Posts tagged ‘NASA’


On giving with one hand and taking with the other…

by wfgodbold

RIP, Neil Armstrong.

The moon missions were NASA’s greatest triumph for many years (though they might be eclipsed by Curiosity); the Apollo program ran for roughly four years, and the agency has parlayed those early triumphs into 40+ years of taxpayer-funded largesse.*

One generation grew up with the iconic image of man playing golf on the moon.

The next generation got to watch the horrific results of incompetence live on national TV.

And the generation after that is lucky enough to see us pay Russia so we can get into orbit at all.

If this continues, we’ll be lucky if 2030 doesn’t see us climbing out of our underground lairs to feast on the unsuspecting Eloi.

Anyway, big government gave space and the moon to man. It’s taken some time, but the private sector is catching up (hopefully this is just the beginning).

Another Armstrong was not so fortunate, however.

Lance Armstrong, cyclist and cancer defeater, can now add a new epithet: USADA Whipping Boy.

Apparently, the government, in its limitless power (hooray for the commerce clause!), saw fit to establish a bureaucracy to oversee sports doping. And that august body has condemned Lance Armstrong, and wants to strip him of his many Tour de France titles (as well as ban him from cycling for life!) for daring to pass every drug test they made him take.

There are three possibilities I can see:

1. Lance Armstrong cheated, faking all 500+ (!) of his drug tests, and his wins are meaningless;

2. Lance Armstrong developed some otherwise undiscovered doping method, and swore his entire retinue to secrecy, allowing him to cheat with impunity, rendering his wins meaningless; or

3. Lance Armstrong is a training fanatic, and made himself over into the best cyclist in the world for as long as he could (through some combination of training and genetic predisposition).

If it’s #1, then the USADA is incompetent; how could they have failed to catch Armstrong even once over his entire career (spanning more than a decade); and if they’re that incompetent, why should we believe them about anything else?

If it’s #2, then Armstrong should quit his cycling gigs and take over national security; keeping one’s mouth shut is an important skill in intelligence.

And if it’s #3, then no matter how many people the USADA gets to testify, or how many tests they run on Armstrong’s old samples, they’ll never discover any evidence of cheating.

(Of course, that’s even assuming the USADA has the authority to strip Armstrong of his titles; France may tell them to go to hell.)

If Armstrong’s titles were revoked, who would take his place as the “winner” of the Tour for those years?

Not the next several cyclists; they were all doping.

Now, I don’t particularly care one way or the other about drug use in sports. If the sport makes everyone agree to the rules, and the rules say “no doping,” then sure, kick people out for doping. But if a sport were to allow doping, I wouldn’t have a problem with it.

After all, if everyone is doping, then you probably get to see the same relative skill disparity among the competitors (it’s only the absolute skill level that is increased); and in a sport like cycling, where you’re not racing the clock so much as you are the other cyclists, only the relative skill difference matters.

That’s enough meandering for now; one Armstrong (Neil) benefited from big government; another (Lance) did not.

That it was emphasized this past weekend is coincidental.

*I’m not saying that good tings haven’t come from the space program; far from it. After all, it helped bankrupt the USSR, freeing Russia and her satellite states allies from totalitarian rule for what, ten years?


Most misleading headline of the day…

by wfgodbold

NASA Developing Comet Harpoon for Sample Return“.

I thought the greens had gotten so inane that they are now demanding that we return samples we’ve taken of comets to those comets after we finished with them.

Sadly, that is not the case.

It does seem like a believable demand, though. 😦


Just when I was worried that my foil hat was losing its luster

by wfgodbold

That conglomeration of kleptocrats, despots, tyrants, and general pain-in-the-ass busybodies otherwise known as the UN goes and talks about creating a green-helmeted “environmental peacekeeping force.

A more suspicious man than I might tie this to their unceasing efforts to ban via treaty small arms (I certainly can’t imagine why a bunch of power-hungry dictators would want to make it harder for their loyal subjects to get arms. It’s a goddamn mystery.), but I’m sure that’s just a happy coincidence (Look, even the Canadians think the treaty is out there. Aside from a few, anyway.)

I suppose I should be grateful that the UN isn’t at least talking about AGW; in light of recent news, it seems that the sun has even more of an effect on climate than originally thought (shocking, I know), and that even a couple of puny asteroids have had enough of a chaotic effect on the earth’s orbit that its climate can’t be traced back more than 60 million years.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is how science is supposed to work; when new information is learned, it’s supposed to be integrated in with what we already know, and anything that doesn’t fit with the new factual information is no longer treated as the truth. Consensus has no place here; if every scientist and non-scientist, save one man, agreed that the sun revolved around the earth, that consensus would not make it so.

Stay tuned for more exciting science; hopefully my theory about the aliens moving around asteroids in an attempt to flood island nations and cause unrest, with a side of green-helmeted UN peacekeeping environmentalists invading forcibly disarmed despot-ruled nations will prove to be true.

After all, it’s science*!

*That last paragraph is not actually science**.

**Or is it?










Science fiction? Or Science fact?

by wfgodbold

Looks like we may be headed towards a Fallen Angels (free at the Baen library) future; the lack of sunspots may indicate that we’re entering another Maunder Minimum and may herald the start of a mini ice age.

Minus the crashed astronauts, of course; we don’t do spaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace any more.

I know the idea that the sun is the major force behind the earth’s climate is a wild one, but I think it’s got merit.


The sky is falling!

by wfgodbold

And CNN claims that this is proof we need a better asteroid monitoring system; unless we’re going to attempt some hare-brained scheme straight out of a Michael Bay film (which we can’t do now anyway, since we abolished the space shuttle program), there isn’t really anything we can do to stop an asteroid except pray at it (we could nuke it, but there is some disagreement on whether it would work (assuming we have any nukes left after disarming).

I don’t really understand the argument against nuking asteroids on a collision course with earth; if they hit, pretty much everything will die (it’s happened before (probably)!), so we don’t lose anything by trying.

The roaches will still be here if we get hit by one big asteroid, a bunch of small radioactive asteroids chunks, or don’t get hit at all.

If we were serious about protecting the earth from falling rocks, we’d do more than wring our hands about near misses; hand wringing is all we ever get, though.


I can’t make this stuff up

by wfgodbold

Forget exploring space or going to the moon or doing anything hard; NASA’s new mission is apparently “to reach out to the Muslim world.”  There are no words to express my confusion at this; it’s beyond absurd.

I suggest that the EPA change its mission to improving US relations with pagans, and the IRS can stop collecting taxes and start reaching out to the Buddhist world; China, India, Japan, and Tibet surely feel neglected will all the attention constantly lavished on the Muslim world.

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