. Yes, it does. Then he studied whether it is turned on in the patch of tissue at the back end of the fin, the equivalent of our pinky. Yes again. Now he did his vitamin A experiment. This was the million-dollar moment. If you treat the limb of a chicken or mammal with this compound, you get a patch of tissue that has Sonic hedgehog activity on the opposite side, and this result is coupled with a duplication of the bones. Randy injected the egg, waited a day or so, and then checked whether, as in chickens, the vitamin A caused Sonic hedgehog to turn on in the opposite side of the limb. It did. Now came the long wait. We knew that Sonic hedgehog was behaving the same way in our hands and in skates' and sharks' fins. But what would the effect of all...
The best way to win is to see into the future and know which horse will come in first. But in the real world, gamblers can only hope to winnow down their choices to a few strong horses. Even with this limited selection, they run the risk of losing money. Some gamblers shield themselves against losses by hedging their bets. They wager on several horses in the same race. If one of their horses wins, they get money. They don't leave the racetrack with as much money as they would have had they bet only on the winner. But the other bets can act as a good insurance policy. If one of the other horses wins, the gambler can still go home with more money than he came with.
''The alternative we were looking at was Chandra in this orbit, or no Chandra at all,'' Weisskopf said, ''and so we took the risk to reduce the cost because the option scientifically was infinitely better to have a Chandra in orbit than no Chandra at all. We saved billions of dollars with that decision.'' The decision to launch the observatory into an orbit that was beyond the capabilities of Shuttle repair crews was, however, a tough sell. Already, Hubble had been sent into orbit with a flawed primary mirror and only the skills of spacewalking Shuttle astronauts had saved it.
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