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Comment Re:Getting me started, man! (Score 0) 205

It sounds like you have no clue what prompted the 21 Century Tea Parties in the first place.

The Koch brothers?

Nice try. If you really think the whole thing involves just two brothers who have otherwise bribed a bunch of gullible people into doing their dirty work, perhaps America is really a lost nation. Do you really think there aren't greater principles involved?

Comment Re:Nonsense (Score 2) 205

Since you bring up ROI, I would have to agree that the money spent on Apollo has ultimately resulted in more money going into the American economy and in the long run far more economic activity from the resulting technology developed than if the money had simply been refunded to the tax payers for them to spend on Super Bowl tickets and other frivolous things. That said, how much of that kind of extreme cutting edge technology is being developed at NASA at the moment?

Computer technology for NASA missions is using not just yesterday's technology, but even a generation or two even further back. To give an example, the computer being used for the New Horizons spacecraft (currently enroute to Pluto) has the same CPU (admittedly radiation hardened and a bit more robust) that the Sony Playstation One uses. The Space Shuttle guidance computers were 16-bit computers that were about as powerful as the original IBM-PCs.

The SLS program seems to be a reboot to the Apollo program. The engines on the SLS are going to use the Space Shuttle Main Engines (literally.... they are using the very same engines that were used on the now retired shuttles and will throw them away in the Atlantic when the 1st stage is used). They are even reviewing the J-2 engine that the Saturn V used for its 2nd stage.

I could go on, but my point is that so little is really breaking new ground and pushing technology that I fail to see what NASA is actually doing at the moment that is worth even the limited funds it is receiving at the moment. From a ROI perspective, there basically isn't any.

Comment Re:Defund NASA. (Score 1) 205

It should be of note that even within NASA, programs like those you have mentioned are being cut in favor of SLS & the James Webb telescope. Like all government funding, those projects which go under budget and are efficient tend to get even less funding, while wasteful projects tend to get an ever larger share of the funding. Robotic missions have been cut so severely over the last couple of budget cycles that it is simply amazing that any of the researchers are even bothering to stick around.

Comment Re:Too cool for NASA (Score 2) 205

As Ronald Reagan said: "A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon you're talking real money."

That wasn't Ronald Reagan who said that. Instead, it was Everett Dirksen, who admittedly was a Republican congressman in the 1960's. He supposedly said this on an appearance with the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

Comment Re:Too cool for NASA (Score 1) 205

One thing that the ISS has that is of particular note is the largest solar power farm in space. For all of those who think that the future of energy needs can be obtained by harvesting power from space, I don't know why virtually none of the "space solar power" advocates use any of the lessons learned from the ISS, nor why it isn't being used more actively to conduct tests from orbit.

Keep in mind that the ISS has a solar power plant of about 100 kilowatts, with an effective 30-40 kilowatts of continuous usage. That is a considerable power reserve that could be put to use in a number of ways even if people are pulled from the station completely.

Yeah, there is a whole lot of engineering research that could happen on the ISS that simply isn't being done right now.

Comment Re:Too cool for NASA (Score 1) 205

The human spaceflight portion of this agency should be entirely decimated. In particular we should end US participation in the ISS. Little good science is returned from that endeavor at this point.

Those who complain about human crews in space simply don't have a damn clue about what it is that people actually do in space.

I'll agree that the current manned spaceflight program is a total joke at the moment, particularly with the infatuation with the manned program for going to Mars that is really nothing more than a jobs program to keep the companies who build ICBMs in business until the next round of missiles need to be developed. The Constellation/SLS programs in particular are a complete and total joke and a waste of money on such a monumental scale that it amazes me that anybody involved can keep a straight face when they talk about it. Considering that the Manned Spaceflight Center has no vehicles currently or even under contract that can take astronauts into space, it shows how little they actually give a damn about even trying to get a crewed program going. If it wasn't for the Soviet-developed Soyuz rockets, there wouldn't even be a manned spaceflight program.

This said, I think a responsible crewed spaceflight program can most certainly be developed... even a government program that is slightly more wasteful simply because it is a government program. Realistic goals and pushing the frontier of human existence is what was the original manned spaceflight program under NASA. There was a time when astronauts really were going "boldly where nobody has gone before" instead of "meekly going where hundreds have been". There is a point to having people in space being able to react to the environment and be able to perform tasks that machines simply are horrible about doing. It certainly shouldn't be seen as "robots vs. humans", but instead as complimentary uses where each kind of exploration program can help the other.

The ISS program was certainly not done for any science, but instead needs to be viewed as a foreign aid program. From that perspective, the ISS has been a tremendous benefit for world peace and has done a whole lot of good, at least as good as any other foreign aid program of comparable size. For myself, I sort of go "meh" in terms of continued support of the ISS. It did its job and is a nice facility for the amount of money dumped on it. If continued use of the ISS doesn't cost all that much additional money, there are some real positive things that could be done there. The best would be some real research on partial gravity (not microgravity) in a rotating reference frame, trying some technologies that will be needed for crewed missions to Mars (like perhaps even inflatable modules like the Trans-Hab.... let's get that up there finally!), and running some long term duration tests with ion engines or the VASMR engine. These are all technologies that simply can't be tested on the ground and the ISS is a perfect place to perform those kind of engineering tests. Note, I'm not saying science should happen, at least not pure science. Still, there are some things that having people in space can most definitely do.

Comment Re:Only one way to stop this (Score 0) 264

" about limiting the right of the Federal government from infringing the rights of the people"

How is monitoring infringing on any rights at all?
No where is the constitution does it say you can't be monitored.

" that "Shall make / not" means exactly what the dictionary says it does. "
No, that's stupid, at the very least. see 'literally'.

" The first and second amendments alone have been trampled with literally tens of thousands of laws that take away or limit said rights (I haven't even touched the other amendments)."
false, but nice of you to have drank the NRA koolaid.

Comment Re:Getting me started, man! (Score 4, Insightful) 205

"And I find it laughable and sad that the Teapartiers are mostly old white people and if they REALLY wanted what they think they wanted"

The TeaPartiers know just that. Most aren't really against government spending, just spending on the Wrong Kind Of People. There's plenty of right wing conservatives (old white farmers) in Kansas and Texas getting agricultural subsidies.

It sounds like you have no clue what prompted the 21 Century Tea Parties in the first place. It is not spending on the "wrong kind of people", it is an attitude that the government is just too damn big for its own good and infringing upon our rights and ignoring the U.S. Constitution as if it didn't even exist in the first place. I suppose you happen to like having the NSA snoop into everything you've ever done, and want to see the TSA come in and search every car traveling on Interstate Highways since they obviously aren't molesting enough grandmothers and toddlers?

Yes, those involved with the Tea Party also know full well that they are shooting themselves in the foot in terms of cutting pork for their home states and wanting the government to be significantly scaled back on all levels, both federal, state, and locally. It tends to have a very strong Libertarian bent and thinking both Democrats and Republicans are screwing up, and that it will take a huge economic redistribution to "set things right again" that will most certainly hurt a number of people if all of those programs are cut. The hope is that if the government is cut down significantly, that those abuses of authority can be much more easily identified and removed as well. As it is, the government at all levels is so huge that many of the current abuses are really background noise.

I will agree with you that the "neo-cons" who have taken over the banner of the "Tea Party" and trashed any real progress that those involved actually tried to accomplish. These congressmen are largely stateists who really do want their their own special interests (aka campaign contributors) to get government money instead of the special interests of the other guys. The whole thing that is currently happening in DC is just churning my stomach and making me want to barf. Yes, I'm talking about you, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. And they're the best of the lot. Don't get me started on guys like Orrin Hatch and John McCain who are complete sell-outs.

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