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Thread: NASA good for a laugh

  1. #1

    NASA good for a laugh

    You already know I think NASA wastes money that should be spent on the biological sciences, especially brain research or SCI. I am terrible about this, and hardly have any friends (from among the many who used to come over to hear me complain about unendurable pain), left because they all think if you don't love NASA you aren't patriotic. Fortunately NASA keeps wasting more money so it is easy for me to win these arguments. Also, the designer of the space shuttle lives near here, says the shuttles were only designed to fly two flights, and he thinks NASA is wasting money too, so it makes me even worse about it. The main way they waste money is pretending they will find out the secrets of how life began in the universe if they go somewhere far from here, like some obscure hostile moon of Saturn or something. What they really are doing is having zero gravity pie eating contests with the Russian out on the space station. Russia said they were really glad the shuttle made it, since they needed to haul 13 tons of garbage out of the station. The Russian captain cancelled the TV privileges of the American until the garbage was taken out. The American went crazy when he couldn't find out who won American Idol and he started to just say, "Shampoo, Rinse, Repeat... over and over again. Now the Sanitary Worker's Union is upset about being shut out of the deal. What does the station do to figure out how life began in the universe? It accumulates garbage, of course. NASA is big into pictures but they haven't made public any pictures of the garbage. Their garbage rover got mired in space pate'. As to the astronauts, they are pretty bored, they try to stuff as many guys as possible into a spacesuit, tattoo themselves with wires they have pried out of the control panel, throw an all night Slim-fast kegger, drink Tang till they heave, take turns starting the "wave", and play jokes on Houston "10,9,8,7 oops!", practice doing the Heimlich maneuver, and argue over the sequence of books in the Old Testament. They also installed an external P.A. system so they can frighten the new astronauts with alien sounds. There are only two guys on that station so how did they accumulate thirteen tons of garbage? Well, ten pounds was actual garbage and the other 24,000 pounds was dead goldfish from gradeschool breeding experiments.

    Anyway, you may recall that President Bush promised in his January Buzz Lightyear speech that we would go upward and onward TO INFINITY, by buliding a facility on the moon, from which we would send a manned mission to MARS. Someone must have clued him in this would be impossible, so you don't hear much about it any more. The history of this as you recall is that when NASA was about to be abolished the head got frantic for excuses for their existence. All they came up with was a tiny meteorite in Antarctica which supposedly had carbon compounds that could be building blocks of life. Of course, they could also be buildling blocks for Lance Armstrong's carbon fiber bike frame. Anyway, we have been going at Mars ever since in a big way, and now supposedly we will build a facility on the moon to go and find out how life started on Mars, of all places.

    The fly in the ointment is ironically those very meteorites from Mars that hit Antarctica. A couple of scientists have now declared that the argon decay or something like that in Mars meteorites proves that no life could possibly have been around for at least five billion years, or some long time, I forget how much. NOW THEY TELL US. We had the answer right here all the time. We could have saved the billions that all those nice photos cost us of ten inch rocks that defeated our 25 million dollar rovers with their state of the art 250 pixel cameras. (Should have let Mattel Toy Company and the Honda four wheeler engineers build that stuff). NASA's well paid staff of consultants has come back that halophiles, salt loving organisms could easily abound on Mars and probably are there, right under the surface, even right where the Mars probe landed because the ground is soft there. WHAT A LUCKY HIT. THEY ALREADY HAVE THE CAMERAS IN PLACE TO PHOTOGRAPH THOSE HALOPHILES WHEN THEY COME CRAWLING OUT to challenge our contaminating organisms!

    The problem for NASA is that in their enthusiasm to make a big deal about MARS they have this big team designed to avoid "our attacking Mars" which means experts on how to sterilize the spacecraft so we don't contaminate Mars with our bacteria/viruses/mad cow disease. There is a real possibility if anything lives we might have spent billions to contaminate MARS and then go back up and study the organisms we put there. Now here is the rub, another group of experts recommended cleaning the capsule with what? an environment so hostile to life that any bacteria/virus/mad cow prion would be killed. What environment would that be? Well exactly what it is like on the surface of Mars, which kills everything. That is the beauty of it, since positively nothing could live there now, if we find anything, it could only tell us what life was like a very long time ago, hence, how life began in the universe. Now we do live in an obscure corner at the outer rim of a tiny, insignificant galaxy far from the center of the universe, but hey, we need to understand why nothing can live on Mars if we ever expect to learn why life is here, on earth.

    Anyway, I want to see the money go to the National Institutes of Health. If NIH had a branch office in Tom DeLay's (supposedly a Republican but actually a lobbyist for the space industry) district in Texas, we would probably have made the switch to biology already. Problem is that NIH is made up of scientists, not Public Relations experts and Illuminati like those who make up NASA, and so NIH sucks at getting money. The real way to find out how life began is to look at the genes, here on earth. They will tell the story, and they are a lot easier to photograph here. Of course, we could go to the moon, launch a powerful microscope to Mars and then look back at genes here on earth, and Tom DeLay's spirit could soar. That's how it would work in a perfect universe. We are stuck with just putting the thin slice in the old electron microscope, using a fluorescent probe, and figuring out the genes.

    And by the way, don't count on a rocket launching facility on the moon any time soon. It would have to be run by NUCLEAR power and President Bush has only put funding into NUCULAR power. At least he has stopped stem cell research, so that proves he knows something about science. If and when he gets sick, maybe they can send a crew via the moon to Mars and find out how to cure whatever ails him Let's hope it isn't central pain because not much funding has been allocated for that so we are still in the dark.

    To give NASA credit, one department wanted to get a lot of money to go out and put a radio on an asteroid that might hit earth and so we ought to spend a bundle to put a radio on it so we can figure out its trajectory.. NASA'a own head of another department said that would be a waste of money because we don't actually know if it will come anywhere near us. Sort of a circular argument going on there, but it shows that honest people still work at NASA. WE must also give credit to the comet smiters. You recall that NASA had plans to study the composition of a comet and send a big washing machine to crash into it, and when they actually hit it, (why would anyone have doubted it, given their bullseye in the Utah desert with the ion satellite right next to the nerve gas facility), the cloud of debris was so bad they couldn't see anything for the four hundred miles of dust it threw up so the mother ship that threw out the washing machine couldn't do anything but sit there. Couldn't see a thing. Comets could be made of microwaved goats for all they know. the problem was that the contractor who built the washing machine did NOT have a return policy. No way to take it back. To save the mission, they decided to send the mother ship to yet another comet, which suddenly for undisclosed reasons became even more profitable to study, and study it instead, without a crash this time. They are really making progress. We will soon know how life began in the universe. Then what?

    And shame on you for thinking NASA deliberately arranged for the comet to be struck on July 4th just for the public attention. Everyone knows that it is easier to see objects out in the night sky when it is already lit up by fireworks and people staring upward toward the comet smash might see something the Keck telescope on Mauna Kea 15,000 feet up would miss. That fancy telescope could see a lot better if they had built it in New York City, where there is already plenty of light from the cars, and they would have had no trouble finding people to clean the telescope lens either. There is a crew of qualified cleaners at EVERY intersection.
    Last edited by dejerine; 07-28-2005 at 11:15 PM. Reason: Elavil paralyzes my muscle of visual accomodation so I have to correct the typos.

  2. #2
    Good thing I have no cheap mascara on..you made me laugh 'til I cried.
    What a way with words you have dejerine. Thanks.
    Life isn't about getting thru the storm but learning to dance in the rain.

  3. #3
    GREAT post dejerine....very funny...too bad its true....


  4. #4
    You disloyal ugly unamericans who claimed NASA would NOT discover how life began in the universe by flying 350 miles upward, and those of you who favored handing over the entire NASA budget to the NIH for SCI/stem cell research will hopefully shut up after NASA's latest successful space shot to determine how life began in the universe. Life began by someone shooting up a rocket into space, screwing up, conducting studies to show the screw up wasn't dangerous we hope, dropping off more Tang and toilet paper, and then flying back to earth. (In gratitude for their getting orbital in five minutes, all the astronauts on this landmark delivery of food will be awarded routes for Domino's Pizza and free tickets to the Harvard Hasty Pudding awards where Tom DeLay will present the P.T. Barnum memorial address. His topic will be "Soaring Spirit, How to fulfill the American Dream by deluding the public that I can find out how life began in the universe and prove we are superior to other countries, like France, for only 26 billion dollars per year). In the meantime, some poor slob biochemistry PhD at NIH who makes 40K/yr, lives alone in 90 sq. feet of apartment (old maid's quarters at the top of the stairs) and has no health benefits made some progress on disabling mitochondria in pain neurons. What a jerk. He should have been an astronaut instead where they have more room on the space station, or gone on American Idol. WHY couldn't he have chosen a REAL job? In the meantime, NASA continues its venture quest to find out how life became boring, I mean how life began, in space.
    Last edited by dejerine; 08-07-2005 at 03:41 PM. Reason: Watching NASA admin drive to work in his BMW M3

  5. #5
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    Mate, you are a funny funny guy, I'll be your friend, been a long time since I agreed with someone so completely. Shit can I send a copy of this to some people, best opinion piece I've read in years. Keep it coming. Pain must sharpen the wit. Stitches, you dead set had me gasping!

  6. #6
    G'day brocko,

    Down under, you may wonder why we spend more on space than on medical research, but in advanced civilizations, you have different priorities. Most scientists feel our advancement is because Budweiser has a slightly different formula from Fosters, with some ingredient that leads to metal launching, sort of a big celebration to let off steam. We shouldn't waste our money like this, but hey what is life for, and how DID it begin, is what I say.

    Anyway, it may sound like I think NASA is packed with overpaid administrators and guys who don't know you have to use a different type of liquid nails for foam, but I, like all true Americans, couldn't be more in favor of finding out once and for all just HOW threatening those little green men on Mars actually are and just how they made life originate in the universe.

    You probably think the NASA Mars photos look like what an elementary school child would take on a vacation, lots of redundant scenery, but they are smarter than people realize. My theory, that I am glad to see NASA vindicate, is that those rocks in the photos are alive. There are a lot of rocks in the universe and so they must have a very successful breeding program, one which exploits vertebrates like us to spread their race throughout the vast reaches of space, which is expanding and needs more rocks. The government has meteorites filed away in crates in warehouses but someone lost the contents list, so we had to wait until they found some new ones, and bingo, now we are off and running. The martians sent meteorites to earth millions of years ago to draw us up there, (patiently sending them to the Antarctic so it wouldn't look like they were deliberately placing them where we would find them) and now they are waiting for us to come up there so the aliens can hijack the ship and come back to earth to mate with all the nondescript rocks laying around, dormant, completely fooling us humans, who suspect nothing. I admit these well disguised earth rocks here look lifeless, not unlike those very cleverly concealed rocks on Mars that have artfully configured themselves to look like rocks here, so they don't arouse any suspicions. You must admit the Martians have done a very good job of making their exotic rocks look like our ordinary ones, exactly like them. Hence, the confirmation of my theory, only to be finally proven by NASA. That is their job, to prove my theories correct, and so far they have done a very fine job of it. I think you in Australia are safe from the coming invasion however, since the temperature there does not get down to -173 degrees F or whatever that is in centigrade. Let's see 5/9 - oh well, it doesnt' get cold enough there.

    I myself wrote a very supportive piece about the shuttle missions, but I got so busy taking pictures of my friend who was taking pictures of me taking his picture that I got confused looking at the NASA shots of our landing craft taking pictures of the rover taking pictures of the landing craft that my secretary thought my lame comments about my friend applied to NASA. She wrote the story for me while I was off on walkabout, well not exactly walkabout, more like thrashabout, trying to keep off the sheets, since I have CP. When I went to NIH they said they had nothing for me, but just to keep stress out of my life, and so I reflect on the slow pace at which NASA is discovering how life began in the universe.

    Nevertheless, considering the large amount of space debris we keep scattering over Australia, it is very nice to see you are still talking to us here in the States. Also thank you for not mentioning our accents and for letting us think the world revolves around us. I mean, if you look at the earth from the Southern Cross, WE are the land down under. Of course from Orion, we are the land sideways, but that is another story.
    Last edited by dejerine; 08-08-2005 at 02:41 PM.

  7. #7
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    Unfortunately derjerine I don't wonder why you spend more on space (or war for that matter) than on medical research. We too are laden with bloated bureaucratic institutions that are manipulated and abused by greedy self-interested overloads drunk on their own importance, a species known as politicians. Actually I nearly fall out of my wheelchair anytime news of a sensible decision or a practical measure comes out, needless to say I haven't been at much risk lately. I'm just thankful that I have a very cynical sense of humour because I get to laugh a lot which is good, it makes a nice change from the tears of despair I shed the rest of the time as I contemplate the fate of this ship of fools.
    Please don't feel any concern for the debris that occasionally falls across this country. I appreciate that it is a necessary part of the wonderful industry that allows me to watch 50 different kinds of informative and fascinating talk shows and shopping channels, not to mention the astounding ability to check my roof for broken tiles without wheeling outside, after 13 years in the chair this is a real blessing.
    I for one look forward to the day when a flag is planted on each of the 9 or 10 planets that comprise our little neighbourhood. This will surely protect us from those nasty aliens, they will stay away when they see that someone already owns this patch, and also may help to realise an answer to that most pressing of questions, where did life begin because maybe god lives on Uranus.

  8. #8
    GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE COMPLETES REPORTS ON TWO TOP GOVERNMENT AGENCIES, AND ISSUES REASONS WHY NIH WILL CURE CENTRAL PAIN BEFORE NASA DETERMINES HOW LIFE BEGAN IN THE UNIVERSE.

    1. NIH Scientists Clean Their Hands With Betadine while Nasa cleans the shuttle by unwrapping little soaps With Nasa Engraved On Them.
    2. Nih Employs More Smart Asians
    3. Nih Hires Phd’s While Nasa Employs Schoolteachers, Fishermen, And Other Politically Correct People To Conduct The Mission, Proving They Are Mostly Political, Not Scientific.
    4. Everyone At Nih Is Well Grounded, While At Nasa They Sit Around And Wait For Their Spirits To Soar.
    5. What Nih Sells, The Drug Companies Make Billions Off Of, While At Nasa They Are Still Trying To Peddle 1) Their Hubble Binoculars That Won’t Focus Correctly without the special second corrective lens 2) their NASA foam glue, and 3) their book, "Why we chose to aim at Dugway when the entire western half of Utah is desert."
    6. Nih Takes Clear Pictures Of Cellular Components While Nasa Takes Fuzzy Pictures Of Rocks
    7. No One Can Understand What Nih Scientists Say, While Journalist Interns and schoolchildren can easily Grasp Everything Nasa Is Saying
    8. Nih is trying to master THIS universe While Nasa Is Worried About The Klingon Universe
    9. Nih Buys The Soap Cakes For Their Urinals From A Janitorial Supply While Nasa Buys The Special "Splashdown" model Off The Internet In The Shape Of A Rocket Ship. They don't really work, unless the trajectory is carefully tracked by a computer. Fortunately, NASA has spared no expense.

    10. Nih Scientists Wear Normal Underwear While Nasa Has Theirs Specially Engineered For Space Flight By Victoria’s Secret. They plan to use them if they ever design a space suit that will allow underwear.

    11. NIH is trying to catch the pathway of brain metabolism using tensor analysis, while NASA is trying to catch the Roadrunner.

    12. NIH scientists keep working while astronauts take relaxing "cocktail and makeout breaks" during their missions.

    13. NIH admins walk down the halls efficiently while NASA admins cannot get past any mirrored surfaces without stopping for a look.

    14. NIH administrators are working on the extraction of pain killing chemical substances from plants, while NASA administrators exhale carbon dioxide which is needed by plants.

    15. NIH spent two million to isolate resiniferatoxin, while NASA spent two million to figure out how to eat pudding with a straw.

    16. NIH sees their job as a chance to help mankind while NASA sees their job as a stepping stone to meeting Jessica Simpson and space, in that order.

    17. NIH lives humbly,while NASA employees get filthy rich speaking to conventions and bartering their NASA emblems and souvenirs with Olympics pin collectors.

    18. NIH docs go nuts over the synaptic gap, while NASA admins go nuts at the GAP.

    19. NIH hires the scientists who wrote the book on laboratory procedures while NASA uses language from the "U.S. army training manual of small arms handling" for removing fabric between shuttle tile, "GRASP THE OBJECT GENTLY BUT FIRMLY BETWEEN THE THUMB AND FOREFINGER"--this quote taken directly from the press release from nasa to the yahoo news, honestly.

    20. NIH just hires people, NASA makes applicants sit in a carnival scare chair that goes up and down and whips you around since they figure their machinery will screw up like that sooner or later so these people better be able to handle it.

    21. NIH has to account for seven dollar agar plates. NASA has two billion dollar projects they never hear from again and just cancel the news conference-they for sure are not going to repeat anything because we could never afford to repeat any of the experiments.

    22. NIH installs their particle blasters right side up. NASA installs their parachute blasters upside down.

    23. NIH aims subatomic particles at targets inside concrete bunkers. NASA aims their explosive packages at the Dugway nerve gas facility.

    24. NIH only has millions of grateful public behind them, NASA has Tom DeLay with billions of taxpayer dollars for vague blastoffs to somewhere, maybe, provided the environment is so hostile that life couldn't possibly exist there..

    25. NIH takes patients no one else wants, NASA conducts missions no one cares about, particularly AFTER they have seen the vacation photos and don't care to see them again.

    26. NIH scientists will yell out when they cure cancer. NASA yells out whenever the administrator holds up the cue card and the TV camera focuses in.

    27. NIH tries again if their experiments don't work. NASA has fulltime psychologists to help their team handle the stress when their experiments go wrong.

    28. NIH was toured by James Watson, Nobel Laureate, who took a job there. NASA was toured by Morganna the Kissing Bandit, who went after everyone in a Houston Astros hat.

    29. NIH has contingency plan in case a virus contaminates a room. NASA has a contingency plan in case of accidental nuclear attack on Montreal.

    30. NIH plays the National Anthem when they initiate a new project. On blastoff, NASA plays banjo accompaniments from reckless driving scene.

    31. If something unexpected occurs in an experiment, NIH looks into it, NASA either just includes the standard "totally unexpected" language to the press release or figures some kids near Canaveral were fooling around with a garage door opener.

    32. Guys at NIH eat cheese sandwiches when they brown bag it. NASA admins eat cleverly engineered petroleum based cheese knockoffs once they have been tested for safety on astronauts.

    33. NIH is morally concerned with animal experiments. NASA is morally concerned with doing "Exploration" in a shuttle named "Discovery", neither of which is the name of a Greek God.

    34. NIH is working on how to manufacture new organs. NASA is working on how to fix the cold shock problem on the space station with flushing the toilet while the other guy is showering.

    35. NIH has perfected cell adherence problems in skin grafts. NASA is still working on getting foam to adhere to boosters by rubbing it first on Don King's hair to build up static electricity.

    36. To get hired at NIH, you have to spend 12 years in high powered academic institutions. To get hired at NASA you have to prove you are not crazy so you will not start stealing bac-o-bits and hoarding them in your space suit. The untested Russian has been in the space station for a year, but Americans can only take a week or two before they start writing tragic country and western songs, then, after another week, start singing them to Houston.

    37. NIH checks twice. NASA figures wearing Houston Astros baseball caps will bring them good luck.

    38. NIH has determined that the genome of primitive organisms on the early earth had not had sufficient time to evolve the complex DNA structures or enzymes necessary for life, that it is much harder to get amino acids to line up than was ever imagined, and feel that life likely had a source elsewhere. NASA plans to look everywhere in the universe including ALL the black holes. They plan to take lifelike photographs to post on the internet. If you look at them you never come back. They feel matter from this universe which goes into a black hole is moved to other universes and feel the United States has an obligation to provide as much matter as possible to those other universes.

    39. NIH has hired efficiency experts from FedEx. NASA has hired theirs from the U.S. Postal Service.

    40. NIH consultants sometimes post to this site. NASA consultants sometimes post to the "Learn to speak Klingon" site.

    41. NIH does experiments because WE are here. NASA visits some place because IT is there.

    42. NIH scientists can concentrate on their job. NASA engineers have to worry about those flashing signs that say "DO NOT SCRATCH YOURSELF, THE TV CAMERAS ARE ON." which they got free from the Houston Astros because the manager decided it was useless to give that kind of advice to ballplayers.

    I wouldn't mind NASA doing what they do if I were convinced it was what the American people really want. But when I see a billion dollars go up for a space shuttle launch, two billion for some, I have to think of the diseases that would have been cured with that amount of money, and ask if it is worth the human cost. Admittedly, it is one of very few govt. agences, behind NIH and the IRS, which actually does something, but singling out this branch of science for so much money is peculiar. For example, list for me five things that zero gravity experiments have done for mankind. Having trouble?

    If NASA would come clean and say we are doing what we do because we like to, and everyone else likes it too, I would say okay. It is when they claim they are doing this to "Find out how life began in the universe" that I say it is just a catch phrase, to suck up valuable research money. It is the case of mathematicians and engineers in biologists clothing. No one expects them to find out how life began in the universe, least of all NASA. This idea was never even mentioned until about ten years ago when Congress was threatening to abolish NASA that they frantically went on a public relations hunt for something that would have traction with the public. "LIFE ON MARS" was it. NASA doesn't employ enough geneticists to make a horse vaccine. They are aware of this so they say things like "Admittedly the conditiohs on (fill in some hostile place) do not favor life but we must be prepared for the possibility that life elsewhere may be based on some entirely different molecular order". Why not say matter elsewhere may not have nuclei and electrons--of course then it would not be matter, we would need a new term. Of course these things are possible, but what does that have to do with shorting the NIH budget right now? If the NASA scientists don't really know anything about DNA, it is just so easy to avoid the issue by saying that life elsewhere might not be based on DNA, but you have to know the old discoveries before you make the new discoveries. We spent 300,000 to design and make some message to outer space people about earth. That message seemed to envision someone who WAS like us. Aliens might buzz around in another dimension, but that doesn't keep NASA from spending money in this one. It is obvious they are expecting something familiar, not a nonDNA race, or they wouldn't try to send up voice messages and nude pictures of mankind, so they better start with the DNA model we know, but that would make them biologists, a label they use as a promotion, but do NOT take seriously. The bright, genius minds at NASA would make wonderful neuroscientists if the money were only there in THAT field.

    How about making everyone in wheelchairs three feet higher up instead of six astronauts four hundred miles further up. More than that of course, there is the pain. Hate to mention it. Hate to have it. Someone will make a bundle if they solve it. We need to have more job promise for bright minds if we expect to attract people into the neurosciences who have the "right stuff". Fortunately, HMO bullying and malpractice insurance rates have driven most of the bright minds out of medical school, so there are quite a few smart people around looking for something to do. All the geniuses now want to go to Dental School instead of Med School, but secretly the eggheads would love to be in medical research if only it provided a nice condo and a secure job, something increasingly unliikely, since the United States will soon be citizen-free within another fifty years.

    If you ask me whether I am more curious about what goes on in a stem cell or on the surface of a remote moon of Saturn, it is no contest. We are acting like the ancient Egyptians, obsessed with space, and spending our treasure to show how grand we are. Biological research and discoveries would provide jobs here for a lot of people and save a lot in medical costs, especially for SCI. Medical research has always been a winner in terms of money. Vaccines cost so mjch less than treating epidemics. I think bioresearch is an engine for prosperity and that NASA is a huge drain. The Russians would be our friends faster if we cured their pain and cancer than if we bring toilet paper and food up to one guy in the space station. China too.

    Putting a mechanic into space does not make him a biologist ready to discover how life began in the universe. Even if he picks up a little dirt, we can do that easily here and still now know how life began. We need something a little more concrete if we are going to spend 26 billion dollars per year on it. We need a goal, an objective, a concept of the cost/benefit ratio of space exploration, but NASA prefers a semi religious zeal toward the discovery of "How life began in the universe". It sounds so darn amazing. Who wouldn't like to know that. If only they could deliver.

    We go back to Tolstoy's question, slightly modified, "If we could deliver one innocent person from terrible pain, with the money we spend for the curiosity of millions about space, where would the true morality lie?"

    NASA is like the telescope we sometimes WANT and buy for Christmas or our birthday. It is interesting, and some people find it entertaining to sit out in their yards at night and peer through, but when their child is sick, they NEED antibiotics. WE NEED TO GET OUR PRIORITIES STRAIGHT IN OUR CULTURE ABOUT WHAT PROGRESS REALLY IS. Do we really need to send men to Mars? NEED? Yes, it is true that it is nice to know little green men don't run around on MARS. It is also nice to have MRI machines. Take your pick. NASA spends more money than the NIH. Is that balanced spending?
    Last edited by dejerine; 08-17-2005 at 03:55 PM.

  9. #9
    Hi dejerine,

    That's some funny stuff you write. And some sad. I'm 50 so was brought up in the culture of the space race and its then redirected aim of space discovery. Compared to other US government agencies and programs and their largesse NASA's budget never really stood out. Certainly pales under the huge shadow of a 400 billion dollar "defense" budget. Taxpayers really get bent outta shape about the foreign aid budget which is quite similar in size to NASA's. Maybe more foreign aid to help the least able to help themselves on this planet would give us a better persona in the eyes of the world. And we wouldn't have practically every nation on the planet hating us so much and certain groups of people trying to kill us. In the long run it might even save us a few bucks a la the newly created Department of Homeland Security.

    We can pigeonhole ourselves by views and concepts learned in our past which were in part supplied and supported by our parents and perhaps an influencial teacher or two. One of my deceased father's favorite sayings was "Learning for learning's sake" and who one can argue with that? Until you factor in the cost of what's being learned. In a perfect world there would be no need for practicality but since we live in a very imperfect world these things need to be taken into account. And where that money could be better spent. There's plenty of learning to be done here on earth and hopefully it will produce dividends for quality of life issues. I too wish the NIH were better funded and tighter controls were put on the information given away to the for-profit pharmaceutical corporations.

    The Space Shuttle is a dangerous dinosaur and should be scuttled sooner than its appointed time of 2010. The International Space Station (ISS) which was supposed to bring us better ball bearings and better drugs etc. is no more than a geostationary Hotel 6 located 400km overhead for the wealthy but bored terrestrial adventurers who want to "ascend" into being adventurers of outer space. And a cash cow for the Russian space program who unilaterally sell taxi rides up to it for 20 plus million USD a jaunt.

    Although the ISS isn't completed there's still plenty of room and time for the scientists living onboard it to have completed some work and shown some positive results. I haven't heard of a single accomplishment coming from it yet. It appears that its success is being judged by its mere ability to sustain a few lives for a few consecutive months. Skylab and Mir already proved that. Currently I believe there are only 2 astronauts/cosmonauts onboard and their job seems to be just to keep the lights on and do some light dusting. They ain't dead yet so all must be going according to plan. By the time its completed it'll be ready for the fate of Skylab and Mir. Heads up Australia!

    I'm a real science nut so have had some difficulty changing my views on NASA and the space program. But I just don't see anything coming from the manned space program that can't be gotten from unmanned flights. And at a very small fraction of the cost and which could easily be done by private companies. Except of course national pride, bragging rights and other one-liners like "Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed." and "Houston, We Have a Problem."

    Just what are a few men or women in cumbersome spacesuits gonna do on Mars even if they're able to successfully get there? Pick up a rock, eyeball it and send back the video feed back to throngs of wide-eyed cheering space cadets? Until a much cheaper, better and faster non-chemical based propulsion system is developed going any farther than the moon is a waste of time, lots of money and perhaps a handful of lives.

    Yesterday I heard a funny thing on Bill Maher's HBO show. He wants to transfer control of the space program from NASA to the Religious Right. If the goal of NASA now is to learn the origin of life then that's a big waste of time. A large majority of the people in this country including G.W. Bush wouldn't be swayed either way and would still be trying to get Creationism taught in our schools. No matter what evidence is collected about our origins it still couldn't prove how we came into being. Only if the Creationists of the world are correct and a huge fatherly looking white-bearded gentleman came floating down from the heavens with angels perched upon His shoulders would the debate be won.

    To get a bit political G.W. Bush would sign off in a second for all types of fetal stem cell research if he felt that he or one of his twin daughters could personally benefit from it. But since they all seem to be in the greatest of health, wealth and spirits that ain't gonna happen anytime soon. But it's so very comforting to know that he and wife Laura pray for the sick and disenfranchised every night before they go to bed at around 9PM. Early to bed, early to rise.... In the same vein, does anyone think for a second that he would have invaded Iraq had he thought that his twin daughters would have been in the Jessica Lynch convoy... i.e. the tip of the spear? I think not. Since he already proved to us that when it was his turn to "fight for liberty and democracy" he chose to be legally AWOL by joining the Air National Guard to protect the skies over Texas and Louisiana joyriding in a trainer jet rather than risk fighting in the hazardous skies of Viet Nam. But I digress....

    You wrote:

    "The martians sent meteorites to earth millions of years ago to draw us up there, (patiently sending them to the Antarctic so it wouldn't look like they were deliberately placing them where we would find them) and now they are waiting for us to come up there so the aliens can hijack the ship and come back to earth to mate with all the nondescript rocks laying around, dormant, completely fooling us humans, who suspect nothing. I admit these well disguised earth rocks here look lifeless, not unlike those very cleverly concealed rocks on Mars that have artfully configured themselves to look like rocks here, so they don't arouse any suspicions. You must admit the Martians have done a very good job of making their exotic rocks look like our ordinary ones, exactly like them."

    The meteorites they find in the Arctic and Antarctica weren't "sent" millions of years ago. Supposedly they were blasted from Mars billions of years ago by a meteor(s) or small asteroid(s) and are still "floating" around in the Van Allen belt or wherever. And every once in awhile one gets nudged out of its orbit and comes burning through our atmosphere. The reason they are easy to find is that they're "new" and just lying atop the white contrasting snow and ice. But that's some funny stuff you write.

    Have a good one.
    Last edited by bob clark; 09-10-2005 at 07:22 AM.

  10. #10
    Bob,

    Your post made me smile. Thanks. We should propose that the name of the "International Space Station" be changed to the "Space Station of the Coalition of the Willing". There are only two guys up there, but the "Space Station of Two Guys" just doesn't have enough flare. To be honest, the people at NIH loathe NASA because they don't think they do anything. With just two guys up there, neither of them trained in anything except "space", it is getting a little old to say we are there to find out how life began in the universe. Slogan still works for the taxpayers however. The problem is that if NASA shut down, and the two guys had to come back down to earth, the money would never get to NIH. It would go to Homeland Security, just like the money from the Army Corps of Engineers to repair the Ponchartraine levee went to Homeland Security. Sometimes you get the feeling no one is tending the store. I respect President Bush. He is a good, decent man; but, the mass resignation of nineteen of his top aides because his "lack of any program outside Iraq" and life of privilege had put him "out of touch" with the need for "health care Americans could afford" did concern me. I think of the story about the Prince and the Pauper. What if Bush switched places with someone who needed health care, for a month? What if Bush paid twice for health insurance what he has to pay for housing. Would he not act? I see Germany where doctors still have private medicine and ONLY hospital chains must compete. Why do foreign countries eclipse us in stem cell research? We may have better pictures of Mars, for all the good that does us--no one is willing to pay ten cents for them; but people are going en masse to China for stem cell implants to try to walk again.

    If his own Dad says it is a mistake to go into iraq, then the rest of us can't be accused of being unpatriotic for thinking the same thing. Do we have another trillion to put into the desert over there, HOPING Iraq MIGHT become as peaceful as Jordan?. For that much money, we could set up factories to extract the oil from Canada's tar sands.

    The Defense Budget long ago began to be exceeded by the Health Budget, virtually none of which goes for research. This happened when Congress passed the HMO bill to allow the corporate practice of medicine to "save costs". Turns out the docs were doing a pretty good job on their own without HMO's to monopolize the situation. There are no cost controls and no incentives to keep down health costs, as Bill Frist, a thoracic surgeon in Congress has stated. The HMO's have their method, don't let anyone into the plan who is sick and get them out quickly if they are. IF you link coverage to a job, the people too sick to get and keep a job will never have to be covered. There is no competition to keep health care costs down.

    We need cellphones which will give us MRI images for 25 cents. Walk past something in the mall and hold up your cellphone and there you have it. They already have images that cheap in hospitals except we have to pay six thousand dollars for the images, unless you live anywhere except the US where the costs are factorially reduced, along with the cost of medicine. We could fund much needed medical research if we just limited salaries of health chain execs, who have been raiding the hospital funds for nearly 15 years. Any salary of any health care exec should be public, along with what his job function actually is besides being a buddy of the CEO. The health CEO who was accused of manipulating company stock was accused of skimmming 2 1/2 BILLION dollars. What is a health care exec even doing with that much money, whether or not he is skimming it?

    We need an SEC like regulatory body for the "nonprofit" health care chains. "Nonprofit" means all the money goes to the execs and none to stockholders, not that there is no profit. No segment of the US economy is accumulating profits faster than the nonprofits. When the scandal breaks, the execs will all have golden parachutes big enough to buy a chunk of Maui beachfront. Doctors are some of the smartest people on the planet, (about everything except pain), so why do they need high priced business graduates to help them buy paste wax for the hospitals? The administrative parasites are "health consultants" without knowing anything about health.

    NASA is a drop in the bucket compared to the money wasted by health care chains on administrative salaries and deluxe offices, and can I say it here, babes for secretaries. You will find they always have office space in the most expensive offices in any given city. At one company, to remain unnamed, the MAIN maintenance expense is to clear condoms out of the executive toilets. I talked to one plumber who said he clears 600 condoms a month out of one restroom, and only execs supposedly use it. I have actually been in that washroom when the regular one was clogged, by who knows what.. Sort of like in the movies. Framed walnut doors on the stalls and gold fixtures, with sofas in the entry lounge. That would surely help them cure the ill better. I can't speak for the quality of the condoms, unnecessary for the SCI person, but they are beefy enough to clog up those deluxe toilets. Insurance rates at that company are scheduled to rise 20 percent next year. Must be the price of oil that goes into processing the latex to make all those condoms. They claim to be reducing the physicians reimbursements to make ends meet. Which ends meeting are they referring to?

    Americans have been told it is unpatriotic to do anything but shut up. We are confusing bureaucratic business as usual with patriotism. I favor requiring drug companies who profit from the sale of opiates to donate one percent of their gross profits to research within the company on basic pain mechanisms. This would address the area of health care where the most money is spent , with hope of ending Central Pain. I believe trade and commerce is the key to peace. If we could cure pain and cancer, the foreign nations would be eager to be our friends. Our international space station hasn't made any difference in that department, I am afraid. The thing that make NASA attractive is that, unlike everyone else in Washington, they actually do something, so they seem like a holy mission compared to the vast field of parasites inside the beltway, who eat lunch with the vast field of twenty year old journalists who think they know everything, but are just a bunch of "me too" rookies, with access to media power. My opinion of course.

    My next door neighbor was rescued from the Japanese by Mao Tse Tung who was then our friend. Now China is the big boogeyman. This will never stop until our leaders learn to make friends. I think health cures are a good place to start.

    Politics is personal, not national. NASA exists because the money goes to Tom DeLay's district. We always have to avoid being made to think something is a national interest which is really a personal interest. Bush allows a porous border to get ethnic votes, and voids stem cell research for the same reason, to favor a constituency. As long as journalism schools don't require any sciences for a degree, you are going to continue to have self righteous boneheads reporting the news. They know how to spot a poor person, but no one with pain, and they wouldn't recognize or give recognition to a health scientist if they saw one.

    Time to start healing and stop killing. Cheaper and it works. Those with all the publicity have to start sharing it with those who are actually doing some good, like Wise, and stop sending hundreds to follow Jessica Simpson. Just like you can't build an economy off lawyers, you can't build leadership in the country with journalists. Journalism means you have a degree that taught you how to run photoshop and power point. AFter that you must have an opinion, preferably something self righteous. You need not actually know anything concrete. It is better if you don't. You might say something the average public doesn't understand. You don't even have to write well, but should have a list of buzz words ready. It does help to know how to apply hair gel, hair extensions, and have SOME hair, be serious all the time, halfway indignant, and willing to keep sacred cows sacred, NASA being numero uno right now. US patriots used to say "Love it or Leave it" Now they say, "If you have a job with health coverage, DON'T under any circumstances, leave it."
    Last edited by dejerine; 09-13-2005 at 03:51 AM.

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