Neither candidate spoke much about space during the 2016 election, but just before Trump was elected president, he outlined a plan for NASA to move from an Earth-monitoring agency to one devoted to exploration.

When Obama took office, he told NASA to ditch the plan to revisit the moon and concentrate on sending humans to Mars in the 2030s, but Trump has set the space agency only one goal.

The president-elect wants NASA to explore the furthest reaches of the solar system by the end of the century, according to Space Policy Online.

“I will free NASA from the restriction of serving primarily as a logistics agency for low Earth orbit activity… Instead we will refocus its mission on space exploration.”

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Trump’s new space plan, still a little short on details, focuses on eliminating bureaucratic waste, promoting a private-public partnership, and setting ambitious goals for NASA that will force the agency to stretch itself.

It’s the same kind of goal Kennedy gave NASA in 1961 when he instructed the agency to catch up and overtake the Soviet Union to win the space race.

“We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”

In the weeks and months leading up to the election, neither candidate had much to say about space and the presidential debates didn’t even mention NASA.

After the second debate, SpaceNews sent both Clinton and Trump a series of questions asking about their plans for NASA, which was followed up by a questionnaire from Scientific American a few weeks later. Clinton praised NASA and dropped the names of space super stars like a pro while Trump gave short vaguely worded answers devoid of any specifics.

 Then, shortly before Election Day, the new president-elect recruited former Republican congressman Robert Walker, who chaired the Science, Space, and Technology Committee in the 1990s, to help draft a plan for NASA.

Trump’s new space policy, heavily influenced by Walker, is designed to coordinate public and private efforts to maximize American efforts to explore the entire solar system. That includes mining valuable minerals from the asteroid belt and visiting Jupiter’s moon Europa, perhaps the best place to find alien life near Earth.

Trump plans to bring back the National Space Council, last in operation under George H.W. Bush, explore deep space, and encourage commercial partners to build a new economy in low Earth orbit, Walker told Mother Jones.

“If you’re looking at technology that looks for the solar system, you are then likely to move toward plasma rockets, toward nuclear-powered rockets, certainly toward solar sails.”

The space council, headed by the vice president, would be charged with making sure each partner, NASA, the military, and commercial partners, are all playing their proper role.

The new president-elect also has plans to abandon climate research, transfer Earth monitoring funding from NASA to NOAA, and strengthen the U.S. military’s stance in orbit.

Space-Exploration-Trump

Trump’s administration plans to eliminate many of the redundancies facing the American space program today. NASA is currently building a massive rocket known as the Space Launch System (SLS), but there are private companies also working on heavy rockets capable of deep space travel.

Ditching the NASA launch vehicle and relying on private spaceships would free up federal funds for other space-related projects, which would reduce costs, create jobs, and promote growth.

With better cooperation between the government and private companies, federal funds could be better utilized to help America explore the solar system, U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine, who is on the short list to head NASA, told SpaceNews.

“The United States of America is the only nation that can protect space for the free world and for responsible entities, and preserves space for generations to come. America must forever be the preeminent spacefaring nation.”

Source:  inquisitr.com

Categorized in News & Politics

The proposals aren’t just bad for Google, but for everyone.

There’s a lot to like about the copyright proposals that the European Commission unveiled Wednesday—easier access to video across the EU’s internal borders, more copyright exceptions for researchers, and more access to books for blind people.

However, two elements in particular could be disastrous if carried out as proposed. One would make it more difficult for small news publications to be able to challenge legacy media giants, and the other would threaten the existence of user-generated content platforms.

In a way, it’s good that digital commissioner Günther Oettinger has finally laid his cards on the table. But the battles that begin now will be epic.

The first contentious proposal is the introduction of so-called neighboring rights for press publishers, also known as ancillary copyright.

The move sounds pretty obscure, but isn’t. Much as it is possible for someone to get rewarded for performing a work—as opposed to writing it, which involves copyright—publishers would get to command fees for the stuff their writers write, based their own (new) rights rather than the copyright held by the journalist.

In effect, this would allow publishers to try wrangling fees out of others for any “use of the work”—a dangerously vague term in this context. What’s more, they’d get to do so for a whopping 20 years after publication.

This idea has been tried before in Germany and in Spain, where large publishers used new laws to try getting Google GOOG 0.11%  News to pay for using snippets of their text and thumbnails of their images.

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Both times the attempts failed. In Germany, Google stopped reproducing snippets of text in Google News, and the publishers granted the firm a free (albeit temporary) licence once they saw how their traffic suffered. In Spain, the publishers had no such leeway and Google News ended up pulling out of the country, hammering the industry’s income in the process.

The Commission’s new proposals aren’t as suicidally rigid as what went down in Spain, but they’re also much vaguer than the German version. As currently phrased, they could allow press publishers to try charging for the reproduction of headlines, or even the mere indexing of their articles.

It’s hard to know whether the large press publishers who lobbied so hard for these measures really think Google will ultimately pay up, or whether their real goal is what happens when it refuses.

Because Google surely won’t pay for indexing their content or reproducing snippets of their text. It can’t—that would be the beginning of the end of its entire search engine business model, which can no longer scale if its links come with a cost.

If this law goes through and demands for licensing fees are rigidly enforced, Google will almost certainly pull Google News out of the entire EU.

Remember that it doesn’t run ads on Google News. It does run ads on its regular search engine, of course, and news results make that a fuller product, but it would have no reason to maintain Google News in Europe if it became a serious financial liability.

And if Google News exits the EU, the biggest victims will be the smaller publications, as happened in Spain. They rely on Google News and other aggregators because that’s how people find their articles, visit their sites, and view and click on their ads.

More established media outlets have much more brand recognition and traditional marketing clout, particularly in linguistically semi-closed markets such as Germany and France. They have everything to gain from reversing the Internet’s opening up of the media market; their rivals, and the reading public, have everything to lose. No wonder they’ve been pushing Oettinger to bring in ancillary copyright.

The other major flaw in the new proposals would also be bad news for smaller players, and for the rights of the public.

Under the e-Commerce Directive of 2000, the operators of user-generated content platforms—YouTube and SoundCloud and the like—are not liable for the content their users upload, as long as they take down the illegal stuff once someone flags it. That directive also explicitly says there can be no laws forcing platforms to generally monitor the content they manage.

Despite having consistently denied it is going to change these rules, the Commission is now proposing exactly that. In its new copyright directive proposal, it wants to force all user-generated content platforms to use “effective content recognition technologies,” which sounds an awful lot like generally monitoring content.

Of course, YouTube already has its Content ID technology for identifying and purging illegally uploaded films and so on, but what about new platforms? It cost Google more than $60 million to develop and implement Content ID, and it has to constantly tweak it to counteract those users who figure out ways to get around it.

You know how people upload movies to YouTube that are re-filmed from a funny angle, or that cut off the edges of the screen? That’s an attempt to circumvent Content ID and fighting it costs money, as does handling disputes when the system incorrectly flags videos as infringing copyright.

Quite apart from the fact that this would clash with another piece of EU legislation that’s trying to protect freedom of expression, this would be a huge burden for anyone trying to set up a new user-generated content platform, making it a problem for both innovation and competition.

Yes, creators deserve fair remuneration for the works they create. Yes, the Internet has turned their livelihoods upside-down by forcing them to compete with millions of rivals in an open market. Yes, lack of funding threatens media diversity. Yes, change is hard.

But these new proposals wouldn’t help creators make the best of the new landscape. All they would do is entrench the positions of the big players—the legacy media outlets in the case of ancillary copyright, and funnily enough Google in the case of the user-generated content proposals.

The European Parliament and the EU’s member states have a lot to fix over the next year or two, as this proposal wends its way through the legislative process.

 

Source : http://fortune.com/2016/09/14/europe-copyright-google/

Categorized in Internet Ethics

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