Friday, February 16, 2024

Short Takes – 2-16-24

With a dire warning, concerns rise about conflict in space with Russia. article. More on ‘new Russian threat’. Pull quote: ““This is not an active capability that’s been deployed,” White House spokesman John Kirby told reporters Thursday. Kirby didn’t address questions about whether the system was designed to use a nuclear weapon or was perhaps powered by nuclear energy. But, citing earlier news reports, he said he could “confirm that it is related to an antisatellite capability that Russia is developing.””

America’s Space War Vulnerability. commentary. Pull quote: “Other leaders were quick to downplay or dismiss the threat, saying it’s not imminent and there’s no need to start building a shelter or laying in the canned goods. House Speaker Mike Johnson said “we just want to assure everyone: Steady hands are at the wheel, we’re working on it, and there’s no need for alarm.” Whose steady hands is he talking about—81-year-old President Biden’s, or those in the currently dysfunctional House?”

‘It’s not about numbers’ in shipbuilding race with China: US Navy chief. article. Pull quote: “But in practice, the annual budgets — both the Navy’s topline funding and lawmakers’ propensity to rely on continuing resolutions — have made it exceedingly unlikely the service will ever reach that 355-ship goal in near term. Those circumstances have led past CNOs, and now Franchetti, to say that an apples-to-apples comparison between the US and Chinese navies doesn’t accurately capture the technology advantages the American fleet possesses.”

New House map would help Democrats in fight to win close Syracuse seat. article. Pull quote: “The new district would go from one that President Joe Biden won by about 7 percentage points in the 2020 election to one that he would have won by about 11 points, according to an early analysis from Dave Wasserman, a redistricting expert with the Cook Political Report in Washington.”

Shrinking margin creates new headaches for GOP. article. Pull quote: ““I think it would be easier if we, you know, we didn’t switch Speakers midstream,” Massie [R,KY] said. “And that’s no slight towards Mike Johnson. It’s just, people owe their positions on committees to a Speaker who’s no longer here. And some people who got elected with the help of the party feel obligated to people who are no longer here. And typically when you have a Speaker start at the beginning of the term, the carrots and the sticks are available, but none of that is available to Speaker Johnson right now, so it’s kind of hard to manage.””

Valley Fever Cases Surge after California’s Atmospheric River Downpour. article.   Pull quote: “The flooding caused by intensifying winter rainstorms in California is helping to spread a deadly fungal disease called coccidioidomycosis, or Valley fever. “Hydro-climate whiplash is increasingly wide swings between extremely wet and extremely dry conditions,” said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at University of California, Los Angeles. Humans are finding it difficult to adapt to this new pattern. But fungi are thriving, Swain said. Valley fever, he added, “is going to become an increasingly big story.””

Varda gets reentry license for space manufacturing capsule. article. Pull quote: ““This is the first time in our nation’s history that the FAA has granted a [14 CFR] Part 450 reentry license, and licensed a commercial entity to land a spacecraft on U.S. soil,” Varda said in its statement about the license. “We are incredibly proud to have this opportunity with our government partners, and appreciate their dedication to safe innovation in the United States.””

New Chinese Lander to Start Building Base From Moon Dust Bricks. article. Pull quote: “The China National Space Administration (CNSA) is encouraging companies and researchers to come up with a special device that can squeeze moon soil into bricks, as well as a robot to assemble them into an early prototype habitat of a future research station on the Moon's south pole.”

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