Stray thoughts

I haven’t posted an entry for a while (discounting the brief one I just did), so this is going to be a mish-mash of a lot of things that have been on my mind.

Let’s start with NASA, Curiosity, and Mars: YEEEAAH!  I watched the landing online.  And I jumped up and yelled and cried when word came back that all was well.  And then I went to the BBC News website (my preferred news source, since they actually do weird things like… report the news, real news, not celebrity antics masquerading as news and distracting people from things that really matter) to do battle with the commentors who were inevitably going to say that it was a waste of money.

First and foremost: it’s not a waste of money.  There was a Chase Econometrics study done in the wake of the Apollo missions.  D’you know what it found?  It found that every $1 spent on the project generated $14 in the terrestrial economy.  That is what I call a return on investment.

Consider what we spend on NASA as a percentage of the annual budget.  No, it’s not twenty or ten or even five percent.  It’s $18.4 billion – or 0.48%.  That’s all.  That’s the tiny amount begrudged the program–while corporate welfare accounts for about $100 billion of the budget.  Oh, and how much is spent on social welfare programs?  About half that.  So arguments about the cost of NASA don’t cut much cloth.  We could double social spending and still have another $50 billion to spend on NASA if we’d quit bankrolling private corporate interests.

I’ll have more to say about it later — I’m still settling my thoughts — but I’ve been contemplating the Long Now Foundation and the idea of truly long-term thinking.  Seeing as how most long term thinking in the world consists of trying to decide on what to have for lunch when it’s already 10.30 in the morning, I’m finding the perspective shift refreshing.

Third: Romney/Ryan.  No shock.  Romney needed someone to bring in the teabaggers who aren’t really convinced about him.

The danger to the public aside, I think it’s funny that the GOP convention might get hit by a hurricane.  Funny as in funny how you never hear “it’s god’s punishment/judgment/whatever” when it happens to them, but if it were the Democratic convention, it would be the televangelist talking point for weeks.


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