Back to the Moon? Trump’s Statement Rouses Spaceheads

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When President Donald Trump mentioned “other worlds” in his speech to a join Congress this week, the space community started buzzing.

“American footprints on distant worlds are not too big a dream,” said Trump at the end of his speech.

According to PBS NewsHour Science Correspondent Miles O’brian a manned mission could take place in 2019, as “all of a sudden there is wide agreement in the space community [the moon] might be the next step.” The mission may take the form of “learning how to live there on a sustained basis” — ie, a manned encampment.

A traditional barrier to space missions has been the large cost. NASA’s budget is around 19 billion, and the Army’s budget for space is around $40 billion, and analysts are considering ways these two organizations could borrow from each other in a force multiplier relationship, making it possible to make a moon mission with reduced costs to the country.

The private sector is also increasingly interested in the moon. SpaceX also is continuing to push toward commercial voyages. Elon Musk’s company announced a tourist trip for two people around the moon before.

Image: Foster + Partners/ESA

YouTube TV Announced

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YouTube announced Tuesday the coming of YouTube TV, a way to watch the kind of programming people normally watch on television, but on YouTube.

“Finally, live TV made for you stream ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC & more,” the entertainment website announced.  “Never run out of DVR storage space. 6 accounts, 1 price. $35/month. Cancel anytime.”

The bulletin provided a signup for a mailing list for people to be contacted when the internet TV service was more ready — currently, the status of YouTube TV is “coming soon.”

Kissinger and Shultz Won’t Endorse Trump

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Former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Shultz have now said they won’t endorse Trump, the nominee for their party.

“We are not making any endorsement in the current presidential election,” stated the two Republican foreign policy experts in a written statement, as reported by Time. “We are dedicated to fostering a bipartisan foreign policy, and we will devote ourselves to this effort now and after the election.”

Kissinger met with Trump recently but came out of the meeting without confidence in the nominee.

“On foreign policy, you identify many key problems,” Kissinger said at the time. “I do not generally agree with the solutions. One-shot outcomes are probably not possible.”

Trump at the time, however, said that Kissinger agreed with his foreign policy ideas.

Alcohol Sales Before Vote Punishable Offence as Thai Referendum Draws Near

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Starting Saturday evening, no alcohol can legally be sold in Thailand, in accordance with the country’s new Referendum Act.

Polling will take place on Sunday, and the act forbids selling or giving away alcohol from 6 P.M.  the night before. The ban will continue until 12 midnight Sunday night.

Violating the 2016 Referendum Act is punishable by up to six months in prison and a 10,000 baht fine.

Sales will be permitted at duty-free stores, but the alcohol cannot be consumed within the country until Monday morning.

Munich Shooting Actually Didn’t Have Ties to Anders Breivik — German Investigators Change Their Minds About the Link

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German investigators in the case of Munich mass shooter David Ali Sonboly, who early on stated that the man was linked to Norwegian political mass killer Anders Breivik — Munich police chief Hubertus Andrae was quoted saying there was an “obvious” link, which was widely reported in the media —  have changed their minds on that point.

German authorities are now discounting the reports that Sonboly had been particularly influenced by a study of Breivik’s attack, although the attack on Utoya took place five years earlier to the day.

Sonboly purchased a 9mm pistol on the internet, according to Bavarian investigators. He may have lured victims to the mall by promising them free food at a restaurant there. He fired 57 bullets of 300 he brought in a backpack before being silenced by one police bullet.

Sonboly was a German with Iranian citizenship. He possessed a collection of books about mass shootings in his room, according to police.

He is believed to have planned the mall attack one year in advance.

The young man had a history of psychiatric treatment, having been counselled for a period of two months.

Wurzburg Video Message Warns of Attack

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The video, released by the Islamic State shortly after the train attack in Wurzburg, Germany, has been confirmed by the Bavarian interior minister to be the attacker, a 17-year-old Afghani asylum seeker Muhammad Riyad.

The video the Islamic State published shows the youth explaining the motive for his actions, placing his attack in the context of perceived injustices committed against Muslims by Western nations.

He also explains that he planned the attack well in advance, while living in Germany

Translation by Gatestone Institute

Dallas Shooting Only One of Five Attacks on Police in Two Days

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Thursday night’s attack on white police in Dallas was the worst of five shooting attacks over the course of two days. In three other states, attacks took place hours before Dallas, later that night and the next day.

Lakeem Keon Scott
Lakeem Keon Scott


At 2 a.m. Thursday morning in Bristol, Tennessee, a man named Lakeem Scott allegedly fired though a Days Inn window at vehicles on the nearby parkway, killing one person. Scott then fired on officers who came to the scene. Scott was wounded by police gunfire and arrested.

“Preliminarily, the investigation reveals Scott may have targeted individuals and officers after being troubled by recent incidents involving African-Americans and law enforcement officers in other parts of the country,” reported the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

According to CNN, a police report also described witnesses as saying they had heard Scott shouting “Police suck! Black lives matter!”


Micah Johnson
Micah Johnson

25-year-old U.S. Army reservist Micah Johnson killed five of the 12 police officers he shot in a sniper-style attack at a Black Lives Matter-organized protest held in response to widespread media coverage of the recent deaths of two black men by police gunfire. The attack began at approximately 8:30 Thursday night, ending hours later after failed negotiations resulted in the killing of Johnson with a robot-deployed explosive.

The motive for Johnson’s crimes is currently believed to be wanting to kill whites, particularly white police officers, according to police who attempted to negotiate with the attacker.

(NOTE to readers: the following shooting incidents, particularly the two Georgia incidents, seem to have confused news reporters, who have published confused reports with misattributed names. The following is, to the best of our knowledge, correct.)


Hours after the Dallas attack, 22-year-old Stephen Paul Beck allegedly called 911 with a report of a break in to lure police to his apartment in Valdosta and opened fire when they arrived. One officer took several bullets, one penetrating his equipment.

Beck was also wounded and was arrested.

No photo has been published of Beck but he is reported to be of Asian descent.

Victor Alonzo Majia Nunez
Victor Alonzo Majia Nunez


At around 1 a.m. Friday, a 21-year-old man, Victor Alonzo Majia Nunez, opened fire on a police officer as he was driving past in a stolen vehicle in Roswell, Georgia.

The officer was not struck, and was surprised by the noises, at first thinking they might have been fireworks. The officer chased down the vehicle and arrested Nunez.


Antonio Taylor
Antonio Taylor

At 11:00 a.m. Friday morning another officer was shot as he was undertaking a routine stop on a speeding car in Ballwin, St. Louis County. When the officer went back to his police car, the driver of the vehicle, Antonio Taylor, got out, advanced on the officer, and fired three shots at him.

“It was clearly an ambush, an attack,” said St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch. “There was no confrontation, no argument, no nothing.”

The gunman fled, and was finally captured after he exited his vehicle and ran.

US Investigating First Auto-Pilot Car Crash Death

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A collision in Florida in which a self-driving vehicle hit a tractor trailer making a turn at a highway intersection is being investigated by the U.S. government. The crash is the first in which a self-driving car has caused death.

The government is currently investigating Tesla’s auto-pilot system.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Tesla hit the semi truck when the truck was making a left turn on a divided highway intersection.

The Tesla was destroyed as everything below its windshield passed under the tractor, coming to a stop hundreds of feet further on.

The Tesla driver died of injuries from the crash, which happened May 7 in Williston, a city southwest of Gainesville, Florida.

According to Tesla, the car’s system did not notice the white side of the tractor-trailer against the sky. The driver didn’t notice, either, Tesla’s representatives said, and no one hit the brakes.

“The high ride height of the trailer combined with its positioning across the road and the extremely rare circumstances of the impact caused the Model S to pass under the trailer,” said Tesla.

Currently, the NHTSA is undertaking the process of easing self-driving vehicles onto U.S. roads, and Tesla has become famous as a front-runner in the production of popular self-driving vehicles.

Confirmed This Week: Earth Has a “Second Moon”

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About Earth’s New Little Moon

After putting in its time, an asteroid called “Asteroid 2016 HO3” has now been confirmed by NASA to be a permanent resident in the Earth’s gravitational field.

The asteroid was discovered earlier this year by University of Hawaii’s Institute for Astronomy, but it has been a “stable quasi-satellite” for almost 100 years.

Asteroid 2016 HO3 is between 120 and 300 feet in diameter (40-100 meters). The asteroid poses no threat of hitting the Earth, and will never come closer than 14 million kilometers (9 million miles) from our planet.

(For point of comparison, the average distance to the moon is less than 400,000 km.

Asteroid 2016 HO3 orbits the Earth somewhat similarly to our regular moon, but in an uneven pattern in which the rock drifts ahead of the Earth for a couple years as both orbit the sun, before the Earth’s gravity pulls the rock back and it falls behind the Earth for a few years. The relationship between the Earth and the asteroid has been likened to a dance.

Image: Paul Chodas, NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Iceland Bringing More Than Football to Euro 2016

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It’s become journalistic shorthand to describe Iceland’s impact at Euro 2016 as ‘volcanic’, but the team’s success in France is down to the close bond that exists in in the squad, and the harmony between the players and the fans.

These are the two constructive, rather than destructive, forces setting the scene for a history-making tournament for Lars Lagerback and Heimer Hallgrimsson’s players, and its little wonder that people around the world have taken a shine to them.

Such is the good feeling and bonhomie, even the fans are getting in on the act of charming the world; their good conduct means they may usurp the Republic of Ireland’s green army and become unofficially recognized as the best supporters in world football.

Their ominous, Viking roar is designed to drive on their team, in contrast to the deep pop of the flares and hooligan violence that serve only to disrupt matches and create disorder.

And they share with Ireland an underdog typecasting that is befitting of a windswept island in the Atlantic; and Euro 2016 can be for Iceland what Italia 1990 was for the Irish, a transformative event that was more about lifting a nation and less about the football.

A Team That Can Play

But they can play football, and that 1-1 draw against Hungary in the Stade Velodrome felt like a loss; Gylfi Sigurdsson slumped to the grass on the final whistle and the entire team were left to rue two points dropped.

Many of the players graduated from the Under-21 side together, and the fact that the men in the blue jersey share a friendship that extends beyond the white lines of a football pitch means they will be united in these low moments.

This familiarity is hardly surprising considering how their co-manager, Hallgrimsson, doubles as a dentist and is beloved in his community.

Hallgrimsson has also revealed a unique tradition that used to take place before every Iceland game – 200 fans would gather and learn of the lineup before the media got a chance to see it; and those fans always kept the information secret.

The practice has been discontinued now because there are too many fans following them in France, and that number looks set to grow because the Nordics keep putting in good performances – on the pitch and in the stands.

Their propensity for a headline grabbing quote or a robust tackle show that they’re not unblemished saints, but the freedom and innocence they bring to Euro 2016 is a refreshing antidote to the violence that continues to mar this tournament.

By Enda Kenneally

Methamphetamines Should Be Removed From List of Narcotics – Thai Justice Minister

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The Kingdom of Thailand’s strict stance on illicit drugs is world-famous, but this week the Justice Ministry came out in favor of giving up the current, unsuccessful approach to fighting the war on drugs and instead focusing on more health-oriented policies.

Justice Minister Paiboon Kumchaya told reporters this week that the nationwide problem of methamphetamine use had not been won during its already 28-year campaign. More people than ever are hooked on the drug, he said.

Paiboon said the Justice Minsitry was in the process of consulting relevant agencies about removing methamphetamines — known colloquially as “ya ba” [crazy drug] or “easy” — from the list of narcotic drugs and treating it instead as a normal drug, which would make it easier for Thais to seek health treatment and rehabilitation.

The minister also mentioned that other nations had been changing their drug policy in similar ways in recent years because they could not win a war on drugs by treating use as a crime.

Methamphetamines in the form most common in Thailand

Paiboon proposed an analogy in which an incurably diseased person tries to find a way to live more happily with their disease. In such a case, the person seeks the help of health professionals in addressing the problem.

He also mentioned that Thai society accepts cigarettes and alcohol, although both are arguably more hazardous to health than methamphetamines.


Family Members Say Shooter Not Particularly Religious But Was Offended by Homosexuality

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Omar Mateen was a 29-year-old man who killed 50 people Sunday — mostly or all gays — in an Orlando nightclub with guns he obtained through his security job. According to his family he committed the act not out of religious conviction but due to a strong outrage caused by the idea of homosexuality.

Omar Mateen’s father, Seddique Mateen, who has supported the Waziristan Taliban in Afghanistan publicly on his YouTube channel, said that Omar Mateen committed his crime for reasons other than Muslim faith:

“We were in Downtown Miami, Bayside, people were playing music,” the father told NBC News. “And he saw two men kissing each other in front of his wife and kid and he got very angry.

“They were kissing each other and touching each other, and he said, ‘Look at that. In front of my son they are doing that.’ And then we were in the men’s bathroom and men were kissing each other.”

Seddique Mateen added, “We are in shock like the whole country. This had nothing to do with religion.”

Omar Mateen’s ex-wife talked to the Washington Post about her husband’s personality, and also said that Omar Mateen’s faith was not a powerful inspiration in his life.

She said that Mateen beat her regularly for minor reasons such as not doing the laundry. She was rescued by her family and obtained a divorce, according to court documents obtained by news agency AFP.

Mateen had been interviewed twice since 2013 by the FBI after popping up on their radar for comments related to Islamic propaganda at work and ties with another American citizen who went to become a suicide bomber in the Middle East, but the FBI found no cause to monitor the man.

Omar Mateen died by police gunfire in the hostage situation he had staged after his shooting spree in Pulse night club. According to multiple law enforcement officials who made statements shortly after the crime, Mateen had called 911 just before starting his attack, during which phone call he pledged allegiance to the Islamic State terrorist group.