Friday, August 3, 2012

NASA Selects Winners of Space Taxi Competition

NASA has announced the winners of it's 'space taxi' competition.

The award is $1.1 billion dollars worth of funding, and will be split between the three companies.

Boeing of Texas, SpaceX of California, and Sierra Nevada of Colorado were the winners of the funding.

Winning the funding does not guarantee the contract, but does give a nice financial edge over other companies.

The companies will have several other major steps to accomplish within the next twenty-one months, before a final decision will be made.

'Space taxis' are being designed to ensure that US astronauts will not be dependent upon Russian space craft to reach space.

They have been forced to do so, since NASA's space shuttles were retired by President Obama.

Hopes are for the private companies to be shuttling astronauts by 2017.

CDOT Warns Drivers From Using I 225

Colorado's Department of Transportation is advising drivers to avoid I 225 for the rest of Friday.

The advisory comes due to necessary emergency repairs, in traffic lanes.

Plans had been to divert traffic from the south bound lanes, for the current construction project, but crews found damage to the transition area.

At this point there is no time table for when the repairs will be completed, or when all south and north bound lanes will be reopened.

Officials with CDOT had been planning on using the diversion route for nine months, whilst I 225 is widened and light rail tracks are added between Parker and Mississippi.

Remembering: The Macarena

In 1995 Antonia Romero and Rafael Ruiz of Spain released a song.

It was a hit in Latin America, and was noticed by a few in North America, but that seemed to be where it would end.

US stations noted it's popularity to the south, but would not play a song that was purely in Spanish.

That's when producers Carols De Yarza and Mike Triay became involved.

They remixed the song to give it a club beat and had the verses rerecorded in English, leaving the chorus in Spanish.

With the addition of the music video, which featured a dance everyone could learn, the song began climbing the charts.

On August 3, 1996 "Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)" reached number one on the Billboard Charts.

The song would spend a total of sixty weeks on the charts, and set a record for most weeks at number one.

Remembering: Columbus' Voyage

On August 3, 1492 three ships left Spanish port of Palos, under the command of Christopher Columbus.

Their mission was simple, but possibly fraught with danger.

They had been tasked to find a western route to China and India.

The Santa Maria, Pinta, and Nina sighted land on October 12, and as they continued exploring they believed they had found part of China and Japan.

In March 1943 they returned to Spain with "Indian" captives, gold, spices, and other wealth and novelties.

History would later show that they hadn't made it to Asia, but in fact an unmapped part of the world, which would later be called the Americas.

Columbus would make a total of four trips across the sea, never realizing the importance of his discovery.

For centuries the explorers were thought to be the first to discover the Americas, but eventually time would show that the Vikings had made it four to five hundred years before them, further north.

The End of July Unemployment Spin

At 8 am EST on August 3rd, 2012 the July Unemployment (U3) and Workforce Participation statistics were released. Given the trend  over the past three and a half years, they should come as no surprise. There were small changes, and none of them positive when the situation is taken in aggregate.

Some will attempt to spin the numbers with the "good news" of the lethargic increase of 163,000 or so "new jobs created". However, over the last two weeks over 722,000 more people lost their jobs. That is a net LOSS of 559,000 jobs. That is hardly an increase.

To top it off, they revised the June numbers. The "jobs created" in June was originally reported at about eighty thousand. The revised numbers are significantly lower at sixty-four thousand. So, they lied in July when they released the June report. Of course, this is the trend from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They report the less pessimistic report, then revise it to be more accurate (and dismal) a month later.

The average pay for non-farm, non-supervisory jobs increased by two cents an hour from $19.75 to $19.77. Given an inflation rate over three percent, that does not even cover cost of living increases. The mainstream media will most likely report that as positive, since that two cent raise means that a worker will be able to buy an additional pack of gum at the end of his work week (averaged at thirty-four hours a week).

The U6 numbers remained largely unchanged, indicating that the real unemployment rate and underemployment rate (people stuck with part time jobs who have been seeking full time employment) is closer to fifteen percent. The U3 rate normally reported in the news is up, increasing to 8.3%.

If you couple the U3 rate increase with yet another drop in workforce participation, the numbers get sickening. Currently, 58.4% of the population is of working age. Of those of working age, currently only 63.7% are working or looking for work. Five years ago, that workforce participation was closer to 70%. What this means is that of our population, 311,591,917, only 181,969,680 are of working age. Of that 181,969,680 only 115,914,686 are willing to work. Only 106,293,767 are actually employed. That means only 38.2% of Americans are working or looking for a job. That means only 38% of citizens are willing to make a wage, pay taxes, and support the 62% who aren't. THAT is dismal.

Long-term unemployment also increased slightly. Those are people who have been employed over twenty-seven weeks. However, as many of them approach ninety-nine weeks, when the handouts end, they apply for SSDI claiming anxiety and depression for being unable to find employment. At that point, they are no longer part of the workforce. They also get a monthly paycheck averaging $1110 that is paid for by those 34.1% of the US population who are actually working.

No matter which stats the politicians want to draw your attention to, the aggregate numbers display bad news. You will hear that those people that bust their butts to become "top earners" need to pay more in taxes. In the same diatribe, you will hear that they need to pay their "fair share". If you want to talk about the real fair share, you need to ask the forty-nine percent of the US population that are receiving government subsidy handouts when they are going to stop being parasites, produce, earn, and pay their fair share. 

That point is moot until the government gets out of the way. Interference in the market, unpredictable changes in regulations, restrictions, fees, hidden taxes, and not knowing from day to day what tomorrow's tax rate is going to be cause stagnation in business growth. A company is not going to expand in an unstable environment. The Government is creating that unstable environment. If they did away with the ridiculous and unnecessary regulations instead of increasing them (many without constitutional legislation), companies may be more willing to expand, thus hire more workers. Those wishing to start new businesses may actually take the chance rather than look at the economy and think "I'll have to work three years just to pay off the fees and regulations for the first operational year".  
Original article at Mental Aikido

Highpoint Church Opening by Reading Full Bible

For the last several years construction of Highpoint Church has been delayed by various obstacles.

Now on August 12, Highpoint Church in Aurora, Colorado will finally be having their grand opening, but they'll start meeting on Friday the third.

Though that's not really what's getting attention, it's how they're doing it.

The church is opening it's doors to any and all who wish to join them, as they read the Bible from cover to cover, starting in Genesis and ending in Revelation.

Starting at 6 pm on Friday, and going til 6 pm on Monday the sixth.

More than one hundred people are scheduled to help take turns reading every single verse, from the Bible.