Feds finally ready to tidy up the space junkyard

The Federal Communications Commission has a plan to minimize space junk by requiring low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites to be disposed no more than five years after being taken out of service.

A proposal released yesterday by FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel would adopt “a first-ever rule requiring non-geostationary satellite operators to deorbit their satellites after the end of their operations to minimize the risk of collisions that would create debris.” It’s scheduled for an FCC vote on September 29. The five-year rule would be legally binding, unlike the current 25-year standard that’s based on a NASA recommendation proposed in the 1990s…

The new rule “would require space station operators planning disposal through uncontrolled re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere to complete disposal as soon as practicable, and no more than five years following the end of mission,” an FCC fact sheet on the draft order said…

Someone’s bound to figure a way to make a buck out of this. Too public to not be tempting.

Fascist-minded politicos have decided that LGBTQ folk are as “dangerous” as everyone else they fear and hate


WASHINGTON POST/GETTY

Last November, Cameron Samuels was met with cold stares when they attended a school board meeting to speak out against bans on LGBTQ books and resource websites in their district…

Now [Houston’s] Katy ISD students involved in the movement Samuels helped start are trying to push forward a book review policy, which would ensure at least one student is represented on the committee whenever a book is challenged in the district.

Katy ISD is just one of many school districts where students have begun pushing back against book bans. Recently, schools across the US have begun challenging—and in some cases successfully removing—a growing list of books from LGBTQ and Black authors. Some librarians have found themselves targeted for creating book displays featuring LGBTQ titles. And right-wing groups like Moms For Liberty have been organizing around the country to ban books they deem “obscene” from schools, and even make them illegal to sell or lend to minors…

Jonathan Friedman, director of free expression and education programs at PEN America says he is seeing youth voices play a critical role in book ban opposition.

“At a time when many teachers and librarians are having their speech chilled, it is often students who are leading the charge and speaking out for their rights—as they should,” Friedman told Motherboard.

I can empathize. BITD, as a night school student in profession-oriented college courses, simple self-interest pushed me into similar activism. Not often; but, often enough to identify me as a PITA to a few teachers and administrators, who felt they had a vested interest in blocking any doorway that allowed the entry of up-to-date textbooks.

LG and Honda will build battery plant in GOUSA

Japan’s Honda Motor Co will set up a new lithium-ion battery plant for electric vehicles in the United States with Korean battery supplier LG Energy Solution Ltd, the two companies said on Monday.

Battery makers are looking to increase production in the U.S. where a shift toward electric vehicles could increase as the country implements stricter regulation and tightens tax credit eligibility.

NSS

The investment will be $4.4 billion, the two companies said in a statement, aiming for annual production capacity of approximately 40 GWh with the batteries supplied exclusively to Honda facilities in North America to power Honda and Acura EV models.

The pair are expected to establish a joint venture before building the plant, with the start of construction planned for early 2023 and mass-production by the end of 2025.

$4.4 billion to build a manufacturing facility that can grow and provide core components throughout North and South America for decades to come. Seems smart enough to me. Too bad we haven’t more American investors with this level of cash, courage and economic understanding.

VW + EV = ID BUZZ

This year, Volkswagen is bringing back the bus — souped up, tricked out, and no longer bouncy — as the ID. Buzz. “ID.” stands for “intelligent design,” and “Buzz” means that it’s electric. It might be the most anticipated vehicle in automotive history. Volkswagen has been teasing a return of the classic, iconic, drive-it-to-the-Grateful-Dead bus for more than two decades. (I’m one of the people who’ve been counting the days.) The company keeps announcing that it’s coming, and then it never comes. Finally, it really is coming, and not only is it electric but it can also be a little bit psychedelic, two-toned, in the colors of a box of Popsicles: tangerine, lime, grape, lemon. It’s on sale in Europe this fall and will be available in the United States in 2024. (One reason for the wait is that Volkswagen is making a bigger one for the U.S. market, with three rows of seats instead of two.) Volkswagen expects the Buzz, which has a range of something like two hundred and sixty miles, to be the flagship of a fast-growing electric fleet. The C.E.O. of Volkswagen of America said that the demand for the Buzz in the U.S. is unlike anything he’s seen before. “The Buzz has the ability to rewrite the rules,” Top Gear reported in April, naming it Electric Car of the Year…

The future of the automobile is, undeniably, swoosh and buzz and smart — smart this, smart that. But is it appealing? VW’s pitch for the Buzz marries nostalgia with moral seriousness about climate change, a seriousness that, for VW, is a particular necessity. Volkswagen dominated the diesel-vehicle industry with its “clean diesel” cars and trucks until, in 2015, it admitted to tampering with the software on more than ten million vehicles in order to cheat on emissions tests. The scandal shattered the company and led to the resignation of Martin Winterkorn, then the VW Group’s C.E.O…Just this May, Volkswagen agreed to pay nearly two hundred and fifty million dollars to settle claims filed in England and Wales…

The Volkswagen ID. Buzz, then, isn’t just any electric car. It’s a bid for Volkswagen’s redemption. Is it also the car that can usher in an E.V. revolution, a true turn of the wheel in the long history of the automobile?

Car geeks who’ve driven prototypes, pre-production versions, say the answer to all those questions is a solid “YES”. We’ll get to see as the Euro version rolls out, this autumn. The longer wheelbase North American version is rumored for 2024 and – I’ll bet – it may be built in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Pentagon’s ‘Anomaly Resolution’ Department Studying UFOs

The Pentagon announced it’s opening an office specifically to chase down reports of unidentified flying objects in a press release on Wednesday. It’ll be called the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO) and will work to collect and analyze various reports of UFO activity from across America’s various federal agencies…

The new office is the result of various disclosures of unidentified aerial phenomenon (UAP) by the DoD after lobbying and leaks from groups like Tom Delonge’s To the Stars Academy. Credible witnesses, including Navy pilots, have come forward and described their experiences with UFOs. One recent Navy video leaked by a UFO enthusiast and confirmed by the Pentagon showed a UFO apparently disappearing into the water, which may explain the new office’s focus on “transmedium” objects—objects that flit between space, the air, and under the water.

Same as it ever was. We’ll get a peek at what the boffins have been peering at for years. And still haven’t figured out.

Most popular car on TikTok

Analyzing the number of views on TikTok using hashtags mentioning each vehicle brand and model, research by Confused.com revealed the most popular car models and brands on the app. The Ford Maverick topped the list, with over 10.9 billion views and a range of media and consumer content. Scroll through #FordMaverick on the app and you’ll find thousands of videos with owners showing off their truck—but none from Ford itself. The official Ford TikTok page is lightly populated and shows no Maverick content, cementing the truck’s popularity as relatively organic.

My wife’s Maverick is Cactus Gray. The truck’s name is Moxie.