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Life imitating art?

By GuruOfDos ·
NASA was in the news this week after the publication of a damning report into the recent Shuttle disaster.

The day before the report was published, I read a copy of "Shadow Watch" by Tom Clancy. I enjoy his books because they are fiction but based largely on fact. This book was written a few years ago now, but starts with a Shuttle disaster. In the book, it turned out to be sabotage, rather than human or 'corporate' error, but in the book his insight and slamming of NASA's management and events following the first Shuttle disaster in the mid-80's were almost verbatim what has been reported in the last few days.

Life imitating art?

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Talented Researcher

by TheChas In reply to Life imitating art?

Mr Clancy is a very talented researcher.

All of his books have the air of authenticity because he researches every aspect of the story and NEVER contradicts what is real or probable.

I remember hearing a story that the CIA investigated him very heavily after one of his books came out.
The information was so accurate, that the CIA was convinced that Mr Clancy had a person inside the CIA who was feeding him information.
He had to show the CIA how he was able to come up with his conclusions from publicly available information.


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The insight of Tom Clancy

by maxwell edison In reply to Life imitating art?

It's amazing to see the amount of "inside information" he can acquire. All of his books do indeed have that element of reality, and sometines his suggested "warnings" should be heeded.

It's a damn shame that some people at NASA wouldn't admit to a mistake and a failure in their system. Had they listened to lower level engineers, the problem could have been verified before the disaster. I'm certain that, had they kept the shuttle in orbit, a way to either repair the damage or rescue the astronauts could have been discovered. There's no doubt in my mind.

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It was mooted

by GuruOfDos In reply to The insight of Tom Clancy

That a shuttle could be sent up to transfer the astronauts and with 20:20 hindsight...

But it is always easy to be wise after an event, as recent history has proved. It just strikes me as too much of a coincidence that Tom Clancy manages to hit the nail on the head almost every time, and history seems to prove him right. I do have some doubts at to the possibilities in his 'Netforce' books though! Somehow I don't see that happening just yet!

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I remember reading the same thing

by maxwell edison In reply to It was mooted

That a rescue shuttle could not have been sent up, but I don't buy it. I'm a firm believer in the old adage, if there's a will, there's a way. Not possible? I just don't buy it. With all the talent and resources available in the world, getting those 7 out of orbit would have been possible - perhaps the greatest rescue mission of all time - but certainly possible.

Personally, I'm really pissed off at NASA. They ignored the warning signs and they didn't even try to think of an alternative.

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Yes, a tragedy

by TheChas In reply to I remember reading the sa ...

Max, I fully agree that all 3 major NASA 'incidents' were tragedies that did not need to happen.
Apollo 1

With the possible exception of the Apollo 1 fire, these tragedies have been the result of running a technical, scientific effort as a business.

When companies and government agencies are forced to pay too much attention to the bottom line the core mission gets lost.

Government agencies need to look at their budgets and determine what they can do to serve their mission goals without compromise.
In order to do that, they must be free from political pressure to please key lawmakers.

Companies need to focus on serving the customer and doing what is just and right for their employees and communities.
Stock-holders need to allow the company the freedom to have a poor quarter now and then so long as the company is making progress in relation to the business mission.

If their was not so much demand for instant results and profits, we would not have situations like Columbia and Enron.

The goals need to shift so that executives ask what is the right way to reach our goals. Not what is the cheapest and quickest way.


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Apollo 13

by maxwell edison In reply to It was mooted

Apollo 13 was also a lost cause. But two things turned it around - duct tape and human ingenuity. I'll tell you, I really am upset about this. They didn't have to die.

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by GuruOfDos In reply to Apollo 13

It would appear on this topic that we three are all agreed. I feel gratified that I'm not the only one thinking the way I do, and that the two people in TR whos opinions and comments I value and respect very highly feel the same way as I do.

The NASA situation, Enron, or indeed any situation where something has gone horribly awry can usually be traced back to the same root causes. The interests of shareholders more important than 'what is right', infighting within the management structure of large companies leading to self preservation or protecting ones own interests against the goals or objectives of the group as a whole. Costcutting, timesaving and "I'm alright Jack, **** everyone else".

Unfortunately, this appears to be the way of the world and whichever way you turn, the evidence is there. When we all worship Mammon and are all out to make a buck, someone has to pay the price. There is only so much to go round, and we can't all be rich. For every dollar profit, someone has to pay that dollar or make a loss themselves. Should human sacrifice and loss of life be the price paid to support this ideology or should we all say "Stop the's time to get off"?

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non-zero-sum game

by john_wills In reply to Gentlemen...

"For every dollar profit, someone has to pay that dollar or make a loss themselves.". That's not really true. When two people voluntarily exchange goods, both think they're better off by the exchange or they wouldn't do it. Money measures material value, so the money measure of their wealth has increased. The amount of money in an economy neither inflationary nor deflationary keeps in step with the amount of material wealth, although I'm not sure of the economic details. But your applicatoin to NASA may well be right.

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The show must go on

by jkaras In reply to non-zero-sum game

I get your point of exchange but, there is always going to be 1 person profitting more or cheating the other, thats called bartering. Regardless if the person is short changed they may still be happy to achieve or aquire said item. Everyone tries to get a better deal cause they fear the other is trying to cheat them like Carlin said. It's sad but true and doubt that i will ever see a day that man doesnt practice this philosophy. In this issue the contract is awarded to the cheapest contractor that underbids for these amazing vessels or for the Chekov fans wessels. Our endevors for space is one of the most important things that mankind must do to survive. The dinosuars had their chance and now it's our turn. We need to be able to colonize in space before nature decides to replace us or the rediculous fight in the "promised land" helps it along. I hate and understand that the big wigs made those decisions, will make the same decisions, and some that made a difference in our efforts. Astronaunt casulties have been happening since the begining and will continue, it's an unfortunate result of progress that the astronauts knew all to well and were willing to make the sacrifice to andvance mankind. These individuals are some of the brightest, phyisically able, and brave that face death like marines we need people that can perform an strive even knowing full well the consequences of their decision. I mourn their loss and am upset that there was a possibility that they suffered for 24 sec or died in 24 sec. We dont know and never will, though the idea of it, scares the bajeezus out of me I know even if there were a 10% chance of coming back alive I would be first in the module for the opprotunity to be in space. The only good is that now with the last couple of setbacks and loss will they properly safegaurd these heros. It must be stressed that we need to continue to reach the stars despite these horrible setbacks.
On a side note Guru, last time I saw a post by you and the missus were having a baby. What was it a boy or girl? I'm sure it's a beautiful healthy baby and I offer my congrats.

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To answer the last point

by GuruOfDos In reply to The show must go on

and for all followers of the 'Guru Junior Saga'...

Theresa was due on Fri 23rd....but nothing yet! If nothing happens by next Thursday, they're sending in the troops to 'flush her out'!

Will post as soon as we have a result! Thanks people :-)

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