Archive for the ‘travel’ Category

RFP for Starfleet

This is the best story to run on page one of the New York Times in a year: DARPA, the Defense Department R&D arm, is going to award $500,000 to figure what it would take to send  people to another star. That’s right, government research bucks for interstellar travel, a ship to Alpha Centauri. DARPA won’t be making any follow-up grants and doesn’t want anything back. Just go to work studying for a hundred years—or two—and come up with a starship. You must read the Times piece on the “100-Year Starship Study.” It’s like the NYT has turned into Amazing Stories, or Robert Heinlein meets the Federal Register. Here’s a bit:

The awarding of that grant, on Nov. 11 — 11/11/11 — is planned as the culmination of a yearlong Darpa-NASA effort called the 100-Year Starship Study, which started quietly last winter and will include a three-day public symposium in Orlando, Fla., on Sept. 30 on the whys and wherefores of interstellar travel. The agenda ranges far beyond rocket technology to include such topics as legal, social and economic considerations of interstellar migration, philosophical and religious concerns, where to go and — perhaps most important — how to inspire the public to support this very expensive vision.

This may be the best government money spent out of trillions. And remember, DARPA are the folks that funded the creation of the Internet. Who knows what this money will buy.

Of the wild wild east

I’ll offer a bit of a travelogue on our Russian trip after last week’s more personal journal about our return to the Tyumen Baby Home, where our son Patrick spent the first nine months of his life.

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You know of Moscow and St. Petersburg, have read about them, seen them on TV and in films, perhaps even visited one or both. Chances are you have never heard of Tyumen, though it’s a city of almost 600,000. Chances are I would not either if Patrick had not been born there. Our tour guide proudly boasted the city “is the gateway to Siberia.” As getting “sent to Siberia” is our cliche for being sent somewhere really horrible, I wondered if this was the best promotional copy the Chamber of Commerce could come up with. But the more I heard about the history of the city, the more I saw a parallel to our own.

via Of the Wild Wild East, Siberian Cats and 15 Great Kids – Pelham, NY Patch.