Patterico's Pontifications

1/4/2011

“2012” is the Least Realistic Science Fiction Movie of All Time (And Other Scattered Nerding Out)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 6:32 am



[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

Important update: An apparent representative of the Science and Entertainment Exchange wrote to me to state that their organization did not create this top ten list.  This denial is repeated on their blog. If they say they weren’t involved, I will take their word for it, although I am hard pressed to understand why they would even care.  I mean if you look at their blog it’s full of similar stuff, so its not exactly going to harm their reputation.  But truth is truth, and it’s not really all that important, anyway.

Via Adelaide Now, we learn that NASA and Science and Entertainment Exchange discussed what counts as the most plausible and least plausible science fiction movies of all time:

Gattaca and Jurassic Park have both been named in a list, compiled by NASA and the Science and Entertainment Exchange, of the most plausible science-fiction movies ever made….

Other films praised for their realism included Contact, from 1997,Metropolis, from 1927, and the original 1951 version of The Day The Earth Stood Still.

However NASA and the Exchange also named and shamed those sci-fi flicks with the worst depictions of science.

Armageddon, in which a team of blue-collar oil drillers fly into space and blow up an asteroid, and The 6th Day, in which Arnold Schwarzenegger is cloned in just a few hours, made it onto the list of least-realistic movies.

And which film topped the “worst” list? It doesn’t take a scientist to figure out that one.

The least-realistic sci-fi movie was named as 2012, Roland Emmerich’s 2009 masterpiece of disaster porn in which the entire world breaks apart in various ridiculous ways to coincide with the end of the Mayan calendar.

“The film makers took advantage of public worries about the so-called end of the world as apparently predicted by the Mayans of Central America, whose calendar ends on December 21, 2012,” Donald Yeomans, head of NASA’s Near-Earth Asteroid Rendezvous mission, told the Times.

“The agency is getting so many questions from people terrified that the world is going to end in 2012 that we have had to put up a special website to challenge the myths. We have never had to do this before.”

All of which can prompt a fun discussion of good and bad sci-fi in movies.  Indeed, the Science and Entertainment Exchange has a whole site and blog devoted to this kind of stuff.  But a few questions.  First, if we are going to name the worst science fiction, doesn’t this deserve at least a dishonorable mention?

Ah, but you suspect that they want people to be scared of global warming Manbearpig so naturally they don’t want to do anything to reduce the hysteria.  But you do get the feeling that this is a judgment of how much they liked the movie.  Take for instance, the 6th Day.  In my opinion, it wasn’t bad so much as blah.  It was trying to be the new Total Recall but ended up being waaay to blah for that.  But their criticism “in which Arnold Schwarzenegger is cloned in just a few hours” doesn’t seem valid.  The idea they had was that they grew the clones in a sort of “blank” state, and then imprinted at the last minute which person it would become.  Depending on what advances in genetic manipulation come on line, I don’t see that as impossible.  Certainly it is not more laughable than The Day After Tomorrow.

But one killjoy question, here.  Um, in a time of budget crunches, what the hell is NASA doing this for?  NASA seems to be about everything—finding arsenic based life in ponds, reaching out to the Muslim world, and critiquing movies—everything, that is, except for exploring space, which was supposed to be their job in the first place.  I am not saying that there is no value in doing this as outreach and education, but on the night after learning that our debt has passed $14 Trillion, are we really going to say this is the best use of our precious money?

Meanwhile, to try to unkill the joy a little, it is also worth noting that other nerdy lawyers have created a new blog called Law and the Multiverse, dealing with how the law would interact with superheroes and supervillains.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

106 Responses to ““2012” is the Least Realistic Science Fiction Movie of All Time (And Other Scattered Nerding Out)”

  1. The 6th day might explain Arnold’s current behavior, I liked Armageddon, on pain of death, I wouldn’t watch 2012

    narciso (6075d0)

  2. narc

    i started to watch 2012, on netflix streaming, and couldn’t take it, it was so retarded.

    and the silly thing is that the mayans were not predicting the end of the world, just the end of one time period, but the beginning of another. its of no more significance than the year 2000, and there is no special reason to think anything bad will happen.

    i wish they would go back to us killing aliens. i liked those movies. not the massive disaster of the week.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  3. I think the issue of computing power, is more at stake, than genetics, in the 6th day, then again
    there’s the problem that how would a clone assimilate all that information, they would probably go mad.

    narciso (6075d0)

  4. 2012 and the Day After Tomorrow were both produced by Roland Emmerich, who was also responsible for Independence Day, and his influence was apparently powerful enough that hey all feel as if they were cut from the same cloth.

    I found all three of them to be completely stupid but nonetheless highly entertaining and amusing.

    aphrael (9802d6)

  5. I would tend to think that Total Recall had quite a lot of prescient ideas, just like most of Philip Dick’s works. Verhoeven really made some great films back in his prime – Robocop is still hilarious, and considering what Detroit’s become since then, unfortunately highly prophetic as well. I would also include Spielberg’s Minority Report.

    Dmac (498ece)

  6. Emmerich is the Oliver Stone of hitting the audience over the head with a hammer to get his childish ideas home – but without the filmmaking talent. The Patriot is about as stupid as you can get.

    Dmac (498ece)

  7. Right, and I would say that when you go see an Emmerich movie, you know what you’re getting. Which is to say, in most cases: emotionally overwrought silly plots with many visually stunning dramatic scenes. Perfect “escapism” for when you want that. :)

    aphrael (9802d6)

  8. Um, in a time of budget crunches, what the hell is NASA doing this for?
    This is part of the NASA outreach to Muslims. Let it be noted that Muslims were not responsible for any of this cinematic terrorism.

    TimesDislaiku (81bc85)

  9. OCP would never invest in Detroit, today, however is ED-209 that far removed from the predator drones
    in purpose

    narciso (6075d0)

  10. Law and the Multiverse, dealing with how the law would interact with superheroes and supervillains

    This was a central aspect of the movie The Incredibles, for those who did not see it (with their children).
    Superheroes were held liable for damage caused in the midst of their superheroing and the government had to set up a “Super Hero Protection Program”. Depending on how one looks at it, that is a very plausible view of reality (if there were superheroes, of course).

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  11. MD… you mean there aren’t superheroes?

    *sob*

    quasimodo (4af144)

  12. MD

    that also made the least sense in the movie.

    Okay so they get sued. so then why does that add up to witness protection? why not simply pass an immunity statute, maybe saying in the law “and you will never use your powers again.” and then offer witness protection to those superheroes who were “outted” in their ID.

    And then in the end it is implied that the supers are back. but the problem of liability is still there.

    mind you, i say that as a person who actually owns a copy of the movie. and the video game based on it. and no, i don’t have kids to give me cover. but that never made much sense to me, plot-wise.

    btw, there is nothing wrong with liking pixar movies as an adult. they revealed not too long ago that they write these things for adults. then they go back and cut out the inappropriate parts.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  13. who cares bout 2012, the world isnt going to end in that year.. everybody said that about 2000 nd 11 years later nothing happened..so people really? get over yourselves

    elizabeth (cbc282)

  14. The Mayans didn’t predict themselves going away, so how could they get this right.

    narciso (6075d0)

  15. NASA has become so top-heavy in bureaucracy, hobbled by political correctness, and toxic to scientists and engineers who value physical reality that they no longer have the ability to do what’s necessary to explore space. The most advanced technologically innovative organization ever assembled in human history has successfully been destroyed by liberalism and crony politics. It wasn’t just Challenger and Columbia that crashed and burned.

    Socratease (5c1dd6)

  16. narc

    yeah, but some of those predictions were spooky. for instance, this is one of their predictions: “in the year 2008, the one with big ears and a small brain will be leader of the land of the red, white and blue eagle. He will be smited in 2012 by the Grizzly Mother from the Northern land. She will kill him and mount his head on the wall of her great white hut.”

    Scientists are still trying to understand how this prophesy might apply to these times.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  17. It’s a puzzler I’ll grant you, lol

    narciso (6075d0)

  18. I got in trouble when I went to see 2012 because some of the patrons didn’t like the fact that we were laughing through most of the movie.

    Plan 9 from Outer Space,” long heralded as the worst scifi picture ever, has gotten some stiff competition.

    Neo (03e5c2)

  19. Aaron- The idea that an ungrateful greedy public would cooperate with lawyers to ruin a good thing was so overwhelming in its visceral appeal, that any thought of alternative ways of legally dealing with the issues was simply off the radar screen. It would take a lawyer to contemplate other ways of invoking legal options, while the rest of us are just busy being appalled.

    I imagine it’s the same with any specialty, when a movie by its nature has to treat a technical subject superficially, those with first hand knowledge automatically look at alternatives.

    At the end of the movie I thought it was assumed that the public got a brain and realized that the supers performed a necessary function, and to litigate them into debtors prison was not a bright idea, and they told the lawyers to take a long hike off a short pier and hope a superhero was there to save them. (Well, the last part I just thought of now, since you raised the issue.)

    IIRC there was previous mention (I guess from you) about how they write stuff for adults then take out the obvious bad and see how much inuendo they can get away with. While I think (hope) that there are at least a few people out there who can just start out as thinking a kid’s movie, I have my own experience that lends support to your information. Long ago in another millenium in a lecture hall far, far away, I took a course on “Science Fiction as Literature” or some such. We had a guest lecture by the author of one of the books we read for the class. It became apparent that most of his book was an opportunity of trying different ways of using phallic symbolism. The few friends I knew in the class, as well as myself, had no idea that was in the author’s mind. (Now, none of us thought much of the book in general, either). I came away with the distinct belief that if a book spent most of its time on such things I would just as soon not “get it” and toss it aside.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  20. I’m surprised the low-budget but quite-well-done movie “Moon” (2009 I think?) wasn’t on the ‘best of’ list.

    The only extremely speculative science there was … well I don’t want to ruin the plot if you haven’t seen it, but let’s say it’s not far off of one other movie on the ‘worst’ list but did account for an appropriate time factor and even a known error/obsolescence factor.

    No FTL travel, no time travel, getting people from one place to another on the moon was a matter of days not minutes, no sound in vacuum, realistic portrayal of a base environment, etc. etc.

    rtrski (b47753)

  21. So how do Star Trek V and An Inconvenient Truth rank on the list of sci-fi plausibility?

    malclave (4f3ec1)

  22. I am posting this article I wrote for everyone’s enjoyment. Hope you have a laugh. Unfortunately, the museum (?) is real! Shows you how crazy this country has become thanks to the Fundies ( Christian fundamentalists.)

    Dear Friend

    I visited the Creationist Museum the other day, you know the one in Kentucky that tells what life was like a long time ago, about 6000 years give or take a few, when the world was first created. It was a wonderful display which showed me how how the earth got started.

    Did you know that before the Fall of Man dinosaurs were friendly, domesticated beast’s? Yup! There was this display depicting a dinosaur with a saddle on it. I thought dinosaurs might have been used to help plow the fields but I forgot, and was reminded, at that time there was no need to work. Everything Adam and Eve needed was given to them for free. Dinosaurs were just for fun. I realized this when I saw depiction of a dinosaur and Adam playing what looked to me like an early form of frisbee.

    Imagine having a pet that weighed 30 tons?! But they were tame and friendly and, fortunately, there was never a need for them to defecate. But everything went wrong when Adam ate that apple given to him by the talking snake. You see that apple gave him the knowledge of what is right and wrong. As soon as he had that knowledge all hell broke loose which I guess explains the origin of the saying “Ignorance is Bliss.”

    There was this great exhibit showing Noah and the ark. As you probably know, God was angry at the world, he didn’t figure on them sinning and so decided to flood the earth as punishment. Noah was told to build an ark and on this ark he brought a pair of every single kind of animal to save them from the water. It must’ve been a really difficult thing to do, gathering them all together, feeding them, not to mention cleaning up after them or stopping them from fighting among themselves. And I’m not sure why he brought aboard such things as fleas, flies, cockroaches and Mexican Chihuahuas which I have never liked because they bark too much. But God has his way and who I to question?

    Anyway the whole world was flooded and everything was destroyed. The ark floated around for some time and finally the waters disappeared to someplace or another and they all got off on this mountain somewhere in Iran or Turkey and from there populated the earth once again. I guess that must include kangaroos because how else could kangaroos be around today since there is no evolution. Only people like Adolph Hitler believe in things like evolution. I learned that too. But I wondered how kangaroos could have arrived in Australia without leaving a single fossil anywhere else in the world. I learned that there are just some things which are are called “Divine Mysteries” which are kind of like the ones you see on Law and Order Criminal Intent, only a lot more difficult, and that is probably one of them. It’s really a test of your faith put there by God…or Satan… I’m not sure which.

    I think you will really learn a lot at this museum and dont listen to those that say that this story is not true. They are agents of Satan, you know, the guy with the horns and a tail and the pitchfork who whispers in your year encouraging you to do bad things like lie or steal or play with yourself.

    But I know all these things to be true because God said so. It’s in the Bible. And the Bible is the Word of God. It says so, right in the Bible so it must be true.

    I hope you visit this museum. I think you’ll like it and in fact you may come away as I did…feeling . . what’s the word?? Oh ya.. blissful.

    Vietnameravet (35c6c1)

  23. rtrski, just finished watching Moon on Netflix with my wife. We really enjoyed it, so thanks for the heads up.

    VEV, did you really write that, or just copy and paste it? It’s a comment on Daily Kos among other places, and not very recently.

    Whoever wrote that was pretty dull. Exaggerating a concept and then pointing to how silly it is can be funny, but the same joke isn’t funny 50 times in a row. It comes across as defensive. Why do you care if someone practices a certain religion you don’t agree with?

    There is a Creation Museum, and it seems like an interesting look into a worldview. I don’t agree with them, but I’m proud to live in a country where people are free to practice their faith peacefully.

    Maybe you should have paid more attention to your oath of service.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  24. Moon is a great film.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  25. Generally the odd numbered Treks are the lesser in the series, I saw the first on a plane without sound in 1980, the 3rd was ok, the 5th was tripe
    and the 7th had it’s moments

    narciso (6075d0)

  26. SPQR and Dustin, I did a short writeup on “Moon” (2009) and the great ’70s & ’80S sci-fi it referenced, maybe you will find it of interest here. *SPOILER ALERT*

    *SPOILER ALERT*The main appeal for me is that it discusses many questions about what it means to be human. What is the difference between a human intelligence, or an Artificial Intelligence? Soul? Reason? Empathy? Compassion? Can a human being be cloned? If so, who owns it? The original person? A corporation? A corporation has all the legal rights and obligations of an individual, but can it supersede a human? Movies like ‘Blade Runner’ (and the source book by Philip K. Dick) involve these questions, and what might be “more human than human”. But I was especially taken with the look of ‘Moon’, and the influences that came from ’70s and ’80s hard science fiction movies to the story by Duncan Jones, who also directed. It interested me enough to go back and watch some of these movies again (or for the first time), and see how they showed up in the story and look of ‘Moon’. Hard science fiction movies are not popular anymore and, like the western, have become an antiquated genre. But I loved this movie, and I hope you will watch it and maybe let me know your thoughts.

    Space: 1999 (1975-77) – the white modular furniture and corridors are similar to those found in Moonbase Alpha. The moonscape and rovers are similar to that in ‘Moon’, and the ‘Eagle’ shuttle is similar to the shuttle in ‘2001’. Also reminds me of ‘Major Matt Mason’ toys.

    Rollerball (1975) – the corporation controls events in ‘Moon’, and expects Sam to do without telling him the reasons. Sam is an individual, and is starting to think for himself. Just like Jonathan E in Rollerball. Side note, the announcer is longtime L.A. Kings voice Bob Miller. And for all the talk about racism, who among us wasn’t relieved when every doctor in the operating room was Asian?

    Westworld (1973) – robots appear as humans. The environment appears real to ‘Sam’ but is a fraudulent hoax with human puppetmasters controlling the perception. Holds up well and cost very little using studio costumes for western and medieval times. This movie was a really strong story told with suspense, written and directed by Michael Chricton. I wonder what ever happened to him after this.

    Silent Running (1972) – three ‘drones’, Huey, Dewey & Louie. Similar to ‘Moon’ AI, Gerty. The drones are cute, sweet and relieve humans of boring, dangerous and redudndant work. But there is some anthropomorphic characteristics shared, like when Gerty reaches out to touch Sam in ‘Moon’, which is something the ‘drones’ also do to Lowell Freeman in ‘Silent Running’. The protagonist, Lowell Freeman, is earnest to the point of being humorless and angry; this characteristic is shared by Sam in ‘Moon’. Sam talks to his plants in the opening minutes of ‘Moon’, just as Lowell Freeman does. Douglas Trumbull does the special effects, and it is a good looking movie, but the message seems a bit dated. But for kids who remember how bad air pollution was in the early ’70s running around on the tarmac of the Mar Vista playground and feeling your lungs burn at the end of the day, that message is a lot more understandable than to someone born in the ’90s in L.A. today.

    Solaris (1972) – “Every puppet’s dream is to be human.” Being’s created from man’s memory; not really human. What is it to be human? Can man play God by allowing a nonhuman being to come back to earth? What are the consequences? Sam has hallucinations of being with his wife, who is in actuality dead. This is exactly what happens to Kelvin in ‘Solaris’. A ‘security team’ is dispatched to the space station in this movie, just like ‘Moon’.

    THX1138 (1971) – George Lucas’ student film at USC was an early version of this story. Basically a sedated man alone and surrounded by millions in an underground city, shakes off the shackles of sedatives, consumerism, and corporate control. His world is not what it appears to be, just like Sam in ‘Moon’. Side note, at 1:15 in the movie there is a radio reference to a “wookie”, creatures later encountered at the end of the movie as THX makes a run for it. Lucas’ ‘Star Wars’ would come out in 1977.

    2001: A Space Oddysey (1968) – At 20 minutes, there is a videophone allowing a main character to talk with his daughter on Earth; meanwhile the transmission is down from the Moon to Earth and will be broken indefinitely, just like the “delayed” video transmissions in ‘Moon’. At 55 minutes, a character is exercising by running inside the circular space station; ‘Moon’ opens with Sam exercising by running on a machine. The shipboard computer, “HAL 9000″, is responsible for watching over the humans in suspended animation, like GERTY in ‘Moon’. At one point HAL says “I want to help you” and GERTY says the exact same line in ‘Moon'; but the context and intent are entirely different. Side note: the special effects were very cutting edge 42 years ago, and only today do I realize why this movie was a Fri/Sat midnight showing for years at the Cinerama dome. Also, a plot line that escaped me when I read the source material, a book by Arthur C. Clarke: the obelisk that imparted an advancement for the herbivorous apes, allowing them to make the jump to using tools/weapons to kill and become meateaters. The obelisk imparted the advancement for artificial intelligence HAL 9000 to kill; but it also advanced the human Dave allowing him to outsmart HAL 9000. This only occurred to me on the third viewing, but apparently there are many interpretations of this film and book from which ‘Moon’ takes some inspiration.

    Dark Star (1974) – a film school project originally, it was John Carpenter’s (Escape from NY and sequel(s), Assault on Precint 13, Halloween, etc.) first directing and he wrote the script with Dan O’Bannon (wrote all the Alien movies, Blue Thunder, Total Recall and more) The film opens with a video message from earth, delayed 10 years at this point. Plenty of encouragement from earth, but budget constraints mean no radiation shields for the crew of this ship. There is also a scene showing the crew killing time, and the “knife stabbed between fingers” game is played, just like in “Aliens” (1986); the game ends the same way. Interesting to see a student film work, but not wothy entertainment on its own.

    Soylent Green (1973) – this movie is going to be remade and released in 2012, and I am already looking forward to it. The story really holds up. Issues like quality of life, or the dignity of shedding this mortal coil in the time of one’s own choosing, plenty of social issues that never seem to get resolved completely, are all addressed. There is a nice friendship between Chalton Heston’s ‘Thorne’ and Edward G. Robinson’s ‘Saul Roth'; Saul Roth can translate roughly to ‘red sun’ or setting sun, and Roth is ‘red’ or ‘rose’ to complement ‘thorn’. This was Robinson’s last movie, and he died nine days after the filming stopped; Charlton Heston’s tears were real in the scene where Saul ‘went home’, as he was the only one on set that knew Robinson had cancer. btw, that scene takes place at the L.A. Sports Arena, with turnstiles and cheap blue tile, it looked futuristic in 1973. One of the Sams in ‘Moon’ also says he wants to ‘go home’ a couple of times. So powerful, moreso for knowing that. The most direct homage to this movie in ‘Moon’ is during a scene in the kitchen where a food package is marked “Soylent”.

    Omega Man (1972)/I Am Legend (2007) – Charlton Heston played a man in an overcrowded city of 40,000,000 in Soylent Green, and the last man on earth in this movie. He is cool in both. There is a scene where his character Neville is almost crucified in Dodger Stadium. Neville has to deal with solitude, some moments of questioning his own sanity, boredom, and search for meaning in his life, and what it means to be human. Sam grapples with all of these questions in ‘Moon’. The novella by Richard Matheson is a little different than both movies, a much darker ending; it was written in 1954, and some thought it to be an allegory about communism (the vampires) taking over and eliminating humanity as we (the U.S. and western democracies) knew and enjoyed it. The movies leave a little hope.

    Aliens (1986) – Second in the ‘Alien’ series, the plot involved a corporate antagonist working for “Weyland-Yutani”. If you check out the signage above the doorways in ‘Moon’, the words are in English and Japanese. Paul Reiser played a straight dramatic role (this was before his explosion as a comedy star in his seven season run in ‘Mad About You’). I saw him appear to promote this film on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, and will never forget that appearance; Reiser had the garbage slot, and Johnny was bored. Johnny opened up with a perfunctory question about “playing the ‘bad’ guy”, and Reiser replied, “I prefer to think of my character as the ‘misunderstood’ guy.” Johnny woke the f&*k up, and laughed. He then asked Reiser some personal questions, and Reiser replied that he was engaged to a wonderful woman he had been living with for four years. The audience gave Reiser a cheap slut round of applause for his engagement, and Johnny
    said, “if you had said that 25 years ago, the audience would have been shocked.” Reiser replied, “Of course, Johnny, I would have been four years old!” That moment made Johnny a fan until his death. Nice. That has nothing to do with ‘Moon’, but I just wanted to share some love for Paul Reiser. Anyway, in the ‘Moon’ DVD extras, there is a Q&A session at Sundance in which director Duncan Jones credits ‘Aliens’ as a direct influence. Also nice.

    Outland (1981) – A sci-fi version of ‘High Noon’, this movie was also credited as an influence in that same Q&A. Sean Connery’s character ‘Marshal O’Neil’ has to stop a corporate exploitation, just like in ‘Moon’. O’Neil has one year left on his contract, working in law enforcement in the mining colony on a moon of Jupiter. The corporation sends a couple of assassins to get him, arriving on the next shuttle with a countdown-to-arrival clock, also a device used in ‘Moon’. ‘Neil’ translates from Gaellic as “champion” and the bad buy corporate boss is “Sheppard” so apparently the writers were paying attention in Screenwriting 101.

    Planet of The Apes (1968) / (2001) – the source material for this was a French novel, with a different twist at the end. Because you read, and don’t see, it works. But the twist was changed for the movie, and is also great. Astronaut Taylor (Charlton Heston, in this third of his ‘holy sci-fi trinity) discovers that the world around him is not as he imagines. And he is confronted with a situation where he might not be ranked as “human”, just as Sam finds in “Moon”.

    TimesDislaiku (62d645)

  27. OK, that’s my nerding out for the week.:-)

    TimesDisliker (62d645)

  28. Great list and discussion, Times.

    Though I recognized the characters in Moon as Korean rather than Japanese. Sarang is the Korean word for love, though I don’t know that this relates to the plot. Given the realism of the movie, it may signify that the energy giant Lunar company isn’t an American company.

    I particularly liked the different take on AI in Moon vs Space 2001, even though Gerty is related conceptually to HAL.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  29. @#15- “The most advanced technologically innovative organization ever assembled in human history has successfully been destroyed by liberalism and crony politics.”

    Inaccurate. What may be interpreted by some as NASA’s ‘decline’ as a ‘stellar’ R&D organinzation (a perception/image cultivated in the 1960’s BTW) began when the Reagan Administration tinkered with the space agency by amending the National Aeronautics and Space Act in 1984 (sec. 203A, #5) naively attempting to turn it into a ‘profit center’ — which proved to be figuratively and quite literally a disaster — (see STS-25 for details– RIP the crew of ‘Challenger.’) The scars from this misguided policy remain.

    @Worthing: “Um, in a time of budget crunches, what the hell is NASA doing this for? NASA seems to be about everything—finding arsenic based life in ponds, reaching out to the Muslim world, and critiquing movies—everything, that is, except for exploring space, which was supposed to be their job in the first place. I am not saying that there is no value in doing this as outreach and education, but on the night after learning that our debt has passed $14 Trillion, are we really going to say this is the best use of our precious money?”

    Section 203 of the National Aeronautics And Space Act pretty much covers this. ‘Exploring space’ is just one of their ‘jobs.’ The agency is essentially doing what it has been directed to do. The Space Act in current form is an interesting read– particularly when assessing how the civilian space agency has been deviated from its original purpose at inception. In many ways it remains a Cold War relic, ripe for additional budget cuts and program terminations. In other ways it is quite innovative, adapting to changing times. NASA itself has been in existence longer than its derivitive agency, the NACA. ‘Our precious money’ is a dubious turn of phrase these days, given the U.S. government borrows roughly 43 cents of every dollar it spends. Whether a percentage of that ‘borrowed’ money continues to be spent on NASA at current levels remains to be seen.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  30. Comment by TimesDislaiku — 1/4/2011 @ 8:08 pm

    Superb list, TD. I wonder if A Clockwork Orange would not fit nicely into that list.

    As for the worst SciFi, both for science as well as for general artistic merit, I cannot believe no one has cited Battlefield Earth–a movie that stands side by side with Plan 9 for horrible acting, a stupid plotline, and insane science.

    iconoclast (bbd5ee)

  31. This novel, shares some similarities with Outland,

    http://www.amazon.com/Five-Star-Science-Fiction-Fantasy/dp/1594144214/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpi_1

    narciso (6075d0)


  32. I would also include Spielberg’s Minority Report.

    Indeed. This is an exceptionally well done SF film. Surprising, Speilberg usually doesn’t do that well.

    Another underestimated one in the same vein is I, Robot, which, while I grant has very little to do with Asimov’s stories other than a few names and such, it is very well done on the whole.

    Right, and I would say that when you go see an Emmerich movie, you know what you’re getting. Which is to say, in most cases: emotionally overwrought silly plots with many visually stunning dramatic scenes. Perfect “escapism” for when you want that.

    I won’t argue with the assertion, but will ask why anyone should ever want that. You leave the movie stupider than when you went in, and with your life several hours shorter. I’d argue both I, Robot and Minority Report manage the same while still being Good SF, not Sci-Fi*

    I’d also note both of the Emmerich’s involvement in the rather lame The Thirteenth Floor which is conceptually similar to both Dark City and The Matrix — all three explore the then-newly popular idea of immersive VR, with T13F being a dismal 3rd place showing. Needless to say, The Matrix made 7x as much on its opening April weekend than the T13F made on its Memorial Day weekend two months later.

    *Sci-Fi —

    Speculative Fiction
    is flawless diction,
    SF‘, too,
    is fine to do,
    But if ‘
    Attack of the Carrots from Mars‘ makes you cry,
    NEVER use the term ‘Sci-Fi‘.

    – C. B. Kelly –

    IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society (c9dcd8)

  33. Bad science is…. Chain Reaction, in which, during the opening presentation by a so-called physics professor to a 1st year physics class (yeah, RIGHT!), the professor’s own monologue/lesson shows a complete lack of understanding of the difference between chemical reactions and nuclear reactions. A discussion of the notion of getting nuclear-style energies from hydrogen-oxygen combination is suggested, and, in fact, represents the macguffin upon which all the action/dramatic tension is derived.

    Bad science is… a visual effect in Pitch Black, in which a planet is shown with stacked rings. A cool visual effect, to be sure, but anyone who has even a high-school physics understanding of orbital mechanics knows this is utterly impossible, one or both of the rings in question could not have its “ring” centered on the planets center of mass, which -must- be true of -all- inertially based orbits, no exceptions allowed — and which include ring systems.

    Bad science is… The Core:

    “The only way to save Earth from catastrophe is to drill down to the core and set it spinning again.”

    …”Set it spinning again”? Really?

    Bad science is… Sunshine:

    “A team of astronauts are sent to re-ignite the dying sun 50 years into the future.”

    …re-ignite… **THE SUN** ?!?!? Only 50 years into the future? Even IF this were VAGUELY either “needable” or “possible”, I believe it is patently beyond ludicrous to imagine humans -capable- of such an incomprehensibly massive task only 50 years into the future. The energies involved would be literally GODLIKE in nature. If you could control those kinds of energies you would truly be as A God — the Roman/Greek kind, not the Xtian kind.

    I have not seen 2012, nor Battlefield Earth, so cannot comment on them — but I find it remarkably improbable that they are worse — scientifically — than the insanely incompetent “science” behind, in increasingly bad order, Chain Reaction, The Core, and Sunshine. More incompetently written, plotted, characterized, etc.? Perhaps…

    But scientifically, Sunshine HAS to be as bad as it gets…

    IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society (c9dcd8)

  34. =======================================================================================


    The most advanced technologically innovative organization ever assembled in human history has successfully
    been destroyed by liberalism and crony politics. It wasn’t just Challenger and Columbia that crashed and burned.

    My NASA story:

    The agency was doomed by 1992.

    In 1992, the World SF Convention was held in Orlando, FL. Living near there, it was relatively easy to go, so I did. Cape Canaveral is 30 miles away, so it had more than its typical share of NASA people there, as they know a significant support base comes from the SF community.

    Among other things, there was a panel of NASA mid-level engineers regarding the future of space flight. During this panel, the question came up regarding returning to the Moon. At which point one of them said it could not be done within 10 years. The audience, rather boggled, asked, “You mean the will isn’t there to do it?” The reply was, “No, it’s not possible to go back within 10 years.”

    “It’s not possible”?!?!?

    So we could not achieve something with 1990s technology and expertise what was achieved with 1960s technology…?!?!!?

    Yes, this is indisputably what they meant. We were sufficiently pissed and unbelieving that we asked the question enough times and in enough ways that there’s no question that is what they meant.

    I gave up on NASA that day. The lack of any semblance of imagination, creativity, or vision has sunk into the core of that agency, and rotted its guts out.

    I understood their argument… the specific expertise in rocket design that was utilized to go to the moon in 1960s was a lost art, so to speak. Those guys died, and their knowledge went with them.

    Who cares?

    So f***ing what?

    That means you find another solution… or re-invent, using newer technologies, the old solutions.

    Going to the moon doesn’t come from existing expertise — it comes from an attitude about the task — “We can do it, and we will do it”.

    NASA in the 60s: “Can Do!”
    NASA in the 80s: “Can’t Fail!”
    NASA in the 90s: “No clue!”

    The future lies somewhere other than NASA. Perhaps in private industry — or perhaps a Spacefaring China may stimulate Japan to compete… but it ain’t coming from NASA, that’s for certain.

    >:-/

    IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society (c9dcd8)

  35. I wondered about that with the Apollo revamp, (I forget the name) that they were considering in the aughts.Seeing as the boosters were essentially ICBM’s, would we need a counterpart to the Russian
    Energia,

    narciso (6075d0)

  36. P.S., AJ Strata is, or was, a NASA engineer. I told the above story in his blog. He didn’t attempt to explain how I was wrong or why, he just said I was too stupid to understand.

    ‘Nuff said.

    I’ve got half a degree in physics (I changed out in my Junior year after taking two years of the physics curriculum — in a school where it wasn’t front-loaded with the non-degree crap), multiple graduate level courses in applied math, and I know computers backwards and forwards. I’ve written both user interface code as well as programmed down to the bare metal.

    In short, I am technologically astute, and I can follow a reasoned explanation.

    And I made this point after the above reply from him.

    He just acted snotty and repeated his assertion.

    I repeat — ‘Nuff said.

    When your only reply is an ad hominem attack, you have no reply.

    NASA is lost, its engineers are useless, and, while Man has a future in space, it won’t involve NASA.

    >:-/

    IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society (c9dcd8)

  37. igot

    i always found it lame, in chinese history class, watcing the gov. propoganda bragging about their progress in space and saying, “it only took us x number of years to do what america did in y years.” my response: its always easier to do it, when someone else has done it first, if only because you know it can be done.

    so i find it doubly amazing that nasa would think that it is impossible to replicte what it itself did.

    Aaron Worthing (1a6294)

  38. So they are pursuing the old Korolev strategy, with the Long March booster, meanwhile we’re chasing our tales with the now cancelled Constellation program.

    narciso (6075d0)

  39. I think The Attack of the 50 Foot Woman and other such classics of the 50’s and 60’s must have been disqualified for being considered among the worst. There were a lot of bad ones, as Science Mystery Theatre could attest to.

    Michael Chricton. I wonder what ever happened to him after this
    You mean the Michael Crichton who was a Harvard Med school grad who went into writing and did the Andromeda Strain and ER and dozens of things in between? He died a few years ago, after giving his opinion that AGW was a bunch of hubris.

    Where there’s a will there’s a way, and I guess the converse is where there is no will there is no way. We built manned space craft when engineers used slide rules, for crying out loud, and the crew of Apollo 13 was saved with duct tape. There has to be more computing power in an iPod Nano than in a Saturn V.

    Fighter jets of the 1960’s would do little better than a WWI biplane against an F-22. It can’t be because the knowledge doesn’t exist somewhere.

    Is it impossible to do because of all of the OSHA regulations that have gone into effect since then?

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  40. rtrski, the problems I had with “Moon” were enormous.

    I saw through its macguffin within something like an hour before it is “revealed”, and there are a number of technical flaws, not the least of which is operating in lunar gravity has some critical differences which aren’t shown or explained. If you ARE operating on the moon, there ARE things which need to be shown or at least suggested with FX and then “avoided” with camera angles in the rest of the movie — the most obvious being that, in Moon, things fall , as well as move, as though it were Earth normal gravity. The effect of weight on the coefficient of friction makes motion under lower gravity different. You also have a lifetime of Earth-normal reflexes, so when surprised or under stress, you’re almost certain to revert away from learned and controlled movement patterns, and “jump high in the air” when scalded, as an example.

    I also found the overall plot point of WHY these things were happening to be incredibly improbable.

    I’ve certainly seen worse low-budget SF movies, but people should expect that… it’s not a great movie.

    IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society (c9dcd8)


  41. Is it impossible to do because of all of the OSHA regulations that have gone into effect since then?

    no, everyone there was literally flabbergasted at the attitude, and kept asking questions, not believing they actually meant what they did — it was, basically, “those old guys who knew how to build the rocket/combustion chambers that were used are dead, and we no longer have the ability to do that as a result”.

    As though we could only do it that way, with sheer brute force.


    Fighter jets of the 1960′s would do little better than a WWI biplane against an F-22. It can’t be because the knowledge doesn’t exist somewhere.

    One of THE best little SF movies that’s been forgotten is The Final Countdown, made in 1980:
    The USS Nimitz, just headed out of Pearl after a refit, goes through a mysterious storm, losing its escort in the process. All radio traffic is strangely silent. Slowly, they realize why. It’s December 6th, 1941.

    The movie doesn’t really answer anything as much as it poses a nice load of fun philosophical questions… it’s a great movie to watch with friends you like to have “BS sessions” with, as it’ll make for a lively one.

    But there’s this one really nice scene that interposes the advances that 40 years had brought (I won’t give anything away), that really makes you grasp how much things had developed in that time frame.

    When you think that it’s now been another 30 years, woo!! The movie was before the Sony Walkman, for crying out loud. No IBM PCs. No personal hard drives. No CDs, just vinyl. Gad.

    IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society (c9dcd8)

  42. Michael Chricton. I wonder what ever happened to him after this

    You mean the Michael Crichton who was a Harvard Med school grad who went into writing and did the Andromeda Strain and ER and dozens of things in between? He died a few years ago, after giving his opinion that AGW was a bunch of hubris.

    Indeed, Crichton’s book, State of Fear, should be required reading in high school, with a deeper examination in college.

    He initially set out to write a story about eco-disaster, but, the more he researched into the actual facts behind the concerns, and who was benefiting, the more he realized what a total crock the whole thing was. It’s a great read, and he provides a substantial background on the facts he used as a basis for his fictional story. There are, of course, those who’ve attacked those sources, and I’ll ack you should hear what they say, but, in the end, I think his position is the correct one.

    Despite the fact that almost all of the movies based on Crichton’s books have made lots of money, I predict that there will be literally no effort to adapt State of Fear into a movie.

    I also recommend two of his essays/speeches:

    A speech he made at Cal Tech —
    Aliens Cause Global Warming
    It’s been removed from his official site, but is still available via The Wayback Machine, thankfully.

    I recommend you save a copy of it locally so you can find it, if the powers that be “disappear” it as seems likely to me without him around to champion it.

    Another one worth reading is a speech he made at the Washington Center for Complexity and Public Policy:

    Complexity Theory And Environmental Management

    Like the AGW one, it’s mysteriously been removed from Crichton’s site, as well. Both were prominently featured until he died, and both are, to me, exceptionally cogent and valuable speeches from someone who made his living selling what are basically neo-luddite cautionary tales (about the dangers of technology ‘x’), and, despite this, clearly thought that the whole AGW-Green/Eco thing had gotten far out of hand.

    IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society (c9dcd8)


  43. There has to be more computing power in an iPod Nano than in a Saturn V.

    There’s more computing power in your car than in a Saturn V. Give it another 10, 15 years and there’ll probably be more power in your toaster… LOL.

    It says a lot when you realize that the 512k Macintosh, from 1984, had more raw CPU power in its primary CPU than the primary CPU of any IBM 360 ever supported by IBM. More memory and it ran faster with a more powerful and flexible instruction set.

    What does that say about the CPUs today, ya think?

    IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society (c9dcd8)

  44. “so i find it doubly amazing that nasa would think that it is impossible to replicte what it itself did.”

    There’s nothing ‘amazing’ about it. It’s a matter of budget cuts and shuttered assembly lines. You can thank Republican President Nixon for that. The architecture necessary for maintaing production of heavy lift LVs for BEO (Beyond Earth Orbit)spaceflights (the Saturn V) was initially suspended then outright cancelled in 1970 by the Nixon Administration. They began post-Apollo planning, shifting toward LEO (Low Earth Orbit) operations beginning w/Skylab and transitioning to shuttle- ultimately resulting in the LV system (ET & SRBs) for the shuttle, which is not capable of lunar flight. The final lunar missions were carried out by the Saturn V’s already paid for and completed and, in fact, Nixon budget cuts forced the cancellation of Apollos 18, 19 and 20. One of the Saturns designated for a lunar flight was used to loft Skylab; the other two remain on display as museum pieces. As of today, the United States does not have a heavy lift LV capable of replicating a lunar mission similar to Apollo. And Constellation has been cancelled. To develop or re-engineer a ‘Saturn-class’ heavy lift LV in the current era given the economics and budget constraints of the Age of Austerity, even with a ‘greenlight’ from the government, would be costly and most likely take most of a decade.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)


  45. Inaccurate. What may be interpreted by some as NASA’s ‘decline’ as a ‘stellar’ R&D organinzation (a perception/image cultivated in the 1960′s BTW) began when the Reagan Administration tinkered with the space agency by amending the National Aeronautics and Space Act in 1984 (sec. 203A, #5) naively attempting to turn it into a ‘profit center’ — which proved to be figuratively and quite literally a disaster — (see STS-25 for details– RIP the crew of ‘Challenger.’) The scars from this misguided policy remain

    Oh, libtard dude, give me a break.

    The failure of NASA began in the 70s, when they compromised, promised the moon on a platter, and gave everyone whatever vision they wanted of what the Shuttle was, rather than working hard to make what they could of what they got, and “muddling through” until they got more.

    The resultant abortion satisfied no one, never provided a single thing it promised, and so utterly destroyed the US space program singlehandedly it was pitiful.

    Two notes:

    1) There were TWO — yes, TWO fully completed, paid for, and totally man-rated Saturn launch vehicles which were never used. They are now LAWN ORNAMENTS. Instead of moth-balling them for future possible use, they put them in front of two NASA buildings, a sign pointing exactly the direction the organization was headed — that is to say, “not into space”.

    2) The Apollo vehicle was the most complex machine then designed, and one of the most complex machines so far designed. There are full copies of the plans in the Smithsonian and the National Archives. Wait, SORRY NO. No, NASA DESTROYED REPEAT *DESTROYED* all blueprints and schematics for the design of the craft, lest some private organization decide to use them to create competition for the Shuttle.

    Ya got that? NASA, in the SEVENTIES, long before “Raygun” came along to “bollux things up” as you claim, DESTROYED the plans for one of the most impressive accomplishments in the history of mankind.

    So get your cranium out of your rectum:

    NASA destroyed itself.

    No one else. Not even Carter, and the 70s Congress, though they had a hand in it.

    >:-/

    IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society (c9dcd8)


  46. There’s nothing ‘amazing’ about it. It’s a matter of budget cuts and shuttered assembly lines.

    Oh, you are SUCH a libtard tool.

    As I said, I don’t even blame the 70s Congress, but to try and point this all at Reagan, and then Nixon, is just so RETARDED as to defy even libtard “logic”. The whole country, at the time, was getting heavily into navel gazing, asking why we were doing this, that, and the other thing.

    The Space Program was “pfahh”ed at as “Let’s solve our problems here before we go Out There”. It was doomed to go into a holding pattern, and Nixon had virtually nothing to say about it. If NASA had been vaguely competently run, they would have simply shut down what they had to, tried to keep the X-programs going (they were the original path to space, before the Russian successes put us into crash-mode), and generally done the preliminary research and craft testing needed to create a long-term set of space vehicles — which pretty much everyone smart knew would take two vehicles, not one — a man-oriented vehicle, and a cargo hauler/HLV.


    As of today, the United States does not have a heavy lift LV capable of replicating a lunar mission similar to Apollo. And Constellation has been canceled. To develop or re-engineer a ‘Saturn-class’ heavy lift LV in the current era given the economics and budget constraints of the Age of Austerity, even with a ‘greenlight’ from the government, would be costly and most likely take most of a decade.

    As I said, “within a decade” — The engineers in question said THEY COULD NOT DO IT — period.

    Not “the age of austerity” or anything like that — people specifically asked if they meant “the will was not there” — they indicated that EVEN IF WE REALLY REALLY really WANTED TO — they could not accomplish it. Got that?

    And yes, you are correct, we don’t have the heavy lift capability presumably required — I say “presumably”, because that’s, once more, assuming we want to do this with sheer brute force and not perhaps apply some ingenuity to see if there is perhaps another way now open to us that was not in the past, given advances in metalurgy, ceramics, aerodynamics, and such — one might hope us capable of actually building a far more efficient vehicle that wasn’t VTO, which is a truly clumsy and expensive way of doing it than using a more plane-like take off system…

    But… even if we WERE to do it the same way — Guess what?

    They didn’t have it in 1960 when Kennedy set the 10-year goal, either. They Built It. From scratch. With no idea if it was even possible, much less a prior example to use for ideas.

    Additionally, one might even not WANT an actual HLV — who knows, it might be better to create a laser-launch system for getting most of the materials we need up there that we can’t get from other places. Certainly they provide a number of potential benefits for getting a lot of mass into space at a potentially low price-per-pound-to-orbit.

    In short, the possible mechanisms for getting into space are widely varied, there has been a literal explosion of human ingenuity applied to the problem since the 1960s, and some very creative ideas have been proposed, to the point where more than one possibly ought to be tried, yet another reason to NOT involve NASA, with its NIH syndrome.

    I would rather see NASA’s budget literally decimated, and all the funding put into the development of X-prizes. I would lay odds that 10 billion dollars, offered for any consortium that
    a) put ten men onto the moon for 30 days
    b) brought them back alive
    c) licensed the technology used to all comers at a reasonable price-point

    would have us onto the moon within 15 years.

    IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society (c9dcd8)

  47. @45 You’re blowing exhaust out the aft end of your service module, fella. NASA does what its directed to do. See #44. Then go bark at the moon beside Nixon and Reagan’s graves. The decisions made in those administrations are what have you crying in your beer. Now run along and read the National Aeronautics and Space Act.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  48. @45- A postscript-

    http://tafkac.org/science/saturn_v_blueprints.html

    Despite a widespread belief to the contrary, the Saturn V blueprints have not been lost. They are kept at Marshall Space Flight Center on microfilm.

    The problem in re-creating the Saturn V is not finding the drawings, it is finding vendors who can supply mid-1960’s vintage hardware (like guidance system components), and the fact that the launch pads and VAB have been converted to Space Shuttle use, so you have no place to launch from.

    By the time you redesign to accommodate available hardware and re-modify the launch pads, you may as well have started from scratch with a clean sheet design.”

    Idiot.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  49. It took a unique confluence of events, a visionary like Von Braun, the urgency occasioned by the cold
    war, that sparked the competition with the Russians, committee chairman who understood these
    circumstances, Proxmire and co, certainly did not,
    a belief in American exceptionalism. The thing is the Russians, the Chinese, understand the importance
    of such a program, it is pennywise and pound foolish
    for us not too,

    narciso (6075d0)

  50. Narcisco – DCSCA and Von Braun were towel snapping buddies.

    JD (57c1da)

  51. IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society –
    I think it is the Aliens… speech that I probably read from here that I was referring to. Didn’t know about the book, but sounds like a great find- so, do you think somebody involved with management of his estate is purposefully trying to evaporate his anti-AGW legacy?

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  52. @46- See 47 & 48, idiot.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  53. TD said: Michael Chricton. I wonder what ever happened to him after this
    You mean the Michael Crichton who was a Harvard Med school grad who went into writing and did the Andromeda Strain and ER and dozens of things in between? He died a few years ago, after giving his opinion that AGW was a bunch of hubris.
    Comment by MD in Philly — 1/5/2011 @ 8:50 pm
    Also, IgotBupkis had a comment on this

    Guys, I was trying to make a joke, but clearly failed. I have all his books, actually have a softcopy of AGW essay on my harddrive, always dug him. Next time I will put a “/sarc off” tag. Cheers.

    TimesDisliker (a76b23)

  54. @49-There’s no such thing as ‘American exceptionalism’ and any nation that ascribes to a similar notion is insecure– or in decline. Other than that, your comment is valid.

    @50-Jealous.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  55. A comment on a listserv without a hyperlink to a verifiable source, that’s your trump card

    narciso (6075d0)

  56. THere’s no way, you could have worked with Von Braun with that attitude.

    narciso (6075d0)

  57. DCSCA — You’re quoting a semi-anonymous source, near as I can see, which does not prove the claim wrong, at best it makes it something needing investigation.

    Unless you have a far more reliable source (I have no idea who “Paul Tomblin” is… do you?) nor do I have any indication of who put this information into:
    Newsgroups: sci.space,sci.answers,news.answers
    Subject: Space FAQ 10/13 – Controversial Questions

    NOT being “an idiot”, unlike you, I don’t just randomly quote an internet source I don’t know or have any reason to trust as though it were Gospel truth.

    The claim in question came from someone associated with the space program in published material. It may be HE was mistaken. Until you have a better source, however, the claim as to their destruction stands as “possibly, if not probably true“.

    The real justification of you as an idiot doesn’t merely come from the above, of course, it’s from your attempt to paint this as some partisan crap when it was far more tied to the spirit of the times.

    This was the Club of Rome era, when garbage like Soylent Green, based on the work of Geeenyus like that of Paul “I’ve yet to make a correct prediction in my entire life” Ehrlich, had people foolishly imagining that “resources devoted to space” cost more than they returned to the planet.

    And I can state that from my own observations at the time, something I have no idea of your capacity of — Kennedy himself, risen from the grave, could not have saved the Space Program in the 70s — Congress and the presidents were far more in the sway of events and circumstance. While they certainly could push things, they did not have the capability to massively shift the course of events. Even Proxmire, mentioned above, was riding a wave, not directing the flow of events.

    Where NASA failed was in its vision. Instead of doing what it could to keep a functional, potentially virile space program in situ for the right moment when tides changed, it went for bureaucratic bells and whistles to keep its budget maximized instead. It sold the Shuttle to everyone, making outlandish claims far outside those of any reasonable engineer. And wound up stultifying the space program for the last 30 years.

    IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society (c9dcd8)

  58. @58- You don’t know WTF you’re talking about. Do youself a favcor and spend some time educating yourself on the space agency, its hardware, the politics surrounding its inception and operations ofr half a century, then visit the MSFC archives and pull up the plans to the Saturn. Idiot.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  59. Careful, IMP is buddies with Von Braun.

    JD (57c1da)


  60. do you think somebody involved with management of his estate is purposefully trying to evaporate his anti-AGW legacy?

    I have no evidence to directly suggest such a thing, but it does seem to me odd that, when the site was re-tooled after his death, those two articles, both excellent, disappeared utterly. I consider them both to be shining examples of an educated man calling for common sense in an era when AGW was being so utterly taken as “a sure thing”. They are intelligent, approachable from a non-technically trained perspective, and apply his writing talents to full capacity in a call for reason and common sense in an arena where there is more heat than light.

    I find it particularly interesting that he made his name on technological cautionary tales (think about it), but, when observing closely the “cautionary tale” of AGW and the Greens, he stepped back and said “Hey, this stuff is CRAP!” to the point he actually started speaking out against them.

    So, it may be sheer coincidence, rather than any malice on the part of the executors/heirs… But the effect is the same, either way. If there is a directed effort towards that end, then the individuals involved should be ashamed.

    Thus — Make personal copies of the two articles from the Wayback Machine lest they become unavailable (TWM will remove articles at the behest of the site ‘owners’) due to someone at the originating site noting their existence (few people think of The Wayback Machine even when they know it exists — it is also a good source of access to older articles from Bill Whittle’s old Eject! Eject! Eject! site — I have some of those, too).

    And keep the links for yourself, as they allow you to point people to the articles for the time being despite the actions of the executors of the estate, regardless of reasons.

    IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society (c9dcd8)

  61. DCSCA, when you have something other than an ad hominem response to justify your idiotic partisan BS, LMK.

    Are you saying you’ve — personally — SEEN these mythical MF plans for the Saturns at the MSFC? Or at least have some concrete, actual proof of their existence? By all means, explain. Otherwise, that’s not smoke blowing out your nether regions. Or your face. “But I repeat myself”.

    I’ve been paying attention to the actions of the space agency for the last 40+ years. I was AT the first two shuttle launches, as well as at the Apollo 17 launch (not as an expert/professional working there, lest that claim appear to be otherwise). I’ve been INSIDE the VAB and toured the facilities at the Cape — twice.

    NASA’s a freaking government agency, and like most such, it’s become a bloated, fat bureaucracy with defacto aims having nothing to do with its officially stated goals. I see plenty of evidence such happened in the 70s.

    And anyone — anyone — with any clue about governmental entities would be capable of at least grasping that this might be the case — and would be arguing why it isn’t so, if they actually thought that were true.

    Instead you hurl insults and quote semi-anonymous internet sources from 15 years ago. Either you’re ignorant and have an axe to grind, or you’re prevaricating, and have an axe to grind.

    Either way, that’s the sound of a grinding wheel I hear.

    …And you’re either clueless or lying. Which is it?

    IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society (c9dcd8)

  62. @62 “I’ve been paying attention to the actions of the space agency for the last 40+ years.”

    It doesnt show. Maybe you should try Area 51 first, then head on down to MSFC and look for those plans. The password is ‘Reindeer’- ask for Rudolph.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  63. igotbupkis,

    I liked Moon a lot, though you’re quite right that the gravity on the Sarang base was Earth gravity, a major scientific error. I just ignored that. It still had a lot of interesting ideas and was worth a watch, IMO.

    BTW, DCSCA had made a lot of claims to expertise that are not plausible. When someone rudely says their personal, secret expertise is the reason you’re so wrong about something, and they don’t provide any real evidence, don’t let it bother you much. It’s not worth responding to, IMO.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  64. @64-Secret, eh… pretty much public record stuff, fella. See #29, 44, 47 & 48. Your whine is beneath you.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  65. Yawn. Enjoy your next CIA mission.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  66. BTW, in reference to the important update, I left a comment on the blogpost denial that Aaron links, asking about the importance of this work. That comment has never been approved, despite the fact that it’s extremely mild.

    Sadly, this is a bit of a theme for me. I never thought to check if someone’s censoring questions until Brad Friedman, but now I’ve realized it’s not uncommon.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  67. Dustin, be grateful for small favors in that your ‘theme’ is unapproved comments.

    My theme appears to be jokes that nobody thinks are funny, except me! I would trade you, any day!:-)

    TimesDisliker (a76b23)

  68. @62- Good grief, you don’t know bupkis, Bupkis. The plans/blueprints/specs are not lost or destroyed or used in a tossed salad at an alien brunch on Venus. AND, of course, there are two elemental, ‘flight ready’ Saturns, one at MSFC and the other at JSC with the third static test vehicle from ’66 restored and undercover now at KSC. Elements of any or all capable of being ‘reverse engineered’ to replicate missing hardware. There’s no point in remanufacturing a 1966 rocket design along with ramping up the assembly lines and support elements for use 2010. It’d be cheaper and faster to design and build anew but Dubya’s VSE called for Ares I & Ares V designs, per Griffin’s direction, as LVs for Constellation- now cancelled. As of today the U.S. has no ‘Saturn class’ HLV for BEO HSF lunar or asteroid expeditions. What NASA needs through the Age of Austerity is to get a base block, GP manned spacecraft, (Orion) capable of being modified in out years for lunar flight and beyond, flying a top existing LVs through the Age of Austerity.

    http://www.space.com/news/spacehistory/saturn_five_000313.html

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  69. #66 ??? Your whine is bitter, dustin. Sour grapes, most likely.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  70. #66 ??? Your whine is bitter, dustin. Sour grapes, most likely.

    Comment by DCSCA —

    You nailed it. I was rejected by the CIA and Delta Force and that ninja training camp batman went to. All along, they told me it was because you took my seat. Those grapes were sour anyway, gecko45.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  71. timesdisliker, I’m the king of my sarcasm not being detected. No worries.

    I didn’t love all of Crichton’s work, but some of it was extremely good, and even the stuff I didn’t find entertaining was very thoughtful.

    They should give kids State of Fear, Atlas Shrugged, and 1984, before they have to analyze current events.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  72. Don’t forget his intimate relationship with Rush, Maggie Thatcher, Gunga Dan, and the rest. NSA, NASA, selling papers in London, playing soccer at the American embassy in Russia, showering with Von Braun …..

    JD (e1cd2f)

  73. 72.timesdisliker, I’m the king of my sarcasm not being detected. No worries.
    Comment by Dustin — 1/6/2011 @ 11:28 am

    Dustin, your post reminds me in the Paul Reiser appearance with Johnny Carson I noted earlier, there was an awesome moment:
    Reiser: Ask me who invented sarcasm. Go ahead, ask.
    Johnny: OK, who invented sarcasm?
    Reiser: I did.

    TimesDisliker (a76b23)

  74. #73- Jealous.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  75. Guys, I was trying to make a joke, but clearly failed.
    Comment by TimesDisliker

    No apology necessary. I once “went off” on a commenter when I took a sarcastic comment as a serious one. Fortunately, Stashiu3 (I think it was) saw my post and helped me see the error of my ways before a conflagration developed.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  76. #73- Jealous.

    Comment by DCSCA

    Yes, JD wishes he was the loser making up completely dumb fantasies. Everyone wants to be that guy. If I recall, the dates of your fantasies weren’t possible, not that they were believable.

    I expected to see the lamer trolls return when the House convened. We got used to it from 2000 to 2006. It’s a good omen.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  77. @77? No doubt he does. More sour grapes and cheap whine from you. Don’t be so hard on yourself.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  78. It’s always inspirational to get advice from a Navy SEAL. Thanks, DCSCA. Thanks also for your heroic service.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  79. @79- Wow! Will have to pass that along when we meet one. Stop tryin’.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  80. @80- The Daily Show – you bet, but that’s another thread.

    Too bad Newscorp can’t turn out that kind of material, eh Dustin.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  81. DCSCA is the example of the escapist liberal. He knows he loses arguments, so his excuse to himself is that he’s just trying to pollute and troll the threads. He laughs to himself that his doing so is witty, and that it’s no harm that he’s completely incoherent (see 82, or any other of his comments).

    In reality, he has submitted. He’s given up.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  82. Holy jeebus, it has come completely unglued.

    JD (1ee2fa)

  83. #83- Lets make this easy for you- “I surrender, Dear.” – James Whitmore, ‘Battleground’- 1949

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  84. We would rather be told tales of you sharing your thought on time travel with Von Braun over a pull from a graphix water bong, or how you taught Didier Drogba how to driblle on the lawn of the American embassy in Moscow, right after you delivered a paper to Maggie Thatcher for a couple shillings while she was still in Parliament. Please please please ?! Or, tales of your escapaes at CBS, or CNN, or NASA, or NSA, or any of the other places that you blessed.

    JD (1ee2fa)

  85. The International Man of Parody is brought to you by … Kraft Foods.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  86. @86–Hmmmm. You seem to know a lot about graphix water bongs, doncha, JD.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  87. The serial fabulist has escaped its orderlies for almost 2 days now. Some village is missing its idiot.

    JD (6e25b4)

  88. #@89- Rest easy, they know where to find you.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  89. I am curious, IMP. Do you really expect us to believe all of your idiocy?

    JD (85b089)

  90. If so, you are a bigger fabulist than we thought you to be. If not, you are just a pathetic liar. Which?

    JD (b98cae)

  91. They should give kids State of Fear, Atlas Shrugged, and 1984, before they have to analyze current events.

    Comment by Dustin — 1/6/2011 @ 11:28 am

    Esp 1984. And Brave New World too IMO.

    no one you know (a8b794)

  92. @93

    I disagree about Brave New World. They focus on the sexual permissiveness and think it’s a utopia, not dystopia.

    malclave (4f3ec1)

  93. If so, you are a bigger fabulist than we thought you to be. If not, you are just a pathetic liar. Which?

    Comment by JD — 1/6/2011 @ 5:51 pm

    Must confess I keep missing this namedropping etc. Did it all come at once in some thread or does it come thread by thread? Did he actually claim von Braun and Thatcher or is that a parody? Pretty funny actually.

    no one you know (a8b794)

  94. I disagree about Brave New World. They focus on the sexual permissiveness and think it’s a utopia, not dystopia.

    Comment by malclave — 1/6/2011 @ 6:17 pm

    If by “they” you mean most of the genetically engineered citizens of the story, they do think it’s a utopia. But the story does make it very clear that the sexual permissivemess and drug taking (and other sensuality in general) is very undesirable in that it is consciously being used as an opiate to keep the “lower castes” (literally) occupied and “content” while the upper castes plan and order society.

    It also makes clear, I think (partly through the device of the Savage’s POV, and partly an amazingly intense multiple-dialogues-at-once attention-getting scene right in the middle of the book), how degrading the sexual permissiveness is to both the men and the women.

    I could be wrong but am of the strong opinion that the book was written as a warning against this type of society.

    no one you know (a8b794)

  95. Should have added: the society’s strong animus and even emotional disgust directed against parents and family life, at such a time the book was written, IMO was one of the indicators that the author was criticizing those who want people to put the collective (the “State” of this society) first, instead of the family. In that theme it’s much like 1984, I think.

    no one you know (a8b794)

  96. @96

    Sorry, I never did get over my bad habits with being clear with pronouns.

    By “they” I meant kids who read the book. Not all, certainly… I didn’t when I read it in high school. But I’ve had conversations with even college-age people who think the society is great because “everyone belongs to everyone else”.

    malclave (4f3ec1)

  97. Comment by malclave — 1/6/2011 @ 6:39 pm

    Heh – sorry I didn’t get your point the first time. Will ask next time before taking off @ 70 mph. 😛

    It’s true, I think, that a lot of kids would see it first that way. You’d have to have a good teacher to help them see what Huxley really intended.

    But I’ve had conversations with even college-age people who think the society is great because “everyone belongs to everyone else”.

    Wow. That is…unsettling, actually, from people that age. But without the real-life so-called “sexual revolution” (give me a break) in the first place, that attitude wouldn’t have managed to gain the ground that I suppose it has now.

    no one you know (a8b794)

  98. I thought Brave New World was dystopian when I read it in high school, I thought the drugs and sex were demeaning, were making people less than human.

    Some years later I was surprised that there actaully is a medication whose brand name is “Soma”, which is the cure-all drug fix, and I wondered what in the world was somebody thinking.

    One book I think everyone should read is “The Abolition of Man” by C.S. Lewis.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)


  99. Some village is missing its idiot.

    I dunno, perhaps we just found ours…?

    They should give kids State of Fear, Atlas Shrugged, and 1984, before they have to analyze current events. — by Dustin — 1/6/2011 @ 11:28 am

    Esp 1984. And Brave New World too IMO.

    Come on, now, keep this up we’re going to have an official Patterico required reading list.
    :^D

    IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society (c9dcd8)

  100. BTW, I hereby pre-nominate Apollo 18 for the official Sunshine Award as the most retarded, stupid, and scientifically illiterate movie concept of the year.

    Geez, where do they get idiots to finance this excreta?

    Oh, right. Hollywood. Explains the politics, don’t it?

    IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society (c9dcd8)

  101. BTW, those of you who like Moon might want to look into a movie called “Source Code” which he’s got something to do with.

    (Hey, I don’t like it, but it’s not like Apollo 18 where you ought to be sterilized simply for expressing any possible appreciation for its concept)

    IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society (c9dcd8)

  102. Come on, now, keep this up we’re going to have an official Patterico required reading list.
    :^D

    Comment by IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society — 1/7/2011 @ 1:02 am

    Well hey, if the likes of AOSHQ can have a book thread (!) every Sunday, why then anything whatever’s possible. 😉
    /teasing, I like that site

    no one you know (a8b794)

  103. One book I think everyone should read is “The Abolition of Man” by C.S. Lewis.

    Comment by MD in Philly — 1/6/2011 @ 7:38 pm

    Am only half-joking when I say a required reading list isn’t a real reading list w/o something by C.S. Lewis on it. Abolition of Man is even more applicable to society no than when it was written. Great book.

    no one you know (a8b794)

  104. I’ve never read that one, but it’s on my shelf (wife is a CS Lewis fan). I’ll have to look it over this weekend.

    Dustin (b54cdc)


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