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“To say that our rights are actually privileges is to say that someone, presumably some level of government, has the power and the right to grant or deny those privileges. That premise is completely backwards. In the U.S. at least, government exists expressly by the consent of the governed, and our federal and individual state constitutions are expressly written to limit the power of the government, not the citizens. It is the nature of government to constantly try to push the limits of its power, as sure as it is the nature of fish to swim or dogs to bark, which is exactly why it is in all of our interests to push back. Regulations are written by people who for whatever reason believe they have the power and the right to tell other people how they should live their lives. Often this is to force inconsiderate people to respect the rights and autonomy of their neighbors, but it would seem to me that just as often it is by inconsiderate and dominating people to try to force others to live their lives according to the regulator’s ideas of what is good for them. A third reason, often behind onerous zoning laws, is blatant self-interest at the expense of those without the political power to resist. I would encourage those who value their freedom to make their own decisions about their life to push back, never accepting the false premise that they live by the permission of any other individual or group or government.”
-Brian Kraut, fighting Jacksonville FL for the right to construct a homebuilt aircraft on his own property. (www.jaxairplane.com)

Armadillo Aerospace reaches beta (with a large bonus)

Filed under: Uncategorized — mgrusin at 9:35 am on Tuesday, September 15, 2009

CRW_7604Another X-Prize won!  Armadillo Aerospace is the first team to win the Lunar Lander Challenge (but the demonstration window is still open, and other teams could still share the prize money).

One thing I really like about Armadillo is that from the beginning they’ve done their engineering in small increments, fixing what doesn’t work as they go along.  They’ve been at this a long time and their logs are fascinating to read; full of endless problems with metallurgy, thermodynamics, supersonic flow, control… all encountered through thousands of tests, and all eventually solved.  Founder John Carmack, who made his fortune from DOOM and other video games puts it best:

When asked what lessons the traditional aerospace community should learn from their success, Carmack answered, “You learn so much more by getting out there and doing things than you do sitting at a desk running a CAD program. You can’t even imagine some of the things that wind up going wrong. It’s the unknown unknowns that get you. You wind up getting things done by going out there and trying it, accepting levels of failure and you beat the problem into submission by working on it over and over and over again. And when you can build your operations tempo up to doing things every day, that’s what we want to see in the aerospace world.”

Exactly.  They’ve definitely earned this one, and the million dollar prize ain’t bad either.

via OnOrbit

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