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SpaceX Sends First Commercial Craft into Space

News that SpaceX, the privately owned company that has been trying to send their own rocket into space, and finally did so today, has rocked the worlds of science and business at the same time. This marks the first time a non-governmental craft has flown to outer-space.

Well, as they say, there goes the neighborhood.

The SpaceX rocket, known as the Falcon 9 (because, after all, if it isn’t one falcon thing, it’s another…) launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida, the former location of the NASA shuttle launches, which were ended last year, when the last shuttle was retired, presumably to enjoy fishing and fine dining in its autumn years.

The Falcon 9, carrying the capsule dubbed “Dragon” made it into orbit, went twice around the world, and then returned to Earth’s atmosphere, splashing down in the Pacific Ocean because, first-off, it’s as traditional as SpaceX’s choice of launch site and secondly- hey, even NASA couldn’t miss a landing zone that big, and why not use the Pacific Ocean? It’s free, right?

Although the capsule was empty, in the future the intention is to carry astronauts and supplies up to the International Space Station, replacing the NASA shuttles that used to do this job. I’m sure out-sourcing to a private company will be without problems. That worked out Ok in Iraq with Blackwater USA, right? Actually, to be fair, I’m sure private companies will probably do a much better job at managing costs and budget over-runs than NASA, although admittedly, that does qualify as faint praise.

There was a slight delay at Falcon 9’s launch, although it was discovered that the NASA facilities, and not the rocket, were where the problem lay. Shortly after that, the rocket slid smoothly out of our atmosphere and into a brave new future, no doubt to be filled with satellite billboards that can be seen half the world over at a time. Brave New Off-World, indeed.

So, keep your eyes open for SpaceX to eventually move towards commercial space travel, with International Orbiting Hotels and Super-Saver fares of just under $1,000,000 (taxes and additional surcharges not included…). So, for your future off-world travel plans, it’s SpaceX. Because X marks the spot… in Space!

Vibram Fivefingers

Filed under: Innovations,Products,Sports — Tags: , , , , — Positronic Dave @ 11:54 pm August 19, 2010

Vibram FiveFingers KSO

Vibram Fivefingers” is neither a porn name, nor the Dick Tracy villain the name would suggest (if you don’t get the “Dick Tracy” reference… google it) but it is a great object lesson in knowing how and when to follow-through on a good idea, before greedy people steal your design out from under your genius fingers.

Let’s not much about here: the Vibram Fivefingers is one ugly shoe. Really ugly… like it should’ve been just a horrifying mistake, but instead its an actual innovative design for ergonomic running shoes. Looking like beefed-up (and heavily rubber-soled) pair of toe-socks, the Vibram Five-fingers was praised in both popular books and actual scientific studies. Throw is some tributes and testimonials from professional athletes and soon the demand for your product far outstrips your ability to supply it.

This is the predicament of the Italian company Vibram. Known for almost 100 years for their expensive, but top-of-the-line hiking boots. Then a few years ago one of their designers, having heard of the benefits of barefoot running, came up with the idea for the Vibram Fivefingers “shoe.” As I said before, it looks more like toe-socks with rubber soles, but these barefoot running shoes have the running sports world all a-tither over it.

While Vibram tries to keep up with other companies (like the Nike Free, as well as designs by New Balance and others) competing designs as they try to expand their factories making the Vibram Fiverfingers shoe, the worst damage is being done by counterfeiters

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