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NYT opines on TSA's Registered Traveler program and NASA

The Sunday NYT has an editorial on TSA's Registered Traveler program.

Speedy Lines for Trusted Fliers [NYT, 10.7.2006]
It is imperative that registered travelers not be allowed to get by with less intense security screening.

I have to say, I'm not exactly sure what they are saying.

Air travelers have long since become used to the fact that they receive different levels of service depending on how much they pay and how often they fly. If [companies] can find a business plan that allows them to make a profit by providing registered travelers with faster lines, without compromising security or adding to the inconvenience of other passengers, it would be a welcome development. But the best option would still be a broader program to improve screening for all passengers, thus rendering the designated fast lanes superfluous.

So, speed security lines for everybody? That is the point?

A more interesting editorial came earlier in the week. [I couldn't post it then because I was quite busy this week with Monday's issue, which focuses on our Rising Star winners. Check them all out at www.fcw.com/risingstar.]

EDITORIAL; The Irony of NASA' s Nobel [NYT, 10.5.2006]
Scientifically important, small-scale missions were disproportionately cut to free up money for more grandiose programs.

It is short, so:

NASA is basking in the glow of a Nobel Prize awarded to one of its scientists and to a Berkeley astronomer for research performed on a satellite built by NASA. The award is richly deserved, and the agency deserves great credit for making the work possible. Too bad the program that yielded these pioneering discoveries was reined in not long ago so that NASA could pour billions of dollars into resuming shuttle flights, finishing the international space station, and developing spacecraft to pursue the Bush administration's ambitious space exploration program.

The research that won this year's Nobel Prize in Physics was performed using instruments aboard the Cosmic Background Explorer, or COBE satellite, which was launched in 1989. Huge teams of government and academic researchers measured and analyzed the cosmic microwave background radiation that permeates the universe. Their findings provided strong support for the Big Bang theory of the origins of the universe, and turned cosmology, previously rather speculative, into a precise science. The discoveries have been hailed as one of the greatest scientific advances of the past century.

The COBE satellite was part of NASA's Explorers Program, which uses small satellites to conduct important studies that don't need gigantic, costly space platforms. Yet these and similar small-scale missions were disproportionately cut to free up money for more grandiose programs. The Nobel award suggests that NASA needs to rebalance its portfolio, a task the agency says is in progress.

Posted by Christopher Dorobek on Oct 08, 2006 at 12:15 PM


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