Feeds

Jeff Bezos builds space ports, not relationships

Texan community in collective huff

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Locals in Van Horn, West Texas, have been unsettled by the arrival in Culberson County of Blue Origin, the space tourism company owned by Amazon-founder Jeff Bezos.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the billionaire started buying up land in the area three years ago so he could build the first commercial space port. Construction work at the site began in May this year. Locals say they have seen up to 40 trucks in neighbouring Hudspeth County, setting up power lines to the property.

However, he has not made a particular effort to be a friendly neighbour, a terrible social faux pas in the ever-polite south.

The paper outlines how ranch owners were repeatedly approached by lawyers acting for firms called James Cook LP, Jolliet Holdings, Coronado Ventures, and Cabot Enterprises, all businesses using the same forwarding address, care of Zefram* LLC.

After making offers the ranch owners couldn't refuse, Bezos acquired the land deeds to several adjoining farms with a total land area of almost 300,000 acres. Former ranch owner Ronald Stasny told the paper that the offers increased until they were too rich to turn down, although he demurred when asked exactly what he had been paid for his land, explaining that he had signed a confidentiality agreement.

However, since buying up the land, Bezos has gone silent, rebuffing all attempts at contact from the locals, and requesting confidentiality agreements be signed by those with whom he does business.

One neighbour who had a property-line dispute with Bezos says he was impossible to contact. Another, who wanted to discuss a local disagreement about water rights with Bezos, told the paper: "You've got to talk to three colonels and generals and all that stuff [to get to him]".

The locals are frustrated because they want to use Bezos' presence in the area to drum up interest in their very small (under 3,000 people) town. But Bezos, renowned for being publicity shy, was probably attracted to the area precisely because it is so small that it has no cinema and failed to attract a prison.

The company has already come under fire from environmentalists who argue that the development of the space port will have an unacceptable impact on local wildlife.

Some lizards and birds could be disturbed by the construction project, and an environmental impact assessment warns that "small numbers of less-mobile, burrow-dwelling animals (gophers, chipmunks) inhabiting the construction area could be displaced by construction activity or killed if burrows are filled, crushed, or paved".

*Yes, very geeky, isn't it? But as the editor said to this reporter: "Well, you recognised the name, didn't you?". ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
New FEMTO-MOON sighted BIRTHING from Saturn's RING
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
Melting permafrost switches to nasty, high-gear methane release
Result? 'Way more carbon being released into the atmosphere as methane'
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.