53 thoughts on “To inanity (or vanity) and beyond”

  1. Billionaires, livestreams and Stephen Colbert: Welcome to a new era of space flight (nbcnews.com)

    A new kind of space race is set to begin this weekend.
    British entrepreneur and Virgin group founder Richard Branson will attempt to fly to space Sunday aboard his company’s rocket-powered vehicle. It would mark the culmination of 17 years of work by his space tourism firm, Virgin Galactic.
    And, if successful, he would beat fellow billionaire, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos to the milestone by a cool nine days.
    The launches so close to each other add drama to what some see as a race to space between the two billionaires, even as Branson, 70, has downplayed any rivalry.
    The launch Sunday will be Virgin Galactic’s first fully crewed flight of its SpaceShipTwo Unity craft, with Branson, two pilots and three mission specialists, all employees of Virgin Galactic. Weather permitting, the test flight will happen before Bezos is scheduled to launch on the first operational flight of a rocket and capsule developed by his private space company, Blue Origin.
    Rivalry or not, the upcoming flights represent milestones for both private space companies and the burgeoning commercial spaceflight industry, which until now has been dominated by fellow entrepreneur Elon Musk and his company, SpaceX. By putting their own lives on the line, Branson and Bezos are providing the ultimate proving ground to demonstrate the safety of their vehicles and the readiness of the nascent space tourism industry.

  2. [more continued from above — as if anyone cares and has nothing better to do]

    Branson’s flight, from Spaceport America in the New Mexico desert, is scheduled to take place early Sunday but is contingent on clear weather. A livestream of the event, hosted by the comedian Stephen Colbert, will begin at 9 a.m. ET and can be viewed on Virgin Galactic’s Twitter, YouTube and Facebook channels.
    Virgin Galactic’s Unity space plane takes off on a conventional runway while attached to a carrier ship known as WhiteKnightTwo. At an altitude of 50,000 feet, the Unity craft will be released and its rocket-powered engine will ignite, taking it to the edge of space.
    This flight profile differs from Bezos’ planned expedition aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket, which launches vertically from a secluded site in the Texas desert, southeast of El Paso. The experiences, however, are expected to be very similar.

  3. As much as it interests me, and as much as Branson seems like the most affable of the three amigos/billionaire-egos (the people’s billionaire), a lot of good could be done on Earth with the money they are spending.  In some cases, they aren’t even paying tax dollars to help fund the infrastructure from which they benefit.   

    How much humanitarian aid could go to impoverished regions of our planet?
    How much is their space hobby contributing to climate change?

    Still, space travel and the different crafts to get there are interesting to me and, perhaps, someday what seems like an out-of-control, pissing contest will lead to something that will benefit humanity.

  4. business insider:

    Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson are flying to space this month without purchasing any liability insurance, brokers told The New York Times’ DealBook newsletter on Friday.

  5. patd – I wonder how many of the brokers looked at the risk of getting the billionaire/trillionaire into space and returned alive against what the payout would have to be if they did the flight to the Moon or the thud of finding Earth?  Even with good odds of them returning alive what good is gambling on it?  I can’t see any upside to it.  Space is a harsh place to be and it is very risky to get there and return.

  6. BB, given branson’s past exploits record –  see below – not sure anyone would want to insure even a more riskier one.

    from  gulf news business:

    The Virgin brand, including Branson’s airline and former record label, has long been associated with exploits of derring-do by its flamboyant founder. Branson set a new record for the fastest boat crossing of the Atlantic in 1986, a year after his initial attempt ended with a Royal Air Force helicopter rescue when his vessel capsized.
    In 1987 he made a record-breaking Atlantic crossing by hot-air balloon, though again he had to be rescued from the sea.
    He went on to break at least two other air-balloon speed records but failed to complete any of three bids to circumnavigate the globe by balloon.

  7. Yeah, for some reason the title somehow brought muppets to my mind also……

  8. Jamie – one of my big “pet peeves” about Social Security is the payments are taxable.  That is the action of that actor pretending to be president.  The new head of SSA needs to press the Congress to end taxing SS payments.

  9. I no thoughts on the billionaire space race other than hoping I might someday win the lottery and be able to book a week at Branson’s Necker Island



  10. Yeah…  when we were watching the news last night…  Rick quipped…  “Dicks in Space”.
    And after seeing said news…  I realized that I would gladly take a rotted out garden from too much rain than those fires and drought out west.

  11. Climate change has gotten deadly.  It will get worse

    “Climate change has loaded the weather dice against us,” said Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist at Texas Tech University and chief scientist for the Nature Conservancy.

    “These extremes are something we knew were coming,” she added. “The suffering that is here and now is because we have not heeded the warnings sufficiently.”

    Katharine Hayhoe is my favorite “Conservative” climatologist.  You can see her regular videos on both Facebook and You Tube.  


  12. oooh, just think of sitting out there on that porch with a planters’ punch in one hand and a good book in the other!

    jamie, let us know when you win and we’ll go as your loyal entourage.

  13. i definitely never want to hear any warnings about climate change from Bezos, Branson, and anybody else who took a private jumbo jet to Sun Valley, those fucking hypocrites

  14. Bink

    That would apply to all aircraft flying.  One of the major noticeable effect during early days of Covid was the clearing of the skies.  It’s one of the reasons I support high speed rail service.

    While Branson as an individual may have a carbon footprint of a small nation, at least he is trying to make changes which is more than you can say for most politicians.

    Richard Branson calls for Australia to back carbon neutral target by 2050 (smh.com.au)


  15. Pish posh- Thunberg took a sailboat across the Atlantic the hard way to reduce her “footprint”💪

  16. https://www.marketwatch.com/story/billionaire-space-race-as-richard-branson-and-jeff-bezos-blast-off-heres-how-their-suborbital-trips-match-up-11625840430

    Higher or longer; the pissing contest breakdown.

    This is the coolest part of Bezos’ flight.


    “GRAPEVINE, Texas — Eighty-two-year-old Wally Funk will be joining Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, his brother Mark Bezos, and one other person aboard the New Shepard’s first human flight on July 20. She will be the oldest person to ever go to space.”

  17. Speakin’ of ‘73……this was that famous time, as Bucky was so fond of telling, when I quit a good band to join a bad band, for less money. This was the bad band in Myrtle Beach. Before leaving the good band we were playing down the street from the band which became “Alabama”. We did  midnight to 5am for Sock-Eye the gambler; “Wild Country”, (who became Alabama) did noon to 6pm, hour off, then 7 to midnight, so we were always in and out of all the joints, sittin in with the bands at the other clubs.   They had the rough hours, but midnight to  5 ain’t no picnic.

  18. A word about  that rocket flight tomorrow morning .
    The design of the entire  system was sparked by a really smart aircraft designer.
    Burt Rutan 
    He’s the reason you see those little  “winglets” at the tips of your Boeing  jet today. 
    John Denver died in one of these planes. 
    Now Branson’s big problem  .
    They ain’t burning hydrogen and oxygen  to get to space ,
    They are burning Jet-A to 50,000 feet, and then burning ground-up tires to get the last leg of the trip . 
    The passenger  ship is powered by a  small solid rocket ,  like the boosters on the Shuttle. 
    Ground tires are mixed with an oxidizer . Think cookie dough. 
    Pump it into  a tube with a igniter  and a rocket nozzle at the bottom. 
    This system is almost foolproof , because it’s so simple. 
    It does have two drawbacks.
    A.  When you light it  , you can’t turn it off. 
    B.  It has no throttle because of A. 
    Watch the crew ship  rocket nozzle tomorrow/
    A very orange flame  making black smoke. This is not a very “clean”  sign. 
    His carbon foot print  just for a “thrill” is going to be a whopper. 

    If there was ever as reason for a carbon tax it’s flying rich people to space.

  19. I heard on the tube that 700 rich folk have purchased tickets to ride the rockets to the edge of space. I checked Travelocity and couldn’t find a seat. 

  20. Other than that tire fire problem.
    That little ship is  stroke of genius , it works like a shuttlecock. 
    And the flight plan  is just like the Bell-X1 , the X-15, etc.
    The “mothership” takes  the daughter  to about what we’ll see tomorrow morning.   Making a corkscrew above the base. 
    Then they drop her.  She lights the candle.  And goes straight up , until they burn all those tires. 
    Then the crew ship becomes weightless , but gravity get’s after 3 mins. 
    And it turns into  shuttlecock,  see that crazy looking tail. 
    That is the reason Branson’s  ship is so different.
    First they are floating above New Mexico , they ain’t going 17,000 mph. 
    So they aren’t going very fast  when they start, and the tail bleeds off speed as they get into the thicker layers of the atmosphere. 
    It “pumps the breaks” as they fly down . No heat shield. 
    This, like those Boeing “winglets”  came from Burt Rutan. 
    His finger prints are all over this effort tomorrow morning. 
    Those “winglets”  were known to reduce drag .
    Burt had the tech to put them on his kit planes. 
    His image page ,  his designs were amazing .

  21. He’s the “Flying Tesla”  of the 20th century 
    America has no clue about him.
    He set the marker about how we design planes now. 
    I’m glad his ideas will be on center stage tomorrow. 

  22. So they shut down the old  Miami / Dade  county courthouse. 
    This will be very telling .
    Someone got their cat back from the collapse.  He was wandering around the neighborhood. 

  23. Like millions  I went west to “See the Elephant”. 
    That was magic  a new start, a new chance, a new hope. 
    I played this  over , and over……………..
    God Bless California. 


  24. So Mar -A- Lago  was built between 23′ and 27′  out of very thick concrete. 
    It will be interesting to see the testing  of that pour. 

  25. California wildfire generates its own lightning as it more than doubles in size
    JULY 10, 2021 UPDATED 4:27 PM PT

    A wildfire in Northern California more than doubled in size from Friday to Saturday, sending up a massive cloud of smoke and ash that combined with the dry heat generated its own lightning and created dangerous weather conditions for firefighters, authorities said.


    I’ve read a lot of these reports.  This is the first time I’ve seen a report like this. 


  26. Our food supply  ….
    Think about it, all those California farmers , and all that goes with them  are SOL .
    Yuma grows our winter salads.  but they do it with Colorado River water. 
    Now is a very good time to join a CSA .  If you can find one that will take you in. 

  27. My idea of taking old K-Marts  and growing food in them  just became a safe bet. 
    That’s what I want to see , a huge old building in Detroit  growing food under LED’s.  24/7 . 

  28. Trust me  , this is the way of the future. Taking old large   buildings, and  converting them into farms. 
    It is already underway. 
    We don’t have to invent anything , it’s all at our fingertips. 

  29. Our big K-Mart  became  the YWCA  ,
     They have one of the last wild places  in town behind their stall .
    It is part of our flood plan .   A piece of plumbing . But it is wild as Lubbock gets. 
    I want to see them , contact Texas Tech  to advise them about it ,
    As a place to teach  kids about nature. 
    It is a jewel for learning. 

  30. It’s too bad the 1% don’t get a thrill from solving problems on Earth.


    “Billionaire airline mogul Richard Branson has called for Australia to adopt a net-zero emissions target by 2050, joining tech companies Tesla and Atlassian, energy company Origin, the Business Council and climate change groups.”

    An interesting position given the pollution they are creating with their hobby.

    Meanwhile, Orange Adolf will be invading Big D to spew nonsense at CPAC tomorrow.

  31. I once  slept in a corn crib south of Leadville. 
    It’s over 10,000 feet , we buried ourselves  in the corn.  Only our heads  poked above it. 
    When me and Jose’  woke up , there were  thousands of sheep  all narching from every point on the compass , at us. 
    We baled  as has soon  as we could.  The  sheepman came along shortly after we   made the road. 
    He boarded – up that schoolhouse. 

Comments are closed.