Correcting ‘Hamilton’

first_img The Daily Gazette Sign up for daily emails to get the latest Harvard news. Historian Annette Gordon-Reed would like to make clear that she likes “Hamilton,” the Broadway hip-hop musical phenomenon about Alexander Hamilton, which audiences and critics have adored and some scholars and writers have scorned.But she would like to make clearer that she found the show problematic in its portrayals of Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, the Founding Fathers, and the issue of slavery. The musical is based on Ron Chernow’s biography of Hamilton, who in Chernow’s view has been the most underrated and misunderstood of the Founding Fathers.“A Broadway show is not a documentary,” said Gordon-Reed, a history professor in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences who also holds the Charles Warren Professorship of American Legal History at Harvard Law School and the Carol K. Pforzheimer Professorship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.“Artists have the right to create,” she added, speaking last week at a student-sponsored event about the musical, “but historians have the right to critique.”And so she did.The show portrays Hamilton as a “young, scrappy, and hungry” immigrant (he was born on the Caribbean Island of Nevis, but qualified as a U.S. citizen when the Constitution was adopted), an egalitarian, and a passionate abolitionist. All of this is wrong, Gordon-Reed said.“In the sense of the Ellis Island immigrant narrative, he was not an immigrant,” she said. “He was not pro-immigrant, either.“He was not an abolitionist,” she added. “He bought and sold slaves for his in-laws, and opposing slavery was never at the forefront of his agenda.“He was not a champion of the little guy, like the show portrays,” she said. “He was elitist. He was in favor of having a president for life.”The musical simplifies and sanitizes history, said Gordon-Reed. “The Hamilton on the stage is more palatable and attractive to modern audiences,” she said.Set amid the Revolution, the play fails to depict the central role played by slavery at that moment in history, and also neglects to mention that most of the Founding Fathers were slave owners.“In the musical, only Jefferson is shown as a slave holder,” said Gordon-Reed, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 2009 for her book on the family of Sally Hemings, slave and mistress to Jefferson. “But Madison owned slaves too, and so did George Washington.”Although she praised the multiethnic portrayal of the Founding Fathers, she wondered whether the casting has helped “submerge” the issue of slavery. She also mused about how the play diverged from the efforts of historians who for the past 50 years have tried to bring a more complicated narrative to the era.“It’s not a purely heroic narrative,” she said. “It’s not just celebration. The Founders accepted slavery as an institution.”Still, she hopes the show’s popularity will serve as a catalyst for a renewed focus on early American history, both in schools and the wider culture. The show’s creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, is a “genius,” she said.But if one wants to find out who the real Hamilton is, insists Gordon-Reed, the answer is not on Broadway.last_img read more

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Villa linked with Pogrebnyak

first_imgAston Villa boss Alex McLeish wants to snatch Pavel Pogrebnyak from Fulham, the Daily Mirror say.The Russian striker has been a massive hit at Craven Cottage since joining Fulham on a deal until the end of the season.But it is claimed that McLeish is planning a summer bid for him and has already spoken to representatives of the 28-year-old, who will be available on a free transfer in May.And West Ham have offered Salomon Kalou a move to Upton Park, according to the Daily Express.Kalou’s Chelsea contract expires in the summer and Hammers boss Sam Allardyce is believed to be keen to sign him.Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

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SETI Finds Intelligent Humans

first_imgThe Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) is 50 years old this year.  SETI’s latest scientific discovery was the detection of a human-made satellite in Earth orbit.  In a sense, this counts as a success: the detection of a signal of intelligent origin from an extra-terrestrial source (i.e., beyond terra firma).  The false alarm helped calibrate the instrumentation, but did little to garner support for the effort to find aliens.  The SETI Institute was all SETI-ready to party hardy at the 50th anniversary of Frank Drake’s first search, but instead, found itself struggling to keep its doors open after a severe shortfall of private funds, highlighting questions about the scientific status of the long-shot project.A group of SETI astronomers at UC Berkeley thought they might cut to the chase in the needle-in-a-haystack search by focusing on potentially Earth-like planets detected by the Kepler spacecraft, code-named “Kepler Objects of Interest” (KOI).  Using the Green Bank Radio Telescope, they pointed to some of these objects and generated graphs of time vs. radio frequency.  Two of the objects, KOI-812 and KOI-817, showed traits predicted for intelligent signals: narrow bands that oscillated in intensity, so they published the graphs as “first candidates” (available here).  The news generated a very brief flutter of interest (see PhysOrg and Universe Today), even though the announcement was qualified with the statement, “it is most likely to be interference” from artificial satellites.  And it was; leading to a hasty “sorry” from the Berkeley team for the false alarm (Huntsville Times).Jason Palmer at the BBC News paid a visit to the Allen Telescope Array of the SETI Institute, its facilities closed due to lack of funds.  He published two stories and video clips.  In the first on the BBC News he called it “array of hope.”  Because a successful detection of alien life is such a long shot, hope is needed in the best of times; but “it’s never been this bad,” SETI Institute principal astronomer Seth Shostak lamented.  With the Allen Array out of operations pending fund-raising efforts, hope is focused on other efforts like [email protected] or signals other than radio.  For instance, Paul Davies thinks aliens may have left their imprint on our DNA.The video clip gave Seth Shostak, Frank Drake, Paul Vakoch and Jill Tarter a moment to state some SETI selling points:Signals might be coming through our bodies right now, if we were only detecting them (Shostak).We might be on the verge of the biggest discovery in human history, and one that might be able to help humanity solve some of its largest problems (Palmer).With the right technology, we could be within 20 years of detection (Vakoch).Knowledge that an alien civilization has survived its own problems would assure us there are solutions to global warming and pollution (Tarter).Alien detection is not just a curiosity, but would tell us we are “not a miracle, not so special, but another duck in the row,” Shostak said.  Catching himself on why anybody would want to know that, he added, “It’s very important to find that you’re not the center of the universe.  Ask Copernicus or Galileo.”At the end of the article, Tarter found an alternative energy source to keep “array of hope” alive.  If electrical power costs more than funds permit, SETI “hasn’t lost any of its impact and its emotive power,” she said.In his second installment on the BBC News, Palmer focused on the “What if?” part of SETI.  What if we detected an alien civilization?  Shostak, Davies, and Vakoch opined on that question.  Short answer is: no, Earth would not panic.  The other half of the “What if?” coin is whether we should respond back.  Vakoch thinks we should let them know how nice we are.  We should send evidence of our altruism and love for beauty.  He even prepared a simple powerpoint-like series of images to show a human figure helping another off a cliff.  A message showing a nautilus shell with its design based on the Fibonacci Series might help aliens realize our love for mathematical elegance.  Asking “What if?” is not utterly worthless, Vakoch argued, even if no aliens are ever detected. “Perhaps more important than even communicating with extraterrestrials, this whole enterprise of composing messages is a chance to reflect on ourselves and what we care about and how we express what’s important.”  Anyone can do that without millions of dollars running 42 linked radio telescopes, so it’s not clear how helpful that idea will be raising the money they need.In the accompanying video clip in the BBC article, Drake admitted that a radio pulse from aliens would tell us nothing about the nature of the creatures that sent it, unless we can listen in on their TV.   Eavesdropping on their programs might reveal all kinds of interesting things, like whether their quarterbacks pray after touchdowns.  Shostak isn’t worried about a detection sending a wave of panic through the human race; “Don’t cry wolf,” he says, just verify the signal and leave the reply to the governments.  Palmer adds that detection couldn’t be hidden for long, anyway.  News would probably go from backroom chatter to Twitter in no time.There’s a “small outfit in Vienna” called the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), presumably tasked with speaking for the Earth.  But it hasn’t been too helpful letting the American SETI advocates provide input for their “notional red binder” of what our reply should be, Palmer noted.  Vakoch once again suggested his powerpoint-slide idea for showing the aliens how altruistic humans are.  Shostak just wants to get on with the search.  “You can think of lots of ways that this experiment wouldn’t work,” he admitted; “So what do you do?  Sit around on your hands?  No, you say, let’s try the experiment anyway, because if you succeed, you’ve really learned something interesting.”For now, though, the SETI Institute has to content itself with running its Array of Hope on “emotive power,” which is cheap and universally available.Exercise.  Think of an experiment that would be very expensive, with a very low probability of success that might take decades or centuries, but, if successful, would reveal something interesting.  Create a list of selling points on why private foundations or governments should fund your experiment, but be honest: tell them “You can think of lots of ways that this experiment wouldn’t work.”  Practice your spiel with all the emotive power you can muster, and see if you can convince a friend.SETI advocates are a strange bunch.  They advertise themselves as scientists, but after 50 years of searching, have zero observations to support their claims. Aren’t observations critical for qualifying as science?  (Ask the astrobiologists that one, too, and the proponents of the multiverse.)  Their comeback argument is that they’ve only scratched the surface; so many stars and so many radio frequencies need to be searched before we can answer the question, it’s no wonder we haven’t found the aliens yet.  Sounds reasonable, right?Try that line on any other experiment.  Say you own a purple marble, and in front of you are a hundred billion urns filled with marbles.  Every marble you have sampled for 50 years is white.  Tell your funding source that sampling requires $100 per marble, but now you can sample them faster than ever.  You have now sampled millions of marbles from all over the field, and they are all white.  How do you convince your funding source to keep the search going?  All you have is a hunch that if there is one purple marble, there must be others.  Honestly, though, based on a sample of one, anything is possible; without a testable theory of how the purple marble got into your pocket, you could never know the answer without looking at every marble in every urn.  How many searches do you get before your funding source cuts the flow?  Threatened with the cutoff, you turn up the emotive power.  “But finding just one more purple marble would be interesting,” you say.  “It would show that my purple marble is not special, just another duck in the row.”  Good luck.  “But just knowing another purple marble exists would give the world hope that purple marbles have survived, giving us hope we can solve global human problems.”  Desperation has set in.  This begs the question that humans could generate hope of solving problems without alien help.It would be a far more credible experiment to conduct SETA: The Search for Extra-Terrestrial Angels.  At least there is a long history of eyewitness accounts of angels.  Running the SETA experiment would require separating the credible accounts from the bogus ones, but consider that none other than Jesus Christ affirmed their existence, and eyewitnesses include Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Gideon’s parents, Isaiah, Daniel, Zechariah, Joseph, Mary, Peter, Paul, and many other reputable characters, their accounts documented in the Bible.  So even if you are a materialist, and believe every one of these historical characters must have been misguided by their imaginations, you would have to admit that SETA has a lot more evidence going for it than SETI.  But you say, “Yes, but even if angels exist, they are capricious; I cannot call one up on demand to prove its existence scientifically.”  And your point is?SETI advocates are a strange crowd for another reason: they are almost to a person Darwin lovers and vocal critics of intelligent design.  But they use intelligent design principles in their search; in fact, their whole reason for being is predicated on the validity of segregating intelligently-caused signals from natural ones. (See 12/03/2005.)  SETI provides a classic illustration of Finagle’s Rule #6 for Scientists: “Don’t believe in miracles.  Rely on them.”It’s kind of sad to see the SETI advocates down on their luck, struggling to find money to carry on their search for intelligent causes.  We have a suggestion.  Since they are already keen on design detection techniques, let them come and join the intelligent design movement.  Then they can pursue Paul Davies’ suggestion, with a high probability of success, that evidence of intelligence can be found in DNA and in the natural world.  Intelligent design theory would not even require them to specify the identity of the designer.  They could even believe, like Francis Crick and Fred Hoyle, that it was seeded here by aliens.  All they would have to agree to is dropping methodological naturalism as a cover for philosophical naturalism, a willingness to question the consensus (including the ideas of Charles Darwin), courage to risk losing some friends, and an honest desire to follow the evidence where it leads, evidence being the operative word.  No problems, right?  It’s that good old scientific tradition of critical thinking. Come on over.(Visited 18 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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SA’s mobile mass market embraces web

first_img18 May 2012 The number of internet users in South Africa accelerated dramatically over the past year, driven by both smartphones and ordinary mobile phones, as the internet “finally arrived in the hands of the mass market”. This is the key finding of the Internet Access in South Africa 2012 study conducted by consultancy World Wide Worx. The headline findings, released last week, showed that the South African Internet user base had grown from 6.8-million in 2010 to 8.5-million at the end of 2011 – no less than 25% growth. World Wide Worx forecast that this strong growth would continue during 2012, taking South Africa’s internet user base past the 10-million mark by the end of the year.Demand for online content ‘set to explode’ “These findings are a powerful signal that the demand for online content in South Africa is likely to explode in the coming years,” said Justin Zehmke, executive producer of howzit MSN, which backed the study. “The spotlight will not only be on online media, but also on social networking and electronic services in general,” Zehmke said in a statement. “As the market grows and matures, we are likely to see a diversification in the landscape that will create space for successful niche media, a greater choice in information sources and a maturation of online services.” World Wide Worx MD Arthur Goldstuck said the internet in South Africa had “finally awoken, fully. Penetration is now approaching 20%, and for the first time we can see the mass market embracing digital tools on their phones.” According to the survey, 7.9-million South Africans access the internet on their mobile phones. Of these, 2.48-million access it only on their cellphones, and do not have access on computers. The remaining 6.02-million users access the internet on computers, laptops, and tablet computers. However, 90% of this number – 5.42-million – also access it on their cellphones. This means that almost 8-million South Africans sometimes or regularly access the internet on their phones.‘Huge implications for media, social networks’ “This has huge implications for media and social networks,” says Zehmke. “It means that, in the coming years, all services offered online will also have to be offered on cellphones.” While smartphones are the main driver of internet growth, the cost of data use is being driven down by the proliferation of undersea cables connecting sub-Saharan Africa to the rest of the world. The study shows that undersea cable capacity to South Africa at the end of 2011 was 2.69 Terabits per second (Tbps), and due to rise to 11.9Tbps by the end of 2012. “That capacity will double again in 2013,” said Goldstuck. “While the industry position is that it won’t affect prices, such an excess of supply must result in falling prices, which in turn will further drive up demand. The rapid growth we see this year will therefore be maintained through 2013.” The Internet Access in South Africa 2012 study was conducted using multiple methodologies, including primary research, interviews with providers, and market intelligence. SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

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A Farmstead of the Future in Georgia

first_imgAt the University of Georgia’s Tifton campus, work is well underway on a 3,400-square-foot house and adjoining carriage house that will combine a variety of energy-efficient features with advanced building materials and internet-based monitoring and control systems.The Future Farmstead has brought together student and faculty designers and builders, building professionals, and a number of donors to create a living laboratory and demonstration project. Its creators hope the project will attract as many as 15,000 visitors a year.When completed sometime later this year, the four-bedroom house will become home for graduate students.The project is the brainchild of Craig Kvien, a professor of crop and soil sciences who has taught at the school since 1979. Kvien said the idea for the project grew out of University programs on energy efficiency in agriculture, plus a need for more space for graduate students.The Tifton satellite campus is in a town of 15,000; it is home to the Colleges of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and Family and Consumer Sciences. It’s located some 50 miles north of the Georgia-Florida state line and about 200 miles south of the University’s main campus in Athens, Georgia. Kvien said the Tifton campus is well-known for its turfgrass breeding program.The exterior of the two-story house is finished as work continues inside. Future Farmstead has been aided by a number of government agencies as well as dozens of companies that contributed money, building products, or “intellectual help,” Kvien said.“The home/lab is a learning center to be explored by the thousands of people we expect to visit each year to learn more about living smart, net-zero homes, gardening, agriculture, food preservation, and about using communications tools to make life at home and business better,” the website description of the project says. The energy system combines solar hot water and thin-film photovoltaicsThe roof of the main house is both a solar hot water collector and a source of electricity, similar in design to the Englert Solar Sandwich. Beneath the standing-seam metal roof is a network of 1/2-inch-diameter PEX tubing held in place by galvanized steel purlins. A mixture of water and propylene glycol circulates through the tubing, carrying heat to two 80-gallon tanks where the glycol solution heats the domestic hot water supply. As a side benefit, the circulating glycol solution also cools the bottom of the Unisolar peel-and-stick photovoltaic film.In all, there are four 280-foot loops of PEX tubing arranged in 9-foot-long rows. The south-facing roof measures 216 square feet.The thin-film PV was applied to the roofing before roofing panels were installed; the PV area measures 864 square feet. The system’s total nominal capacity is 5 kilowatts. Researchers plan to study the effect of the PEX loops on the output of the solar array. (Higher rooftop temperatures erode PV output.)Below the loops of PEX and their supporting purlins is a reflective radiant barrier and Huber’s Zip system sheathing.“Given that the whole house is an experiment,” the website says, “we plan on gathering data on how the system functions over time — monitoring flow, electrical use and temperature. This information will feed into our whole-house system that is able to monitor and control most of the house functions.”Heat is provided by a ground-source heat pump with some heat-exchange tubing in horizontal loops 6 feet below grade, and some loops in a nearby pond. The buildings showcase a variety of materialsThe main house and carriage house are constructed from a variety of building products, including precast concrete walls, insulating concrete forms, and conventional stick-framing.The first-floor walls in the main house are precast concrete panels manufactured by Superior Walls set on a footing of crushed stone and insulated to R-20 with closed-cell polyurethane foam and UltraTouch denim batts.The second-floor walls are conventionally framed with 2x6s and sheathed with R-3 Huber Zip panels that combine a layer of continuous insulation with structural sheathing. As on the first floor, cavity insulation is a combination of spray foam and denim batt insulation.At the main house, a 4-inch-thick slab was poured inside the precast walls after the walls panels were set in place. The truss roof is insulated to R-40 with a combination of 3 inches of spray foam and denim batts.The one-story, 600-square-foot carriage house is made with insulating concrete forms on a poured concrete footing and slab. Exterior walls have an R-value of 28.The slabs for both the main house and carriage house are made with concrete in which fly ash, an industrial byproduct of coal-fired generating stations, and additives made by BASF take the place of 50% of the cement. “[That’s] well above the norm,” Kvien wrote in an e-mail. “It took a while for the concrete to set up.”As of late May, the buildings had not been tested for air leakage with a blower door. Kvien said that would take place after all the insulation had been installed and both before and after drywall is hung.Other features of the main house:An energy-recovery ventilator for whole-house ventilation, plus an experimental liquid desiccant system designed to cope with Tifton’s warm and humid climate. Kvien said desiccant systems are used in many commercial buildings, but the one in the Tifton house was in the very early stages of testing.Double-glazed low-e casement windows.LED lighting, energy efficient appliances, and water-saving fixtures, plus a graywater irrigation system.Features to make the house accessible, including wide doors, a wheelchair lift, and zero-threshold shower stalls.Kvien estimates basic construction costs at between $130 to $150 per square foot. Features such as the wheelchair lift, wider stairs, a sprinkler system, and data collection sensors added another $35 to $45 per square foot.center_img Planting edibles rather in addition to flowersThe house and carriage house are key parts of the Farmstead, but not the only ones. The project also includes an “edible landscape” with blueberry bushes, frost-tolerant lemons and tangerines, and a variety of disease-resistant fruits and vegetables. Edible plantings are interspersed with flowers in raised beds around the house, with the hope of having something blooming every day of the year.In addition, there’s an adjacent 2-acre pond for a variety of fish species and water birds. A 1300-square-foot deck built in the shape of a leaf will be used for classes in water quality, aquaculture, and ecology.Kvien’s interests include communications and control systems, and there is an extensive control system available on the campus. Sensors monitor temperature, moisture, sound, and a number of other variables and can be used to control functions such as irrigation. Management systems are available through a smart phone, tablet, or computer via the farm’s local wireless network.last_img read more

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Are You Valuable Enough for C-Level Access?

first_img Essential Reading! Get my 2nd book: The Lost Art of Closing “In The Lost Art of Closing, Anthony proves that the final commitment can actually be one of the easiest parts of the sales process—if you’ve set it up properly with other commitments that have to happen long before the close. The key is to lead customers through a series of necessary steps designed to prevent a purchase stall.” Buy Now What do you sell that is so valuable that it demands a C-Level Executive’s attention?Sometimes the right strategy for prospecting is to connect with someone at the C-Level. But it isn’t often the best strategy, and there are more effective strategies for creating opportunities when you don’t really need start at the very top of your dream client’s organizational chart.The first question you have to ask yourself when deciding where to enter your dream client’s company is, “Is the C-Level executive I am calling the person who is most interested in what I sell, or is there someone else in her organization she counts on to make decisions in this area?” You might also ask, “Is what I am selling so different, so disruptive, so valuable, and so strategic that the C-Level executive would want and need to be involved in the decision to purchase from me?”There are some businesses that really do need to enter at the C-Level, but there are more who would benefit from finding a way in lower down the organizational chart.C-Level executives hire people that they count on to make decisions in their areas. They trust these people to do what is best for the company, and they know that the members of their team are subject matter experts in their areas. C-Level executives also know that the execution of any new solution is going to depend on the people that work for them, and they allow those people to vet possible solutions.The better way to think about where to begin prospecting is to think about who is the CEO of the Problem within the companies you call. Who is the person who is responsible for producing the results your solution is designed to help? Who is the person who is most likely to be experiencing the problems solved by your product, service, or solution? Who is the person you could most easily help to gain some new understanding of how they could produce better results?These people may not have C-Level titles, and they may be no easier when it comes to gaining the commitment for an appointment. But they are more likely to care about what you sell, and they are almost certain to have the trust of the executives within their company, making it easier to gain the executive sponsorship you will later need.last_img read more

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Hospitals Upgraded at a Cost of $375 Million

first_imgInfrastructural improvements were carried out on several hospitals across the country during the year, at a cost of more than $375 million, Health Minister, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, has informed.These include St. Ann’s Bay Regional Hospital, in St. Ann; Annotto Bay Hospital, St. Mary; Princess Margaret Hospital, St. Thomas; Black River Hospital, St. Elizabeth; Mandeville Regional Hospital, Manchester; Bustamante Hospital for Children and Bellevue Hospital, Kingston; Cornwall Regional Hospital, St. James, and Savanna-la-mar Hospital, Westmoreland.Making the disclosure during his contribution to the 2013/14 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives, on Tuesday, June 25, Dr. Ferguson said these upgrades formed part of the Ministry’s Operational Plan for 2013-2014.He noted that the Ministry has made progress in achieving the indicated health goals of the plan, including improving health services to Jamaicans and upgrading the physical infrastructure of the public health sector.In the meantime, Dr. Ferguson expressed his gratitude to the National Health Fund, the Government of Japan, China Harbour Engineering Company, the RJR Group and others who supported the reconstruction of the Annotto Bay Hospital after hurricane Sandy.“We are moving Annotto Bay Hospital along the path to becoming a Type B facility,” the Minister said.He also thanked Digicel, Sagicor and Chain of Hope for their partnership in making the construction of the Cardiac Wing at the Bustamante Hospital for Children possible. Ground was broken in February for construction to begin on the $140 million facility.“This will make the hospital the only one in the English speaking Caribbean with a specialist cardiac facility for children,” the Minister said.Turning to the Primary Health Care Infrastructure Improvement Project, Dr. Ferguson informed that work was completed on 20 health centres at a cost of $54.8 million this year.“We have so far renovated over 100 health centres under this programme. I want to thank the member for South East Clarendon, Rudyard Spencer (former Health Minister), for starting this process and assure him that I have made it better and will continue to make it better,” he said.Contact: Alecia Smith-Edwardslast_img read more

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Air Force Wish List Includes Chunk of Milcon

first_img Dan Cohen AUTHOR The Air Force’s $1.9 billion list of unfunded requirements for fiscal 2019 includes $441 million for a number of unspecified “high priority” military construction projects, reports Defense News. Almost half of the list of needs that did not make it into the service’s budget request, $800 million, would go to classified programs. About $289 million would be dedicated to nuclear requirements; multi-domain command and control; and nuclear command, control and communications. The Air Force asked lawmakers for $351 million for unfunded space requirements.Air Force photo by Tech Sgt. Cohen Younglast_img read more

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