Jeff Wolfe's Weblog

Thursday, December 25, 2003


1. Please select one of the following options:
Other _____________________

2. Please select one of the following options:
Christmas (December 25)
Hanukkah* (December 20-27)
Kwanzaa (December 26-January 1)
Boxing Day (December 26)
Yule (December 22)
Solstice (December 22)
Bill of Rights Day (December 15)
Navidad (25 Diciembre)
New Year (January 1)
Other _____________________
* Or substitute your own transliteration

3. Repeat as desired.

Friday, December 19, 2003

X PRIZE SUCCESS - SpaceShipOne, built by Scaled Composites, on Wednesday became the first aircraft built entirely with private funds to break the sound barrier. Scaled Composites is the leading entrant vying for the X Prize, a $10 million award given to the first private organization to fly two suborbital space flights in the same spacecraft within a two week period.

While it's just a stepping-stone to Scaled's goal of flying in space, SpaceShipOne's flight is a rather significant accomplishment in its own regard. Aside from the just-retired Concorde (built by the British and French governments), supersonic aircraft have been primarily military jets. Now, it's been proven that even a relatively tiny company like Scaled can build a supersonic plane. With Concorde grounded, perhaps some enterprising company can step in and fill the void.

Certainly, a test vehicle like SpaceShipOne is a far cry from a production commercial aircraft. But the technological barriers, as Scaled has shown, are not that high. It's the psychological barriers that are holding things back.

Even if the X Prize is never claimed, as is expected to happen next year, the Prize will have done a great deal to help bring us into the age of affordable high-speed global travel. Not just space travel, but supersonic and hypersonic travel for the masses. I'm looking forward to the day when the most time consuming part of a U.S. cross-country flight is the drive to the airport.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

FIGHTING TO WIN - Orson Scott Card, a noted Science Fiction author, has an article at OpinionJournal titled, "The Campaign of Hate and Fear (Some of my fellow Democrats are unpatriotic.)" He says that people are dying because of the prevalent Democratic rhetoric, and if it wins out, many, many more will die. Something to think about.

(Note: I know, I haven't blogged for a very long time. There's no good reason for it.)