Grind for August 11th, 2018
“What we call the secret of happiness is no more a secret than our willingness to choose life.”
– Leo Buscaglia
SpaceX gets one step closer to cost-effectiveness
Launching rockets into space is really, really expensive.
That’s why Elon Musk’S company SpaceX is focused on designing rocket parts that can be used in multiple launches.
SpaceX on Tuesday used a Falcon 9 rocket to launch a massive satellite that will improve telecommunications in India, Indonesia, and Southeast Asia.
But even more exciting is the fact that the launch involved a Block 5 unit that was used in May when SpaceX launched a Bangladeshi satellite into space. This is the first time a Block 5 – the first stage of the rocket – has ever been used twice.
The Block 5 used Tuesday was specifically designed to need minimal refurbishment between launches. Musk calls it “the most reliable rocket ever built.”
To back up Musk’s claim, engineers took the Block 5 apart to make sure it was still working. In other words, they took it apart just to make sure it didn’t need to be taken apart.
If Tuesday’s mission succeeds, SpaceX plans to use the same Block 5 unit for a third time in a few months. This would be a massive accomplishment that would put us one step closer to the dream of cost-effective reusable rockets.
Saudi Arabia sanctions Canada for urging release of activists
Saudi Arabia this week announced a series of odd sanctions on Canada after Canadian foreign minister Chrystia Freeland urged the Saudi government to release civil society and women’s rights activists.
This is what Freeland said:
“Canada is gravely concerned about additional arrests of civil society and women’s rights activists in #SaudiArabia…We urge the Saudi authorities to immediately release them and all other peaceful #humanrights activists.”
Two days later, Saudi Arabia announced:
— The suspension of all new trade and investment with Canada
— The expulsion of the Canadian ambassador from SA
— The withdrawal of the Saudi ambassador from Canada
— The relocation of 7,000 Saudi students currently studying in Canada
— The cancellation of Saudi flights to Toronto beginning August 13th
According to UN reports, Saudi Arabia has detained or arrested at least 18 activists since mid-May.
Saudi officials insist the activists are being detained lawfully and claim Canada’s language represents “blatant interference in the kingdom’s domestic affairs” and “a major, unacceptable affront to the kingdom’s laws and judicial process.”
As many have pointed out, the sanctions will likely hurt Riyadh far more than they will hurt Canada.
“Expelling an ambassador over criticism of human-rights issues is the worst thing you can do,” reports a Gulf-based diplomat quoted in The Wall Street Journal. “It confirms prejudices about Saudi Arabia that exist among businessmen in Europe, for instance, while helping investors from countries where business comes first and that aren’t too concerned about human rights issues.”
In all likelihood, the sanctions on Canada are yet another attempt by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to rile up nationalists and assert Saudi dominance. If you think about it, expelling an ambassador is in line with previous actions such as his kidnapping of the Lebanese prime minister, his detention of wealthy Saudis to gain money for the government, and his bullying of Qatar.
The sanctions could also be intended as a warning to dissuade other Western nations from criticizing SA’s domestic affairs.
GOOD TO THE LAST DROP:
Did you know… If an ant is drunk, a fellow comrade will carry him back to the nest to sleep off the alcohol.