How To Reduce Mass Shootings

Let’s try treating boys better.

It won’t completely eliminate them, but there would be a lot of societal benefits to it.

[Update a while later]

How many girlfriends did the gunman have?

Just this week, on Tuesday, using the handle lithium_love, he commented on a post titled “How many girlfriends have you had?” by saying “0. Never had anyone.” When pressed further by another user, he responded “Well, it means I’ve never been with anyone, no woman nor man (nor dog or animal or any other).” Then, on Wednesday, responding to a comment that he “must be saving himself for someone special,” he said, “Involuntarily so.” It was a day before the killings.

“He did not like his lot in life, and it seemed like nothing was going right for him,” a law enforcement official said, describing the writings found at the crime scene. “It’s clear he was in a very bad state of mind.”

You don’t say.

John Koskinen

Jim Jordan says he’s going to be impeached.

I hope so. It’s about time someone in this criminal organization masquerading as a government was impeached. They should impeach Gina McCarthy, too.

[Update a few minutes later]

Here’s someone else to make a salutary example of:

Roth’s report, released Wednesday, found that 45 agents and supervisors had peeked at Chaffetz’s personnel file, which was stored in an internal Secret Service database. The report said 18 supervisors, including the deputy director and Clancy’s chief of staff, knew that the information had been accessed inside the agency. But the report said Clancy was a notable exception and had never been informed.

Clancy now says he knew that the unflattering information was being shared inside his agency and was told about it by a top deputy before it was leaked to the news media, officials said.

As a result of his new statements, investigators from Roth’s office plan to reinterview Clancy about his revised account, the officials said.

With a corrupt Justice Department, impeachment is the only available means of accountability. Even if the Senate won’t removed, no one should want that on their resume.


…was told there would be no math:

His discovery explains why none of the climate models used by the IPCC reflect the evidence of recorded temperatures. The models have failed to predict the pause in global warming which has been going on for 18 years and counting.

“The model architecture was wrong,” he says. “Carbon dioxide causes only minor warming. The climate is largely driven by factors outside our control.”

There is another problem with the original climate model, which has been around since 1896.

While climate scientists have been predicting since the 1990s that changes in temperature would follow changes in carbon dioxide, the records over the past half million years show that not to be the case.

So, the new improved climate model shows CO2 is not the culprit in recent global warming. But what is?

Dr Evans has a theory: solar activity. What he calls “albedo modulation”, the waxing and waning of reflected radiation from the Sun, is the likely cause of global warming.

How could the sun possibly effect climate? Why, that’s just crazy talk!

The Dangers Of Mars

The movie understates them. I vehemently disagree with this, though:

Martian gravity is roughly one-third the gravity on Earth. Experiments on the International Space Station show that plants, animals and humans all suffer in weightlessness, but no one knows how living creatures will fare in reduced gravity.

“Maybe plants will be happy, maybe animals will be happy, maybe humans will be happy,” McKay says. “Or maybe not.” The effect of reduced gravity isn’t easily tested ahead of time and though probably not a huge problem, it could be a “showstopper,” McKay says.

It is easily tested ahead of time. Stop wasting money on a giant rocket and build a gravity lab. The fact that we’re not is one of the strongest indicators that neither NASA or Congress are serious about Mars.

[Update a few minutes later]

Barriers to colonizing Mars. I don’t buy this number for a minute, though:

NASA’s current Mars mission concept would set us back about $50 billion over the course of a decade, or about twice as much as the moon program cost between 1962 and 1972.

First, in current-year dollars, we spent more like a hundred billion on Apollo (the $25B is in sixties dollars). But they’re probably going to spend that much just on SLS/Orion, without any actual Mars hardware.

[Late-morning update]

Don’t worry, Matt Damon won’t get stranded on Mars, because NASA can’t get him there.

NASA And Safety

A long piece at Aerospace America by Debra Werner and Anatoly Zak. I haven’t had time to read the whole thing yet, but this is absurd:

“The actual loss of crew value will vary depending on the mission,” William C. Hill, NASA deputy associate administrator for exploration systems development, says by email. “This makes the loss-of-crew number one example where it is difficult to compare shuttle with Orion/SLS.” To evaluate safety, NASA analyzes risk for specific elements of a mission and aggregates those numbers. Launch and ascent gets a rating. In-space activity gets another. Atmospheric entry, descent and landing gets a third. For launch and ascent, NASA will require Lockheed Martin to show that Orion poses no more than a 1-in-1,400 risk of loss of crew. Boeing must show that SLS poses no more than a 1-in-550 risk. For Orion’s entry, descent and landing, the risk must be no more than 1 fatal accident in 650 missions.

Neither company will be capable of “showing” that for vehicles used so rarely. One in fourteen hundred for a vehicle that is not planned (and can’t be afforded) to fly more than a couple dozen times effectively means that NASA is demanding zero risk of LOC.

Someone should write a book about this sort of thing.

Oh, wait.

Andy Weir And Commercial Spaceflight

He says it’s critical.

I think he’s falling into a common myth here, though (the one promulgated by Margaret Lazarus Dean):

…people like to see new things happen. We’ve had ISS [the International Space Station] up there for years. It feels like, to the layman, that NASA hasn’t done anything really new, or accomplished anything very significant in a long time. Now building a big-ass space station is actually really hard. There’s also kind of a bruised national pride that we don’t have a manned spaceflight program anymore. I think you’ll see interest in NASA get rekindled once the Orion program [NASA’s latest manned capsule] gets up and running, and we actually start sending our own astronauts back into space without hitching a ride with the Russians.

We do have a “manned spaceflight program.” It’s called ISS and Commercial Crew. If Orion ever flies, it’s not the way we’ll be getting our own astronauts into space without hitching rides. That’s what Commercial Crew will do, if Congress doesn’t succeed in sabotaging it. Orion will look like an also-ran with all of the commercial activity that will be taking place by then.

And speaking of commercial spaceflight and the need to reduce costs, Alan Boyle discussed that subject with Lori Garver:

What’s the big technological innovation to watch for in space in 2018?

“Getting the costs down to get to space. That’s key, that’s been a barrier, and that is happening. Certainly by 2018 you will have multiple launches for a lot less money.

Clearly, Congress and NASA don’t agree. They think we need a big, expensive, obsolete-before-it-first-flies expendable rocket.

[Update a few minutes later]

Lee Billings: Why the first mission to Mars probably won’t look anything like The Martian:

NASA has no plans for a large, spinning cycler spacecraft between Earth and Mars, probably because such a spacecraft is considered unaffordable. In fact, ongoing squabbles in Washington over how to divvy up NASA’s persistently flat budget means that essentially all the crucial components for the agency’s planned voyages—the heavy-lift rockets, the power sources, engines and spacecraft for deep space, the landers, surface habitats and ascent vehicles—are behind schedule and still in early stages of development, if they are being developed at all. And the agency’s Journey to Mars could all go away, very quickly, at the whim of some future President or Congressional majority. Mired in the muck of politics, NASA may not manage to land even one crew of astronauts on Mars by 2035—let alone three.

It seem quite unlikely, absent a dramatic change in approach by the agency and the Congress.

And the planetary-protection issue is potentially a show stopper. We have to decide what’s more important: science, or settlement.

[Update a couple minutes later]

And here‘s the New York Times review:

The movie gently thumps several issues: It’s unambiguously on the side of science and rationalism with glints of manifest destiny, American can-do-ism and a little flag-waving folded in.

Well, that will piss off the SJWs.

[Noon update]

Ed Lu says NASA isn’t dead, but it’s lost:

“The debate about humans versus robots is beyond stupid,” he said. “Moving people outward is the whole reason for going. Otherwise, what are we doing? What is the purpose of going if not to live, go places, do things, spread humanity?”

Unmanned missions are easier because you can do them one at a time and find success through scientific breakthroughs. Lu said manned missions, on the other hand, have to be planned with a broader strategy or you’re just “doing random stuff.” And that’s the piece NASA is missing.

Asked if he thinks we’ll get back to manned missions, Lu said he’s counting on the private sector to get us there.

That’s a safer bet.

[Afternoon update]

Paul Spudis says that NASA’s Mars plans are delusional.

Yes. Yes they are.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!