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  #1  
Old 05-07-2009, 10:11 PM
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Default Where No Diavlog Has Gone Before (David Corn & James Pinkerton)

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  #2  
Old 05-07-2009, 10:46 PM
brucds brucds is offline
 
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Default Pinkerton on "scandalous" Obama

Just can't link to this too often:

http://foxforum.blogs.foxnews.com/20...inkerton_1023/
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  #3  
Old 05-07-2009, 11:51 PM
ImprecisePsychic ImprecisePsychic is offline
 
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Default Re: Where No Diavlog Has Gone Before

Jim Pinkerton has a very calm and reassuring tone when he suggests the coming Obama Scandals....which makes him seem so earnest in his concerns.

His Fox News colleagues could learn a lot from him. Pinkerton presents the same nonsense as Sean Hannity but without the hysterics, he is capable of fooling more folks.
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Old 05-08-2009, 02:10 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Where No Diavlog Has Gone Before (David Corn & James Pinkerton)

Good to see David Corn back, because he keeps Jim on an even keel, and for other reasons. I hope he gets to ask his question to President Obama some day soon.

I do share everything that Jim thinks about what Star Trek represents, as well as his sense of loss after Apollo. I think he lays too much blame at the feet of "the environmentalists," but I'll grant there have been many lefty groups that hurt the space program, among other factors.

I think we should have Jim do a diavlog with Steve Benen or Bill Simmon, where the entire hour would be shamelessly devoted to geeking out massively. Jim is a lot more pleasant to listen to when he's talking about his space-related dreams than when he's talking about his political nightmares.
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Old 05-08-2009, 03:54 AM
claymisher claymisher is offline
 
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Default Re: Where No Diavlog Has Gone Before (David Corn & James Pinkerton)

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Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
I do share everything that Jim thinks about what Star Trek represents, as well as his sense of loss after Apollo. I think he lays too much blame at the feet of "the environmentalists," but I'll grant there have been many lefty groups that hurt the space program, among other factors.
Jim Pinkerton is totally full of shit when it comes to environmentalists. Yeah, I heard some dumb shit in my dorm when I was a freshman too. Whatever. As if every Republican is David Duke. I'd wager, on account of general love of science and nerdiness, your average enviro is more pro-space than the average non-enviro, and is more pro-space than they can really justify. Pinkerton is so stupid he can't recognize his own goddam allies.

Keefe, I'm putting you on the spot: Name five anti-space lefty groups. If there's many naming five ought to be easy.
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Old 05-08-2009, 04:14 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Where No Diavlog Has Gone Before (David Corn & James Pinkerton)

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Originally Posted by claymisher View Post
Jim Pinkerton is totally full of shit when it comes to environmentalists. Yeah, I heard some dumb shit in my dorm when I was a freshman too. Whatever. As if every Republican is David Duke. I'd wager, on account of general love of science and nerdiness, your average enviro is more pro-space than the average non-enviro, and is more pro-space than they can really justify. Pinkerton is so stupid he can't recognize his own goddam allies.

Keefe, I'm putting you on the spot: Name five anti-space lefty groups. If there's many naming five ought to be easy.
I don't think I can name five lefty groups whose missions begin and end with "stop the space flight madness," but ever since the Apollo program wound down, there has been no shortage of groups who prioritize other goals and frequently use NASA as a whipping boy. For example, groups concerned with addressing world hunger, housing shortages, and other manifestations of poverty, or who would like to see increasing education spending or more medical research, frequently yammer about "all that money we're wasting in space when we have problems to solve here on Earth." You also see groups who obsess about exploring the oceans ("we know less about the Atlantic sea floor than we do about the far side of the Moon") and others who are against all space programs that have anything to do with the military ("nationalism should end at the edge of the atmosphere").

Close enough?
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  #7  
Old 05-08-2009, 05:38 AM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default True Confession

Quote:
"all that money we're wasting in space when we have problems to solve here on Earth."
My first published document was a letter to the editor of my hometown newspaper. I was 11 years old. The year was 1958. The subject was the US launch of Explorer 1.

I proposed solving our problems here on Earth before venturing into space.

So yes, I'd say a lot of leftists of my generation were decidedly underwhelmed by the space program. It began in Cold War fervor, was militarized and chauvinistic from the git-go, appeared to be a seamless extension of the WMD programs, and had characters like Wernher Magnus Maximilian Freiherr von Braun at the forefront, hyping it. Very Strangelovian.

We were wary of Big Government Science, Technology and Engineering. Hippies, feminists, civil rights activists and early environmentalists were not putting pin-ups of Neil Armstrong on their dorm walls. A prejudice? Maybe, but not necessarily an unfounded one.

Having conceded that, blaming "luddites and environmentalists," as Jim did, is ridiculous. First of all, "environmentalist" is not a slur. Secondly, many of the skeptics have doctorates in various sciences or have devoted their lives to the development of various technologies. And finally, there is an ugly anti-environmentalist element among the pro-NASA lobbies -- the attitude that we won't have to worry about overpopulation (or pollution or global warming) once we move on to colonize the galaxy."

My wariness of NASA has remained with me throughout my life, and I have no regrets. Jim says he's still worried that the "Chinese or Indians will beat us." That's what it was always about: flag waving, the imperial quest for domination, and "conquering" space. Yuck.

P.S. The opponents of the militarization of space could use a few 11-year-olds writing letters today.
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  #8  
Old 05-08-2009, 05:57 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: True Confession

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Originally Posted by Wonderment View Post
My first published document was a letter to the editor of my hometown newspaper. I was 11 years old. The year was 1958. The subject was the US launch of Explorer 1.

I proposed solving our problems here on Earth before venturing into space.
I can appreciate the sentiment, but I believe it's woolly-headed thinking. We will never even solve all of our problems in our own houses, let alone on our entire planet. Saying we should not move onward and upward until we do is a recipe for stagnation. We as a species would never have left Africa, or later Europe, if that was our philosophy. Besides, learning new things invariably helps with some of the problems at hand, and it is also the case that looking forward to new possibilities gives new hopes.

I'm perfectly willing to agree that not every last cent should be spent on the space program. I am also happy to acknowledge a litany of complaints about NASA. To the first I'd say that we have a democracy for arguing about just such budget priorities. To the second I'd say NASA does a lot of good, despite its flaws, and also, that I'd really like to see more room made for the private sector to compete.

I am also somewhat uncomfortable with some aspects of the military's involvement in the space program. On the other hand, I don't see any realistic scenario for the foreseeable future where the military doesn't get a disproportionately large slice of the pie, so if they're going to spend some of their money on rockets and satellites, I'll say that's better than some other things I could imagine them buying, and I'll look forward to the spin-offs that we eventually get from throwing DoD dollars at problems.

Finally, while I don't like nationalistic fervor as a motivator for making progress in space, and do love international cooperation on these efforts, if what it takes to get the US back into the game is fear of being beaten by those other guys, I'll take it. Better than nothing.

Oh, and by the way? I was a hippie when I was a kid, and I did, in fact, have posters of astronauts up on my walls. Right next to the big one of Jimi Hendrix.
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  #9  
Old 05-08-2009, 06:04 AM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: True Confession

Quote:
I was a hippie when I was a kid, and I did, in fact, have posters of astronauts up on my walls. Right next to the big one of Jimi Hendrix.
Excuse me while I kiss the sky.
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  #10  
Old 05-08-2009, 03:23 PM
uncle ebeneezer uncle ebeneezer is offline
 
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Default Re: True Confession

I think space exploration is cool, and think there are several great things that come out of it (the most basic being our ongoing quest for knowledge.) But at the end of the day we have alot of areas to explore and problems to fix and I think it's about finding the right balance of our priorities. But I do think it fair, given the amount of scrutiny that Republicans love to rain on any large public project suggested by Dems, for us to turn that scrutiny around onto their pet-projects like space exploration and new weapons systems. For all the screaming and hollering about how cap&trade or the bailouts might not work, or be efficient enough therefore we shouldn't do them, well building space stations or a stronger telescope might not give us anything really practical either, and they sure as hell cost alot of $.

But I love Jim's enthusiasm for space and would love to hear him do a diavlog with one of the SciSat guys, (maybe Sean Carroll?) to give him a chance to interview somebody who knows a bit about space. Jim and Joel Achenbach might be fun too, as 2 laypeople with an interest in science.

Good diavlog. I also applaud David's eagerness to investigate TARP. It shows that he's not just about the Left, but just a good-old fashioned reporter who seeks truth.
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Old 05-08-2009, 04:19 PM
DenvilleSteve DenvilleSteve is offline
 
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Default Re: True Confession

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Originally Posted by uncle ebeneezer View Post
I think space exploration is cool, and think there are several great things that come out of it (the most basic being our ongoing quest for knowledge.) But at the end of the day we have alot of areas to explore and problems to fix and I think it's about finding the right balance of our priorities.
What is more of a priority than the countering of the depletion of the earth's resources and destruction of the environment?? The harnessing of the resources of the solar system is nothing more than an enormous engineering project.
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Old 05-10-2009, 12:05 AM
Baltimoron Baltimoron is offline
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Default Re: True Confession

Quote:
I'm perfectly willing to agree that not every last cent should be spent on the space program. I am also happy to acknowledge a litany of complaints about NASA. To the first I'd say that we have a democracy for arguing about just such budget priorities. To the second I'd say NASA does a lot of good, despite its flaws, and also, that I'd really like to see more room made for the private sector to compete.

I am also somewhat uncomfortable with some aspects of the military's involvement in the space program. On the other hand, I don't see any realistic scenario for the foreseeable future where the military doesn't get a disproportionately large slice of the pie, so if they're going to spend some of their money on rockets and satellites, I'll say that's better than some other things I could imagine them buying, and I'll look forward to the spin-offs that we eventually get from throwing DoD dollars at problems.

Finally, while I don't like nationalistic fervor as a motivator for making progress in space, and do love international cooperation on these efforts, if what it takes to get the US back into the game is fear of being beaten by those other guys, I'll take it. Better than nothing.
Generally, if Star Trek prompts these discussions, it's a better-quality TV show than most. I recall in Star Trek: Enterprise's opening montage a partly fictional chronology of exploration including oceans. I see NASA as an example of how government jump starts an industry and then gets out of the way. Only, NASA refuses to leave. I've toured Cape Canaveral twice. In the interval between childhood and adulthood, it became a theme park with four-dollar burgers.

I would recommend Everett C. Dolman, whom I read in grad school, and the subject of astropolitik, the final frontier version of geostrategy. It's a way to get beyond these binaries and talk about exploring space.

But, Pinkerton did get the main point: optimism. However, the Star Trek franchise could never, in all its TV series and movies, how Apollo US- because ST is America writ large - would become the 23rd Century utopia where happy people would want to continue exploring space. And, now pessimism unbound, that answer is ever more undisclosed.

Really, though, David Corn is dead on: it's a gimmick to make more films.

Star Trek Is Empty Air

Last edited by Baltimoron; 05-10-2009 at 01:05 AM..
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  #13  
Old 05-08-2009, 02:17 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Special thanks ...

... to David for bringing up Philip Zelikow's blog post discussing his (classified) dissenting memo against the Bush Administration's move towards instituting a torture policy. I urge everyone to read it, as well as David's post on the possible Cheney-directed cover-up.

Also of interest are a couple of posts on TPMMuckraker from Zachary Roth, dated 21 April and 4 May.

I should add that Jim deserves credit for not going into immediate defense/denial mode about this issue during the discussion.

[Added] For some more background, here are videos of Zelikow appearing on Rachel Maddow's show on 21 April 2009: {Part 1 | Part 2} (via Spackerman)
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Old 05-08-2009, 03:17 AM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: Special thanks ...

Zelikow was interviewed on the Rachel Maddow show about a week ago. Not exactly a profile in whistle-blowing courage, but then the hardcore Bushies can make even John Ashcroft look like a human rights advocate.

David has put his finger on why the whole torture investigation is so important, however, even beyond torture per se: If this specious, circular argument stands -- that I, the President, can do anything my lawyer tells me I can do, and Who-me, the lawyer, can skate because I'm just giving my honest opinion -- virtually Anything Goes, and there's no accountability for any kind of tyrannical shenanigans. We need to get to the bottom of this before the same trick gets pulled again by the next gang of Machiavellian operators, be they Democrats or Republicans.
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Old 05-08-2009, 03:52 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Special thanks ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wonderment View Post
Zelikow was interviewed on the Rachel Maddow show about a week ago. Not exactly a profile in whistle-blowing courage, but then the hardcore Bushies can make even John Ashcroft look like a human rights advocate.
Oops. I guess I was updating my post to add those video links at the same time as you were composing your reply.

I'm less inclined to climb all over Zelikow for lack of courage on this one. He could have said nothing at the time, and he could have kept quiet after the fact. Especially when you start with the understanding that he worked in both Bush White Houses, what he has done ain't bean bag. I agree he comes off less impressively during the Maddow interview than one might like, but his FP blog post is pretty good.

Quote:
David has put his finger on why the whole torture investigation is so important, however, even beyond torture per se: If this specious, circular argument stands -- that I, the President, can do anything my lawyer tells me I can do, and Who-me, the lawyer, can skate because I'm just giving my honest opinion -- virtually Anything Goes, and there's no accountability for any kind of tyrannical shenanigans. We need to get to the bottom of this before the same trick gets pulled again by the next gang of Machiavellian operators, be they Democrats or Republicans.
Agreed. I eagerly await the beginning of the Senate subcommittee hearings next week, and I hope they get the Zelikow memo out by then.
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Old 05-08-2009, 09:30 AM
DenvilleSteve DenvilleSteve is offline
 
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Default Republicans explore, democrats work the angles

I dont think it is a coincedence that the US has lost interest in space exploration as it has become dominated by democrats.

My guess is that it is republican types who historically have set out on the frontier, faced danger, fought savages and tamed nature. All is right in the new territories for a while, where the decency and honesty of the rugged indivdual is remembered and valued. Then the democrats arrive, with their unnecessary and costly requirements at the DMV inspection stations, and society regresses into the daily routine of competing interests and how I feel pronouncements.

The solar system is the next frontier. Republican peoples should/will not wait for NASA to lead the way. The once great NASA has been overrun by people who dont think about building bigger and better exploration machines, who dont "work the problem".
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Old 05-08-2009, 09:36 AM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
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Default Re: Republicans explore, democrats work the angles

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Originally Posted by DenvilleSteve View Post
I dont think it is a coincedence that the US has lost interest in space exploration as it has become dominated by democrats.

My guess is that it is republican types who historically have set out on the frontier, faced danger, fought savages and tamed nature. All is right in the new territories for a while, where the decency and honesty of the rugged indivdual is remembered and valued. Then the democrats arrive, with their unnecessary and costly requirements at the DMV inspection stations, and society regresses into the daily routine of competing interests and how I feel pronouncements.

The solar system is the next frontier. Republican peoples should/will not wait for NASA to lead the way. The once great NASA has been overrun by people who dont think about building bigger and better exploration machines, who dont "work the problem".
It's a good thing the Republicans won the Presidency in '60, or we'd have never reached the moon!
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Old 05-08-2009, 09:47 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Republicans explore, democrats work the angles

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Originally Posted by AemJeff View Post
It's a good thing the Republicans won the Presidency in '60, or we'd have never reached the moon!
Don't believe that liberal media lie. It was thanks totally to the great Richard Nixon that we were able to fake the Moon landings.
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Old 05-08-2009, 12:22 PM
DenvilleSteve DenvilleSteve is offline
 
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Default Re: Republicans explore, democrats work the angles

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It's a good thing the Republicans won the Presidency in '60, or we'd have never reached the moon!
JFK fought in combat in WWII. He is an honorary republican.
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Old 05-08-2009, 12:25 PM
pampl pampl is offline
 
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Default Re: Republicans explore, democrats work the angles

My guess is that democrats are responsible for everything good and pure in the world then republicans arrive and start molesting children and manufacturing meth
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Old 05-08-2009, 12:34 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Republicans explore, democrats work the angles

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Originally Posted by DenvilleSteve View Post
JFK fought in combat in WWII. He is an honorary republican.
So what does the zero-combat record of Ronald Reagan, Rush Limbaugh, Dick Cheney, and George W. Bush make them?
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Old 05-08-2009, 12:53 PM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
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Default Re: Republicans explore, democrats work the angles

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JFK fought in combat in WWII. He is an honorary republican.
Steve, I get the feeling you're not really trying here. Come on man, show us up with your rock-ribbed appeals to purity, decency and the Republican Way!
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Old 05-08-2009, 10:02 PM
kezboard kezboard is offline
 
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Default Re: Republicans explore, democrats work the angles

So if you fight in a war, you become an honorary Republican?
That's funny, because I was just a second ago listening to Limbaugh say that Colin Powell isn't a real Republican and he might as well just become a Democrat.
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Old 05-08-2009, 10:10 PM
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Default Re: Republicans explore, democrats work the angles

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So if you fight in a war, you become an honorary Republican?
That's funny, because I was just a second ago listening to Limbaugh say that Colin Powell isn't a real Republican and he might as well just become a Democrat.
And who can forgot that famous decorated WW2 bomber pilot who earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, George McGovern.

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Old 05-09-2009, 09:31 AM
DenvilleSteve DenvilleSteve is offline
 
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Default Re: Republicans explore, democrats work the angles

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And who can forgot that famous decorated WW2 bomber pilot who earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, George McGovern.

I just set me off a bit listening to David Corn recount his discussions with WH officials about their battle plans for Afg and Pak. Implicit in their fretting over using drones to attack the Taliban is a switch to manned attacks. You can argue that republicans leaders are no better, but the fact is the leaders of the democrat party are sending soldiers into battle, something they would never do themselves.
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Old 05-08-2009, 01:30 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Gleanings from Wingnuttia

DenvilleSteve:

Quote:
I dont think it is a coincedence that the US has lost interest in space exploration as it has become dominated by democrats.
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) and Fox News's Sean Hannity (via):

Quote:
HANNITY: Is it safe to say that Democrats were willing to protect pedophiles but not offer the same protection to servicemen and women? Is that an accurate statement?

KING: Sean, it is a matter of congressional record. Absolutely true -- beyond any doubt whatsoever.
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Old 05-08-2009, 04:03 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: Republicans explore, democrats work the angles

Quote:
My guess is that it is republican types who historically have set out on the frontier, faced danger, fought savages and tamed nature.
Primitive racism duly noted, Steve.

Since it was only a "frontier" to you, Steve, what if you run into some savages out there in space? Plus, last time I looked nature remains untamed.
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Old 05-08-2009, 05:47 PM
cognitive madisonian cognitive madisonian is offline
 
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Default Re: Republicans explore, democrats work the angles

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Originally Posted by DenvilleSteve View Post
I dont think it is a coincedence that the US has lost interest in space exploration as it has become dominated by democrats.

My guess is that it is republican types who historically have set out on the frontier, faced danger, fought savages and tamed nature. All is right in the new territories for a while, where the decency and honesty of the rugged indivdual is remembered and valued. Then the democrats arrive, with their unnecessary and costly requirements at the DMV inspection stations, and society regresses into the daily routine of competing interests and how I feel pronouncements.

The solar system is the next frontier. Republican peoples should/will not wait for NASA to lead the way. The once great NASA has been overrun by people who dont think about building bigger and better exploration machines, who dont "work the problem".
This brings to mind when George Bush announced an ambitious plan for a manned exploration to Mars and the DNC responded by mocking him for being 'out of touch' with 'normal Americans.' It was disheartening to see such a disregard for scientific exploration...especially from a party that contains a subset dogmatically linked to science
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Old 05-09-2009, 03:59 AM
Starwatcher162536 Starwatcher162536 is offline
 
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Default Re: Republicans explore, democrats work the angles

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Originally Posted by cognitive madisonian View Post
This brings to mind when George Bush announced an ambitious plan for a manned exploration to Mars and the DNC responded by mocking him for being 'out of touch' with 'normal Americans.' It was disheartening to see such a disregard for scientific exploration...especially from a party that contains a subset dogmatically linked to science
That kind of bothered me to. I do think though that there are alot of other scientific projects that would be under NASA's purview that should be give priority over a man on mars project
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Old 05-09-2009, 10:48 AM
cognitive madisonian cognitive madisonian is offline
 
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Default Re: Republicans explore, democrats work the angles

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Originally Posted by Starwatcher162536 View Post
That kind of bothered me to. I do think though that there are alot of other scientific projects that would be under NASA's purview that should be give priority over a man on mars project
I think there's a point to be made for that (though I find the idea of getting a person on Mars to be way cooler than any other proposal, if only to have the opportunity to make arcane Robinson Crusoe on Mars references). The discouraging element was that many people simply don't appreciate the value of space exploration. There are a number of possibilities why--no Cold War and thus no enemy to 'beat' into space (memo to Osama: launch a plan to put an Islamic flag on Mars), the self-centeredness that has come from the increasing role of technology and user-generated websites in particular, etc.
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Old 05-09-2009, 11:24 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Republicans explore, democrats work the angles

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Originally Posted by cognitive madisonian View Post
I think there's a point to be made for that (though I find the idea of getting a person on Mars to be way cooler than any other proposal, if only to have the opportunity to make arcane Robinson Crusoe on Mars references). The discouraging element was that many people simply don't appreciate the value of space exploration. There are a number of possibilities why--no Cold War and thus no enemy to 'beat' into space (memo to Osama: launch a plan to put an Islamic flag on Mars), the self-centeredness that has come from the increasing role of technology and user-generated websites in particular, etc.
I'm at least in the 99th percentile of humans-in-space fandom, but I think the idea of trying to send a crewed mission to Mars at this point is foolish. It would be a waste of already sadly limited resources for what would amount to a stunt. When GWB trumpeted it, just as with his father before him, I thought it was plainly clear that he was trying for a cheap piggyback ride on JFK's historic challenge.

Based on my reading of Collins, Kranz, and Chaikin, I am under the impression that we were pushing our technological capabilities to the limit to get a few astronauts to the Moon and back. With the exception of computers, it is also my impression that we have not made significant advances in being able to transport and maintain human life on such a journey. Feynman's appendix to the Challenger commission report certainly added to this feeling.

I would much rather see us work on (1) figuring out how to get people and material into orbit for significantly less money, (2) developing a working Moon base, and (3) developing a better transport for the Mars journey before we attempt to send a crewed mission there. Regarding the last, I would want to see either a vehicle that could make the trip in a week or so, or one that would be large enough and well-enough shielded that it wouldn't be an utter endurance test just to make the trip. I think we should consider ourselves in a position analogous to early civilizations that were just beginning to develop ocean-going technology: we have not yet mastered our way around the littoral environment, and we should concentrate on that, rather than putting most of our marbles on a one-off trip to some faraway land. When we get the basics down, the next steps will be that much easier.

I'm pretty sure none of this reasoning has any connection to the fact that lots of people have blogs.
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Old 05-09-2009, 12:36 PM
cognitive madisonian cognitive madisonian is offline
 
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Default Re: Republicans explore, democrats work the angles

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I'm at least in the 99th percentile of humans-in-space fandom, but I think the idea of trying to send a crewed mission to Mars at this point is foolish. It would be a waste of already sadly limited resources for what would amount to a stunt. When GWB trumpeted it, just as with his father before him, I thought it was plainly clear that he was trying for a cheap piggyback ride on JFK's historic challenge.

Based on my reading of Collins, Kranz, and Chaikin, I am under the impression that we were pushing our technological capabilities to the limit to get a few astronauts to the Moon and back. With the exception of computers, it is also my impression that we have not made significant advances in being able to transport and maintain human life on such a journey. Feynman's appendix to the Challenger commission report certainly added to this feeling.

I would much rather see us work on (1) figuring out how to get people and material into orbit for significantly less money, (2) developing a working Moon base, and (3) developing a better transport for the Mars journey before we attempt to send a crewed mission there. Regarding the last, I would want to see either a vehicle that could make the trip in a week or so, or one that would be large enough and well-enough shielded that it wouldn't be an utter endurance test just to make the trip. I think we should consider ourselves in a position analogous to early civilizations that were just beginning to develop ocean-going technology: we have not yet mastered our way around the littoral environment, and we should concentrate on that, rather than putting most of our marbles on a one-off trip to some faraway land. When we get the basics down, the next steps will be that much easier.

I'm pretty sure none of this reasoning has any connection to the fact that lots of people have blogs.
I'd argue that the way to accomplish those goals is precisely to set an ambitious goal. I doubt we would've reached the moon when we did if JFK had not made it a very public priority. So we need another very public campaign.

Now, you're going to hate the second part of my post so you may wish to stop reading now:
Barack Obama never said to himself, "What can I do for my country?" Rather, he asked, "What can my country do for me?" Hence the myth of the poor public servant building up the lives of inner city Chicago residents, who was actually making decent money (for a fresh faced college alum) and building the groundwork for a career in politics, while creating lousy, failed programs. JFK risked his life for his fellow soldiers in the Navy; Obama, on the other hand, stabbed his mentors in the back, supported the corrupt party machine, and used dirty tricks to advance through the political circle. And it perfectly represents the current philosophy: "Ask not what you can do for your country, but what your country can do for you."
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Old 05-09-2009, 12:52 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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I'd argue that the way to accomplish those goals is precisely to set an ambitious goal. I doubt we would've reached the moon when we did if JFK had not made it a very public priority. So we need another very public campaign.

Now, you're going to hate the second part of my post so you may wish to stop reading now:
Barack Obama never said to himself, "What can I do for my country?" Rather, he asked, "What can my country do for me?" Hence the myth of the poor public servant building up the lives of inner city Chicago residents, who was actually making decent money (for a fresh faced college alum) and building the groundwork for a career in politics, while creating lousy, failed programs. JFK risked his life for his fellow soldiers in the Navy; Obama, on the other hand, stabbed his mentors in the back, supported the corrupt party machine, and used dirty tricks to advance through the political circle. And it perfectly represents the current philosophy: "Ask not what you can do for your country, but what your country can do for you."
I had already decided there was nothing to be gained in discussing politics with you. Sorry to say it looks like I was too narrow in my assessment.

Your hatred is so all-consuming you can't even stay on topic. Sad to see.
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  #34  
Old 05-09-2009, 01:11 PM
cognitive madisonian cognitive madisonian is offline
 
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I had already decided there was nothing to be gained in discussing politics with you. Sorry to say it looks like I was too narrow in my assessment.

Your hatred is so all-consuming you can't even stay on topic. Sad to see.
I don't hate Obama (I reserve hatred for the truly vile people of the world, such as Bin Ladin and Teodoro Obiang), I just find him to be a very poor leader and supremely undeserving of the office of the presidency. If you compare my rhetoric concerning Obama with the more splenetic rhetoric from the left toward Bush, you'll notice a substantial difference.
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Old 05-09-2009, 12:45 PM
claymisher claymisher is offline
 
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Default Re: Republicans explore, democrats work the angles

Quote:
Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
I'm at least in the 99th percentile of humans-in-space fandom, but I think the idea of trying to send a crewed mission to Mars at this point is foolish. It would be a waste of already sadly limited resources for what would amount to a stunt. When GWB trumpeted it, just as with his father before him, I thought it was plainly clear that he was trying for a cheap piggyback ride on JFK's historic challenge.

Based on my reading of Collins, Kranz, and Chaikin, I am under the impression that we were pushing our technological capabilities to the limit to get a few astronauts to the Moon and back. With the exception of computers, it is also my impression that we have not made significant advances in being able to transport and maintain human life on such a journey. Feynman's appendix to the Challenger commission report certainly added to this feeling.

I would much rather see us work on (1) figuring out how to get people and material into orbit for significantly less money, (2) developing a working Moon base, and (3) developing a better transport for the Mars journey before we attempt to send a crewed mission there. Regarding the last, I would want to see either a vehicle that could make the trip in a week or so, or one that would be large enough and well-enough shielded that it wouldn't be an utter endurance test just to make the trip. I think we should consider ourselves in a position analogous to early civilizations that were just beginning to develop ocean-going technology: we have not yet mastered our way around the littoral environment, and we should concentrate on that, rather than putting most of our marbles on a one-off trip to some faraway land. When we get the basics down, the next steps will be that much easier.

I'm pretty sure none of this reasoning has any connection to the fact that lots of people have blogs.
If you look up the distances between planets on wikipedia it's really sobering. Earth's diameter is 12,756.2 km and the moon is 363,104 km away. The moon is only about 30 Earth diameters away. The space station is only 350 km above Earth. That's the distance from DC to NYC. Outer space is usually defined as 100 km up there. As in, that's where the atmosphere stops. That's less than 1% of the Earth's diameter.

Real space travel isn't going to happen until we have massive improvements in energy and propulsion. We'll know we're ready when we have more energy on Earth than we know what to do with. That's only going to happen because of basic science research, and if it ever happens at all it won't be for a long, long time. Us talking about exploring space (manned) is like hunter-gatherers talking about landing on the moon.

Is there a Moore's Law type chart for energy or propulsion or something? Is this going to be 100 years or 1000 years?
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Old 05-09-2009, 01:02 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Real space travel isn't going to happen until we have massive improvements in energy and propulsion. We'll know we're ready when we have more energy on Earth than we know what to do with.
Agree with the first sentence, don't agree with the second. We won't need a planet-sized store of energy to propel or sustain a spaceship capable of transporting people around the solar system. A good nuclear reactor ought to be able to do it, provided we can figure out how to harness it properly. Additionally, depending on how good we get at building self-contained environments, we wouldn't even have to worry that much about speed. In the latter case, we could get where we wanted to go with solar sails and a little bit of propellant for fine-grained course corrections.

Quote:
That's only going to happen because of basic science research, and if it ever happens at all it won't be for a long, long time. Us talking about exploring space (manned) is like hunter-gatherers talking about landing on the moon.

Is there a Moore's Law type chart for energy or propulsion or something? Is this going to be 100 years or 1000 years?
Agree with the half of the first sentence, not so much with what follows. It may be a long time, or it may not. A couple of breakthroughs -- whose "when" is impossible to predict -- could make all the difference in the world. Think about what the invention of the transistor did for computers, for example.

But your basic point is well-taken: we have to concentrate more on basic research, and forget about a big splashy mission until we are better prepared for it.
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Old 05-09-2009, 02:46 PM
Starwatcher162536 Starwatcher162536 is offline
 
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Default Re: Republicans explore, democrats work the angles

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[...]

Agree with the half of the first sentence, not so much with what follows. It may be a long time, or it may not. A couple of breakthroughs -- whose "when" is impossible to predict -- could make all the difference in the world. Think about what the invention of the transistor did for computers, for example.

But your basic point is well-taken: we have to concentrate more on basic research, and forget about a big splashy mission until we are better prepared for it.
If we can ever figure out a way to mass produce true carbon nanotubes*1 , that's really all it will take to make a whole heap of stuff that seems outlandish now plausible.

It would be a revolution of innovation on par, probably even greater, then was brought on by semiconductors.

I mean, everyone knows about alot of the stuff that would be made possible by having a easily available material that has such an awesome tensile strength*2, but carbon nanotubes have some really interesting electrical properties as well, there are entire fields where a mass production of nanotubes would bring about crazy changes that the press never writes about.

*1[and not that bundle shit they sometimes put into high quality bicycle frames]

*2[You never hear about it's shear/torsion strength though, which is weird, as those are the ones that usually get you]
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  #38  
Old 05-09-2009, 02:53 PM
Starwatcher162536 Starwatcher162536 is offline
 
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Here is an excerpt from an article in from the January 17 issue of New Scientist:

Quote:
Though still purely theoretical, this nanopump works thanks to the charge distribution on water molecules as they line up inside the narrow channel. The pump would not require any external pressure to drive the water through, and combined with the salt-excluding properties of nanotubes, it would offer a simple nanoscale desalinator. Yet it will require a source of energy to run, because energy is needed to hold the charges in place: water molecules moving through the channel will exert a force on them, and try to drag them out of position as they pass. The precise positioning and control of the charges will be difficult, Fang admits, but he hopes to find experimentalists who are up for the challenge. If they succeed, these gates and pumps could be useful in all kinds of ways. Hummer, for example, envisages using nanotubes as channels, gates, valves and pumps in nanofluidic circuits. These could move tiny quantities of chemical solutions around on chip-sized devices for medical and environmental diagnostics. They might also be useful for extracting or transporting hydrogen ions, perhaps to increase the efficiency with which fuel cells generate energy. Modifications of the nanotubes at the insides or ends will be the best way to produce controllable gating and filtration, says Bakajin. Well eventually use the nanotubes as the highways, and we will use some kind of gate at the end that blocks whatever it is that we want to exclude. Bakajin has also discovered that her nanotube membranes can transport gases as well as liquids, and will selectively admit smaller molecules like hydrogen and nitrogen rather than carbon dioxide. By modifying the chemistry of the pore it may be possible to make this differentiation much greater and to target it so that the membranes can be used for molecular separation or molecular sensors, Corry says. Eventually, it might be possible to build nanotube membranes that can separate mixtures of hydrocarbon gases, filter CO2 from a power plant chimney, say, or even extract the gas directly from the air
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  #39  
Old 05-09-2009, 01:48 PM
cragger cragger is offline
 
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Default Re: Republicans explore, democrats work the angles

Good point. The Mars project is a far-out stunt proposed for PR purposes. I have yet to hear any ratonale for pooling a considerable quantity of our collective resources for a manned Mars mission beyond "sounds cool". Any return on that investment is likely to be spin-offs from the engineering work, which could be achieved from the same amount of effort expended on something that offers a more direct return as well. Space projects should be subject to the same cost/benefit analysis and decision making as any other collective action.

Even the Moon base idea seems like a boondoggle. Consider the troubles the US has had just constructing the space station in low earth orbit, barely a hop, skip, and jump off the planet. Without the Russians to provide access and supply that station would likely have been a death trap for any inhabitants post shuttle disasters, and it seems questionable that it would have ever been completed. Had that happened during construction and expansion of an occupied Moon base ... . Even now that the station is nearly completed, my understanding is that there is considerable questioning as to just what the returns will be, beyond the experience of having done it. And I've read plenty of sci-fi and am probably as appreciative of the coolness quotient as anyone else, so I don't think there is a luddite factor here.

Without major breakthroughs that reduce space access costs by orders of magnitude, I'd be interested in suggestions as to just what benefits a Moon base would provide. The Moon could be solid gold and we couldn't profitably extract resources from it now. The most likely Moon base I can conceive of is a military installation and we don't seem particularly short on expensive military projects already, nor short on military power.
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Old 05-09-2009, 01:58 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Good point. The Mars project is a far-out stunt proposed for PR purposes. I have yet to hear any ratonale for pooling a considerable quantity of our collective resources for a manned Mars mission beyond "sounds cool". Any return on that investment is likely to be spin-offs from the engineering work, which could be achieved from the same amount of effort expended on something that offers a more direct return as well. Space projects should be subject to the same cost/benefit analysis and decision making as any other collective action.

Even the Moon base idea seems like a boondoggle. Consider the troubles the US has had just constructing the space station in low earth orbit, barely a hop, skip, and jump off the planet. Without the Russians to provide access and supply that station would likely have been a death trap for any inhabitants post shuttle disasters, and it seems questionable that it would have ever been completed. Had that happened during construction and expansion of an occupied Moon base ... . Even now that the station is nearly completed, my understanding is that there is considerable questioning as to just what the returns will be, beyond the experience of having done it. And I've read plenty of sci-fi and am probably as appreciative of the coolness quotient as anyone else, so I don't think there is a luddite factor here.

Without major breakthroughs that reduce space access costs by orders of magnitude, I'd be interested in suggestions as to just what benefits a Moon base would provide. The Moon could be solid gold and we couldn't profitably extract resources from it now. The most likely Moon base I can conceive of is a military installation and we don't seem particularly short on expensive military projects already, nor short on military power.
Mostly agreed.

Just to be clear: when I earlier proposed a Moon base, it was as a step I'd like to see accomplished before sending a crewed mission to Mars, and I meant it in the sense of doing it when it was more in the realm of not-backbreaking. One implication I perhaps should have made more explicit would be an established capability of getting to orbit a lot more cheaply.
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