Archive for 10/15/2003

Has America already lost the space race?

China has successfully flown its first “taikonaut.” According to Glenn Reynolds, China’s space program represents a new outward focus that’s an improvement over, say, preparing for WWIII or invading Taiwan. I’m more inclined to think that it’s an attempt by the Communist leadership to show the relevance of the Party in response to the growing influence of businessmen. As Americans should know well, nothing justifies billions of dollars of government waste and useless bureaucratic jobs like a space program.

While China is rushing ahead with its space program, NASA’s fleet of 1980’s era space shuttles is still grounded with little hope for change due to an entrenched bureaucracy that cares more about their jobs than innovation. Our best hope in space is a private initiative run by amateurs – currently waiting for FAA approval to launch their flight-tested space vehicle. What’s the federal government’s response to this dilemma? To ban model rocketry of course. Clueless politicians claim the rockets fuels are a “high explosive” that private citizens cannot be trusted with. Did you ever notice how, unlike real high explosives, the rockets don’t just blow up on take off? Anyone inspired by the awesome movie October Sky should keep their dreams to themselves these days: not only is the rocket fuel illegal, but launching a model rocket requires FAA approval.

Office 2003

So I finally installed Microsoft Office 2003. I disliked the new interface at first, but after a few days, it’s grown on me. I can’t say there is anything objectively better about all the new icons – more like the latest fad in UI design. You can be sure that in a few months, all the new software will be sportin’ the new “shiny” icons. What Windows really needs, is SVG icon support. There aren’t that many new features I found all that useful, except SPAM filtering and the new Outlook 2003 layout, which is very neat with two monitors. Unfortunately, my server-side SPAM filter thinks all mail from Outlook 2003 is forged.

In related news, it seems that spammers are either using my account to send spam or faking my return address in their spam, so I’ve been getting hundreds of bounced emails and “unsubscribe requests” daily for the last few weeks. I’m not sure what I can do about the forged return address, but for now, I’ve disabled my wildcard email addresses so that only [email protected] will receive email. Whatever the case, it’s clear that my domain was singled out by spammer(s).