Monthly Archives: February 2017

SpaceX going around the moon

This is a big milestone. SpaceX has been launching rockets to the ISS, but they haven’t put a man in space yet. Now they will, and it will be a flight around the moon.

You probably know that already. Everybody else is talking about it. But I’ve got one more thing….

They’re not actually landing, but if this seems like been-there-done-that, consider these names and their missions:

  • Apollo 8: Frank Borman, James Lovell, William Anders
  • Apollo 10: Thomas Stafford, John Young, Eugene Cernan
  • Apollo 11: Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, Buzz Aldrin
  • Apollo 12: C. “Pete” Conrad, Richard Gordon, Alan Bean
  • Apollo 13: James Lovell, Jack Swigert, Fred Haise
  • Apollo 14: Alan Shepard, Stuart Roosa, Edgar Mitchell
  • Apollo 15: David Scott, Alfred Worden, James Irwin
  • Apollo 16: John Young, T. Kenneth Mattingly, Charles Duke
  • Apollo 17: Eugene Cernan, Ronald Evans, Harrison Schmitt

This is a very small club of 24 men who’ve been out that far to see the other side of the moon. (Lovell, Cernan and Young made the trip twice.) Every other astronaut since then had to remain a lot closer to home.

Now, after what will be over 45 years — not since December 1972 — two more will join the list.

MIT Technology Review’s top 10 breakthrough technologies

Via NextBigFuture: The top ten breakthrough technologies for 2017 according to MIT Technology Review:

  1. Reversing Paralysis (in 10 to 15 years)
  2. Self-Driving Trucks (in 5 to 10 years)
  3. Paying with Your Face (available now)
  4. Practical Quantum Computing (in 4-5 years)
  5. The 360-Degree Selfie (available now)
  6. Hot Solar Cells (in 10 to 15 years)
  7. Gene Therapy 2.0 (available now)
  8. The Cell Atlas (in 5 years)
  9. Botnets of Things (available now)
  10. Reinforcement Learning (in 1 to 2 years)

NextBigFuture describes each item, and links to each individual article in MIT Technology Review, whose main article is here.

I’d rather that things like reversing paralysis were available now, with the 360-degree selfie being 10 to 15 years away. Perhaps the progress on items 4, 7, 8 and 10 can accelerate this timetable.

Free Speech Movement ends where it began

Actually, there never really was a “Free Speech Movement,” other than using that name. It was started in Berkeley in the ’60s by radicals. I’m sufficiently jaded that I can’t imagine them having supported Barry Goldwater’s freedom of speech. He may or may not have needed special protection to speak back then, but he certainly would today, and groups like this would be the reason.

In any case, it would be funny to think that it ends with Milo Yiannopoulos. His own Berkeley speech was cancelled last night due to a riot.

The linked article blames “black bloc” anarchists. That’s where a group wears masks and black clothing to make it more difficult for the police to identify and prosecute.


Here is such a group in 2007 Seattle: You obviously can’t say they oppose censorship. You can’t say they oppose torture. You can’t even say they oppose slavery.

You can’t buy this kind of publicity.