Grrr... my response, sent to spacedaily.com:<br /><br />I am really getting sick and tired of coming to a space-related news website and see anti-space rhetoric being thrown about.<br /><br />Other than ethically wrong, isn't this bad business practice? Are advertisers really interested in associating themselves with a website who posts opinion columns thrashing their industry?!?<br /><br />If you are expecting a Howard Stern-esque response of, "I hate him so I'll read even more" then you're dead wrong, especially when it comes to this reader. <br /><br />I care too much about our future and what I feel happens to be one of the few wholistic and good enterprises that we as human beings still embark upon to dillute it by supporting a website that supports and publishes such pessimistic and negative attitudes toward space travel, science, exploration and the people who champion it.
He contradicts himself in the article by claiming that manned spaceflight isn't interesting because we only go into LEO, and yet he then claims that missions to the moon and mars and beyond will not spark public interest. Everything else in the article sounds like a broken record.
<b>One of the many false ideas people have about space travel is that it is leading the human race ahead boldly into the future, hand-in-hand with high technology. This is another one of those old chestnuts from the 1950s that simply isn't true anymore, but still lingers in peoples' minds and makes it difficult for them to think clearly about space.</b><br /><br />Oh, yes, the 1950's. The "International Geophysical Year" was the best thing humans ever did - far more advanced to the cause of science than Alan Sheppherd on the Moon with his 9-Iron to impress all of his friends in the club back on Earth. I love Joe Engle to death - as an X-15 pilot, as an X-24B pilot - as a Shuttle Astronaut, and as one of the (few) U.S.A.F. generals I have ever met that I both love and respect - both man and rank.<br /><br />Add the NSA Director to this list - if you don't believe me, ask General Mike Hayden -- the best thing the Air Force has seen since Joe Engle. <br /><br />But, I, for one, am glad that Joe Engle got bumped from Apollo 17 so that Geologist Harrison Schmicht could go up instead. Of course, Joe Engel should have been an Astronaut on the Moon - specifically on Apollo 14 in Al Shepphard's place.<br /><br /><b><br />One version of this delusion is that our current space vehicles are on the cutting edge of technology, and that flying them somehow strengthens our technological base and produces spin-offs that benefit other industries. This notion is frequently cited by supporters of the new "Vision for Space Exploration" now being debated in Washington. The common use of the term "rocket science" to describe anything extremely complicated and difficult is both a product and a cause of this belief.<br /><br />To see how wrong this idea is, just consider Israel, India, and China. All three nations have launched domestically designed earth satellites on domestically designed space boosters. During the same period, all three nations tried to produce a domestic jet fighter aircraft desi</b>
What a jerk. I'm just too lazy to complain and I feel it would be a waste of time. This guy simply doesn't deserve a reaction of any kind. However, one thing is for sure: I won't visit spacedaily for a looong time...<br /><br />
<i>I am really getting sick and tired of coming to a space-related news website and see anti-space rhetoric being thrown about. <br /><br />Other than ethically wrong, isn't this bad business practice? Are advertisers really interested in associating themselves with a website who posts opinion columns thrashing their industry?!?</i><br /><br />What planet do you live on? Are you unfamiliar with the concept of Op-Ed pieces in the regular news media? Or are you naive enough to think that news outlets should only report opinions with which you agree?
I don't think the objection is to Space Daily having Op-Ed pieces, just that Jeff Bell's articles are unfailingly anti (humans in) space and more importantly, badly written and/or full of errors. That's my complaint at least.
<i>I don't think the objection is to Space Daily having Op-Ed pieces, just that Jeff Bell's articles are unfailing anti (humans in) space and more importantly, badly written and/or full of errors. That's my complaint at least.</i><br /><br />I guess I've never understood the sentiment that a space-related news outlet should only present information <i>supporting</i> space flight, or maybe I missed the memo. At any rate, there are Bill Safire fans who feel that Maureen Dowd's columns in The New York Times should not be permitted. And vice versa.<br /><br />
"What overriding and compelling reason is there for manned spaceflight?"<br /><br /><br /><br />Colonization. You can't do that with robots. <br /><br />To be honest: If spaceflight was only about science/exploration I would still be interested but by no means enthusiastic. The reason I'm enthusiastic about human spaceflight (and spaceflight in general) is the promise of a better future it holds for all mankind.<br />If we abandon manned spaceflight I don't see what's the point of our existence as a species. If we venture out into space and become a spacefaring civilization we'll have a limitless future. <br /><br /><br />As Robert Zubrin says: "I believe that we are living not at the end of history, but at the beginning of history."<br /><br />I want to believe that, too.<br />
>Jeff Bell's articles are unfailing[ly] ... badly written<br /><br />I was dumbfounded when I read this article, what, a couple days ago now? Where does Jeffrey teach? Sure am glad I got edumacated someplace where the professors could write and think coherently. His article is so full of self-contradictory, poorly developed persuasion that I can almost believe that it's a joke.<br /><br />However, when I read it through using my writer's development toolbox (the one I keep in my head), what I see is that it's two articles, mashed together rapidly, by a man who hasn't yet fully exorcised his hopes and fears. He really is a recovering space advocate, and he argues both ends against the middle in that article.<br /><br />In the future, I hope he takes the time to set some structure to the piece, and focus his message, so that it's a real op-ed piece. Taking the contrary stand on an issue is hugely important, and to do it poorly is a disservice to the readers.<br /><br />Sloppy, Jeffrey. Go audit a writing class.
>If we venture out into space and become a spacefaring civilization we'll have a limitless future.<br /><br />Certainly!<br /><br />I know I'm a child of the aerospace boom (Dad being an engineer and all, through McD, Fairchild, Parker, and others) but every single problem I come up against here on the ground, I see a solution is available from the clever utilization of space resources.<br /><br />And I mean in the great big, overarching sense, like the earthly prosperity that will follow when we finally figure out what we're up to, up there.<br /><br />I'm not waiting: I've started a sustainability project so that I can hopefully show that we have some time, yet. It'll be an antidote to Bob Zubrin's pessimistic approach that we have to do it now or we'll never be able to.
I'm not going to flame you but I certainly disagree. If there was only robotic exploration and no future for humans then I would have very mild interest but mostly I don't think I'd care. The only reason I get excited about robotics at all is because the possibility that humans may one day set foot there excites me. (and yes, that includes Cassini -- I know I won't live to see humans voyage to the rings of saturn but that's not to say it won't happen). Take away that promise of the future, and it's just, well, depressing, the way I see it -- look at all these wonders which we ourselves can never take part of.
If you all like I could B**** slap him for all of you. I mean I like to fight and I imagine he could use a foot or two up his cannis rexis...<br /><br />After all isnt this guy a member of that anti-nuclear club too? The one that opposed Cassini and Galileo with the RTGs?<br /><br />Correct me if I am wrong here...<br />
I'm sure it will happen,but only if we don't wipe out ourselves or the knowledge before we develop the technolgy. I believe this because we have been a bunch of travellers or voyagers since Adam was a cowboy. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p> </p><p>----------------------------------------------------------------- </p><p>Wanna see this site looking like the old SDC uplink?</p><p>Go here to see how: <strong>SDC Eye saver </strong> </p> </div>
><i>I guess I've never understood the sentiment that a space-related news outlet should only present information supporting space flight, or maybe I missed the memo.</i><p>I never said that there should only be pro-space opinions presented, just that op-ed pieces should be well written. Many (I'll fight the temptation to say "All") of the pieces by Mr Bell which I have seen at SpaceDaily contain serious flaws in logic and some have outright misrepresentations of the facts.<p>Take his most recent article, written in response to the Genesis mishap. In it he says: "<i>The chances are good that its [Stardust's] parachute system contains the same defect that caused the Genesis crash.</i>" Since (a) we don't know what caused the failure, and (b) the systems are of a different design, how can he make the assertion that the defect is present in Stardust's system?<p>I don't mind anti-space, the world would be boring if we all agreed about everything, but at least let it be <i>good</i> anti-space.</p></p></p>
<i>I never said that there should only be pro-space opinions presented, just that op-ed pieces should be well written.</i><br /><br />As should all pieces, though the definition of "well-written" varies from person to person. I guess I was responding to the portion of your post where you stated that a portion of your objectons was due your perception that "Jeff Bell's articles are unfailingly anti (humans in) space."<br /><br />Having said that, I, too, disagree with many of Jeff's Op-Ed pieces. I think he has fully made the transition from academia to punditry. And at least with the latter, there is no requirement for a Ph.D.; one only needs a computer connection to the Internet and an opinion.
Alex, don't you work with the 'esteemed' Mr. Bell?<br /><br />I like to see coherently stated opinions which are contrary to mine. Hey, I watch the French evening news with subtitles! <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /> However, in my opinion Mr. Bell's opinion pieces are only written to infuriate, not to persuade.<br /><br />The guy is a walking caricature of planetary scientists, to many of us space geeks.
AlexBlackwell wrote with respect to the dreaded Jeff bell:<br /><br />"I think he has fully made the transition from academia to punditry." <br /><br />That awful fate may await many of us!<br /><br />Jon <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Whether we become a multi-planet species with unlimited horizons, or are forever confined to Earth will be decided in the twenty-first century amid the vast plains, rugged canyons and lofty mountains of Mars</em> Arthur Clarke</p> </div>
<i>I guess I've never understood the sentiment that a space-related news outlet should only present information supporting space flight, or maybe I missed the memo. At any rate, there are Bill Safire fans who feel that Maureen Dowd's columns in The New York Times should not be permitted. And vice versa.</i><br /><br />I actually received a response from the publisher and he said pretty much the same thing that Mr. Blackwell here has said.<br /><br />My objection is not to op-ed pieces at all, they are a centerpiece of popular media. My objection IS that in extremely specialized news sources, such as spacedaily.com the vast majority of the reader base supports the subject at hand. Specialized news sources are not the appropriate communication medium to publish op-ed pieces.<br /><br />Seriously, how many readers out there roam spacedaily.com, nasawatch.com, etc... because they dislike space exploration?<br /><br />If we were talking about Jeffrey Bell writing for USA Today, New York Times, or any other publication that caters to a diverse audience then my complaints would be completely unfounded. But we're not. If Jeffrey Bell was a duck hunter writing for Bird Watchers Today it would be just as ludicrous.<br /><br />I'm simply saying they should realize the situation they're dealing with and try to appeal to their audience rather than believeing that they're the next New Yorker.
<i>Specialized news sources are not the appropriate communication medium to publish op-ed pieces.</i><br /><br />Huh??? Again, what planet do you live on? I hate to be the one to inform you but many "pecialized news sources" have prominent placement for Op-Ed articles. The most salient example that comes to mind is <i>Aviation Week & Space Technology</i>.<br /><br />Frankly, with all due respect, your stated position is absurd, even if you do not happen to reside in a "free country." You just seem to be off-put merely because you disagree with Bell's message. What about those who do agree with it? Indeed, believe it or not, there may be people out there who actually do not agree with <i>you</i>.