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Critics Call For NASA TV To "Liven Up"

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the have-the-ISS-astronauts-vote-each-other-off-the-station dept.

NASA 305

An article in the LA Times calls NASA out for failing to make broadcasts on their dedicated television network as entertaining as they can be. The author, David Ferrell, complains that fascinating subject matter is often fraught with boring commentary and frequent, extended silences, making most people quickly lose interest. Quoting: "Witness one recent segment about the recovery of a Soyuz capsule upon its return to Earth. The dark, bullet-like object landed in the featureless steppes of Kazakhstan, about 50 miles outside the unheard-of town of Arkalyk. Coverage consisted of video shot from an all-terrain vehicle approaching it — mostly soundless footage of tall grass going by — with an occasional word by an unnamed commentator. 'You can see the antenna that deployed shortly after landing,' the commentator said in that deadpan tone shared by scientists and golf announcers. The camera chronicled the tedious extraction of three crew members weakened by spending six months in orbit; they were loaded one by one onto stretchers. 'Again, a rather methodical process,' the commentator noted, as if grasping for something — anything — to say. Later: 'The official landing time has been revised to 1:15 and 34 seconds a.m., Central Time. The official time was recorded at the Russian Mission Control Center . . . by the Russian flight-control team.' ... Where is Carl Sagan when you need him?"

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If you want to know what's wrong with "lively"... (4, Insightful)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563440)

... just watch a weather report on American TV. "ZOMG IT'S THE BIG ONE EVERYBODY RUN FOR COVER WINDS WILL REACH 50MPH IN PLACES!" and so on. We don't need it, thanks.

Watch one of David Attenborough's natural history programmes. Get your ideas from that.

Re:If you want to know what's wrong with "lively". (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563552)

... just watch a weather report on American TV. "ZOMG IT'S THE BIG ONE EVERYBODY RUN FOR COVER WINDS WILL REACH 50MPH IN PLACES!" and so on. We don't need it, thanks.

What alternate universe are you watching American TV in? During regular storms we can get gusts up to 50 mph, and the TV doesn't typically react like that. If you mean hurricanes, which most of you folks other there are clueless as to how rough they can get, yes, they get a little excited, but it kind of makes sense.

Re:If you want to know what's wrong with "lively". (4, Informative)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563658)

No, he's exactly correct. Anything other than a bog-standard rainstorm gets the 'universe might end' treatment from the idiot weathercaster in most places. Don't know where you live, but it sounds like 1) either you get really bad weather all of the time or 2) your weather desk smokes something pretty good.

Just listen to a big city while traveling next time. You think terrorists are dangerous, do you? They're nothing compared to the Storm boogyman / Global Warming Godzilla.

Re:If you want to know what's wrong with "lively". (2)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563910)

I feel the same way when I hear about 3 inches of snow in New York plastered all over the national news.

That is until they mention the hundreds of car crashes, then I just think New York drivers must be dumbasses. Holy shit! It's snow! Snow is slick! Slow the hell down! ZOMGWTFBBQ! I still don't know why it makes national news though. We get two feet and it only makes local news because the school busses probably couldn't run that day.

Re:If you want to know what's wrong with "lively". (3, Informative)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564140)

In SoCal, we get "StormWatch 2009!!!" (Exclamation points added because of the way they approach it.) We don't get a lot of rain here, averaging about 15 inches (38cm) per year, and most storms bring less than an inch of rain. Any storm that is expected to bring more than an inch, or any series that combines for that, will usually trigger the StormWatch logos on the local TV stations. We had such a storm recently, and while it was important to have some heightened concern over the possibility of landslides in recent burn areas, the dramatics that were used were really unnecessary.

I've been through some pretty serious storms, even here in SoCal. Every five to ten years, we get something through that really does some damage, overloading the drainage and flood control systems, maybe dropping four or five inches of rain in under 48 hours (and sometimes in less than 24 hours). That is more deserving of dramatics. (Yes, I know that this is a more common storm size in many other places, but factor in what the area usually gets and what we can realistically handle.)

Where is Carl Sagan when you need him? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30563442)

Dead.

Re:Where is Carl Sagan when you need him? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30563530)

Making an apple pie from scratch.

Re:Where is Carl Sagan when you need him? (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563716)

Dead

He didn't die, he experienced a phase transition and is now at a higher entropy level.

Re:Where is Carl Sagan when you need him? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30564086)

So, he's dead.

Re:Where is Carl Sagan when you need him? (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564116)

So, he's dead.

The only thing dead here is your imagination, He Who Shall Not Be Scored:1.

Re:Where is Carl Sagan when you need him? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30563872)

Well, Pauly Shore is available, not dead, and stoned out of his gourd! Hire him..

Re:Where is Carl Sagan when you need him? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30564026)

Dead.

More accurately, he's dead and burning in Hell.

"I'm agnostic." --Carl Sagan

Needs more controversy (4, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563464)

They should introduce a controversial character into the mix. Maybe have a mouthy Russian hang out with the straitlaced American scientists. Or a breakout character like Puck to pull everyone's strings to the breaking point.

Or they could introduce some kind of challenge that the characters have to overcome. See which astronaut can escape fastest from a burning capsule. Or who can eat the most astronaut food without getting sick.

Science TV is the ultimate reality TV.

Or we can read this article as an indictment of the lack of attention span of the average American TV viewer.

Re:Needs more controversy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30563582)

I think you're onto something there. Throw in a busty blond scientist who discovers an alien life form clinging to the capsule and a poor but honest family from Arkalyk who have some kind of secret that they must communicate to the recovery team and you'd have a winner.

Re:Needs more controversy (1)

game kid (805301) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563802)

Don't forget Omarosa [wikipedia.org] . We need someone to misinterpret a "black body" remark as racist.

Re:Needs more controversy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30563878)

The problem [read: good thing] about hot women in science (I've met more than a few) is that they're not really into the whole being sex symbols thing. Of course, you could always use actors.

Re:Needs more controversy (2, Interesting)

PizzaAnalogyGuy (1684610) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563766)

Adding made-up controversy to a technical tv program would be like baking a pizza in a french fries deep-frier. Result might taste great, but the pizza just doesn't fit in it.

This is why I like Man v. Food. No matter if you like sandwiches [youtube.com] , hot dogs [youtube.com] or hamburgers [youtube.com] , I know there will never be anything as good food as hawaiian style pan pizza with barbeque sauce. But the show is entertaining, so I enjoy watching it, while knowing its not always technically correct.

In Naples we used to have these pizza baking competitions between my father and his cousins place next to us. They would give slices of pizzas to everyone walking past and ask which one is better. This usually ended up with them yelling at each other in their white cooking dresses, but more people gathered around to watch what was going on and because it was entertaining, they ended up ordering pizzas too. Win win for all, except for me who had to serve them as a little boy while I would wanted to be playing soccer with my friends.

Re:Needs more controversy (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563810)

Explosions! (easy one, just loosen safety standard)

Re:Needs more controversy (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563952)

All they really need to make it exciting is have a camera crew running up to it with a commentator talking about the history of the mission on the way. Nice and easy.

The Bear Grills formula works people, you could even make the commentator act like a dumbshit (hey lets see what happens if I jump off this boulder!) on the way if you want to stick to the formula rigorously.

This ain't MTV! (5, Interesting)

bziman (223162) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563466)

I don't WANT NASA TV to appeal to the lowest common denominator. The Discovery Channel used to be educational... now it's "how can we use science to blow shit up?" MTV used to be music videos... now it's the Shiny Things Network(c). I tune to NASA TV when I actually want to see what's ACTUALLY going on, narrated by someone who actually has some idea of what they're talking about, without going through an "audience is retarded" filter. If you don't find it interesting, fine, wait a few days, and read the brain-dead version in one of the mass media outlets. CNN will be happy to distill six hours of interesting live coverage down to a 30 second clip that you can digest will drinking your Starbucks. NASA TV is what it is for a good reason. The cameras are always on, and when something interesting, but unexpected happens, you get to watch it unfold. Keep your Hollywood ideas off my Nerdovision.

Re:This ain't MTV! (2, Interesting)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563508)

There's a difference between turning NASA broadcasts into Spike TV with Space Capsules and actually trying to be a little less boring than going through airport security.

Re:This ain't MTV! (4, Insightful)

DavidTC (10147) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563858)

Yes.

Seriously, long boring drives to recovery sites, and dead silence?

Don't they have some, I dunno, science they could be telling us? Like a clip of the launch, or an explanation of the mission, or simulations of the orbit, or something?

People simply aren't interested in seeing every step of a recovery process with nothing else. That is because it is incredibly boring, and, no, that has nothing to do with modern society's short attention span or anything. That much time watching nothing happen, interspersed with short, boring comments, is boring to anyone!

At the very least, do what CNN does when they're waiting for stuff to happen on camera, like someone to come out of a courthouse...have a bunch of random 'experts' sitting around a table in the studio, and cut to them for a few minutes at a time, and back when things actually happen.

Although really NASA should be able to time things better than that. Their uncertainly is usually only a few seconds, except sometimes during launches.

Re:This ain't MTV! (1)

kyry (1526333) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564126)

amen to that brother! watching the launching pad for 24 hours before start or the giant mission control screen with no comment at all is at best a waste of transmission time ... give some information damn it!

Re:This ain't MTV! (1)

Kagura (843695) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564152)

I really hate the long silences on NASA TV, and it is a big reason I don't watch it in my freetime online. The long silences makes it feel like nobody cares at NASA cares about what is being shown. Sometimes I like watching spacewalks with commentary/astronaut mic audio.

No there isn't... (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563882)

In a world that has whole 5 security levels with highest being "severe" and lowest being "low", with only top 3 ever being in use - there is obviously no room for more than 3 levels of distinction.

Whether it is from "smart and boring" TV to "fun TV" or from "our friends" to "our enemies".

And I am not saying that it is somehow the fault of the US government or even culture. Not at all.
People like things that are clear and simple. And 3 possible options are a nice, low, easily remembered number.
There is a reason there are only 3 medals in sport competitions.

Re:This ain't MTV! (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563896)

For example, you could have one of the scientists with a sense of humor narrate it. Oh yes, they do exist... ...though their humor can usually be boiled down to complex analysis jokes, so maybe this doesn't solve the problem.

Re:This ain't MTV! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30564132)

There's a difference between turning NASA broadcasts into Spike TV with Space Capsules and actually trying to be a little less boring than going through airport security.

As someone who enjoys strip searches, I reject this characterization.

Re:This ain't MTV! (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563548)

The Discovery Channel used to be educational... now it's "how can we use science to blow shit up?"

Indeed. Its sister channel, TLC, has gone from The Learning Channel to The Ladies Channel.

Re:This ain't MTV! (1)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563704)

I've always wondered what the fuck happened to TLC. I always see the listings when I check what's on the history channel and cannot imagine anyone watching the shit that's on TLC.

Discovery is almost as bad as they try to replicate the big hitters such as Dirty Jobs, Mythbusters, and Deadliest Catch. Does anyone else turn off the TV when they hear that (hopefully) temporary replacement for Kari on Mythbusters?

And you know, they HAD some potentially good shows about parasites but they completely fucked it up with ridiculously forced dramatic retelling, camera angles, and lighting. Good luck trying to complain to them about it. They ask for about as much personal info as Facebook.

Re:This ain't MTV! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30563948)

Surely there's some educational content in people walking around with light amplification cameras in the dark pretending to be scared by something going 'bump'...?

OK, no - we're fucked.

Frankly there has never been a show on TV that really got the mix between education/entertainment right. At least for me. If there's something on about WWII fighter planes and their engine development, I want to drill down a little and get into specifics, not just skate back and forth between all the models that everyone has seen and heard about over and over. What year did they start including water injection in the Bf 109, and how did it make the plane stack up against it's contemporaries? How would the P&W Wasp Major have changed things for radial engined fighters? I would want to see, from model to model, a comparison of how the engines were altered, and what effect that had on performance and reliability. My favorite tv channel would bore the shit out of everyone else.

We need a WikiVision channel...

leave nasa alone (4, Insightful)

p51d007 (656414) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563566)

PLEASE don't turn NASA TV into cnn/abc/cbs/fox/pbs etc... I watch the nasa tv channel when something is going on for the opposite reason. THEY SHUT THE F*CK UP! Their comments are only when the ground to space loop is QUIET. They don't talk over the controllers or astronauts. The other "talking heads" think they have to blab 24/7. If I wanted that crap, I'd watch the regular channels.

Re:leave nasa alone (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564158)

I get what you're saying, but take the example from the article summary as case in point: "... the featureless steppes of Kazakhstan, about 50 miles outside the unheard-of town of Arkalyk." Maybe during those silent minutes of terrain rolling by, the commentator could speak a few sentences about the area of Kazakhstan where the landing occurred, maybe throw out some interesting trivia, give a short history of Arkalyk? And yes, shut the hell up when something interesting starts happening.

Re:This ain't MTV! (1)

GaryOlson (737642) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563574)

Agreed.

If some LA movie town reporter thinks a NASA edutainment channel should exist, he can reach out to his LA contacts for financing and operations and create such a channel. And, don't forget to pay royalties to NASA for the footage -- just like the actors who receive residuals.

Re:This ain't MTV! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30564046)

US Government authorship means the footage is in the public domain. They don't have to pay NASA a damned thing.

Re:This ain't MTV! (1)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563636)

The Discovery Channel used to be educational... now it's "how can we use science to blow shit up?"

They have Dirty Jobs too not just Mythbusters.

Re:This ain't MTV! (1)

Trahloc (842734) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563864)

I get the feeling he probably doesn't think there is anything to learn from window cleaners, sewer workers, or other blue collar jobs. Too far down the totem pole, not enough blinky lights.

Re:This ain't MTV! (1)

bziman (223162) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564136)

Actually, Dirty Jobs and Mythbusters are two of my favorite shows. I *like* watching people blow stuff up, I just don't want anyone confusing it with "educational" - Discovery is a for-profit entertainment network. It drives me batty when the Mythbusters spend weeks working on a build that obviously won't work, because they don't have a physicist on staff. Dirty Jobs actually IS educational, probably the best "reality" show on television... but there's a lot of stuff on Discovery that is just really gimmicky and awful, like using high end computer graphics to animate theoretical fights between dinosaurs (where the science is really cool, but the program spends three seconds on science, and the rest on dino death match), or those horrifyingly bad supernatural shows (which have less science than Ghostbusters).

HEAR HEAR!!! (1)

crovira (10242) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563706)

Next, he'd be asking that the NASA scientists all be replaced by nubile eighteen year old actresses who do a slow strip while discussing solid-rocket "bustier."

Keep your low-grade opinion to yourself, Hollywood, and buy at least a high-school education and get some math, physics, astronomy and computer skills, so you don't [expletive deleted] insult us with plot devices that are obvious balsa wood and paint pretending to be "Spaceships from 'Planet Voltron' or some such ignorant twadle".

Re:HEAR HEAR!!! (2, Funny)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563838)

Next, he'd be asking that the NASA scientists all be replaced by nubile eighteen year old actresses who do a slow strip while discussing solid-rocket "bustier."

Yes that would be...terrible.

In fact... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30563732)

...isn't NASA TV public domain like other NASA IP? If so, if some dude is unhappy about the broadcasts not being shiny enough, he can just make his own. Hell, if his opinion isn't utter bullshit, he can even profit from it! What is he waiting for?????

Re:This ain't MTV! (1)

Comatose51 (687974) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564090)

"The Discovery Channel used to be educational... now it's "how can we use science to blow shit up?"

You know how bad it is now? It's so damn unwatchable and stupid that I change the channel to ESPN instead. Yes, I've decided watching football is more realistic and informative than watching the scripted drama on Discovery Channel. National Geographics and the History channel are both following the same trend from what I can tell. God, I hate that stupid dog whisperer show!

At least Discovery Channel has pushed me to discover the great game of football. Wish I had known about it earlier. It's actually a very fun game to watch on TV, unlike most other sports, which tend to be fun in person or as actual participants.

NASA TV for Dummies? (2, Insightful)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563468)

No, thanks.

I already fell like I'm living inside "Idocracy" when I happen to see any given network news show.

Re:NASA TV for Dummies? (3, Funny)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563474)

See? it's already affected my spelling...

Re:NASA TV for Dummies? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30564092)

No, thanks.

I already fell like I'm living inside "Idocracy" when I happen to see any given network news show.

You talk like a fag.

That was a pretty good simpsons episode (1)

seth (984) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563472)

n/t

I like NASA TV how it is. (5, Insightful)

Eravnrekaree (467752) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563476)

I like NASA TV the way it is. If you have ADD and need constant sound effects and graphics or everything dumbed down and edited into some fake reality, filled with game shows and so on, then channels like Discovery are for you. I like NASA because of its raw unedited nature and it is more of a direct access thing to NASA data rather than another discovery network. Do I want NASA TV to be another heavily commercialised pop culture discovery channel for people who have short attention spans and few brain cells? No.

Re:I like NASA TV how it is. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30563512)

Amen. It perfect they way it is.

No need to go all weather channel and turn super lamo.

Re:I like NASA TV how it is. (1)

illumastorm (172101) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563670)

I have ADD and NASA TV can capture my attention for hours.

Re:I like NASA TV how it is. (5, Insightful)

pz (113803) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563938)

I like NASA TV the way it is. If you have ADD and need constant sound effects and graphics or everything dumbed down and edited into some fake reality, filled with game shows and so on, then channels like Discovery are for you. I like NASA because of its raw unedited nature and it is more of a direct access thing to NASA data rather than another discovery network. Do I want NASA TV to be another heavily commercialised pop culture discovery channel for people who have short attention spans and few brain cells? No.

Moreover, anything that is funded with the public's taxes should be raw, unvarnished truth. No salesmanship. No splashy effects. Just high-quality information, and, potentially, art.

As an educated, voting taxpayer, I *love* that C-SPAN has the uncensored coverage of our congress (at least it used to last time I watched); I *adore* that PBS produces commercial-free high-quality educational and entertainment shows like NOVA (what we were promised TLC would expertly take over and provide), Nature, Sesame Street, and Frontline. It is *imperative* that NASA TV be boring, because most of a mission is like that.

Re:I like NASA TV how it is. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30564076)

Right, well in the meantime, our youth will be watching MTV or playing video games while thinking that science is boring and uncool. How bout we liven it up just a tad and get more people interested in science and space exploration? Maybe then there wouldnt be so much opposition to anything NASA related.

Re:I like NASA TV how it is. (1)

rHBa (976986) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563960)

If you have ADD and need constant sound effects and graphics or everything dumbed down and edited into some fake reality, filled with game shows and so on, then channels like Discovery are for you

Exactly, did David Attenborough gain fame and fortune, not to mention many awards, including 2 BAFTAs [wikipedia.org] using sensationalist voice-overs and special effects?

Granted, they did make the most of high frame-rate shots slowed down to show nature in action but at the end of the day the subject matter was interesting enough on it's own.

Re:I like NASA TV how it is. (1)

tonycheese (921278) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564066)

First of all, there's too much of this polarizing on slashdot that I see happen all the time. Yes, it's true that there are a lot of really crappy reality shows and game shows and reality game shows that I have 0 interest in and don't go anywhere near, but there are also some trashy TV shows that are just fun to watch, for whatever reason. I don't have to have "ADD" or "few brain cells" to watch shows on the Discovery channel - what I do in my free time to relax is my business and you don't have any reason or need to judge that.

The problem with this discussion is that the people who like NASA TV the way it is now are very enthusiastic about it and bring on the comments and mod points, whereas the people who find NASA TV to be boring... well, aren't very interested in the discussion.

I don't watch NASA TV because, yeah, it's boring. I don't really have time to sit there for 2 hours and have next to nothing going on. At most I could have it running in the background while I'm doing something else if something exciting is supposed to be happening.

Of course, again, I don't watch NASA TV so I can't really say much on the topic. I'm not sure if it's supposed to be more of a raw feed of everything or more pander to the general public to watch historic events unfolding.

Here here! (1)

datadigit (1561281) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563478)

Here here! I'm a huge space fan and NASA's broadcasts still put me to sleep... it's like watching some public access broadcast from the 80s. I can't imagine it's doing much for those that need to be convinced space exploration is 'cool.'

More explosions! (1)

ari_j (90255) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563494)

Obviously, we need Hollywood to get on board to help liven things up. When they have a movie that doesn't have much of a plot, they turn it into a summer blockbuster by adding two things: Gratuitous explosions and girls in bikinis. Hell, watch the bad "giant crocodile attack" B movies on the SciFi channel sometime. Even those get the occasional explosion, to the extent their budget allows, and always at least a couple of very attractive young ladies wearing as little as they can get away with on a giant crocodile-infested island.

Since bikinis are not conducive to space travel, mostly due to not being compatible with the pressure helmets (although it would certainly make for some lively experimentation as to support issues), the only alternative is explosions. NASA should just make sure that more things blow up on screen. Don't recycle rocket parts, blow them up at the apex of their suborbital flights! Don't pack waste or garbage back to Earth, blow it up in front of a camera!

Lets fill the trillion cubic miles (1)

crovira (10242) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563736)

of space between the surface and geosynchronous full of garbage and high-velocity shrapnel by blowing shit up when we're done using it.

You [expletive deleted] moron.

I wish they would say less. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30563506)

I hate it when they something completely uninteresting while something interesting is being talked about in the background.

Oh hell no. (5, Insightful)

Mononoke (88668) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563510)

This critic is the type of person who has destroyed entertainment in general. Sports have become nearly unwatchable with the announcers straining to fill every millisecond with the sound of their voices. Movies are becoming overloaded with audio cues and monologues. Even the news has become a cacophony of zings and bleeps and sweeping noises.

In music, the rests are as important as the notes. This is true elsewhere as well. I hope the people at NASA understand this and keep things the way they are.

Re:Oh hell no. (4, Interesting)

Quantumstate (1295210) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563820)

When I was visited America I remember trying to watch an american football match replay/highlights. If I ignore the fact that it was 50% adverts cutting in every 3 minutes it was still utterly dreadful. It showed very short clips of bits of play so you had little idea of what was actually going on with some crazy overexcited presenter yelling for the entire thing. Baseball generally seemed much better, ignoring the advert breaks. In the UK, with a football (soccer) match, even if it is on a channel with advertising you only get adverts at half time and before and after the match so there are two 45 minute blocks of uninterrupted football with decent commentators in general.

Re:Oh hell no. (0, Troll)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563892)

even if it is on a channel with advertising you only get adverts at half time and before and after the match so there are two 45 minute blocks of uninterrupted football with decent commentators in general.

The down side is you're forced to watch 45 uninterrupted minutes of European football, which is probably the only sport more boring than baseball.

Re:Oh hell no. (1)

Arker (91948) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564080)

The down side is you're forced to watch 45 uninterrupted minutes of European football, which is probably the only sport more boring than baseball.

You have obviously never heard of Cricket.

Re:Oh hell no. (1)

laejoh (648921) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564124)

OB H2G2:

I do enjoy the occasional game of cricket, but please note that most sensible citizens of the galaxy find the sport to be in rather bad taste!

Re:Oh hell no. (1)

kalidasa (577403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564062)

The baseball advertisements are almost all during natural breaks in the game between half-innings (the main exceptions being pitcher substitutions).

Re:Oh hell no. (2, Insightful)

Mikkeles (698461) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564010)

It started with the Greek chorus, made a giant leap forward with the pianist at a silent film, reached its nadir with sitcom laugh tracks, and then managed, unbelievably, to descend even lower with sports announcers and television commentators!

I watch NasaTV (1)

quixote9 (999874) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563532)

precisely so I won't have to listen to breathless drivel about astronaut hair styles, or some damn thing. Just the facts, ma'am. (Why, yes, I am a scientist. Why do you ask?)

Re:I watch NasaTV (2, Interesting)

Jonathan McDowell (515872) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563640)

Exactly. Actually NASA TV has been dumbed down too much already compared to how it was in the late 1980s. The commentators speak over space-to-ground comms while repeating the same limited statistics
they've said 5 times already. We're geeks, we want data, so give us some different numbers - delta-V of the latest burn, what's the airlock pressure now, not just the official
landing time that the reporter was complaining about but the latitude and longitude of the landing site as well. That's the background info we need so we can go off and write the purple prose that Ferrell is looking for.

Better yet, stream the raw MOCR console data to us so we can crunch the numbers ourselves :-)

(Why yes, I am a scientist too. Why do you keep asking that?)

Orange County Shuttles (1)

HNS-I (1119771) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563564)

Maybe they want it more like this [youtube.com] . You know when discovery channel started it was really good. Now discovery is what music is for mtv.

Raw science IS entertaining (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563592)

We don't need NASA TV to end up like Mythbusters TV...

Re:Raw science IS entertaining (3, Insightful)

LittleRedStar (723170) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563826)

Absolutely agree! Earlier this year I spent hours each day watching the live feed from Hubble repair mission. The occasional info from the 'commentator' was enough. What would be interesting is to have less restrained astronauts. An occasional oh shit! as a wrench flies away would liven things up.

ObSimpsons reference (1)

garg0yle (208225) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563610)

Anybody else read this article and get instantly reminded of the Simpsons episode where Homer became an astronaut?

Episode 1F13 [snpp.com] for those who wish to remember.

multiple feeds? (4, Interesting)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563630)

The solution could actually be something like better incorporation of multiple feeds. I mean, they could spruce up the NASA TV cable network to make it a bit more appealing to the "brain dead crowd", while at the same time having the raw footage and all the good stuff (which, to non-Slashdotters, is ridiculously boring) on their website. This could probably work quite well for about a year or two under the right management, but unfortunately will inevitably be screwed up by Comcast, much in the same way that G4 screwed up TechTV.

Re:multiple feeds? (1)

VoxMagis (1036530) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563674)

Hear, hear - I wish I had mod points.

Look, I love watching NASA TV when I can, as is. I also am very aware that the lack of commentary and descriptions makes it somewhat dull.

Why is it that the /. crowd can endlessly debate making science more interesting, then suddenly condemn the idea of trying to make science more interesting?

Split the channel. Part of the reason that NASA TV exists is to provide raw footage to other networks anyway, so keep one as is, then put some commentary on another one.

Win.

Re:multiple feeds? (4, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563684)

Nope. The 'brain dead crowd' has quite enough of their own channels. Give us folks who have yet to flat line at least ONE channel. It's not too much to ask since we, on the average, pay most of the damned taxes anyway.

Re:multiple feeds? (1)

insertwackynamehere (891357) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564060)

Wait are you brain dead or is your heart flatlining? This is important

European Space Agency is much worse (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30563648)

Whenever ESA gets around to streaming something live, it's usually some old guys in suits congratulating themselves of a project that went well. No engineers to tell about the technical problems, no scientists to tell what to expect, and absolutely not a single live image coming straight off the probe or lander.

If they were to get actual scientific or other interesting data, they'll never show it online. They just say "We got first pictures and they're very nice." ARGH.

(For the record: I like NASA TV as it is; I'll rather take boring and accurate than shiny and wrong)

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN! (0, Offtopic)

Spewns (1599743) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563672)

THE PRESIDENT of AMERICA! *rockin' music*

Re:LADIES AND GENTLEMEN! (1)

greyspectre (1114091) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563880)

THE PRESIDENT of AMERICA! *rockin' music*

AMERICA! FUCK YEAH!

The final frontier .... (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563702)

.... maybe everyone is just to busy looking at the mess they are in to see, or care, where we are going. including the NASA commentators.

On the bright side, there are less interesting things to be found on youtube but probably get more viewers.
The bright side being, it doesn't, or shouldn't cost a lot for NASA to stream what they do.

I can see it now (1, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563708)

Just let Rupert and his team manage it...

NEXT on FOX NASA - TERRORISTS IN SPACE

      Could Iranian sleeper agents be infiltrating NASA? We'll explore classified documents that show a government cover up of a plot to fly the next space shuttle into DOWNTOWN NEW YORK. Millions of people will be killed, and the government doesn't want you to know. STAY TUNED...

I agree with this, to a point (1)

phillymjs (234426) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563712)

The last time I watched NASA TV was when they did the moon impact back in October. And here's the comment I posted when it was over:

-----
Well, I watched it on NASA TV, and all I have to say is, "Where was the kaboom???"
I saw no plume, no nothing, just a close-up of the crater which never changed, even after they said impact had occurred and started congratulating each other. Only NASA could make crashing something into the moon boring!
Hopefully there will be actual video where I can -see- something posted from somewhere else.
-----

They don't have to go too crazy, but a little color commentary would be nice-- especially when the viewer doesn't get to see anything good.

mission control (4, Insightful)

binarybum (468664) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563752)

i think they should use the mission control channel on somafm as background music throughout the day.

Re:mission control (1)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563958)

I would not have minded.

On an unrelated note, I wish music players have a "pause between songs" feature. I'd love to have 2 minutes silence between every song.

Budget, etc. (5, Informative)

v1x (528604) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563760)

The network's budget -- $1.5 million a year -- is a pittance even compared with certain programs on National Public Radio, he said, and NASA TV's full-time staff of 18 people, based in Washington, D.C., cannot hope to create the sort of polished productions that grace "Nova" and the Discovery Channel.

That about explains it all for me. Given their budget, does it really surprise anyone that their programming isn't as 'lively' as some of the other networks? In addition, there are people like myself who simply prefer getting the facts, and find more recent programming from networks like Discovery to be somewhat sensational and lightweight in content.

Welcome to the party... (1)

Saint Ego (464379) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563786)

NASA wants the same thing that everyone else does: for their program to encounter some phenomenon so remarkable that it captures our attention.

I suppose they could always fake up a few alien spacecraft for us all and just get the wait over with regarding staring at the sky, but that just wouldn't be sporting, would it?

In other news, deer blind owners complain about the boredom of hunting...

Space SHOULD be boring (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563812)

Boring is safe. Boring is predictable. Boring means things are going to plan. This is exactly what you want from a space programme. Drama, hype, exaggeration and crises all have their place - in fiction but in real-life they are a bad thing(TM).

It sounds like this guy is having difficulty in distinguishing between the two. Maybe the best thing would be to run a few trials on other TV channels. Such as the televising of politics - that could be livened up by dunking congressmen in slime if they lose a vote. How about livening up the footage of trials? It would make quite a good game-show format with every lawyer scoring points (awarded by the judge) for the answers they get to their questions - all with a 30-second time limit. Maybe this illustrates how bad things would be in real-life, with important decisions when the superficial world of entertainment invades these areas.

Still I suppose it would be possible to arrange phone-ins to see who should get voted off the ISS.

Get Phil Plait of Bad Astronomy (1)

Picass0 (147474) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563846)

Brains and entertaining. Get him to cover big events.

Don't let "TV Pros" anywhere near NASA tv.

How about makeing it HD 24/7 vs very part time? (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563848)

How about makeing it HD 24/7 vs very part time?b

Tell a story (2, Insightful)

minstrelmike (1602771) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563888)

People listen to stories because they entertain in some fashion. NASA and most scientists do not know how to tell a story and even "think" to themselves that a story is fictional or that if it becomes popular, it will lose some cachet.

Perhaps, but politicians know that they can't get funding for stuff that doesn't tell a good story. Any hack ad writer could have written a 2-page in-depth personal profile on what it feels like to return to Earth and have to be carried off in a stretcher. It would demonstrate heroism and stoicism and the dangers and excitement of space and of research in general.

I wonder how those teams competing for X-prizes pitch their idea to venture capitalists (spend 10 million to make 1 million ain't gonna work).

Agreed (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563900)

NASA really needs to sex things up. I mean, where's the dancing girls? Where's the musical interlude by Andy Williams?

The L.A. Times is still in business? (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563904)

Maybe NASA can add a rapping dog, or maybe hire Paris Hilton to host the whole channel.

Remains: Buried, Lakeview Cemetery, Ithaca, NY (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30563926)

It's good as it is. (1)

bytesex (112972) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563946)

What do they want ? American newscaster style where they go on and on back to that same old recording with completely mindless commentary ? Some things take time, and if you can't accept that, go back to living inside your game/movie world. Or grow up.

Silence is nice to have. (4, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30563982)

There is an annoying thing in American media that every second has to have some sort of sound in it. Really, its almost like welfare for sound people that work in media. But honestly, I like that NASA TV goes for long stretches of silence. I don't want talking heads jabbering on about stupid shit. If I want people jabbering and pontificating about stupid shit, I'll just jack into slashdot, and that way I can be one of them.

OMFG are they kidding? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30564064)

Three letters: DVR

I watched a lot, I mean *a lot*, of NASA TV from the time I bought my first ReplayTV in the fall of 2000 until mid-2002 (around the time I met and started dating a woman, but I'm sure that had nothing to do with cutting my TV watching time way down), and I recorded even more than I watched. Whenever the shuttle was up there I was recording 6 hour stretches and playing them back later on fast forward looking for video of interesting things. And when interesting things weren't happening, like the times when it was just a shot from a camera in the payload bay pointing down at Earth, they became interesting--and very beautiful--at higher playback speed. I especially enjoyed trying to figure out what they were flying over now at any given moment, without looking at the tracking map. Sometimes it was easy (like Italy, e.g.) and sometimes it was near impossible. Some things, like shuttle/ISS dockings were worth watching twice, once at normal speed with sound, and once sped up.

I have long since given up Dish Network. I miss NASA TV.

Improved broadcasting does not equal dumbed down! (5, Insightful)

datadigit (1561281) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564142)

Why is everyone on here assuming that making the broadcasts 'better' 'spruced up' and 'more interesting' equates to them being dumbed down? This is an incorrect gross generalization.

I don't think anyone is suggesting that NASA TV turns into the Discovery Channel 'hey I wonder how big of an explosion we can make with all that liquid h2 and o2'.

Anyone who thinks that the current version of NASA TV is utilizing resources to the best of their ability is sorely out of touch. There is plenty they could do to make these broadcast a lot more appealing to a wider audience whilst also enhancing their scientific and educational content.

If you just want to listen to the bare minimum commentary video feed only broadcast I'm sure they can still make this available.

Re:Improved broadcasting does not equal dumbed dow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30564190)

I don't think anyone is suggesting that NASA TV turns into the Discovery Channel 'hey I wonder how big of an explosion we can make with all that liquid h2 and o2'.

well they already know that.

Same with C-Span (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564146)

They are going to order a new season of "Whose Line is it Anyway." All those boring Floor and Committee sessions... who gives a shit?

Boring?? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30564176)

Watching humans explore outer space as it happens live is boring but watching humans fight to move a ball up and down a field to some artificial goal is supposed to be exciting? I don't think so.

pr0n (1)

Sheen (1180801) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564180)

I would like to see weightless sex please.

Ehhhh... Leave it be. (1)

JD770 (1227350) | more than 4 years ago | (#30564196)

I'm of the opinion that the farther away from "Hollywood" it is, the better. Leave it be. And stay off my lawn you damned, dirty hippies!!
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