It's Clobbering Time
Jeff Bezos (founder of Amazon.com) is setting himself up as the next uber-rich space entrepreneur. His aerospace venture, Blue Origins, has been created to build and launch space vehicles and rockets. On one hand, people might complain that there's no point to space exploration and only bored rich people can afford it anyway. But they'd be wrong. Yes, the startup cost is incredibly high, but eventually the returns will be whopping. Never mind the tourists, think about the asteroid mining, the bottled Comet Water (The Purest Water Off Earth™), and the patents. These early space ventures stand to make a ridiculously large amount of cash if they can get off the ground (literally and figuratively), and the men who are funding them got rich in the first place because they know a cash cow when they see it. So I'm going to sit back and enjoy the Space Race for the new millenium. The only thing better for technological advancement than a cold war is inter-company competition for customers. Go Capitalism!
Also, the Chandra space telescope has imaged a Type 1a supernova (caused when a white dwarf that is accreting material from a companion star is pushed over the Chandrasekhar limit and collapses to form a neutron star - as if you care) that looks bizarrely like a comic character we all know and love. Thanks to the Bad Astonomer for this image - he really does rock.
And lastely, here's my kind of christmas tree.