Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Its Time to Raise Some Hell!

Bad news for NASA, and bad news for America.
NASA's plans to return astronauts to the moon are dead. So are the rockets being designed to take them there — that is, if President Barack Obama gets his way.

When the White House releases his budget proposal Monday, there will be no money for the Constellation program that was supposed to return humans to the moon by 2020. The troubled and expensive Ares I rocket that was to replace the space shuttle to ferry humans to space will be gone, along with money for its bigger brother, the Ares V cargo rocket that was to launch the fuel and supplies needed to take humans back to the moon.

There will be no lunar landers, no moon bases, no Constellation program at all.
Meanwhile, the Chinese are going to continue with their plans to send people to the Moon, which means that the best and brightest minds are going to want to live and work in China. So you can expect all the latest and greatest technological innovations to originate in China, rather than the US. We will quickly be joining Hellenistic Greece and Ancient Rome in the dustbin of history. And Neil Armstrong will be closer to Leif Ericson than Columbus in terms of historical importance.

Well, fuck that!!! The contact page for the White House is here. Drop them a note and let them know that you're upset with this decision, and that you'll not be voting for Obama in '12 because of this. Next, the final shuttle launch is scheduled for September 16th of this year, there needs to be a huge protest at this launch (which is going to have massive amounts of media coverage). Everyone should show up in black (Yes, I know, Florida in the September is not going to be a bit warm, suck on it.) and be just as pissed off as possible.

Anyone interested in protesting at the last shuttle launch feel free to drop me a note at director[at]spaceordie.org

Friday, January 8, 2010

So-Called Science "Reporters"

No, I am not about to complain that the media is biased, that's something I've no interest in discussing. What I'm pissed off about is this piece on Science Daily's website.
The North American Space Agency (NASA) defines life as a "self-sustaining chemical system capable of Darwinian evolution." The scientific theories on the origin of life revolve around two main ideas: one focuses on genetics -- with RNA or DNA replication as an essential condition for Darwinian evolution to take place -- and the other focuses on metabolism.
It should be screamingly obvious as to what's wrong with that paragraph.

I know people often complain that reporters get the facts wrong about technical/scientific matters, and that what seems like an "easy to understand" is actually pretty difficult for someone to grasp if they haven't had 4+ years and X number of years working in the field, but this is not one of those instances. This is a case of someone being a fucking idiot. They could be bothered to look up NASA's definition of what life is, but couldn't spare a second or two to check and see what NASA stands for while they were on the site? Even worse, none of the editors who reviewed the piece noticed the mistake.

How the fuck can we expect to have a society which can intelligently discuss important scientific issues of the day, when the reporters, who are supposed to serve as a conduit between various groups (the public, scientists, government, etc.) can't get the simplest facts right? This is on par with CNN's crawl which claimed that "Columbia was traveling 18 times the speed of light" when it broke apart. I hope someone takes those involved with that story and literally beats the crap out of them. At the very least, that's the kind of mistake which indicates a person has such a fundamental lacking of what the job entails that it would be better for all parties if they were simply fired and told to find a new career. Like asking people if they "want fries with that."