[ExI] macdac's rocket scientists

Spike spike66 at att.net
Mon Oct 1 05:22:34 UTC 2007

> bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Olga Bourlin
> My husband - who's known a lot of those fabled "rocket scientists" at
> McDonnell Douglas (where he used to work for 15 years) ... found a lot of
> them wanting when it came to interdisciplinary thinking (e.g., there were
> a couple of them who were creationists)... Olga

Ja, Olga, I too have serious doubts about MacDonnnelll Doouglas' rocket
scientists.  {8^D  Oddly enough, creationism is a surprisingly common
outlook among "rocket scientists".  We have a few of these at Lockheeed.  I
never have been able to figure out why, but I will offer a theory: one can
be a rocket scientist without actually having a deep seated science mindset.
If one is really good with the mechanics of mathematics, if one can model a
physical object as a system of simultaneous differential equations and solve
for any variable therein, one can be a rocket scientist.  A rocket scientist
is really a very sophisticated technician, in a sense.  I don't doubt that
super-technicians are smart guys, but they can (and often do) convince
themselves of some wacky stuff.

New subject: at the risk of rooting for my own competitors, check this:


U.S. Successfully Tests Missile Defense System Saturday, September 29, 2007

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -  A ground-based missile successfully
intercepted a target missile Friday in a test of the nation's defense
system, the Missile Defense Agency said.

An intercontinental ballistic missile interceptor blasted out of an
underground silo at Vandenberg Air Force Base shortly after 1:15 p.m., and
tracked a target missile that had lifted off from the Kodiak Launch Complex
in Alaska, the Boeing Co. said in a statement.

The Missile Defense Agency said initial results show the interceptor's
rocket motor system and kill vehicle performed as planned. Boeing said the
warhead was tracked, intercepted and destroyed.

Boeing is the prime contractor for what is formally known as the
Ground-Based Midcourse Defense system.

The MDA expects to invest $49 billion in ballistic missile defense
development and fielding over the next five years.

Two operational interceptor missiles are currently based at Vandenberg and
there are 11 deployed at Fort Greely, Alaska.

I offer my grudging congratulations to Booeing, for this is a competition in
which all humanity wins if the rocket scientists win:

There were recent disparaging comments here regarding FoxNews.  However, Fox
was the only mainstream news agency that carried this story (unless I missed
it elsewhere or it hasn't shown up yet) outside of my own rocket science
news outlets.  So without Fox, how would the public hear of this kind of
success?  This is certainly newsworthy, an extraordinary accomplishment, ja?


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