Augustine Report Perspectives

Popular Mechanics has rounded up some thoughts from some panel members, and others, including John Carmack. I haven’t had time to read them yet, myself, but may have more comments when I have.

[Update a few minutes later]

OK, I’ve skimmed them. Bob Park has nothing of interest to say, as usual. I think that Scott’s comment is the most interesting. I think that the answer to both questions is yes. We already can see the economic justification — if nothing else, there is a market for wealthy people who simply want to go. If the price can be brought down, that market is extremely elastic (look what happened to the cruise industry…). The way to bring the cost down is to build an affordable infrastructure, and start living off the land. The great tragedy of human spaceflight is that we have squandered tens of billions over the past decades redoing the unaffordable Apollo model of centralized bureaucracy. Had we not been diverted by the need to beat the Soviets to the moon half a century ago, I think that a NACA that had evolved into a technology agency for space as well as aviation might have had us much further down that road by now.

Saving Scatterometers

I haven’t dug into either the programmatics or the politics of this, but Jeff Masters says that the Senate is about to cut NOAA’s budget and move the funds to criminal alien assistance. I don’t live in south Florida any more (hallelujiah!) but I think that tracking hurricanes is a higher priority for that money. I do think that if I did dig into this, I might find more innovative and cost-effective proposals to do it than another QuickSCAT (like data purchase), but I’d rather have that than nothing.

I would also note that if the satellite had been designed to be serviced, and Shuttle had lived up to its initial program goals (including, of course, west-coast launch capability), we wouldn’t have to launch a new satellite — it would be an excellent candidate for repair, with its instruments still in good shape. But because Shuttle didn’t, it wasn’t. And because satellites aren’t designed to be serviced, there is less market to justify systems capable of servicing them. Chicken and egg. Such are the ongoing consequences of not being a spacefaring nation.

I wonder if this would have been more in the news if we’d had a more active hurricane season, and were still in the middle of it? Timing is all.

The Decline Of America

Charls Krauthammer says that we have a choice to make. The problem is that the country is being run by people who think that such a decline is a “progressive” value, and not only favor, it but are doing everything possible to hasten it, in their goal to level the field and reduce us all to Eurosocialists.

[Update a while later]

Related, but disturbing thoughts from David Solway:

…is there a chance that America will emerge approximately intact after the 2012 election, send Obama packing back to Chicago where he belongs, and gradually recover the strength, dignity, and economic vitality it has forfeited to a charlatan? Might the 2010 congressional elections apply the brakes and at least slow down the nation’s careening descent — what Roger Kimball calls a dégringolade — into impoverishment, stasis, and political and military weakness? Maybe. Maybe not.

Obama reminds me of a Star Wars Imperial Walker, wreaking havoc and devastation with every step, but one who may not be brought down by ordinary Americans who understand the danger he represents. The fear is that Obama has amassed so much power, aided by a Pravda-esque media and backed by a like-minded political clientele among left-wing voters and significant minorities, that he may be invulnerable. But, unfortunately, his country is not.

I think that the Republic will ultimately prevail, but the immediate future looks very ugly.

Busy Weekend

We’re making a big push to get more moved into the house this weekend, including setting up an office for Patricia and the guest bedroom, and starting to straighten out the garage. I also have to clean the gutters, even though the leaves aren’t all down yet, because there’s a Pacific storm coming in on Tuesday or Wednesday of indeterminate strength and rainfall.

I did watch the Michigan game yesterday, though. In the past two weeks, I think they’ve gone from being the worst 4-0 team in the country to the best 4-2. They’re only two turnovers away from being undefeated, and if they hadn’t had so many last night, they’d have beaten Iowa handily. The defense is actually starting to look better, which gives me some hope for the rest of the season, if the quarterbacks can figure out what color jerseys they’re supposed to be throwing to. Also, I see that the Lions are off to a good start on the new losing streak to break their previous record, with a loss to the Steelers today.

Annoying

As a “rocket scientist” (I hate that phrase), I wish that everyone in the media would stop saying that NASA crashed a “rocket” into the moon. A rocket put it into space, but what crashed into the moon were spacecraft (though they had small rocket motors on them). I don’t actually even like the term “rocket” for a launch vehicle. It’s like calling a car an “internal combustion engine.”

Waking Up To Absurdity

I watched the lunar attack on NASA TV. As is usually the case with that venue, it was boring to tears.

In other news, for those who thought that non-science Nobel peace prizes had any meaning, and haven’t just become a bad joke, the committee just awarded one to the president on the same day that he was the first one to bomb the moon.

I have to repeat the words on so many lips today. For what?

There’s a big roundup of commentary over at Instapundit. Even the Obamafellators in the media are stunned.

If he were a man of any sense or honor, he would point out the absurdity, and refuse it. So we know what he’ll do.

[Update a few minutes later]

A lot of good commentary at The Corner, for example, from Yuval Levin:

It’s hard to know quite what the right response would be, but it would probably require a self-effacing show of humility (including declining the prize) that our president may not even be able to fake, let alone actually exhibit. It is a dangerous thing for a president to become a joke, and between his Olympic Committee trip and this peculiar honor, he’s getting there fast, and in a way that could do him real harm.

I wonder if any commentator, anywhere on the political spectrum, will offer a genuine straight-faced defense or case for this prize. Whoever does will no-doubt win next year’s Nobel Prize for literature.

I don’t know if they’ve ever given one for fantasy.

[Update a few minutes later]

Getting back to the original topic, Clark Lindsey has some links to preliminary LCROSS results. Let’s hope that the moon was not attacked for no good reason.

[Another update]

Actually, President Obama wasn’t the first one to bomb the moon. Kennedy did, with the Ranger program. So I guess that’s another way he’s trying to emulate him. On the other hand, he was the first to do it on the first attempt. The first few Rangers managed to throw a spacecraft at the ground and miss (those weren’t JPL’s finest days).

[Update a few minutes later]

Thoughts from Jonah:

The only thing that really bothers me is that this comes just days after the Obama administration turned a blind eye to the Dalai Lama and told the world that it’s at least considering a separate peace with the Taliban. That’s grotesque. Meanwhile, there are real peace activists and dissidents out there whose dungeons will stay just as cold and dark for another year because of this. Indeed, this news comes during a year when the Iranian people rose up against tyranny and were crushed. Surely someone in Iran — or maybe the Iranian protestors generally — could have benefitted more from receiving the prize than a president who, so far, has done virtually nothing concrete for world peace.

That wouldn’t fit the template. Like the UN, the Nobel committee has become an enabler of tyrants and dictators. I expect that Ahmadinejad will get one in a couple years, once he’s wiped those war-mongering Jews off the face of the Middle East.

[Update a while later]

A lot more at The Corner. I agree that he should be given the Cy Young award, too. After all, he intended to reach home plate with that pitch. And that’s what counts, right?

[Update a while later]

Man, oh man, I can see this going on for days:

A reader asks:

Can Obama accept the $1 million Nobel prize?

I believe, since he’s also won the Nobel Prize for Economics for his groundbreaking work demonstrating that “profit” is part of “overhead“, that the prize is being increased to $1 trillion. They give it him in small bills and if Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod can get it in the attache case they get to share the Nobel Prize for Physics.

However, under Congressman Rangel’s recently tightened federal ethics rules, the President has to give the money to an Acorn-supported child-sex brothel symbolizing in a very real sense “cooperation between peoples” of many lands. So don’t worry about it. On Monday, he’s scheduled to win the Eurovision Song Contest…

Actually, this is the first time that I’ve actually felt any sympathy for the administration. The Nobel committee has put them in a real corner where there’s almost nothing they can do that will look good. But they’ve been asking for it, going all the way back to the speech in Germany last summer.

[Update mid morning]

Frank J. is taking all the credit, natch:

A lot of you laughed when I first unveiled my peace plan over seven years ago, but who is laughing now? This morning, America crashed a probe into the moon causing an explosion. And the result? Obama had won the Nobel Peace Prize.

As I note in comments over there, though, and above, Obama was not the first American president to attack the moon.

And help Obama win the Heisman. I think he deserves it just for questioning the BCS.

[Late morning update]

John Podhoretz disagrees that he doesn’t deserve the prize:

he Nobel Committee chose him wisely because he does, in fact, represent the organization’s highest ideals.

He is an American president queasy about the projection of American power. He is an American president who rejects the notion of American exceptionalism. He is an American president eagerly in pursuit of legitimacy to be granted him not by those who voted for him but by those who do not cast a vote and who chafe at American leadership. It is his devout wish that America become one of many nations, influencing the world indirectly or not influencing it at all, rather than “the indispensable nation,” as Madeleine Albright characterized it. He is the encapsulation, the representative, the wish fulfillment, the very embodiment, of the multilateralist impulse. He is, almost literally, a dream come true for the sorts of people who treasure and value the Nobel Peace Prize.

There’s a Michael Moore reference, too.

The Latest Lunar Bombardment

LCROSS will hit the moon in the middle of the night in this time zone, so I’m not sure whether I’ll get up for it. There was a lot of idiotic commentary (in comments) over here the other day. I wonder if the president will apologize for this unprovoked attack before, or after the event? Or does he only apologize for things that his predecessors did?

[Update a few minutes later]

It really is amazing to see the number of commenters sincerely worried that we’re going to knock the moon out of its orbit, or break it in half.

[Late evening update]

Frank J. was way ahead of NASA:

Now the world will be pretty convinced that America is frick’n nuts and just looking for a fight, but we need to really ingrain it into everyone’s conscious so that no one will ever even contemplate crossing us. This requires making good use of our nukes. I know, nukes can kill millions of people, but they sure aren’t doing anyone any good just sitting around. I mean, how many years has it been since we last dropped a bomb on someone? No one even thinks we’ll actually use one now. Of course, using nukes shouldn’t be done haphazardly; all uses have to be well planned out because the explosions are so cool looking that we’ll want to give the press plenty of notice so they can get pictures of the mushroom cloud from all sorts of different angles. But what to nuke? Well, usually the idea is populated cities, but, by the beliefs of my morally superior religion, killing is wrong. So why can’t we be more creative than nuking people. My idea is to nuke the moon; just say we thought we saw moon people or something. There is no one actually there to kill (unless we time it poorly) and everyone in the world could see the results. And all the other countries would exclaim, “Holy @$#%! They are nuking the moon! America has gone insane! I better go eat at McDonald’s before they think I don’t like them.”

Of course, Frank’s always been way ahead of the curve.

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