Woody hat

Here’s my old friend Woody trying on a chapeau in the Leninsk market. I think he bought it. Picture courtesy of my old SiPix digital camera. That thing was a total piece of junk, but at least it was cheap.

Interestingly, good old SiPix knows how to stay alive (link warning: cheesy music). They’re into much more interesting things than defective mass-market digital cameras.

It’s October already! Where do the days go? It is finally cooling down to Fall-like weather – 70’s during the day are predicted this weekend, with rain on Saturday. Perfect back-to-school weather, only a month and a half late. That’s not bad, I suppose.

Anyway. Leaves will be blowing into the pool in no time. I need to start getting my Christmas shopping done. More importantly, I need to start getting my Christmas list done.

Loyal Reader Number Two achieved the important milestone of completing his first semester’s worth of Biology today, with a very solid “A” so far. He still has to take the Final, but that will be easy. Nice work, LRN2!

More LRN2 news: we have the go-ahead for his tonsil surgery on Monday. Start those encouragement rays back up, Loyal Readers!

I’m listening to last weekend’s General Women’s Conference on my iPod this afternoon. Still on the first talk. It’s quite good so far. She’s commenting on some of the issues I’ve been concerned about, such as the odd feeling some women in the church seem to have that they’re “not in Relief Society” when they’re serving in another auxiliary. I don’t think there’s a single man in the church who thinks he’s “not in the Elder’s Quorum” when he’s serving in the Young Men. He may feel a little disconnected from the quorum, but there’s never any doubt that he’s a full-fledged member. I will never understand why women feel any different. And I’m convinced that they can’t afford to feel that way. And it’s very unfortunate that Relief Society leaders have to expend so much energy convincing women that they really do belong.

Anyway. The conference is great so far.

Today’s Morrowlife controversy: Do you think this guy has any chance of getting into space? My answer: Maybe, but it’s very doubtful. Space travel is a highly complex – and therefore highly expensive – endeavor. True, early pioneers like Goddard were able to lay the groundwork on a very small budget. However, governments quickly had to get into the act, partly because of the military potential, but also because they were the only ones who could afford to do it and because there was no profit to be made from it at the time.

It’s now possible to make a profit in space, but nobody (or almost nobody) has ever gotten into the space business without heavy government support, at least at first.

Think of the automotive industry. A hundred years ago, a good mechanic with a small shop could start making and selling cars, and he had as good a chance of becoming successful as anybody else. However, times have changed. The industry is heavily regulated and consumers have become very demanding. Even a billion dollars is not nearly enough to develop, build, sell, and service a competitive product line. It’s simply not practical for anybody else to become a serious player in that market unless he has a motivated government backing him.

I suspect that the space launch business is essentially the same at this point. You could point to companies like Orbital Sciences. They’re becoming real players in the small satellite and launch vehicle market, which has been essentially abandoned by the bigger players. However, they’ve gone through a lot of government money to get where they are, and they’re not showing many signs of competing with the heavy lift players.

Anyway. Sadly, I don’t think the guy in the article has much of a chance. I hope I’m wrong, though.

Incidentally, several of my old ILS colleagues have moved over to Orbital. I hope they’re prospering beyond their wildest dreams.

Women’s Conference update: it just ended. Highly recommended – each talk. President Uchtdorf was the concluding speaker. One of many highly quotable comments: “In the end, the number of prayers we say may contribute to our happiness, but the number of prayers we answer may be of even greater importance.” Deep thought.

Nothing else to report. Don’t forget to check out Loyal Reader Number One’s education blog. And leave a comment or two. And write a few words here, too!

See you tomorrow.

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