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US and seven other countries sign NASA’s Artemis Accords to set rules for exploring the Moon

Today, NASA announced that eight countries — including the United States — have signed an international agreement known as the Artemis Accords, forming what NASA calls a broad and diverse coalition of nations committed to standardized lunar exploration.

NASA announced its intention to create the Artemis Accords back in May, after working with the US State Department and the National Space Council to come up with a draft set of rules for exploring the Moon. The document’s name refers to NASA’s Artemis program, an ambitious initiative that aims to send the first woman and the next man to the Moon. NASA hopes to partner with multiple countries for the program, and the agency created the Artemis Accords to ensure that other nations could agree on best practices for sending robots and people to the lunar surface.

NASA released the draft of the accords to other space-faring countries, and after getting their input, the agency came up with the final document, which includes standards for things like lunar mining and how to handle conflicts on the Moon’s surface. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine says the main goal is to get everyone on the same page about lunar exploration and head off any future international misunderstandings or conflicts. “When we think about the Artemis Accords, what we’re trying to do is establish norms of behavior that every nation can agree to,” Bridenstine said during a press call ahead of the announcement.

The seven nations that have signed along with the US are: Australia, Canada, Japan, Luxembourg, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates. NASA says that it has also spoken with other countries interested in signing, but these seven nations were able to go through the interagency process the fastest. That means more countries could be signing on to the accords very soon — even before the end of the year, according to NASA. “This first announcement is very much a beginning, not an ending to the nations joining the Accords,” Mike Gold, NASA’s acting associate administrator for the office of international and interagency relations, said during the briefing.

NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine speaking with the heads of the world’s space agencies at last year’s International Astronautical Congress.
Image: NASA / Aubrey Gemignani

Notably absent from the initial list is Russia, NASA’s biggest partner in human spaceflight and the International Space Station. Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Russia’s space program, has made it very clear that he is not a fan of the accords or of NASA’s Artemis program. When NASA first announced the accords, Rogozin likened it to a lunar “invasion.” And just yesterday, Rogozin said during a panel at the International Astronautical Congress that the Artemis program is “too US-centric.”

China, another major space power, is also absent, though NASA has long been restricted from partnering or engaging directly with the country on space projects due to a law enacted by Congress. The

Tech Employment Data Contradict Need For Quick H-1B Visa Rules

New government data show the low unemployment rate in computer occupations contradicts Trump administration claims an economic emergency requires the quick implementation of new H-1B visa rules. A new analysis indicates the government’s own data do not support the claims made in the regulations, which makes it more likely federal courts will block the new rules.

On October 8, 2020, the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published “interim final” rules to restrict H-1B visas, asserting a “good cause” exception to the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) to allow the H-1B rules to go into effect quickly without permitting the public to comment. DOL and DHS cited an emergency need to address unemployment as a reason for bypassing the normal rulemaking process.

Low Unemployment Rate in Computer Occupations: “The U.S. unemployment rate for individuals in computer occupations stood at 3.5% in September 2020, not changed significantly from the 3% unemployment rate in January 2020 (before the pandemic spread in the U.S.),” according to an analysis of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Population Survey by the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP). “A similar measure of the U.S. unemployment rate in computer and mathematical occupations, which appears on the BLS website, also found a rate of 3% in January 2020 and 3.5% in September 2020. The rates are well below the unemployment rate of 7.8% for non-computer occupations.”

Approximately two-thirds of H-1B visa holders work in computer-related occupations, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), but the DHS and DOL rules spend much time citing the nation’s overall unemployment rate in 2020 rather than focusing on the more relevant computer occupations.

The DOL rule cited the overall U.S. unemployment rate of 14.7% in April 2020 but failed to mention the September 2020 national unemployment rate had dropped to 7.9%. DHS and DOL also invoked the June 2020 presidential proclamation to suspend the entry of H-1B other visa holders even though a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction blocking the proclamation.

DHS Used Outdated Unemployment Statistics in its H-1B Rule: DHS stated in its H-1B rule: “This [rule] is particularly urgent given the exceptionally high unemployment rate in the United States – 10.2 percent as of August 7, 2020.” But as the National Foundation for American Policy analysis notes, the U.S. unemployment rate of 10.2% cited by DHS was already two months old when DHS issued its rule. The U.S. unemployment rate declined from 10.2% in July to 8.4% in August 2020 and 7.9% in September – and without a new regulation from the Department of Homeland Security.

For individuals 25 years and over with a bachelor’s degree or higher, the national unemployment rate fell from 6.7% in July 2020 to 4.8% in September 2020.

High Number

Miami QB D’Eriq King has taken full advantage of transfer rules

He committed to one school (TCU) way back in 2015, then fashionably de-committed.

He committed to another school (Houston) as it fashionably touted its 2016 recruiting class.

He saw the head coach (Tom Herman) leave after one season, which was pretty fashionable.

He (King) proved fashionably versatile in a sport (among other sports) becoming more position-less.

He played two years for another coach (Major Applewhite), who got fired with fashionable haste.

Come late September 2019, he (King) ventured to the fashion vanguard, accepting his third coach’s advice to follow a new redshirt rule.

Come January 2020, he entered the fashionable transfer portal, announcing it fashionably by tweet during the national championship game.

In winter 2020, he transferred, the foremost fashion.

“Just playing with these guys for the first few weeks and getting a bye week, I think I have a better feel for what guys are good at,” he said this week in Miami’s media sessions. The quotation told of a quick-study necessity that, too, is fashionable.

So start with the transfer and work back.

Transfers grip the game as never before, their stigmas deceased and their pathways ever less cluttered. In the 2019-20 College Football Playoff, three of the four starting quarterbacks had transferred from other major programs, leaving 2021 NFL No. 1 pick Trevor Lawrence as the only one of the four as a one-school throwback.

When LSU quarterback Joe Burrow stood in New York in December 2019 to accept the Heisman Trophy, that made it three straight Heisman winners who had transferred from one FBS program to another. Among the 82 Heisman winners before that, only two had transferred from another major school, Cam Newton (2010) and Felix “Doc” Blanchard (1945), the latter switching from North Carolina to Army after he signed up for the Army during World War II.

“He’s just a very consistent young man,” Miami offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee said of King. “I mean, he’s the same kid every day … He’s so even-keeled. Again, he’s so consistent on game day. And you know, I think we’ve got a pretty good idea of putting him in position where he can just go play.” These days, the learning must speed up, especially when the coach himself has just transferred, as Lashlee did last winter from SMU.

Long before that, in late September 2019, Houston had fallen to 1-3 under yet another first-year coach, Dana Holgorsen. The Cougars had slipped there with a last-play loss to Tulane on a 53-yard touchdown catch by Jalen McCleskey, who in 2018 had used a new redshirt rule and had transferred, from Oklahoma State. The rule, installed mostly to help out athletes, allowed players to play up to four games in a season and then redshirt without burning that year of eligibility. Some saw Houston’s use of the rule with a senior quarterback as suboptimal. Others saw it as tanking on a season soured. Others saw it as clever fashion, which is often controversial.

Yet in part because the rule