Category Archives: Science And Society

Space Property Rights

Steve Wolfe just sent me a call for papers that’s right up my (and perhaps some of my readers’) alley:

I am chairing an interesting program at the ISDC this year titled the Space Settlement Policy Forum. It will be held June 5th in Washington, DC. Forum details and agenda are attached.

Though most consider discussion of space settlement related policies to be academic, for Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and other leaders the reality of space settlement is an imminent and highly desirable probability. In this forum we will take a sober look at the laws and policies that would or should be implemented in order to facilitate and encourage space settlement development. The Forum will address this broad challenge without presuming a single ‘silver bullet’ solution.

Topic Categories Include:

  • How Current Space Law Encourages and Inhibits Space Settlement Development
  • Potential Government Incentives for Private Funding of Space Settlements
  • Changes to International Law to Enable Space Settlement Development
  • Licensing Regime for Space Settlement Development and Construction—What would it look like?
  • Proper Role of Government in Space Settlement Development: Leading the Way or Being a Cheer Leader?
  • What Are the Space Settlement Enabling Technologies That Government Agencies Should Be Investing In Now?

Presentation Submission Guidelines:

  1. Prepare a 15-minute to present with slides
  2. Prepare a paper of not less than 3-pages that will be publish in the proceedings of the conference.
  3. The presentation must recommend, and argue for, a particular legal or regulatory change directly related to space settlement
  4. The paper must provide a summary that includes specific recommendations for policy change
  5. Interest must be expressed to Steve Wolfe immediately
  6. Abstract submission due by January 25, 2019

Kind of short notice, but I’ll probably be submitting multiple abstracts.

Chinese-Restaurant Syndrome

Has MSG gotten a bad rap?

I’ve personally never had a problem with it. I used to keep it on hand, in fact, though I haven’t used it in decades.

[Update a few minutes later, after reading the whole thing]:

As Brendan Nyhan, a Dartmouth professor who has researched how to influence attitudes about vaccines, pointed out to me in an email, it’s hard for people to change their minds about personal health issues because it contradicts what they have perceived to experience in the past. “People who felt bad after eating Chinese food in the past may have blamed MSG … and thus resist information they encounter later about its actual effects,” he said. This may be the result of the availability heuristic, where people make judgments using the easiest information available, rather than looking for alternative explanations.

This could also explain peoples’ resistance to accepting new ideas about nutrition, when (e.g.) they’ve been told for decades to avoid fat.

[Update a while later]

Related: Half the people who think they have food allergies are wrong.

I’m pretty confident in my allergy to tree nuts. Even if no one tells me, I can tell when I’ve had them.

The Paleo Diet

Forget it; go neolithic.

I’ve never been orthodox paleo. Basically, I’ve just cut way back on processed foods. I’m back to my college weight, my cholesterol is a little high, but the ratio is good, and my triglycerides are almost unmeasurable. I’m supposed to worry because both my parents died fairly young (father at 55, mother at 68) from coronaries, but they both were overweight, had terrible diets, and were inveterate smokers. Every time I check my arteries, no issues are found.