Muslim Killings in Albuquerque Stir Sectarian Ghosts

An Afghan family struggled for a foothold in a new home in the U.S. Now one of them is charged with killing fellow Muslims.

#afghan-americans, #afghanistan-war-2001, #albuquerque-nm, #domestic-violence, #hussain-muhammad-afzaal-d-2022, #hussein-aftab-d-2022, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #muslim-americans, #muslims-and-islam, #new-mexico, #refugees-and-displaced-persons, #serial-murders, #shiite-muslims, #syed-muhammad-august-2022-murders

Afghan Man Charged in Albuquerque Muslim Killings Was Headed for Texas

The police in Albuquerque revealed details of the evidence against Muhammad Syed, an Afghan immigrant who has been charged in the shooting deaths of two fellow Muslims.

#albuquerque-nm, #hussain-muhammad-afzaal-d-2022, #hussain-naeem-d-2022, #hussein-aftab-d-2022, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #muslim-americans, #muslims-and-islam, #new-mexico, #syed-muhammad-august-2022-murders

Muslim Community Expresses Fear After Killings of Men in Albuquerque

As the authorities appeal to the public for help in their investigation, many Muslim residents are experiencing a “managed panic.”

#ahmadi-mohammad-d-2021, #albuquerque-nm, #california-state-university, #hate-crimes, #hussain-muhammad-afzaal-d-2022, #muslims-and-islam, #new-mexico

Interstate Abortion Travel Is Already Straining Parts of the System

Even in some states where abortion remains legal, wait times for appointments are long because of increased demand.

#abortion, #new-mexico, #pregnancy-and-childbirth, #roe-v-wade-supreme-court-decision, #states-us, #women-and-girls

Extreme Weather Challenges Bikepackers on the Tour Divide Race

The Tour Divide, a bikepacking race from the Canadian Rockies to the U.S. border with Mexico, has always been a test of fortitude. But extreme weather is making it much more dangerous.

#banff-alberta, #bicycles-and-bicycling, #cycling-road, #fernie-british-columbia, #floods, #global-warming, #new-mexico, #steamboat-springs-colo, #weather, #wildfires

Wildfires Could Be Treated as a Form Of Maintenance, Like Flu Shots

Climate change hasn’t made all prescribed burns unsafe, but more care needs to be taken in starting them, and even then, risk cannot be eliminated entirely.

#cal-fire, #fires-and-firefighters, #forest-service, #global-warming, #internal-sub-only-nl, #new-mexico, #southwestern-states-us, #weather, #wildfires

New Mexico’s Largest Wildfire Was a Prescribed Burn. What Are Victims Owed?

Two prescribed burns got out of control, becoming New Mexico’s largest recorded wildfire. But experts say it’s necessary to thin forests in a region primed for destruction.

#federal-emergency-management-agency, #forest-service, #forests-and-forestry, #national-park-service, #new-mexico, #politics-and-government, #southwestern-states-us, #wildfires

States Address Child Care Shortages After Federal Efforts Stalled

Federal legislation has stalled, so states are stepping in. In some places, that could mean looser regulations, like 16-year-olds caring for children, without supervision.

#child-care, #children-and-childhood, #colorado, #families-and-family-life, #iowa, #labor-and-jobs, #montana, #new-mexico, #politics-and-government, #republican-party, #shortages, #state-legislatures, #states-us, #texas

California Takes Steps to Force Residents to Heed Water Restrictions

One district has gotten tough with residents who repeatedly flout the rules: Their taps have been slowed to trickle.

#california, #drought, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #internal-storyline-no, #internal-sub-only-nl, #new-mexico, #water, #wildfires

New Mexico Wildfire Rips Through a Hispanic Bastion

One of the largest wildfires in New Mexico’s history is raging through a region where the culture stretches back longer than the United States has existed.

#albuquerque-nm, #evacuations-and-evacuees, #hispanic-americans, #new-mexico, #wildfires

Why Climate Change Makes It Harder to Fight Fire With Fire

Worsening wildfires in recent years have led officials to embrace planned fires to thin forests before disaster strikes. But the warming world is making it tougher to do safely.

#arizona, #boulder-colo, #california, #colorado, #fires-and-firefighters, #florida, #forest-service, #forests-and-forestry, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #heat-and-heat-waves, #nature-conservancy, #nebraska, #new-mexico, #oregon, #rain, #texas, #united-states, #university-of-california-los-angeles, #wildfires, #wind

NOAA Image Catches Wildfire Smoke and Dust on Collision Course

A time-lapse image of smoke from wildfires in New Mexico and dust from a storm in Colorado illustrates the scope of Western catastrophe.

#colorado, #global-warming, #national-oceanic-and-atmospheric-administration, #new-mexico, #satellites, #wildfires

New Mexico Wildfire Leaves 2 Dead and 200 Structures Damaged

The victims, an older couple who had tried to evacuate, were found Wednesday inside a burned home in the village of Ruidoso, N.M., the authorities said.

#evacuations-and-evacuees, #national-weather-service, #new-mexico, #weather, #wildfires

In Several States, Teachers Get Their Biggest Raise in Decades

Budget surpluses have enabled states to pass bills giving teachers a bigger paycheck, but not everyone is certain that will help improve schooling.

#alabama, #bonuses, #education-k-12, #florida, #georgia, #idaho, #mississippi, #new-mexico, #teachers-and-school-employees, #wages-and-salaries

It’s not just Glen Canyon—dams around the Southwest are taking a hit

Image of a dam with lots of exposed concrete above the water line.

Enlarge / Water levels at the Hoover Dam are well below capacity. (credit: Jorge Villalba)

News that Arizona’s Lake Powell is slowly but surely drying up has spread far and wide. The reservoir behind the 1,320-megawatt Glen Canyon Dam and power station, Lake Powell plays an important role in providing power for some 3 million customers in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.

But this year, the reservoir has hit a historic low, thanks to ongoing drought conditions in the region that have been attributed, at least in part, to climate change. The dam may even stop producing power if the situation continues to worsen, and this issue is not an isolated one in the American Southwest.

The Colorado River, an important source for many dams and power plants in the region, has been wracked by drought for the past 22 years—some research even suggests that it is subject to the worst drought the area has seen in 1,200 years. Further, according to the US Drought Monitor, as of March 29, 88.75 percent of the Western US has been experiencing a moderate drought or worse. According to staff members at the United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR), other dams in this be-droughted part of the country are seeing similar effects—though the officials also noted that each case is different.

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#california, #california-drought, #climate, #drought, #hydroelectric-power, #lake-mead, #lake-powell, #nevada, #new-mexico, #science, #southwestern-united-states, #united-states, #utah

New Mexico Will Make College Tuition Free for Residents

As states take the lead in the tuition-free movement after President Biden’s plans failed to gain traction in Congress, New Mexico emerges as a leader.

#colleges-and-universities, #financial-aid-education, #grisham-michelle-lujan, #new-mexico, #new-mexico-state-university, #tuition, #university-of-new-mexico

While Democrats Debate ‘Latinx,’ Latinos Head to the G.O.P.

The Democrats’ problem with Latinos.

#arizona, #california, #democratic-party, #hispanic-americans, #midterm-elections-2022, #nevada, #new-mexico, #race-and-ethnicity, #republican-party, #texas, #united-states-politics-and-government, #voting-and-voters

Latinos Aren’t Leaving the Democratic Party. The Party Is Leaving Them.

The Democrats’ problem with Latinos.

#arizona, #california, #democratic-party, #hispanic-americans, #midterm-elections-2022, #nevada, #new-mexico, #race-and-ethnicity, #republican-party, #texas, #united-states-politics-and-government, #voting-and-voters

13-Year-Old Boy Drove Truck That Hit Van in Texas, Killing 9, Officials Say

The fiery crash killed a golf coach and six of his players, along with the boy and a man who was traveling with him.

#abbott-gregory-w-1957, #automobile-safety-features-and-defects, #colleges-and-universities, #golf, #grisham-michelle-lujan, #hobbs-nm, #lubbock-tex, #national-transportation-safety-board, #new-mexico, #texas, #traffic-accidents-and-safety

‘Little Miss Nobody’: Child’s Remains Have Been Identified, Sheriff Says

In 1960, a child’s body was found by a hiker in a remote part of Arizona. Using DNA technology, investigators were finally able to identify her as Sharon Lee Gallegos, age 4.

#arizona, #forensic-science, #gallegos-sharon-lee, #missing-persons, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #new-mexico

Alec Baldwin Seeks to Avoid Liability in Fatal ‘Rust’ Shooting

In an arbitration demand against his fellow producers on the film, he denied culpability in the killing of a cinematographer and said he should not be held financially responsible.

#aviation-accidents-safety-and-disasters, #baldwin-alec, #firearms, #hutchins-halyna-1979-2021, #movies, #new-mexico, #rust-movie, #suits-and-litigation-civil

Husband of Dead Cinematographer Speaks Up on Baldwin Film Shooting

Matthew Hutchins, the widower of Halyna Hutchins, says in an upcoming “Today” show interview that it was “absurd” for Mr. Baldwin to deny responsibility in the fatal shooting.

#baldwin-alec, #firearms, #hutchins-halyna-1979-2021, #kotb-hoda, #new-mexico, #rust-movie

New Twist in Pandemic’s Impact on Schools: Substitutes in Camouflage

Deployed to classrooms in New Mexico to help with crippling staff shortages, National Guard troops are employing their informal motto, “Semper Gumby” — Always Flexible.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #defense-and-military-forces, #education-k-12, #national-guard, #new-mexico, #reserves-military, #shortages, #teachers-and-school-employees

Alec Baldwin and ‘Rust’ Producers Sued for Halyna Hutchins’s Death

The suit charges that Baldwin “recklessly shot and killed Halyna Hutchins on the set” and that the production’s “aggressive cost-cutting” had endangered the crew.

#accidents-and-safety, #baldwin-alec, #firearms, #hutchins-halyna-1979-2021, #movies, #new-mexico, #rust-movie, #santa-fe-nm, #souza-joel-1973, #suits-and-litigation-civil

Pedestrian Deaths Spike in U.S. as Reckless Driving Surges

Fatalities are climbing to record levels two years into the pandemic. Authorities cite drivers’ anxiety levels, larger vehicles and fraying social norms.

#albuquerque-nm, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #deaths-fatalities, #drunken-and-reckless-driving, #hit-and-run-drivers, #new-mexico, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #sun-belt-states-us, #united-states, #walking

Senator Ben Ray Luján Recovering After Suffering Stroke

Any prolonged absence by the New Mexico Democrat threatens to impede the agenda of his party, which controls the Senate by the slimmest of margins.

#democratic-party, #lujan-ben-ray, #new-mexico, #senate, #stroke, #united-states-politics-and-government

From Westerns to ‘Stranger Things,’ Hollywood Is Big Business in New Mexico

Streaming giants like Netflix and NBCUniversal are turning New Mexico into one of the country’s most coveted production hubs.

#movies, #nbcuniversal, #netflix-inc, #new-mexico, #production, #tax-credits-deductions-and-exemptions, #television

Alec Baldwin Fatally Shoots Crew Member With Prop Firearm on Film Set, Authorities Say

The movie’s director of photography was killed and the director was injured on the set of “Rust,” a Western, a sheriff’s office in New Mexico said.

#baldwin-alec, #deaths-fatalities, #firearms, #movies, #new-mexico, #santa-fe-nm

8 Things to Do in the Southwest U.S.A. for Fall

Hot-air balloons, sandhill cranes, haunted towns and Hatch chiles are just a few signs of fall in New Mexico and Arizona. Here’s where to look.

#arizona, #autumn-season, #new-mexico, #travel-and-vacations

Ancient Footprints Push Back Date of Human Arrival in the Americas

Human footprints found in New Mexico are about 23,000 years old, a study reported, suggesting that people may have arrived long before the Ice Age’s glaciers melted.

#archaeology-and-anthropology, #geology, #glaciers, #ice-age, #new-mexico, #north-america, #paleontology, #research, #science-journal, #white-sands-national-monument-nm, #your-feed-science

Ivermectin overdose death probed in NM: “I don’t want more people to die”

A box and container of ivermectin.

Enlarge / A box and container of ivermectin. (credit: Getty | Bloomberg)

A person in New Mexico is suspected of dying from an overdose of ivermectin, a state official announced Thursday. A second person in the state is also in critical condition following use of the drug, which is an antiparasitic medication mainly used in veterinary medicine to deworm animals, such as cattle and horses.

If the death is confirmed to have been caused by ivermectin, it is believed to be New Mexico’s first known fatal ivermectin overdose. The dewormer has recently seen a sharp rise in use—and poisonings from it—due to false claims that it can treat and prevent COVID-19.

There is no significant clinical data indicating that ivermectin can treat or prevent COVID-19. The Food and Drug Administration—along with many other medical experts and the drug’s maker, Merck—continue to strongly oppose ivermectin’s use against COVID-19 and warn of serious side effects and life-threatening overdoses.

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#anti-parasitic, #ivermectin, #new-mexico, #overdose, #poison-control, #science

Branson Beats Jeff Bezos to Space, Aiming to Open Space Tourism

The successful trip was the first in a series to the edge of space and beyond by billionaire entrepreneurs that seek to make human spaceflight more routine.

#bezos-jeffrey-p, #blue-origin, #branson-richard, #new-mexico, #private-spaceflight, #rocket-science-and-propulsion, #space-and-astronomy, #spaceport-america, #travel-and-vacations, #virgin-galactic, #virgin-group

Richard Branson Will Try to Beat Jeff Bezos to Space

The Virgin Galactic founder hopes to edge out, by nine days, Blue Origin’s first flight with a crew aboard.

#bezos-jeffrey-p, #branson-richard, #new-mexico, #private-spaceflight, #rocket-science-and-propulsion, #space-and-astronomy, #spaceport-america, #virgin-galactic

Melanie Stansbury, a Democrat, Cruises in New Mexico House Race

Ms. Stansbury won a landslide victory in a special election to fill the seat vacated by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland. The result is likely to hearten national Democrats worried about the 2022 midterms.

#albuquerque-nm, #crime-and-criminals, #elections-house-of-representatives, #haaland-deb, #moores-mark-1970, #new-mexico, #stansbury-melanie-1979, #united-states-politics-and-government

Want to Win $5 Million? Get Vaccinated, New Mexico Says.

As states scramble to persuade people to get coronavirus vaccines, New Mexico announces one of the biggest cash awards as an incentive.

#contests-and-prizes, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #grisham-michelle-lujan, #new-mexico, #states-us, #vaccination-and-immunization

High Tech Comes to the High School Basketball Court

Sensors that track the movement of athletes and the basketball were recently used at a high school championship tournament for the first time.

#basketball, #ddsports-inc-shottracker, #draft-and-recruitment-sports, #interscholastic-athletics, #national-federation-of-state-high-school-assns, #new-mexico, #playfly-sports-llc, #sensors

Navajo Nation Becomes Largest Tribe in U.S. After Pandemic Surge

A rush to secure federal benefits during the coronavirus pandemic accelerated enrollment in the Navajo Nation, pushing its population past the Cherokee Nation’s to nearly 400,000.

#arizona, #cherokee-indians, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-aid-relief-and-economic-security-act-2020, #native-americans, #navajo-indians, #new-mexico, #population, #utah

‘Firefighters Out There in the Snow’: Wildfires Rage Early in Parched West

Firefighters in New Mexico, Arizona and California are battling springtime blazes that have been fueled by a severe drought and boosted by climate change.

#arizona, #california, #drought, #forests-and-forestry, #global-warming, #hualapai-mountains-ariz, #los-angeles-county-calif, #new-mexico, #southwestern-states-us, #wildfires

Why Wildfires Are Raging Early in the West Due to Drought and Climate Change

Firefighters in New Mexico, Arizona and California are battling springtime blazes that have been fueled by a severe drought and boosted by climate change.

#arizona, #california, #drought, #forests-and-forestry, #global-warming, #hualapai-mountains-ariz, #los-angeles-county-calif, #new-mexico, #southwestern-states-us, #wildfires

Crusoe Energy is tackling energy use for cryptocurrencies and data centers and greenhouse gas emissions

The two founders of Crusoe Energy think they may have a solution to two of the largest problems facing the planet today — the increasing energy footprint of the tech industry and the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the natural gas industry.

Crusoe, which uses excess natural gas from energy operations to power data centers and cryptocurrency mining operations, has just raised $128 million in new financing from some of the top names in the venture capital industry to build out its operations — and the timing couldn’t be better.

Methane emissions are emerging as a new area of focus for researchers and policymakers focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and keeping global warming within the 1.5 degree targets set under the Paris Agreement. And those emissions are just what Crusoe Energy is capturing to power its data centers and bitcoin mining operations.

The reason why addressing methane emissions is so critical in the short term is because these greenhouse gases trap more heat than their carbon dioxide counterparts and also dissipate more quickly. So dramatic reductions in methane emissions can do more in the short term to alleviate the global warming pressures that human industry is putting on the environment.

And the biggest source of methane emissions is the oil and gas industry. In the U.S. alone roughly 1.4 billion cubic feet of natural gas is flared daily, said Chase Lochmiller, a co-founder of Crusoe Energy. About two thirds of that is flared in Texas with another 500 million cubic feet flared in North Dakota, where Crusoe has focused its operations to date.

For Lochmiller, a former quant trader at some of the top American financial services institutions, and Cully Cavmess, a third generation oil and gas scion, the ability to capture natural gas and harness it for computing operations is a natural combination of the two men’s interests in financial engineering and environmental preservation.

NEW TOWN, ND – AUGUST 13: View of three oil wells and flaring of natural gas on The Fort Berthold Indian Reservation near New Town, ND on August 13, 2014. About 100 million dollars worth of natural gas burns off per month because a pipeline system isn’t in place yet to capture and safely transport it . The Three Affiliated Tribes on Fort Berthold represent Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nations. It’s also at the epicenter of the fracking and oil boom that has brought oil royalties to a large number of native americans living there. (Photo by Linda Davidson / The Washington Post via Getty Images)

The two Denver natives met in prep-school and remained friends. When Lochmiller left for MIT and Cavness headed off to Middlebury they didn’t know that they’d eventually be launching a business together. But through Lochmiller’s exposure to large scale computing and the financial services industry, and Cavness assumption of the family business they came to the conclusion that there had to be a better way to address the massive waste associated with natural gas.

Conversation around Crusoe Energy began in 2018 when Lochmiller and Cavness went climbing in the Rockies to talk about Lochmiller’s trip to Mt. Everest.

When the two men started building their business, the initial focus was on finding an environmentally friendly way to deal with the energy footprint of bitcoin mining operations. It was this pitch that brought the company to the attention of investors at Polychain, the investment firm started by Olaf Carlson-Wee (and Lochmiller’s former employer), and investors like Bain Capital Ventures and new investor Valor Equity Partners.

(This was also the pitch that Lochmiller made to me to cover the company’s seed round. At the time I was skeptical of the company’s premise and was worried that the business would just be another way to prolong the use of hydrocarbons while propping up a cryptocurrency that had limited actual utility beyond a speculative hedge against governmental collapse. I was wrong on at least one of those assessments.)

“Regarding questions about sustainability, Crusoe has a clear standard of only pursuing projects that are net reducers of emissions. Generally the wells that Crusoe works with are already flaring and would continue to do so in the absence of Crusoe’s solution. The company has turned down numerous projects where they would be a buyer of low cost gas from a traditional pipeline because they explicitly do not want to be net adders of demand and emissions,” wrote a spokesman for Valor Equity in an email. “In addition, mining is increasingly moving to renewables and Crusoe’s approach to stranded energy can enable better economics for stranded or marginalized renewables, ultimately bringing more renewables into the mix. Mining can provide an interruptible base load demand that can be cut back when grid demand increases, so overall the effect to incentivize the addition of more renewable energy sources to the grid.”

Other investors have since piled on including: Lowercarbon Capital, DRW Ventures, Founders Fund, Coinbase Ventures, KCK Group, Upper90, Winklevoss Capital, Zigg Capital and Tesla co-founder JB Straubel.

The company now operate 40 modular data centers powered by otherwise wasted and flared natural gas throughout North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming and Colorado. Next year that number should expand to 100 units as Crusoe enters new markets such as Texas and New Mexico. Since launching in 2018, Crusoe has emerged as a scalable solution to reduce flaring through energy intensive computing such as bitcoin mining, graphical rendering, artificial intelligence model training and even protein folding simulations for COVID-19 therapeutic research.

Crusoe boasts 99.9% combustion efficiency for its methane, and is also bringing additional benefits in the form of new networking buildout at its data center and mining sites. Eventually, this networking capacity could lead to increased connectivity for rural communities surrounding the Crusoe sites.

Currently, 80% of the company’s operations are being used for bitcoin mining, but there’s increasing demand for use in data center operations and some universities, including Lochmiller’s alma mater of MIT are looking at the company’s offerings for their own computing needs.

“That’s very much in an incubated phase right now,” said Lochmiller. “A private alpha where we have a few test customers… we’ll make that available for public use later this year.”

Crusoe Energy Systems should have the lowest data center operating costs in the world, according to Lochmiller and while the company will spend money to support the infrastructure buildout necessary to get the data to customers, those costs are negligible when compared to energy consumption, Lochmiller said.

The same holds true for bitcoin mining, where the company can offer an alternative to coal powered mining operations in China and the construction of new renewable capacity that wouldn’t be used to service the grid. As cryptocurrencies look for a way to blunt criticism about the energy usage involved in their creation and distribution, Crusoe becomes an elegant solution.

Institutional and regulatory tailwinds are also propelling the company forward. Recently New Mexico passed new laws limiting flaring and venting to no more than 2 percent of an operator’s production by April of next year and North Dakota is pushing for incentives to support on-site flare capture systems while Wyoming signed a law creating incentives for flare gas reduction applied to bitcoin mining. The world’s largest financial services firms are also taking a stand against flare gas with BlackRock calling for an end to routine flaring by 2025.

“Where we view our power consumption, we draw a very clear line in our project evaluation stage where we’re reducing emissions for an oil and gas projects,” Lochmiller said. 

#air-pollution, #alpha, #artificial-intelligence, #bain-capital-ventures, #bitcoin, #bitcoin-mining, #blackrock, #china, #co-founder, #coinbase-ventures, #colorado, #computing, #cryptocurrency, #cryptography, #denver, #energy, #energy-consumption, #energy-efficiency, #everest, #founders-fund, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #jb-straubel, #lowercarbon-capital, #methane, #mining, #mit, #montana, #natural-gas, #new-mexico, #north-dakota, #tc, #tesla, #texas, #trader, #united-states, #upper90, #valor-equity-partners, #winklevoss-capital, #world-bank, #wyoming

10 Queer Indigenous Artists on Where Their Inspirations Have Led Them

While wide-ranging in scope and style, these pieces are alike in their power and depth.

#alaska, #art, #british-columbia-canada, #gender, #hawaii, #homosexuality-and-bisexuality, #indigenous-people, #mexico, #new-mexico, #spokane-wash, #transgender-and-transsexuals

How New Mexico Became the State With the Highest Rate of Full Vaccinations

New Mexico, which has one of the highest poverty rates in the U.S., is a vaccination pacesetter thanks to decisive political decisions, homegrown technology and cooperation.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #disease-rates, #grisham-michelle-lujan, #native-americans, #new-mexico, #poverty, #vaccination-and-immunization

New Mexico Is Set to Legalize Recreational Marijuana

The governor is expected to sign the law, which would make New Mexico the 16th state to permit recreational use.

#law-and-legislation, #marijuana, #new-mexico

Virgin Galactic debuts its first third-generation spaceship, ‘VSS Imagine’

Commercial human spaceflight company Virgin Galactic has unveiled the first ever Spaceship III, the third major iteration of its spacecraft design. The first in this new series is called ‘VSS (Virgin SpaceShip) Imagine,’ and will start ground testing now with the aim of beginning its first glide flights starting this summer. VSS Imagine has a snazzy new external look, including a mirrored wraparound finish that’s designed to reflect the spacecraft’s changing environment as it makes its way from the ground to space — but more importantly, it moves Virgin Galactic closer to achieving the engineering goals it requires to produce a fleet of spacecraft at scale.

I spoke to Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier about VSS Imagine, and what it represents for the company.

“We can build these at a faster pace,” he explained. “These are still relatively slow, versus what we want in our next class of spaceships. But what we do expect to have here is, we’ve taken all the learnings from [VSS] Unity, and built-in what we need to do so that we can turn these ships at a faster pace, because obviously, the number of flights we can do is the product of how many ships you have, and how quickly you can turn them.”

Unlike Unity, which is the spacecraft that Virgin Galactic first flew in September 2016, and that it ‘s still using in New Mexico now for its testing and commercial launch preparation program, Imagine has a “modular design” that makes it much easier to maintain, and increases the rate at which it can fly subsequent missions. As Colglazier mentioned, there’s still more work to be done in that regard to get the Spaceship design to the point where it’s able to support the company’s target of around 400 flights per year, per individual spaceport, but it’s a big upgrade, and the company is already beginning manufacturing work on a second Spaceship III-class vehicle, ‘VSS Inspire.’

Image Credits: Virgin Galactic

Imagine and Inspire are technical achievements, to be sure, but Colglazier, who came to Virgin Galactic from Disney Parks International in July 2020, also emphasized the importance of this spacecraft debut in terms of the company’s consumer brand.

“What you’re seeing in the images, the choice of the livery, the film that we’ve put out, is a very clear step, as a consumer brand launch, and as we’re stepping in and building that, that will build over the course of the summer as we build up towards Richard [Branson]’s flight,” he said. “Very purposefully, we’ve used these lofty words of ‘democratizing space’ — but space is meant for everyone. It may take a while, just for everyone to get there, but it’s coming. And so this was leading with a very consumer facing, ‘Why are we doing this?’”

In fact, that focus on the consumer side of the business has been a lot of Colglazier’s work over the past eight months since joining the company. He said that the Virgin Galactic he joined had a “world-class team” that had the aerospace pieces completely locked in, but that his particular contribution has been in building up the commercial side of the business to match.

“We’re now bringing some talent in that is used to scaling this kind of a business, so Swami Iyer actually started Monday of last week,” he said. “And when you see a guy like Joe Rohde, who came in on the experience side, there’s no replacement — that’s additive to building out now the shoulders around this experience.”

Iyer joined as President of Aerospace Systems, and brings years of experience in the commercial space and defense industry, across GKN Advanced Defernce Systems, Honeywell Aerospace and more. Rohde, on the other hand, boasts a very different background, as a longtime Disney Imagineer, who joins the company as its first ‘Experience Architect,’ focused squarely on defining what the Virgin Galactic experience is for its astronaut customers, their friends and family, and the broader public, too.

Colglazier said that their vision for what the experience will look like will also be different depending on what part of the world you’re flying from, noting that weather you fly from a spaceport in Europe, Asia, India or Australia should result in something “dramatically different,” even if the spacecraft themselves are all used in the same way as they are in New Mexico. That definitely seems like a logical approach from an executive whose prior experience includes leading Disney’s parks in Burbank, Paris, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo.

Image Credits: Virgin Galactic

In the end, Colglazier said that the core philosophy Virgin Galactic will pursue in terms of consumer brand will be one focused on inclusion, even if the actual ‘going to space’ part of its offering remains out of reach for most in the short term.

“This is for everyone, it has to be for everyone,” he said. That aspiration may take some number of years to actually be realized, but in the meantime, we have to find a way that our brand and our company can be accessed, that what we do can be accessed by all sorts of people at all different layers of engagement, so we’re going to be very purposeful about that. You’re going to hear us talking mostly about, effectively the apex experience — actually taking the new ships to space. But the ability to tier down out of that is really, really important, and the ability for us to be a brand that’s reaching out to everyone is incredibly important.”

That begins with the approach to this spacecraft debut today, Colglazier says, and is apparent in the tone of the video the company debuted (embedded above) to mark the reveal. And Virgin Galactic also still has 600 passengers booked and waiting for their own flights, so that’s obviously a key focus after Branson’s flight targeted for later this year.

Finally, I asked Colglazier when he himself intends to go up, since he said he definitely plans to when joining the company. Mostly, he said, he doesn’t want to cut in front of any paying customers.

“Okay, there are 600 or so people that are going to be a little ticked at me, if I jumped the line, so I’m going to keep focused at the consumer level,” he said. “But nobody else is in line yet, so I’m gonna get in before anybody else comes in line.”

#aerospace, #asia, #astronaut, #australia, #ceo, #europe, #executive, #india, #michael-colglazier, #new-mexico, #outer-space, #paris, #president, #richard-branson, #shanghai, #space, #space-tourism, #spacecraft, #spaceflight, #tc, #tokyo, #virgin-galactic

Christine Nofchissey McHorse, Navajo Ceramist, Dies at 72

Ms. McHorse used micaceous clay, a tensile material flecked with mica, to make sensual, mysterious work that called to mind the shapes of Brancusi. She died of the coronavirus.

#ceramics-and-pottery, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #deaths-obituaries, #mchorse-christine-nofchissey-1948-2021, #navajo-indians, #new-mexico, #santa-fe-nm

New Mexico State Police Officer Is Shot and Killed, Officials Say

Several other officers were injured in a shooting on Interstate 10 between Deming and Las Cruces, the State Police said.

#attacks-on-police, #las-cruces-nm, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #new-mexico

Utah Man Who Looked for Treasure Pleads Guilty to Digging in National Park

Rodrick Dow Craythorn, 52, pleaded guilty to causing more than $1,000 worth of damages in his quest to find Forrest Fenn’s treasure, prosecutors said.

#fenn-forrest-1930, #fines-penalties, #national-parks-monuments-and-seashores, #new-mexico, #parks-and-other-recreation-areas, #public-property, #rocky-mountains, #santa-fe-nm, #treasure-troves, #utah, #wyoming

After Five Centuries, a Native American With Real Power

The expected nomination of Deb Haaland.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #haaland-deb, #interior-department, #native-americans, #new-mexico

Scenes From a Pandemic Holiday Road Trip

Scenes from a holiday season that shone bright in dark times.

#arizona, #asheville-nc, #christmas, #hanukkah, #holidays-and-special-occasions, #maryland, #memphis-tenn, #nashville-tenn, #new-mexico, #pennsylvania, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #road-trips, #texas, #united-states, #utah

Foresight raises $15M for its construction workers compensation platform

When an accident on a building site resulted in the death of their friend, the founders of Safesight were inspired to launch the platform to digitize safety programs for construction. The data from that gave birth to a new InsurTech startup this year, Foresight, which covers workers’ compensation. The startup has now released, for the first time, news that it raised a $15 million funding round back in May this year, with participation from Blackhorn Ventures and Transverse Insurance Group. To date, it has raised $20.5 million from industrial technology venture capital firms, led by Brick and Mortar Ventures and Builders VC.

Foresight launched in August of this year but has already covered $30M in risks. The company says it is now on pace to reach $50M in underwritten premium in 2021. By leveraging the data from sister company Safesite, the platform says it has been able to reduce workers comp incidents by up to 57% in a study conducted by actuarial consulting firm Perr & Knight.

Foresight’s algorithm leverages Safesight data to predict incidents, highlight risks, and informs underwriting. By wrapping Safesite risk management technology and services into every policy, Foresight provides a path to lower incident rates and lower premiums for customers.

Of the $57Bn national workers compensation market, Foresight focuses on policies ranging from $150K to $1M+ in annual premiums. The company says this segment has been largely overlooked by well-funded InsurTech startups such as Next Insurance and Pie, which provide small business policies under $50K in annual premiums.

Foresight and Safesite were developed by longtime friends and co-founders David Fontain, Peter Grant, and Leigh Appel.

Fontain said: “Foresight strengthens the correlation between safety and savings while providing the fast and easy user experience InsurTechs are known for. We leverage purpose-built technology to drive behavioral shifts and provide an irresistible alternative to traditional workers compensation coverage.”

Darren Bechtel, the founder and managing director at Brick & Mortar Ventures commented: “We first invested in 2016 and have known the founders since 2015 when it was just the two of them, squatting at a couple of empty desks inside another portfolio company’s office. Their initial vision was both elegant and powerful, and the demonstrated impact of their solution on safety performance, even in early interactions with the product, was impossible to ignore.”

Foresight now covers Nevada, Oklahoma, Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana, and New Mexico. The company expects to launch workers compensation in the eastern US and a general liability line in early 2021.

#arizona, #arkansas, #articles, #blackhorn-ventures, #brick, #brick-mortar-ventures, #builders-vc, #darren-bechtel, #future, #insurance, #louisiana, #nevada, #new-mexico, #oklahoma, #tc, #time, #united-states