The Big Think

October 29, 2004

Shuttle

Filed under: Space — jasony @ 5:35 pm

Slashdot has a lead that NASA is considering shutting down the shuttle program. I’m mildly surprised that I actually feel some support for this idea. Shut down the program already. Let’s go back to the drawing board and build the next generation already, or just give Scaled Composites the contract and have them do it in the next six months for the cost of a bag of Fritos and a case of Bud. heh.

Fischer

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 1:09 pm

Good article. Thanks to Robert for the link.

Bulge

Filed under: Disclosure — jasony @ 12:38 pm

A friend of mine sent me the following link today about the supposed bulge in the back of President Bush’s jacket during one of the debates:

NASA photo analysis of bulge (site is not responding right now).

I’ve tried to stay away from politics in my blog lately (not always successfully). I don’t want this space to become antagonistic. Leave that to the instapundits and the Michael Moores of the world. But this story has pushed me Over. The. Edge. Here’s my reply:

It’s one of two things:

We all know that George W. Bush is so dumb (Yale and Harvard degrees notwithstanding), that he could never be president by himself. So the super-secret-stealth device that he risked his presidency by lying to the country about is either a radio so Dick Cheney can tell him what to say, or some kind of control system so that Rove and friends can manipulate him from a distance. Hey, I’ll take the word of some unknown guy over the president of the U.S. I mean, NASA trumps everybody in my book because people who work there are so much smarter and neutral than the rest of us.

It’s much less plausible to believe that Bush is wearing some sort of 1970’s era giant walkie-talkie (regardless of the fact that there are seriously small receivers now), than that it’s a badly tailored shirt. And why haven’t any of these conspiracy theorists mentioned the fact that he didn’t have any earpieces? Both ears were clear, and bone conduction only works when the contact point is relatively close to your ears. If it’s some newfangled hyper-advanced bone conduction system, why marry it to an easy to detect receiver?

Seriously, if Bush wanted to wear a wire, wouldn’t they make is so that you couldn’t see anything? When it comes to photographic evidence, I think the Face on Mars has taught us that seeing isn’t believing, and sometimes a shadow is just a shadow- “enhanced” or not.

This brings me to a subject I’ve been thinking about a lot lately: the rumored stupidity of our president. The guy went to Yale and Harvard! He flew jets in the reserve! He owned a professional sports team and a multi-million dollar company for years. He was governor of Texas, fer cryin’ out loud. If Bush is really as dumb as people portray him to be, he wouldn’t be able to get out of bed in the morning without slipping in his own drool. Now I’m not talking about the funny, over-done comedy type dumb of SNL, which is, I think, understandably extreme- the kind where Ted Kennedy is portrayed drunk all the time and Ford trips over everything in sight. Laughing at our leaders (and by extension, ourselves) is a healthy thing. But it seems like some people actually believe the meme that our President is either a moronic dolt or an evil anti-Christ. Maybe he’s an evil mastermind playing at being dumb! Yea, that’s it.

I’ll go out on a limb here and guess that Bush is smarter than most of the people in this country, myself included. Even if I want to dismiss the Yale and Harvard education as undeserved and a result of family connections, and say that it’s not hard to own a major league team (it probably isn’t… managing is the hard part), and say that he got lots of help from Daddy when he made millions owning his oil company. Even if I want to dismiss all of his life accomplishments as somehow lucky or aided or bought, you don’t learn to fly a jet in the military without an above average intelligence- especially when it’s pre-GPS/LORAN. I mean, have you ever tried navigation by ADF or dead reckoning? Takes more than a head full of rocks, if I do say so myself.

The “Bush is stupid” and “Bush is a pawn” and “Bush is being fed lines by Rove and Cheney” memes are as overdone and wrong as “Gore is a crank” and “Quayle is too stupid to spell”. These popular ideas are an illustration that there is a significant percentage of our population that acts as if they believe any president is illegitimate if they show any sort of personal deficiency whatsoever. It also shows a lack of sophistication on the part of a population that they will allow themselves to believe that one instance defines the whole. If we were all judged by our worst slip up, misspelling, or bad decision, none of us would merit any respect or understanding.

If people disagree with the president because they don’t like his foreign policy or disagree with the war on terror, or hate the fact that he’s run up big deficits, fine. I can respect that. I disagree with it, but I can see how an honest person could come to that position. But if they want to disrespect him by saying that he has the IQ of a monkey and they won’t vote for him because they think he’s a Trilateral commission pawn, that he can’t think for himself, or that somehow he’s the dumbest among us, then I have no time for them.

What do I think it is? It’s a badly tailored shirt.

I can hardly wait for November 3rd.

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