Getting your priorities straight
Posted by aogMonday, 05 April 2010 at 16:40
TrackBack Ping URL
It has been clear to me for a long time what is at the heart of the AGW propaganda effort — increased control by the Tranzis. Now James Lovelock has declared that we might need to suspend democracy in order to deal with AGW.
What statements like this make me wonder, by what authority will these changes by implemented once voting rights are suspended? The “scientific community”? Who ever can get the best propaganda out via Old Media? It’s a typical and, to me, highly annoying tactic to disparage a current system while being evasive about what would replace it. It’s not surprising, however, because it is on that point that almost all such schemes founder.
Thursday, 15 April 2010 at 02:14|
You mean like this?
Nope. Bigelow is doing some exciting things in space technology, but saying that the solid and visionary millions spent by them is somehow contributing to human knowledge about constructing complex projects in space is precisely analogous to asserting that people can gain experience in constructing hi-rise buildings by researching construction materials. The latter is helpful in doing the former, but it in no way replaces or substitutes for the former.
N.B. that to date, although they have plans to do something about it, Bigelow hasn’t yet gotten into the spaceflight biz. If they are successful in constructing a privately-owned space station, which based on their launch record so far is a long, long-shot, THE ONLY WAY to get to that station would be to hitch a ride on a gov’t buggy. No private spaceflight company can yet get persons there. (One might point to private Russian/Ukrainian spaceflight co’s, but they’re simply using up gov’t-surplus space gear, not designing or building their own. Once all of the old rockets are used, game over.)
What they’ve actually accomplished, regardless of what they dream, is to advance space habitat tech. Wonderful! And to pay somebody else to launch a few satellites for them. Yawn.
Odds are that Bigelow ends up being a gov’t supplier of awesome space shelter, and nothing more.
Had NASA even gone the way of early mail delivery, which helped bootstrap commercial aviation, we would be much further ahead in that regard.
Sure, that would have been swell. But they didn’t.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for SpaceShipOne, Virgin Galactic, Bigelow, Sea Launch, SpaceX, et al. It’s exciting and romantic. But all of those companies operate at the margins. Someday, maybe, one of those or a similar company might grow up to be a real space-faring organization. But for now, NONE OF THEM have the capability to match even the Chinese space agency. Maybe if they worked together…
Virgin Galactic plans to be a space-tourist thrill ride, but they can’t get their customers to Bigelow’s space hotel, should it ever be built.
Yeah, the recent explosion of private space questing among millionaires who were weaned on a diet of Asimov, Clarke, Heinlein, E.E. ‘Doc’ Smith and countless wonderful others is euphoria-inducing, but let’s not get carried away about what they’ve actually accomplished, or have the potential to do over the next decade.
Until someone comes up with a private vessel that can get a crew to LEO, we don’t have a Daimler, Diesel, Ford, Fulton, Watt or Wright Bro. among ‘em.
The experience gained in non high-orbit space construction would be more valuable than the experience gained in high-orbit space construction, in my opinion.
By all means, let’s do a couple hundred billion worth of LEO construction annually. I’ll even pay for a Boomer to retire, if they’d just let that happen…
Otherwise, it’s the Bret life for me: Sea, sun, sand, pizza and herb. Sleep under an overturned longboat and work one day a week.
Thursday, 15 April 2010 at 23:38|
Rough asks: “You truly believe that most unemployed people prefer to be broke and facing an uncertain future?!?”
I hardly know how to begin to answer your question:
1. I didn’t write anything about “most” unemployed people. I wrote, “it’s far from clear how many of the unemployed are in a terrible hurry to go back to work. Certainly some.” Nothing about “most” anywhere as far as I can tell.
2. Everybody has “an uncertain future.” The only question is to what degree their future is uncertain.
3. Obviously, the unemployed who are truly “broke” are more likely to be in a “terrible hurry” to find a job than those who aren’t broke. However, with unemployment insurance, only those who have been living a hand-to-mouth existence and have too many unalterable financial obligations will be “broke”. Everyone else will be able to subsist on insurance payments, savings, and other income sources for a while.
4. I’ve never been unintentionally unemployed (so I’ve never collected unemployment insurance). However, friends and family who have been unemployed have never been in a terrible hurry to find another job. They weren’t broke either, but I suppose they were facing a higher degree of uncertainty in their futures. Therefore, at least some people aren’t in a terrible hurry to end their unemployment situation.
5. You pointed out that “most people” aren’t going to just take any old job - they “want to find something comparable”. Doesn’t the fact that they’re willing to wait to find the right job shows that they’re not in a terrible hurry? In other words, that they’d prefer “to be broke” and/or at least “facing an uncertain future” rather than take the wrong (non-comparable) job?
6. I can’t find the link at the moment, but it turns out that an amazing fraction of people happen to find jobs just after their unemployment insurance payments run out. They didn’t seem to be in much of a hurry.
Anyway, I guess the short answer to your question is “no” but mostly because the question makes no sense to me. The combination of “most”, “prefer”, and “broke” doesn’t work for me.
Friday, 16 April 2010 at 04:33|
1. Using the phrasing “it’s far from clear - some” inherently implies that the behavior applies to a minority. Therefore a majority - “most” - must be doing something other than being “in a terrible hurry to go back to work.”
2. A truism. Contextually, it’s obvious that I meant “facing a future that features a far higher degree of uncertainty than the baseline amount of uncertainty with which we all live on a daily basis.” But that’s both verbose and pedantic, so I used a common idiom instead.
3. The middle sentence describes 90% of all Americans, from all income levels and walks of life, according to e.g. The Millionaire Next Door [Chap. 1].1 Hell’s Bells, if your unemployment benefits are 40% of your previous income, for instance, for most Americans that covers only their rent/mortgage + utilities. There’s still food, gas, various insurance premiums (and your COBRA payments may be double what you were previously paying for health ins.), child expenses, job-hunting expenses…
But if by “broke” you mean “can’t afford food”2, then I agree with you.
4. & 5. Answers my question.
6. That may be true of garden-variety recessions, but is most definitely not true in depressions. 5MM people have been unemployed for more than a year; if Congress hadn’t kept inventing and re-funding various unemployment benefits programs, they’d all have left the unemployment insurance rolls WITHOUT having found a job, amazingly or not. Currently in the U.S., there are five job-seekers for every listed employment opportunity - even if we gave every job-seeker Hobson’s choice, that still leaves 80% of the unemployed without a job.
Even recognizing that not all jobs are listed, (my wife, for instance, finds her employees through networking and has never posted even a single help-wanted ad, ever), it seems reasonable to assume that job listings compose at least half of all available jobs - after all, large businesses need to advertise openings, as they have a lot of jobs to fill, and there are also legal requirements to list certain types of job openings - so if we use that working assumption, then that still leaves over half of all current job-seekers waiting for someone to die or retire…
1 Here’s the Google backdoor for those who aren’t/prefer not to register w/the NYT. First link under the “shopping results” block.
2 A good definition by historic and global standards, I concede. But not what one finds in common usage in advanced nations during the 21st century.
Friday, 28 May 2010 at 22:41|
If the Wright Bros. were concurrent with, say, Charles Lindbergh, then yes, I would mock them.
Equivocating private space-related efforts with the pioneering Wright Bros. is incorrect. We can already “fly” better using gov’t vehicles than ANYTHING actually produced or near production privately - you’d just like to see it done without taxpayer monies. Although, as you point out upthread, without gov’t military and postal contracts, aviation would have languished as well.
If private organizations were to successfully mount a Moon, Mars, or even L-3 expedition, then comparing them to the Wright Bros. would be reasonable.
As it stands now, the most successful private space-flight organization that doesn’t have a gov’t contract is Virgin Galactic, which is close to offering short tourist trips to the edge of space, 300,000 feet up. While that’s cool, and thrilling, it’s also ultimately just a big carnival amusement ride, not a harbinger of private enterprise taking over from the gov’t in space-related matters.
So yeah, if any private space effort doesn’t have high Earth orbit plans or better, then they’re essentially hobbyists.
Still, I fail to grasp your point … what do you mean by “can’t reach the ISS”?
Restated, I meant that “my criticism of most private space-related efforts [is that they] can’t reach the ISS, [so therefore they are] strictly amateur hour.” I see that my use of a universal “it” could easily be confused with a reference to the specific “it” in the quoted piece.
Saturday, 29 May 2010 at 10:28|
Yes, Ford or Watt would be a better comparison, I think.
Defining an expedition to Mars or the development of a Lagrangian point as “pure prestige projects”, especially if accomplished by private persons or organizations, is such absurdity that I will assume that you wrote such out of a momentary excess of hyperbolic argumentativeness.
And I’m glad that you wrote this: “I define better as significantly lower kilogram to orbit costs,” because I believe that it puts into sharp focus where your desire to believe, a star-struck optimistic boosterism, causes a bit of blindness to reality.
I too would define that as “better”. But, what private organization is ACTUALLY DOING SUCH???
Not Bigelow Aerospace. They have way-cool space gear, but no ability, nor credible plans, to place that gear into space as a private venture, and routinely travel to and from it.
Not Virgin Galactic. They have the potential to do it, but no plans to so do. For now they are content to be the world’s biggest and baddest roller-coaster. For all I know, that’s exactly the right way to bootstrap: Make a grip of cash, demonstrate the relative safety of common-person space flight, work the kinks out of the technology. But it’s not currently “significantly lower kilogram to orbit costs”.
I’d love to see multiple robust private efforts in this sector, with maybe some folks building better rockets, others launch loops or space elevators…
But that’s not what’s happening.
Actually, why don’t you just tell me what private space efforts are attempting? I don’t understand.
|Annoying Old Guy
Wednesday, 02 June 2010 at 14:08|
as NONE of the private organizations has the ability to, nor are they even attempting to, match the capabilities of the Shuttle.
You’re shifting goalposts again. I thought we were discussing launch costs, not absolute capabilities.
The gov’t can and is sending ships to the New World,
No, it’s not. It’s gradually losing its ability to travel in space. NASA can’t even get to the moon anymore. The Shuttle fleet is about to permanently grounded and NASA hasn’t even finished planning a replacement after thirty years.
private groups are capable of replacing gov’t action RIGHT NOW
Shifting again. Not something I wrote or even implied, and not something I much care about either. Of course, at the rate NASA’s capabilities are fading, that line is likely to cross sooner than you think.
if there’s anyone interested in exploring and exploiting our solar system within the next thirty years, it makes sense to expand the gov’t program
I don’t think that’s clear, but leave that — the question, again, isn’t exploring the solar system but reducing launch costs. I am fine with NASA doing exploration. Where they got off track was doing transportation. Not the same thing. If you want transporation, especially affordable transportation, you want to cut NASA funding and missions so as to not crowd out private development. Think back on the history of air transportation, as you do here —
If what you’d like to see is continued massive gov’t funding for non-military space exploration & exploitation, but with less money going to NASA, and more going as grants and contracts to Armadillo, Scaled Composites, SpaceX et al., then I’m on board.
— except that I don’t much care for grants. Contracts, with payment on delivery, that’s good.
But NASA still is the only American organization that can do the really worthwhile stuff.
I simply don’t believe that. I think NASA has become a sclerotic bureaucracy that is not longer institutionally capable of operating at any reasonable level of performance. You may disagree but you should not presume that my arguments are congruent with such a presumption.
I think it’s going to be a bleak decade or two for private interests because of NASA and it’s institutional desire to strangle competitors. Therefore the less funding and power NASA has, the better for space development.