Space Jobs

Donald Robertson has a crazy idea: Find something useful for people working SLS/Orion to do:

Presidents answer to the nation, not to local job concerns. Two presidents in a row — Bush and Obama — have tried in varying degrees to redirect NASA away from the Apollo model, only to be blocked by institutions and senators who are answerable to local NASA employees. This time, we cannot repeat Mr. Obama’s mistake of canceling the SLS without finding a future for the people who work on it.

The new “constellation” work needs to be planned and distributed in a way that will keep the traditional NASA workforce, and those who represent them, on board. Where is it written that engineers in Alabama cannot be employed building space-based tugs and modules for a lunar base? To have any chance of killing the SLS and replacing it with a useful space program, opponents need to come up with something that fulfills SLS’s political and economic purpose at least as well, while endeavoring to achieve something useful in space at the same time. That is beginning to occur, as NewSpace companies like SpaceX slowly expand beyond California and the Seattle area and increasingly employ people in Texas, Florida, and other traditional NASA states.

Encouraging this change will take a great deal of political capital and skill —the Bush administration did not deploy the former, and the Obama administration failed at the latter. So far, the Trump administration has shown little aptitude for any kind of positive relationship with Congress.

If someone does not come forward to invest the political and financial capital needed to end this conflict and move on to a more constructive vision, the United States will continue to drift in space. Resources will remain split between an increasingly successful but underfunded NewSpace industry unable to fulfill its potential, and the SLS and Orion, which the nation cannot afford to actually use. Our future in space will increasingly rely on largely self-funded efforts by people like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos.

He says that like it’s a bad thing.

Meanwhile, NASA has incorporated its next planned boondoggle into human exploration plans.

A Veneer Of Certainty

How dependable is climate science?

Not enough to base energy policy on.

[Update a few minutes later]

A vigorous fisking of what Judith Curry calls “the stupidest [peer-reviewed] paper ever written.” With all respect to Professor Curry, that’s a pretty high bar, even in this field.

[Update a couple minutes later]

OK, I slightly misquoted her.

[Update a while later]

Link is fixed, sorry!

GIMP (Again)

Is there a doctor in the house? I’m trying to paste a transparent layer in, and all I’m seeing is an outline of it. Anchoring it does nothing. This may be related: It pastes into the canvas in the upper left corner, but that isn’t part of the image I’m trying to put in into, and I don’t know how to get rid of the dead space above. This is the most infuriatingly non-obvious user interface I’ve ever seen.

[Update a couple minutes later]

OK, I got rid of the extra canvas, but I still see nothing when I paste the new layer in.

[Update a while later]

OK, finally figured it out. I had to “Select All” before copying.

“Rape Culture”

Almost a decade ago, I wrote a post on my long-standing theory about why Hollywood depicts businesspeople as evil:

…it only makes sense that if your only employment experience with business, big or otherwise, is working for the entertainment industry or the ad business, you’re not going to have much appreciation for how a real business, where you have to actually develop and manufacture things that people go out and willingly buy, and has to be run by people with a talent for business (not murder and skullduggery), actually works. It’s actually quite similar to the reason that life in the military is rarely depicted accurately. They have no real-life experience.

This morning, Glenn made a related observation on the current pervruption in media and politics:

…it’s easy to see why lefties think “rape culture” is everywhere. In their world and institutions, it is.

It’s also part of general projection of the Left.

Ken Starr

Ross Douthat asks “What if he was right?” But he still gets it wrong, as does everyone:

But with Paula Jones and Monica Lewinsky, we know what happened: A president being sued for sexual harassment tried to buy off a mistress-turned-potential-witness with White House favors, and then committed perjury serious enough to merit disbarment. Which also brought forward a compelling allegation from Juanita Broaddrick that the president had raped her.

The longer I spent with these old stories, the more I came back to a question: If exploiting a willing intern is a serious enough abuse of power to warrant resignation, why is obstructing justice in a sexual harassment case not serious enough to warrant impeachment? Especially when the behavior is part of a longstanding pattern that also may extend to rape? Would any feminist today hesitate to take a similar opportunity to remove a predatory studio head or C.E.O.?

Everyone continues to minimize Bill Clinton’s malfeasance and obstruction of justice. His defenders take it to the extreme, saying he “lied about a blowjob,” which of course ignores the fact that he did it under oath. But he didn’t just perjure himself.

I’ve repeated this many times, but I’ll do so once again: He obstructed justice by suborning perjury with bribes and physical threats to a witness’s family, in order to prevent a young woman whom he had sexually harassed from getting a fair trial. And he did so as someone who had taken a solemn oath to see that the laws of the land were faithfully executed. He was a corrupt man, unfit for the office of the presidency, and his party was corrupt in not removing him. And not only corrupt, but politically stupid, because contra the insane talk about it being a “coup” by the Republicans, the result would have been President Al Gore, who would likely have won reelection two years later.

Now, I personally wouldn’t have been happy with that particular political outcome, but Clinton should have been removed on principle, and we’d be a much healthier polity, as we were after Nixon, had that happened.

I would also note, though, that Ken Starr was an incompetent boob, who severely botched both the Vince Foster and Whitewater investigations. That job required an experienced prosecutor with experience in dealing with the mob, not a mild-mannered judge, and if it had been done properly, the Clintons would have been out of power much sooner.

[Late-morning update]

Related: I thought this was a stupid argument at the time, and I still do:

Central to Clinton and his defenders’ argument was the implication that anyone who judged him was guilty of puritanism and outrage, a quintessentially American obsession with sex that belied an inability to greet sexual misconduct with a Gallic shrug. In a New York Times op-ed, feminist writer Gloria Steinem reserved most of her ire for “the media’s obsession with sex qua sex,” which she considered “offensive to some, titillating to many and beside the point to almost everybody.” Mexican novelist Carlos Fuentes dismissed the accusations against Clinton as “sex, puritanism and trivialization,” implying in a Spanish-language op-ed that the media fascination with Clinton could be traced back to the sexual morality of Puritan settlers.

Which is ironic, considering that the American left are the political descendants of those people.

[Update early afternoon]

Also related: Hillary’s people threatened the family of an intel watchdog over the email probe. What was old is new again. Thugs then, thugs now.

[Wednesday-morning update]

As a reminder about the last item, note this CNN story from nineteen years ago, which almost no millennial is aware even happened:

Linda Tripp believes her onetime friend Monica Lewinsky threatened her days before Tripp filed an affidavit in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case about Lewinsky’s affair with President Bill Clinton.

The threat, in the form of a list of people close to the Clintons who have died in recent years, was placed on Tripp’s Pentagon chair by Lewinsky, according to a sworn deposition that Tripp provided a Washington watchdog group Monday.

Tripp considered the list a threat because, at the time, Lewinsky knew Tripp was planning to testify about Lewinsky’s affair with Clinton, according to a source close to Tripp.

The source says Tripp believes it was Lewinsky who left her the list because Lewinsky later telephoned Tripp asking if she found it.

And there’s this as well:

Mrs. Tripp also said in the “Today” interview that she had received death threats for herself and her children, and that “Monica made those threats and passed them along to me, I believed, from the president. I believed I was in jeopardy.”

Jamie Gangel, the NBC correspondent conducting the interview, then asked Mrs. Tripp if she believed the president had threatened her life.

“I believe that was the message I was supposed to receive,” Mrs. Tripp said. “‘Be a team player or else.’ Here’s what I got: ‘I’m going to lie, he’s going to lie, we are all going to lie. If you don’t lie, you are being set up for perjury and jail, and who’s going to believe you?'”

This is the same Clinton gang that threatened the IG.


The Russian Space Program

Its woes continue, with another Soyuz launch failure, because the Fregat fired in the wrong direction. Now probably Atlantic-stationary orbit.

Here’s the story from Doug Messier.

[Afternoon update]

Meanwhile, back in the USA, NASA (and the ASAP) is still stupidly obsessing over safety.

This is nuts. Soyuz capsules aren’t armored to that MMOD requirement. As I just emailed a high-level NASA official, why don’t we just quit flying?

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!