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January 04, 2007

Comments

Niri

I am fed up with all these rich boys, Bezos, Branson and the other man who made countless multimillion dollar attempts to balloon around the world nonstop.

Their feats have one thing in common: EGO!!! to the millionth power!!

Were these truly great men they would take the money they spend/waste and donate it to cures for some of the diseases that kill so many, building schools as Oprah Winfrey has done in South Africa - something that will truly benefit mankind, not just their pathetic egos.

I did find out last year how Branson at least funds his fantasies; At Christmas '05 I flew from Boston to London on Virgin. Despite my protestations I was told I had to put my carryon in the hold with a plate I had bought for a friend in London. I was assured it would go in a special place where it would be fine. I think the special place was inhabited by elephants - the plate was smashed to smithereens. I filed a claim at Heathrow. Several months later the claim was denied. I will not be flying Virgin Atlantic again. Oh, by the way the plate cost $25. Multiply this one incident by the number of similar incidents and you get to see how these egomaniacs fund these "boys and their expensive toys" ventures.

On a positive note, I will say that Amazon.com offers levels of service and customer service that Virgin can only dream of.

Chet Seligman

I am not irritated by the super-rich who seem to be driving the more innovative side of space exploration. NASA needs competitors who are much less bureaucratic than they.
Yes, we need the Oprah's, Gates' & Buffett's to effectively confront earthbound problems. However, as Hawkings points out, it's only a matter of time before catastrophe destroys human civilization on earth. We'd better be elsewhere before that happens.

Clifton Knox

The previous posters short sightedness is indictative of the need for immediate gratification by so many people these days. So many have no idea what being able to go to space does for the human race. Medicine\medical research, as well as experiments that can only be conducted in a zero G environment, as well as new clean energy technology that would not exist if not for the space program (such as solar energy technology just to scratch the surface) and recieve its first practical application in space. Man's existence since the beginning of recorded history has been marked by advancements that would never have occurred had he not explored his environment and continued to push into new frontiers. We are explorers at our very core and this need is the sole reason we are able too, and have become what we are. People have complained for years that the government was wasting its money and we should be giving it to poor countries. Now I have to listen to this same hogwash about how those in our society with the ability to finance it from their own pocket should give the money to poor people. Do me a favor and shut up. It isn't your money by any measure of the meaning (unlike tax dollars). If Oprah Winfrey wants to give millions to Africa I applaud her. If Bezos, or Branson choose to give it to the advancement of mankind then they are also contributing. It eventually will take the government out of space travel to a large extent and release more of your tax dollars for the poor. We must as humans continue to push into this new frontier as the explorers did when they discovered the new world, because as the past has shown, it can only make living better for the rich and poor alike.

Simon Ting

This argument remind me of my visit to Cancun where people are living in mud huts next to pigs an hour outside of 5 stars resorts. Should we then feel guilty about spending money on our vacation, give our money to the poor and live in a hut too until there are no more poor people? Where do you draw the line on helping the poor and spending money on the future or simply doing something inspirational. The ego maniac Branson you complainted about donated half his fortune, $3Bln, to fight global warming and pledged 10yrs of Virgin profits to Charity. May be you should donate your $25 to charity instead of buying plate.

Zo Botta

Check out Spacedev at www.spacedev.com to see professional space exploration... done by pros, not wanna-be space cowboys!

J.L.

It makes me smile to see so many people criticize Jeff Bezos for this. If you knew anything about him you would know that he is fulfilling a childhood dream. Aside from that, government entities like NASA will only benefit from technologies developed for public use. Competition is the mother of innovation. So complain all you want, but I guarantee you if there's an individual that could make the commuter space industry work, you're reading about him. I'm all for it Jeff! Where do I sign up to be the first interstellar stuart? "Club Soda! Be right back."

Ding

A rich man marshaling the strength of his vast resources and the best and brightest of todays engineers to send other rich people into space. Wow, now that is a goal truly worthy of the gods.

Pure Ego

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