Bill Haynes

Most of my readers don’t know him, or even who he is, but I just learned that he was killed in an auto accident yesterday, on his way to church. Ironically, as Bill Simon (Bill’s webmaster and our mutual friend) tells me, the picture of him at his blog is one that he took of Bill in his F-86 flight suit on the Miata he was driving when he apparently was head-oned by an SUV. He reportedly died instantly.

Services Saturday — I suspect that Buzz Aldrin will be there, if he’s in LA. I’ll have more thoughts, and personal remembrances later, but suffice it to say that while he lived a long and full life, it wasn’t as long as he wanted, and now he’ll never make it into space, though he’s been working hard to make that happen not just for himself, but for all of us, longer than anyone else I can think of.

[Update a couple minutes later]

Going through Bill’s blog, I just noticed that this blog post, on the need to reduce the cost to open up space, may have been his last one.

[Update a few minutes later]

Here’s the initial story from The Daily Breeze, with no identification.

[Update late evening EDT]

The Daily Breeze has now provided the identification. As Bill might have said, schade, and scheisse.

The Chevy Small Block Of Space

Is that what the Merlin is? A little early to say, I’d say, but I think one could come up with some creative new vehicles using it in the lower stages and the R-10 up above. If I were in control of NASA R&T budgets, something I’d have done a long time ago was to pay Pratt to test them to destruction to determine how many restarts they could do and how many hours they could fire without refurbishment. If I were SpaceX, I’d be doing the same with Merlin. Perhaps they already are.

Speaking of rocket design, I see that the rocket scientists on the Hill have been sharpening their pencils. I guess that Bill Nelson not only flew into space once, but he must have stayed at a Holiday Inn Express, too.

Whose Choice?

This is a fascinating article. A few years ago, in the context of his concerns about the general ability to redesign ourselves, I had a question for Stanley Kurtz:

Suppose we find that there is something different about the brains of gay men and women (a proposition for which there’s already abundant and growing evidence). If we can come up with an affordable, painless therapy that “fixes” this and converts them from “gay” to “straight,” should we a) allow them to take advantage of it, or b) forbid them from doing so, or c) require them to? And should “straight” (i.e., exclusively heterosexual) people be allowed to become gay, or bi?

I have a lot of thoughts about this but (to paraphrase Pascal) insufficient time to write them down right now (meetings all day). I will say, though, that in this particular case, I think that many of the “bioethicists” in question are less concerned about the ability of parents to design their children to be “normal” than they are about stigmatizing homosexuality.

[Update a while later]

Sorry, link’s fixed now.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!