Category Archives: Technology and Society

The Safety Of SLS

I have no difficulty whatsoever believing this:

Most troubling of all, the internal assumption at MSFC is that the first SLS flight will have a built-in risk of failure of around 8%. This risk is being “baked in” to the design of SLS in part due to decisions being made at MSFC about software and avionics – decisions that are being made so as to not surface troublesome issues that no one wants to deal with. One can imagine that safety folks at MSFC are nervous.

This is no way to build a rocket folks.

Once you understand that (unlike at SpaceX) the goal is not to build a rocket, it all makes sense.

SpaceX’s Announcement

A preview:

[Update a while later]

Here’s Nadia Drake’s story on the announcement. The Q and A ended up being sort of a goat rodeo.

[Update early evening, PDT]

Here’s the full presentation.

[Wednesday-morning update]

Here’s Eric Berger’s take, and Jeff Foust’s. And one from Casey Dreier at the Planetary Society.

[Update a couple minutes later]

And Chris Davenport’s.

[Update a couple more minutes later]

And Loren Grush says there’s still a lot to figure out. No kidding.

[Update another couple minutes later]

And Wayne McCandless is skeptical (with a plug of my book).

[Update a few minutes later]

Thoughts from Bob Zubrin.

[Update a while later]

Joel Achenbach says don’t pack your bags for Mars yet. And Ken Chang says Elon just needs to figure out how to pay for it. Well, I think there are other issues as well. Meanwhile, the National Space Society is gung ho (as they should be, it’s much more in line with the group’s stated objective than anything NASA is doing).

[Update a couple minutes later]

Miri Kramer’s five takeaways.

[Update late morning]

McCandless link was missing, but I fixed it.

In response to Dreier:

[Update early afternoon]

Here’s Alan Boyle’s take.

And Elon answered yesterday’s question about how they get down to the surface:

[Update a while later]

Bill Nye doesn’t buy it. But the Planetary Society doesn’t want “filthy meatbag bodies” on Mars, anyway.

Speaking of which, I’m pretty sure that this announcement will re-energize the SJWs.

[Update a while later]

An amusing take over at Wait But Why. And one of the first, but certainly not last takes on planetary protection and the Outer Space Treaty.

The FBI Clinton Files

Twenty-seven things we learned from them.

Most of which are indictable felonies. Including that Obama lied when he said he didn’t know that she had a private server. The question is, does the same pseudonym show up in emails to and from Lois Lerner? If so, it’s stronger evidence than they had to impeach Nixon.

[Update a while later]

Turning the FBI into the White House’s political pawn may be the worst thing about Obama’s legacy.

I’m old enough to remember when the White House was the FBI’s political pawn.

It’s Not Just Big Sugar

A lot of other food producers profited from the demonization of fat. This is the biggest health disaster in history, I think.

[Update a while later]

There is no reason to even consider eating reduced-fat cheese. Same with all dairy, including milk. Low-fat milk is a nutritional abomination.

It’s almost impossible to find whole-milk mozarella, at least shredded. Fage won’t produce a whole-milk Greek yogurt; best you can do is two percent. And Costco only sells fat-free. Fortunately, Trader Joe’s has started selling its own brand, in whole-milk, at a lower price, so that’s our new yogurt.

SpaceX Update

This is an interesting announcement, in the context of Elon’s Mars speech next week in Guadalajara:

At this stage of the investigation, preliminary review of the data and debris suggests that a large breach in the cryogenic helium system of the second stage liquid oxygen tank took place. All plausible causes are being tracked in an extensive fault tree and carefully investigated. Through the fault tree and data review process, we have exonerated any connection with last year’s CRS-7 mishap.

Makes sense, but still doesn’t sound like they’ve gotten to the root cause.