Starlink is a global ISP built at ZERO COST to SpaceX, enabling NASA’s Artemis launch

There is lots of good news lately for SpaceX, especially NASA choosing the Hawthorne, CA-based company to build a $2.89 billion lunar lander for NASA’s Artemis Moon landing slated for 2024. Key to that single-source contract, which eliminates two competitors including Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, was SpaceX’s willingness to restructure payments to fit the $750 million appropriated by Congress this fiscal year for the project. Already the lowest Artemis bidder, Elon Musk’s company was willing to make the deal work for the customer, which is unusual thinking for space contractors, with many asking, Where did SpaceX get the money?

They got the money from your phone bill.

This Artemis win for SpaceX […]

10 years later Fukushima Daiichi still melts down my heart

Ten years ago this month, 22,000 Japanese citizens died in a huge tsunami that also caused the second-worst nuclear accident in history at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility. Because I know about nuclear safety, I wrote a total of four columns about the accident in the month that followed. You can read them in order here, here, here and here.

When I wrote within hours of the accident that none of the 11 reactors would ever operate again, I was the sole voice on the planet saying so out loud. Read the comments and you’ll see I took some flak for […]

Half a dozen little 2021 predictions about life after COVID-19

Six hundred and seventy-five thousand Americans died of the Spanish Flu in 1918, back when the total population of the United States was 103 million. In the current pandemic, American deaths are already above 540,000 (remember when a projection of 160,000 deaths seemed crazy?) but our population is now 331 million. While COVID-19 will undoubtedly kill more Americans than did the Spanish flu, the percentage of the population dying will be much lower than the 0.65 percent death rate in 1918. But the numbers are close enough that one might guess the long-term impact of this pandemic could be very similar to that one.

I don’t think it will be. I think this pandemic […]

2021 Prediction #6:  COVID-19, Clubhouse, and the Great High School Reset

To this point in my tech predictions for 2021 I have ignored COVID-19, which we all do at our peril. Now that we know the pandemic is real, that it won’t just disappear, and that half a million people are so far dead from it, what are predictable longer-term impacts? I see plenty changing in how we work, how we use social media, and how education has generally failed. Coming out the other side of this mess several aspects of life will be different, but school probably won’t be one of those.

I have an unusual perspective on these times since I am a parent of three sons (19, 16, and 14), I have […]

2021 Prediction #5:  Apple (and maybe Google) saves the world

Back on January 23rd, the New York Times published an Op-Ed piece by Kate Murphy titled America Has a GPS Problem, citing fear at the highest levels of government and industry that international bad actors might bring down the Global Positioning System satellite network, running your Tesla into a guardrail in the process. It’s just the sort of story you’d expect to read here, rather than in the Times, but what the heck. And the story is absolutely correct: we are all in danger. But Ms. Murphy, beyond wringing her hands, doesn’t say how the crisis will be averted or who will do the averting. I predict that Apple will fix the problem […]