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Thursday, January 26, 2012

62

Today in Space News

"I think you feel smaller. It’s such an incredible expanse that you can see. It’s an overwhelming experience when you have time to look out, especially on your first flight. Space is more than just dark, it’s a void. You really get the sense of Earth hanging in the void. It’s amazing."
BoingBoing asks an astronaut if looking at Earth makes him feel smaller or larger, among other things, while future-President Gingrich makes an unexpected promise to colonize the moon. ("By the end of my second term, we will have the first permanent base on the moon and it will be American.") About that second piece of space-related news, the noted and relentless moon detractor Alex Balk had this to say: "I was initially disheartened ... But then I remembered that Republican industrial and environmental policies are essentially designed to promote exploitation and decay ... Go Newt!" Horrible. Anyway, space: so crazy. So void-y.

62 Comments / Post A Comment

wharrgarbl

Pfft. Elect me, and we'll have a permanent base on the moon by the end of my first term.

Ophelia

@wharrgarbl "...and you'll all be working there. What? You ASKED for job creation, b*tches."

Megasus

@Ophelia Your campaign slogan should be: Jobs on the Moon For ALL!!!

Decca

Perhaps Newt could exile the entire judiciary to the moon.

Ophelia

@Decca Or vice versa. Although I'm sending Scalia with him. Conservative Moon Death Match!

Decca

@Ophelia Which US Supreme Court Justice would you least hate being in a rocket to the moon with?

bibliostitute

@Decca Ruth Bader Ginsburg, natch. She's feisty, has interesting thoughts, and knows when to be quiet too.

Ophelia

@Decca Ginsburg, I think. I'd be down with any of the other liberal ones, but I feel like she'd have the best stories.

Katie Heaney

Newt must have missed the acclaimed documentary "Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century." They've been up there for like 12 years already.

redheaded&crazy

Nobody likes a forward thinker. Have we all forgotten that once we've depleted all of earth's natural resources, the moon will be the first and next stop on the morally degenerate rampage to take over the universe?

And the Americans will be the ones charging for entry. YEAH BUDDY

NEWT 2012!

Lil Sebastian

Space exploration is so fucking cool. I have a couple friends that are weirdly and vehemently anti-NASA because they think it is wasteful government spending? And also one of them has a weird bent about us screwing up the Earth and then trying to destroy the rest of the galaxy/universe? Whatever though, space is awesome and NASA has given us so much cool stuff, like umm weather forecasting and cell phones, in addition to the inherent coolness of better understanding the universe we live in. Seeing the earth just suspended in the universe! Amazing! <3 you spacie.

Decca

@Lil Sebastian I kiiiinda see where your friends are coming from, cause there are so many other things that money could be spent on, but I am also of the opinion that space is fantastic. So much so that when I was 14 I "founded" a Black Hole Appreciation Society (BHAS) and wrote a membership song about black holes that I'd play on my guitar and tried to get all my friends to join. It wasn't the largest fan club, sadly.

Lil Sebastian

@Decca I mean, yeah I guess there are always other things that you can spend on, but like the whole NPR/public radio strawman, NASA is less than 1% of the federal budget, and the research done at NASA has impacted so many other facets of science and technology. I mean truly, there would not be advanced weather forecasts, telecommunications, etc. It definitely is a more efficient use of resources than most other government spending.

However! I would like to join your club. Please subscribe me to your newsletter ASAP.

Decca

@Lil Sebastian Will do. Please find enclosed your limited edition BHAS membership badge and the lyrics and guitar chords for our membership song.

werewolfbarmitzvah

@Lil Sebastian @Lil Sebastian So, last night I got stoned and started reading up on Jupiter (because I know how to party!). And in my foggy brain haze, it began to dawn on me that space is HUGE and OUTTA CONTROL and there are SO MANY CRAZY THINGS that go on out there and could potentially go on out there in the future. For instance, did you know that the Great Red Spot on Jupiter has only been around for 200-300 years or so? Which, for space, is pretty recent! And the whole thing is just one huge, intense, outta control storm. And it got me thinking that what if one day, seemingly out of nowhere, some type of storm or atmospheric disturbance or some other kind of crazy occurrence took place on one of the outer planets, which are entirely gaseous and are SO MUCH BIGGER than Earth by a long shot, and a whole planet just exploded into a ginormous fireball and engulfed us all with very little warning?

And as my weed-addled brain contemplated this prospect, I came to the conclusion that we need tons of space exploration for exactly this kind of reason: to keep an eye on all the OUTTA CONTROL stuff going on in our solar system, so that if a planet or a star just up and explodes one day, we'll know to anticipate it and maybe be able to deal with it! Long live NASA and government spending!

*Note: I am obviously not a trained astronomer, just a pothead prone to abrupt astronomy-related panic.

EpWs

@werewolfbarmitzvah Devil's advocate hypothetical: if a planet or star does just up and explode one day, how do we play that? Explode it with nukes? Giant baseball bat? Send Ben Affleck to deal with it?

werewolfbarmitzvah

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Maybe when the explodey planetary debris is due to arrive, we set up huuuuuuge rubber shields in our atmosphere, so that all the dangerous stuff bounces off, and then we can just let Mars and Venus deal with it...? I bet Newt knows what to do! He's probably been drawing up contingency plans in his living room for years. I'm liking the giant baseball bat idea, though!

leonstj

@Lil Sebastian - Space is so fucking cool. A friend of mine was doing an internship at JPL, and I demanded that they pick a bolt or nut or something and name it after me, which he swears he did (but couldn't move any of his documents out of JPl so I never got to see it.

He was working on a robotic arm of the mars rover a few years back. So, I am proud to announce that there is a man-made object on motherfucking mars named after me.

Decca

@werewolfbarmitzvah You're squeezing my mind grapes.

Lil Sebastian

@leon.saintjean That is some badass space cred. I am married to an aerospace engineer and it has never occurred to me to demand something space related be named for me. Brilliant.

Daisy Razor

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher I'm a fan of any plan that shoots Ben Affleck into space.

SuperGogo

@werewolfbarmitzvah There are a lot of crazy things out there. And any one of those crazy things--even a small crazy thing like a medium-sized asteroid headed our way--would wipe out most of life on Earth. They have in the past, and they will again, and there's not a damn thing we could do to stop it. I guess it's interesting to know what our doom might be, but we sure as hell can't "fix" it. So we're just as well off ignoring our impending Space Doom and taking pleasure in the details. "You know... a quarter-pounder with cheese, those are good, the sky about ten minutes before it starts to rain, the moments where your laughter becomes a cackle... and I sit back and smoke my Camel Straights and I ride my own melt."

laurel

@leon.saintjean We may know people who know each other. And apparently our friends do good work.

L'il Opportunity had its eight Mars landing anniversary yesterday! He was designed for a job of three months to two years but he's still out there, collecting and transmitting data. Right now he's rolled himself to the ridge of a crater in the southern hemisphere of mars, solar panels turned to a new angle so he can capture enough energy from the sun to ride out the Martian winter.

angermonkey

@Decca Full disclosure: I have worked with NASA in the past and currently work on a NASA grant-funded education program. That said, the idea "there's so many other things to spend money on" is pretty easy to argue, since NASA's entire budget since it's inception (back when it was NACA) adds up to less than the money the military spent in Iraq and Afghanistan in the last few years. Add to that the fact that a lot of the cusp technologies developed by NASA eventually move to the private sector (Velcro is the famous example, but there are scores of others, including filtration and sustainability strategies) and it's a pretty sound use of cash.

Rock and Roll Ken Doll

What if, when you do your taxes, there was an extra form where you could choose which parts of government your tax money would go to? Democracy!

leonstj

@angermonkey - I thought at first you said that NASA invented flirtation. And while I love my geeky robot-making friend and enjoy the company of his buddies, and while they are very good at a lot of things...

...well, let's just say I once heard the most awkward, "Hi. Those are really interesting earrings you have, would you care to tell me more about them?" At a party.

fondue with cheddar

@SuperGogo To everyone obsessed with space disasters: Posted on January 26, 2012 at 1:48 pm

Rock and Roll Ken Doll

@jen325
Also awesome and disaster-related, but wonkier and (I would guess) in many ways more conservative: this. To its credit, it was inspired by Margaret Atwood!

fondue with cheddar

@josiah That does look awesome!

Rock and Roll Ken Doll

@jen325
For about a month after reading it, I would talk about almost nothing else! It was very irritating to others.

boyofdestiny

"The United States of Space! 'Cause I ain't stopping at the moon!"

Ophelia

@boyofdestiny The Universal States of America?

fondue with cheddar

@Ophelia The United Space of America!

EpWs

"I believe in Steve Austin, and his plan to put casinos on the moon."

EpWs
wharrgarbl

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher That song stood me in such good stead when Apollo 18 came out.

area@twitter

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher "Ah, man, I went to high school with that guy."

fondue with cheddar

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Next next step: Wailers on the moon

(Pretend I linked to a picture of a reggae band on the moon, which sadly does not appear to exist on the Internet.)

fondue with cheddar

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher I did see that one, but I was hoping for a photo of a group of guys, and ones who looked more like reggae musicians and less like astronauts. I do love that there is an album called Reggae on the Moon, though.

Inconceivable!

Space is the coolest, you guys. It's so huge! I've been watching Farscape lately and all I want to do is rocket myself up there and poke around a bit.

miwome

This is the first thing out of Newt's mouth that I can get down with. Although I wish he wouldn't have gone on to be all, "which is why I'm a visionary, you betcha," but, oh, that's our Newt! Little scamp.

EpWs

@miwome My boyfriend's current theory is that he's trolling us all. I am beginning to see where he's coming from with this.

miwome

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher That would be so comforting.

wharrgarbl

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Well, it's a campaign where there's neither a chance nor a real desire to win. It's showboating to plump his speaking fees, get his books back in circulation, polish his conservacred, etc. Not all the candidates in this race are triangulating based on the same coordinates, as it were.

Once you know there's no way in hell you'll ever have to pony up, you can promise whatever ridiculous thing you want ("If I'm elected, we will be back on the moon tomorrow. No, not the day after I'm sworn in. Tomorrow. I will go back in time and use my future-president power to put us on the moon tomorrow."), and two years after you've lost, people will be looking at it through rose-colored glasses because they're comparing what this guy was actually able to do with what you just promised.

Rock and Roll Ken Doll

@wharrgarbl
So all the people giving big money to Gingrich are just dupes? Actually, that does seem fairly plausible.

wharrgarbl

@josiah Dupes, close friends/associates who will see some of that back in their own sweetheart deals with him, people with a social or financial interest in normalizing "put pre-adolescents to work as janitors" ideology....I mean, there are reasons for seriously backing a candidate that you aren't particularly interested in seeing win the same as there are reasons to be a candidate if you don't particularly care to win.

A good showing from a hardliner thanks to a big ad-buy can push the other candidates to shift closer to that side of the spectrum, or adopt some of that candidates more well-known positions. If you're pretty sure Santorum can't win but want the other candidates to get on-board with banning contraception, funneling money to Santorum and highlighting how much he hates ladies having orgasms might help with that.

miwome

@wharrgarbl Shift that Overton Window*! Shift it!

[*Look at the bottom of the O section that that links to, unfortunately there's no way to link to a specific entry.]

Nutmeg

I imagine space must be like when you wear goggles and look underwater into the ocean and OH GOD IT'S SO BIG I am never going in there again

dracula's ghost

I certainly hope you are all familiar with Newt's long career of crappy sci-fi and/or historical fiction writing with awkward sex scenes / amazon reviews of sci-fi writing! He has a book called 1945 that's about what if the Nazis won WWII or something (not at all a tired concept) and there are so many awkward sex scenes. The women are like pneumatic nympho automatons. Also in the 90's he had this weird space-sex-honeymoon fantasy he talked unabashedly about to reporters, about how corporations should privatize space travel, making really dumb wink-wink jokes about "honeymoon...zero gravity...AMIRITE FELLAS" etc.

He is, in all things, a classy motherfucker

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1/192-4859201-1643415?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=newt+gingrich+1945#/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=newt+gingrich+novel&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Anewt+gingrich+novel

"a story in which one man struggles to save his family and his small North Carolina town after America loses a war, in one second, a war that will send America back to the Dark Ages...A war based upon a weapon, an Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP). A weapon that may already be in the hands of our enemies."

Ophelia

@dracula's ghost Amazing. I think we should all have a contest to write the best first paragraph of that novel.

miwome

@dracula's ghost I wonder if he and Glenn Beck hang out and drink port and discuss what it's like to be a Sensitive and Unique Novelist with an Uncommon Political Mind.

dracula's ghost

@miwome I can only imagine! Although I bet Newt would find Glenn's constant outpouring of tears to be a bit off-putting. I bet Newt hasn't cried since the Vietnam War ended (SNAP)

Ophelia

@miwome For a second there, I thought you were talking about a new Dave Eggers novel.

Megasus

@Ophelia Or just have it be the first book in the Hairpin Book club? Where of course we just find our most favourite terrible passages. P.S. I just wrote a post about this for one of mah blogs, complete with passages from 1945 if you want to sample some of his "prose":
http://blog404.org/2012/01/26/better-know-your-potential-future-president-new-gingrich-wrote-terrible-novels/

dracula's ghost

@Megan Patterson@facebook HA HA!!!!! "prose"

EpWs

@Megan Patterson@facebook DYING. Linked on my tumblr, may the winds of the internet carry it far.

beerd

http://pbfcomics.com/248
Moon.

sandwiches

I have nothing to add to this old thread except: spaaaaaaaaaaaace. I'm in space.

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