All posts by Rand Simberg

Nuts To Me

In his comments about bloggers vs “professional web writers” (like some of the hacks at Salon), Professor Reynolds notes:

Look at most of the pages under “recommended” on the left and you’ll see people doing just as well, for peanuts.

Peanuts?! I wish! I must not be included in the “most.”

I do all this in furtherance of my eventual unrealizable fantasy of getting peanuts (maybe even shelled and roasted–one can always dream). Right now, I have to shuck my own sunflower seeds.

Of course, I’m hoping to move into a cardboard box any day, too…

What do you do to get peanuts? Whose hiney do you have to kiss?

(BTW, there’s a little button over there to the left for anyone who wants to contribute to my legume fund…)

More Cave-Clearing Commentary

In response to George Herbert’s comment [Re: Geneva convention] that:

>HC smoke (military smoke grenades smoke) isn’t covered, nor is White

>Phosphorous smoke (has a secondary incindiary effect, but that isn’t

>banned by any treaties). Nor nonlethal teargases. But all of these

>ideas of CO, CO2, etc. down caves are covered.

Andrew Case replies:

Isn’t there a loophole for gassing people incidental to trying to kill them some other way? IOW, If I’m trying to flambe somebody and he insists on dying from the fumes rather than the burns, I’m not a war criminal, am I?

A rocket engine running oxidizer rich might be a way around this–you’re trying to start (civilized) fires rather than trying to gas people (barbaric)

The irony of trying to civilize war is endless.


Must Be A Good Idea

From Reuters:

China said on Tuesday it remained staunchly opposed to plans by Washington to develop a national missile defence system after the United States tested its controversial missile defence shield. “Our position on missile defence is very clear and consistent: we are opposed to the United States building a missile defence system,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue told a news conference.

Oh, ESA, You’re Such A Card

Gosh, we’re really on a space policy binge here tonight. The space station partners in Japan and Europe are whinging about proposed cutbacks in capabilities due to NASA overruns.

Far from becoming a first-class platform for research and a symbol of world unity, the station could become an orbiting white elephant, manned by a reduced crew and visited only by millionaire space tourists, they fear.

“…a first-class platform for research and a symbol of world unity…”?

Excuse me.

(Laughing uproariously, falling out of computer chair, holding sides, tears streaming out of eyes, urine streaming out of…never mind).

Ahhhh…oh, my……OK….sorry.


“We are all reminding the United States that they have to fulfil their obligations with the partnership,” Joerg Feustel-Buechel, ESA’s director of manned space flight, told AFP Tuesday. The outcome of the worst planned spending cut would be “completely unacceptable” to ESA, he said.

Oh. Really? And what just what does that mean? What are you going to do about it, Herr Feustel-Buechel? What does “not accepting it” mean? The same thing you did the last time we screwed you over on a space program, namely, Spacelab? Or the Halley mission? Enter into yet another dumbass agreement with an unreliable space partner (namely, the US and NASA)?

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, I must be the idiot European Space Agency and NASDA and Canadian Space Agency.

Screw me again, I love it, as long as the money gets distributed proportionately amongst the ESA members as welfare for our aerospace engineers. Please, just use the vaseline this time…

At least the Russians are no fools–they know how to come out ahead in the deal–be a partner in name only, cut a deal with Gore to become a de facto subcontractor, and then siphon off the money to dachas and yachts and BMWs and Cayman bank accounts while extorting even more money to actually deliver the promised hardware. Unfortunately for them, now that Clinton/Gore are out and Bush is in, that little game won’t work any more…

Are we really supposed to take any of this seriously? Are we really supposed to think that the “International Space Station” has anything to do with science, or even space, or ever did?