Subject: : Cassini as the subject of a debate -- STOP CASSINI #111
Date: April 9th, 1999
Time Frame: There are 76 days left before the flyby of Venus, June 24th, 1999.
A little emotion is okay. A lot of emotion is proper. No matter how improper it may feel, it really is proper! Outrage! Yelling! Screaming! Directing it appropriately is hard, but there is plenty, plenty, plenty to be outraged about. It is all I can do not to scream, it should be beyond many people's capabilities not to scream about the futility of it all sometimes. The more you know, the more you want to scream. Indeed, the more right you are to scream. But at who? This issue contains two letters regarding Cassini and the debate about it.
Russell D. Hoffman, Founder and Editor, STOP CASSINI newsletter
At 11:31 PM 4/4/99, 'someone' wrote:
Dear Sir, I am a 17 year old High School senior who is trying to research for an English class debate. [My town] is small, but even in a large town I think it would be hard to research my topic. I am to find arguments against the Space Program and every thing I see in print or on the web is slanted toward the Space Program, except the information on your web sight. Would it be possible for you to send me some sources for other arguments to help me get started. I am sure there is a lot of information on the web, but I am just not asking the right search questions.
Thank you very much
Thank you very much for your email [shown above] and I hope I have not missed your deadline. It's always a delight to hear from students getting involved in society's most important issues.
It is amazing that there is not more effort to link from NASA directly to the opposition sites; it would seem to me that it would strengthen NASA's position if they did not attempt to suppress other voices, but rather responded directly to our complaints. Of course, if our position is correct (and I believe it is), that would be very difficult for NASA to do!
I know of a number of sites which oppose the Cassini mission specifically, and my "friends of the STOP CASSINI web site" page links to many of them. Here's the URL of that page:
Also, the STOP CASSINI newsletters contain a number of links to affiliated sites, but those are a bit difficult to search through, I admit. #109 has two links, for example.
I have included a more general list of "good links" that arrived today. They are related, but unfortunately, most people do not seem to realize what is happening above their heads, and what the consequences to humanity will be from those actions. Distributing plutonium and other highly radioactive material into the upper atmosphere is not a safe disposal method at all, since 6 billion humans live under any radioactive debris cloud that might be formed. The only advantage is for NASA or whoever else is doing it, like Russia. Their advantage is that because the release of plutonium (mostly Pu 238) is so high up, it becomes very difficult if not impossible to prove where the deaths came from.
Unfortunately, though, people think this is either too complex for them, or too distant and unimportant, which in a sense may be true, since a lot of the dangers from today's space activities are really not likely to impact today's generations, or even tomorrow's. For example, Russia has sent up dozens of nuclear reactors which are right now, in orbit around the Earth. Most are in a so-called "safe" orbit about 400 to 1000 miles above Earth, but they are falling to Earth, and it is only a few hundred years before they will descend to this planet and burn up in the upper atmosphere, and add to the already-growing "background radiation" level.
And we can't just go and grab these things out of the sky and toss them somewhere. Some we can, but others are leaking their primary coolant out into space. That creates a debris field, which also falls to Earth [at the same rate, of course, as Galileo once illustrated]. So something should be done, and quickly, but nothing is being done, and as you say, not many people seem to care.
Yet if a nuclear reactor ON EARTH were leaking primary coolant into the atmosphere, it would rightfully be recognized as a catastrophe in the making! Frankly, I don't understand the attitude of the United States towards the Russian nuclear waste in outer space. I would think the proper attitude is to admit it's a problem and go get it, regardless of whose it is. We can bill Russia for the cleanup, but we cannot wait for them to come to their senses. Same for the rusting nuclear submarines that right now sit in northern Russian harbors, again, for lack of money they have not been properly decommissioned, but instead sit abandoned and in some cases, leaking various things.
I hope this has answered your question adequately, about where there are other voices against the terrible and unhealthy policies of NASA in the United States, and other past and present space agencies around the world. I wish there was a much greater outcry, but I believe, personally, that that outcry is stifled by people actually misrepresenting themselves as opposition voices, who are in fact, quite comfortable with the current state of affairs! So of the few opposition voices you find, you also must recognize that some of them are put there simply to discredit our side! There is of course, no way to assure you whether I am one of the genuine ones or one of the phonies, and that is the whole point of their existence. If you talk about them, you raise suspicion about yourself. If you don't, they weasel their way to the top of the movement and then proceed to destroy it from within!
So I suspect that one reason it is hard for you to find many other voices is that many of them -- millions, I hope, or even tens of millions -- have gone underground long ago. They talk to their friends, who talk to their friends, and some of them write letters to the Government and complain, and NASA and the United States get a little more worried. Hopefully some day, we will all be comfortable with coming out in the open and overwhelming the small but powerful forces which cause this terrible pattern of lies and misrepresentations which result in things like Cassini and other nuclear space nightmares. But for now, they tend to realize that open opposition is useless. They see, for example, what it has got me, in two years, I have been lied to by the best! I have been slandered, disgraced, picked apart, wrongfully accused of a wide variety of moral and social transgressions, and ultimately, ignored as much as possible.
Hardly a promising performance for the next person who might want to get involved in some environmental issue or other! If they have at least as much willpower and knowledge as I had (and I think I have put a lot into this effort, and I think I have learned a lot along the way), they will still only get as far as I got, and be opposed all the way by vast and mighty -- and secret -- forces, and at the same time be cuddled and praised by still others who in fact, want only to guide you back into the uselessness from whence we all came and to where we all eventually must return! But if in the interim, you stick up your head, they will hammer it down as surely as night follows day.
Well, I guess this paints a pretty depressing picture. I am a 42 year old American citizen, and I believe it is my civic duty to speak out about the things I have learned. My wife (we have been married 21 years) and I are both computer programmers with nearly 20 years' experience each in the field. I write educational software [...]. I certainly wish that I, personally, had never learned all the things I have learned about Cassini and NASA's lies. Because then it would NOT be my civic duty to say anything! And I would not open my self up for ridicule by those less well read about the subject (as often happens -- I get pro-Cassini emails which are full of factual errors), and I would not have to stay up nights answering letters which remind me how little progress I have made over the past two years! :)
Thank you for your letter, and best of luck in the debate. I hope these ideas give you some good grounds for a decisive moral victory, and I hope I have not held it too long for it to be useful to you!
Russell D. Hoffman
The Animated Software Company
STOP CASSINI web site
Founder and Editor
STOP CASSINI newsletter -- now in its 110th issue
Date: Sun, 04 Apr 1999 20:17:58 -0400
From: Carol Moore
To: Peace list from
Subject: Nuclear War-Related Links
X-Listprocessor-Version: 8.2.07 -- ListProc(tm) by CREN
Below are some good links related to nuclear war, Y2K and nuclear issues, and non-intervention. Remember even in the most peaceful of times we are 1/2 hour from nuclear destruction--not to mention when we are busy bombing two Russian allies, as we are now!!
Nuclear Information and Resource Service
Nuclear Age Peace Foundation http://www.napf.org/
The Bug in the Bomb http://www.basicint.org/y2krept.htm
Union of Concerned Scientists http://www.ucsusa.org/about/index.html
Physicians for Social Responsibility http://www.psr.org/
Nuclear Control Institute http://www.nci.org/home.htm
Nuclear Information World Wide Web Server
Big List of Nuclear Related Links http://www.fas.org/nuke/hew/News/Bigbig.html
Proposition One Committee's Bigger List of Nuclear Related Links http://prop1.org/prop1/azantink.htm
Bulletin of Atomic Scientists Atomic Clock http://www.bullatomsci.org/clock.html
Daily Y2K articles, including nuclear related, at: http://www.year2000.com/y2karticles
Photos of nuke war
Nuclear War Related Movies--The War Game, Testament, Miracle Mile, Threads, The Day After and By Dawn's Early Light--and other good links can be found from: http://www.ibp-intl.demon.co.uk/nuccult.htm
Committee Against U.S. Intervention http://www.antiwar.com
International Action Center
NonViolence Web http://www.nonviolence.org
DC Demos Photos site http://www.sinkers.org
from Carol Moore
To: Christine M. Rodrigue, Ph.D.
Center for Hazards Research
California State University
Chico, CA 95929-0425
(530) 898-4953 -- FAX -6781
From: Russell Hoffman, Founder and Editor, STOP CASSINI newsletter (full contact information appears below)
Date: April 9th, 1999
Dear Dr. Rodrigue:
Recently, in answer to an inquiry from a high school student, I found a pre-release of your paper about the Cassini debate at this URL:
I am wondering if you have a final version of it which I could critique? From the preliminary version, I think it's one of the most biased bits of "science" I've ever seen, but since it's only the preliminary version, I thought I'd wait and address the specifics after seeing the final version, if possible.
I especially note, however, that you have completely missed the possibility that it is NASA who avoids the scientific debate, not the activists and the scientists the good activists listen to. You also completely missed the possibility that the so-called non-military missions are in fact simply excuses for developing the military nuclear agenda in the first place. Also, your so-called scientific paper has completely missed the possibility (if I'm not mistaken, of course -- I did skim it a little bit -- it was getting boring in its many absurd assumptions) that the so-called activists are in fact, in many cases, merely agent-provocateurs for the military! You think that is not possible? Well, that is your opinion, but a scientific paper should consider all the possibilities and see which ones fit the data the best.
Chances are, of course, the simplest one will be right. Not always, but it usually is, isn't it? I think my explanations given here explain the madness of using the Plutonium-238 in a highly vaporizable format (as if there is any other form in a reentry accident) within the 3 RTGs and 130 (approximately) RHUs, more than your supposedly scientific description (at least, in the preliminary version) explains much of anything. You cannot isolate the debate about Cassini from the debate about low-level radiation's effects, and your so-called scientists have not won that debate. Until they do, the anti-Cassini position may well be the correct one for society to take! Furthermore, you mention that the activists feel that NASA misrepresents the severity of a "worst case" accident, but you don't seem to allow for that being true, thus altering the perception of risk more than the public's so-called inability to understand the details. That is to say, if the details are not presented to the public, how can they possibly be expected to form a reasonable opinion? That is not the same as the public not being able to make a logical decision!
I suggest you familiarize yourself with the work of Dr. John W. Gofman, for starters. Then perhaps you would not be so quick to assume that the activists are not the true supporters of science, and the NASA space crowd, [are] the true supporters of nothing less than a fraud upon the people of "spaceship Earth".
If the activists are right (and I certainly contend that their scientists have proven so beyond the shadow of a doubt), that makes the activist's emotional outcries quite logical, and not at all inappropriate. We are dealing with a policy that will sooner or later end in disaster. Taken from that angle, your many insults such as "By the same token, the same people can become extremely upset over technological or disease hazards deemed minuscule by risk assessment (e.g., anything nuclear, residues on produce, contracting AIDS from merely touching or kissing an HIV+ person). The Cassini controversy is a classic exemplar of the expert and lay division in perception" negates the possibility that useful research is being done by you for this report. Your attitude is biased, and your report cannot help but be biased as long as it ignores the possibility that the activists are right, and that the fundamental principals of science which you claim to champion are being abrogated by Cassini and its supporters (I have yet to find the knowledgeable proponent, though you seem to claim the world is full of them.).
Well, I could go on, for example trying to explain to you that "residue on produce" is a reasonable worry as well, if the solution to the problem considers the possibility that more proper techniques for applying pesticides can not only save the farmer money, reduce the run-off damage, reduce the risk of insects becoming immune to the pesticide, and result in lowered risk levels for everyone and money saved as well, but I'm sure you've tuned it all out by now, which by the way is the other reason the activists must be so active and shrill. After all, you wrote thousands of words, all of it useless drivel. You are not the first to publish such lies, which misrepresent the debate and misdiagnose the problems, and you will not be the last. Sure, I'm shrill. You call yourself a scientist, and you are not. You declare me and my brethren uninformed about Cassini, and we are not. And you ignore the scientific debate which underlies the whole Cassini debate.
That is a debate NASA lost long ago.
Again, I would love to see the final version of your speech, so I can tear it apart more properly. I do mean critique it fairly, but to be fair to your paper is to be hard on you, and there is little I can do about it. Your view is not that of a scientist, though you seem to think it is. But remember, you clearly invited these comments from the opposition at both the top and bottom of your report, so I hope you have the steel nerves it takes to read an honestly thought-out description of garbage like yours when looked at from the point of view of someone who has lost friends and family to your deadly nuclear assault on humanity -- yes, the one you are an apologist for. And someone who personally has met the scientists you think don't even exist, who oppose this madnes. And I hope you also realize the attacks I have received over the years for my views; silly things from uninformed yahoos (mostly amateur astronomers) who think they can explain away Cassini with this "we MUST explore even if it kills us!" bravado. I love science. Your paper isn't science and neither is Cassini.
I will welcome your defense of your assumptions. Better, of course, I hope the final version was corrected to consider a more holistic approach to the vital scientific issues which plague society. Like you I lament any reduction in the ability of the public to make a proper scientific decision. But I guess one might say I think we have sunk a whole lot further than you do already, such that you think yourself a scientist (and I'm sure your degree is not fake), yet you are not able to recognize that what you are supporting (and you are supporting it, there is no question about that --your science, such as it is, is biased) is damaging to the planet's ecosystem and is causing the cancerous deaths of millions. You missed that result of your studies, didn't you? A little obfuscation here, a little disinegenuous dismissal of the opposition as uninformed there, and a little ignorance of the bigger issues, and poof! Just like that, you have created a work of fiction instead of a scientific paper!
I eagerly await your response.
Russell D. Hoffman
P.S. I would also be interested in seeing what material you actually used to determine your views of what the Cassini debate is about and what the science issues involved really are, especially from prior to 1/1/1997 when I personally, first became involved with the issue at the personal suggestion of one of the main voices of opposition.
P.P.S. Attached is the letter from a [high school] student, and a quick-review of some of the real issues involved in Cassini. [ the attachments consisted of the above letter from a high school student (response not included] and the letter published in the Okanagan (Canada) and my response, published in issue #109]
END OF OUTGOING EMAIL
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CANCEL CASSINI by JUNE 24th, 1999!!!!
To Cancel Cassini start by asking NASA for the 1995 Environmental Impact Statement for the Cassini Mission and all subsequent related documents (on paper, please!). Tell them you need it IMMEDIATELY (members of the world press should do this too). All citizens of the world are ENTITLED to these documents because of the global threat Cassini poses. Here's where to get information:
Tell them Russell Hoffman, founder and editor of the STOP CASSINI newsletter, sent you. I bet they love to hear that!
NASA states that they do not have the resources anymore to answer most emails they receive. Liars! They have $13 billion dollars to play with. They can answer the public's questions. At least, ask them one specific question: How many letters did they get opposing Cassini today? (And tell them you oppose it too!) If each reader asks them that...
Here's NASA's email address:
Daniel Goldin is the head of NASA. Here's his email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here's the NASA URL to find additional addresses to submit written questions to:
(Note that it looks like possibly a temporary URL assignment, but you can always start at http://www.nasa.gov.)
They imply at the web site that written comments are more likely to get answered -- quicker than emailed comments! Someone should welcome them to the 1990's before it's too late.
Long time readers know lots of questions to ask them! Ask them why they don't link to our web site. Ask them why they haven't got rid of Daniel Goldin, the glassy-eyed fool. Ask them why they haven't sent you YOUR copy of the 1995 EIS for the Cassini mission! Ask them anything, but demand an answer! YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW WHAT NASA IS DOING TO YOUR HEALTH.
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Russell D. Hoffman
Founder & Editor
STOP CASSINI Newsletter -- over 100 issues of mirth, merriment, and mind-numbingly depressing facts about NASA and other horrors
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