Category Archives: Space

Lunar Heart Disease

Does going to the moon increase risk of heart attacks?

I can’t tell from this study, because I consider it insufficiently controlled. For instance, they don’t say what generation they pulled the data from. A sixty-year old today is likely to be in a different state of health than one from thirty years ago. For all I know, the Apollo astronauts got their heart attacks from terrible dietary advice in the seventies, as my father did.

A Penetrating Critique Of Reusable Launch Systems

…from people who currently make good money building expendable launch systems.

In other news, the Buggy Whip Manufacturers Association saw no future in these newfangled “horseless carriages.”

[Update a while later]

Bob Zimmerman has some thoughts on the lie that is Orion, while Eric Berger discusses the GAO concerns about its programmatics.

Star Trek

…is far from libertarian:

The Federation isn’t just socialist in the hyperbolic sense in which some conservatives like to denounce anyone to the left of them as socialist. It’s socialist in the literal sense that the government has near-total control over the economy and the means of production. Especially by the period portrayed in The Next Generation, the government seems to control all major economic enterprises, and there do not seem to be any significant private businesses controlled by humans in Federation territory. Star Fleet characters, such as Captain Picard, boast that the Federation has no currency and that humans are no longer motivated by material gain and do not engage in capitalist economic transactions.

The supposed evils of free markets are exemplified by the Ferengi, an alien race who exemplify all the stereotypes socialists typically associate with “evil capitalists.” The Ferengi are unrelentingly greedy and exploitative. Their love of profit seems to be exceeded only by their sexism—they do not let females work outside the household, even when it would increase their profits to do so.

The problem here is not just that Star Trek embraces socialism: it’s that it does so without giving any serious consideration to the issue. For example, real-world socialist states have almost always resulted in poverty and massive political oppression, piling up body counts in the tens of millions.

But Star Trek gives no hint that this might be a danger, or any explanation of how the Federation avoided it. Unlike on many other issues, where the producers of the series recognize that there are multiple legitimate perspectives on a political issue, they seem almost totally oblivious to the downsides of socialism.

You don’t say. That episode TNG did on cryonics was extremely off putting to me.