1. Wildcards and tipping points
A few well-known wildcards – and potential tipping points — that face the U.S. and the world in 2012:
a. A major recession in the Eurozone could trigger a global depression.
b. The threat of nuclear weapons could trigger a war with Iran.
c. The threat of oil flow disruptions in the Gulf might trigger a price spike and a recession.
d. The constitutionality of Obamacare will be decided in the Supreme Court.
e. As we approach solar max in early 2013, a major solar flare produces blackouts a
and other EMP-related effects on Earth, resulting in economic stress.
2. Is the U.S. approaching a 21st Century “Sputnik Moment”? Education and research and technology related.
3. The Commercial Space Age Has Begun
5. Slow U.S. Recovery Fits a 200-Year Pattern and Points to a JFK-style Boom by Mid-Decade
All the exoplanet news lately has been about Kepler, but there is lots of other research going on. Astroswanny reviews the six year study of microlensing events finds there are more planets than stars in the milky way.
“Nextbigfuture – Upcoming upgrades to the engine (Merlin 1D) will provide a vast improvement in performance, reliability and manufacturability – all of which could provide a timely boost to aiding the potential for success for the fully reusable Falcon 9. the record high thrust to weight ratio of the Merlin D (160 thrust to 1 weight) is critical. By getting lift off weight to orbit up to 3.77 percent (117,000 pounds to LEO versus 3.1 million pounds of liftoff weight) then there is 50,000 pounds that could be used for reusability (thermal protection, strengthened stages, return fuel) while leaving 67,000 pounds for payload to orbit.
There are more improvements planned for the Merlin engines and better engines would mean better one time rockets and more capacity for any potential reusable rocket.“
Nextbigfuture – Approximately one out of every ten stars have a planet roughly the size of the Earth with an orbit that, if there was water and atmosphere, would create a temperature and climate roughly that same as on Earth – we could live there