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Bizarro World

The comments (125 and counting) in this post over at Space Politics a few days ago have gotten progressively weirder and weirder.

Did you know that New Space is a baby boomer thing? And that it's a failed paradigm, while the standard procedures of NASA giving out cost-plus government contracts has been a total success, and will get us to the stars any year now?

Me, neither. What is "Someone" smoking? No surprise that he or she posts anonymously.


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David Summers wrote:

To me, all the separates "New Space" and "Old Space" is the target market. "Old Space" is targeting the existing market - primarily government flights. "New Space" wants to create a new market, initially space tourism.

It doesn't surprise me to see those two groups lock horns - the type of person that goes with an existing market thinks that anyone trying to create a market is stupid; those that create new markets tend to think the converse. It has to do with risk valuation... those with a high risk valuation believe that maximum return comes from taking the low risk approach and accepting mediocre returns. Those with low (or inverted) risk valuations believe the premium paid for more risky ventures more than adequately covers the additional risk.

This explains why startup guys (who eat risk for breakfast) are willing to take a chance on creating a new market, but engineers working for the government (it takes an act of Congress for me to lose my job) think trying that is the height of foolishness. The real problem is when people in either group try to force the other to change - that is trying to enforce your world view on someone else, and should result in you going to jail if you use governmental power to do the enforcement.

Edward Wright wrote:

It has to do with risk valuation... those with a high risk valuation believe that maximum return comes from taking the low risk approach and accepting mediocre returns.

Except that they're not unwilling to take risks. It's hard to imagine anything riskier way of launching astronauts than a Shuttle Solid Rocket Booster. Mike Griffin is perfectly happy with an architecture in which every component is a potential single-point failure.

The only type of risk that they're afraid of is the risk of trying something new. It's not the fear of failure, it's the fear of the unknown -- of innovation.

Habitat Hermit wrote:

It certainly is a weird thread, my peculiar sense of humor probably didn't help ^_^

Oh well at least I didn't call that Someone an Emo kid, that should be good for my karma ;>_>

ken anthony wrote:

After reading 143 comments I'd have to say you were pretty clear Rand.

What is it about capitalism that they don't understand?

Sometimes I wish the opportunity cost wasn't so visible to me. It would be much less frustrating to this late-boomer (1959, after the draft and before registration, a notch baby.)

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This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on May 22, 2008 6:54 AM.

Lebanon Has Been Lost was the previous entry in this blog.

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