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MG1962A
2005-Jul-13, 10:12 PM
We often discuss the lack of passion among the general population and governments agencies. I now think I know why

This morning (In Australia) I woke to the news the shuttle was grounded due to a fuel sensor issue considered to marginal to allow the craft to launch

Now how did the media describe this - NASA fails again. Space program in tatters. Shuttle dreams shredded, Astronauts deverstated.....are you seeing a pattern here.

Now give me a break here. Why does such extreme language need to be used for such an event. Sure the media wants to sell copy, thats what they are in buisness for. But in the halcyon days of Apollo the media was so supportive - and people still bought papers to share the adventure.

Perhaps rather than send petitions to government, space groups might want to give the media a slap.

Finally (puff puff) I find reporters describing the shuttle as blasting off a little unsettling. Surely it is being fired or lifting off.

MG

Korben
2005-Jul-13, 11:09 PM
According to my theory it's just what most people want to hear - we just have to accept that people thinking about the "greater" things out there (may it be philosophy, science, sociology....you get the idea) that reach beyond the single individual and coping with everyday life are an absolute minority. Most of your average Joes have either other, subjectively more important problems like providing for themselves and their families, or belong to the "I want to consume"-fraction that doesn't care about anything as long as they're entertained because the can afford it.

Also many people I think would like to see visionaires failing, because great accomplishments make them feel uneasy, misplaced, maybe even dumb or worthless. Many don't want any changes, they don't want big revelations that would really affect the lifes of everyone on the planet and rendering their problems ridiculous - the want little, digestible, and -important- entertaining bits of information that don't shatter their very basements of belief. Maybe even with a dogmatic touch, which is the reason, I think, that religion and mysticism has been re-booming so much lately.

However, the media still can and should take the blame for continuing to invade basic education and values, proceeding with giving people fake icons, teaching egocentrisism while ironically destroying all the indiviualism.

But hey...that's just my 2 cents but I'm currently working on becoming an astronomer myself, and the more I talk to "ordinary" people about what I want to do (and what I'm already doing) the more I can sense this hostility growing - and I'm afraid space and science is just the beginning (politics is also more and more regarded as being futile) . I don't want to see humanity, with its great achievers (DaVinci, Beethoven,Newton or Woody Allen) in the past, becoming a flock of empty shells (Paris Hilton comes to my mind).

Conclusion :
It's important to spread critical thinking as much as possible.

Oh yeah : and sorry for all the ranting :D

Charlie in Dayton
2005-Jul-14, 02:36 AM
...Finally (puff puff) I find reporters describing the shuttle as blasting off a little unsettling. Surely it is being fired or lifting off.

MG

The engines fire, the spacecraft lifts off, and the rocket blast is tremendous...all those descriptors are adequate. "Blast Off!" (IIRC) dates back to early rocket-oriented science fiction, if not early rocket-oriented science fiction movies and/or tv programs (corrections invited).

Maksutov
2005-Jul-14, 09:34 AM
[edit]Conclusion :
It's important to spread critical thinking as much as possible.

Oh yeah : and sorry for all the ranting :D
Keep "ranting", man! That was a great post!

And best of luck with your astronomy career. Keep us posted (so to speak). :D

Maksutov
2005-Jul-14, 09:40 AM
...Finally (puff puff) I find reporters describing the shuttle as blasting off a little unsettling. Surely it is being fired or lifting off.

MG

The engines fire, the spacecraft lifts off, and the rocket blast is tremendous...all those descriptors are adequate. "Blast Off!" (IIRC) dates back to early rocket-oriented science fiction, if not early rocket-oriented science fiction movies and/or tv programs (corrections invited).
Right on target, Charlie.

The word the media loves that irks me the most (I think) is "hurtle", as in,

"The space probe continues to hurtle towards its close encounter with the mysterious planet."

Per the Infoplease dictionary:


hurtle

Pronunciation: (hr'tl), [key]
v., -tled, -tling,
n.

v.i.
1. to rush violently; move with great speed: The car hurtled down the highway.
2. to move or go noisily or resoundingly, as with violent or rapid motion: The sound was deafening, as tons of snow hurtled down the mountain.
3. Archaic.to strike together or against something; collide.

v.t.
1. to drive violently; fling; dash.
2. Archaic.to dash against; collide with.

n.
Archaic.clash; collision; shock; clatter.
The overwhelming connotation being something going at great speeds while almost or completely out of control. Very subtle, but not missed, dig at the eggheads who launch such things. But vere it comes down iz not my department. :wink:

banquo's_bumble_puppy
2005-Jul-14, 10:31 AM
I agree with you 100%....total nonsense...CNN this morning grossed me out...it was so bad...

NEOWatcher
2005-Jul-14, 11:50 AM
Now you're going to get me started:

Can they say shuttle without explaining the whole Columbia disaster?
Are there people who still don't know what happened?
Also, every story I've seen about this launch had to include the families of Columbia and thier feelings. I agree that it's good to hear what thier feelings are, but not every story. Enough already.

The media just wants you to tune in, so the more intense the story or the intro, the more the public will tune in to find out. Which also explains headlines in the paper and on the web.
The public doesn't want information, they just want something they can talk about around the water cooler.

novaderrik
2005-Jul-14, 05:17 PM
the problem is that the news networks have 24 hours a day to fill with MAYBE 3 hours of news. so they embellish it and soften it up to try to appeal to the lowest common denominator.
and one of the big reasons a lot of the public doesn't care about the space program is because they don't see it as an investment with untold amounts of offshoots that benefit them personally- you know, like Velcro and what not- they see it as billions of their dollars being launched into space, as if the cargo bay of the shuttle is filled with unmarked $20 bills and just thrown overboard while in orbit.
ever try to tell a 35 year old high school dropout that works a crappy paying industrial job that the things we learn by launching that shuttle into orbit will affect his life in a meaningful way? or how about justifying landing two rovers on Mars to that same guy? you usually won't get too far into it before they start complaining about how we have people to feed here and blah blah blah.
oddly enough- and at the risk of getting slightly political- the same people that oppose the space program entirely are usually 120% behind this whole war on terror- and they are even more behind the war in Iraq- mostly because it involves blowing up stuff and killing people with different beliefs and values.
weird how that works, eh?
they don't realize that the money spent on the space program is part of the R&D budget for the cool gadgets that will be in the stores in the next few years.

publiusr
2005-Jul-14, 07:03 PM
[edit]Conclusion :
It's important to spread critical thinking as much as possible.

Oh yeah : and sorry for all the ranting :D
Keep "ranting", man! That was a great post!

And best of luck with your astronomy career. Keep us posted (so to speak). :D

I loved it!

That's why I really want an asteroid strike of modest size to put space front and center.

Jorge
2005-Jul-14, 07:53 PM
Nasa: where working on a way to use small astoroids to destroy cities.
But we are short on budge so we'll cut it.

Public: hmmz nasa should get more funding...

mike alexander
2005-Jul-14, 07:54 PM
I've developed the theory that, like pulp writers, journalists are paid by the word and have to squeeze in every adjective/adverb/phrase possible.

Like watching weather reports: "Huricane Dennis is bearing down on the Gulf Coast, already devastated by Ivan...."

One thought was that if its starting to bear down I should begin boiling water, or something.

And if another shot ever rings out, I'm tempted to actually go buy a gun...


And of course, every story has a price tag: "The $330,000,000 Deep Impact Sapce Probe..." But not "Bombs dropped from the $1.2 billion B2 bomber..." or "The President's trip on Air Force One, which costs $40,000 an hour to fly..."

(All right. To be fair, sometimes stories about the B2 do mention the price tag.)

Part of the problem, it seems to me, is that when covering most stories most reporters are functionally morons; given that many have to cover everything sooner or later, gaps in background become quite apparent.

Of course, some of the reporters also appear to be GENUINE morons, but that a different story.

Kristophe
2005-Jul-14, 08:23 PM
And of course, every story has a price tag: "The $330,000,000 Deep Impact Sapce Probe..." But not "Bombs dropped from the $1.2 billion B2 bomber..." or "The President's trip on Air Force One, which costs $40,000 an hour to fly..."

Actually, the problem that I see here is not when or if they quote price tags, but how. When they mention NASA's costs, it's always with a derogetory tone. "And NASA's spent ANOTHER billion dollars on something that you don't care about."

When they mention the costs of fighter jets, it's ususally "And they unveiled the unbelievably cool, 3 billion dollar superfighter today!!!"

publiusr
2005-Jul-14, 08:27 PM
There is this really evil daydream I keep having about passing around a story about how pro-grade cameras and microphones cause cancer of the genitals.

That and a dream I had of Osama and I:

"Now--leave New York alone--hey...you really want to get the Blue Staters kiled and leave the Red Staters to nuke you instead? Here is a plan. Leave New York alone--and go after the NASCAR track in Talledega.

Either that or I could mention how proceeds from NASCAR go to Osama--anything to get that stupid sport to die.

I remember some bubba calling in to the Paul Finebaum sports talk network and making fun of the fuel sensor--and how they spent all that money on it and it failed--as if that moron didn't know the cryogenic propellant needs a little better tech than what he had in his pick-em-up truck.

skrap1r0n
2005-Jul-15, 01:01 AM
Either that or I could mention how proceeds from NASCAR go to Osama--anything to get that stupid sport to die.

OMG do you realize how much money NASCAR makes for it's sponsors? these cars ar billboards for their sponsors that get 4 to 6 hours of airtime onece a week. Hell, if the NBA made their players each wear a different jersey, advertisinf different sponsors, I dount it would come close to making the money NASCAR does.

Maksutov
2005-Jul-15, 04:21 AM
Now you're going to get me started:

Can they say shuttle without explaining the whole Columbia disaster?
Are there people who still don't know what happened?
Also, every story I've seen about this launch had to include the families of Columbia and thier feelings. I agree that it's good to hear what thier feelings are, but not every story. Enough already.

The media just wants you to tune in, so the more intense the story or the intro, the more the public will tune in to find out. Which also explains headlines in the paper and on the web.
The public doesn't want information, they just want something they can talk about around the water cooler.
Then there was Cassini. (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?p=328241#328241)

The spacecraft couldn't be called by just its name.

Oh no.

It always had to be "the nuclear-powered Cassini spacecraft poses no current threat to Earth, although anti-nuclear activists said that...blah, blah, blah."

:roll:

NEOWatcher
2005-Jul-15, 12:11 PM
And they keep doing it...

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Florida (CNN) -- The first space shuttle launch since the Columbia disaster (http://www.cnn.com/2005/TECH/space/07/14/space.shuttle/index.html)
With an entire section at the end explaining the Columbia disaster. If we don't know what happened by now, we never will. If you feel the need, how about just making a link.

gopher65
2005-Jul-15, 12:23 PM
The public doesn't want information, they just want something they can talk about around the water cooler.

I think you might have been being facetious, but this statement is actually completely true. Apparently most people skim news documents (WebPages, newspapers, etc) for sensational items. Then when they notice a lull in the conversation they say "so did you hear about the...". I notice that I occasionally do this myself.

I don't think you can blame CNN. People don't read news to increase their knowledge, they glance at headlines to pick up some conversation filler. CNN just so happens to be smart enough to give them exactly what they want.

Swift
2005-Jul-15, 02:36 PM
The public doesn't want information, they just want something they can talk about around the water cooler.

I think you might have been being facetious, but this statement is actually completely true. Apparently most people skim news documents (WebPages, newspapers, etc) for sensational items. Then when they notice a lull in the conversation they say "so did you hear about the...". I notice that I occasionally do this myself.

I don't think you can blame CNN. People don't read news to increase their knowledge, they glance at headlines to pick up some conversation filler. CNN just so happens to be smart enough to give them exactly what they want.
As 10,000 Maniacs said...

If lust and hate is the candy,
if blood and love tastes so sweet,
then we give 'em what they want.
Hey, hey, give 'em what they want.
So their eyes are growing hazy
'cos they wanna turn it on,
so their minds are soft and lazy.
Well, hey, give 'em what they want.

:-?