|In the News
||[Oct. 5th, 2007|10:47 am]
- Free speech cuts both ways. It's been officially ruled by Washington's high court that politicians can lie. Whether this law or its being overturned will have any effect on politicians' behavior is highly debatable.
- The Ig Nobel Prizes were handed out. I'm hoping better coverage turns up soon (as it's a really fun ceremony). Included was Doug Zongker giving a reprise of his inspired 'Chicken' Powerpoint presentation.
Rodent-oriented winners of the prizes included Spanish scientists who determined that rats cannot reliably distinguish between Japanese and Dutch played backwards as well as Argentinian researchers who discovered that Viagra can reduce the effects of jet lag in hamsters.
- Japan is well on their way to the moon with their Selene satellite settling into orbit. China and India are also making progress on lunar expeditions. The US, the only country that used to be able to make trips to the moon, is hoping to get the technology to return sometime around 2020...
As I predicted, this is starting to garner some public attention because America isn't "first", in a very obvious and public way. The Senate actually attached an extra billion to the president's appropriations budget in hopes of boosting NASA's cash flow. But other countries have been making consistent (well-funded) strides to earn their place in this revived race. As NASA administrator Michael Griffin said earlier, "China will beat us to the moon. ... Americans will not like it. But they will just have to not like it."
Our problem is only partially fixable with cash. Another part is the absurdly topheavy management of NASA and teh contractors which make it impossible to just get some parts, build a prototype and tweak it until it meets the requirements. Now everything has to be perfect on paper before you can try it. And when it doesn't work, all sorts of money and effort must be spent to correct things.
This isn't how we got to the moon.
Very true. Space travel is not, nor is likely to ever be, a risk-free venture. While I understand the conservative tendencies as a result, they're useful in engineering practices but not when it's just bureaucracy.
I agree with the court that politician should be allowed to lie, even though I think it should be allowed to stab a politician in the thigh should his or her lies come to light.
Also, the Chicken Powerpoint is pure brilliance.
Yes, by "public" there I meant the American public specifically. Space is just another way in which our country is slipping.
But I'm not particularly optimistic since, as you note, there are a number of other areas where it's become clear that America lost the "first" claim and we haven't fixed those, either.
I'm glad I've investing my money in China. Their economy is going to blow past that of the US so fast....
I hear good things about India too.
The second part of that second item sounds like something out of "Look Around You".
"Experiment Two: An experiment was carried out to determine whether rats can distinguish Japanese and Dutch speech when played backwards.
...[several minutes of obviously pointless rigmarole later]...
The answer is no. Write that down in your copybook now. But why is this? Well, it's because unlike human brains, rat brains lack van der Schuybasaki's gland, also called the Nipponethergland."
KT, is that Laurie Anderson in your avatar icon thingy?
Yes! From the cover of the Big Science album.