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Why NASA's New Video Game Misses the Point 205

longacre writes "Erik Sofge trudges through NASA's latest free video game, which he finds tedious, uninspiring and misguided. Quoting: 'Moonbase Alpha is a demo, of sorts, for NASA's more ambitious upcoming game, Astronaut: Moon, Mars & Beyond, which will feature more destinations, and hopefully less welding. The European Space Agency is developing a similar game, set on the Jovian Moon, Europa. But Moonbase Alpha proves that as a recruiting campaign, or even as an educational tool, the astronaut simulation game is a lost cause. Unless NASA plans to veer into science fiction and populate its virtual moons, asteroids and planets with hostile species, it's hard to imagine why anyone would want to suffer through another minute of pretending to weld power cables back into place, while thousands of miles away, the most advanced explorers ever built are hurtling toward asteroids and dwarf planets and into the heart of the sun. Even if it was possible to build an astronaut game that's both exciting and realistic, why bother? It will be more than a decade before humans even attempt another trip outside of Earth's orbit. If NASA wants to inspire the next generation of astronauts and engineers, its games should focus on the real winners of the space race — the robots.'"

Comment Re:So... Why not? (Score 1) 528

There are several places in the Clean Air Act like this. The reason is because back when the CAA was being drafted, California was already tackling air pollution problems (due to nasty smog in L.A.) with its own laws. Rather than override what California had already done, the CAA adopted a split strategy. Under the CAA, California has the right to set its own air pollution related regulations that are stricter than those in the CAA. Other states then have the option of adopting either the California version or the general U.S. version. Many northeastern states have adopted California's regs. Car manufacturers (and business interests in general) were very concerned that there would be different requirements in every state, and this split was a compromise. Incidentally, now that the Supreme Court has asserted that greenhouse gases are indeed pollutants that can and should be regulated under the CAA, California is developing regulations to curb CO2. Northeastern states are expected to follow suit. Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer, but an air quality researcher.

There is very little future in being right when your boss is wrong.