Who Says Space Isn’t Important…

There was once a day we soared to the heavens, we commanded the sky! Yet today, our wings clipped we stand on Terra Firma and watch as the world passes us by...

There is a race going and we are not part of it and we all know if you’re not in a race, you can’t be a winner and that is on many fronts.  As Asia’s current space race could also turn into an arms race akin to what we saw in the days of the Cold War.  Well that is I guess according to James Clay Moltz, who is a professor in the Department of National Security Affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School.

As he writes that the major Asian nations, namely China, Japan, India, and South Korea, are all investing monies to expand their space programs [are we? No] with little-to-no cooperation. While these efforts appear to be driven by want of national prestige there also exist geopolitical rivalries, similar to the ones faced by the US and Soviet’s in the space race of the 1960s. The thing is and what most westerners forget is that during the period of the “space race” it stimulated technological advancements which made us who we are today [and thus missing out on for the future].

While competing agendas in Asia are leading to a duplication of work and mistrust among the countries involved.  Where is also the waste of resources while even worse [for us], is this “competition” if you will is also undermining recent cooperation which has been built up between the US, Russia, and Europe.

As unlike here in the west, Asia doesn’t have any type of regional security organization such as NATO.  So when you add this fact with the long-standing feuds seen between  nations such as China & India, India & Pakistan, to of course  North Korea & South Korea, and on and on and on, well you get the idea as cant we all just get along? Means a civilian space race could turn into an arms race as what other good use of could there be for a big rocket, let see [insert thinking time here].  Aah yes, an ICBM and guess what, yes a big rocket makes for bad bomb building techniques.  As thermo nuclear bombs are easy to build, however it’s hard to make them small, so the issue has been one of “delivery”, whereas have big [rocket] then can deliver.

On the other front, each of these nations has performed separate lunar-mapping missions since 2007, with planned follow ups which will include the deployment of rovers, landers, and lunar bases.  Again without any cooperation, even though a lot of the work will be redundant.   Even our friends in Japan are climbing fast with the most human spaceflight experience in the region.  As with 15 manned flights since 1992 along with a paid membership in the International Space Station.  However it has always had to  hitchhike a ride with either us or Russia.

Here China on the other hand as launched its first astronaut in only 2003  along with many follow-up flights since.  To its most recent accomplishment of launching a Tiangong-1 orbital test module for a planned 2020 space station all on its own!  While not to be out done, India who feels a little earth bound has announced  a planned manned flight to take place in 2016. Have to wonder if they are interested in buying a fleet of slightly used space shuttles?

Worth noting is they don’t also plan to stop with manned  spaceflight efforts either, as the three major nations also have plans to deploy their own solutions to the US-maintained Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite network.  In fact, China has already deployed over one third of its planned 35-satellite “BeiDou” network in orbit  Note worthy too is ours are old, theirs are new.

The long story short is we the west are being left behind, we have retired our only good manned way to space and depend now upon others for rides aloft.  We have forgotten how to go to the moon as well as “this that and the other thing”, god speed John Glenn…

A Mid-Life Crises Indian Style…

Can 1.2 billion buyers be all that bad?

A recent Economist article got me to thinking about this topic as all things have cycles and this is what this blog is here to discuss as being human animals we not only create these cycles, yet live within their creation. As it’s here “mid-life” comes in to play as it always sounds better to say “than half dead”, yet we aren’t to wax about a 20 something blonde, nor a fast car as this subject is far more exciting being 30 year mark for the Indian Outsourcing industry as the Granddad of them all, Infosys has turned the 30 and its founder and Chairman has decided the time was right to take the money and run.  In leaving the reins in the hands of others we are seeing a trend across the “tech giants”, as for one reason or another we are seeing changes at the top of these firms as well as in the markets.  Yet today what interests me the most is what is happening in India as what was a third world nation (where many parts remain) steps forward into the spot light of the world market solely based  on its human capital and it matures what is the outcome and what can we learn from it.

As during the last Wall Street meltdown in mid-2009, the  revenue growth of IT firms’ slowed to near zero as customers, especially ones in the financial industry, slashed their spending like there was no tomorrow. Yet activity did bounce back in time as their clients recovered some of their nerve along with furthering efforts to cut costs through outsourcing and right shoring their back offices.  Yet as it appears that we may be heading for a sequel to the 2008/2009 as the second shoe prepares to drop how will they fare in light of a second double down if you will?

What has me pondering this is a far more social question then one of simple rote “right-shoring” politics and arguments of its ethicality or economic viability.  As here again is where the Economist [magazine] shines as many people grab the Sports page of the local paper, I grab the world economic data and there is no where better then the back of the Economist. As it’s here I’ve noticed something interesting when it comes to India which seems to be a “tell” to the “tail” if you will as in a “telling tail”.

Here India is unique if you will because it is the only high populous country in the sub-Asian region which sports a capitalistic economy.  Where most others are social hybrids, their conversion has been the closest so at this mid age mark what to the numbers look like then?  Well this is what surprised me as not so good, as their Current Account Balance is actually negative at -36 billion which is comparable with  another western styled country in region Australia at -33 billion.  Interesting stuff  their budget is -4.7% of GDP while again “Australia” weights in at half being a mere -2.6%,

Its clear that consumerism has taken hold in India and they are spending money faster than they earn it (sounds like the American way doesn’t it)…

A Mid-Life Crises Indian Style…

Can 1.2 billion buyers be all that bad?

A recent Economist article got me to thinking about this topic as all things have cycles and this is what this blog is here to discuss as being human animals we not only create these cycles, yet live within their creation. As it’s here “mid-life” comes in to play as it always sounds better to say “than half dead”, yet we aren’t to wax about a 20 something blonde, nor a fast car as this subject is far more exciting being 30 year mark for the Indian Outsourcing industry as the Granddad of them all, Infosys has turned the 30 and its founder and Chairman has decided the time was right to take the money and run.  In leaving the reins in the hands of others we are seeing a trend across the “tech giants”, as for one reason or another we are seeing changes at the top of these firms as well as in the markets.  Yet today what interests me the most is what is happening in India as what was a third world nation (where many parts remain) steps forward into the spot light of the world market solely based  on its human capital and it matures what is the outcome and what can we learn from it.

As during the last Wall Street meltdown in mid-2009, the  revenue growth of IT firms’ slowed to near zero as customers, especially ones in the financial industry, slashed their spending like there was no tomorrow. Yet activity did bounce back in time as their clients recovered some of their nerve along with furthering efforts to cut costs through outsourcing and right shoring their back offices.  Yet as it appears that we may be heading for a sequel to the 2008/2009 as the second shoe prepares to drop how will they fare in light of a second double down if you will?

What has me pondering this is a far more social question then one of simple rote “right-shoring” politics and arguments of its ethicality or economic viability.  As here again is where the Economist [magazine] shines as many people grab the Sports page of the local paper, I grab the world economic data and there is no where better then the back of the Economist. As it’s here I’ve noticed something interesting when it comes to India which seems to be a “tell” to the “tail” if you will as in a “telling tail”.

Here India is unique if you will because it is the only high populous country in the sub-Asian region which sports a capitalistic economy.  Where most others are social hybrids, their conversion has been the closest so at this mid age mark what to the numbers look like then?  Well this is what surprised me as not so good, as their Current Account Balance is actually negative at -36 billion which is comparable with  another western styled country in region Australia at -33 billion.  Interesting stuff  their budget is -4.7% of GDP while again “Australia” weights in at half being a mere -2.6%,

Its clear that consumerism has taken hold in India and they are spending money faster than they earn it (sounds like the American way doesn’t it)…

Gendercide, the New Dirty Truth…

Where are the Girls?

A recent article in the Economist caught my personal attention as it shared current census data from India which exposed a scary trend if you will.  As the statistics documented that the numbers of female births are on the decline in reference to what would be expected in a normal distribution of this nature.  While on the surface one might say this is simply a statistical aberration of the numbers and not worthy of anyone’s concern.

As if we were to look at India’s neighbor China, we see this has been a trend for sometime as with their one child rule, femicide has become a common practice along with various forms of abandonment.  In fact one of the most haunting moments of my life occurred while standing on the street in the PuShi Province (China) waiting for a cab one evening.  As out of the shrubbery at the side of the road ran a young girl toward me with a small bundle in her arms which she deposited into mine while crying a cry the likes I’ve never seen before.  In this bundle was a small baby girl, who was now looking up at me with her eye shining in the reflection of the street lights over head.

As I stood there trying to get my mind around what had just happened, an old woman too ran from the underbrush toward me snatching the child from my arms.  Soon a very loud argument ensued with the younger girl who was now broken down weeping in the shadows along the road side.  My in country host who had witnessed the event from a distance rushed me away instructing me to keep my hands behind my back as if the police came, well you get the idea.  However in retrospect, China is still a communist country, thus dictatorial and the concept of sons being valued more socially than daughters explain the actions which I had experienced that evening.

However India unlike China is a democracy and as such these rules are not in place, in fact because of this a greater amount of social affluancy is passed along to the people.  So why are we seeing trends such as this manifesting themselves if there is greater wealth, and no rules?  The answer is what scared me, in fact the wealth itself was creating this trend as it provided the ability for people to afford ultrasounds and gender selection technology.  This in turn provides for advance knowledge of the unborn fetus’s sex allowing for negative selection based upon gender, or fertilization based upon a preferred sex status.

The scarier aspect of all this is if we look to the poverty side of equation, we see gendercide, and then as even when looking in the opposite direction to a country acceptant of democracy and economic growth we see a similar practice in gender selection.  With it a trend of even greater worry emerges from the shadows as it becomes clear that even in the 21st century the world still devalues the female gender sociologically at the “mores” level, in short 50 percent of the human race which is a tragedy. Also, yes I still wonder what happened to that baby girl…

Wow!

China Takes Pole for Car Sales...

China is clearly going to take the driver’s seat in global car purchases, at least per a story in the Economist online edition article titled “China Takes Pole” which shares the details that more vehicles are to be sold in China in 2011 than anywhere else in the world.   As sales are projected to remain soft in the rest of the world as many government sponsored programs like “cash-for-clunkers” now fade to black, and coupled with the Japanese’s triad of disasters (earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdowns) further places China forward as the growth market to be in for years 2011 and into 2012.  However the belief is that even with China stepping up their purchasing some 10 million vehicles per year over its 2007 levels still won’t be enough to fill the gap as India the other big up and coming player is slated for only slight gains over the same period meaning doldrums for the next 24 months.

However this has additional implication outside of the car market itself as cars need fuel, and we all know that fuel comes from oil and there is only so much of it to go around.  Thus as things are zero sum and our life’s lay in the distributions between the two sides we have to understand there is always a cause and effect.  So in essence we can say that in line with Newton’s laws (for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction) that:

Cause = Effect and therefore    Effect = Cause

So the “effect” will be a greater demand for gasoline and therefore this will “cause” a drop in supply which will lead to an increase in costs as the ratio of supply and demand drive costs.  This in turn could impose further negative pressure as the distribution of disposable income shifts to increase fuel cost, this will leave less monies for capital purchases such as cars.  In turn this action will feed the cycle to again push further sales to China, which in turn will drive up fuel cost until a corresponding negative going balancing loop applies cost pressure on the fuel side in China.

This in turn will form a classical sigmoidal formation or in simpler terms an “S” curve where there is a short uprising lead with very fast rise that leads to slowing tail which is the resulting balancing loop in system terms.  In short this will also produce a cascading “cause” and “effect” in the arena of social affluancy as each car which isn’t sold, means one less lunch a restaurant sells, to fewer hamburgers purchased from the food wholesaler all the way down the line.

The combination of these causal trends will come together into counter loops with fuel cost at the crux of both viral engines as one is driven upward and the other downward as the internal distributions shift.  All of this summarizes to yet a further bleak outlook for North American and the United States in particular as its current course of a jobless recovery will continue for the foreseeable future as until there is stabilization in the disposable income which was pushed to fuel cost adjusts, there won’t be a positive reinforcement loop created to promote employment growth …