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Lucky
2002-Dec-18, 10:46 AM
I can't say I've been in this situation, but I like to be prepared:

If somebody were to, in the midst of intellectual exchange, ask how the millions, nay billions, of dollars on moon expeditions and Hubble exposures were justified given the current state of the world, how would I answer them?

I'm after examples of nifty technology that the Apollo program provided to ease everyday lifestyle, and also practical applications of data collected by the Hubble telescope and other similar instruments.

I'm one of those people who believe that scientific inquiry is worth spending money for. But I still meet people who do not, and I await this question. I'd like to be ready.

Thoughts? Links? Answers?

Thanks.

kucharek
2002-Dec-18, 11:20 AM
If the opponent simply denies the human desire to explore the unknown, it's difficult to make a point. We didn't built Hubble in the hope to find something that leads to something that improves our life in a material way. Surely, it improves our life in an intellectual way, revealing us how strange the universe we live in is and how few we know about it.
I'm sad that we are people that still spent billions and billions of money for killing other people or destroying our ressources, but I'm also proud that we are people who spend billions of money on research that widens our horizon.

Harald

AgoraBasta
2002-Dec-18, 01:01 PM
One should ask the doubters why people spend anything on spiritual/cultural projects rather than simply spending everything on more material stuff. The answer is simple - our minds and souls need food just as our bodies do.
Whoever wants to feed the starving of this world have to preserve their own minds and souls from starvation; without such spiritual food, even a presently prosperous nation would quickly join those starving in their poverty.

Jetmech0417
2002-Dec-18, 02:22 PM
I have only one thing to say here..."Tang".

nebularain
2002-Dec-18, 02:52 PM
Well, my first question back to the cinic is, "Before I answer, let me ask you a question. What are you doing to improve the bad conditions of the world?" I say this because it seems everyone wants the government to fix all our problems, but they themselves don't want to get their hands dirty.

Smaug
2002-Dec-18, 02:54 PM
Just say: "How many millions and billions and trillions of dollars does the U.S. spend for defense?"

Sure they'll say because it's for defense, but who the heck pays $25 million for a U.A.V. with 2 missiles... The U.S. does of course.

g99
2002-Dec-18, 04:13 PM
On 2002-12-18 09:54, Smaug wrote:
Just say: "How many millions and billions and trillions of dollars does the U.S. spend for defense?"

Sure they'll say because it's for defense, but who the heck pays $25 million for a U.A.V. with 2 missiles... The U.S. does of course.


Or 2.2 billion each for a huge bomber that can only carry a very limited amount of bombs (40,000 pounds). (B-2)

AgoraBasta
2002-Dec-18, 05:26 PM
On 2002-12-18 11:13, g99 wrote:
Or 2.2 billion each for a huge bomber that can only carry a very limited amount of bombs (40,000 pounds). (B-2)
The funniest thing is that B-2 flies like a pregnant cow and shines bright on russian radars.
But it looks so inspiringly cool in public!

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: AgoraBasta on 2002-12-18 12:31 ]</font>

g99
2002-Dec-18, 05:37 PM
Also the "Stealth tech" is unuseable anymore. They found out by accident that when a plane passes by a caell phone tower it causes a interruption in the beam . thus allowing the bad guys to track the craft and shoot it down. The effects of the radar absorbing panles and the odd angles only slightly effect the cell tower's beam.
See: http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/june01/2001-06-20-new-radar.htm

Stuart
2002-Dec-18, 05:51 PM
**quote**Just say: "How many millions and billions and trillions of dollars does the U.S. spend for defense?" ***unquote**

The US defense budget is around US$300 billion. Its too low by around 10 - 15 percent. It needs to go up steadily for four to five years at least then stabilize at that increased level.

**quote** but who the heck pays $25 million for a U.A.V. with 2 missiles... The U.S. does of course. **endquote**

Actually it doesn't. Unit cost of a AGM-114 Hellfire missile, US$44,500. Unit cost of a Predator UAV, US$3.2 million. Unit cost of look of stunned disbelief on the faces of a carload of terrorists just before they get blown away - priceless.

***quote*** Or 2.2 billion each for a huge bomber that can only carry a very limited amount of bombs (40,000 pounds). (B-2) ***endquote***

Do you realize what an enormous bombload that is - 20 JDAM guided bombs? Each of which has a CEP that is measured in feet? To get that sort of destructiveness out of a conventional bomber using dumb bombs would need bombing raids of WW2 dimensions. By the way the cost of a B-2 isn't US$2.2 billion. Its around US$800 million for additional production. The R&D component of the B-2 program was very high compared with more conventional aircraft so the unit price is very vulnerable to changes in production run numbers. The original plan was 132 bombers and the R&D amortization was caculate don that number; things got mucked up when it was cut to 20.

***quote*** The funniest thing is that B-2 flies like a pregnant cow and shines bright on russian radars. ****endquote***

Well, if you want to believe that, I won't stop you. Smug grin.

Wiley
2002-Dec-18, 05:55 PM
On 2002-12-18 12:26, AgoraBasta wrote:
The funniest thing is that B-2 flies like a pregnant cow and shines bright on russian radars.
But it looks so inspiringly cool in public!

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: AgoraBasta on 2002-12-18 12:31 ]</font>


Wow, I never thought I would agree with Agora, but ...

The B-2 works well against monostatic radar (source and receiver are the same) but does not work against bistatic radar (source and receiver are different). Bistatic radar is better but more expensive and more difficult to implement. Russia uses bistatic radar. Fortunately for the pilots during the Gulf War, Iraq only has monostatic radar.

Stuart
2002-Dec-18, 06:11 PM
***quote***Also the "Stealth tech" is unusable anymore. They found out by accident that when a plane passes by a cell phone tower it causes a interruption in the beam . thus allowing the bad guys to track the craft and shoot it down. The effects of the radar absorbing panels and the odd angles only slightly effect the cell tower's beam. ***endquote***

Actually, thats wildly incorrect. Most of the stuff thats published on these so-called stealth counters is wrong in the sense that its operationally unusable. Technically, it is indeed possible to track something like an F-117 by the interruption it causes in cell phone signals. The problem is that the data processing required to isolate the interruptions caused by an F-117 style aircraft from all the other interruptions caused by natural and unnatural causes is impossible. There are whole collections of tricks like that; they work great on paper but when we try them out in the real world they flop.

Its also worth remembering that the F-117 was designed almost 40 years ago and has been in operational use for over twenty years. The technology it uses is obsolete - its considered first generation signature reduction - we're onto fourth generation now.

g99
2002-Dec-18, 06:15 PM
On 2002-12-18 12:51, Stuart wrote:
***quote*** Or 2.2 billion each for a huge bomber that can only carry a very limited amount of bombs (40,000 pounds). (B-2) ***endquote***

Do you realize what an enormous bombload that is - 20 JDAM guided bombs? Each of which has a CEP that is measured in feet? To get that sort of destructiveness out of a conventional bomber using dumb bombs would need bombing raids of WW2 dimensions. By the way the cost of a B-2 isn't US$2.2 billion. Its around US$800 million for additional production. The R&D component of the B-2 program was very high compared with more conventional aircraft so the unit price is very vulnerable to changes in production run numbers. The original plan was 132 bombers and the R&D amortization was caculate don that number; things got mucked up when it was cut to 20.




oops. I guess i was wrong with my sources. I just recheked my source and dang. I got my information from:
http://www.clw.org/milspend/b2_1999.html

Now i ssee that it is a very biased source, but the facts seemed to fit.


But....
According to:
http://www.aerospaceweb.org/question/planes/q0087.shtml
$1.157 billion
and the same cost from:
http://www.af.mil/news/factsheets/B_2_Spirit.html

So not $2.2 Billion. But $1.157 billion is still way too much. Especially if it does not work as effectively as it did anymore, and only on certain types of radar.

g99
2002-Dec-18, 06:21 PM
On 2002-12-18 13:11, Stuart wrote:
***quote***Also the "Stealth tech" is unusable anymore. They found out by accident that when a plane passes by a cell phone tower it causes a interruption in the beam . thus allowing the bad guys to track the craft and shoot it down. The effects of the radar absorbing panels and the odd angles only slightly effect the cell tower's beam. ***endquote***

Actually, thats wildly incorrect. Most of the stuff thats published on these so-called stealth counters is wrong in the sense that its operationally unusable. Technically, it is indeed possible to track something like an F-117 by the interruption it causes in cell phone signals. The problem is that the data processing required to isolate the interruptions caused by an F-117 style aircraft from all the other interruptions caused by natural and unnatural causes is impossible. There are whole collections of tricks like that; they work great on paper but when we try them out in the real world they flop.

Its also worth remembering that the F-117 was designed almost 40 years ago and has been in operational use for over twenty years. The technology it uses is obsolete - its considered first generation signature reduction - we're onto fourth generation now.


Yes you are correct. It can't be used now. But with computing power growing at such a exponential rate, it will not be long at all untill there is enougth to do this. I was just saying that we should not spend so much money on a aircraft like the b-2. Spend it on the F-22 or F-117 which would be more cost effective. Yes they can't hold as many bombs, but they have a dual use ability.

Stuart
2002-Dec-18, 06:21 PM
***quote***The B-2 works well against monostatic radar (source and receiver are the same) but does not work against bistatic radar (source and receiver are different). Bistatic radar is better but more expensive and more difficult to implement. Russia uses bistatic radar. Fortunately for the pilots during the Gulf War, Iraq only has monostatic radar. ***endquote***

Bistatic radar is actually older than monostatic and it was quite a technical achievement to go from bistatic operation to monostatic. In fact that was the breakthrough that made most uses of radar possible. While bistatic radar has some advantages, it also has very serious drawbacks. Its only gives a relatively imprecise track; like the cell-phone tower trick, it'll tell you something is out there; it won't tell you who, what, where or what they are doing. Thats useful but not terribly so (there are a couple of Russian bistatic radars out in Nevada somewhere). Bistatic radar is titally useless for tracking or fire control; its a bell-ringer that tells the user its time to swiotch on the rest of the air defense network.

It is completely untrue to say the Russians use bistatic radars and the west monostatic. The big difference between Western and Russian sets is that Russian radars operate at lower wavelengths (typically A- or B- band) whereas Western equivalents work higher up (D- band and E-band). There are all sorts of plusses and minuses there but the bottom line from the signature reduction end is that they require different approaches. The sharply-facetted design of the F-117 is intended to defeat short wavelength radars (typically fire control sets that operate in the I- and J-bands) while the B-2 is intended to beat long wavelength search radars. think about it, thats logical. The F-117 was intended to operate over the battlefield; the B-2 is intended for deep penetration.

I don't want to be insulting or unkind, but suggesting that cell-phone towers or bistatic radars can beat out US signature reduction technology is the military equivalent of being an HB.

Stuart
2002-Dec-18, 06:34 PM
***quote*** But with computing power growing at such a exponential rate, it will not be long at all untill there is enougth to do this. I was just saying that we should not spend so much money on a aircraft like the b-2. Spend it on the F-22 or F-117 which would be more cost effective. Yes they can't hold as many bombs, but they have a dual use ability. ***endquote***

The way we would design a system using this would be to arrange a series of emitters in a belt. We would then have to gather all the data at a given command point and deconflict it. Now, look at what we're not getting from that set-up (and, given how the system works, we can't get)

We don't know what the contact is. The system simply tells us that something has happened to the signal at that point. Could be a bird, could be a plane, could be a cloud. Clouds or other air movements give similar signal interruptions as aircraft.

We don't know who the contact belongs to. In the real world thats done by IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) transponders that emit a code when interrogated. No cod eresponse = hostile (hopefully). Doesn't work too well (Iranian Airbus) but is good enough for Government Work). That can't be built into the system.

We don't have a track. The contact is very imprecise. All we have is a circle where the contact may be. As the aircraft moves that circle becomes an irregular ellipse. Its nowhere near good enough for a fire control solution.

We don't know how many targets there are. Two reaosns for that. One is the circles above. Put more than [a classified number] of aircraft over the system and the circles blur into eachother and the system is simply saying there is a a large amount of undefined movement. Also, it overloads very easily and the whole lot just crashes. Now if we go back to false alarms, there were a lot of those as well. The result is a very unstable system. And an unstable early warning system is inherently useless.

Welcome to my world; frustrating place sometimes. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

g99
2002-Dec-18, 06:49 PM
Thanks for setting it strait stuart. I apreciate the knowlege. I will know better next time.

Stuart
2002-Dec-18, 06:57 PM
Thanks for setting it strait stuart. I apreciate the knowlege. I will know better next time.

Its my pleasure; I've learned so much from you guys in the short time I've been here, its good to be able to offer a little bit of stuff back. My work involves a lot of this networking stuff (mostly ABM and naval things) so I've got a handle on how it all fits together. On the B-2 cost by the way, both the US$1.1 billion and the US$800 million are correct. the first refers to the aircraft that exist now; the second to how much per unit it would cost to buy more.

RickNZ
2002-Dec-18, 07:07 PM
Youd think that the B2 has a large payload till you compare it to the 36,000KG payload of the significantly cheaper B-52's.

B2= worlds greatest white elephant.

In regards to justification. The nay sayers do have a point. Would you care if you still believed the earth to be flat? I'd say no simply becuase for the vast bulk of us the ignorant are the most happiest.

IMHO

Reality can be such bore sumtimes /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif

Stuart
2002-Dec-18, 07:52 PM
You'd think that the B2 has a large payload till you compare it to the 36,000KG payload of the significantly cheaper B-52's.

Firstly, compare lift to range. Its not absolute payload thats important, its payload to range that matters. Secondly, have you ever flown in a B-52? She's a great old lady but the operative word is old. The last one was built over 40 years ago. They can only operate now in benign air environments. Thirdly, the B-52 is great at what it does which is grid square removal. That worked well in Afghanistan where we suckered the Taliban into (quite literally) walking under the falling bombs. What the B52 can't do is take a single building in a single street and remove it without damaging the ones on either side - then go on and do the same to 19 more. Trying to compare the B-52 to the B-2 is like trying to compare a sawn-off shotgun to a sniper's rifle.


The B-2 does what its designed to do and does it well. Its very costly because we cut the production run back so much. However, its the only bird we have in the inventory that can do its particular job.

Moon-lilly
2002-Dec-18, 08:40 PM
How can learning be subjected to limited funding that is just plain ludricous.

I would rather see money used to watch the skies for impending large rock annilations than paying for politicians and their hanger ons extras on the sides bills.

Smaug
2002-Dec-18, 10:07 PM
On 2002-12-18 12:51, Stuart wrote:
**quote**Just say: "How many millions and billions and trillions of dollars does the U.S. spend for defense?" ***unquote**

The US defense budget is around US$300 billion. Its too low by around 10 - 15 percent. It needs to go up steadily for four to five years at least then stabilize at that increased level.

**quote** but who the heck pays $25 million for a U.A.V. with 2 missiles... The U.S. does of course. **endquote**

Actually it doesn't. Unit cost of a AGM-114 Hellfire missile, US$44,500. Unit cost of a Predator UAV, US$3.2 million. Unit cost of look of stunned disbelief on the faces of a carload of terrorists just before they get blown away - priceless.

***quote*** Or 2.2 billion each for a huge bomber that can only carry a very limited amount of bombs (40,000 pounds). (B-2) ***endquote***

Do you realize what an enormous bombload that is - 20 JDAM guided bombs? Each of which has a CEP that is measured in feet? To get that sort of destructiveness out of a conventional bomber using dumb bombs would need bombing raids of WW2 dimensions. By the way the cost of a B-2 isn't US$2.2 billion. Its around US$800 million for additional production. The R&D component of the B-2 program was very high compared with more conventional aircraft so the unit price is very vulnerable to changes in production run numbers. The original plan was 132 bombers and the R&D amortization was caculate don that number; things got mucked up when it was cut to 20.

***quote*** The funniest thing is that B-2 flies like a pregnant cow and shines bright on russian radars. ****endquote***

Well, if you want to believe that, I won't stop you. Smug grin.




I got the $25 million figure from Popular Science, the brand new issue, with the Bird of Prey on the cover. They must have been wrong. Now I don't mean to be belligerant here but, you, Stuart seem to always hijack an astronomy-related thread. Then you turn it into one big military thread. I still cannot justify spending 3.2 million dollars on a remote control plane /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif. Don't worry I was only joking about the remote control plane thing, I know you think it is quite the amazing killing machine. I simply do not enjoy talking about killing afghanis.

Jetmech0417
2002-Dec-18, 10:41 PM
Youd think that the B2 has a large payload till you compare it to the 36,000KG payload of the significantly cheaper B-52's.


You're forgetting the B-1B. With the correct configuration, it can carry a higher payload than a B-52. Along with in-flight refueling, it also has a longer range than a B-52 and a higher chance of making it home. A B-1B can fly into hostile territory at supersonic speeds, under radar, get the job done, and scream home before anyone knows what happened.


I still cannot justify spending 3.2 million dollars on a remote control plane.

How much can you justify spending on a plane that's NOT remote controlled, plus the training cost of the aircrew to fly that non-RC aircraft?
.....Now, justify losing that aircraft in battle, the cost it would take to replace it, AND the aircrew.
.....Now, justify the letter and the visit the families of those aircrew members will get from the military.
The point I'm trying to make here, is that it's much more cost effective to train someone to fly a RC aircraft and only have to worry about replacing lost or damaged equipment. Many families have been destroyed because of aircraft going down in combat zones. And non-combat zones, for that matter.

liglats
2002-Dec-18, 10:57 PM
If I may return to the original question, the space program has brought huge benefits to the rest of civilisation. The need for smaller and better computers in the space program has resulted in your computer being able to sit on your desk and not in a warehouse next door.

Improvements in rocketry have made it possible to launch larger satelites, capable of handling more communications, weather data,and navigation information. Admittedly a military driven project, satelite navigation has made travel safer for boats, aircraft and hikers.

Monitoring of the sun is needed to protect both space and earthbound communications - one sun flare can really interfere with radio based communication.

And to bring up an old chestnut, we really must spend more to observe the skies to detect the next object that has a chance of hitting Earth, taking action if we can to protect humanity.

I suppose there will always be an argument about why we should seek out knowledge, and i do not feel I am the best person to answer that question. At the end of the day, it is a moral issue best answered on an individual level.

Finally, this is an astronomy forum, and while I respect everyone's viewpoint, if anyone wants to discuss military spending, then please do it in a more appropriate forum, write to your national political representatives or run for office yourselves and effect change from the inside. I am not 100% sure that the non US readers of this forum would lose sleep over the amount of US taxes spent on US military hardware.

TriangleMan
2002-Dec-18, 11:11 PM
On 2002-12-18 05:46, Lucky wrote:

If somebody were to, in the midst of intellectual exchange, ask how the millions, nay billions, of dollars on moon expeditions and Hubble exposures were justified given the current state of the world, how would I answer them?




Here's a quote I like to use:

From "Broca's Brain" by Carl Sagan
The Queen asked Faraday of what use such studies were, to which he is said to have replied, "Madam, of what use is a baby?"

/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Smaug
2002-Dec-19, 02:27 AM
On 2002-12-18 17:41, Jetmech0417 wrote:


I still cannot justify spending 3.2 million dollars on a remote control plane.

How much can you justify spending on a plane that's NOT remote controlled, plus the training cost of the aircrew to fly that non-RC aircraft?
.....Now, justify losing that aircraft in battle, the cost it would take to replace it, AND the aircrew.
.....Now, justify the letter and the visit the families of those aircrew members will get from the military.
The point I'm trying to make here, is that it's much more cost effective to train someone to fly a RC aircraft and only have to worry about replacing lost or damaged equipment. Many families have been destroyed because of aircraft going down in combat zones. And non-combat zones, for that matter.



I totally agree with what you are saying. I was simply pointing out that all things in the military cost so much more than Hubble exposures. It is a great shame that governments have to protect themselves with these hostile machines, but I guess you could say it's human nature? Still, I believe many things are overpriced, especially aircraft.

RickNZ
2002-Dec-19, 02:42 AM
Firstly, compare lift to range. Its not absolute payload thats important, its payload to range that matters. Secondly, have you ever flown in a B-52? She's a great old lady but the operative word is old. The last one was built over 40 years ago. They can only operate now in benign air environments. Thirdly, the B-52 is great at what it does which is grid square removal. That worked well in Afghanistan where we suckered the Taliban into (quite literally) walking under the falling bombs. What the B52 can't do is take a single building in a single street and remove it without damaging the ones on either side - then go on and do the same to 19 more. Trying to compare the B-52 to the B-2 is like trying to compare a sawn-off shotgun to a sniper's rifle.


The B-2 does what its designed to do and does it well. Its very costly because we cut the production run back so much. However, its the only bird we have in the inventory that can do its particular job.


Are you aware of the technology that turns a dumb bomb into a smart bomb and are you also aware of the technology called mid air fueling?

A B52 can sit up above the battlefield delivering individual satelite comtrolled smart bombs to targets 'spotted' by direct controlling ground troops for hours on end.

I think your b52 desciption is stuck in the vietnam era. And the b52 of today is the same as the ones built 40 years ago in resemblance only.

"The plane is beyond a white elephant," said Adm. Eugene Carroll of the Center for Defense Information. "It is an anachronism that is being supported and sustained for only one reason: contracts in the districts and states of the members of Congress who want to spend more money on it."

Goslin said that before the end of this year a group of B-2s will be deployed abroad for the first time on a training mission. A key objective, he said, will be to determine whether two weeks of mock combat missions away from its home base will degrade the B-2's radar-evading capabilities.

Lt. Col. Greg Biscone, commander of the 393rd Bomb Squadron at Whiteman, said he was disappointed that some think the B-2 is a lemon.

"It's not perfect," he said, "but it's awesome."

Ilya
2002-Dec-19, 03:41 AM
If somebody were to, in the midst of intellectual exchange, ask how the millions, nay billions, of dollars on moon expeditions and Hubble exposures were justified given the current state of the world, how would I answer them?


I think Larry Niven's answer is the best:

"Dinosaurs died because they did not have a space program."

Lucky
2002-Dec-19, 03:56 AM
Okay, so far I'm not getting very far with this. Does anybody have anything to add that has nothing to do with US Defence spending and competing aeronautical technology?

TriangleMan
2002-Dec-19, 01:14 PM
On 2002-12-18 22:56, Lucky wrote:
Okay, so far I'm not getting very far with this. Does anybody have anything to add that has nothing to do with US Defence spending and competing aeronautical technology?



In essence, most scientific research may not have specific uses at the time but it is still valuable for the potential benefits that it could have later on that others discover.

If someone asks about the 'value' of research give them a well-known historical example, say Benjamin Franklin flying a kite into a storm to demonstrate electricity, and ask them:

When Ben did this, was he thinking about developing electic lights? television? computers? No. Others after him built on his research and from that came 'useful' things.

All scientific research has potential value which may not be evident at the time of the research itself.

(By the way, did Ben really fly a kite into a storm? That sounds dangerous.)

Stuart
2002-Dec-19, 01:55 PM
Now I don't mean to be belligerant here but, you, Stuart seem to always hijack an astronomy-related thread. Then you turn it into one big military thread.

No. When people here contribute their expertise on space related matters, I shut up and listen - and learn. Which is why I come here; to learn from those who are much better informed than I am in these areas. However, when defense issues come up, I have specific and detailed knowledge of those areas and (where possible and relevant) chuck into the pot for the general benefit of all. As to hijacking threads, I would point out that you are the one who brought defense expenditure into this.

As for Hubble et al, I would point out that the people who oppose expensiture on space research and astronomy are also those (mostly) who oppose defense expenditure. Usually their motivation is to "solve problems here on earth" which translates to huge government expenditure on social programs of highly dubious validity.

In a way, defense and space expenditure are different sides of the same coin. Expenditure on space research and learning about space is money spent safeguarding our future. Defense expenditure safeguards our present. FYI there are bad people out there who want to kill you. You'll sleep in your bed tonight because rough people are prepared to do violence on your behalf. You'll sleep in your bed in future nights because of the efforts pf space engineers and scientists who'll take us to the stars.

Stuart
2002-Dec-19, 01:58 PM
Are you aware of the technology that turns a dumb bomb into a smart bomb and are you also aware of the technology called mid air fueling?
Of course. Are you aware of their limitations

A B52 can sit up above the battlefield delivering individual satelite comtrolled smart bombs to targets 'spotted' by direct controlling ground troops for hours on end.
I'm well aware of this equipment. I've used it, Have you? By the way, are you aware that the central wing spar on a B-52H is a single forging that has just about reached the end of its life? Some are already cracking which means the wings could fall off. The same component did for the B-52D, F and G. Unfortunately, there was only one mega-press in the USA that could make those forgings and it was scrapped in the 1980s when it was assumed the B-52 was going to be replaced by the B-1 and B-2.


"The plane is beyond a white elephant," said Adm. Eugene Carroll of the Center for Defense Information. "It is an anachronism that is being supported and sustained for only one reason: contracts in the districts and states of the members of Congress who want to spend more money on it."

Eugene Caroll and CDI are the Bill Kaysing of the defense world.


<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Stuart on 2002-12-19 09:37 ]</font>

nebularain
2002-Dec-19, 02:07 PM
On 2002-12-19 08:55, Stuart wrote:
As for Hubble et al, I would point out that the people who oppose expensiture on space research and astronomy are also those (mostly) who oppose defense expenditure. Usually their motivation is to "solve problems here on earth" which translates to huge government expenditure on social programs of highly dubious validity.

In a way, defense and space expenditure are different sides of the same coin. Expenditure on space research and learning about space is money spent safeguarding our future. Defense expenditure safeguards our present. FYI there are bad people out there who want to kill you. You'll sleep in your bed tonight because rough people are prepared to do violence on your behalf. You'll sleep in your bed in future nights because of the efforts pf space engineers and scientists who'll take us to the stars.

Good answer! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

gethen
2002-Dec-19, 03:50 PM
In answer to the oringinal question, I believe it was Sagan again who noted that many if not most of the major discoveries that have created our modern world were made almost by accident by people trying to prove or to learn something entirely different. The value of pure research (meaning without the promise of monetary gain) is that it often leads into things totally unexspected and totally wonderful. If you only look for specific useful things, you miss all sorts of other possibly more valuable discoveries.

AgoraBasta
2002-Dec-19, 03:52 PM
On 2002-12-19 09:07, nebularain wrote:


On 2002-12-19 08:55, Stuart wrote:
As for Hubble et al, I would point out that the people who oppose expensiture on space research and astronomy are also those (mostly) who oppose defense expenditure. Usually their motivation is to "solve problems here on earth" which translates to huge government expenditure on social programs of highly dubious validity.

In a way, defense and space expenditure are different sides of the same coin. Expenditure on space research and learning about space is money spent safeguarding our future. Defense expenditure safeguards our present. FYI there are bad people out there who want to kill you. You'll sleep in your bed tonight because rough people are prepared to do violence on your behalf. You'll sleep in your bed in future nights because of the efforts pf space engineers and scientists who'll take us to the stars.

Good answer! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Egggzzzactly!!!

Smaug
2002-Dec-19, 10:10 PM
On 2002-12-19 08:55, Stuart wrote:

Now I don't mean to be belligerant here but, you, Stuart seem to always hijack an astronomy-related thread. Then you turn it into one big military thread.

No. When people here contribute their expertise on space related matters, I shut up and listen - and learn. Which is why I come here; to learn from those who are much better informed than I am in these areas. However, when defense issues come up, I have specific and detailed knowledge of those areas and (where possible and relevant) chuck into the pot for the general benefit of all. As to hijacking threads, I would point out that you are the one who brought defense expenditure into this.



I see what you mean, and I apologize. I also think it is good for you to correct military mistakes and such(like correcting the mistake on the money figure I got).

However:


**quote** but who the heck pays $25 million for a U.A.V. with 2 missiles... The U.S. does of course. **endquote**

Actually it doesn't. Unit cost of a AGM-114 Hellfire missile, US$44,500. Unit cost of a Predator UAV, US$3.2 million. Unit cost of look of stunned disbelief on the faces of a carload of terrorists just before they get blown away - priceless.

I think this was a little too much for me. I don't really enjoy talking about killing people...

P.S. You should send a letter to PopSci so they can correct the mistake(just an idea).