Space travel

So it seems that Obama has finally decided (roughly) what to do with the future of NASA.

The new budget scraps the Constellation program (meaning direct funding won’t be going into an Apollo-recreating moon mission), but it does give funding to development of truly new concepts and technologies, where the Constellation program was more aimed at repeating old science. Hopefully this scientific innovation not only contributes back to society in much the same way that many of the advances of the Apollo program did, but also works out as more useful in the long run for space colonisation and general space presence.

The funding also shifts the focus toward privatisation of space flight. Private companies and prize pools are already showing great promise, and we will likely see the first humans in space through these programs in a matter of years. Such a funding shift makes sense, and will likely accelerate the development of commercially viable spaceflight in a way that NASA would simply be unable to achieve.

Obama is also pushing to extend the International Space Station (ISS) program till 2020, which I think is another valuable step. It strikes me as a step backward to remove our only permanent space habitation from orbit.

The next 10 or so years will be very interesting indeed.

The circle of leaf

Via BuzzFeed.

Project “writer’s” block

So I’ve recently been trying to think of a good idea for a pet website project, and drawing a complete blank.

I’m looking for a simple concept that will be effective and clever, but hasn’t already been totally overdone. Preferably with a social aspect to it. I’ve been thinking about this for a good few weeks, and still haven’t come up with anything worthwhile. Ideas welcome.

What I’m watching

Hurrah for a new TV season! Here’s what I’m watching at the moment:

As well as catching up on some movies, and attempting to get up to speed on It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. Where do I find the time…

Non-nerdy stuff

Well it seems that lately my blog has devolved into nerdy rants about programming and web design and other such things. I shall now attempt to write the wrong.

It is now nearing the end of the ski season, and (although I’m not 100% sure on the exact number) I believe I’m up to about 20 days on the mountain this season, which is not half bad as far as predominantly weekend trips go! My new board has survived relatively unscathed, with only a few superficial scratches. All in all I’m pretty happy with my purchase. It’s quite a big investment money-wise; if I put together all the money I’ve spent on getting my ass to the snow this year I could have purchased a half-decent car. I wish that was an exaggeration. Ahh well, it’s been a blast, I don’t regret it for a second! Unfortunately the snowmelt on Ruapehu is getting pretty extensive, it will only be any good for another week or two – unless there is a big cold snap – but I’m not holding my breath. The snow that is there isn’t particularly good, either; most days everything slushes up on-trail by about 11am, necessitating finding little patches of off-trail goodness.

Last week I went for some mid-week skiing Thursday/Friday, and stayed in one of the lodges on the mountain at Whakapapa – which was pretty damn awesome! Rolling out of bed, throwing on some clothing, and making the 3 minute walk up to the lifts is so bloody convenient. On Friday, a few places had some windblown pockets of fresh powder, so we decided to hike up above the lift-accessed areas a few times, and dropped into a couple of untouched bowls. There is nothing quite like fresh tracks in powder on a bluebird day. I can only describe it as epic. It’s runs like those that really make a season.

In other news, I’m listening to the new Muse album, and it’s bloody great. Get it. While I’m on the topic of music, I’ve recently jumped on the dubstep bandwagon. It’s quite a cool little upcoming genre, and it’s really grown on me in the last few months. I blame UP FM.

This post has zero flow; congratulations if you made it this far through all the waffle. My apologies. Did you catch the pun in the first paragraph? I thought it was quite clever. Yes I did.