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Thread: What's NASA Up To And Other Space Stuff

  1. #511
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  2. #512
    SpaceX is getting ready for Starship's first prototype high altitude flight - tomorrow or the next day. Should be interesting. This is prototype 8 and they have four more iterations in various stages of completion, the latter ones with improvements already incorporated from the current. The feeling is it doesn't matter a lot if this one crashes. On the one hand its best for rocketry in general if they hit a home run, but on the other hand, a crash is so cool to watch.

    I wish Musk wasn't such an ass sometimes. I like his bold, innovative, projects. Landing rockets ffs - really? But why does he have to deny covid's a problem, or back coups in Bolivia? Jeez. Nothing is ever simple.
    The Rules
    Copper- behave toward others to elicit treatment you would like (the manipulative rule)
    Gold- treat others how you would like them to treat you (the self regard rule)
    Platinum - treat others the way they would like to be treated (the PC rule)

  3. #513
    Never have heroes.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  4. #514
    Quote Originally Posted by EyeKhan View Post
    I wish Musk wasn't such an ass sometimes. I like his bold, innovative, projects. Landing rockets ffs - really? But why does he have to deny covid's a problem, or back coups in Bolivia? Jeez. Nothing is ever simple.
    This is a known phenomenon, sort of a special case of Dunning-Kruger. Maybe we'd best call it ultracrepidarianism, or an extension of survivor bias.

    Elon Musk is very smart and has been very good at a few things in his life. He's surrounded by people who continually tell him how great he is, and there's a cult of personality that follows him much more than your typical tech/industrial executive. This means he overestimates his own expertise and competence in subjects about which he is not, in fact an expert. And when it comes to something like Covid, he has every reason (billions of little green reasons, in fact) to downplay the risks because it costs him money to take it seriously. Ditto for Bolivia (which nationalized lithium production). He's also sure that since his way of doing things in the past has worked out, it is likely to serve him similarly well in the future.

    It's possible Musk is just a narcissist who will say anything if it makes him richer. But I am mildly more charitable - he's a narcissist who is so sure he is right that he'll convince himself a given action or policy is the right course of action and it just happens to make it easier to run his businesses.

    I'm not really offended by this kind of thing. I admire Kary Mullis for his seminal contribution to molecular biology even if I recognize that he was nuts. Don't even get me started on Watson and Crick's numerous failings, but they did figure out something truly extraordinary. Most of our historical (and many of our current) political, scientific, and cultural luminaries were racist, sexist, and a whole bunch of other -ists.

    This isn't to excuse them, but it's important not to put any human on too high of a pedestal. People can be extraordinary and worth of being celebrated for their achievements while still recognizing them as flawed. In fact, I'd bet that people who do truly extraordinary things are more likely to also be extraordinarily flawed. Such is the human condition.
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  5. #515
    Quote Originally Posted by wiggin View Post
    This is a known phenomenon, sort of a special case of Dunning-Kruger. Maybe we'd best call it ultracrepidarianism, or an extension of survivor bias.

    ...

    It's possible Musk is just a narcissist who will say anything if it makes him richer. But I am mildly more charitable - he's a narcissist who is so sure he is right that he'll convince himself a given action or policy is the right course of action and it just happens to make it easier to run his businesses.
    I follow enough of what Musk does and what goes on around him, as well as having seen this same thing play out an upsetting number of times in the past with different people and groups. There's more to it than what you've said.

    There is a cult of personality around him, but there's also a counter-cult that loves to pour the hate on him and attack him at every opportunity. This tends to lead to a counter-counter reaction, a series of defensive mechanisms a person or group sets up to deal with being constantly attacked. Easily the most common of these defensive mechanisms is to reactively spin the attacks as baseless, because let's be honest - most of them are, at least by the count of different attacks if not by the number of people making them. This does become a problem when the attack isn't baseless though, like with covid.

    So how I see this happening is that Musk didn't think covid was a big deal back when that was a perfectly reasonable position to hold, before the evidence had really built up to say that yes this is a big deal, and it's different from all the other disease scares we've had these past couple decades. Reasonable or not though, there's enough people around to attack any position Musk admits to holding, just because he's Musk. And that's where the defensive mechanisms kicked in and caused Musk and pals to start digging in, which was easy at first back when it wasn't an unreasonable belief to hold. Things changed of course, but it was too late - because the attacks started early, so did the selection biases and rationalizations. It gets hard to change one's mind in light of new evidence when you've already had to start digging in and defending your position before that evidence was around. Changing your mind is tantamount to admitting that your enemies were right about everything they've ever said, every accusation they've ever made, and every terrible way they've described you. It's handing them ammunition for every future attack they ever want to make against you. Refusing to budge might turn out just as bad or worse for a person, but the behaviors I'm talking about aren't really a conscious decision so it doesn't factor in.

    Every single human being does this - all of us. No exceptions. Attacking someone over their opinion only makes them dig in deeper, and makes them less receptive to counter-evidence. This scales with the intensity of the attack, so the harder and more frequently they're attacked, the more entrenched they become. This is a well-studied effect, but I think everyone forgets that it applies just as much in public settings as it does in private conversations.

    tl;dr: Social media is the worst

  6. #516
    Re. covid-related Muskinations, the first analysis is more accurate, as best exemplified by Musk's embarrassing dalliance with the field of medical equipment production. It was not an anti-anti derpgasm. He has continued to downplay the risks and to endorse policies that are outright deadly. Overall, what he's demonstrating is a contempt for prudence—in this case, for prudent risk analysis. Even in the early stages of the pandemic, cavalier dismissal of the potential risks was not a reasonable posture. In Musk's case, it's especially problematic because the risks he's willing to take with other people's lives also benefit him monetarily. There is a very effective way to avoid ending up in the situation in which you say Musk and his proponents so often find themselves: exercise better judgement when expounding on important issues. If you're a narcissistic billionaire shitposter with a proclivity for talking out of your ass about things you don't yet understand, it's perfectly legit for people to dunk on you for it. I just wish he hadn't visited my mate's town to spread covid.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  7. #517
    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    Re. covid-related Muskinations, the first analysis is more accurate, as best exemplified by Musk's embarrassing dalliance with the field of medical equipment production. It was not an anti-anti derpgasm. He has continued to downplay the risks and to endorse policies that are outright deadly. Overall, what he's demonstrating is a contempt for prudence—in this case, for prudent risk analysis.
    And that's totally out of character - he's always been aggressive about his goals, but his planning, design, and milestones have always been examples of prudent risk-aware engineering. He's also always shown a willingness and ability to quickly pivot and change his plans in light of new information. He never thinks or works this way for non-political/personal issues, so I think it's pretty fair to say that the making it political/personal is a significant contributor.

    Someday, people need to start accepting their own parts in creating their own enemies, or they'll never stop getting created. Social media has made it too easy to do this, and our psychologies weren't evolved to deal with everything that it needs to deal with properly. Please try to stop feeding the problem.

    Even in the early stages of the pandemic, cavalier dismissal of the potential risks was not a reasonable posture.
    I'm saying he became entrenched before that. Before there was a pandemic. IIRC, it started in the Dec/Jan timeframe.

  8. #518
    Do you understand how many woman, black, trans people etc with online presences an absolute torrent receive misogynist or racist abuse, rape and death threats on a daily basis without even once hiring private investigators to dig up dirt on rescue divers after calling them "pedo guy" in a twitter temper tantrum, repeatedly play down infectious diseases killing 10s of thousands or get fined $20 million dollars for misleading investors? 'cause it's a lot.
    Last edited by Steely Glint; 12-03-2020 at 11:55 AM.
    So may your dreams be monumental when your spirit guides the way
    Within in the flicker of a candle, I will heal your soul's decay
    We share a fate, trapped on a page, by the author of our world's demise

  9. #519
    Oh, and a lot of his stuff that isn't to do with SpaceX seems extremely dubious.
    So may your dreams be monumental when your spirit guides the way
    Within in the flicker of a candle, I will heal your soul's decay
    We share a fate, trapped on a page, by the author of our world's demise

  10. #520
    Quote Originally Posted by Wraith View Post
    I'm saying he became entrenched before that. Before there was a pandemic. IIRC, it started in the Dec/Jan timeframe.
    I don't follow Musk's social media antics at all; only the stuff that is controversial enough to make the front page. But if you're right that he was making assertions about the potential risks of a novel fast spreading coronavirus in December or January, then he simply didn't have enough information to make a meaningful conclusion even if he was an expert on the subject. Why he would feel the need to opine in the first place let alone get entrenched in a position is frankly mystifying to me and does not seem to be 'normal' behavior.

    By the last week of January we started to get some more information about the clinical presentation, approximate R zero, and the number of mild or asymptomatic cases; until then pretty much all publicly available information was speculation (it is likely that the CDC and other agencies had a bit more information by early January or even late December). So in Dec/Jan all we knew was that there was a contagious coronavirus causing severe respiratory disease; this is pretty much a textbook nightmare scenario for epidemiologists (and, in fact, has been wargamed before for pandemic response teams). It makes sense based on the information available in Dec/Jan to be cautious and start preparations for a full blown pandemic.

    By the end of January, though, the increasing information becoming available was evidence that the earlier caution and concern should be upgraded to more urgent preparations for a likely pandemic. I told my bosses in early February that we needed to develop a plan for scaling back our lab and manufacturing operations to the bare minimum and prioritize key activities necessary to hit our milestones; I do not have any special training or knowledge, but the writing was on the wall.

    I'm honestly not sure what magical time there was when (a) there was enough information available to make an informed declaration about how the coronavirus was not a substantial risk and (b) there wasn't enough information available to predict that the coronavirus was indeed a very substantial risk. In this context, Musk's behavior early on is puzzling, and his unwillingness to revise his views that were clearly uninformed speculation is best explained by his willingness to believe that he can't be wrong.

    I don't have any particular bone to pick with Musk. You know that I'm often skeptical of his overblown assertions and predictions and I treat his proposed timelines and budgets with flat out disbelief. On the balance I actually think he's doing important work and accelerating broadly positive change in a number of important areas. I ignore his usual bullshit feuds and antics and focus on his work; and frankly I don't have a problem with him being irrational about Covid or Bolivia or anything else - that's his prerogative. But it's hard to characterize his behavior as generally rational, especially outside his area of expertise.
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  11. #521
    I watched the Starship prototype's high altitude test. The live video feeds were terrific, as was the crash landing. I'm sure youtube has the full video - worth watching.
    The Rules
    Copper- behave toward others to elicit treatment you would like (the manipulative rule)
    Gold- treat others how you would like them to treat you (the self regard rule)
    Platinum - treat others the way they would like to be treated (the PC rule)

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