Category Archives: Technology and Society

NASA’s New Lunar Plans

An interesting article from Eric Berger. This stuck out to me:

Neither Bridenstine nor Pence said so explicitly, but these comments reflect their sense that NASA has become too bureaucratic, too tentative, too risk averse. During his town hall this week, Bridenstine had a telling response when asked why, by setting such an ambitious goal of a 2024 landing, was he not putting schedule over safety?

“I would not say it’s a return to schedule over safety, I would say it’s a return to schedule,” he said. “Safety is paramount for everybody at this agency, it always has been. But the number one mission is not safety. If it was, we would all just stay in the ready room and just watch CNN.”

I gave him a copy of my book after it came out, when he was a congressman. He later told me he’d read it.

[Update a while later]

This is the first that I’d heard Boeing was considering Starliner for cislunar missions. I thought they’d sized the TPS for entry from LEO. I wonder if that means they’d have to beef it up?

Cats

recognize their own names, even if they don’t bother to respond.

[Update a few minutes later]

OK, statements like this never make any sense to me:

Saito says she thinks feline pets learn to recognize their names because of what is in it for them. “I think cats associated their names with some rewards or punishments,” she says—adding that she thinks it is unlikely the cats understand their names are attached to them. “There is no evidence that cats have the ability to recognize themselves, like us,” she explains. “So, the recognition about their name is different from ours.”

My emphasis. Gee, every time I see a cat ignore itself in the mirror, instead of treating the image like another cat, I think that’s evidence of ability to recognize itself.