18 February 2021

NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab... [updated with historic video]


... should be put in charge of running the rest of this country.

Addendum:  When all of us watched this event on live TV, the video was only of the interior of the lab plus some animations.  Now NASA has downloaded video from the spacecraft during the descent and matched it with the original audio.  Impressive.

11 comments:

  1. Yes, lately it's all been actors. some science nerds would be a nice change.

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  2. And everyone in the photo appears to be wearing masks and keeping their distance. Almost like scientists know that science works, or something. That would be really, really nice to see in other areas of the government...

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    1. I watched the final stages of atmospheric entry and touchdown on the NASA TV channel. Not only were all the scientists masked, it appeared that many were double-masked. And the joyous celebration was characterized by a lot of elbow-bumping.

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  3. “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” – Harry S. Truman.

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    1. The coolest thing about this quote is that you never know who really said it. First time I read it it was attributed to Benjamin Franklin.

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  4. But, but .... politics would lose its entertainment value!

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  5. The problem is that politicians are unaccountable. The solution is accountability; it is not to replace unaccountable politicians with unaccountable technocrats.

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    1. I agree with you about accountability, but I don't understand your characterization of NASA JPL as unaccountable technocrats?

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    2. If they were (as was the initial proposal) put in charge of anything, they would become technocrats by definition; and accountability, for anyone who is in charge, has been so long abandoned that it is not only impossible to impose, but impossible to define, and impossible even to imagine.

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    3. Frank, I'm going to disagree with you. I understand your cynical view that anyone who rises to a position of authority is going to perform badly because their elevated position protects them from external discipline.

      But... in my view the type of people who become rocket scientists (which is literally what these people are) are fundamentally different from people who rise to power in government. I think if you were to look back at the people in the JPL room at the time of their adolescence you would have seen a young person with a different approach to life than his/her compatriots in school heading towards a career in government.

      These people have devoted their lives to precision and accountability, to critique and analysis, and to a cause that is greater than their personal glory. I would be delighted to have people like this in charge of vaccine distribution or national power grid protection or public drinking water quality.

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