Thursday, June 09, 2005



NASA, being a government agency, is a political entity that mostly exists to express political goals. Expanding the horizons of science is incidental. After WWII, in the heated race with the Soviet Union, the USA invested in science in general because of the flood of refugees from the dire effects of Nazi insanity boosted the American scientific brain pool and brought new, urgent energy to the sciences in the USA.

Our greatest refugee was Einstein, of course.

NASA has a new leader. He is rapidly taking over in many ways, completely changing NASA's culture and directive. Some of his stuff is gladhanding various groups while offering them little of substance such as this example:
About 200 people from industry, government, academia and the media attended the sold-out May 3 event, commemorating WIA's 20th anniversary. It was Griffin's first public speech since taking the helm at the Agency, and he covered everything from Return to Flight to NASA Culture to the Vision for Space Exploration.

Naturally, Women's representation in the aerospace industry and in NASA was a key topic. Griffin said that in the future there will be more women in senior positions in NASA. "I am just looking for the best people. I'm not concerned with what package they come in. I just want to access their brains," he said

This resonated with WIA members. The organization was founded to expand women's opportunities for leadership and to increase their visibility in the aerospace community. It was the answer to what the aerospace community was like in those days: "an old boy's club." WIA would be the "old girl's club."

But, WIA was, from the beginning, open to men as well as women, because, as NASA Deputy Associate Administrator for Space Operations Lynn Cline said, it was recognized that "given the demographics in the aerospace field.
Of course, as usual, the women think they will be promoted and listened to and treated nicely. What the new director wants is support for his esviceration of the organization. He wants the women to be silent while he does this ruthless activity.

I know for there are a number of women scientists working on programs that are being reduced or terminated so I don't see any rising opportunities here. Just a marshalling of the troops for other ends.
About the NASA Culture, Griffin said this: "What I see we need to focus on in NASA in terms of mending the culture, to the extent that it needs to be mended, are traits we were taught in kindergarten: listen to what people have to say, pay attention to their opinions, give them the respect of hearing them out, hearing them through, and encouraging them to speak and make sure all the viewpoints are heard."

"People need to know that there is encouragement and not retribution for having something to say which is different from the common thought of the common herd," Griffin said, adding that, "There is no question that managers must make decisions. It is what managers get paid to do."
Bush and all his minions say this all the time. Incredible. They say, "we will listen" but then they don't do anything afterwards, namely, everything is in one ear and out the other. Couple this with their constant lying and you have a credibility gap greater than the Red Spot on Jupiter.
He joked, "I often define management as the art of making decisions with less information than any fool would like to have. But in order to make good decisions, with less information than you would really like to have, it is important to hear all of the information you can get."
What is it with these guys? Bush's "fool me once...can't fool me" nonsense and Rumsfeld's famous strange quotes like not knowing the unknown which is knowable etc. They seem to live in this Moebius strip logic reality plane of verbal existence. Loop de loop.

What with the Bush orders to alter scientific studies showing the effects and causes of global warming, I have little trust of any information these guys feed or get. The manipulations of data in the Blair memo shows that even the Brits are succumbing to this need to manipulate information to further other aims.
He also spoke in somewhat philosophic terms about the need for American preeminence in space exploration. "I don't know when it will happen, or exactly how it will happen, but I know it will happen that one day there will be as many people living off the Earth as living on it. And that may be a thousand or two thousand years in the future.

But when that occurs, it is my belief that we want their ideals, their culture, their thoughts to be those of western civilization because I believe that for all of its flaws, that the civilization that we have evolved in Western society is the best we've seen so far in human history.
Ah, manifest destiny! The White Man's burden transported to Alien Nation! I can see it now as we try to bring democracy and peace to alien worlds and they blow us up and send suicide squads to earth to wipe it out. Way to go! Charge of the lightsaber brigade!

Man, there are just so many things wrong with this guy and his hyper imperialist baloney. He is obviously attacking other nations who are in the space venture. Instead of fostering international cooperation, the race to space will again be the us vs them crap of the Cold War. Only this isn't the Cold War anymore!

We are not the world's bank.

China is.

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