Monthly Archives: November 2012

NASA technology (24)

J-2X — Back in the Saddle Again
NASA – A J-2X power pack assembly burns brightly during a hot fire test Nov. 27 at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. Engineers pulled the assembly from the test stand in September to install additional instrumentation in the fuel turbopump. The test, which ran for 278 seconds, verified the newly installed strain gauges designed to measure the turbine structural strain when the turbopump is spinning at high speeds that vary between 25,000 and 30,000 rotations-per-minute. The J-2X engine — built by Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne of Canoga Park, Calif. — will power the upper stage of NASA’s Space Launch System, managed at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. The new heavy-lift rocket system will launch the Orion spacecraft and enable humans to explore new destinations beyond low Earth orbit Image credit: NASA/SSC

The Fiscal Cliff Bargain is Peanuts

By Paul Roderick Gregory – The internet and print media are full of accounts of an evolving bargain in the fiscal cliff negotiations. The Republicans will accept $1.2 trillion in tax hikes on the “rich,” and the Democrats will accept $400 billion of spending cuts. These increases and cuts are to be spread over a ten year period. Annualized, taxes are supposed to increase $120 billion ($.12 trillion) per year and spending cuts by $40 billion ($.04 trillion) per year.

In a word, the fiscal cliff deal yields, at best, small, marginal, and even trivial changes.

The fiscal cliff negotiations do not touch the looming disaster of almost $100 trillion (Yes, trillion!) in unfunded federal government liabilities under its existing entitlement programs. The Obama administration will leave that problem for the next administration to tackle. more>

Leave “fairy world” behind, Draghi tells euro zone

By Daniel Flynn and Leigh Thomas – The euro zone‘s crisis is far from over and its members must tighten budgets and forge a banking union to leave behind the “fairy world” that allowed problems to grow, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said on Friday (Nov 30).

Draghi’s call for reform was echoed by International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde, who said implementing a banking union with powers to supervise all banks in the euro zone should be the currency bloc’s top priority. more>

Internal Combustion Engines Primed for Performance


By Charles Murray – Hybrid powertrains grab all the headlines these days, but conventional internal combustion engines are also advancing at a torrid pace. Technologies such as variable valve timing, cylinder deactivation, direct injection, and turbocharging are boosting engine performance and fuel efficiency as never before. more>

Clueless officials hamper cybersecurity law-making


EFF_icon_spch (Photo credit: ElectronicFrontierFoundation)

By Ellyne Phneah – In today’s security climate, there are cyberattacks and online crimes. The former involves sophisticated malware introduced to the networks of mission-critical systems to damage them irreparably, while the latter involve perpetrators using scam Web sites to steal small amounts of money from people.

These are two separate issues that require different solutions, and enacting a bill to try and address both is equivalent to having an open-ended bill entitled “Combating crime: terrorism, shoplifting”, Dan Auerbach, staff technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) pointed out. more>


CONGRESS WATCH H.R. 6429, STEM Jobs Act of 2012 CBO Releases a Report on Unemployment Insurance Unemployment Insurance in the Wake of the Recent Recession Using Analytic Models and Communicating Their Findings S. 3340, Mental Health Access to Continued Care … Continue reading


CONGRESS WATCH Government Debt/Spending, US Congress Hitting $16 Trillion in National Debt, US Congress STIVERS BLOG: November 2012, US Congress FDNY Engine Arrives in Groveport, Emotions Run High, Joe Stoll, Channel 6 TV/US Congress