Hope Springs. Matters not why Zuma is charming business. Rather, that he is

Jacob ZumaOne can interpret President Jacob Zuma’s newfound zeal to enlist the support of South African business two ways.

\Frst is the cynical one that having run out of other options – Putin is broke; Xi isn’t interested; the Guptas have relocated to Dubai – he is no longer spurning the last girl at the dance. The second is that after overreaching in Nenegate, Zuma has become a lame duck who follows the instruction of an increasingly troubled and less detached ANC Top Six (plus “unfire-able” Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan). Either way, the why doesn’t really matter. What does is that it is the first sign of some thawing of the iceberg of distrust. Incentivized through neglect to shovel money abroad or freeze it in record high cash balances, Corporate South Africa is now being subjected to the full force of Zuma’s undeniable charm. Some will take the carrot in the belief this time is different. That the once all-powerful king of Nkandla has reformed; that he has seen the error of his ways and will stop supporting grasping cronies in a network of patronage. Others, as is the wont of rational beings, will remain sceptical. Whichever route business follows, one fact cannot be disputed. A Zuma Administration prepared to engage with the private sector has to be better than one following an ideologically corrupt path to another Zimbabwe. Hope Springs. – Alec Hogg          

By Paul Vecchiatto, Amogelang Mbatha and Mike Cohen

(Bloomberg) — With South Africa at risk of falling into recession and having its credit-rating downgraded to junk, President Jacob Zuma is trying to patch up ties with business leaders and seeking their advice on ways to shore up the economy.

Zuma, 73, will hold a meeting with business leaders on Tuesday, two days before he delivers his annual state-of-the- nation address. Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan held unprecedented talks with about 60 chief executive officers on Jan. 29 to discuss how to boost investor sentiment and canvass their views before his Feb. 24 budget address.

Business leaders have repeatedly accused the government of implementing inappropriate policies and undermining private industry. Disgruntlement with Zuma’s management of Africa’s most-industrialized economy peaked in December when he shocked investors by firing the finance minister and appointing a little-known lawmaker in his place. He was forced to backtrack after the nation’s rand and bonds dived and named Gordhan to the post that he held from 2009 to 2014.

Build Reputation

Zuma “needs to be told that it takes a long time to build a reputation for good business and it only takes minutes to destroy it,” Piet Viljoen, chairman of Regarding Capital Management, which oversees about 8 billion rand ($503 million), said by phone from Cape Town. “Unfortunately, we have destroyed our own reputation. We need to rebuild it through consistent application of policy.”

While South Africa was judged the 49th most favorable place to do business out of 140 countries ranked in the Geneva-based World Economic Forum’s 2015-2016 Global Competitiveness Report, its government regulation was ranked the 117th most conducive to carrying out commerce.

“Business is not the enemy, it’s part of the solution,” Gareth Ackerman, the chairman of retailer Pick n Pay Stores Ltd., said in an e-mailed response to questions. “It is business that creates the jobs, maintains government’s ability to pay for social services and keeps the economy alive.”

Growth Slows

On Feb. 2, the World Bank cut the nation’s growth forecast for this year to 0.8 percent and warned the economy was “flirting with stagnation, if not recession.” Two days later, Moody’s Investors Service said state debt could climb to more than 50 percent of gross domestic product for the first time in more than a decade as tax revenue slows.

Moody’s cut the outlook on South Africa’s Baa2 credit rating, the second-lowest investment grade, to negative in December. Standard & Poor’s, which puts the nation’s debt one level below Moody’s, also changed its outlook to negative, indicating a possible downgrade to junk. The rand strengthened 0.3 percent to 15.9802 per dollar by 8: 09 a.m. in Johannesburg. paring losses over the past 12 months to 28 percent.

Read also: Nicolaas Kruger: Pravin making difference, thawing Business/Govt ice floe

“Bold actions are expected from government to grow the economy inclusively and avert the possibility of a credit- ratings downgrade,” the governing African National Congress’s national executive committee said in a Jan. 27 statement. “We must engender consensus between all key stakeholders to help stabilize the economy, save jobs and restore fiscal sustainability and credibility.”

Business Confidence

Gordhan will spell out details of the government’s program in his budget speech. Zuma told provincial leaders his administration plans to make deep cuts to budget allocations, necessitating spending curbs on personnel and infrastructure, Helen Zille, the premier of the Western Cape Province and member of the opposition Democratic Alliance, said in a newsletter published on Feb. 3.

Zuma’s overture to business is the first step toward getting the economy back on track, according to Isaac Matshego, an economist at Nedbank Ltd., South Africa’s fourth-largest bank.

“It’s time that government and business started working closer together,” he said by phone. “It has been postponed for far too long. It seems like business has a bit more confidence in government than it had before the meeting with the finance minister last week.”

Read also: Tamra Veley: Business not the enemy. Route to economic salvation.

The government has to be seen to be taking credible, feasible and consistent action to revive growth because “just having a nice chat with business” won’t be enough to restore business and investor confidence, according to Richard Downing, an economist at the South Africa Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the country’s biggest business association.

Business needs to shoulder part of the blame from South Africa’s malaise because it has failed to clearly articulate its views and concerns, according to Ackerman, who is also co- chairman of the nation’s Consumer Goods Council.

“The reach-out from the president’s office is a good sign,” he said. “We hope this will be the start of an ongoing dialogue, not a one-off engagement.”

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NASA announces first ‘engine burn’ of Juno spacecraft

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https://www.mjfgroup.biz/nasajunoburnThe first of spacecraft Juno’s two planned ‘engine burn’ maneuvers was recently executed to adjust the solar-powered probe’s flight plan, setting the stage for its arrival at Jupiter in five months, NASA announced.

The U.S. space agency said Juno performed its first engine burn on 3rd of February, changing its speed by 0.7 miles per hour (mph). At the time of the maneuver, the space probe was around 51 million miles (82 million kilometers) from its target.

Juno is expected to arrive at the solar system’s biggest planet on 4th of July this year. Juno principal investigator Scott Bolton said, “This [will] fine tune Juno’s orbit around the sun, perfecting our rendezvous with Jupiter on July 4th at 8:18 p.m. PDT.”
The next maneuver to adjust the space probe’s trajectory is scheduled to take place on 31st of May this year.

Launched in August 2011, Juno is scheduled to orbit Jupiter thirty-three times and approach the planet within 3,100 miles above its cloud every 14 days. It will help scientists gather more information about the gaseous planet’s structure, formation and evolution.

Equipped with three 9-meter-long solar panels, Juno last month became farthest moving solar-powered mission. Previously, the record was held by the European Space Agency’s comet-probing Rosetta spacecraft that reached 492 million miles away from Earth in 2012.

 

Battling with your Strategy converting it into a Business Plan with Full Marketing Plan as well as a full Balanced Scorecard to keep track!

If so? Then contact us for a free confidential one hour visit at our Offices or a just to give Dr Freestone a call on 083 475 4192 or a Skype call: mfreestone5209

 

 

 

Malema on the Zuptas, Maimane, Sars… and, well, everything else 2016-02-04 18:40

Video

Spicy words from Malema on Nkandla, Guptas and Maimane

2016-02-04 14:48

EFF leader Julius Malema shot from the hip in a Johannesburg briefing on Thursday, 4 February. Malema tackled Nkandla, the President’s relationship with the Gupta family and the DA’s leader Mmusi Maimane.WATCH

Johannesburg – In typical Julius Malema-fashion, the EFF leader at a media briefing on Thursday took aim at his political foes, President Jacob Zuma, the influential Gupta family, DA leader Mmusi Maimane, the media, and the “racist” SA Revenue Services who are still seeking R20m from him.

– Read more: Malema is our very own Donald Trump – New Age editor-in-chief

The outspoken opposition leader, dressed in red EFF regalia, started off with his favourite topic – #paybackthemoney.

Zuma proposed, in a letter to the Constitutional Court this week, to pay back a portion of the money spent on upgrades at his private home in Nkandla, but Malema was unimpressed.

“Let’s all demonstrate that we are tired of corruption and a clear example of corruption: Zuma and Guptas. Summarising the two, they are called Zuptas. Zuma must fall on the 9th of February, the ANC must fall… The ANC is constituted by corrupt individuals… Why is the ANC so scared of the president? We are not scared of Zuma,” Malema told journalists.

The EFF and DA were due to argue in the Constitutional Court on February 9 that Zuma needed to follow the recommendations of Public Protector Thuli Madonsela that he pay back part of the public money spent on his Nkandla compound.

On Tuesday, Zuma sent a letter to the court’s registrar to suggest that it order the auditor general and finance minister to determine how much he should pay back for the multi-million-rand upgrade for non-security features at his private residence.

Malema said they would not agree to any settlement from Zuma unless he agreed that Madonsela’s remedial actions were binding.

“Our response to Zuma is very clear. We are not going to agree to any settlement that doesn’t reaffirm the powers of the public protector. Zuma should agree in the settlement that by failing to implement remedial action of the public protector, he was in breach of the Constitution and oath of office.”

Malema warned that the EFF may disrupt Zuma’s State Of the Nation Address if he did not start with an explanation on the removal of former minister of finance Nhlanhla Nene.

“Before he speaks on February 11, he will have to start by explaining why he removed Nene. That is the first sentence. If he doesn’t start by explaining why he removed Nene, stop there.

“We are not scared of being beaten up. It will not be the first time and it will not be the last time… It will be us, the white T-shirts and Zuma,” he said.

‘He is our very own Donald Trump’

Moving on to the controversial Gupta family and it’s ties with the Zuma family, Malema launched a lengthy tirade on their influence and power, even going so far as to announce a ban on journalists from Gupta-owned media companies from attending EFF events.

This caused a stir among editors on Twitter, and a very quick response from the South African National Editors Forum, denouncing him.

“Guptas must leave the country. We are going to take practical action. It’s a battle. It’s a war against Guptas. We want to advise the Gupta television and newspapers [that] they must no longer come to EFF events because they are not safe for them.

“We are not going to allow South Africa to be sold over a plate of curry,” he added.

Malema then went on to attack Maimane: “I can’t be led by Maimane. He is a young boy. I’m not going to be led by a person from church, just straight to politics… A priest just straight to politics, without going through the ranks. Never!”

Turning to Sars and it’s reported pursuit of R20m in unpaid taxes by Malema, the EFF leader said: “There is no Sars that has taken me to court. I have taken Sars to court. Sars is the most corrupt institution. Sars is led by a group of tribalists. They have inherited that white Afrikaaner attitude. They have an attitude that they must close down black men.”

New Age Editor-in-Chief Moegsien Williams hit back at Malema, saying he was South Africa’s very own Donald Trump.

“It reminds me a lot of Donald Trump in the United States… who wants to ban Muslims and throw reporters out of press conferences.

“He is our very own Donald Trump and I worry about that kind of language when we have an election coming up,” Williams said.

ANN7 could not be reached for comment.

Wow has anyone got any comment?

Words from Dr Michael J Freestone

“This is not a Political Site but Strategically one would be irresponsible if one didn’t see or hear how our Political Leaders are destroying all credibility we have left”

 

Physicists discover new properties of superconductivity

New findings from an international collaboration led by Canadian scientists may eventually lead to a theory of how superconductivity initiates at the atomic level, a key step in understanding how to harness the potential of materials that could provide loss-less energy storage, levitating trains and ultra-fast supercomputers.https://www.mjfgroup.biz/dailypost/canadianphysic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Professor David Hawthorn, Professor Michel Gingras, doctoral student Andrew Achkar, and post-doctoral fellow Dr. Zhihao Hao from University of Waterloo’s Department of Physics and Astronomy have experimentally shown that electron clouds in superconducting materials can snap into an aligned and directional order called nematicity.

“It has become apparent in the past few years that the electrons involved in superconductivity can form patterns, stripes or checkerboards, and exhibit different symmetries – aligning preferentially along one direction,” said Professor Hawthorn. “These patterns and symmetries have important consequences for superconductivity – they can compete, coexist or possibly even enhance superconductivity. “

Their results, published today in the prestigious journal Science, present the most direct experimental evidence to date of electronic nematicity as a universal feature in cuprate .

“In this study, we identify some unexpected alignment of the electrons – a finding that is likely generic to the high temperature superconductors and in time may turn out be a key ingredient of the problem,” said Professor Hawthorn.

Superconductivity, the ability of a material to conduct an electric current with zero resistance, is best described as an exotic state in high temperature superconductors – challenging to predict, let alone explain.

The scientists used a novel technique called soft x-ray scattering at the Canadian Light Source synchrotron in Saskatoon to probe electron scattering in specific layers in the cuprate crystalline structure. Specifically, the individual cuprate (CuO2) planes, where electronic nematicity takes place, versus the crystalline distortions in between the CuO2 planes.

Electronic nematicity happens when the electron orbitals align themselves like a series of rods – breaking their unidirectional symmetry apart from the symmetry of the crystalline structure.

The term “nematicity” commonly refers to when liquid crystals spontaneously align under an electric field in liquid crystal displays. In this case, it is the electronic orbitals that enter the nematic state as the temperature drops below a critical point.

Recent breakthroughs in high-temperature superconductivity have revealed a complex competition between the superconductive state and charge density wave order fluctuations. These periodic fluctuations in the distribution of the electrical charges create areas where electrons bunch up in high- versus low-density clouds, a phenomenon that is now recognized to be generic to the underdoped cuprates.

Results from this study show electronic nematicity also likely occurs in underdoped cuprates. Understanding the relation of nematicity to charge density wave order, and an individual material’s crystalline structure could prove important to identifying the origins of the superconducting and so-called pseudogap phases.

The authors also found the choice of doping material impacts the transition to the nematic state. Dopants, such as strontium, lanthanum, and even europium added to the cuprate lattice, create distortions in the lattice structure which can either strengthen or weaken nematicity and charge density wave order in the CuO2 layer.

Although there is not yet an agreed upon explanation for why electronic nematicity occurs, it may ultimately present another knob to tune in the quest to achieve the ultimate goal of a room temperature superconductor.

“Future work will tackle how electronic nematicity can be tuned, possibly to advantage, by modifying the ,” says Hawthorn.

Hawthorn and Gingras are both Fellows of the Canadian Institute For Advanced Research. Gingras holds the Canada Research Chair in Condensed Matter Theory and Statistical Mechanics and spent time at the Perimeter Institute of Theoretical Physics as a visiting researcher while this work was being carried out.

Explore further: ‘Long-awaited explanation’ for mysterious effects in high-temperature superconductors

More information: “Nematicity in stripe-ordered cuprates probed via resonant x-ray scattering” Science, DOI: 10.1126/science.aad1824

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-02-physicists-properties-superconductivity.html#jCp

 

British Scientists Given Green Light To Edit Genes In Human Embryos

This could take “designer babies” a step closer to becoming a reality!

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https://www.mjfgroup.biz/genesplicing

UNITED STATES – MARCH 24: Embryologist Ric Ross places human embryos onto a petri dish at the La Jolla IVF Lab in La Jolla, California, U.S., on Tuesday, March 24, 2009. President Barack Obama earlier this month lifted restrictions on federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research and called on Congress to provide more money for such study to make the U.S. a leader in the field. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

 

 

LONDON, Feb 1 (Reuters) – Scientists in Britain have been given the go-ahead to edit the genes of human embryos for research, using a technique that some say could eventually be used to create “designer babies.”

Less than a year after Chinese scientists caused an international furor by saying they had genetically modified human embryos, Kathy Niakan, a stem cell scientist from London’s Francis Crick Institute, was granted a license to carry out similar experiments.

“The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has approved a research application from the Francis Crick Institute to use new ‘gene editing’ techniques on human embryos,” Niakan’s lab said on Monday.

It said the work carried out “will be for research purposes and will look at the first seven days of a fertilised egg’s development, from a single cell to around 250 cells.”

Niakan plans to carry out her experiments using CRISPR-Cas9, a technology that is already the subject of fierce international debate because of fears that it could be used to create babies to order.

CRISPR can enable scientists to find and modify or replace genetic defects, and many of them have described it as “game-changing.”

David King, director of the UK campaign group Human Genetics Alert, has called Niakan’s plans “the first step on a path … towards the legalization of GM babies.”

Niakan says she has no intention of genetically altering embryos for use in human reproduction, but wants to deepen scientific understanding of how a healthy human embryo develops, something that could, in the long term, help to improve infertility treatments.

At a briefing for reporters in London last month, she said the first gene she planned to target was one called Oct4, which she believes may have a crucial role in the earliest stages of human foetal development.
Consult with me on Maven

Bruce Whitelaw, a professor of animal biotechnology at Edinburgh University’s Roslin Institute on Scotland, said the HFEA’s decision had been reached “after robust assessment.

“This project, by increasing our understanding of how the early human embryo develops and grows, will add to the basic scientific knowledge needed for devising strategies to assist infertile couples and reduce the anguish of miscarriage,” he said in an emailed comment.

How NASA Pulled off the Craziest Stunt on Mars, From the Guy Who Led the Team

https://www.mjfgroup.biz/marsnasaWhen it comes to outrageous stunts, Evel Knievel has nothing on the Mars Curiosity rover. On August 6, 2012, this robotic daredevil hurtled into the Martian atmosphereat 13,200 miles per hour, deployed a supersonic parachute, ditched its heat shield and backshell, fired up its retrorockets, and proceeded to lower the rover down to Mars using a fantastically weird contraption called a Sky Crane. Check Out My Rank On PRTracking.com!

This Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL) phase has, at times, seemed insane even to its lead engineer, Adam Steltzner. But in his newly published book The Right Kind of Crazy,Steltzner emphasizes that there was a lot of method to the madness, right down to the final moments leading up to the EDL. What has become popularly known as Curiosity’s “seven minutes of terror” was preceded by over a decade of hard work, tough calls, and meticulous preparation by Steltzner and his team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

“Seven Minutes of Terror,” Curiosity’s EDL. Video: NASA/YouTube

Indeed, The Right Kind of Crazy (which is co-written by William Patrick) is as much about the managerial challenges of leading these kinds of spaceflight missions as it is about overcoming technical hurdles.

We often hear the refrain “space is hard” when faced with failures (see: CRS-7), and tend to assume it simply means that it is difficult to shoot valuable objects to other planets by strapping them to massive explosive devices. Which it definitely is.

But it also takes effort to organize huge teams of specialists toward one goal, and to optimize their talents. It’s hard to keep hulking organizations like NASA and its subsidiaries streamlined and accountable, or to assert leadership without inspiring discomfort in your team. All of that ultimately factors into how successful a mission will be.

I spoke to Steltzner over the phone about the process of coordinating the EDL team, sticking the landing, and recounting his experience in the memoir. Scroll down for more about high risk maneuvers and how Britney Spears stole the Mars Exploration Rovers’ spotlight.

Why do you think Curiosity’s landing struck such a special chord with the public?

Adam Steltzner: There’s a couple of things I attribute that to. I worked a lot on [Mars rovers] Spirit and Opportunity, which landed in 2004. Social media was not what it is today. There were really four or five major outlets for national television news dissemination, and national news would have five or six things they will say in a news cycle. The moment you become “thing seven” you disappear from the world.

Image: NASA/Bill Ingalls

I can actually remember that we were on CNN’s top five news stories until Britney Spears got out of a limousine not wearing all the things that one might imagine she should be wearing. All of a sudden, we were knocked out of the top five.

That’s on you. You should have made sure Britney Spears was involved in the landing.

If only our communications folks had made that celebrity endorsement arrangement.

So, social media was a good boost for Curiosity?

Social media was a big part of it. The “Seven Minutes of Terror” Curiosity video went viral, so that helped turn the waters. This time, more folks were more comfortable letting the world in on the fact that this is not easy, it’s not certain, it’s not a walk in the park, we’re committed to it, and we’re working our asses off.

Will the Sky Crane concept be used in future missions, or was it a one-off?

I can tell you that we are going to use it for the next big trip to Mars, which will be a sample return mission. In fact, I am the chief engineer of that project. We’re going to take the same landing system and a rover that is very similar to Curiosity, except that it has a different set of equipment.

What’s the plan for returning samples from Mars?

We will take core samples of rocky material and then seal them in these hyper-sterile hermetically sealed vials. We are already involved in the landing site selection process. Our next landing site selection workshop is coming up, almost a year from now, and that’s when we’ll next dig into the what seem to be the right places.

The best site would be a smörgåsbord of deposits. We’re in that process of looking for a site with diversity to answer a wide range of questions about Mars, that we can easily and safely access and operate a surface mission.

Prototype of potential sample return cache. Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Your book outlines the “better, faster, cheaper” culture of JPL (and NASA more broadly) during the 1990s, which was pushed by NASA administrator Daniel Goldin. How does that working environment compare to what JPL is doing now?

I think with Daniel Goldin and “better, faster, cheaper” we saw a major cultural shift at NASA that was really embraced at JPL. We have kind of, in some ways, always been a little “better, faster, cheaper.” It sort of resonated with historical elements of our [JPL] culture. We’d been doing smaller, more frequent, and higher risk missions than has been the norm for NASA at large.

Since then, I think we have seen the pendulum swing back. A NASA administrator said of Pathfinder, “if it just makes it to the launchpad, it has been a success.” Nobody would have said that about Curiosity. She had to successfully land, and she had to do great science—which she has done—for anyone to agree that she had been a success.

At the lab, we now have a very diverse portfolio. Going forward, we have a very diverse set of missions, which is great. I like it a lot.

What about the diversity of the people who work at JPL? How has the social environment changed since the 1990s?

We have sort of a slightly interesting bimodal distribution right now, where we’ve got a relatively young set of folks coming in. Hiring from that demographic, from 25 to 35, is even more challenging because we have some competition with other space entities, like SpaceX and even with other high tech areas not in space.

We have lost people to Google and Apple because unfortunately, Silicon Valley has figured out that JPL is an excellent incubator of good talent. There has been a recent wave of “oh let me come poach your people” from Apple and Google and the like. It’s a challenge that we will have to face.

I believe in the free market so it’s our job to make a value proposition as to why it’s worth it to stay. The value proposition is not about salary. You’re not working here because we’re paying you the most bucks. You’re working here because you are fired up about the work. You are fired up about the people. A good friend of mine and a mentor that I mention in the book, Gentry Lee, once said that’s it not where you work or what you work on that makes a difference, but it’s who you work with that has the greatest impact on your day to day life and how you grow.

I have used that as my value proposition when I have a slight threat from somebody who is considering going to another institution. Look at the people you are going to work with, think about how they will challenge you, think about how that will make you better, and compare that to the folks we have at the lab, and make your decision. And by far, I have been successful at retaining folks when I give them that task to evaluate potential other jobs.

You mention in the book that during the early years of the American space program, engineers had a much more “I am a robot” image to them. Now, there seems to be a much more open expression of individuality and personality at JPL.

They used to whitewash the personality out of the humans involved [in spaceflight], and I think really, that was a holdover from the Cold War. It’s a military thing. You have a sea of camouflaged uniforms that are going to do the job, and the backstory of the individual soldiers is completely unimportant. In fact, it’s important to hide it because they are meant to be invincible machines.

Similarly, in the Cold War, I think that extended down to the engineering staff. We were racing to the high ground, for what purpose we didn’t know, but we didn’t want the enemy to get there first. That afterglow stayed with us for many years and I think that it meant it was not very accessible to the general public.

Now it is much more open, which engages and inspires youth more effectively than it used to because we are recognized as coming in many shapes and sizes, and many different styles. That diversity which really does exist is shared, the struggle is shared, and I think it’s really more a human endeavor. It’s a gesture of our humanity.

Beyond the Mars sample return mission, what upcoming projects are you particularly excited about at JPL?

We have on our books an expedition to do close observations of Europa, the ice moon of Jupiter, that my exobiologist friends think is a great candidate for having existing life in our Solar System today.

We are looking into adding a lander to that flyby mission so that we can land a spacecraft on the surface of Europa, on top of its ice shell. We don’t really know what the ice shell thickness is but we do have data that suggests that ice covers—and protects from Jupiter’s radiation environment—a liquid water ocean more than twice the volume of all the oceans on Earth

Promo for NASA’s Europa mission. Video: NASA/JPL-Caltech/YouTube

I want to be part of putting a lander on the surface of that ice. […] We’re gearing up. The Clipper team has been in place for a couple years, and we’re starting to staff up a lander team to see if we can make a lander happen.