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National Planetary Exploration Car Wash and Bake Sale

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the we're-going-to-need-more-cookies dept.

NASA 103

An anonymous reader writes "To attract media and Congressional attention to the deep NASA planetary exploration cuts proposed to take place October 1, and the need to restore the planetary budget to present or higher levels, a National Planetary Exploration Car Wash and Bake Sale is being planned for June 9th. Organizations already involved include planetary groups at many universities, research institutions, and Moon Express (Google Lunar X Prize)."

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Hey! I've got an idea! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39698213)

Get a job and go to work 40 hours a week and pursue your passions in your off hours! What do you think?

That's what I like about 'merica (4)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#39698447)

I'm not an American, but I gotta acknowledge that never-say-die spirit of 'em Americans.

The "Car Wash 'n Bake Sale" is a stroke of genius !

This won't work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39698221)

This isn't going to do anything to help NASA get more funding.

But seriously, wet coeds. Are they good or are they whack?

Re:This won't work (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 2 years ago | (#39699927)

Wet co-eds who like science!

Re:This won't work (1)

beckerist (985855) | more than 2 years ago | (#39701145)

Which sucks. We spend more money on defense in a year (~680 billion in 2010) than the entire budget of NASA combined ever (~500 billion....again....ever)

Re:This won't work (1)

zlives (2009072) | more than 2 years ago | (#39704251)

Iran needs to colonize moon/mars fast....

Feasible... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39698255)

They only need to wash 500 million cars and we can send another probe to Mars.

Re:Feasible... (1)

maroberts (15852) | more than 2 years ago | (#39698985)

You missed the probe to Uranus which I understand is still virgin territory.

Boom-tish

I've got a better idea... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39698263)

How about we fire EVERYONE in the pentagon, congress, and washington DC. That should free up a few trillions.

Re:I've got a better idea... (-1, Flamebait)

agm (467017) | more than 2 years ago | (#39698533)

The only place those trilliions should go is back to the hard working people they were taken from. If individuals want a space program, then they can get out their check books and voluntarily pay for one.

Re:I've got a better idea... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39698543)

fuck you, you grovelling pinch-penny liberterian fucktard

Re:I've got a better idea... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39698555)

No, fuck you, you simpering, communist panty-waste.

Re:I've got a better idea... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39698623)

it's pantyWAIST.

Seriously, get your insults right! :)

Re:I've got a better idea... (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 2 years ago | (#39699937)

*golf clap*

Re:I've got a better idea... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39698563)

The only place those trilliions should go is back to the hard working people they were taken from. If individuals want a space program, then they can get out their check books and voluntarily pay for one.

Boy, your just showing your ignorance there. NASA routinely runs less than a penny per federal dollar.
It makes no sense to try to balance the budget with cuts to NASA.
From Wikipedia:
NASA's FY 2011 budget of $18.4 billion represents about 0.5% of the $3.4 trillion United States federal budget during the year, or about 35% of total spending on academic scientific research in the United States.

Re:I've got a better idea... (-1)

agm (467017) | more than 2 years ago | (#39698727)

Boy, your just showing your ignorance there.

If you're going to call someone ignorant, at least try and spell "you're" properly.

NASA routinely runs less than a penny per federal dollar.
It makes no sense to try to balance the budget with cuts to NASA.
From Wikipedia:
NASA's FY 2011 budget of $18.4 billion represents about 0.5% of the $3.4 trillion United States federal budget during the year, or about 35% of total spending on academic scientific research in the United States.

That's $18.4 billion dollars that needn't be taken from taxpayers. The fact that it's such a small fraction of the total federal budget is a tragedy for all who value liberty.

Re:I've got a better idea... (4, Insightful)

miletus (552448) | more than 2 years ago | (#39698939)

What's tragic is how many people here equate liberty with money. "The Road to Serfdom" is going to end up as a how-to manual.

Re:I've got a better idea... (0)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | more than 2 years ago | (#39699245)

Please explain what liberty is left if there is no right to property (money, resources, whatever you want to call it).

Re:I've got a better idea... (1)

digitalsolo (1175321) | more than 2 years ago | (#39699917)

Why you have all the liberty that the government decides to give you, of course.

You will take that liberty and be glad of it, or else they'll take it away again.

Re:I've got a better idea... (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#39706365)

What's tragic is how many people here equate liberty with money.

Point to someone who has done this. I haven't seen it yet myself. One can be concerned about how their wealth is being spent, without their consent, without equating money and liberty.

Re:I've got a better idea... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39698657)

You can say just about the same thing about all other government services. You want medical care, school systems, highway infrastructure, social security?? Then why don't you get out your own checkbook and pay for it yourself, and give me back the taxes I paid for the services you use.

Re:I've got a better idea... (3, Insightful)

V!NCENT (1105021) | more than 2 years ago | (#39698671)

How about stopping the stupid cannabis war? Not only do you need about 33% of the current police force (I kid you not), but also there will be massive hippy protest to stop costly wars, saving even more.

Problem? I'm sure some cannabis smokers who get high before bedtime will totally bring evil to the world! (not)

Re:I've got a better idea... (1, Interesting)

agm (467017) | more than 2 years ago | (#39698729)

You can say just about the same thing about all other government services. You want medical care, school systems, highway infrastructure, social security?? Then why don't you get out your own checkbook and pay for it yourself, and give me back the taxes I paid for the services you use.

I like the way you're thinking. The sooner people decide where to spend their own money the better. The enlightened way to look after the needy is via compassion, and compassion cannot be forced - it is a voluntary action.

Re:I've got a better idea... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39698859)

Compassion is a ridiculously easy system to game to your advantage. Worse than that, once it gets settled, only those who game the system can get anything out of it.

Look at both history and the way begging goes in the poorer parts of the modern world. You can find professional beggars who put more effort into looking desperate than they do into finding work, even to the extent of crippling themselves, removing limbs, tearing off skin to fake skin diseases, and so on.

There are also huge biases built in. Women get more charity than men. It's easier to find charity money for starving kids than it is to prevent them from starving in the first place. Cancer victims are fashionable, tuberculosis victims are ignored.

I simply do not believe it is possible for pure charity to be fair.

I don't know much about the US welfare system, so it might well be a complete disaster, but in general the state welfare model can be made blind to all this bias, and in most of the developed world, that's exactly the point of it.

Re:I've got a better idea... (1, Insightful)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | more than 2 years ago | (#39699259)

I don't know much about the US welfare system, so it might well be a complete disaster, but in general the state welfare model can be made blind to all this bias, and in most of the developed world, that's exactly the point of it.

It's also completely lacking in compassion, pushes out private charity, and is subject to allocation by politics. I can't see how that's better, especially when you consider the administrative overhead involved in collecting and distributing, which is always higher in large bureaucracies.

Re:I've got a better idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39699471)

If state welfare lacked compassion, there would be no provision at all for the disabled who will never be able to pay it back through work. It's not just an economic mechanism for keeping your workforce safe, although it does that too.

Re:I've got a better idea... (3, Insightful)

Telvin_3d (855514) | more than 2 years ago | (#39699499)

pushes out private charity

What does this mean? That once an organized effort is providing all the starving people with food, private individuals no longer throw money at a lucky few?

It sounds like complaining that the professional firemen push out citizen fire brigades. That's the whole point of it.

Re:I've got a better idea... (1)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | more than 2 years ago | (#39699977)

What does this mean? That once an organized effort is providing all the starving people with food, private individuals no longer throw money at a lucky few?

That "organized" (read: more expensive) effort ends up entirely dismantling the ability of other organizations to feed, clothe, and house the needy. Instead of many different charities focused on various social issues, you have a single entity allocating money based on political expediency. Then a revenue crisis occurs, budget cuts put some portion of the population on the street and starving, and there is no longer an alternative.

It sounds like complaining that the professional firemen push out citizen fire brigades.

Single point of failure. Not good.

That's the whole point of it.

Eliminating social responsibility from the citizens and replacing it with government dependence? Yes, I'm sure that is the point of it. I'm saying that's bad, though.

Charities like FOSS, gov't like corp developer (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 2 years ago | (#39700129)

pushes out private charity

What does this mean?

It means that when a private person sees another person or group collecting for some issue, the private person is more likely to ignore them and not contribute. This person will usually justify the decision because his taxes are paying for [insert gov't program here]. This is a real issue that economists and charities have spoken about for many decades.

These charities do not lack organization as you suggest. These charities may in fact be far more effective than Washington DC. Many of these charities are local and much better informed about what is going on locally. They can be far more creative and effective than a well meaning but distant person in Washington DC who often thinks in terms of one-size-fits-all national solutions.

Your fire department analogy doesn't really fit. Washington DC is not providing your fire department services. Plus many fire stations are in fact comprised of local volunteers.

Think of the many local charities as the FOSS communities taking on a large project with a distributed network of volunteers, and the gov't based services as the monolithic corporation designing and implementing an application with a committee designed feature set that it expects will meet the needs of all users.

Re:Charities like FOSS, gov't like corp developer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39703939)

Exactly! So just like in the software world the government can institute programs to help 90% of people. Then the people who "fall through the cracks" can get helped by the charities. Helping 10% of people is a lot easier than helping 100% of people.

Re:Charities like FOSS, gov't like corp developer (0)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#39706431)

So just like in the software world the government can institute programs to help 90% of people.

90% or more of people don't need help. One of the "biases" (using the phrase mentioned earlier in this thread) that frequently gets lost as we go from private charity to public, is that only the people who need help get help.

Re:I've got a better idea... (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#39706269)

I don't know much about the US welfare system, so it might well be a complete disaster, but in general the state welfare model can be made blind to all this bias, and in most of the developed world, that's exactly the point of it.

State welfare is inherently biased towards those who cash the checks, such as people who commit fraud or those who mooch off of public goods such as welfare. No welfare is clearly less biased.

Re:I've got a better idea... (1)

sysrammer (446839) | more than 2 years ago | (#39700921)

Hey, I like this thread. I'll play. No taxes! Everybody pay their own way on what they want to use!

Some of us won't make it. We'll have to do something about that. I know, ship 'em off!

There's got to be a new frontier somewhere...lesse, can't ship 'em off to Australia or North America any more. How about the moon? It's close and has lot's of real estate.

If we only had some way to get there...

Re:I've got a better idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39699123)

Trillions? Try a much smaller number.

NASA seems to be the conservative whipping boy since they can use it as an example of a government program that could be cut without the fear of upsetting the elderly which suck up the most of our government dollars with medicare, medicaid and social security; the corporate lobbyists that suck up a lot of the government budget with pork projects and tax incentives; the defense industry that makes a lot of expensive equipment that the DoD doesn't even want because the factories are in key political states; or even the petroleum industry which get billions in tax incentives despite their massive profits.

Re:I've got a better idea... (1)

sysrammer (446839) | more than 2 years ago | (#39701003)

the elderly which suck up the most of our government dollars

Careful what you wish for, youngster.

Re:I've got a better idea... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39699425)

How about you lazy welfare pigs get off your a$$ and work for a living and stop stealing from the rest of us. That means you Obama. Dirty commies under every rock.

Re:I've got a better idea... (3, Insightful)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 2 years ago | (#39699713)

In order to effectively and reliably fund things, one needs regular sources of funding. And simply going to people and asking for a fraction of a cent is not an efficient or reliable way of getting money. Moreover, scientific research,like defense, is a public good http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_good [wikipedia.org] which means that everyone benefits whether they pay for it or not. Thus, people will have no incentive given the option not to pay for it since they will benefit either way. The only effective or fair way to pay for public goods is for everyone to pay.

Re:I've got a better idea... (1)

agm (467017) | more than 2 years ago | (#39705535)

In order to effectively and reliably fund things, one needs regular sources of funding. And simply going to people and asking for a fraction of a cent is not an efficient or reliable way of getting money.

Liberty trumps efficiency every time. Effectively enslaving people in the name of efficiency or a "public good" is not ethical. It's removing the veyr liberties the state is supposed to be protecting. It's self defeating to say that in order to protect us the state must first harm us.

Moreover, scientific research,like defense, is a public good http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_good [wikipedia.org] which means that everyone benefits whether they pay for it or not. Thus, people will have no incentive given the option not to pay for it since they will benefit either way. The only effective or fair way to pay for public goods is for everyone to pay.

By force, whether they can afford it or not? Is it fair that some are forced to pay for it disproportionately to someone else? When it comes to the state confiscating private property the end never justifies the means.

Re:I've got a better idea... (2)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 2 years ago | (#39707261)

All government is a tradeoff. In your view are taxes for defense not ok then? Absolutes are really easy to state, but the universe is tricky and complicated. If one took your conclusion to its logical standpoint no form of government would be acceptable at all. That's not even libertarianism. That's anarchy.

Re:I've got a better idea... (1)

agm (467017) | more than 2 years ago | (#39707391)

If one took your conclusion to its logical standpoint no form of government would be acceptable at all. That's not even libertarianism. That's anarchy.

I don't advocate anarcy. Some form of government is necessary. The government exists to protect us from the initiation of force. If in doing that they end up harming us, then we have already lost. There are other ways of funding governments than enforced property confiscation. It's in our best interests for the system that protects us to be well funded. Funding would come from voluntary means such as donations, service fees and lotteries.

Re:I've got a better idea... (1)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 2 years ago | (#39707509)

And the fact that basic economics/game theory shows that that won't in general be enough? The notion of a public good was created for a reason.

Re:I've got a better idea... (1)

agm (467017) | more than 2 years ago | (#39716669)

And the fact that basic economics/game theory shows that that won't in general be enough?

Enough for what? It depends by what yardstick you measure success. I say that any system which allows (and encourages) the state to actively harm us is a fundamentally flawed system.

Re:I've got a better idea... (2)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718519)

So there are a variety of problems with this. First, what do you mean by harm? Second, while it does depend what yardstick you measure success, I suspect that if one looks at history, you will consider a lot of things we have today to be signs of success that came due to government funding. For example, most of the funding for cancer research in the last seventy years has been from the government. For example, in 1950, childhood leukemia was death sentence. Now, most children with leukemia survive to adulthood, and with some types of leukemia survival rates exceed 90% http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/news/childhood-leukemia-survival-rates-improve-significantly [cancer.org] http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/LeukemiainChildren/OverviewGuide/childhood-leukemia-overview-survival-rates [cancer.org] . Similar data holds for most other types of cancer as well many other diseases. And while charity (especially to groups like the Jimmy Fund) has certainly helped fund that research, the largescale success came from government funding. So, do you think fewer children dying of cancer is a decent way to measure success?

And it bears note that cancer is not the only example of this. One can go back centuries and point to research and exploration done by governments, where no one else had the resources to do so.

Another relevant measure of success might be the survival of humanity as a whole. Thus for example, existential threats to humanity like large near Earth asteroids are an obvious threat. Are you ok with taxes that go to fund defense against such threats?

Re:I've got a better idea... (1)

agm (467017) | more than 2 years ago | (#39726767)

So there are a variety of problems with this. First, what do you mean by harm?

Harm is agression against someone's person or their property. An individual is soveriegn over their own mind, body and possessions.

Second, while it does depend what yardstick you measure success, I suspect that if one looks at history, you will consider a lot of things we have today to be signs of success that came due to government funding.

Sure - though it's not a logical conclusion that only compulsion based government funding could have achieved this result. Many technological advances have come from war. Does that mean that war is good? Desirable? Of course it doesn't.

For example, most of the funding for cancer research in the last seventy years has been from the government.... So, do you think fewer children dying of cancer is a decent way to measure success?

Again you are making the assumption that because these advances were funded by the state then it could *only* have been funded by the state. That's not a logical conclusion to draw.

And it bears note that cancer is not the only example of this. One can go back centuries and point to research and exploration done by governments, where no one else had the resources to do so.

This is in part due to the state reducing the resources individuals have available to them. It's also a result of the old adage that socialism breeds wide scale apathy to things like communal funding. "Why should I donate to causes that the state is supposed to be looking after". This can be seen in other areas too such as welfare: so long as the state provides someone with a pension at retirement we see generations of people not adequately saving for their retirement when they should be.

Another relevant measure of success might be the survival of humanity as a whole. Thus for example, existential threats to humanity like large near Earth asteroids are an obvious threat. Are you ok with taxes that go to fund defense against such threats?

No I am not. Not only because it's not ethical to harm people in order to help them, but because the same ends can be achieved by means that don't see our freedoms trampled on.

I think community and bulk funding of various things is essential. I just don't think that funding should be enforced via agression. I think it should be through wholly voluntary means.

Re:I've got a better idea... (1)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 2 years ago | (#39731273)

So, you raise some valid points. What evidence is there that the cancer research results would not have happened without largescale government funding? Well, we know how much funding there was before hand and so we can see that voluntary donations ended up being much less. The Jimmy Fund for example was one of the first major fundraisers for childhood cancer research. Despite that, they and other similar institutions raised comparatively little money in their first 20 years or so (when there was essentially zero federal funding for cancer research) compared to the amount supplied by the federal government once it became a national priority. This is discussed in some detail in "The Emperor of All Maladies" which is an excellent book about the history of cancer, So we do actually have some idea where funding levels compare.

Not only because it's not ethical to harm people in order to help them, but because the same ends can be achieved by means that don't see our freedoms trampled on. I think community and bulk funding of various things is essential. I just don't think that funding should be enforced via agression. I think it should be through wholly voluntary means

In general, one should be suspicious when an ideological belief and reality correspond perfectly. In this case, there's an ideological belief (voluntary payments good, involuntary bad) and an assertion about reality (voluntary payments will be sufficient and work as well). The vast majority of the time, reality is pretty messy. It isn't going to correspond well to any simple ideology. In this particular context, I'm curious how you would respond to a hypothetical similar to the asteroid, but where you have detailed economic data and the like showing that you simply aren't going to raise enough funds through voluntary donations. Would you still be in favor of just using voluntary donations? What if you have an extremely reliable oracle telling you? Still. If your answer to both is no, then it should strike you as convenient that you think reality happens to never create similar situations. If your answer in either case is yes, where and how do you draw the line?

Re:I've got a better idea... (1)

agm (467017) | more than 2 years ago | (#39731417)

So, you raise some valid points. What evidence is there that the cancer research results would not have happened without largescale government funding? Well, we know how much funding there was before hand and so we can see that voluntary donations ended up being much less. The Jimmy Fund for example was one of the first major fundraisers for childhood cancer research. Despite that, they and other similar institutions raised comparatively little money in their first 20 years or so (when there was essentially zero federal funding for cancer research) compared to the amount supplied by the federal government once it became a national priority. This is discussed in some detail in "The Emperor of All Maladies" which is an excellent book about the history of cancer, So we do actually have some idea where funding levels compare.

Private donations in a socialist system is always going to be less than in a freer system because of the apathy that socialism breeds. People abdicate their personal and community responsibilities because a) they think the state is there to look after that stuff so they don't need to and b) because the state actively discourages charity by diluting the resources with which we can be charitable. You're looking at this from within the bounds of the current system - it's akin to begging the question.

Not only because it's not ethical to harm people in order to help them, but because the same ends can be achieved by means that don't see our freedoms trampled on.

I think community and bulk funding of various things is essential. I just don't think that funding should be enforced via agression. I think it should be through wholly voluntary means

In general, one should be suspicious when an ideological belief and reality correspond perfectly. In this case, there's an ideological belief (voluntary payments good, involuntary bad) and an assertion about reality (voluntary payments will be sufficient and work as well). The vast majority of the time, reality is pretty messy. It isn't going to correspond well to any simple ideology. In this particular context, I'm curious how you would respond to a hypothetical similar to the asteroid, but where you have detailed economic data and the like showing that you simply aren't going to raise enough funds through voluntary donations. Would you still be in favor of just using voluntary donations?

What you're really asking is whether I would be happy in confiscating peoples' private wealth using a threat of force. No, I would not be happy with that.

If people don't want to fund asteroid avoidance research then those people don't want to prevent asteroids from hitting them. If people are very passionate about this then they will go out and ensure they are protected.

What if you have an extremely reliable oracle telling you? Still. If your answer to both is no, then it should strike you as convenient that you think reality happens to never create similar situations. If your answer in either case is yes, where and how do you draw the line?

Any "solution" to a problem that involves using aggression against people is an unethical solution. Sure some people are selfish and some people are greedy. I suggest that the current socialist systems make people this way. The current system discourages compassion. It encourages compulsion over voluntary action. The reason more people are not charitable and socially responsible is because of the current political system they live in. We are taught to be this way. The cynical would say it's a con to keep people in power. One of the quickest ways of ensuring you have power is to legalise taking peoples' money off them.

Re:I've got a better idea... (1)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 2 years ago | (#39741757)

Private donations in a socialist system is always going to be less than in a freer system because of the apathy that socialism breeds.

That's not completely obvious but is a plausible claim. But it isn't very relevant to the bit that you are responding to. The issue in cases like the Jimmy Fund is not whether there would be more private donations with no government funding. The most relevant question is if the *total* amount of funding is more. In that context, the data is pretty clear. And the claim that this is a consequence of the current system simply isn't easily justified given that the same pattern holds in a large variety of different societies at different times for different goals. I can give similar examples such asthe transition from private to public fire departments in the United States in the 19th century.

What you're really asking is whether I would be happy in confiscating peoples' private wealth using a threat of force. No, I would not be happy with that.

Happy is a distinct question from what one would do or thinks people would do. Presumably you wouldn't be happy being killed by a giant asteroid either, or watching children die slowly of cancer. The universe is cold and unforgiving. It doesn't care what makes us happy. So sometimes when we have different values, we need to decide which values we are going to emphasize. You say that solutions using "aggression" are unethical. But sometimes there's no really easy ethical solution, because reality just sucks.

Humans are complicated creatures with a lot of different values they care about. It is easy to look at a single human value and point to it and emphasize that value above all else. Some emphasize liberty, others survival, others equality, others compassion. But it is a mistake to think that when focusing on any single one one can handle all the others. If the universe were created by a loving God that might be true. But this reality is harsh, and it doesn't care whether a given configuration or set of heuristics will make ethics particularly simple.

I have one more hypothetical that I want to ask you, and this one isn't that far from ones that have happened historically. You have care of a young child who is starving. The child is so weak they can barely whimper about their hunger because they've had so little food. You have almost no food. You can steal food from a rich merchant with food. The rich person won't miss it but the child will die without it. Do you do so? If not, why not? If yes, how is this not an unethical use of aggression?

attention (1)

hannza (2480742) | more than 2 years ago | (#39698383)

I think it's a good idea to draw attention to the issue, but I dunno how much coverage it will get. I know the news where I live tends to focus on local politics and crime, the weather, sports, and current national stuff.

of course, they might just throw it in as a 'local event,' ignoring the fact that it's going on around the country.

Next Best Thing (1)

TemperedAlchemist (2045966) | more than 2 years ago | (#39698427)

We used to go to the moon. Now we just make moon pies so we can play we afford Lego space shuttles.

Re:Next Best Thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39698547)

And what accomplishments do you have? Can you even make a moon pie or a Lego space shuttle?

You know, I'm Cynical (1)

FairAndHateful (2522378) | more than 2 years ago | (#39698441)

But I'm down with this. As long as there is a way for individuals to support a particular government program they believe in, I would support it. In the case of NASA, I'd put my money/time/support where my mouth is.

Damnit, finally a valid reason to sign up for twitter.

Re:You know, I'm Cynical (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39698469)

Wants to throw support behind a good cause.

Signs up for Twitter.

Re:You know, I'm Cynical (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#39698559)

Damnit, finally a valid reason to sign up for twitter.

I still won't

It's a good cause, I know, but there are still other ways to support it without having to give in to the walled gardens

Re:You know, I'm Cynical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39698581)

Damnit, finally a valid reason to sign up for twitter.

I still won't

It's a good cause, I know, but there are still other ways to support it without having to give in to the walled gardens

And this isn't?

space exploration bake sale? (1)

Artifex (18308) | more than 2 years ago | (#39698649)

Hope it has MoonPies [moonpie.com] :)

Re:space exploration bake sale? (2)

titanium93 (839011) | more than 2 years ago | (#39698895)

Wash it down with some Tang?

Public vs. private funding (0, Flamebait)

J'raxis (248192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39698707)

Now imagine if these people instead went out and spent their time trying to raise the money they need from private benefactors, rather than this silly attempt at shaming the government into giving them more stolen money. It wouldn't matter how many people don't want to fund them; if they find enough money, even if it comes from just one benefactor, they could go forward with their research.

Or, they can keep begging the government to fund them out of money stolen from the public, in which case they constantly have to worry about opponents outnumbering proponents and cutting their funding.

Re:Public vs. private funding (3, Insightful)

paiute (550198) | more than 2 years ago | (#39698817)

Now imagine if the Department of Defense instead went out and spent their time trying to raise the money they need from private benefactors, rather than this silly attempt at shaming the government into giving them more stolen money. It wouldn't matter how many people don't want to fund them; if they find enough money, even if it comes from just one benefactor, they could go forward with buying guns and stuff.

Re:Public vs. private funding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39699177)

Does that one benefactor have a secret lair staffed with disposable henchmen?

Depressing (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 2 years ago | (#39700025)

"Libertarian" trolls get mod points and mod down perfectly sensible posts like the parent. I guess there must be PR flaks spending their time making sensible posts to get mod points to inflate (or mod down the opposition) the ratings of the guys in the same room posting their Koch-and-bull dysonomics. It must be like those gold-farming sheds in China; hang on, it probably is a gold farming shed in China.

Look, even the Republican Party has realised that the supporters of a Somalia solution for the USA are unelectable. Your dream of a return to anarchy where the guy with the biggest militia rules is just that- a dream. Now waste one of those carefully garnished mod points down-modding this. I really don't care, but I do feel that you should be ashamed of what you're doing.

Re:Public vs. private funding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39703909)

Utopia is where schools get all the money they need, and the air force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber.

Re:Public vs. private funding (3, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39698899)

Now imagine if these people instead went out and spent their time trying to raise the money they need from private benefactors, rather than this silly attempt at shaming the government into giving them more stolen money.

Now imagine that they have been trying that tack, and they're still broke.

Going into space benefits us all. It has already paid dividends. It can pay more. It makes more sense than blowing the money on highways when we could be building rail, which can carry ten times as many passengers per dollar spent in the best case, and achieves parity in the worst case.

Re:Public vs. private funding (2)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#39699271)

... It can pay more. It makes more sense than blowing the money on highways when we could be building rail, which can carry ten times as many passengers per dollar spent in the best case, and achieves parity in the worst case.

That hasn't been its record in the USA. Here it has been a sink of massive subsidies resulting in a vastly underused infrastructure that most people will avoid if they have a choice.

Re:Public vs. private funding (1)

malilo (799198) | more than 2 years ago | (#39699535)

As I recall we ripped out all the passenger rail or sold it to the freight lines long, long ago. Outside of Amtrak (which has to give right-of-way to freight), and light rail, what infrastructure are you referring to?

As for subsidies, only in America do people think that rail should somehow magically "pay for itself"... the equivalent would be roads "paying for themselves", i.e., all toll roads, all the time. No one (outside of crazy libertarians) thinks that is a good idea. Basically, SOME sunk investment into transportation is necessary every year. Personally, I prefer more rail.

As an alternative, I would be ok with a pay-everything-as-you-go system that the libertarians want, IF we put policies in place to squeeze the income distribution into a much narrower range - say a factor of 100 total difference between richest and poorest. Otherwise, I don't see how such a system is anything but extremely unfair.

Re:Public vs. private funding (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#39707251)

Roads DO pay for themselves through fuel taxes levied on the fuels that people use to power the cars that run on the roads.

Re:Public vs. private funding (1)

cduffy (652) | more than 2 years ago | (#39712769)

Roads DO pay for themselves through fuel taxes levied on the fuels that people use to power the cars that run on the roads.

No, they don't -- not by a long shot. [streetsblog.org] According to SubsidyScope, use taxes cover only 51% of the costs of highways [subsidyscope.org] -- whereas city streets are paid out of the city's general fund, not by gas taxes at all (so cyclists pay as much for the streets they use as everyone else).

Re:Public vs. private funding (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39699785)

That hasn't been its record in the USA. Here it has been a sink of massive subsidies resulting in a vastly underused infrastructure that most people will avoid if they have a choice.

That is massively false. That has only been true since the federal government not only permitted but actually actively aided the car companies in buying up and shutting down profitable and active public transportation systems to increase demand for automobiles, which coincided directly with the otherwise unnecessary introduction of the federal highway system, which was deliberately routed in order to destroy some cities and towns and to pursue other political goals. Therefore, the history of public transportation in the USA goes like this: Successful public transportation was actively eradicated by the federal government for the benefit of big auto, but was quite profitable until then.

Re:Public vs. private funding (2)

Rollgunner (630808) | more than 2 years ago | (#39699671)

We humans would like to think that we're special, but the fact is, we're just another species on this planet.

And 99.99% of the species that have evolved on this planet have gone extinct on this planet.

Doesn't matter if it's failure to compete, a slow climate change, a rapid disease or a near-instant asteroid strike, sooner or later, nearly every species gets wiped out.

If we really want to be special, we need to leave Earth and spread out, because while the Earth's environment is the safest for us *individually* over the short term, it is also a near-guaranteed death sentence for our *species* over the long term.

Re:Public vs. private funding (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#39706487)

We humans would like to think that we're special, but the fact is, we're just another species on this planet.

We are special.

And 99.99% of the species that have evolved on this planet have gone extinct on this planet.

And only one of those species, extinct or alive has built a civilization.

If we really want to be special, we need to leave Earth and spread out, because while the Earth's environment is the safest for us *individually* over the short term, it is also a near-guaranteed death sentence for our *species* over the long term.

So in half a billion years, someone needs to do something. Ok. If you going to claim that we should do something now in space, then you need to have a more compelling reason than something that happens long from now.

Re:Public vs. private funding (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39706673)

A big rock could show up in a month or so and wipe us all out. We've had close calls with big ones that we only saw when they were that close... or already passed us

Re:Public vs. private funding (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#39706875)

A big rock could show up in a month or so and wipe us all out. We've had close calls with big ones that we only saw when they were that close... or already passed us

Sure, it could happen. But makes that miniscule chance compelling?

Re:Public vs. private funding (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39707515)

Sure, it could happen. But makes that miniscule chance compelling?

Well, it's risk management. If it happens odds are we more or less all die. So if we can do something about it then we should. You try not to worry about what you can't do anything about, but if you can do something and you don't that's lame. Meanwhile we get commercial benefits from it, without blowing anyone up but volunteers. I call it a win.

Re:Public vs. private funding (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#39709739)

If it happens odds are we more or less all die.

It'd have to a bit larger than the stuff that's hit us in the past 200 million years or so, for that to be a threat. And we can mitigate the risk of that without leaving Earth to the point that no asteroid collision since life began would be capable of killing all humans on Earth.

I think one should consider instead more mundane and frequent risks. For example, economic downturns are frequent, but they don't affect everyone with equal severity. A space-side economy could help humanity recover from Earth-side recessions.

There's the possibility of nuclear war. While at some point, such wars might be interplanetary in scope, it's likely than most of them won't, just as only a few conventional wars have been global in scale. The more of humanity which is away from the drama, then the more resources that would available to survivors of such wars.

Finally, there's the risk of cultural or political stagnation on Earth. Recreating a frontier may increase the dynamism of human society and give productive outlets to energies that might otherwise be expended on controlling some part of Earth.

Re:Public vs. private funding (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39710981)

I focus on a rock because we have no plans which could, with short (say, two months') notice, do a goddamn thing to save us. Humans can, at least in theory, avert nuclear war. There's no real risk of cultural stagnation here on Earth unless we actually somehow all become the same. As long as we have differences (which is likely unless we tie ourselves together into a hive mind) we'll find shit to bicker about. But a rock can just show up out of the black and ruin your whole day.

Re:Public vs. private funding (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#39712089)

I focus on a rock because we have no plans which could, with short (say, two months') notice, do a goddamn thing to save us.

Throw breeding age populations with food and some equipment on every nuclear sub and deep mine shaft in the world. Easily achievable even for private organizations.

Re:Public vs. private funding (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718165)

Great, some people can crawl out onto a blasted landscape capable of supporting life in five years at best, if a major impactor lands in the ocean. But if the strike falls on land it could feasibly lead to our extinction even in the case of such preparations.

I think preventing a rockfall is possible but not without more shit in space to detect it in the first place.

Re:Public vs. private funding (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#39735573)

Great, some people can crawl out onto a blasted landscape capable of supporting life in five years at best

In other words, it works. It's not sexy and it sucks compared to space habitation.

But if the strike falls on land it could feasibly lead to our extinction even in the case of such preparations.

I don't see why. On this scale, a few miles of water isn't that significant.

Re:Public vs. private funding (1)

Rollgunner (630808) | more than 2 years ago | (#39707953)

And only one of those species, extinct or alive has built a civilization.

And if we get wiped out, what difference will all that have made? All the things we've learned and done will be for nothing, save perhaps a step up for the next dominant species.

So in half a billion years, someone needs to do something. Ok. If you going to claim that we should do something now in space, then you need to have a more compelling reason than something that happens long from now.

An asteroid could wipe us out tomorrow.

Evolution never stops. All it could take is one organism able to capitalize quickly and efficiently on the truly huge food supply that is Humanity, and it could all be over for us in a matter of months. That could happen tomorrow, too. Or yesterday, for that matter.

And even if nothing needs to be done for a few hundred years, the fact remains that right now, we *have* the capability. All those hundreds of years from now when things get really grim for whatever remnants of humanity remain after our species-wide catastrophe, it might be impossible to save ourselves.

By acting now, what we're doing is taking out an insurance policy. And in a country where the average person spends about 10% of their income insuring their homes, health and vehicles, it seems odd that we're not willing to go the extra step and insure our Species... But I guess like any other terrifying event, the internal refrain of "It won't happen to me." is hard to contend with.

Re:Public vs. private funding (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#39709807)

And in a country where the average person spends about 10% of their income insuring their homes, health and vehicles,

Against adverse events that happen on average several times during a human life.

it seems odd that we're not willing to go the extra step and insure our Species...

Against 1 in 100 million per year or lower events? What makes you think we should spend more than we already are?

Re:Public vs. private funding (1)

J'raxis (248192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39722427)

Now imagine that they have been trying that tack, and they're still broke.

They might be going broke, but private space development and exploration companies certainly aren't. NASA is failing because it's an enormous, lethargic bureaucracy staffed by the same caliber of people who work at the DMV or the welfare office, and people know this. I certainly wouldn't give money voluntarily to NASA.

Going into space benefits us all. It has already paid dividends. It can pay more.

And this justifies forcing everyone to pay for it how?

And, true or not, this misses my point. If you're going to force everyone to pay for it, everyone (either directly, or through their congressman, or whatever) gets to have a say in whether or not space exploration gets paid for. So, if 50%+1 say no, it doesn't get paid for. On the other hand, with private funding, only the people who want it pay for it. People who don't want to pay for it have no input, and no ability to prevent space exploration from happening.

With this in mind, if you support space exploration, how can you possibly think public funding is the better method? Or is it more important to you, on some sort of "principle," to make everyone pay for it because it "benefits us all," even if this makes it harder to raise money?

It makes more sense than blowing the money on highways when we could be building rail, which can carry ten times as many passengers per dollar spent in the best case, and achieves parity in the worst case.

Yes, it does. What's your point, other than trying to make a false dichotomy? I would vote against these things too, and would support defunding them just as quickly as I support defunding space programs that are coercively paid for.

A step further (4, Interesting)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 2 years ago | (#39698837)

We need to introduce this culture of poverty to America's military as well. When that happens, we'll be much more advanced as a culture.

"It will be a great day when our schools get all the money they need and the Air Force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber."

Re:A step further (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39699431)

We need to introduce this culture of poverty to America's military as well. When that happens, we'll be much more advanced as a culture.

"It will be a great day when our schools get all the money they need and the Air Force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber."

I grew up on naval bases. We held a shitload of bake sales to benefit Sailors' families.

I'm generally a pacifist, and agree that US military spending is wholly out of proportion to both our economy and the rest of the world, but I hope whoever wrote that stupid bumper sticker chokes on a cupcake.

Re:A step further (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39699539)

The poster was most likely talking about sending less money to the Military Industrial Complex. He wasn't talking about soldiers and their families who are not compensated nearly enough for the sacrifices that they made during the war.

Re:A step further (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39700181)

The poster was most likely talking about sending less money to the Military Industrial Complex. He wasn't talking about soldiers and their families who are not compensated nearly enough for the sacrifices that they made during the war.

Which is what I addressed in the second paragraph of my post, thanks for reading.

Re:A step further (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39700321)

No you didn't.

Bake sale to buy a bomber, it happened (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 2 years ago | (#39700167)

I realize your "bake sale to buy a bomber" comment is a joke but the really funny thing is that stuff like that actually happened in WW2. Groups really did organize and collect money to buy an aircraft for the military.

Re:Bake sale to buy a bomber, it happened (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 2 years ago | (#39703493)

It's a joke? No, it's not. The National Education Association [barrypopik.com] , Michelle Obama, and many others fervently believe in this concept. Where'd you get the idea that it was a joke?

Re:A step further (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39705055)

All it needs is some hot wet geeky lab assistant car washers and I am there!

IT'S A COOKBOOK! (1)

bob_jordan (39836) | more than 2 years ago | (#39699001)

In honor of the Twilight Zone episode, they should title the cookbook "To serve man".

Bob.

Oblig. George Carlin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39699007)

"I can't wait for the day that schools get all the funding they need and the army has to hold a bake sale to meet their budget."

Or something like that.

a better idea (5, Funny)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#39699291)

NASA should sell beer to raise money. Call it Moon Brew, plaster it in patriotic imagery and tell men it makes them smarter and promotes scientific progress at the same time.

Only 100 billion more barrels to Titan!

Re:a better idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39700809)

Even better, they should produce an odorless marijuana that give a nice flying buzz and call it Moonweed and sell it by dealers dressed in lab coats.

Re:a better idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39700965)

We already do. Here is the mission patch. [nasa.gov]

Re:a better idea (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#39702567)

Please begin distributing and advertising NASA beer immediately. Not being able to buy NASA beer at the grocery store has overtaken every other explanation for NASA's financial woes.

Re:a better idea (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#39707335)

NASA should sell beer to raise money. Call it Moon Brew, plaster it in patriotic imagery and tell men it makes them smarter and promotes scientific progress at the same time.

Only 100 billion more barrels to Titan!

There's room for multiple brands, for example
Martian Red Ale
New World Porter
Ganymead

Ask not what your space program can do for you... (1)

Cazekiel (1417893) | more than 2 years ago | (#39699489)

I was a head baker of a popular country store in my area. Give me the right equipment and I can make four 8-inch and eight 4-inch pies in two hours or less. I will gladly show my support for this noble, righteous cause and offer my services.

Good Christ, if only the military had this problem... oh wait, they do, AFTER they send their beloved American soldiers home from wars that give them diseases, psychological issues and other stuff they ignore. This country is the greatest, as proven by this song [youtube.com] .

Hemp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39701515)

I propose that NASA starts growing hemp in the space station !! If DEA/FDA/US gov wants to confisticate all the HEMP, they
then needs to build spaceship to go up and monitor

Re:Hemp (1)

darenw (74015) | more than 2 years ago | (#39707133)

Breaking Bad: The Next Generation

No bikinis, no thanks (0)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 2 years ago | (#39702743)

Did you see the pic on that page? A bunch of middle age white guys washing your car? Ppphhhhhhh! Bring in some bikini-clad cheerleaders to do the washin' and I'm in! For smart guys, they're not thinking very smart.

the scheme is bankrupt (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#39707047)

The main three problems with the Planetary Society's campaign is simply a) That planetary science isn't that valuable to society, b) that basic economics issues, such as economies of scale and the additional risk of concentrating risk, are routinely ignored, and c) they aren't willing to put their own money where their mouth is (the "bake sale" is just a scheme to advocate for additional unaccountable public funding). I can't take them seriously until they figure these things out.
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