2003-12-02

space exploitation

Placain: Allyson asked me “what are you passionate about”, and I thought for a few minutes that I didn’t have an answer, but then I realized I did, but I need to think about it some and be able to elaborate on it better. I’m passionate about ignorance, and bad statistics, and fuzzy thinking. I’m passionate about people’s inability to do accurate cost/benefit analyses. If you think about it, THAT is why we don’t have a viable space program. People think “cost: billions. benefit: a bunch of eggheads can go sightseeing while my Latisha doesn’t have money to feed her fourteen children.” … Whereas it should be “cost: trillians. benefit: human race doesn’t go extinct.”

eriktown: Absolutely true. It’s something I realized a long time ago, and has been driving me nuts for years, especially when the chief administrator of NASA gets on TV and harps about the noble pursuit of knowledge and the exploration of space and science for science’s sake. And I say “Yeah, that’s great, but it doesn’t matter fuck-all to J. Random.”

** Placain: **yeah, THAT’s going to sell NASA to the public.

** eriktown:** Exactly.

** Placain: **as for exploration of space… i realize this is very anthrocentric, but really – we’re not going to ‘explore’ space. We pretty much know what’s out there. nothing. and some rocks and gasses. but that’s not the point.

** eriktown:** Hell no. You’ll notice I have “space exploitation” in my interests list on lj.

** Placain: **the point is that we can PUT THINGS on those rocks, and in those vast nothings.