Category Archives: Media Criticism

Nutrition Guidelines

Tom Vilsack: “I wish there were scientific facts.”

Pro tip to Vilsack. An “informed opinion” not based on scientific facts is an uninformed opinion.

And here’s a nice bit of illogic:

Lawmakers also noted that federal nutrition guidelines could be considered a failure because of the country’s high obesity rates. But Burwell fought back, arguing that obesity would be much worse had the guidelines not been in place.

“We are on the wrong trajectory, but would the trajectory have been worse?” Burwell said, acknowledging there was an obesity problem.

Since it was the original crap low-fat guidelines from the government that caused the problem, no, there’s no reason to consider them a success, or to not end the insanity.

Hollywood And Mars

An interesting history.

[Monday-afternoon update]

Even the film-makers had doubts:

“If you had told me two years ago when we were walking into Fox to pitch the approach and what this movie would be, if you told me I’d be on the phone talking about how this is a big spectacle movie, I would have been delighted,” he tells Esquire. “At the time, we knew it was going to be expensive, but we thought it would be more niche than Ridley made it.” Nope.

What made The Martian unique also made it a difficult sell. It was not an action movie. The film’s star would spend his time farming potatoes harvested from his co-astronaut’s feces. The Rock would not show up to blow away aliens halfway through the second act. Mind would prevail over muscle. And that’s not easy to write for the masses.

I hope it will break some of the stereotypes, and make it easier to make these kinds of films.


Train Wrecks In Space

Thoughts from Wayne Hale (who I hope I’ll see tomorrow in Las Cruces) on how to avoid them:

I have a cheap seat view of the Orion/SLS development. My basic observation: those efforts are drowning in ‘process’. The biggest threat to their success is not technical; it is schedule and cost. If the design and development processes drag the projects out too far, Congress or a new Administration will throw up their hands and call a halt to the whole thing. They did once before; my intuition is that they will again unless something significant happens.

The secret of a good program – as a very senior spacecraft designer once told me – is knowing how much is enough and then not doing anything more.

Right now, inside NASA, we have trained our workforce to do it perfectly. And perfection is very costly and takes a long time. Over in the Commercial Crew Program, the senior leadership is making some progress in toning down the drive for perfection. It is a slow effort and uphill at all times. Over in the Exploration systems area, it all seems to be going the other way. Whatever anybody calls necessary for safety or improvement – without evaluating the real cost or schedule or other impact – seems to be adopted.

So I am guardedly optimistic about the commercial teams actually succeeding in flying humans in space in the next couple of years.
Not so much optimism for the exploration systems, drowning in ‘process’.

The sooner it’s canceled, the better, but I’m sure we’ll waste more billions on it before it happens.

The Recycling Religion

Thoughts from John Tierney:

I realize that true believers don’t need rational reasons for their religion, but it would be nice to see a little soul-searching in regard to some stats in the article: To offset the greenhouse impact of one passenger’s round-trip flight between New York and London, you’d have to recycle roughly 40,000 plastic bottles, assuming you fly coach. If you sit in the front of the plane, it’s more like 100,000 bottles — and you have to make sure not to rinse any of them with hot water, because that little extra energy could more than cancel out any greenhouse benefit of your labors.

They were told there would be no math.

The Riddle Of Obama

Thoughts from Neo-neocon:

Obama is here to punish America for its sins, and he’s been very successful at that. That the left and many liberals continue to love him, continue to support him, is a puzzlement to many people. But why wouldn’t those who have been successfully taught that America is a great evil in the world—birthed in evil, steeped in evil, and empowered by evil; especially racial evil but also countless other evils big and small—applaud his efforts?


Plus, thoughts from a few days ago about facing the truth about the president.