I have brought the subject up because CERN Hadron super-collider will be going online sometime early 2008 with the intent to create and study black holes. Iteresting "rock in a garden" wouldn't you say?~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
CERN LHC Activation:
We'll know soon enough what the effects will be.
despite the dangers, we still find those ready to accept them
It's not just the danger, check the cost of the unmanned science missions and the cost of no science and keeping the astronaut alive. The manned spaceflight program is filled with political agenda and if a little science can be claimed; well that's great. What's not said about the science is that even if the science was done in earth bound labs at little or no cost it's tauted as being fantastic by the White House; no matter who's in office.
a case of 'good' scientists vs the politicos
Well, it is getting worse as the politicos are funding what they wish and withdrawing funds from what they don't want. It is especially evident at NASA where one or two facilities is doing science and the rest is working on manned spaceflight. Almost all science operations has left NASA and is under academic control at various universities.
Gingrich has called for the dismantling of NASA
Gingrich wouldn't be the first or the last to voice that. There are scientists who say the same. My problems with NASA stem from a lost mythology. NASA was a point of science information and engineering strength but has lost its vision (myth). Being a civilian agency it's over sight and direction is far too near the political machinery of the White House. The military was responsible for spaceflight before NASA but their focus was weapons that clouded the issues surrounding the moon mission. In its first years, NASA provided a surge of interest in science and engineering throughout the nation. They had teachers touring the country providing week log seminars at high schools boosting interest in science and engineering. It created a surge of interest among the young here and in Europe. European institutions, both academic and governmental has taken up that message and the results are quite evident in where science and engineering research is centered today.
On a personal note; I ask myself what would happen if NASA were dismantled. First, I think, is that the manned spaceflight program would be continued under Pentagon authorization. Their purpose is what it was in 1957. Second, science would return to academic institutions, exclusively. I think that the military view of space is not what is best for the future while the diversity of interests from academia is not so focused on single myopic efforts. The later point is a good, I think. The prior point may be not so good. One point means that there would be far less political influence over science and its directions. The other means that the military requires great oversight by independent observers to prevent Pentagon programs from overtaking common sense placing people in jeopardy from space. Those dangers are based on past programs that slowly veered from one purpose to become multi-purpose and out of control. Certainly, military vigilance is a good thing but when paranoia rules then vigilance becomes an excuse for any action that a few believe is appropriate. It is not common knowledge but during the cold war most US citizens feared an invasion from the USSR but that threat was pretty much a one sided fear. While the USSR never invaded the US; the US did invade the USSR in the twenties, however .
Bottom line for me is, dismantling NASA has some good and bad points but rather than dismantling it perhaps a re-authorization would be in order.
Something more on the point.
I think I would be satisfied if the LHC managed to find the Higgs Boson. Finding Super Symmetric Particles would be an added benefit. I’m not too worried about mini black holes, probably because I’ve never really understood the concept of Hawking Radiation and how black holes dissipate, so I guess I don’t believe in mini black holes at all.
With regard to NASA and manned vs unmanned space science: I guess I would have to say that there is a balancing act that must be performed, in much the same way all science funding is a balancing act, but NASA and Space Science is the most obvious example. When such large sums of money are required to conduct operations, it becomes more about politics than science.
Photographs of Saturn and Uranus are great. The moons of Jupiter are super to look at. The Mars rovers are little mechanical heroes! The Hubble space telescope was an amazing feat that was more the exception than the rule when it comes to space science funding. But nothing draws big money like HUMANS IN SPACE! But even humans in space get old after a while. Remember Apollo 17? Who was watching those guys walk on the moon, even though they had color TV cameras and we could ride along on the moon buggy! NO BODY! Remember the Super Conducting Super Collider that the US was going to build back in the 1980’s? Why couldn’t we get that built? No political clout! Who wanted to pay billions of dollars for a huge machine to smash subatomic particles together with? Even the Space Shuttle and International Space Station wound up as sad disappointments.
For the average American to put up his hard earned money, science accomplishments have to deliver big time entertainment and a feeling of accomplishment, like when your team wins the Super Bowl or the World Series. That's why we spend billions on ball parks and pay ball players hundreds of millions to catch, throw and kick #### around. Just between you and me I think the number one reason all these international joint space ventures don’t really spark that much interest or enthusiasm among the American populace is because you can’t win if there isn’t an opposing team, and you can’t beat them if their already on your side.
Space science is and has been for some time now, all about public relations and politics, because of the amounts of money involved. If a Scientist ran NASA strictly to produce the best scientific research possible, its funding would shrink to nothing within just a few years. The balancing act will be to find a great showman to run NASA, who can organize missions of great spectacle, who can define a visionary course for space exploration and can also accomplish great science and research at the same time. Robots should be used for what robots do best…taking samples and performing reconnaissance. Men should be used for what men do best…bring in the funding…and lend an air of danger to the whole enterprise.
The word censored above was "b-a-l-l-s".
Men should be used for what men do best…bring in the funding…and lend an air of danger to the whole enterprise.
I believe you are on target. I also know however, that the Oppenheimers are few and far between and that no scientist would also allow P.T. Barnum into its public relations office. (You do remember what the US did to Oppenheimer after they got what they wanted from him.)
BTW: astronomers do get some funding but they have an edge over particle physics in that a bubble chamber trace is not as impressive as a remote peculiar galaxy to hang on a congressman's office wall.
a large part of the population being wary of science in so many ways and instilling their kids with that attitude.
Agreed! Bill Nye the Science Guy doesn't do the trick. He's simply no Mr. Wizard. Nye tries to make it fun; Mr. Wizard made them curious. Let me add that the 'New Age' nuttiness doesn't help matters. Just last night I was watching a program about cites constructed by ancient civilizations near or on vortex areas of the earth. One of the poor jerks was saying that if you place your hands on 'The Intihuatana stone' (hitching post of the sun) at Machu Picchu you can feel a tingling on your skin. I guess no one told her that the incrustation of lichens on the rock surface are hard and sharp. These people were exploring their inner spirit and waiting for messages from dolphins ,or something or other, while the real beauty was just exploring the masonry wonders all around them. They should spend the night there and experience the sight of 8000 stars overhead. The pursuit of the real natures of any one of those stars providing more knowledge than all conversations with any dolphin.
I think that the real problem with this movement toward pseudo-science is that it's easy; too easy. Why any one of the crystal sniffers, aroma therapists, acupuncturists, or UFOlogists can think of six impossible things before breakfast; to borrow from Alice in Wonderland.
So, if there is any purpose to a Black Hole it's the ability to make you think and ask questions. Leave all guessing at the door. They need a lot less Alan Watt and von Daniken and a lot more Spinosa and Santayana.
I agree about encouraging kids to be curious about science. I don’t know how you do that but someone needs to come up with a way to do it. I had 4 kids go through the public school system, and as hard as I tried, I could not get any one of the 4 excited about science. For them it was just a class they had to pass. They were puzzled why I was so interested in it and wanted them to be too. - I was hart broken. So, good luck with that Maddog. I had my crack at it and failed miserably.
I have never been able to understand the human ability to ignore the incredible, and concentrate on the unknowable and unexplainable. Some people work so hard to come up with solutions to questions that have no answers, and believe in things that have no substance, when if we looked at the things that matter, and worked just a little harder, or gave just a little more time, we could learn so much that is real and important.
We are a curious animal. We want to know, we want to learn, we want to create, we want to matter in some way, and we want to believe in something. These drives are our strengths …..and our weaknesses. They make us giants that rule the earth, and they make us silly and petty children. They are the source of our art and science, just as they are the source of our need for religion and spirituality.
We have both scientific and spiritual natures, and we may never be able to separate the two. Perhaps someday however, we will reconcile these two sides of our intellect. But until then, I’m afraid we will have to put up with Astrology and UFOs and Dolphinology and all the rest, because that’s what people do, they make up kooky belief systems to fill an unfulfilled need; a need that science doesn’t quench for some odd reason. You have to admit though, a lot of the time it’s a real hoot to hear what some of these folks come up with.
I watched every space flight from Freedom 7 with Alan Shepard, to the splash down of Apollo 17. My entire childhood was spent waiting for or watching the space missions on TV. I never would have believed that my kids would grow up in a world where no one cared about going into outer space!
Somewhere along the line NASA got bogged down in routine missions to earth orbit and lost the adventure of exploration.
Yes! It was worth it! And I can only hope that I live to see the day when space exploration matters again, to a new generation of kids, like it did to you and me!
You have to admit though, a lot of the time it’s a real hoot to hear what some of these folks come up with.
Indeed it is a wonder. Children are a work in progress and we are really all responsible for children in general. Hillary Clinton drew some fire some time back when she made her , "It takes a village" comment but it does take a village. It's not just teachers and school boards, not free libraries and books on-line, it's the village. When some individuals don't do their part in the general education and care for children it opens children to those that will exploit them. What I mean is that ID is a perfect example of exploitation. The Discovery Institute is not really interested in the child's education only the destruction of the child's ability to question and be curious. Their 'Wedge' document says it all.
Parents who don't take interest in the education process; those that see teachers as little more than free baby sitters are more to blame than any exploitation.
Whether it’s the Discovery Institute, child s e x trafficking, child porn, a neglecting parent, or other criminal activity, the result is exploitation of children. Once exploited by these, the child's future is hopeless and barren of opportunity; the opportunity to be as much as they can be.
You do remember what the US did to Oppenheimer after they got what they wanted from him
If he only wanted to pursue the super.. and of course if Frank hadn't given money to the commies
If he only wanted to pursue the super
Beyond his brother and his wife's politics Oppie wanted to get the job done. He viewed the thermonuclear bomb as being way too time consuming in 1943 to waste money and time. During his hearing the government prodded him with a supposition that he really didn't want the US to get too far ahead of the Russians. Oppie's response was that Japan was too small a target for the hydrogen bomb. In most cases, todays nations are still too small a target for a hydrogen bomb. Only idiots think otherwise which is another reason that politics and science are incompatible.