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Job opening: some travel required

NASA is seeking astronaut candidates to staff up the International Space Station and to carry out future missions to the moon (and beyond). Here are some highlights from the want ad posted on USAJobs.com:

  • The salary range is $59,493.00 to $130,257.00 per year
  • "The open positions require extensive travel on Earth and in space. Possible destinations may include, but are not limited to, Texas, Florida, California, Russia, Kazakhstan, the International Space Station and the moon."
  • All positions require mandatory drug tests
  • Women, minorities, and teachers are specifically encouraged to apply
  • The positions are only open to U.S. citizens
  • Applicants must be between 62 and 75 inches tall to fit in Soyuz space capsules
  • Minimum requirements are a bachelor's degree in specific math and science fields, as well as 3 years of experience in the workplace
  • New NASA employees receive 13 days of paid vacation per year, plus 10 federal holidays
  • Most NASA facilities have free parking

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With ethanol, everyone gets a share

The economics of corn ethanol have never made much sense. Rather than importing cheap Brazilian ethanol made from sugar cane, the United States slaps a tariff of 54 cents a gallon on ethanol from Brazil. Then the government provides a tax break of 51 cents a gallon to American ethanol producers — on top of the generous subsidies that corn growers already receive under the farm program.

The above passage from today's New York Times editorial recalls nothing so much as this gem from Milo Minderbender, the mad genius businessman in Catch-22:

But I make a profit of three and a quarter cents an egg by selling them for four and a quarter cents an egg to the people in Malta I buy them from for seven cents an egg. Of course, I don't make the profit. The syndicate makes the profit. And everybody has a share."