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25 May 2012


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Facebook failed and SpaceX succeeded.

Perhaps we're still capable of great things after all.

Alba Etie

Yes Tyler -and we all need in my opinion -to find common ground around 7 to further support these successes. I wonder how much of this will be driven by robotics and nano technology ? The lighter the platform - the greater the payload perhaps.


There be parasites? I still say, get me a few forensic accountants, some tax lawyers, and follow the money. You might find that the so called "lavish" spending is now going to shareholders, instead of the nation. Time will tell.

As to Facebook...it is far, far, too soon to say it "failed". It may very well fail. (and indeed, I may be rooting for it to fail)...but it is far too early to say it has failed.


Lavish spending? Would you like to try justifying your smear?


William R. Cumming

Well perhaps the Chinese full moon appearing before 2050 will stir the juices of the private sector. Oh I forgot that will largely be Chinese also even in the USA.

Did you reflect on India passing Japan in GDP measured by purchasing power dropping Japan to #4 in world rankings?

Wonder how the Indian Space program doing?


As Astronaut Don Petit put it, they now have Dragon "by its tail". They should be manipulating it into position over the next several half-hour or so, and it should be be connecting to the station later this morning.



Compared to the expectations put on it (it was going to help close the California budget deficit, it was going to have an Apple like effect on the stock market, etc), I'd say it has failed even with all the propping up done by the 'free' market.

The beaver

We will be watching the manoeuvrings of the robotic arm since it is very close to home ( we call it the cosmic catch of the Canadarm2)


Well, I could say--if I was in tit for tat mode--justify your use of the term, as in "...lavishly-funded government programs could accomplish".

But that little issue of hypocrisy on your part aside, I will stand by my *speculation* if, huge IF, if I had a team of forensic accounts and tax lawyers, I believe--predicated on nothing specific to this case, but rather on what has become a near SOP for business in this nation, I think you would likely find some govt benefits, albeit legal, going to the company. Or, at least deemed to be going to the company. I will stand by that OPINION.


I did not pay attention to the bought and sold hype of the stock on the way up....I don't pay attention to it on the way down.....

The game is on. It only just started. The price--for all the end of times gloom and doom this week, is still in the 30s. If you deem that game over...so be it for you. I don't.


India is a very thin layer of polish on an incredibly thick and disgusting layer of grime.

GDP is nice and all, but 42% of its population falls under the suffers from extreme poverty. The poverty rates in Japan are?...


So basically you just said: "If I don't want to hear it I ignore it."

A bold and daring move. Do what you will with your money, but don't try and act as if Facebook wasn't a flop.


Tyler, well, I would suggest you define the word "it" as you employ it in your latest post. Erroneously placed by you in quotation marks, I might add. Those were YOUR words, not mine.

If "it" refers to bought and sold hype..then yes, I "ignore it". I frankly don't consider that a "bold and daring" move, but perhaps you do.

I have absolutely no money in FB. First off, I am ideologically opposed to investing in it...and second of all, I am highly dubious about it's long term prospects. All I meant, and all I mean, is that it is too early in the game to deem it--the stock--a failure. (trial lawyers are this moment panting this stuff lining up class action clients) That also does not seem like a bold or reckless proposal on my part. You evidently disagree. Fair enough.

Byron Raum

Facebook succeeded perfectly; they could not have done a better job at the IPO. The job of Facebook management is to make money for Facebook shareholders - in this case, they priced their IPO perfectly and sold it at the highest possible price they could have for the volume of shares they sold. In addition, the California Franchise Tax Board and the IRS also will do very well, as they are going to collect taxes on this optimum amount.

Silicon Valley is starting to take a very serious interest in space. Elon Musk, of course, came from Paypal, and there are a number of other successful Silicon Valley insiders who are looking to fund such ventures. Derision might perhaps not be the most important attitude towards such people, nor a delight in their (actually non-existent) abysmal failure.

The Twisted Genius

Dragon is docked at the ISS. Once again an American spacecraft built by American workers is in service. I'm thrilled by the whole thing.

I seriously doubt SpaceX or the rest of the commercial space industry is guilty of lavish funding or spending. Perhaps some of the old line government contractors were making a killing off of Uncle Sam, but startups just don't have that opportunity. Even NASA didn't always live in fat city. I had a plaque on my wall of John Muratore's "NASA Pirate Code."
Muratore was a renowned NASA engineer who accomplished some significant feat while at NASA. I believe he is now involved with SpaceX. Good words to live by no matter what you do.

NASA Pirate Code

- Pirates have to know what they’re doing.

- If we fail, there is no mercy.

- You’re operating outside the normal support structure of society. It’s all about knowing all the details.

- You hit hard and fast. Pirates don’t spend months wandering around.
Pirates live on the edge or just in front of the wave that is about to catch them.

- Piracy is about taking risks. Occasionally we’re going to fail and you’ll get some holes blown in you.

- Pirates don’t have resources to waste. You’re always operating on a thin margin, not in fat city.

- We’re all banded together.


I think what SpaceX has accomplished in a rather short time is extraordinary. We have indeed entered into a new era in space travel, freeing up NASA to do the exploring.

Now I am looking forward to what both private and public development in space will bring .



The reason I consider the government-run programs to be lavishly funded compared to its commercial crew/cargo efforts is just the plain numbes. The government spent about the same amount getting SpaceX to the point that SpaceX could deliver cargo to the ISS as it spent on the launch tower for the NASA-developed rocket it had to cancel for completely blowing it's deadlines and budget. $5B for Ares-I to get to Preliminary Design Review, and ~$500M to get SpaceX into operational service. A single flight on the planned SLS is going to cost as much as SpaceX's entire 3-year space station delivery contract with 12 flights in it. Unlike the government contractors working on Ares-I, SLS, etc. SpaceX has been working on a firm, fixed-price, payment-on-milestone basis, while they've been working cost-plus contracts where they make a profit even if they run late or over budget. Also, unlike the government contractors, SpaceX actually had to raise over $120M in private equity to match the government's funds.



Indeed. Both NASA and private industry have a long way to go, but today was a darned good day.




Any chance for the space elevator? pl


In your rush to show how pedantic you are, you failed to note my quantifiers, spefically that Facebook by and large failed to live up to the hype that was assigned to it.

So relax Francis, or go find a place to faint.


You are 100% correct....I see no "quantifiers".


I prefer the bean stock.

r whitman

You left out two other Facebook sucesses:
1. They managed to screw the Wall Street establishment out of $16 bn for a bunch of electrons on a video screen.
2. They confused and confounded the talking heads, money hunnies and blond bimbos on CNBC, FBN and Bloomberg TV for a week.


For an Arthur Clarke-style elevator on earth, the material science is still a long way off from having something that would work. My guess is we're talking at least a decade off, possibly never. There are other flavors of elevators (skyhooks, rotating tethers, etc) that are closer to being feasible, but they all have their challenges.

A big challenge for all of these ideas is all the junk we have in LEO that there's no good poltical way of dealing with yet. Basically, right now if your satellite runs out of propellant, then smacks into another satellite a decade later, you have *zero* liability for the collision. Fix the liability issues and you'll create an economic incentive for people to start cleaning up their messes. There's solutions for this problem, but the economic case doesn't close right now because who are your actual customers who'll write the checks?

Back to elevators--you can build them on the Moon or Mars with currently existing materials, but earth-based elevators are off in the moderately distant future, IMO.



Hey! What do I know? I got the idea out of the Mars Trilogy. Red, Green, etc. Seems to me that such an elevator would have the big problem of getting all that carbon fiber or whatever the tether turns out to be into orbit? Maybe mining on the moon is the intermediate step except there is no carbon on the moon? pl

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