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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 12, 2005 / 7 Av, 5765

Lost in space

By Rich Lowry


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Now that the Space Shuttle Discovery is back safely, we can breathe a sigh of relief, hail the pluck and bravery of its crew, and ask: How did our space program become so invested in such a clunker?

It's almost as if the shuttle exists so we can throw it into orbit to see if its crew can manage to get it back down again. This is not stuff to fire the imagination. Despite NASA's fluff about the "wild success" of Discovery's flight, at this point about the only people enthusiastic about the shuttle program are aerospace contractors and the pork-barreling congressmen from those states where NASA makes its home. For them, every half-a-billion-dollar space-shuttle launch represents the wonderful majesty of cold, hard cash.

Defenders of the embattled shuttle program say, among other things, that it is needed to support the International Space Station. Alas, it's true. The shuttle basically exists to go to the space station, and the space station exists so the shuttle can have someplace to go. They are mutually reinforcing boondoggles. Together they represent the stunted dreams and the wasteful spending of the space program 36 years after Neil Armstrong took "one small step."

The shuttle has a great future behind it. It was supposed to fly every week — but now is lucky to go a handful of times a year and is grounded again after NASA spent two years and $1 billion failing to figure out how to stop foam from dangerously flaking off the fuel tank. It was supposed to carry satellites into orbit for launching, an impossibly costly way to get satellites into orbit. Now it's creaky, dangerous and nearly purposeless.

Journalist Gregg Easterbrook, a devastatingly convincing scourge of the shuttle program, writes: "The shuttle's main engines, first tested in the late 1970s, use hundreds more moving parts than do new rocket-motor designs. The fragile heat-dissipating tiles were designed before breakthroughs in materials science. Until recently, the flight-deck computers on the space shuttle used old 8086 chips from the early 1980s, the sort of pre-Pentium electronics no self-respecting teenager would dream of using for a video game."

A Federal Aviation Administration official estimates that if commercial aviation had the same accident rate as the shuttle, more than 500 flights would crash a day. The science projects conducted aboard the shuttle have the musty whiff of make-work. The experiments on the doomed shuttle Columbia included examining "bacterial and yeast cell responses to the stresses of spaceflight" and developing "the gravity-sensing organs of fish in the absence of gravity."

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The spectacularly expensive space station is just as dismal. It was supposed to serve as a jumping-off point for further space exploration and provide a platform for zero-gravity manufacturing.

Nothing doing. Now, one of its main functions is to serve as a symbol of international cooperation. The U.S.-Russia joint work on the station is a nice bookend to the Cold War, which had fueled the space race between the two countries. But how much do you want to pay for your nice bookends? The bottled water that astronauts drink on the space station costs nearly half a million dollars a day, according to Easterbrook's calculation. It has two astronauts on board who are focused on routine maintenance and serve as guinea pigs to test the effects of long-term weightlessness.

The shuttle is slated to be retired by 2010. It can't come too soon. The space program is better focused on getting astronauts to a destination: the moon, Mars, wherever. In the meantime, unmanned probes are the space program's stars. They explore Mars and Saturn, deliver beautiful images of the far reaches of the universe, and shoot projectiles at comets. NASA is nonetheless considering cutting funding for Voyager 1 and the data it's sending back from the edges of the solar system so the space shuttle can be kept limping along.

Time to give the shuttle an honored place in the Smithsonian.

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© 2005 King Features Syndicate

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