The Fate of Civilization
March 25, 2014

Neil deGrasse Tyson, the astrophysicist best known now as host of Fox's Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, hosts an annual debate at the Hayden Planetarium in the memory of the prolific science fiction writer Isaac Asimov, who died in 1992.

This year, the topic under discussion was the commercialization of space, specifically: How much risk should businesses assume in space exploration? How can space businesses mitigate risk? How big are the potential opportunities of extraterrestrial resource mining, products, and real estate? What role does government play in the new paradigm of commercial space exploration?

The panelists included a host of space industry luminaries: The Aerospace Corporation president and CEO Wanda Austin; Michael Gold, director of DC operations and business growth for Bigelow Aerospace; John Logsdon, professor emeritus of space policy and international affairs at George Washington University; Space Foundation CEO Elliot Pulham; Space Adventures president Tom Shelley; and Robert Walker, executive chairman of Wexler & Walker Public Policy Associates.

Watch the entire debate below. --John Aziz

ISIS
7:16 a.m. ET
Gokhan Sahin/Getty Images

On Wednesday, at the close of an international summit in Paris on fighting Islamic State, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the 9-month-old U.S.-led air campaign has killed more than 10,000 militants. "We have seen a lot of losses within Daesh [ISIS] since the start of this campaign, more than 10,000," Blinken told France Inter radio. "It will end up having an impact."

You might have noticed the future tense. Along with criticism of the U.S.-led air campaign among U.S. conservatives, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi complained to the conference that the international community isn't doing enough to help Iraq fight ISIS. "At the start of this campaign (we) said it would take time," Blinken said. "We have conceived a three-year plan and we're nine months into it." Peter Weber

The Daily Showdown
6:14 a.m. ET

On Monday's Daily Show, retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal said he didn't think the U.S. deserved blame for creating ISIS and politely dismissed Jon Stewart's theory that the battle against Islamic State is a convoluted rematch of the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. But this is Jon Stewart's show, so on Tuesday, he elaborated on that theory.

Stewart started out by playing clips of various Republicans accusing President Obama of creating ISIS by pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq, which, he noted, was set in motion by George W. Bush. That wasn't Stewart's only problem with the Obama-did-it charge, but he didn't stop with tracing ISIS's roots to Bush's 2003 invasion. Using the GOP's proposed solution to ISIS — arming some faction — Stewart took a look back at America's poor track record in the region. "America is like Wile E. Coyote," he said: "Every time we send a weapon into the desert, it ends up exactly where we don't want it to end up."

The short version of Stewart's history lesson is that the U.S. armed Iraq's Baathists against Iran in the '80s, fought Iraq's Baathists in the '90s and '00s, and are now essentially allied with Iran against those same Iraqis, now rebranded as ISIS. Stewart's version is more entertaining and detailed. You can watch below. Peter Weber

FIFA
5:25 a.m. ET
CC by: BBC World Service

On Wednesday, Interpol issued "red notices" for two former FIFA officials and four sports marketing executives, adding them to the international police agency's most-wanted list at the request of the U.S., which has warrants out for their arrest. The two FIFA officials, former vice president Jack Warner of Trinidad and Tobago (pictured) and Paraguayan official Nicolas Leoz, have already been arrested in their home countries, though Warner was released. The red notices mean they travel abroad at their own risk. The four sports executives are from Argentina and Brazil. Peter Weber

police shootings
4:59 a.m. ET

On Tuesday, a police officer and FBI agent in Boston shot dead Usaama Rahim, 26, a Boston resident who police said had been under 24-hour surveillance by anti-terrorism investigators. Boston Police Commissioner William Evans said the agent and officer had approached Rahim outside a CVS to ask him about "some terrorist-related information we had received." Late Tuesday, FBI agents arrested a man named David Wright in the Boston suburb of Everett in connection with the Rahim investigation.

Rahim pulled out a military-style knife and approached the officers, who backed away and drew their guns, Evans said, and the officers fired when they felt Rahim was threatening their lives. He said there is video of the encounter. "We believed he was a threat," Evans said of Rahim. "He was someone we were watching for quite a time — constant dialogue between us and the FBI. The level of alarm brought us to question him today. I don't think anyone expected the reaction we were going to get out of him."

Ramon's brother, Ibrahim Rahim, an imam in California, disputed the police account in a Facebook post, saying police shot Usaama Rahim in the back. "He was on his cellphone with my dear father during the confrontation needing a witness," Ibrahim Rahim added, and his last words were "I can't breathe." You can watch Evans tell the police side of the story below. Peter Weber

The Daily Showdown
4:01 a.m. ET

With Caitlyn Jenner, formerly Bruce, showing off her new female body on the cover of Vanity Fair, Jon Stewart was preparing for the worst. "It's especially brave of Caitlyn Jenner to do this publicly, because we all know the media," he said on Tuesday's Daily Show. "They're awful, and now we're going to have to listen to a lot of people saying awful things about this." Except that, with few exceptions, people said really nice, welcoming things.

Stewart was pleasantly surprised, for a moment. "It's really heartening to see that everyone is willing to not only accept Caitlyn Jenner as a woman, but to waste no time in treating her like a woman," he said, and that's not all good. It was a small jump from congratulations to ogling, then comparing Jenner's sexual allure to other Hollywood women. While we're at it, Stewart sighed, "why don't we throw in a little slut-shaming with a dash of 'Eh, she's probably not that hot in person'?" And they did. You can watch below. Peter Weber

2016 Watch
3:05 a.m. ET
Scott Olson/Getty Images

It's possible that Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) will say he is not running for president on June 24, but more likely than not he is going to jump into the already crowded Republican primary. Either way, Jindal is planning a "major announcement" about his 2016 plans in New Orleans, NBC News reports. He is "likely to announce his plans to seek the GOP nomination," CNN adds, quoting a "person close to the Louisiana governor." Jindal formed a presidential exploratory committee in mid-May.

With Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) formally entering the race on Monday, there are currently nine declared GOP presidential candidates, plus several expected to throw their hats in. In a CNN/ORC poll released Tuesday, Jindal polls at about 1 percent. Peter Weber

guns
2:31 a.m. ET
CC by: Derek Key

On Sunday, the Texas House gave final passage to a Senate bill requiring the state's public universities and community colleges to allow concealed handguns in buildings on campus, sending the controversial legislation to Gov. Greg Abbott (R), who says he will sign it. In a compromise, the bill allows private universities to opt out of the new requirements, and each public institution can create gun-free zones, though the scope of those zones is up for debate. Only licensed concealed-carry holders, all 21 and older, will be covered by the law.

Opponents of the "campus carry" legislation — most prominently University of Texas System President William McRaven, a retired admiral, Navy SEAL, and head of U.S. Special Operations forces — weren't placated by the compromise. And neither were some advocates — Students for Concealed Carry declared defeat and said they'll "try again in 2017."

The law, once signed, will take effect on Aug. 1, 2017, on community college campuses and a year earlier at Texas public universities and colleges, including the flagship University of Texas at Austin, where support isn't high for guns on campus. "The university was the scene of the nation's first campus mass shooting on Aug. 1, 1966, when a sniper, Charles Whitman, fired at people from the school's clock tower in a day of violence that left 16 people dead," notes The New York Times. "The campus-carry law will take effect there Aug. 1, 2016, exactly 50 years later."

Seven other states allow concealed carry on public university campuses, 19 ban concealed guns on campus, and 23 leave it up to universities or state boards of regents. Peter Weber

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