NASA advances plan to commercialize International Space Station

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ORLANDO, Fla., Oct. 12 (UPI) — The planned launch of a private commercial airlock to the International Space Station in November will accelerate NASA’s plan to turn the station into a hub of private industry, space agency officials said.

The commercialization plan also includes the launch of a private habitat and laboratory by 2024 and a project NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced on Twitter in May in which actor Tom Cruise will film a movie in space.

The 20-year-old space station may even have a private citizen on board again for the first time in years in late 2021, according to Phil McAlister, NASA’s director of commercial spaceflight. It’s part of a plan to wean the space station off NASA’s public funding of $3 billion to $4 billion per year.

“We expanded the scope and range of activities that can be done on ISS,” McAlister said in an interview earlier this year. “We carved out resources — power, oxygen, data — and we know we can support a paying customer, probably twice a year for up to a month.”

Detailed plans for those stints at the space station are partly proprietary, he said.

Whether private citizens return or not, NASA has increased corporate missions to the space station in recent years.

One example was Estee Lauder, which sent 10 bottles of skin cream to the space station Oct. 1 as part of a $128,000 contract with NASA, according to the company and NASA.

The agency charges $17,500 per hour for the astronauts’ time, according to its fee schedule. A representative for Estee Lauder confirmed the project last week, but declined to elaborate.

Anheuser-Busch has sent barley seeds to the ISS several times, including an experiment to see how the seeds could be sprouted, known as malting, in microgravity.

“By exposing


Washington coach Jimmy Lake’s College Football Playoff plan would solve one tricky Pac-12 problem

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Jimmy Lake has a plan for a more perfect playoff.

It’s a six-team field, and the seeding is simple: All Power Five conference champions are automatic entrants in the field, with the College Football Playoff committee ranking them using the same criteria it currently employs. The sixth and final spot goes to a “wild card” — whether an independent (like Notre Dame in 2018), a Group of Five champion (like undefeated and subsequently snubbed Central Florida in 2017) or a second-place finisher in a Power Five conference (like Alabama in 2017).

In the first of three rounds, the top two seeds receive a bye and the winners of a 3-6 and 4-5 matchup advance to the semifinals. Then, same as the existing format, the final four teams play for a spot in the title game.

Of course, the JLP (Jimmy Lake Plan) would essentially solve one prickly problem — a Pac-12 program has not been selected for the College Football Playoff since Washington in 2016. It would also put significantly less pressure on the committee, with the foremost responsibility being ranking the conference champions and selecting a single wild card.

“I think that way you take all the subjectivity out of it, all the politics, the East Coast (bias), all of that,” Lake, the Huskies’ first-year head coach, said in a Pac-12 coaches media webinar Wednesday. “Let the champions move on. Let the teams play, and we’ll see who the best team is at the end of the year.”

Lake is so passionate about the JLP, in fact, that he and his oldest son — Jimmy Jr. — recently reseeded every playoff since the CFP came into existence in 2014, using their system. (The coronavirus pandemic, without a doubt, has provided time for passion projects.) Lake declared Wednesday that fans


The 401(k) of College Savings: 529 Plan Must-Knows | Personal-finance

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You can contribute more than $15,000

Many people know the $15,000 limit with regard to gift taxes: Gifts from an individual to a non-spouse are limited to $15,000 before gift taxes are triggered. If you’re married, you can give up to $30,000 to another individual without gift taxes, as this amount is assumed to be split between you and your spouse. Because contributing to a 529 plan for your child is considered a completed gift, you’ll need to be aware of these limits. Once money is in the 529 plan, you’re able to select an investment asset allocation to allow for growth over time.

529 plans, uniquely, also allow you to make a five-year election that treats your contribution as if it were made over five years. In other words, if you contribute $150,000 in the year your child is born, this can be treated as if you and your spouse each contributed $30,000 to the plan for the current year and each of the next four. This allows you to avoid federal gift taxes by adhering to the prescribed limits, and also will likely produce some state tax benefit which will vary by your state of residence.

Know how to exit gracefully

Historically, it’s been a baseline assumption that going to college is a necessary experience of young adult life. The next several decades could potentially be different. With the advent of online learning and wide availability of entrepreneurial opportunity, I don’t consider college to be a default option for all young people. It stands to reason that many will still opt for college, and many certainly should — but there are also going to be increasing opportunities to take nontraditional paths that are entirely legitimate and profit-producing.

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Kimberly Van Der Beek on Education Plan for Her 5 Kids, Says Traditional School Is ‘Imprisonment’

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Jenna Peffley for Architectural Digest

Kimberly Van Der Beek is opening up about her own methods of homeschooling.

Speaking on The Make Down podcast, the mother of five said she and actor husband James Van Der Beek have “done many variations” of teaching, including the “traditional homeschooling” at their house and hired teachers as well a “homeschool co-op at another friend’s house.”

“It was a really beautiful experience, there were a few teachers and it was incredible,” she said, advising those wanting to homeschool their kids on their own to not “stress yourself out.”

Kimberly, who is mom to daughters Gwendolyn, 2, Emilia, 4, Annabel Leah, 6, and Olivia, 9½, as well as 8-year-old son Joshua, also shared her perspective on the education and school systems.

“I think way too much is put on kids. I look at school, to be honest with you, as a form of imprisonment, where they spend hours of their day being told what to care about and what to learn,” Van Der Beek said. “We want strong children that are creative, self-sufficient, can make their own decisions, but we put them like a lineup of kids, moving them from subject to subject, activity to activity.”

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James Van Der Beek/ Instagram

Citing how children are taught in Finland, she explained how “most kids are ready to start learning the alphabet at the age of seven yet we’re trying to get them to already be reading at the age of seven,” adding, “I really took to the Finnish school system as an example of how I personally wanted to teach my kids.”



Liberals to announce community safety plan as NDP focuses on education Thursday

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BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson will be in Vancouver on Thursday to discuss his plans for community safety.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson removes his face mask before speaking during a campaign stop in Vancouver, on Saturday, September 26, 2020. A provincial election will be held in British Columbia on October 24. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson removes his face mask before speaking during a campaign stop in Vancouver, on Saturday, September 26, 2020. A provincial election will be held in British Columbia on October 24. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Wilkinson is expected to roll out solutions to address community concerns over tent cities emerging in parks across the province. The Liberal leader has focused the early part of the campaign on community concerns connected to homelessness issues in Maple Ridge, Vancouver and Victoria.

The BC Liberals have spent the last three days talking about cutting the PST for the next year if elected. On Thursday, Wilkinson will be alongside Liberal candidates George Affleck, Jas Johal and Cheryl Ashlie.

Wilkinson is attempting to address both the issues connected with addictions and homelessness while addressing the concerns of communities members who are worried about an increase in crime and violence in their neighbourhoods due to the encampments.

Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau will be in Sidney tomorrow to announce the party’s plan for long-term care.

The BC Greens have been calling for accountability in the long-term care sector for months.

The Greens have raised concerns about the transfer between the provincial government and the contracted care home sector in British Columbia as one of the largest transactions that takes place at $1.3 billion a year.

The party has stated there is a significant lack of accountability, monitoring, transparency and financial oversight in these transactions, which raises serious concerns in the sector.

“As a province, we must do more to protect the well-being of our seniors and envision quality health care as a right. We do not have all of the information we need to improve the

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