Politics

Category archives for Politics

Universe Q&A: Frank White

A couple of months ago, I wrote a piece here on Universe exploring the ideas of the futurist Gerard K. O’Neill, who designed far-out but ultimately quite pragmatic environments for human habitation in space in the mid-1970s. In that article, I touched briefly on the notion of the “Overview Effect,” a phrase coined by the…

SETI, Really?

As you may have heard, SETI is in trouble. Funding cutbacks on a state and federal level have forced the Allen Telescope Array — SETI’s new homebase, actually just a part of the U.C. Berkeley’s Hat Creek Radio Observatory (HCRO) — into indefinite hibernation. With U.C. Berkeley losing ninety percent of its NSF University Radio…

As NASA’s Space Shuttle program winds down — Endeavour’s final mission is slated for later this year, then that’s it — let us take a moment and remember the Shuttles. Sure, they had a tendency to explode into balls of fire. Sure, they were expensive, risky, and besieged by problems. But now is not the…

Ideological State Interface

The North Korean government has made an operating system called “Red Star.” Despite the fact that very few North Koreans have a computer, let alone Internet access, Red Star is designed to provide a safe operating environment in line with North Korean political philosophy of “juche,” or self-reliance (as well as, admittedly, monitor user activity).…

Last November, in Florida, I had the opportunity to see my first Space Shuttle launch. For the hundreds of millions of people who don’t pay more than a passing notice to the fact that human beings still go into space on a regular basis, this is a fairly banal thing. But to those who camp…