We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Wednesday, October 5. 2011
We are blessed with all of our thoughtful, brainy, and often amusing commenters, but new commenter "Ten" (near the bottom of the comments) took the time to give our Maggie's Farmer fishing pro Capt. Tom a good whuppin' on the topic of space exploration.
Happily, Capt. Tom took it with good humor. Like most us here, he is a just plain happy fellow.
Display comments as (Linear | Threaded)
Sounds like today would be a good day to get a bowl of popcorn and sit back and watch the discussions of whether or not MF is a conservative website and whether or not conservatives have any place going to Mars.
I will take mine lightly buttered and salted.
Speaking of popcorn, ever have popcorn popped while it was still on the cob? I did a couple of weeks ago - very different taste and technique. Kind of hard to butter, but fine salt seems to stick very nicely. A little different taste too.
Another example of science directed by politics is the claim that homosexuality is a condition with which one is born. This claim has pretty much put a halt to any exploration into the possibility that homosexuality is a condition occurring after birth.
Ten made some great points - I don't agree with him (or her - never established that), but then again, if we all had the same opinions, etc. :>)
If we don't listen to opposing voices - I mean really listen - we will never learn anything or be able to develop a valid, reasonable opinion of our own.
That reminds me of a comment my teen made to her favorite uncle when he disagreed about the quality of a movie she liked. She informed him that he had the right to his opinion....just not that one.
"If we don't listen to opposing voices .... we will never learn anything"
??? Seriously? I suppose then that Johann Mendel should've paid more attention to the dissenting voices?
If you're right, you're right. Stick to it, and tell others to pound sand. If not, be willing to admit it & change your mind. This feeble 21st century attitude of "all voices have value" does nothing...
I'm not sure saying you can learn something is the same that all voices have value.
Often what I learn is that my position seems all the more right, because the opposition is required to use fallacious reasoning to support theirs.
As for Ten's claims, he made some good ones. I worked as a contractor at NASA for 6.5 years. Good people, honest work...but all on the taxpayer's dime. And you can look up those NASA Spin Off publications on-line, you'll see it's often a stretch to see any value beyond science
I liked NASA a lot, but Ten was right on his points. And that doesn't even consider how much more costs there will be w/ manned space exploration.
In the bigger picture, can a conservative believe in gov't funded R&D? Maybe, but the common talking points for such an endeavor don't make a sound case.
I think you interpreted that comment slightly our of context. More likely, I didn't phrase is properly - allow me to explain.
If you don't listen to external voices or differing opinions, then you have no way to base a winning argument or to adequately challenge a differing opinion. If you stick to strict personal dogma, you lose automatically.
Paul Ryan is a good example of that. His economic recovery plan which includes ways to keep Medicare and Social Security solvent - almost every single point his opponents raised have been adequately and professionally addressed. The impact would be minimal at a citizen level and maximized at the government level. He didn't develop that plan in a vacuum - he listened, learned, researched and did his homework.
That is what I mean about listening.
TF, you could just suggest that Jess pound sand. But you are clearly a more tolerant and thoughtful dude than some of us. well, me, at least.
'Ten made some great points'
Ten could have made some great points, but chose instead to be aggressive and confrontational, causing many to stop reading and ignore anything said.
So support SPACE! anyway. Raise my taxes, Mister President!
OK, OK, I'll agree to agree with the Doctor in the future. Where to I go to collect my genuine genius card?
In fairness to Tom, while his assertions about SPACE! were in the admitted vein that it's akin to a national addiction and thus self-justified its inherent, unstated, and egotistical merits, I too grew up in the penumbra of the Cold War and the high national pride of getting off the damned rock for miraculous new rocks. And that then segued into the space-as-entertainment phenomenon so ably practiced by both Hollywood and at least a few dozen authors whose yellowing paperbacks I still haul with me. There we learned how to zoom around in the Middle of Nothing when we weren't throwing levers on our starship dashboards and reappearing in entirely new galaxies.
So yes, we want to do this thing. Badly. But from mixture of all of this we developed this notion that we would "explore" space. And travel to the stars.
But even if we could, which we clearly cannot, this gives us not a damn thing to do out there. The nearest extra-solar star -- which takes over four years to reach...at the speed of light, which is itself orders of magnitude faster than we can ever go -- is just another Sun and what orbits it just cannot be landed on, or especially, ever left with a payload.
At least not as a federal agency in an era of a swiftly declining country that owes this apparent demise to failed and failing federal programs, agencies, and policies. If you want to do it with the name of a Rutan or a Branson on the side of your tiny carbon-fiber airplane, fine. But not with NASA's half-million pound rocket motor (motor, not the entire craft) with a nuclear reactor at its core. Or with some other vast, wasteful, solid fuel retread that we can only ever justify with some warped sense of unavoidable national pride and the mistaken notion that hammering the thing together CREATES JOBS! like some redo of Soviet make-work.
We're already doing that in the form of a couple of billion more printed each day just to keep the serfs from rioting. Oh, and do you think that's hyperbole?
MF claims it's a small-government kinda place. I beseech its writers then to consider just what advocating for throwing money into a literal vacuum means for small government. We're the better part of a quarter trillion upside down and we're going to "create jobs" via a space program built on either the inherent profitability of this vacuum we float in or tax revenues? Really?
I think to a lot of people, the space program is really a matter of pride than anything practical. It's really just another government program complete with all the government inefficiencies and stupidity. It accelerates development of some technologies, but there are cheaper ways to do that.
You and Doc. brought out some good issues with space travel given our current technology. I don't see a reason to go to Mars now other than to say we got there - there are too many technical problems that have to be solved. I don't see that as a reason to abandon the goal totally, but I think this is something that the private sector should have been driving long ago. Chances are that it would have been able to launch satellites a whole lot cheaper.
At some point, the technology might be there to make such a trip practical. If there is an economic justification then, somebody will make it happen - it should not the government, though (unless it is a military justification).
"We are blessed with all of our thoughtful, brainy, and often amusing commenters"
But what about Cap'n Tom?? How cruel of you, NJ. Tom, Junkie didn't mean it. We welcome all of society's dregs, misfits and rejects here into the warm bosom of Maggie's Farm.
Even those from South Carolina.
"but new commenter Ten"
Personally, I thought he came off as kind of wimpy. "Why don't you just say what you MEAN?!", I kept yelling at the monitor. I guess Bruce was right, Tom. People do hide behind the mast of anonymity.
Overall, I gave his performance a 'B'. While he was certainly correct when he called Tom a "scum-sucking piece of dog drool", I thought it was wrong when he claimed Tom had an IQ lower than a banana. I've talked with many bananas in my day and found a couple of them to be quite bright.
And while his passion was impressive, I felt it lacked a certain panache, a certain je ne sais quoi to carry the argument home. For example, I'm still not sure if all NASA employees should be taken out to the street and summarily shot, but I'm starting to lean that way. If he'd managed to convince me of that one, I'd probably give him a B+.
And the worst news of all?
His comments inspired yet another NASA post. Look for it tomorrow morn, 9 am.
And you want to know how the above-the-fold part ends in the post?
Sharpen your swords, space explorers.
As much as I agree that Ten provided a rather wimpy attack on dear Tom hiding by behind his cloak of anonymity, he should get extra credit points for the varied coloring and shaded touches. I am distressed to learn that he has prompted yet another post tomorrow as a girl can only handle so much skewering of her dreams to be Uhura one day. Perhaps it will give him an opportunity to explain why he thinks we will never achieve anything of use in space. It seems rather dismissive, like the cave dude saying, we'll never fly like a bird. Ok, granted, cave dudes maybe didn't talk much.
Fine to question spending and proper guvmint role. I view it more of having a military aspect of an R&D investment.
it will give him an opportunity to explain why he thinks we will never achieve anything of use in space.
As I've explained already, because the physics aren't supportable by anything we can afford.
Or, to put it another way, SPACE EXPLORERS!, consider this your opportunity to explain why you "think" we will achieve anything of use in space.
The moon projects were dick-waving, NASA is make-work egotism and socialism for scientists, the vaunted Intntl Space Station is being decommissioned, and unmanned Earth orbit, while useful and conquered, hardly agrees with your fantasies.
But what about Cap'n Tom??
I am so going to clean your clock tomorrow, you'll be wondering what happened for the next fifty years. :>)
Bomber Girl, all it really takes is a short skirt tunic to be Uhura. On the bridge of a starship....well, no. Not now.
I too am in favor of space exploration. Working towards doing that yields invention, innovation, and who knows what all. As a government agency project, I have to agree that NASA is not the way anymore. Too political, too bureaucratic, too arthritic. Hate to say that, but that's what my eyes see.