Jun 6th, 2008 by lunadyne
by guest blogger Ken
Is the fact that unless we get more women interested in and supportive of moving this species out into space, then it’s going to take a lot longer and be far more difficult than it otherwise has to be.
Polls have consistently shown women to be much less interested in things space than men are. My conjecture is that if more women can be interested in science, engineering, and space to a greater degree, then the boys will go where the girls are. When it comes to machines and technology, no man likes to be upstaged by a girl. Women, then, can be the whetstones against which we men sharpen our technological prowess by constantly challenging men in this field. You can’t show off for girls if they can do the show-off better.
So, to help encourage the ladies in thinking about space I’ve dedicated this week’s Carnival of Space to The Women of Our Space Future. It’s a tour d’espace from cislunar space to the deep reaches of our Milky Way galaxy, with special images scanned from the Lunar Library.
The Carnival’s of Space are a fun round-up of space-related blog posts. It seems to have a strong constituency of astronomers as contributors, and some strong regulars like Emily over at the Planetary Society. I try to contribute as I can, like my recent Rollerblading on the Moon article at Out of the Cradle.
Since I usually give readers here at the Selenian Boondocks the heads up first, look forward to an announcement about Out of the Cradle around the end of the month. If you’re looking for the heads up in financial news, the basic story is that we’re all being Enronned on a massive scale by financial speculators. The secret was revealed earlier this week in Congressional testimony. The official media story is that foreign governments’ taxpayers have been subsidizing petroleum consumption by their citizens, but can no longer afford it. This is true, and is important from a macro-economic perspective, but one has to peer in closer to find the more proximate causes. Due to a basic abnegation by regulatory bodies, such as the CFTC, of their basic duties to preserve price transparency so that Americans can make rational and informed economic decisions, there has been a lot of economic activity conducted here whose consequences can’t be traced to the instigators. Through a little sleight of regulatory hand, large volumes of trades conducted here in the U.S. (and elsewhere) can be seen as having originated from somewhere else, and therefore the unbalanced economic effects of the transaction are initially masked. This effectively has allowed speculators (who need to do something with large amounts of capital to provide a superior return) to operate in the shadows of the public marketplace, and Uncle Sam can cast a mighty big shadow if he wants to.
Another example, and representative of a longer term strategy, is the reclassifications of the calculations for determining the ‘official’ inflation rate. The proximate rationale back in the 80s and 90s was to keep COLA and other inflation-tagged costs under control. It also worked great for corporations trying to keep their salary and wage expenses under control. Welcome to the modern age of stealth inflation. Since the Feds stopped publishing M3 numbers, there’s really no good way to know how much money is sloshing around out there. This mal-information makes pricing of the USD problematic. Which is also having an effect on petroleum prices. The structure of our regulations is such that the folks who know how to game the system are doing so with great earnestness. They know how to game the system because the regulations have been gamed to provide certain difficult-to-understand advantages. This is why your credit card can now go to 30% interest at the drop of a hat. It’s why people who did mortgages made out like bandits (the prepayment penalty/refi adjustment twist I talked about in an earlier post). It’s why small to mid-sized companies can be taken over, burdened with huge amounts of debt on flimsy assets, and stripped of the proceeds via a capital disbursement to the owners. Undercapitalized, most of those acquired companies will not survive what is coming, and the only consequences are to the investors in the debt (through vehicles like CDOs/CLOs), who get to fight over the last scraps of the company, or refi into something actually reasonable.
Which is what really ticks me off, because the employees will suffer most directly, and they have families to support and communities they’ve built. Credit card and medical bills they’ve racked up. Mortgages set to pull out the last of their short hairs.
Ugh, what a mess.
This is exactly why the space industry needs broader exposure, with more commercial and economic interest. It represents an industry in which we have a strong economic advantage, and one that we can define going forward. We can start tapping the resources and opportunities in space (once we get the confounded regular transport to LEO thing licked), and start producing things of value for the world the likes of which people have never known. I, for one, would like to leave a stronger, more prosperous nation (and world) for my having been here. I see space as a good way of making that happen.
Because Americans really need some future they can believe in right about now.