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Comment Government (Score 1) 84 84

When a government agency funds something that works, the headline is always, "NASA builds this..." or "DARPA builds that..."

But when a government agency funds something that doesn't work, the headline instead is, "Lockheed mess up this..." or "Boeing messed up that..."

Did DARPA "create" this as the headline says, or did they just fund somebody else to do the research, design and implementation?

http://www.laserfocusworld.com/articles/2012/07/northrop-grumman-demos-850-ghz-integrated-receiver-circuit-aiming-at-terahertz-photonics.html

Comment The "flaw" with Democracy (Score 1) 504 504

Democracy works only in theory as well:

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until a majority of voters discover that they can vote themselves largess out of the public treasury."

              - Alexander Tytler

The Soviet Union lasted for almost a century despite the flaws of communism. We in the U.S. have lasted for a little over two centuries. From a purely empirical standpoint, neither economic framework has yet proven itself to be stable in the long term. (A couple of centuries isn't really long enough to prove long-term stability. If we make it to a thousand years though, I think that'd be a pretty good argument.)

Comment It's about time... (Score 1, Insightful) 491 491

I've been thinking for years that NASA should be "dismantled"...reduce its mission scope to military-related matters and take all the civilian stuff that NASA does now and take that commercial instead.

If the government bought its civilian space needs exclusively from commercial suppliers "off the shelf" that would be a huge boost for commercial space industry and would accelerate development of low-cost-to-orbit technologies.

It's not that a governmental entity like NASA *couldn't* accomplish the same thing, but they've spent the last 35 years proving that they *won't*. It's almost impossible to change the DNA of a government agency. The only alternative is to scale them back so far that they essentially have to re-invent themselves, and use the funds saved to nurture industry alternatives.

There are worse things in life than death. Have you ever spent an evening with an insurance salesman? -- Woody Allen

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