The Falcon Failure

I overslept. Just got up and saw my Twitter feed.

My immediate thought: This makes is a lot harder to sell my thesis that we need to start flying crew ASAP. I haven’t changed my mind, but I’ve never claimed that it would be safe to do so, just that it was important to do so. My second thought: Would the launch abort system have worked for this event? I really am surprised at this.

[Update a few minutes later]

Unfortunately, it happened before stage separation, so they didn’t get to even attempt a landing.

[Update a couple minutes later]

[Update a few minutes later]

Second question (per Henry Vanderbilt’s comment): Could capsule have separated absent an LAS? Was the Dragon destroyed by range safety itself?

[Update a while later]

Some video, sent by my book editor.

[Evening update]

Thoughts and history from Stephen Smith:

Humanity reached the Moon in 1969, yet failures and fatalities still happen. They always will.

Today I met a 12-year old from a Colorado middle school who had an experiment aboard SpaceX CRS-7. I told her I was sorry she lost her experiment, but she was undeterred. Grinning from ear to ear, she said, “We’ll build another one and do it again!”

As he notes, so will SpaceX.

[Update a few minutes later]

A good balanced take from the WaPo.

How Republics Die

My thoughts on the most recent judicial atrocities, over at PJMedia.

[Update later afternoon]

Some thoughts from Randy Barnett on “judicial restraint” and Republican judicial appointments.

I know it sounds crazy, but I want judges to follow the Constitution, not the tyrannical majority. I also want them to overturn crap decisions. Stare decisis my ass.

[Update a little while later]

Should we make Justices accountable to the voters?

It seems like a bad idea to me. I agree with Cruz’s diagnosis of the problem, but not his remedy. I think that one of the reasons that impeachment is so toothless is the original wording: “High Crimes and Misdemeanors.” The Founders had a very clear view of what that meant, but most people today do not, as we discovered during the Clinton impeachment trial. The only successful impeachments and removals I can think of occurred in the context of gross and blatant corruption (Alcee Hastings, who was later re-elected), or actual criminality. The other part of the problem is that, while they were adamantly opposed to political parties and made no Constitutional provision for them whatsoever, they perhaps didn’t anticipate how difficult they would make impeachment (even though court appointments are in theory non-partisan).

I think a better solution might be to amend the Constitution to simply modernize the grounds for impeachment. For instance, “…or, in violation of their oath of office, persistent indifference to the Constitution and the rule of law.”

Who could argue with that? It would be quite entertaining to watch Democrats attempt to argue that office holders shouldn’t have to uphold their oath of office. And if it passed, it would force impeachment trials to actual discuss those arcane concepts.

[Update a few minutes later]

This is sort of similar to proposals to rein in the government by adding the words “and this time we really mean it” to the 9th and 10th amendments against encroachments by the flawed interpretations of the Commerce Clause. It would be a “this time we really mean it” to simply following the Constitution and the rule of law.

Racism In America

90% of it comes from the Democrats and the Left.

Yes. And it’s always been the case, from the times of slavery, through Reconstruction, and Jim Crow, right up through today.

[Update a few minutes later]

Related: Why do we continue to honor the racist Woodrow Wilson? He was a Democrat, and the first arguably fascist president. And his views were probably influenced by the anti-Enlightenment pro-slavery screeds of Calhoun and Fitzhugh.

[Friday-morning update]

Whitewashing the Democrats’ racist history. With (as always) the aid of the media, either from ignorance or partisanship, or both.


Why Apple Pulled Civil War Games From Its App Store

Because it was afraid of the Internet:

No rational person would complain that there were Civil War sims. No sensible person would believe that society would be improved by demanding their removal. No emotionally stable person could think that they were safer now because someone, somewhere, would not get updates to a game they purchased that allowed them to fight as the Union Army but contained the sight of the Confederate flag. Anyone who would believe these things is tethered to reality by a frayed strand of dental floss, and while they may live in a comfy bubble where everyone believes the same things and has at least two friends who are doing very important work in the field of instructional graffiti, most people are stable enough to resist the siren call of the Stars and Bars, even in the form of a picture on a phone.

But. The loud people may complain. The company would have to explain. An explanation would be seen as a justification.

Of course there are nuances to this; Apple is working with developers to use a different, earlier flag, according to some reports. Because that’s the issue, right? Finding an acceptable flag to represent a slave state? As I noted elsewhere, the app store still has a game that lets you simulate the USSR, including an in-app purchase that lets you fine-tune your oppression settings. One could say this is okay because the USSR was an equal-opportunity killer, just as the repression settings in “Tropico” are hunky and / or dory because you’re putting the screws to your own people. If that’s the case, then they have decided that American Slavery is not only a unique historical event, but something whose magnitude and uniqueness sets it apart from every other act of state oppression and governmental violation of human rights. The enslavement of an entire population is not offensive, per se, because it’s color-blind.

I mean, sure, go ahead, make that argument. And if that’s the case, then my Roman Slave Merchant Sim should get brisk approval, because the Romans didn’t care who they enslaved, and also had the option to buy your way out. They practically invented the in-app purchase, in a way.


Oops. Maybe there is a “consensus” after all:

According to the newly published survey of geoscientists and engineers, merely 36 percent of respondents fit the “Comply with Kyoto” model. The scientists in this group “express the strong belief that climate change is happening, that it is not a normal cycle of nature, and humans are the main or central cause.”

The authors of the survey report, however, note that the overwhelming majority of scientists fall within four other models, each of which is skeptical of alarmist global warming claims.

The survey finds that 24 percent of the scientist respondents fit the “Nature Is Overwhelming” model. “In their diagnostic framing, they believe that changes to the climate are natural, normal cycles of the Earth.” Moreover, “they strongly disagree that climate change poses any significant public risk and see no impact on their personal lives.”

Another group of scientists fit the “Fatalists” model. These scientists, comprising 17 percent of the respondents, “diagnose climate change as both human- and naturally caused. ‘Fatalists’ consider climate change to be a smaller public risk with little impact on their personal life. They are skeptical that the scientific debate is settled regarding the IPCC modeling.” These scientists are likely to ask, “How can anyone take action if research is biased?”

The next largest group of scientists, comprising 10 percent of respondents, fit the “Economic Responsibility” model. These scientists “diagnose climate change as being natural or human caused. More than any other group, they underscore that the ‘real’ cause of climate change is unknown as nature is forever changing and uncontrollable. Similar to the ‘nature is overwhelming’ adherents, they disagree that climate change poses any significant public risk and see no impact on their personal life. They are also less likely to believe that the scientific debate is settled and that the IPCC modeling is accurate. In their prognostic framing, they point to the harm the Kyoto Protocol and all regulation will do to the economy.”

The final group of scientists, comprising 5 percent of the respondents, fit the “Regulation Activists” model. These scientists “diagnose climate change as being both human- and naturally caused, posing a moderate public risk, with only slight impact on their personal life.” Moreover, “They are also skeptical with regard to the scientific debate being settled and are the most indecisive whether IPCC modeling is accurate.”

Taken together, these four skeptical groups numerically blow away the 36 percent of scientists who believe global warming is human caused and a serious concern.

One interesting aspect of this new survey is the unmistakably alarmist bent of the survey takers. They frequently use terms such as “denier” to describe scientists who are skeptical of an asserted global warming crisis, and they refer to skeptical scientists as “speaking against climate science” rather than “speaking against asserted climate projections.” Accordingly, alarmists will have a hard time arguing the survey is biased or somehow connected to the ‘vast right-wing climate denial machine.’

Note, whether I agree or not, science isn’t done by polling, or by “consensus.” But I’d place myself in the third of those four groups.

[Late-afternoon update]

Scientists speaking with one voice: Panacea, or pathology?

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!