....LMB: "Final Frontier"....

August 27, 2003

When I was a kid, I remember seeing a Superfriends cartoon that had an impact on me. It was a lousy version of the cartoon, one of those inspired by Scooby Doo's success to add in animal capering and two young detectives (who worked with Batman and Superman despite a complete lack of special skills or powers).

Anyhow, it's about some scientist ("Dr. Rebos") who is replacing astronauts with androids as part of some scheme to end the space program. When he is confronted by the superheroes, he tells them that he has no problem with space travel itself, but that there are so many problems here on Earth, that all that space money should be spent on solving Earth problems.

I don't remember Wonder Woman or Aquaman offering any sort of rebuttal to the man's very reasonable argument, they just turned him over to the police. That always stuck with me.

And in the wake of this report about the Columbia space disaster...

Does anyone have a rebuttal for the android-makin', space-program hatin' Dr. Rebos?

Posted by Jake at 02:58 PM | TrackBack (0)

In and of itself, Nasa's budget was just over $14 billion in 2002. A lot of money, unless you consider the fact that the Pentagon would spend that in two weeks. Actually, if you only count the budget for human space flight, they would burn through it in a bit over five days.

The proposed Federal budget is $2.3 trillion dollars, which means Nasa's share of the pie for space flight is about .02% of the budget.

That said, it is still a lot of money. What do we get for it? Hard to put a price on pure science for science's sake. You never know what you are going to learn. And for that, it is pretty cheap at the price.

Posted by: David Allen at August 27, 2003 05:26 PM

The perfect is the enemy of the good. Much of our problems here at home aren't necessarily expensive, given the balance. For example, take the money that's made off of international arms trade (just the US' share) and you could easily pay for every humanitarian act in the UN's wet dreams. And if you got rid of the guns n' such (i.e., just the US' share of the market), then a whole lot of reason just went away for the humanitarian acts in the first place - so it's double or triple the return from the money.

Manned space flight doesn't soak up valuable resources. Adding .001% to the humanitarian efforts is unlikely to do very much.

Far, far better to focus on the things that really make a difference than to worry about people who willingly take the risk to keep us exploring outward instead of becoming navel gazers.

We need to start focusing on solving double digit percentages of the problem, not focusing on programs that could - at best - give a thousandth of a percentage increase in what we're doing.

Humans have always been explorers, and those people knew what they were doing, and did so willingly. People shouldn't be using their deaths bolstering arguments to stop human space research. It's a violation of their wishes, if nothing else.

Posted by: JohnC at August 27, 2003 05:44 PM
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Lying Media Bastards is both a radio show and website. The show airs Mondays 2-4pm PST on KillRadio.org, and couples excellent music with angry news commentary. And the website, well, you're looking at it.

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Media News

December 01, 2004

Media Mambo

The Great Indecency Hoax- last week, we wrote about how the "massive outcry" to the FCC about a racy Fox TV segment amounted to letters from 20 people. This week, we look at the newest media scandal, the infamous "naked back" commercial. On Monday Night Football, last week, ABC aired an ad for it's popular "Desperate Housewives" TV show, in which one of the actresses from the show attempted to seduce a football player by removing the towel she was wearing to bare her body to him. All the audience saw, however, was her back. No tits, no ass, no crotch, just her back.

No one complained.

The next Wednesday, Rush Limbaugh told his shocked viewers how the woman had appeard in the commercial "buck naked".

Then, the FCC received 50,000 complaints. How many of them actually saw this commercial is anyone's guess.

The article also shows the amazing statistics that although the Right is pretending that the "22% of Americans voted based on 'moral values'" statistic shows the return of the Moral Majority, this is actually a huge drop from the 35% who said that in the 2000 election or the 40% who said that in 1996 (when alleged pervert Bill Clinton was re-elected). This fact is so important I'm going to mention it over in the main news section too.

Brian Williams may surprise America- Tom Brokaw's replacement anchor, Brian Williams, dismissed the impact of blogs by saying that bloggers are "on an equal footing with someone in a bathroom with a modem." Which is really funny, coming out of the mouth of a dude who's idea of journalism is to read words out loud off a teleprompter. Seriously, if parrots were literate, Brian Williams would be reporting live from the line outside the soup kitchen.

In related news, Tom Brokaw has quit NBC Nightly News, and it appears that unlike his predecessor, the new guy can speak without slurring words like a drunk.

PR Meets Psy-Ops in War on Terror- in February of 2002, Donald Rumsfeld announced the creation of the Office of Strategic Influence, a new department that would fight the war on terror through misinformation, especially by lying to journalists. Journalists were so up in arms about this that the Pentagon agreed to scrap the program.

Don't you think that an agency designed to lie to the public might lie about being shut down, too?

This article gives some examples about the US military lying to the press for propaganda and disinformation purposes.

Tavis Smiley leaving NPR in December- African-American talk show host Tavis Smiley is opting to not renew his daily talk show on National Public Radio. He criticized his former employers for failing to: "meaningfully reach out to a broad spectrum of Americans who would benefit from public radio but simply donít know it exists or what it offers ... In the most multicultural, multi-ethnic and multiracial America ever, I believe that NPR can and must do better in the future." He's 100% correct. NPR is white. Polar bear eating a marshmallow at the mayonaise factory white. And the reason it's so white is that it is trying to maintain an affluent listener base (premoniantly older white folks) who will donate money to their stations. This is a great paradox of American public broadcasting, that they have a mandate to express neglected viewpoints and serve marginalized communities, but those folks can't donate money in the amounts that the stations would like to see.

U.S. Muslim Cable TV Channel Aims to Build Bridges- it sounds more positive than it is "Bridges TV" seems to simultaneously be a cable channel pursuing an affluent American Muslim demographic, and a way of building understanding and tolerance among American non-Muslims who might happen to watch the channel's programming. I was hoping it would be aimed more at Muslim's worldwide, but it ain't. Still, I'd be interested in seeing how their news programs cover the issues.

Every Damned Weblog Post Ever- it's funny cuz it's true.

Wikipedia Creators Move Into News- Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia, created collectively by thousands of contributors. It's one of those non-profit, decentralized, collective, public projects that show how good the internet can be. Now, the Wikipedia founders are working on a similar project to create a collaborative news portal, with original content. Honestly, it's quite similar to IndyMedia sites (which reminds me, happy 5th birthday, IndyMedia!). I'll admit, I'm a bit skeptical about the Wikinews project, though. IndyMedia sites work because they're local, focused on certain lefty issues, and they're run by activists invested in their beliefs. I'm not sure what would drive Wikinews or how it would hang together.

CBS, NBC ban church ad inviting gays- the United Church of Christ created a TV ad which touts the church's inclusion, even implying that they accept homosexuals into their congregation. Both CBS and NBC are refusing to air the ad. This is not too surprising, as many Americans are uncomfortable about homosexuality, and because TV networks are utter cowards. But CBS' explanation for the ban was odd:

"Because this commercial touches on the exclusion of gay couples...and the fact that the executive branch has recently proposed a Constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, this spot is unacceptable for broadcast."

Whoa, what? First of all, the ad does not mention marriage at all. Second, since when do positions opposite of the Executive Branch constitute "unacceptable"? This doesn't sound like "we're not airing this because it's controversial", this sounds like "we're afraid of what the President might say."

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