Living in Kentucky I have the privilege to hear the second most amount of negative political ads in the country, only surpassed by Alan Grayson’s district in Fla.
Outside groups have spent nearly $20 million dollars attacking Jack Conway, which is over $10 per voter. As much as I try to avoid the MSM, because I don’t believe complex socio-economic issues can be reduced to a one sentence sound byte, with this amount of money being spent on advertising it is nearly impossible to ignore.
The reason outside groups are spending so much money on negative advertising, besides the fact that they can, is historically negative advertising works in favor of the candidate that is pro-corporate interest vs. the candidate that is pro-middle and working class.
Negative advertising stirs up the emotions of the people that don’t look deeper into the issues and turn the thoughtful people away from politics altogether.
Most people out there are tired of turning on the radio only to hear two attack ads and one ad for an actual business, they are sick of having to walk into a store that has a TV playing and listening to only attack ads. If we as people were to say enough and vote for any candidate that pledged to stop the unlimited amount money that can be spent on ads by outside interests we could take our airwaves back and not be subjected to these ads that are designed not to inform us of anything but merely disgust us to the point where we feel dirty for doing our civic duty and voting.
So I say to all the outside groups that flooding the airwaves with disgusting attack ads, “Shut up Stupid, you’ve gone way to far. If I didn’t have any other reason for voting this year I would vote for the Democrats just to limit the amount of money that you are allowed to spend in negative advertising. Because if I end up listening to this crap all of October in an off-year election then in 2012 with higher stakes I imagine that all ad spots will be bought up in July and I’ll only hear this garbage for 4 months and no legitimate business will be able to advertise.”
As the midterm election nears the news is getting ugly, as Republican supporters have been beating up anyone who disagrees with them. That’s not a slam against the GOP just facts. It is easy to see why this election season has Democrats and Republicans so worked up, the other side is clearly insane.
On social issues it has been pointed out that the country is torn right now between the old and young. On the question of granting equal rights to gays 65% of those over 55 think that means the end of civilization, while 65% of those under 35 think, “Well duh, of course they should have equal rights.” On most other social issues the break down is the same.
As far as the generation in-between, Generation X, nobody has ever cared what we think and they are not going to start now.
The Millennials, those under 35 all schooled up and nowhere to work, face a very different world than that of the baby boomers. The boomers were born in the last century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of their heritage, and witnessed the slow undoing of the human rights to which this nation has always been committed. Theirs was a time of unity, of the ultimate us vs. them mentality. When civic pride consisted of loyalty to the group you belonged to.
The Millennials born near the end of the last century entered a world where anyone was a phone call away, next door or across the country it didn’t matter, they were disciplined by seeing the old career paths being swept away by automation and outsourcing, they grew up interacting with children of different cultures and heritages, in culturally diverse schools and online, they were able to google the opinions of people who thought different from them.
Theirs is a time of diversity. Where being different isn’t evil, where working together is the norm and not a sign of weakness, where different opinions aren’t just allowed they are encouraged.
They have watched as the American middle class was destroyed by run away capitalism, but have learned the lesson that full out communism is not the answer and want a different path.
They are inheriting a world with problems that are beyond even the most powerful nation to fix on its own, Climate Change, scarcity of resources, pollution killing the oceans, new forms of disease and know that just being Nationalistic and waving the American flag isn’t going to solve the problem.
So while the baby boomers form their teaparties and try to hold ground as this new generation of Americans take control, I am happy to see the torch being passed.
This new generation might be the first to see themselves as humans first and Americans second and instead of seeing a struggle between nations, they might see the struggle against all of mankind’s common enemies, poverty, climate change, disease, tyranny and even war itself.
With a new generation that embraces differences in people, I have confidence that they will work together to solve these problem in a way that will respect the worth and dignity of every human being. That will lead to a fantastic future.
This is my last March to Keep Fear Alive post as the big event is only 3 days away. I will use this opportunity to rebut my Restore Sanity post from Monday.
They are called “News Reporters” not “News Checkers” after all no one in the news checked anything GW Bush said in 2003 and other than, invading a country and spending trillions of dollars to occupy it, what bad things happened from that?
If you had fact checkers in the media, half the pundits would be out of work. After all how can you have a pundit on the air screaming that Obama tripled the deficit if a fact checker is just going to say he reduced it by the greatest amount in history?
If we had fact checkers in the news a lot of stories wouldn't get covered just because they were completely false, like climategate.
It would be hard to drum up fear of all Muslims if the news had a fact checker mentioning that on 9/11 mentioning the fact that over 1.5 Billion Muslims didn’t attack us on that day.
The Tea Party candidates are already attacking the media because they report what the candidate has said and place it proper context making them look like idiots. Imagine how idiotic they would look if someone checked their “facts”.
Finally if you have the media check facts, Sarah Palin would be shown to be lying about 90% of the time and would lose the momentum she hopes to gain in this mid-term election and will never have a chance of becoming President.
One thing that I’ve noticed recently while having my writing critiqued by many people is several of them don’t understand how paragraphs work in dialog. The grammatical rule is the end quote is placed where the speaker stops speaking. So if the same speaker talks over multiple paragraphs the end quote isn’t placed until they are finished.
I pity the people that don’t understand this if they try and read some of Harry Harrison’s books. In A STAINLESS STEEL RAT IS BORN, Jim and the Bishop sometimes talked for over ten pages and the only way to know that the speaker changed was by paying attention to the end quotes. A Jim said or the Bishop said would have been really nice somewhere in there.
If it were just one or two people who had a problem with this it wouldn’t matter but I’m seeing it a lot. Being right doesn’t help if the reader can’t understand it, so it is becoming important to avoid having characters talk over multiple paragraphs.
There are three ways to do this. First ignore paragraphs in dialog, which can work when you have two short paragraphs, but if it is longer it gets confusing.
Second, throw a he said, she said into each paragraph. I personally find that annoying.
Finally, have more interaction in the dialog, which is harder for the author and a little unnatural but much more rewarding for the reader. Here’s a sample from THE PIZZA DIARIES where I had the Main Character, Brian, telling the curse of Black Aggie with one of my little twists. Having Amanda interact with him during his explanation takes care of the multiple paragraph problem and I think it makes the story he’s telling more interesting.
They walked into the park and saw a small group of teenage girls gathered around a statue that was under a tree, giggling nervously.
“What are they doing?” Amanda asked.
“Legend has it that around the turn of the century a nurse named Aggie worked in the children’s ward of the local hospital.” Brian told her, “For a while all the children under her care died of asphyxiation. Rumors started that she was smothering the children and one night a group of parents got together and formed a lynch mob and hanged her under that tree.”
“You’d think that would be better handled by a medical review board.” Amanda said.
“It was the early nineteen hundreds, they were a little more impatient at that time. She didn’t really help by claiming her innocence and at the same time threatening to place a curse on who ever walked passed that spot. It was an interesting defense to say the least.” Brian continued, “Later that week it was found that the town was in the mist of one of the worst whooping chough outbreaks in history and it was the doctor’s fault for not recognizing the fact.”
“So the townspeople hanged an innocent woman?” Amanda asked.
“They sure did,” Brian told her, “To make up for it the town put up that statue as a kind of postmortem apology to Aggie.”
“Okay, but what are the girls doing over there?” Amanda asked.
“Aggie’s curse is that any woman who walked under the spot where she was hanged will suffer a miscarriage.” Brian explained, “At the turn of the century it was a bad curse, today not so much. It has become a sort of tradition that any time a condom breaks, or if a girl has unprotected sex, they make a quick stop by here as a sort of morning after curse. It causes a parking problem the night after Prom.”
“I can see that. It would have saved me a lot worry if I had known about this place after my graduation party for my Masters.” Amanda said and then spotted what she was looking for, “That way.”
What tricks do you use to avoid having dialog going over multiple paragraphs?
To follow this up Rand Paul has launched a new radio ad that says if you don’t vote for him you’re unpatriotic.
I wonder if his next act to try and get my vote is to pour sugar in my gas tank while anally raping my grandmother.
Look Rand I had always just figured you were a kook, and Kentucky does tend to elect kooks just to get them to leave the damn state. But you are going to far, with taking money from neo-nazi groups, name-calling, palling around with people that call the President a terrorist, you are actively inciting people whose grasp on reality isn’t too tight to begin with.
So Rand be a man and condemn your followers who turn to violence whenever they disagree with someone. Sure you may lose the election because the unhinged are your base but you might sleep better at night.
In the news we will have two experts debate if Cheney is a robot.
This is my last Rally to Restore Sanity post as the big event is coming up this Saturday so I thought I’d go for the jugular of the enemies of sanity, the new style “News” shows.
Back in the 80s their was such a thing as “Journalist Responsibility” basically reporters had a ethical obligation to check the facts of the story. So if they were interviewing someone who was saying things that were totally untrue it was their responsibility to call them out on it. So in the above story they would call Cheney's doctor who would confirm that he is not in fact a robot.
This was replaced by having two people take opposing views, and leave the fact checking out of it. The problem with this is the person that is pulling things out of their ass has a huge advantage over the one who wants to carefully state the correct facts. So the guy saying Cheney was a robot could blast out lies while the guy arguing that Cheney was in fact human would have to remember the doc's name, the charts and so on.
Here’s an idea for the new style of news, have a news analyst (I know they have them but they could actually use them). News programs could have someone watch the show and then at the end correct the totally untrue statements. So when Betsy McCaughey was on all the news shows last year talking about how the Healthcare law provided for liberal controlled time-machines and death panels the news analyst could come on at the end and mention the fact that she seems to have made those things up.
I know that in this day and age the idea of putting facts in news programs is radical, but hey it just might catch on.
The truth is Bush’s last budget had $1.416 Trillion deficit and Obama’s first budget had a $1.29 Trillion deficit, for math challenged Fox news anchors that is a 9% decrease.
2) President Obama raised taxes, which hurt the economy.
President Obama passed the largest middle class tax cut in history. 97% of Americans got a tax cut or larger rebate while the top 3% saw no change.
3) President Obama bailed out the banks.
TARP was passed under Bush.
4) The stimulus didn't work.
The stimulus added or saved at least 3.3 million jobs.
5) Businesses will hire if they get tax cuts.
This is the stupidest of all the GOP positions. If a small business owner doesn’t want to pay taxes the simplest way to do it is to hire more employees, the business owner doesn’t pay taxes on that employees salary. The second simplest way is to expand and buy more equipment, this is a asset that is tax deductible over a few years. The business owner gains Corporate Equity that they can use some other time, like in case of a health emergency or for their kid’s education both of which are tax deductible. Higher individual tax rates on the wealthy cause them to invest to avoid the tax.
6) Health care reform costs $1 trillion.
The health care reform reduces government deficits by $138 billion.
7) Social Security is a Ponzi scheme, is "going broke," people live longer, fewer workers per retiree, etc.
Social Security is fine for the next 25 years, life expectancy is actually decreasing in the US due to our bad healthcare system but hopefully that will change. The big problem is the top 2% of income earners don’t pay into Social Security, there would be no problem if this were changed.
8) Government spending takes money out of the economy.
This is a myth that I need to address in at least one more post, but the basic answer is yes and no. Roads, Education, R & D, Economic Incentives, and Social Services add money to the economy. Support for obsolete industries slow the flow of money to the economy. The money that goes to the military is a drain on the economy, in accounting a weapon is classified as obsolete as soon as it is made. The people who push this myth want the government to stop spending on things that boost the economy and continue to spend on things that depress it.
To sum up the platform of the candidates that are running on these myths, I will steal a quotation that Stephanie put on her blog yesterday that fits perfect with this: “If history teaches anything, it teaches that self-delusion in the face of unpleasant facts is folly.” –Ronald Reagan [Ed: might we remind the GOP of that now?]
So to all those people that are continuing to spread these lies, I say, “Shut-up Stupid, it’s true that people will fall for repetition over facts, but facts are stubborn things and reality will catch up with us if pursue a policy based on self-delusion instead of truth.”
In one part of my book, THE SETTING EARTH, I had a 3-mile high skyscraper as a symbol of the powerful corporation that ruled the Earth. As this was more a symbolic symbol of power I didn’t really look at the science behind making a skyscraper 6 times taller what exists today. Stephanie called me out on that so I had to do a little research. Luckily I find that fun; yes I’m a geek.
Problems of a 3-mile high Skyscraper
Current skyscrapers use a core of concrete to provide the compressive strength needed to hold up the hundred plus floors. This core is reinforced by steel rebar the give it tensile strength so it can flex slightly.
In order to go higher we need to have materials that are much stronger in both compressive strength and tensile strength. I naturally turned to carbon nanotubes with strength 5,000 times that of steel and I ran into an old engineering principal, “You can’t push a rope.” In mechanical engineering many brilliantly designed machines failed while being built when the engineers realized that on paper they were pushing a rope, which doesn’t work, in the real world.
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but they won’t get you a skyscraper
In order to make my 3-mile high skyscraper I need a material that has a compressive strength that is many orders of magnitude higher than concrete. I first turned to carbon again in the form of a synthetic diamond. It has the strength I needed but a couple of major flaws. Building a synthetic diamond that size would be an engineering feat greater than all the other things I put in the book. It might be able to be accomplished someday but it is feat of engineering that puts terraforming other planets to shame.
The second flaw is flaws. Diamonds are split along naturally occurring flaws, the huge diamond that would have to be built for the tower would be under huge tensile stress, as well as compressive force so even the littlest flaw would split this huge diamond making it rain giant diamonds across Manhattan taking out some pretty valuable real estate.
So I had to look for an alternative.
It’s hard to build a skyscraper
It turns out there is a material that is harder than diamond, Osmium is the element that has the greatest compressive strength known to man. It is rare on Earth but abundant on asteroids.
However it has low tensile strength, so to overcome this limitation it would need to have nanotubes throughout and wrapped in Graphene, carbon bonded together to form sheets that are one molecule. This combination would give me the strength I need for my 3-mile high skyscraper.
It even works into the story nicely, as the background of the novel is about the trade war between the Earth-Moon system and the colonies in the rest of the Solar System. Since Osmium is a rare element on the Earth and Moon and abundant in the rest of the Solar System it adds another element to this conflict. As well as another pun.
In doing this research I also found another reason to support the current space program’s goal to explore a near Earth asteroid. Osmium is very useful element but because it is one of the rarest on Earth it is very expensive, roughly $100 per gram. Bringing a Space Shuttle Payload worth of it to Earth would fetch roughly $2.27 billion in today’s market.
If we could get the cost of an asteroid mission in line with the Space Shuttle, $450 million per launch, a mission to set-up a refinery on the asteroid and bring this element to Earth would easily pay for itself.
Missions to get Osmium from asteroids would make it possible to build a 3-mile high skyscraper as well as billions of other handy uses, a that will lead to a fantastic future.
If you ask any politician they will tell you that some things are worth having other people die over. It would ruin their objectivity if they had to face the same perils that the people who are effected by their decisions.
Could politicians really protect the profits of pharmaceutical companies if they didn’t have free healthcare?
Could they support giving children information based on junk science if they didn’t send their kids to private schools not influenced by their decisions?
Could they declare war for no reason if the only way their kids could afford college was to enlist in the military?
There are some ideals worth having other people die for and we need to be sure that it is only the poorer half of the country that is asked to die for those ideals, not the half that makes the decisions.
After 8 years Alienskin Magazine is closing. Alienskin bought my little short story A HOME TO DIE FOR. With them gone and I’m not a big enough name to have magazines give me money for reprints I will give my little story a home here. I hope you enjoy it:
A Home to Die For.
By Darrell B. Nelson
I’d like to show you my humble home.
I’m sure you notice the gorgeous redwood floors, Those are actually 80 year old oak floors that I stained with human blood. The wood was dry enough to soak up the blood nicely and then I just had to varnish them.
I can see from your expression that you are amazed, and I do admit it was a lot of work but well worth it.
I also made the couch myself, I had to learn to make my own leather. Human flesh is tough to work with but after a few botched skins I learned to make it. And I think that handcrafted charm gives the room just the right touch.
Have a seat, the padding is made out of human hair and it is amazingly comfortable.
I see you’re shaking your head no. I guess with your hands tied behind your back it would be hard to sit comfortably.
Coming into the kitchen, I’d like to point out the grout work. Those flakes you see in the grout I made myself out of human bones. It’s a tough process grinding up a person’s bones to a uniform small size but in the end, the satisfaction of creating a truly unique floor is well worth it.
As an added bonus, what I couldn’t use on the floor makes a great soil enhancer. You wouldn’t believe the size of the tomatoes I grew in the soil where I dumped the left over bone dust.
Of course I have to use a gentle soap to keep it looking nice.
I make my own. Human fat makes such a wonderful soap.
On the table there you can see my soup bowl collection. I could have gone out and bought a set, but that seemed too impersonal. I hand crafted each one out of human skulls, It’s quite a process sanding and polishing the skulls, but I feel the food tastes so much better out of a bowl I made myself than out of some cheap bowl made in China.
Although the raw materials from one did originally come from China, I think that’s where she was from anyway.
Of course the set wouldn’t be complete without the silverware. I polished and shaped each handle from the hand bones of the owner of the skull, it’s a small detail but I believe it’s the attention to the little things that lift good design into a work of art.
Wouldn’t you agree?
I can see by your wide eyed stare that you are trying to take it all in, I’ll take that as a compliment.
In keeping with the theme, if you notice the frame of the chalkboard there, the flakes of texture are the left over fingernails, I dipped them in fingernail polish before gluing them on, which I think is a nice touch.
I do have to make a small confession here, I cheated on the glue. At first I tried to make my own glue from finger and toenails but I found that was a lot tougher than you’d think.
That wasn’t the only thing that didn’t go exactly as planned, of course.
I wanted to replace the plumbing with bones. I figured cleaning out the marrow from the bones would make a nice replacement for pipes, but I never managed to get them to form a watertight seal. I just ended up making a big mess.
I can see the thought of a mess terrifies you, but don’t worry it wasn’t that bad. Nothing a good mopping couldn’t take care of.
I must apologize, all this talking has left me a little thirsty, do you mind if I pour myself some wine. I’d offer you some but that would involve taking the gag out of your mouth.
Oh, do you like my Bota Bag for the wine. It’s made from the human stomach. It doesn’t really hold enough to be practical but since I’m not a heavy drinker I can sacrifice a little convenience for style. And I think the added layer of formality enhances the flavor.
I can see from your look you’re nervous about why I am showing you all this. Let me put your mind at rest I’m not trying to sell you this house.
After all the work I put into personalizing it, I don’t think I could ever sell it. No, I wanted you to see the loving care I put into remodeling this house to let you know I’ll take the same care with you.
I wish it could be different, but I really have to redecorate my home office.
I had promised myself that I wouldn’t talk about the Aqua Buddha story. But Rand Paul brought it up so now it is fair game. Basically in college Rand and another male student kidnapped a girl tied her up, forced her to do bong hits and in order to be untied she had to worship the Aqua Buddha. She says she never felt threatened at any time she just found the whole thing strange.
I haven’t talked about it because I’ve done similar things when I was in college. I didn’t make any girls worship Aqua Buddha but I can see myself going along with that if someone brought that idea up.
In the recent debate between Jack Conway and Rand Paul, Rand had a hissy fit over Jack bringing up the subject refusing to shake Jack’s hand because he, “refuses to associate with someone who attacks my faith.”
Really Rand? You won’t associate with someone known for attacking someone else’s Christian faith? How many times have you gone on Glenn Beck’s show? How many times have you appeared on Hannity’s show? Both of those men are famous for calling Obama a Muslim and saying he’s not a Christian.
In your rallies I don’t remember you addressing your supporters that carry signs saying, “Obama is Muslim” and telling them you won’t associate with someone who attacks another persons Christian faith.
You gladly shook Mitch McConnell’s hand after he said, “Obama says he’s a Christian and I take him at his word.” And you stood on stage with Sarah Palin after she said something similar.
I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt here and say maybe you are blind to things that don’t affect you personally, not a great quality for a Senator, and now you see what it is like to have your faith attacked. If that is the case, now that your eyes have been opened, will you follow a path and refuse to associate with anyone who attacks Obama’s faith?
If you do that I will believe your outrage, otherwise I’ll have to conclude that yes you are a Christian, whenever it happens to be convenient for you.
On October 30, Jon Stewart is holding a Rally to Restore Sanity at the National Mall in Washington, DC. I’m doing my part to help by making motivational posters for sane people.
Death to Nobody:
It’s fine to be passionate about your ideals, but when your ideals lead to innocent people’s deaths it might be time to reexamine them.
Abstinence Only Education: The numbers of teenagers getting pregnant and STD’s had been dropping after schools started offering Sex-Ed, then the policy of Abstinence Only Education started making its way into schools and it started to rise again. Killing young people is not good policy.
Healthcare: At least 45,000 people die every year due to not having healthcare. Opponents to national healthcare say we must let these people die or we will turn into a socialist country like Sweden, Norway, and Germany with their robust economies and higher standards of living. No matter how opposed to Socialism you are, is it really worth 45,000 people’s lives a year to stop? Really?
Animal Testing: (You didn’t think I’d leave PETA out?) The only way to test new drugs is to try them on animals first. Naturally the test animals shouldn’t be abused or killed to test meaningless things like cosmetics, but animal testing is needed to save millions of humans.
So whatever your ideals look at the results and see if it will lead to innocent people’s deaths. If they do please reconsider your support for it.
Bill O'Reilly recently interviewed Bill Maher and the topic of religion came up. If you ever want to see to people totally missing each other’s point this the interview to watch.
Maher’s point was basically anyone who takes the bible literally is a fool. There are people who do believe every word of the bible was written by God even the parts that say they weren’t. It takes a huge suspension of disbelief, or faith, to take that position.
Bill O’Reilly, a Catholic, countered by stating the view of most Catholics I know have. That the bible is a collection of parables written not to be taken literally, but to convey a moral message on how to live a good life.
Bill Maher went on to quote from Exodus, which he mistakenly said was from Deuteronomy, about one of the violent rules in the Old Testament.
O’Reilly didn’t go into the views that I have heard most Catholics tell me about the Old Testament which is that it was also a collection of parables but it was frozen at a time when the Jewish Religion was at its most corrupt and it reflects that corruption and intolerance.
At this point Bill O’Reilly actually was making a point that Maher would probably agree with if he were listening that you can’t group the 90% of moderate Christians who take their religion’s message of love and understanding with the 10% who look at all the messages of hate and intolerance that is in both bibles and use it to justify their own hatred.
Then O’Reilly had to totally go against everything he just said by saying Atheist’s believe that an asteroid hit Earth and made humans. It is hard to believe O’Reilly really believes that this is what evolution is, or if he does it means he never listened to the most elementary explanation of evolution.
When Maher asked him if he truly believed this dumb statement O’Reilly went on to say that scientists can’t explain how the Earth was made.
Yes they can. It is a fairly simple interaction of gravity and nuclear forces, just on a huge scale. If he meant to say that we don’t know how the universe was made he has a weak point, we can mathematically trace the universe back to the first few milliseconds after the big bang before our current understanding of physics breaks down. As we learn more about nuclear interactions that occur near the level of Planck’s Constant, basically the level of resolution of the universe, we will be able to understand those first few milliseconds.
Maher pointed out that even if we don’t understand this completely that’s not an excuse to throw out everything we know and make up fairy tales.
Watching this whole exchange it showed what is wrong with our media. Bill O’Reilly took a stance that was not typical of him, he was the moderate in this exchange and Bill Maher tried to pin the beliefs of the extremists onto him without bothering to listen to what he was saying. Bill O’Reilly showed the arrogance of ignorance by totally misunderstanding a concept and mocking that perception.
So to both Bill O’Reilly and Bill Maher, I say, “Shut-up Stupid, in order to have a meaningful discussion on anything you can’t just say your point of view and pin everything on the other person, you actually have to listen to what the other person is saying. Why bother being on at the same time if you are going to totally ignore each other? The whole purpose of airing different points of view is so the viewer can gain a greater understanding of the issue. Ignoring each other only reinforces peoples preconceived ideas and closes their minds to new information the exact opposite of what even fake news is supposed to do.”
Bill O’Reilly might have well ended this segment with Glenn Beck’s catchphrase, “I apologize America for wasting your time.”
Josh Way is a MST3K fan who adds commentary to some of the old short films that were the infomercials of the 50s and 60s. This one, A WORD TO THE WIVES has the potential to be extremely sexist but makes up for it by being even more unflattering to men.
Yesterday I did something so stupid it was sort of brilliant. I needed to renew my driver’s license and exercise; I decided to combine the two things. What could go wrong?
The courthouse is a little over a mile from my house so I figured I’d do a brisk walk down there, pay my $20 and do a brisk walk back. This would get me 2 miles of power walking in and take care of my license for the next 4 years.
I totally forgot you need to have your photo taken for your license. So for the next 4 years I’m stuck with a picture of what I look like unshowered, in need of a haircut after walking in a strong wind, from that picture I doubt my Mom could make a positive ID. Then I thought of a great advantage it gives me, if the government ever comes looking for me they’ll have to use that picture to try and find me and that picture could be of about a quarter of the population.
If that picture was on the news just about everyone would say, “Hey, Isn’t that That Guy?” and the police would be overwhelmed with the shear number of false positives that would pour in.
That gave me a great idea for a short story:
I’m That Guy
By Darrell B Nelson
When I was a kid I dreamed of having Super-powers like the heroes in the comics. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I learned that I had one.
It turns out I’m “That Guy”.
Everyone told me about my power, it just took a long time for it to sink into my head. My first time using my powers was in college. I got used to people constantly coming up to me and asking me, “Hey, aren’t you that guy that I went to high school with?” or, “Aren’t you that guy in my class?”
It just took the proper motivation to make me unleash this power. That motivation came in the form of the most beautiful redhead I had ever seen who asked me, “Don’t I know you?”
I quickly thought up a way to unleash my power and told her, “It was a few years ago and looking at you now I can’t for the life of me remember why I let you go.”
Quite quickly the conversation moved on to all the good times we had in the past and led inevitably back to my room where we took our non-existent relationship to the next level. It worked out nice for both of us, she got to sleep with “That Guy” she wanted to but never did and I got to sleep with her.
Learning to use my powers I quickly became a success. In interviews I was “That Guy” the interviewer met at that place. In restaurants I got great service, as the waiters liked serving “That Guy I know”. The owners would give discounts to, “That Guy I used to work with.”
Shopping was easy as clerks give the best deals to, “That Guy from my school.”
There were only a few times that someone would physically attack, “That Guy who ripped me off,” or “That Guy who bullied me in high school.” That wasn’t much of a problem in public as there were always people that rush to the defense of, “That Guy I know.”
With all these advantages you would think I would have my life made, but you’d be wrong. To balance out my great super power I have one great super weakness: I’m totally incompetent. I start off great in a job, promoted beyond my abilities because I’m, “That Guy the owner knows” and I’m given the very best assignments which I promptly mess up making everyone else have to fix up my mess.
I soon become, “That Guy who got the job because of who he knows, not what he knows.” Inevitably within a few months I am told, “Even though I’ve known you for a long time, I have to let you go.”
So I have put my desire to become a superhero aside and have instead become a supervillian. It’s quite easy, I walk into any bank address the teller by name as I rob them. Nobody makes a scene as they know I will be quickly caught as they can tell the police, “It was That Guy I know…”
Even when the police look at my picture on the surveillance camera it doesn’t help them. All they will say is, “Hey isn’t that That Guy?”
I have been supporting Rev. Sir Dr. Stephen T. Colbert, D.F.A March to Keep Fear Alive on October 30 by making a series of motivational posters for everyone else who is afraid that the fear we have had for the last decade will die.
Alternative Energy: Environmentalists want us to get more of our energy from the sun. Do you know who else gets energy from the sun? Reptiles!
We have evolved beyond Reptiles (Mitch McConnell not included) and we deserve a better source of energy than them.
Sure, 97% of climate scientists agree that using fossil fuels is causing Global Warming, but do you agree with everything 97% of scientists agree on?
As far as global warming it is a natural cycle that the 6,000-year-old Earth goes through every few 100,000 years. Any argument to this is just the liberal bias of math.
Most importantly, if we start getting most of our household energy from decentralized sources like wind and solar and run our cars off biofuels made from local sources the big oil companies won’t be running our lives and will have to start thinking for ourselves.
A tip of my hat for actively suppressing information on Climate Science goes out to the Washington Post for running article by Congressman Joe Barton (R-TX) that attacks Dr. Michael Mann’s article on Climate Change. In it, Barton grossly mischaracterizes Dr. Mann’s research and motivations. Then they refused to print Dr. Mann’s rebuttal. The whole story here.
So the Washington Post is doing its part to Keep Fear Alive by allowing the congressman, who famously apologized to BP for having our shoreline bump into BP’s oil, to attack a climate scientist and not allow a rebuttal.
With my book THE SETTING EARTH, Stephanie suggested that I start with an action scene. For this book I was perplexed as to how to do that as it was a build-up to an all out war between Earth and the rest of the Solar System. It took a few times reading through it but I think I have a scene that nicely sets up the conflict and later shows the change of the main character's views.
THE SETTING EARTH
“The fate of humanity rests in your hands.” Isabella told Sam.
Sam watched as the giant laser beam reacted with the Earth’s ionosphere creating the greatest show of Aurora Borealis ever seen. The northern lights show was then overpowered as the beam hit the upper atmosphere with temperatures hot enough to split the water molecules into Hydrogen and Oxygen, the compression wave that formed, as the beam that was hotter than the sun heated the atmosphere, caused the hydrogen atoms to collide with each other with enough force to fuse together forming a secondary fusion reaction.
As impressive as that light show was, it paled to the horror of the beam hitting Earth. It hit the top of the Empire State Building and the 200-foot pinnacle was gone in a flash; the beam melted the inner core of the 250-year-old building causing it to collapse in on itself.
The beam continued west taking out city blocks as it went, old or new buildings made no difference to the beam it destroyed both with equal ease. It continued until it hit the tallest building in the world, The Lunar Mining Consortium headquarters. Sam felt a sense of horror as it took out the plaza that he had walked through that morning.
The laser hit the walls of the 3-mile tall building and the engineer in Sam had to wonder how the Buckpaper walls that were 5,000 times as strong as steel would hold against this ultimate destructive force.
Sam never got the answer as Isabella turned off the simulation before it could get to the room they were sitting in at the top floor of the Lunar Mining Consortium headquarters.
“That is what you must save the Earth from.” Isabella, the Chief Executive Officer of the all-powerful Lunar Mining Consortium, told him.
“I’m just a mid-level engineer,” Sam said, “How can I stop something like that?”
“I’ll let Admiral Hanson fill you in.” Isabella gestured at the other man in her office.
“Thank you, Isabella.” Admiral Hanson told her and addressed Sam, “The Ganymede government has set-up a colony on the Dwarf Planet Ceres. According to their geology reports Ceres may have the richest deposits of Helium3 in the inner solar system, dwarfing even that of Earth’s moon. Helium3 is the necessary element for our fusion reactors, the source of power for our modern life. Having Ganymede controlling this second supply of Helium3 they could position themselves to challenge Earth’s domination of the inner solar system.
“They recently unveiled a plan to send not only Helium3 to Mars but huge supplies of metals and other resources. They claim they will do this by sending small asteroids from the asteroid belt into orbit around Mars.
“Naturally we don’t believe that is their true intention, we believe it is a cover story to hide the fact that they are building a large weapon on the Ceres, the very weapon that we showed you a simulation of. We have attempted to get the plans for this weapon but our spies have been blocked at every turn.
“We were ready to send a fleet of warships to Ganymede to demand that they allow us to inspect the project, even at risk of an all out war, when out of the blue they contacted the Lunar Mining Consortium asking for an engineer for the project.
“We seized on this opportunity to get someone inside the operation and sent them a list of engineers that also work for Earth Intelligence, they rejected them all. We then sent them a list of qualified engineers and they selected you.”
“I’m flattered.” Sam said, “But you must have mentioned that I’ve never left Earth. I’m not sure I can work in an off world environment.”
“It’s your brain they are interested in not your body.” Isabella told him, “We already send them plenty of lesser people for the menial tasks.”
“Thank you Isabella,” the Admiral continued, “You are the only way we can get the information we need without risking war.”
“I can look over the diagrams they will need to give me and tell you how their weapon will be used. If that’s what you want.” Sam told them confidently, if there was one thing he could do was figure out the properties of a new piece of equipment. It sounded like fun. “I don’t believe the reports that say they are 10 years ahead of us in laser engineering.”
“Believe them,” the Admiral said firmly, “The people of Earth might still out number all the colonies in the solar system 100 to 1 but they have invested all their resources into advancing science and engineering.”
“Still we believe you can easily work on their level.” Isabella told him, “Your superiors feel you are a gifted engineer.”
“Isabella is right as always,” the Admiral agreed, “It’s not the level of science that is going to be your obstacle of this mission. They will undoubtedly give you information on a need to know basis. Any information they give you won’t show their real intentions. You will need to gain the trust of the other engineers on the project and steal the plans for the entire project. Only then can we be sure that Earth will be safe from the Ganymede menace.”
“The company is prepared to reward you handsomely when you succeed.” Isabella told him, “Naturally you’ll get a promotion and a raise, but we can also give you something a little more personal. Your wife was transferred to be a clerk in London two years ago wasn’t she?”
“Yes Ma’am, the family must be prepared to sacrifice for the company.” Sam parroted the oath he and his wife took when they started working for the Lunar Mining Consortium, “We see each other on Christmas and when we can get a five day vacation.”
“We could easily have her transferred to work in Los Alamos with you.” Isabella smiled, “Close enough for you to live in the same house.”
Sam thought about what that would mean, he had only lived with his wife for 6 months before her transfer and they got along well enough but they didn’t get married for each others company. Promotions went to married employees first and Sam needed a wife to advance, the sex was just an added benefit. Having her back in town mean he wouldn’t have to schedule times to fly out to see her to have sex, but it also would mean she would be living with her and after two years of only seeing her briefly he wasn’t sure how well they would get along on a permanent basis. Still it would mean having sex more than a few times a year.
“Thank you,” he told Isabella, “I’ll try my best.”
“Remember gain their trust, but don’t lose sight of your mission.” The Admiral said.
“I can’t stress how important this mission is.” Isabella told him, “Our very way of life depends on your actions on Ceres. As Winston Churchill said, ‘Victory at all costs, for without victory, there is no survival.’ Remember that while you deal with the engineers on Ceres.”
“Your shuttle to Ceres leaves in two weeks,” the Admiral told him, “We will spend that time training you for your new role. We wish we had more time but as the old saying goes, time and orbital mechanics wait for no man.”
“You ever noticed how people who believe in Creationism look really unevolved?” Bill Hicks.
This year every single Republican running for Senate has come out saying they don’t believe in evolution, I haven’t gotten any media reports on how many believe in gravity.
It is not biased to say that a candidate not believing in evolution or gravity is a deal breaker for me. These two theories are simple and observable, so if a candidate doesn’t believe in them you have to assume they are going to ignore everything else that is simple and observable that doesn’t conform to what they would like the universe to be like.
The Republican’s running for Senate can complain about the liberal bias of reality and refuse to go on any news shows where the reporter will ask questions, and not just let them talk about their own little fantasy world all they like. But if they get elected they will have to actually make policies that affect the people who live in the real world and not their little fantasyland.
This is 2010 and the world has real problems that need to be addressed, so the Republicans this year have decided the best way to deal with these problems is to put their fingers in their ears and yell, “La-la-la-la I can’t hear you.”
So when you vote this year remember this little fun fact, Evolution is a more reviewed and confirmed theory than relativity, the theory that lets us understand gravity. Would you vote for someone who came out and said they don’t believe in gravity?
We can’t continue to use an increasing amount of a finite substance indefinitely. Alternatives to Oil and Coal will help our nation grow stronger. 97% of climate scientists say that man-made carbon dioxide is causing global warming, very close to the amount of physicists that believe in gravity. It is about as certain as it can get.
Funding research into alternative energy is the safest bet out there, even if we had unlimited amounts of oil and burning it didn’t harm the environment having more sources of energy will make our economy more flexible.
Bank of America has stopped the foreclosure process in all 50 States. The other big banks have stopped it the 28 states where a judge has to look over their paperwork before they can foreclose.
They didn’t do this out of the goodness of their hearts, they did it because in thousands of cases they didn’t even check the paperwork they were using to file the foreclosure proceedings.
Naturally all over the MSM pundits are coming forward and saying how if the banks aren’t allowed to illegally kick people out of their homes, or in one case in Florida they tried to change the locks on a ladies home while she was inside which would have locked her in, our economy is doomed.
They are allowed airtime to say if the banks can’t kick people out of their homes after they miss one payment it will doom the economy as they think we’ve hit a point where the only industry is the massive legal fees that are generated in the foreclosure process.
Another stupid argument they present is that delaying the foreclosure process will lower the incentive to strike a deal between the homeowners and the banks.
This is complete and utter bullshit, it’s not the homeowners who are keeping these homes from coming out of foreclosure it is the banks. If a home is foreclosed and the homeowner calls the bank to find out what they want to get it out of foreclosure they get the answer, “Hell if I know.”
The whole foreclosure crisis has been caused by the banks refusal to try and work out any sort of deal with the homeowners. Taking away the foreclosure option for awhile just might make them look back through these loans and actually work with the people that hit a rough patch and missed one or two payments but are wanting to pay back their mortgages and now have the ability to resume payments just getting those homeowners out of foreclosure would go a long way towards easing the foreclosure crisis.
Stopping foreclosures temporarily would also force banks to take the Obama plan seriously. The federal government offers incentives to the banks to renegotiate mortgages, so far the big banks have only been placing the very worst risks into this plan and leaving the vast majority of homeowners in a limbo state taking over a year to process the paperwork, then blaming the homeowners because the paperwork is a year out of date making them start the process all over again.
Stopping the foreclosure process would give the banks the kick in the ass they need to actually start moving this paperwork through. They could use the people they have working on the foreclosure papers to work on the Obama Plan papers and speed the process up.
So to all the people who say the economy will collapse if banks have to follow the law, I say, “Shut-up Stupid. The foreclosure process is supposed to be a last resort negative sum game. Both parties in the foreclosure are supposed to lose. The process was only to be used as a way limit losses, not make a profit.”
It used to be that our schools dumped a large portion of their students out and expected them to get manufacturing jobs. As our country moved from a manufacturing base to technological base it was clear that wouldn’t work.
So we looked at our schools performances, and they got worse. So we looked harder and did more evaluations, and they got even worse. This is almost the definition of the Observer Effect, that by observing something you change its properties.
How can observing and evaluating our schools make them worse? It has to do with the people who are drawn to teaching and the people who are drawn to evaluating people.
I went to a University that had one of the top teachers colleges in the nation. As a result I met a lot of future teachers and one thing that I learned about them is they were the second most non-competitive group at the University.
(The most non-competitive at the time, 20 years ago, were the Comp-Sci majors who if I asked them for help would say, “My god you’re talking to me. Of course I’ll help you! Would you like to see me naked?” My reply depended on their gender.)
The most competitive group was in my business and management classes. The same people who are now observing and evaluating the teachers, the least competitive people. Their solution to fix our schools is competition among teachers. And they are totally baffled why this isn’t working.
Of all the various lines of work I’ve held the least competitive one is writing. Writers understand that you can give the same idea to 10 writers and you will get 10 completely different works. As a result we take joy in helping each other. We form critique groups, hold contests with no prizes, we read each other’s work, ect.
Teaching is a lot like writing, there are some basic fundamentals to be mastered but then it turns into a matter of style. Everyone has had a few great teachers and those great teachers all had wildly different styles, just like writing.
So instead trying to turn the least competitive people in the world competitive we should try focusing on non-competitive improvements.
Instead of having teachers get a bonus by which one’s class scored the highest on a standardized test, something that makes the teachers who have a shot at the bonus less likely to share their technique with others. We could have a bonus system that encourages teachers to teach other teachers.
If teachers were to spend one class a week critiquing other teachers classes, both teachers would get something out of it. The teacher being critiqued would have a professional point out minor problems for them to work on and the teacher critiquing would see how a different teacher handled a situation.
Doing this would encourage teachers to improve through co-operation, instead of competition that hasn’t worked.
The critiquing could go further with schools exchanging teachers so they can learn in a different environment.
One complaint students have about schools is that in a lot of the institutionalized settings it takes all the fun out of learning. The people who enjoy learning the most are those that become teachers, and they start working in a school system that discourages them from continuing to learn about their craft.
If we made our school systems a place where the teachers could enjoy learning about teaching it would get passed on to their students and the students would learn more.
It is obvious that the observer effect works in schools, we’ve just set up a system where it works negatively. By setting up a critique system in schools we’d be using the observer effect to make it work positively.
Having teachers improve themselves through co-operative methods would help the students and lead to a fantastic future.
On October 30, 2010 the Rev. Sir Dr. Stephen T. Colbert, D.F.A will be hosting the March to Keep Fear Alive in Washington, D.C. To all those wanting to support this noble cause I’ve made another motivational poster for you.
Keeping businesses from taking advantage of their customers is the first step towards socialism. Having a well regulated economic system that encourages competition and growth (also known by economists as the “American Model” based on the economic system that was in place in America from 1945 to 1980) is Unamerican.
Sure lack of regulations leads to destruction of the environment, high unemployment, stifling of wages, and general misery but the people are free to be ripped off by businesses. Homeless, but free.
Allowing regulations could turn us into a socialist country like Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Canada that all have a higher quality of life than the US.
A well regulated economy would have us sacrifice our freedom to be ripped off for a higher quality of life.
I recently found a really cool site for writer wanting to bring their craft up to the next level. Scribophile, it’s a site where you can critique other peoples writing and have them critique yours.
Just a word of warning it isn’t a free lunch, in order to post something to be critiqued you need to critique 3 or 4 other works, but that system pays off nicely as it means you will have 3 or 4 people critique your work.
This means you have other writers tear your masterpiece to shreds, but that’s how we learn isn’t it.
Having people critique you’re work is hard, because you’ve put a lot of work in it to make it just right and now you have people look at it from a totally different point of view. So if you have someone critique your work remember a few things.
Some people are going to completely miss your point.
It happens, sometimes it’s the reader’s fault but even so it is a good time to go back and see if you can clarify your point.
Nobody’s prefect and spell chalk can miss things.
On message boards a breed of trolls pop up called “Grammar Nazis”. There they are annoying. However in critiques they are the greatest people in the world. When you run into one of them thank them profusely. The nitpicking of spelling/grammar/word choice is something that would cost big bucks to hire a professional to do.
The hardest critiques to give and get are for a style you normally avoid.
Everyone has picked up a book that people rave about start reading it and go, “Okay, what’s the big deal?” as a reader you just put it down and go, it’s not for me. Some of the authors I can’t read have huge followings, Dan Brown, Steinbeck, and others. Some of my favorite authors are greeted with, “Ugh,” when I mention their names to other people.
It’s really tough to critique some one whose work reminds of an author you can’t stand, telling someone that you think their writing is, “like if Steinbeck was a decent writer,” probably isn’t all that helpful to a Steinbeck fan.
So getting critiques from people who normally would avoid your style is a mixed blessing. It can help you broaden your audience but they will probably have trouble expressing what they did and did not like about the work.
Finally, it is all opinion.
Writing is one of the few things in the world where there are a million ways to do something and they are all correct.
When I do my first rewrite of something I either say, “This is the greatest thing that has ever been written, Nobody can miss the fact that is a true masterpiece,” or I say, “What the hell was I thinking? Nobody wants to read this crap.”
The truth for both is probably somewhere in-between for my greatest stuff even I’m not that enthusiastic about it a week later and my crap I tend to look back on and see the good bits that might be able to be polished up.
There are going to be a few people that view your writing as great and a few that see the crap shining through, but most people will see both parts. That’s where the many critiques you get on Scribophile helps. If you get many critiques that point out the same thing you know that part needs to be changed, the parts are just opinions that you can weigh as to how seriously you need to take them.
All over the news there is talk of a huge find of oil reserves in Iraq.
Here is the way oil exploration works.
Geologist are hired by oil companies to give convincing news of the chances of hitting oil, the companies pay them extra for getting good news.
The oil companies sell shares in oil drilling, the more favorable the report the more they make.
The Iraqi government can take loans off oil reserves.
Everyone in the chain makes more money if they can say they found more reserves.
In reality, Iraqi has been upping its claims of oil reserves since the 1980s but the most they have ever produced was 3 million barrels a day just before the war and historically they’ve only produced 2 million barrels a day.
I’m not saying the news of new reserves is total bull, but it has been false before and everyone involved in reporting larger reserves makes money from the reports even if they turn out to be false.
On October 30 Jon Stewart is holding a Rally to Restore Sanity, or as President Obama recently called it, “Americans in Favor of a Return to Sanity”. I fully support this Rally no matter what name you call it.
So for all the people who stand behind the Rally to Restore Sanity or the Americans in Favor of a Return to Sanity Rally I’ve made a motivational poster for you.
For the last thirty years lobbyists have convinced politicians (by giving them huge amounts of money) that regulations were unnecessary as it is in the Fox’s own self interest to guard the henhouse and eat only his fair share.
While it is true that it is in the Fox’s best interest to do that, he’s a damn fox!
Industries do best with a level playing field, but individual companies can earn a quick buck by playing unethically in an unregulated market.
Magnetar Capital made billions by inflating the housing market then betting against it.
The Banks grabbed a huge amount of properties by using the foreclosure crisis to illegally foreclose on people in the midst of all the legal foreclosures.
Oil Companies are raking in billions that would be lost to alternative energy sources, even if those profits are unsustainable.
Sane people know that it is in the best interests of everyone to have the federal government act as a referee to insure companies are playing by the rules.
Recently the Republican Governor of California commented on the shear stupidity of having the fox guard the henhouse:
“Does anyone really believe that these companies, out of the goodness of their black, oil hearts and spending millions and millions of dollars to protect jobs? This is like Eva Braun writing a kosher cookbook... I want to talk about the corruption of the democratic process and about forces willing to sabotage the country's economic future for private gain. I want to talk about the Texas oil interests that have descended upon California to overturn a California environmental law, and then, as soon as they've done their dirty work thanks to millions of dollars of scare-tactic advertising, they intend, in the words of their own spokesperson, to fold up their tents and go home... Oil companies like Valero and Tesero and Frontier and Koch Industries are blatantly trying to manipulate the will of the people and the public good... The motivate is... self-serving greed.”
Yes even the Terminator says that this policy is insane.
I’ve written about my disappointment with my current congressman Ben Chandler a lot on this blog. At the beginning of the year if I were to answer one of those polls asking whom I preferred Ben Chandler vs. An unnamed Republican I would have picked the unnamed Republican.
But now the Republican is named and it is Andy Barr.
It wouldn’t have taken much for Mr. Barr to get my vote, he just needed to be less repulsive than Ben Chandler and for half a second in the campaigning he was. Ben Chandler attacked him for supporting Paul Ryan’s plan to gut Social Security, the one part of the Republican’s plans that Andy Barr has drawn the line and refused to go along with his other Republicans.
At that point all Andy Barr had to do was take the high road and point out Ben falsely attacked him and give his own proposals. Alas, he countered by attacking Ben on Obama’s stimulus plan.
Independent analyses of the effectiveness of the Stimulus say that it has created or saved between 1.5 to 3.3 million jobs. It stopped the feedback loop of low demand leading to layoffs lowering demand which could have caused the country to keep shedding hundreds of thousands of jobs a month.
Here in Kentucky, the stimulus money directly hired over 13,000 workers in jobs that support an additional 3 workers or 39,000 jobs. In the 6th district the one Andy Barr is running for it has allowed the improvements to the infrastructure that our Governor, Steve Beshear started in 2007 after it was neglected for a long time. Without the stimulus these improvements would have stopped right in the middle of construction.
Here in the 6th district it is impossible not to be able to see the improvements to made to the area by the stimulus plan, everything from street signs (before most places in the area had me singing the U2 song, “Where the Streets have no name”) to rebuilding major roads that nearly a hundred thousand cars travel on each month that are so bad most of the time traffic has to travel at under 45 mph.
The stimulus program has also provided the seed money for the University of Kentucky located in the 6th district to expand its Center for Applied Energy Research making sure Kentucky will stay one of the top states auto manufacturing by researching better automotive batteries and help lead the way in Carbon recycling, something that is very important for the future of one of the largest coal producing states.
Every time I see a TV playing I see Andy Barr running a commercial saying that the stimulus plan was huge failure and that we should instead follow the Republican plan to increase the rewards to companies that send jobs overseas and will balloon the deficit by $4 trillion in the next 10 years.
So to Andy Barr, I say, “Shut-up Stupid, You could have had my vote, but instead you had to start saying things that anyone who opened their eyes and looked around can see are false. Since you seem to be able to look straight at the real world and then ignore what your eyes are telling you I wouldn’t vote for you to be a street sweeper since you would look right at the dirt and say it isn’t there.”
Yesterday the House passed Obama’s authorization bill for NASA 304-118. For this congress that is as bipartisan as it gets. The republican reason was a little silly, Rep. John Culberson (R-TX) said voting for Obama’s plan kept Obama from killing NASA. Maybe we can convince them that voting for more of Obama’s bills will stop Obama. But its fine even if the Republicans voted for a silly reason the thing passed.
The great news is NASA has a damn budget at least through 2013. They also have a realistic mission in that time and that is to get people into space.
The COTS (Commercial Orbital Transport Services) budget is beefed up. This is a great thing, with many companies developing different rockets access to low Earth orbit won’t be crippled by one rocket failing.
NASA has the budget now to develop a real replacement to the Shuttle and not just reconfigure its parts.
The Space Shuttle’s main flaw was its complexity. It was an amazing piece of work that was built at a time when the Apple II c was the other example of the height of human engineering. Even though the Shuttle had been upgraded many times having computer chips that are 4,000 times as fast as what was available when the Space Shuttle Main Engines were designed means it should be possible to design an Engine that needs less human oversight bringing the cost per launch down.
The new bill also has NASA concentrating on sending humans beyond LEO this means experimenting in new types of propulsion. Ion drives and Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR) work great in outer space but can’t be used for lifting things off the planet.
Constellation was supposed to be Apollo on steroids, it turned into Apollo on foodstamps and then lets see what this looks like on paper. The new bill does kill the Constellation program but it was on life support anyways.
The Ares I was supposed to be finished in 2014 but realistically probably not before 2017 and the SpaceX Falcon 9 has gone through it first test and is expected to have its first full demo flight with payload in November of this year. Although I support the idea of having more than one way into space the clear winner in this race was the Falcon 9.
Some of the hardware from the Constellation Program remains intact, the Orion Space Capsule will continue and is being adapted to fit on a wide range of rockets as well as being a platform to use for multiple purposes.
The Ares I first stage booster has also been finished and static tested. Its builder Alliant Techsystems has stated they will continue to test the 5-segment solid rocket booster for use with other rocket systems both public and private.
All and all the new plan lets NASA build a foundation for the next stage of space exploration and that will lead to a fantastic future.
I am slowly combining my two personalities Project Savior, known on the internet for writing comments and posts and Darrell B. Nelson the semi-professional author who has had his work published in Ray Gun Revival, Distant Worlds, AlienSkin Magazine, Bewildering Stories, Cynic Magazine and the author of the collection of short stories “I Killed the Man That Wasn't There”.
Feel free to laugh with me, or at me, as I merge these two personalities in a whole being. Feel free to email me at project.savior (at) yahoo (period) com.