Tamisan's Daily News

DigiHoop: The next generation in hoops!


Why DigiHoop?

We believe that your hoop should express who you are, be easy to use, last for an entire evening of hooping, and most of all, be rugged enough to stand the test of time. All too often we run across Hoopers that have stacks of hoops in their closets because each one only has one pattern, or very few modes. Our vision is simple: Make one hoop that is upgradable and reusable that can replace all the others.


We have taken the latest technology and crammed it into a standard sized hoop. Each hoop has a microprocessor that can individually control each of the 100 RGB LEDs. We wanted DigiHoop to have a continuous ring of light and not show a battery black spot like other led hoops. We solved this issue by designing custom sized Lithium Polymer batteries (like the one in your smartphone) and placing them inside the inner ring of the hoop, behind the leds. We use four 1.2Ah batteries giving us a total capacity of 4.8Ah, with the ability to add more if we need to. This gives us an astounding runtime of up to 6 or more hours depending on the active pattern. Charging the hoop is just a matter of plugging in a standard USB charger or cable. DigiHoop doesn't have external switches or buttons. We felt that they just got in the way and would break easily. So instead we use internal magnetic switches. To turn DigiHoop on you simply slide the hoop inward from its charging position to the run position and it turns on. To change the pattern you are running, wave the included magnet over the DigiPoi logo and the hoop will advance to the next pattern in the playlist.

What is DigiHoop?

DigiHoop is a smart 100 RGB LED hoop that is microprocessor controlled and weighs a mere 18 ounces. DigiHoop is both Hardware and Firmware upgradable. This means that when we come out with new features like Bluetooth smartphone integration, all you will need to do is send the hoop back to us for the hardware upgrade. Firmware will be Hooper upgradable, and eventually you will be able to design your own custom patterns then download them along with your playlist to your hoop. There will be a social pattern website (http://my.digipoi.com) where Hoopers like you can design, exchange, and download custom patterns.

The future.

We have plans in the works to take the same technology in the DigiHoop and re-invent other led props such as, staves, spinning poi, jugging balls, jugging clubs, and floating wands--and make them all compatible with each other. Imagine having any combination of led props and they are all sequenced to a light or music show. Need all the props to turn red, green then blue at once? It can happen. We need your help to make this dream a reality, and we have chosen the DigiHoop to start with.

How can you help?

We have spent the last 2 years of our own money and hard work to bring DigiHoop where it is today. We need your Kickstarter pledge to help take it the rest of the way and fund our first production run of the DigiHoop. All of the DigiHoop production is done at our facility in Dallas, Texas. None of it is shipped out or sent overseas. So pledge any amount you can, every dollar does make a difference, and be sure to tell your fellow Hoopers about us.
Tamisan's Daily News

A scientific basis for "gaydar"?

Gaydar--the supposed ability to identify a person's sexual preference just by looking at them--may be more than just a bad pun. A couple of studies have been done on this recently, as part of broader research into the general ability of humans to very quickly make correct judgments about other humans' skills, personalities, age, etc.Turns out, people asked to guess whether a man is gay or a woman is a lesbian, just by looking at the subject's face, got it right at a rate higher than that which could be explained by mere chance. And the trick worked even when the images were cropped to remove all trace of tip-offs like hair style or fashion accessories.
So far, the studies have been very small and they certainly don't show that gaydar, if it does exist, is foolproof. The guessers did statistically significantly better than chance, but they weren't exactly sexual-orientation sniffing bloodhounds. There's also some open questions about whether the gender or sexual orientation of the guesser makes a difference on the rate of accuracy. What the research does do is add to considerable body of evidence showing that humans are evolutionarily programmed to pay extremely close attention to the facial features of other humans, and it tells us that we still have a lot to learn about what that programming means for ideas like "instinct".
Source: BoingBoing
Tamisan's Daily News

Carnegie Mellon scientists discover first evidence of brain rewiring in children

Carnegie Mellon University scientists Timothy Keller and Marcel Just have uncovered the first evidence that intensive instruction to improve reading skills in young children causes the brain to physically rewire itself, creating new white matter that improves communication within the brain. As the researchers report today in the journal Neuron, brain imaging of children between the ages of 8 and 10 showed that the quality of white matter -- the brain tissue that carries signals between areas of grey matter, where information is processed -- improved substantially after the children received 100 hours of remedial training. After the training, imaging indicated that the capability of the white matter to transmit signals efficiently had increased, and testing showed the children could read better.
"Showing that it's possible to rewire a brain's white matter has important implications for treating reading disabilities and other developmental disorders, including autism," said Just, the D.O. Hebb Professor of Psychology and director of Carnegie Mellon's Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging (CCBI).
Dr. Thomas R. Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, agreed. "We have known that behavioral training can enhance brain function. The exciting breakthrough here is detecting changes in brain connectivity with behavioral treatment. This finding with reading deficits suggests an exciting new approach to be tested in the treatment of mental disorders, which increasingly appear to be due to problems in specific brain circuits," Insel said.
Keller and Just's study was designed to discover what physically changes in the brains of poor readers who make the transition to good reading. They scanned the brains of 72 children before and after they went through a six-month remedial instruction program. Using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), a new brain imaging technique that tracks water movement in order to reveal the microscopic structure of white matter, Keller and Just found a brain change involving the white matter cabling that wires different parts of the brain together.
"Water molecules that are inside nerve fibers tend to move or diffuse parallel to the nerve fibers," explained Keller, a CCBI research scientist and author of the first developmental study of compromised white matter in autism. "To track the nerve fibers, the scanner senses areas in which many water molecules are moving along in the same direction and produces a road-map of the brain's wiring."
Previous DTI studies had shown that both children and adults with reading difficulty displayed areas of compromised white matter. This new study shows that 100 hours of intensive reading instruction improved children's reading skills and also increased the quality of the compromised white matter to normal levels. More precisely, the DTI imaging illustrated that the consistency of water diffusion had increased in this region, indicating an improvement in the integrity of the white matter tracts.
"The improved integrity essentially increases communication bandwidth between the two brain areas that the white matter connects, by a factor of 10," Just said. "This opens a new era of being able to see the brain wiring change when an effective instructional treatment is applied. It lets us see educational interventions from a new perspective."
Out of the 72 children, 47 were poor readers and 25 were reading at a normal level. The good readers and a group of 12 poor readers did not receive the remedial instruction, and their brain scans did not show any changes. "The lack of change in the control groups demonstrates that the change in the treated group cannot be attributed to naturally occurring maturation during the study," Keller said.
Keller and Just also found that the amount of change in diffusion among the treated group was directly related to the amount of increase in phonological decoding ability. The children who showed the most white matter change also showed the most improvement in reading ability, confirming the link between the brain tissue alteration and reading progress.
Additional analyses indicated that the change resulted from a decrease in the movement of water perpendicular to the main axes of the underlying white matter fibers, a finding consistent with increased myelin content in the region. Although the authors caution that further research will be necessary to uncover the precise mechanism for the change in white matter, some previous findings indicate a role for electrical activity along axons in promoting the formation of myelin around them, providing a plausible physiological basis for intensive practice and instruction increasing the efficiency of communication among brain areas.
"We're excited about these results," Just said. "The indication that behavioral intervention can improve both cognitive performance and the microstructure of white matter tracts is a breakthrough for treating and understanding development problems."
The research was funded by grants from the Richard King Mellon Foundation and the National Institute of Mental Health. For more information on Just, a pioneer in brain science discoveries, Keller and Carnegie Mellon's Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging, visit www.ccbi.cmu.edu.
Source: ScienceBlog
Tamisan's Daily News

How to Outsmart a Debt Collector

Bob Brooks is a 17-year veteran in the financial services and investment industry, the author of a new book about avoiding credit and debt traps, and a radio show host who counsels callers about financial issues "from a Christian perspective." One of his messages: When a debt collector is harassing you, it's not the time to turn the other cheek.
Brooks is the host of The Prudent Money Show, a radio program based in Texas, and the author of a new book called Deceptive Money: A step-by-step guide to take your life back from the credit trap.
I recently picked Brooks' brain about a number of topics. In regards to new credit card legislation, he's not impressed:
"It's been interesting to watch. The financial services industry is such a huge contributor to political campaigns, and Congress has really does as much as it can to protect that industry. They've turned their backs to a lot of the consumer abuses through the years."
What about reforms and new levels of consumer protection we've heard so much about?
"It's really nothing more than sound bites… Most of the laws written in this credit card act apply to fixed rates. And so what have the credit card companies done over the last nine months? They've changed all their fixed rate contracts to variable rate contracts. There's not a whole lot of protection in this plan."
Later in my talk with Brooks, we discussed debt collection, a process that's confusing and intimidating to consumers who feel trapped by a debt they may or may not owe.
"People react to a debt collector much like they react to the I.R.S., and in reality, debt collectors don't have that much power over you, and that's what people need to realize," says Brooks. "They also need to realize there's a set of laws out there to protect them."
Obviously, it's always best to settle a debt and pay off what you owe. But sometimes, there are situations when it's not clear what to do, like when a debt collector calls and the debt belongs to your ex-spouse; when the debt is old enough to be out of the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit; or when the debt is not yours for whatever reason—mistaken identity, perhaps, in which a debt collector has gotten hold of the wrong phone number or address.
If the debt is not yours, Brooks says you need to fight it—in the right manner. Arguing with a debt collector over the phone, or even saying much of anything to a debt collector, probably won't help your cause. Know your rights, as spelled out in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which is intended to protect consumers from "abusive and deceptive" conduct by debt collectors.
Debt collectors are not government agents. They're not lawyers, and they're not the police. Debt collectors are tunnel-vision businesspeople driven, Terminator-like, to collect debts by whatever means possible—and yes, sometimes their tactics are less than ethical. They've been known to tell debtors that they owe more than they actually do, contact debtors' employers (debts are not supposed to be discussed with third parties), and threaten that they're going to send the police to a debtor's home to arrest him (debt collectors have no such power).
In his book and in the conversation that follows, Brooks spells out what to do when a debt collector calls. First, ask for the collection agency's name and address, and the amount of the debt—simple things that some people forget to gather during what can be an angry, scary, and confusing phone call. Next, wait for a letter in the mail stating the describing the debt, which the collector is required to send. Don't bother speaking to the debt collector until after the letter arrives. After a validation letter arrives, send a letter either disputing the debt or requesting for a verification—at the very least, "the debt collector must cease collections until he responds back to you and verifies the debt," writes Brooks.
If you can't reach an agreement with the debt collector and it appears like you are going to be taken to court, Brooks says you really should get a lawyer, even though you'll understandably be reluctant to take on the potential costs of doing so. Says Brooks:
"If you do get sued, one thing people don't realize: You've got to get an attorney to represent you. I've seen a high percentage of the time, that when people get an attorney, the case gets dropped—because the vast majority of people don't get an attorney. So if I'm a debt collector, am I going to go after the guy who's got the attorney, or am I going to go after the guy who doesn't?"
Click here for audio and more at from Time.
Tamisan's Daily News

Children Can Inherit Mom's Abuse-Altered Brain

Neurological changes in child abuse victims may be passed on to offspring, research shows.

Physical and chemical changes in the body caused by abuse early in life can be passed down from mother to child, a recent study shows.
The research by behavioral scientists at Emory University in Atlanta was based on studies that show how early life stress (ELS), such as physical and emotional abuse and neglect, leads to observable changes in the brain's hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis.
This system, which is responsible for controlling the "fight or flight" response in humans, can be physically altered by abuse.
While these changes can happen when abuse occurs at any point in life, the Emory study shows that abuse during pre-teen and adolescent years are most damaging, resulting in mood and anxiety disorders like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and depression.
What's more, the functional and physical changes caused by ELS can be passed along from female victims to their children. One of these means of transmission is through epigenetic changes.
Epigenetics is a new field of study that examines how the function of DNA can change without any change to the DNA sequence itself. Through a process known as methylation, protein tags that enhance or thwart the function of a gene can be attached to an individual's DNA.
Even after a cell divides, the DNA can still carry the new tags.
"This means that once a methyl mark has been placed on the DNA, it may be passed along to subsequent generations," said Cynthia Wolberger, an epigenetics specialist at Johns Hopkins Medical Institute, who is unaffiliated with the Emory Study.
Wolberger said that DNA methylation can be caused by a number of things, including stress. Since epigenetic changes can be brought on by stresses like abuse and those changes can be passed from mother to child, the symptoms of early abuse can be passed along years later from the original victim to her child -- even if the child has never been exposed to any traumatic stresses.
Gretchen Neigh, who led the Emory study, said the clearest evidence of transmission of HPA axis alterations was seen in expectant mothers who suffer a mood disorder from an early life stress or who are abused during pregnancy.
"That's the worst case scenario," Neigh said.
In addition to showing that brain dysfunction can be transmitted from mother to offspring epigenetically, studies using rodent models have proven these changes can be passed along both before and after giving birth.
Mothers with a history of early life stress are less attentive to their offspring; during pregnancy, cortisol can seep through the placenta, directly exposing the fetus to a flood of the stress hormone. Each of these scenarios can cause the newborn's brain's fight-or-flight response to malfunction.
Neigh believes her team's research should inform policy-makers about the challenges that abused children face.
"Research has shown that early intervention can reverse the effects of (early life stress)," she told Discovery News. "Anything we can do to prevent it from happening or get them back on track as soon as possible will help address the problem."
Source: Discovery News
Tamisan's Daily News

Loneliness Spreads Like a Virus

Loneliness, like a bad cold, can spread among groups of people, new research finds.
While a runny nose might spread through handshakes, people likely catch the loneliness bug through negative interactions. A lonely person will be less trusting of others, essentially "making a mountain out of a molehill," said study researcher John Cacioppo, a psychologist at the University of Chicago. An odd look or phrasing by a friend that wouldn't even be noticed by a chipper person could be seen as an affront to the lonely, triggering a cycle of negative interactions that cause people to lose friends.

The upshot: A lonely person is likely to lose touch with another person, who in turn gets cut off from others, and both end up on the fringes of a social group.

"A lonely person who anticipates others are going to act negatively toward them finds evidence in their environment for that, partly because they anticipate it and partly because they elicit it," Cacioppo told LiveScience.

The finding, published in the December issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, suggests that loneliness is not a character trait, as in "that person is such a loner," but more of a state such as hunger, which evolved as a cue to motivate our ancestors to go find food.

"We're fundamentally a social species so we need others with whom we can cooperate and work," Cacioppo said. As such, loneliness may have been a cue to look out for anyone who might ostracize you, he added.

Counting friends

The results come from a study of more than 5,000 individuals who took part in the Framingham Heart Study between 1991 and 2001. Every two to four years, subjects completed questionnaires that measured depression and loneliness, gave their medical history and underwent a physical examination.

For instance, participants indicated how often during the previous week they had experienced a particular feeling, including loneliness, with four possible answers: 0–1 days, 1-2 days, 3-4 days and 5-7 days.

Participants also indicated friends and relatives, many of whom also took part in the study.

From this information, the researchers pieced together social networks showing connections between each individual and the average number of lonely days for the participant and that person's links.

Loneliness spreads

They found loneliness is catchy with three degrees of separation. So a person's loneliness depended not just on his friend's loneliness but also on his friend's friend and his friend's friend's friend. Participants were 52 percent more likely to be lonely if a person to whom they were directly connected (one degree of separation) was lonely. For two degrees of separation, the number drops to 25 percent and 15 percent for three degrees.

The number of family members had no effect on loneliness scores.

Over time, lonely individuals become lonelier and transmit such feelings to others before severing ties. "People with few friends are more likely to become lonelier over time, which then makes it less likely that they will attract or try to form new social ties," they write. Such friendless individuals ended up on the outskirts of their social networks.

Loneliness has been linked with various mental and physical illnesses, including depression. And so the findings could have practical implications. "Society may benefit by aggressively targeting the people in the periphery to help repair their social networks and to create a protective barrier against loneliness that can keep the whole network from unraveling," Cacioppo said.

Source: LiveScience
Tamisan's Daily News

The Real Science and History of Vampires

Vampires are everywhere these days. Last weekend, the new vampire film "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" broke box office records, taking in over $70 million and may end up being one of the largest openings in history. The film is based on the best-selling "Twilight" series, which of course joins a long list of other vampire-themed best-sellers dating back decades.
The public's thirst for vampires seems as endless as vampires' thirst for blood.
Modern writers of vampire fiction, including Stephenie Meyer, Anne Rice, Stephen King and countless others, have a rich vein of vampire lore to draw from. But where did the modern idea of vampires come from? The answer lies in the gap between science and superstition.
Impaling enemies
Some sources incorrectly trace vampires back to Romanian prince Vlad Tepes (1431-1476), who fought for independence against the Ottoman Empire. Though by most accounts his methods were brutal and sadistic (for example, slowly impaling his enemies on stakes, drawing and quartering them, burning them to death, etc.), in reality they were not particularly cruel or unusual for the time. Similar techniques were used by the Catholic Church and other powerful entities and rulers during the Middle Ages to torture and kill enemies.
Bram Stoker is said to have modeled some aspects of his Count Dracula character on Vlad Tepes.
While Tepes (partly) inspired fictional modern vampires, the roots of "real" vampires have very different origins. As a cultural entity, vampires are a worldwide phenomenon. According to anthropologist Paul Barber, author of "Vampires, Burial, and Death," stories from nearly every culture have some localized version of the vampire, and "bear a surprising resemblance to the European vampire."
The belief in real vampires stems from superstition and mistaken assumptions about post-mortem decay.
The first recorded accounts of vampires circulated in Europe in the Middle Ages. The stories follow a consistent pattern: Some unexplained misfortune would befall a person, family, or town—perhaps a drought dried up crops, or an infectious disease struck.
Before science could explain weather patterns and germ theory, any bad event for which there was not an obvious cause might be blamed on a vampire. Vampires were one easy answer to the age-old question of why bad things happen to good people.
Dead but not decomposed
Villagers combined their belief that something had cursed them with their fear of the dead, and concluded that perhaps recently- buried people might be responsible, having come back from the graves with evil intent.
Graves were unearthed, and surprised villagers often mistook ordinary decomposition processes for supernatural phenomenon.
For example, though laypeople might assume that a body would decompose immediately, if the coffin is well sealed and buried in winter, putrefaction might be delayed by weeks or months; intestinal decomposition creates bloating which can force blood up into the mouth, making it look like a dead body has recently sucked blood. These processes are well understood by modern doctors and morticians, but in Medieval Europe were taken as unmistakable signs that vampires were real and existed among them.
Though the "original" vampires are long since gone, their legacy remains and vampires continue to fascinate the world. It seems likely that neither science nor wooden stakes will ever kill vampires.
Source: LiveScience
Tamisan's Daily News

Cyber Monday Deals Are Go

Missed the Black Friday dealzmodo rush, or nothing really catch your eye? You might still be in luck. Cyber Monday is when online retailers are supposed to shine. Here's a linktastic list of big-brand deal pages. Updated! I've noted some of the more interesting deals that caught my eye, but it's by no means a complete list. Click on the retailer name to go through to their Cyber Monday page. And don't forget that most of the specials are either time bombed or limited to a small amount of stock. You can also find more deals over at LogicBuy.

• Sennheiser RS 130 Wireless Surround Sound Headphones - $60 (save $140)
• Garmin nüvi 260W 4.3-Inch Widescreen Portable GPS Navigator - $115 (save $115)
• Logitech Harmony 890 Advanced Universal Remote Control - $290 (save $110)
• Flip UltraHD Camcorder, 120 Minutes (Black) - $152 (save $48)
• Panasonic VIERA G10 Series TC-P42G10 42-Inch 1080p Plasma HDTV - $948 (usually up to $1200)
• Panasonic VIERA G10 Series TC-P46G10 46-Inch 1080p Plasma HDTV - $1150 (save $350)
• Panasonic VIERA S1 Series TC-P42S1 42-Inch 1080p Plasma HDTV - $798 (save $202)

Best Buy
• Free shipping on all orders over $25 (big ass TVs excluded)
• 15.6-inch Acer Aspire (1.2GHz AMD Athlon, 4GB RAM, 320GB HDD) - $400 (save $100)
• Panasonic - VIERA / 58" Class / 1080p / 600Hz / Plasma HDTV - $1500 (save $800)
• Panasonic - VIERA / 50" Class / 1080p / 600Hz / Plasma HDTV - $898 (save $502)
• 2 Days Only

• HTC Droid Eris – Free with new Verizon contract ($450 off-contract)
• Motorola Droid - $120 with new Verizon contract ($560 off-contract)
• Dell Mini 10v netbook - $279 (save $119)
• Inspiron 17 notebook (17-inch screen, Core 2 Duo processor, 3GB memory, Windows 7) - $549 (save $269)
• Sharp 47-inch 120Hz 1080p HDTV - $799 (save $400)
• Sony Bravia 55-inch 120Hz LCD 1080p HDTV - $1769 (save $530)

• HP dv4t 14-inch Laptop $549.99 (save $469 in upgrades & discounts)
• HP p6270z Quad Core desktop w/4GB RAM $429.99 (lowest ever)
• HP TouchSmart 600t $999.99 (save $325)
• HP OfficeJet 6000 Wireless Printer $59.99 (50% off)
• HP Photosmart Plus All-in-One $74.99 (50% off)
• HP Photosmart Premium All-in-One $99.99 (50% off)

• VAIO FW VGNFW550F/B Laptop $829.99 (list $1079) - use $250 Coupon Code: BLACKFRIDAYFW250 (ends 11/30 or after 500 uses)
• Buy a PS3 and get two free games: Infamous and Uncharted Drakes Fortune
• 32" Sony BRAVIA HDTV (KDL32L504) $379.99 (list: $479.99)
• Sony Blu-ray Disc Player (BDP-S360) $129.99 (list $199.99)
• 40" Sony BRAVIA HDTV (KDL40S504) $664.99 (list:$999.99)
• 46" Sony BRAVIA HDTV (KDL46S504) $854.99 (list: $1299)

• ASUS P50IJ-X1 Intel Pentium dual-core 15.6" Intel GMA 4500M NoteBook – Retail - $450 (save $100)
• OCZ Agility Series OCZSSD2-1AGT120G 2.5" MLC Internal Solid state disk (SSD) – Retail - $289 (save $50; $30 of which comes from a mail-in rebate)

• TomTom® One130 GPS - $80 (save $50 instantly)
• Norton 360 v3.0 (1–3 User) - $10 (save $70 after combined savings)

• Sony Bravia 32" Class LCD HDTV, KDL-32L504 - $398 (usually about $450)

• Purchase for only one penny the Nokia e71x, Sony Cybershot, Curve 8900, Pantech Reveal, or Samsung Jack. Device offers rotate every three hours. Two-year service agreement required.
Waived activiation fee and free overnight shipping, too.

• Everything in the Mimoco shop will be 25% off until 11:59pm PST.

Source: Gizmodo
Tamisan's Daily News

Cyber Monday deals roundup: Core i7, HDTVs, SSDs, free Droid Eris

In Soviet Bulgaria, we don't have Cyber Mondays, but from what we've been told this is a pretty bargainous time of the year. HP starts us off with a pair of coupons on its dv8 Core i7 notebook, one of which drops the 18.4-inch laptop to just $899. There are also deep 50 percent discounts on its printers, but only the Photosmart Premium All-in-One remains after the two cheaper models sold out. Click the Logic Buy link below to get in on the action. Amazon has the older Modern Warfare at $29.95 and Uncharted 2 at $40 flat for the PS3, Garmin's nuvi 260W at a cent under $115 (or half price), and plenty of discounts on DVDs, gadgetry and even clothing. Best Buy keeps pace by offering the same price on the Garmin nav unit, as well as 10 percent discounts on Apple's iPod range. Walmart is kicking off a whole Cyber Week with a Sony Bravia 32-inch HDTV priced at $398 and a $249 Nintendo Wii Value Bundle, which includes Wii Sports, sporting peripherals, and a choice of free game. If you're more interested in computer components, Newegg's $30 mail-in rebate on the 120GB OCZ Agility SSD will net you the drive for $289, our favorite of a plethora of deals at the online store. And finally, Dell is offering the Droid Eris for free when taking out a new Verizon Wireless account, which is at least $30 cheaper than you can get it anywhere else. Time to get clicking!

Read - Amazon
Read - Best Buy
Read - Dell
Read - Logic Buy
Read - Newegg
Read - Walmart

Source: Engadget
Tamisan's Daily News

Commercial Spaceflight Federation Announces Creation and Initial Membership of Spaceports Council

The Commercial Spaceflight Federation is pleased to announce the creation and initial membership of the Spaceports Council, composed of spaceports worldwide who seek to cooperate on issues of common interest such as airspace access, legal and regulatory frameworks, infrastructure, international policy migration, liability, and voluntary common operating standards.

The Spaceports Council, which will operate under the aegis of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF), was officially created following the conclusion of the second CSF Spaceports Executive Summit held on October 20, 2009 in Las Cruces, New Mexico to coincide with the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight. This summit built on the success of an earlier CSF spaceports summit held on May 27, 2009, hosted by Space Florida as part of the International Space Development Conference in Orlando, Florida.

Initial member spaceports and spaceport principals of the CSF Spaceports Council include:
• Spaceport America, represented by Executive Director Steve Landeene (Chairman)
• Aeroports de Catalunya, represented by Executive Director Jordi Candela
• Cecil Field Spaceport, represented by Administrator of Planning and Development Todd Lindner
• Mojave Air and Space Port, represented by General Manager Stuart Witt
• Oklahoma Spaceport, represented by Executive Director Bill Khourie
• Space Florida, represented by President Frank DiBello
• Spaceport Indiana, represented by President Brian Tanner
• Spaceport Scotland, represented by Chairman Howie Firth
• Spaceport Sweden, represented by Vice President Bengt Jaegtnes
• Wisconsin Aerospace Authority, represented by Chairman Tom Crabb

Steve Landeene, Executive Director of Spaceport America, has been selected as the first chair of the CSF Spaceports Council. Landeene stated, “I am deeply honored and humbled to take up the first chairmanship of the Spaceports Council. Collecting and sharing the knowledge and experience base of spaceports worldwide will be beneficial to us all as commercial space vehicles begin to push the envelope toward more and more flights. And when working with policymakers, spaceports will benefit by formulating and presenting common positions.”

The Spaceports Council will convene regular meetings of spaceports principals, as well as coordinate additional cooperation between spaceports on the staff level, in order to address common problems affecting spaceports, work toward voluntary uniform standards for development of common use equipment and operational procedures, and advise vehicle operators, developers, and other members of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, on issues of concern to the spaceport community.

Bretton Alexander, President of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, stated, “The formation of the Spaceports Council marks another milestone in the growth of the commercial spaceflight industry. By deepening the cooperation among both domestic and international spaceports in this new industry, we can help ensure that the industry continues to grow and flourish. Congratulations to Steve Landeene on his selection as the first chairman of this group, as well as all the spaceports that have chosen to form the initial membership of the Council.”

Stuart O. Witt, General Manager of Mojave Air and Space Port and an Officer of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, added, “We are excited to welcome this great group of spaceports, both domestic and international, as we join together to share our lessons learned. As we look toward a new generation of suborbital and orbital launch vehicles, I know that a strong spaceport network, armed with the latest in operational ‘lessons learned,’ will be critical.”

Source: CSF