Branson vs Bezos: In praise of the billionaire space race

They are rich boys with some very expensive toys. As Richard Branson completes his first space flight, it would be easy to dismiss the race between the Virgin founder and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos to be the first billionaire in space as the self-indulgence of a couple of tycoons with too much testosterone and too much money.  The competition will be seen by some on the liberal left as a symbol of widening inequalities. They will view it as the emergence of a plutocratic class separated from the rest of us, and as proof of the argument that space should be left to the public sphere. Of course there is an element of

Inside Israel’s Iron Dome

A dramatic photo from the Gaza strip taken in the early hours of Friday morning looks like something out of a Marvel film. On the right, rockets fly from Gaza. The gentle trajectory of their parabolic curves shouldn’t fool anyone: these are unguided explosives travelling at hundreds of miles an hour towards an Israeli town. On the left, each one snaking a unique, winding path, interceptors from Israel’s Iron Dome anti-rocket system shoot up to meet the missiles. In 2001, when Hamas started firing rockets from Gaza into Israel (and, at that time, the still-extant Israeli settlements in Gaza), the terrorist organisation introduced a new weapon that would change the strategic picture