Monday, June 21, 2004

"WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?" "SPACESHIPONE." "THEY'VE GONE TO PLAID!": I guess the criteria for the X-Prize does not involve coming up with a cool name for one's spacecraft.

But it's welcome news, I think. I'm kind of a free marketist myself, and if the first private astronauts are going to be wealthy white people, so be it. It doesn't appear especially noble that tourism is the thing getting private citizens into space, but it's not like NASA is ever going to do anything particularly creative anytime soon. Why not let the citizenry come up with some new ideas, the way they do with any other walk of life? It was all well and good when we were fighting the Cold War and we needed astronauts who could double as symbols of our nation's goodness (and who thus had to be government employees, needless to say) but in the year 2004? Symbolism shmybolism. Let us allow the eccentric billionaires lead us into space. It's not like anybody else is going to.

Rand Simberg has more, as you would expect.

Also in the Chronicle: Rockets ready to trade Stevie Francis to Orlando for T-Mac. I am of two minds on this one. On the one hand, Stevie's skills as a playmaker were never such that I thought he would ever lead the Rockets to the title--he just never fed the big man enough. On the other hand, getting T-Mac for potentially only one year is a lot to give up Steve Francis for. The Rockets better be picking up a point guard who doesn't need to score a lot, if they want to succeed with a Ming & Mac Attack.

Work beckons. I'm gonna be up alllll night tonight.

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