John adams1

Motivemagus Free

Recent Comments

  1. 18 minutes ago on Joe Heller

    No, this project is acting in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA), which is sending the Hera mission to the Didymos system next. Even though each is being designed and launched separately, the teams are sharing data and welcoming team members back and forth – as indeed is what we should be doing as scientists. You can see the list of partners here:

    As for your other comment – Einstein’s theory? Not sure what you are referring to. (Mass x velocity = Momentum) isn’t Einstein. But it will take a while to be certain of how big an impact we made and whether we nudged it sufficiently to be able to do it to more threatening asteroids.

  2. 25 minutes ago on Joel Pett

    Totally agree. Heinlein cheated by having a more-or-less likable protagonist (though there were times I wanted to smack him) and an exciting plot (as always) with various “good” people. But goodness is not genetic.

    The same people who love that book (and its now-clichéd sayings) for the wrong reasons also love Starship Troopers for the wrong reasons. They don’t see the society that requires citizens to show responsibility, they see “big boom suits” and “blasting the [conveniently defined as evil] enemy.” But as Spider Robinson pointed out, it was written for adolescents, not adults. Heck, even Heinlein pointed that out in passing in The Number of the Beast, however terrible that book was otherwise (and it was).

    The older I get, the more I realize how much I would argue with Heinlein, who I think got increasingly rigid and high-handed in his views with age. I still like a lot of his books (including, weirdly enough, Beyond This Horizon, which I re-read this past week), but now I tend to spot the unstated middle term to the logic that he deliberately left out. These days I am more likely to re-read Double Star than Stranger in a Strange Land, which has not aged well.

    It’s too bad that William Patterson blew his chance to write a real biography of Heinlein, given his tremendous access to Heinlein’s papers, instead writing a rather boring description of events and a hagiography. But perhaps Ginny would not have allowed anyone with real insight that close. Heinlein HATED James Blish’s criticism of much of his work, so much so that he promptly changed up what he was writing and clearly studied up on topics on which he had been criticized – not that he would admit it.

  3. about 7 hours ago on Joe Heller

    Very much in character for humanity. We’re pretty bad at sustained effort under stress – we evolved to handle problems by fight or flight. So we’re pretty good at taking short, sharp action (smacking an asteroid), but very, very bad at maintaining a slow and steady effort (reducing climate change or, for that matter, wearing masks consistently to protect from COVID-19).

    Which doesn’t mean that this isn’t cool!

  4. about 8 hours ago on Joel Pett

    And digging further into Beyond This Horizon, one should note that it is a long time in the future, after a genetic war which led to a significant upgrading of the human genome; enough so that a college football star who had been put in stasis in the 1920s couldn’t come close to competing with the average athlete physically or mentally. Furthermore, his protagonist is specifically described as someone who would not pull a gun without very good reason, and could find ways to avoid it. Heinlein is thus taking a different society with a different category of human being and then providing such slogans in a society that could make them work.

    But it’s also still crap. Historically speaking, the statement is flat wrong. Even in the so-called “Wild West,” towns routinely required people to check their weapons when entering. Based on our current experience of police, the perception of people as an armed and dangerous enemy is more likely to provoke untoward violence than “politeness.”

    It’s even crap in the book – there is a conflict that makes it clear that people would use their guns for personal gain, political sabotage, assassination, and the like, even among these “superior” people.

    With all due respect to Heinlein – one of my favorite writers – he loved stacking the deck for his cultures, and was sneaky enough about it to make it hard for the casual reader to notice.

  5. about 8 hours ago on Robert Ariail

    “The beatings will continue until morale improves.”

  6. about 12 hours ago on Rob Rogers

    He’s also increasingly desperate, and in apparent cognitive decline. A dangerous combination.

  7. about 16 hours ago on Rob Rogers

    We can only hope. The really sad thing about this is how long he has gotten away with it. He’s been playing some variation of this game since at least the 1980s, when he was calling newspapers pretending to be his own PR man and claiming to have slept with various models and celebrities.

  8. about 16 hours ago on Jack Ohman

    He’s refused to admit ever making a mistake!

  9. about 16 hours ago on Kevin Necessary Editorial Cartoons

    By some estimates, we are 10,000 years overdue for an asteroid hit comparable to the one that wiped out the dinosaurs and gave our ancestral mammals the foothold they needed. It’s good to know we can do this.

    Also, I am not one of those people who thinks improving Earth and exploring space are mutually exclusive – I think they are mutually reinforcing, if you do it right. And as an old space geek, it sure was cool!

  10. 1 day ago on Ted Rall

    Now THIS I like.