STOP CASSINI Newsletter #224 -- November 11th, 1999
Copyright (c) 1999
STOP CASSINI Newsletters Index
To: Subscribers, government officials, members of the press
From: Russell David Hoffman (still hopeful)
Re: Reason for MCO failure confirmed: It was launched by humans: STOP CASSINI #224
Date: November 11th 1999
This issue's subjects:
- (1) Veteran's day in America: Thank you, vets!
- (2) MCO failure: JPL at fault, along with the whole system
- (3) MCO failure: There's a screw loose somewhere
- (4) U.S. News & World Report thinks they are subscribers -- they aren't
- (5) Salon Magazine thinks similarly to USN&WR
- (6) Earth when?! Journal -- obviously doesn't think at all!
- (7) Y2K is coming (#2) -- A short poem by Russell Hoffman
- (8) Tell Clinton how you feel -- Official government contact points
- (9) Newsletter subscription information
- (10) Newsletter Authorship notes and additional URLs
(1) Veteran's day in America: Thank you, vets!:
Today in America, on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, we honor all those who have served this great country in her Armed Forces. My father and many other relatives are included among those who served in combat. Without these brave men and women, who fought (and many of whom died) for our freedom, the STOP CASSINI newsletter and a thousand little voices like it would not exist.
We thank all the brave soldiers, and appreciate their tremendous, sometimes ultimate, effort and sacrifice. We recognize that many of them died utterly in vain, fighting for a pointless plot of land, or fighting simply because some politicians could not settle an issue peaceably. We recognize too, that many of the wars they fought in were not for the things these soldiers were told they were fighting for, but were, in short because the world -- including America's own politicians -- would not make the effort to find another solution. -- rdh
(2) MCO failure: JPL at fault, along with the whole system:
James Oberg wrote in New Scientist in the October 23rd, 1999 issue (page 52): "... by the end of the month, JPL's confidence was shattered and its reputation in tatters." Truer words were never spoken.
Here are a few reports that have just come in about the Mars Climate Orbiter failure, a failure which was clearly indicative of what could have happened to Cassini. Yet still David F. Doody, Cassini mission specialist at NASA (to name just one example) does not apologize to the public. How arrogant can you get? -- rdh
----- INCOMING EMAIL TO THE STOP CASSINI EDITOR: -----
Date: Thu, 11 Nov 1999 10:49:49 EST
Subject: LA Times: String of Missteps Doomed Orbiter; JPL Found at Fault
k here: http://www.latimes.com/news/science/science/lat_mars991111.htm</A>
Los Angeles Times Thursday November 11, 1999
String of Missteps Doomed Orbiter; JPL Found at Fault
Mars: NASA investigators say accident points to major mismanagement.
Lockheed is also cited. Scientists scramble to fix problems as another craft
approaches the Red Planet.
By ROBERT LEE HOTZ, Times Science Writer
Inattention, miscommunication and overconfidence at the Jet Propulsion
Laboratory were among the management problems that added up to a fatal error
in arithmetic and doomed the $125-million Mars Climate Orbiter earlier this
year, a NASA accident review board concluded Wednesday.
The investigation also turned up potentially fatal problems with its
sister spacecraft, the Mars Polar Lander, that JPL engineers in Pasadena are
now scrambling to fix as the robotic craft approaches Mars for a landing
attempt early next month.
"No one wants another mistake to go undetected," said JPL Director
Edward Stone. "We are doubling and redoubling our efforts."
In its formal report made public Wednesday, the NASA panel confirmed
that JPL and its subcontractors confused English and metric units in a series
of miscalculations that led to the Orbiter's disappearance Sept. 23 as it
began to circle Mars.
Whatever its narrow technical conclusion, however, the board called
attention to a series of major management missteps at JPL and its leading
industrial partner in space--Lockheed Martin Astronautics--that contributed
to the loss of the orbiter.
Among a litany of problems, the board noted that the navigation team was
not familiar with the orbiter. The spacecraft team was equally ignorant of
the navigation problems. Crucial computer files were corrupted for months or
never properly tested, the report said.
Reaction to the findings was harsh.
"These people could not manage their way out of a Glad Bag," said John
Pike, space policy director for the Federation of American Scientists, a
nonprofit group that monitors science and technology. "This is far worse than
I thought, in terms of generally slipshod, inattentive management. It is
sobering and sad."
Those same management deficiencies are also the subject of a separate
audit by the NASA inspector general. That report criticized JPL for not
paying enough attention to the problems at Lockheed and its other contractors
in the space agency's ambitious Mars '98 exploration program, which included
both the Orbiter and the Mars Lander probes.
Launching five spacecraft in six months and then attempting to manage
several of them simultaneously, JPL managers failed to do enough to control
costs or to ensure that the spacecraft were properly built by subcontractors,
the inspector general's audit concluded.
Indeed, the contractor's cost of the Mars Orbiter and Lander project
soared 44% to $121.3 million, the inspector general reported, even as
Lockheed failed to properly staff the project or deliver properly functioning
hardware. The overall mission stayed within the budget constraints of NASA's
"better, cheaper, faster" mandate, JPL officials said, but only by using up
contingency funds that could have been devoted to other tasks.
Lockheed--the world's largest and perhaps most troubled defense
contractor--was also involved in several other major spaceflight failures
this year that stemmed from an overemphasis on cost-cutting, mismanagement
and poor quality control.
Ineffective Designs, Poor Workmanship
In a recent review of five JPL projects, the NASA auditors were
especially troubled by a staffing pattern of too few people at the onset of a
project when key engineering decisions are being made and too many later on
to catch up with slipping schedules. This contributed to poor workmanship and
ineffective engineering designs, they said.
To make up for its initial understaffing of the Mars 98 project,
Lockheed's staffing for the last two-thirds of the project was 80% more than
planned, the auditors found. To make up for lost time, engineers and
technicians were required to work 70 hours a week or more.
"Rushing to meet milestones could . . . result in engineering decisions
being made based on schedule need instead of the need to reduce risk of
failure," NASA auditors had warned JPL in their report, delivered just a few
days before the Orbiter vanished in space.
With many engineers working on several projects at once, such see-saw
staffing also could have a ripple effect throughout the unmanned space
exploration program, several space analysts said.
The project problems were so serious that even before the Mars Orbiter
disappeared, JPL had moved to slash Lockheed's performance award from $12.5
million to $3.5 million. After the Mars lander portion of the mission is
completed next year, JPL may move to cut that award even more in response to
the orbiter loss.
Even so, the auditors concluded, JPL managers too often let contractors
Noel Hinners, vice president for flight systems at Lockheed Martin's
space systems group, said Wednesday that the company was responsible for
assuring that critical measures of the Mars Orbiter's performance were
delivered to JPL in metric units.
But Lockheed engineers prepared computer files in English units instead
because they forgot to check the technical specifications, he said.
"To be very blunt, it was overlooked," Hinners said.
In its investigation of the Mars Orbiter mishap, the accident review
board also discovered that:
There was a widespread perception among Mars Climate Orbiter team
that "orbiting Mars is routine," which caused the team to not pay enough
attention to the risks of interplanetary spaceflight.
There was so little communication between navigators and
spacecraft designers that the navigation team did not understand "essential
spacecraft characteristics" and the spacecraft team did not understand " the
navigation challenge." Key people often failed to attend mission reviews. At
least one design decision eliminated a spacecraft function that could have
saved the craft the by eliminating the need for constant momentum adjustments
that went awry when the wrong measurements were used in calculations.
The operations navigation personnel were so unfamiliar with the
Mars Orbiter spacecraft that they assumed it would act the same way as the
Mars Global Surveyor craft, which was based on an entirely different design.
The team was "isolated," understaffed and inadequately trained.
Crucial mission computer files were delivered to JPL with file
formatting errors and corrupted data, which then went uncorrected for four
months. Other computer software was not adequately tested or verified.
Overall, the glitches made it harder to detect the metric miscalculation.
A contingency for a last-minute engine firing, which might have
saved the orbiter, was built into the flight plan but the engineering details
were never worked out; so that when the navigators asked for the maneuver to
be performed in a last-ditch effort to salvage the mission, they were turned
"There is still confusion," the board said, about why the crucial
contingency maneuver was not performed or whether it was necessary.
While several senior JPL officials were permitted to discuss the board's
findings publicly, JPL would not allow any member of the Mars Climate Orbiter
team to answer questions about their reactions to the board's conclusions.
The board also recommended eight actions to ensure the Polar Lander
settles down safely at the Martian South Pole in December, including
independent navigation measurements to ensure accurate tracking and a compete
review of all the landing procedures and computer software. With additional
engineers and navigators pressed into service, JPL is attempting to solve the
problems in the next three weeks.
The most serious concern involves the Lander's hydrazine-fueled descent
In 35 years of planetary exploration, no one has ever used the kind of
soft landing technique to be employed by the Mars Lander next month. All 12
thrusters must fire perfectly in unison to set the lander down properly.
But chilled for 11 months in space, the fuel could freeze and the
thrusters could misfire, stall or explode when turned on.
In the second thoughts prompted by the Orbiter loss, JPL engineers
decided to heat the descent engines and the propellent system up to 46.4
degrees Fahrenheit several hours before igniting them.
The report released Wednesday was prepared by nine NASA experts led by
Arthur G. Stephenson, who is director of NASA's George C. Marshall Space
Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. JPL itself mounted two additional internal
Despite its unflinching assessment of the orbiter technical problems,
the report steered clear of any broader issues of the space agency's space
exploration philosophy of "faster, better, cheaper," and the stringent budget
Under any circumstances, spaceflight is the most unforgiving engineering
environment. It is a matter of margins, experts said - of budget, schedule,
and engineering tolerances. Misdirected sensors, broken antennas, engine
misfirings and temporary computer glitches are the routine emergencies of
spaceflight, often overcome just as routinely by a combination of engineering
inspiration and experience.
Some experts worry those margins have been shaved too fine in the effort
to meet all of the nation's ambitious space exploration goals at minimal cost.
"As devastating as the report is, it raises as many questions as it
answered," said Pike. "All of these problems are symptomatic of too much work
and not enough people. They are all symptomatic of an underfunded program."
----- END OF INCOMING EMAIL TO THE STOP CASSINI EDITOR -----
Underfunded? Maybe, but that doesn't explain the arrogance. -- rdh
(3) MCO failure: There's a screw loose somewhere:
NASA expects they can just change a little policy or tighten a little screw here and there to fix this problem. But the screw that's loose at NASA cannot be tightened so easily. -- rdh
----- INCOMING EMAIL TO THE STOP CASSINI NEWS DESK: -----
From: "Barbara Edwards" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "Russell D. Hoffman" <email@example.com>
Subject: FW: MARS CLIMATE ORBITER FAILURE BOARD RELEASES REPORT,NUMEROUS NASA ACTIONS UNDERWAY IN RESPONSE
Date: Thu, 11 Nov 1999 08:10:40 -0800
I expect you'll be able to have some fun with this :)) You're NOT going to
believe some of the things they say in here, especially when taken in
conjunction with the Cassini mission. I'm just glad SOMEONE (anyone) was
paying attention when Cassini came hurtling around our planet. Lucky for
Celestial Tidings Astrology
[mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of
Sent: Wednesday, November 10, 1999 11:10 AM
Subject: MARS CLIMATE ORBITER FAILURE BOARD RELEASES REPORT,NUMEROUS
NASA ACTIONS UNDERWAY IN RESPONSE
Douglas Isbell/Don Savage
Headquarters, Washington, DC Nov. 10, 1999
(Phone: 202/358-1547) Embargoed until 2 p.m. EST
MARS CLIMATE ORBITER FAILURE BOARD RELEASES REPORT,
NUMEROUS NASA ACTIONS UNDERWAY IN RESPONSE
Wide-ranging managerial and technical actions are underway at
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, in response to the
loss of the Mars Climate Orbiter and the initial findings of the
mission failure investigation board, whose first report was
Focused on the upcoming landing of NASA's Mars Polar Lander,
these actions include: a newly assigned senior management leader,
freshly reviewed and augmented work plans, detailed fault tree
analyses for pending mission events, daily telecons to evaluate
technical progress and plan work yet to be done, increased
availability of the Deep Space Network for communications with the
spacecraft, and independent peer review of all operational and
The board recognizes that mistakes occur on spacecraft
projects, the report said. However, sufficient processes are
usually in place on projects to catch these mistakes before they
become critical to mission success. Unfortunately for MCO, the
root cause was not caught by the processes in place in the MCO
"We have mobilized the very best talent at the Jet Propulsion
Laboratory (JPL) to respond thoroughly to the specific
recommendations in the board's report and the other areas of
concern highlighted by the board," said Dr. Edward Stone, director
of JPL. "Special attention is being directed at navigation and
propulsion issues, and a fully independent 'red team' will review
and approve the closure of all subsequent actions. We are
committed to doing whatever it takes to maximize the prospects for
a successful landing on Mars on Dec. 3."
The failure board's first report identifies eight
contributing factors that led directly or indirectly to the loss
of the spacecraft. These contributing causes include inadequate
consideration of the entire mission and its post-launch operation
as a total system, inconsistent communications and training within
the project, and lack of complete end-to-end verification of
navigation software and related computer models.
"The 'root cause' of the loss of the spacecraft was the
failed translation of English units into metric units in a segment
of ground-based, navigation-related mission software, as NASA has
previously announced," said Arthur Stephenson, chairman of the
Mars Climate Orbiter Mission Failure Investigation Board. "The
failure review board has identified other significant factors that
allowed this error to be born, and then let it linger and
propagate to the point where it resulted in a major error in our
understanding of the spacecraftÕs path as it approached Mars.
"Based on these findings, we have communicated a range of
recommendations and associated observations to the team planning
the landing of the Polar Lander, and the team has given these
recommendations some serious attention," said Stephenson, director
of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL.
The board's report cites the following contributing factors:
* errors went undetected within ground-based computer models of
how small thruster firings on the spacecraft were predicted and
then carried out on the spacecraft during its interplanetary trip
* the operational navigation team was not fully informed on the
details of the way that Mars Climate Orbiter was pointed in space,
as compared to the earlier Mars Global Surveyor mission
* a final, optional engine firing to raise the spacecraftÕs path
relative to Mars before its arrival was considered but not
performed for several interdependent reasons
* the systems engineering function within the project that is
supposed to track and double-check all interconnected aspects of
the mission was not robust enough, exacerbated by the first-time
handover of a Mars-bound spacecraft from a group that constructed
it and launched it to a new, multi-mission operations team
* some communications channels among project engineering groups
were too informal
* the small mission navigation team was oversubscribed and its
work did not receive peer review by independent experts
* personnel were not trained sufficiently in areas such as the
relationship between the operation of the mission and its detailed
navigational characteristics, or the process of filing formal
* the process to verify and validate certain engineering
requirements and technical interfaces between some project groups,
and between the project and its prime mission contractor, was
The failure board will now proceed with its work on a second
report due by Feb. 1, 2000, which will address broader lessons
learned and recommendations to improve NASA processes to reduce
the probability of similar incidents in the future.
Mars Climate Orbiter and its sister mission, the Mars Polar
Lander, are part of a series of missions in a long-term program of
Mars exploration managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for
NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, DC. JPL's industrial
partner is Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, CO. JPL is a
division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA.
The Board's report is available on-line at:
Charts used in the briefing today are available on-line at:
* * *
NASA press releases and other information are available automatically
by sending an Internet electronic mail message to email@example.com.
In the body of the message (not the subject line) users should type
the words "subscribe press-release" (no quotes). The system will
reply with a confirmation via E-mail of each subscription. A second
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NASA releases also are available via CompuServe using the command
GO NASA. To unsubscribe from this mailing list, address an E-mail
message to firstname.lastname@example.org, leave the subject blank, and type only
"unsubscribe press-release" (no quotes) in the body of the message.
----- END OF INCOMING EMAIL TO THE STOP CASSINI NEWS DESK -----
(4) U.S. News & World Report thinks they are subscribers -- they aren't:
----- INCOMING EMAIL FROM U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT: -----
At 11:09 AM 11/10/99 -0500, Abby Beller <email@example.com> wrote:
UNSUBSCRIBE STOP CASSINI NEWSLETTER
----- END OF INCOMING EMAIL FROM U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT -----
----- MY RESPONSE: -----
Dear Abby Beller:
You are not a subscriber of the STOP CASSINI newsletter. We send the STOP CASSINI newsletter to U.S. News and World Report because we have little doubt that the things we say, you should be writing about. We provide you with unique and new information which a free country needs to know about. It's that simple.
Furthermore, it's a free country (or was last time I was told what to think about it) and we are trying to exercise our right of free speech. I picked up USN&WR's email address through their own sources or some other respectable method (I don't keep track of where I get each of a few hundred media contacts, but I can try to isolate the matter if you like). It's takes me time to keep and distribute each email, including yours. Maintaining the database takes time and effort. Isolating failures in the system takes time as well, such as when the NASA email addresses all failed after the recent 7.3 Earthquake in the nearby desert a few weeks ago. It's not any different from any other form of communication, which a national news media would have NO right to stop! (Of everyone who sends USN&WR their free paper newsletters or press releases, how many have you written to and told to stop?) And as I said, you are not a subscriber. Even if my investment in time was zero
for sending each issue (which it isn't), I still made the conscious decision to add your magazine to my list. I am not a subscriber now, but have been in the past. There is certainly no law that says only subscribers may write to USN&WR, is there?! Besides all that, ask us any question -- we will try to answer it for you. This is a two-way street, just like any other letter, but it's faster. (A two-way street with no speed limit.)
Don't you want letters from people who have seriously and carefully studied important world issues for decades? Or do you expect to get everything -- all the news that's important to the U.S. and the world -- from official government sources, and who else? My newsletters are designed to add perspective. To give opinion. They are the creation of one person and are personally sent directly from me to U. S. News and World Report. We've been doing so for many months. You ignored everything we said, did you not, for all this time. Why are you suddenly, now, "unsubscribing"? What did I say that made you decide my opinions are worthless now as opposed to, say, 50 issues ago?
Of course, you could solve this problem silently, by automatically deleting what we send you (although ignoring in print everything we say is just as effective, even if it takes longer). But if you delete us or "unsubscribe" us, you'll miss out on hundreds of original articles about important issues that concern the health, freedom, and well-being of America. Articles that are not published anywhere else.
You'll miss out on conversations with famous and high-fallutin' people who are brought down to earth by the silliness of their own arguments.
You'll miss the real issues that concern the planet. If you're not careful, you'll miss the whole bloody revolution. (But do not despair; you would still be a beneficiary of a revolution to a sane and environmentally friendly world.)
Didn't you notice any of this: The dozens of famous people who have written original statements and essays, and have engaged in debates, with the editor of the STOP CASSINI newsletter? (Sure, some actually threatened lawsuits, but no one actually did anything except slink away defeated.) You also will miss the chance to see a real activist get his civil rights abused by people like Woody Smith. You'll miss that.
Yet you don't want to simply leave these on your H.D. for easy scanning, and be able to skip through our headlines for even just the next 52 days -- no one around to assign a few seconds each day to making sure we didn't already beat you to an important topic? After all, after Y2K, everyone knows I'll have little choice but to go away, come what may, and leave the world to clean up after itself. After all, if nothing goes wrong (what I hope happens) I will be (wrongly) called a fool for worrying. And if anything goes wrong on the scales I have suggested can and might happen (and can and should be prevented) it will be said I did not do enough. There will be few if any newsletters after that date. There may not be much of anything, but there will certainly hardly be many more newsletters. After all, I am a computer programmer in my heart and my soul. I have made it clear that is is my wish to return to my true calling (see Item #6, #223, for example), if only the memor
y of Paul Revere and a thousand other messengers did not tell me I must now cry out as well. (My own software is Y2K-oblivious and will work fine after that date. But I am acutely aware of what can go wrong, regardless of my own situation. However, by being without professional worry myself, it has freed me to warn others without fear of increased professional risk. I have nothing to gain or lose by this battle, and it has a definite end-date for all intents and purposes in 52 days (notwithstanding the fact that Feb 29th, 2000 and December 31st, 2000 are both additional "trigger dates" for problems).
So one can ask (can't one?) why even bother unsubscribing at all, let alone why today?
Clearly, it's to actually affect the political situation! The reporter affects the political situation by "unsubscribing", thus signaling to other reporters that it is OKAY to do so (knowing I'll publish it, as I publish nearly all such "unsubscribes"). And even if I don't publish it, the reporter knows it is demoralizing in the extreme. Does the reporter think I took Richard Greenberg's "unsubscribe" (his was legit, actually, he had actually "subscribed" in the first place) lightly? And after his stomping on my rights, now a flood -- Salon Magazine today, as well. Okay, a trickle. But still, he seemed to have started something. I wonder what?
After all, I have many news organizations, large and small, who are sent the newsletter. They are NOT among the 200+ actual subscribers (many others read them online or are forwarded the newsletters). Of these news organizations, about a dozen have tried to "unsubscribe" in the past month, while in the two years prior to that, less than that number altogether had tried. I find this minor rash of attempts to "unsubscribe" interesting, since the total number of media contacts has NOT been increased (in fact, due to "permanent fatal errors", it is has decreased somewhat).
It's sad, really sad, when the media tries to manipulate the story. (Richard Greenberg being a prime example.) But Y2K is coming whether you "unsubscribe" or not. Where are my government-issued Potassium Iodine tablets? Where are yours?
Anyway, let's say all that's true -- that after all that, you still want to "unsubscribe". On what grounds? Because a citizen of the United States, scared witless, senseless -- I'm looking for word here -- of the coming hurricane, flood, etc. -- wants you to hear his plea for world sanity?
This you choose to silence today.
Okay, let's say fine -- but why today as opposed to any other day? Why after I sent out newsletter #223 as opposed to #222, or #200, or #150, or whenever they first started arriving in your in-box.
Because besides unsubscribing, you've ignored them all anyway, haven't you? I've told you the world's already on fire, I've shown you the evidence, I've described the day-to-day torture it puts a citizen through who dies from this fire (cancer, leukemia, birth defects) and what do you do?
Have a nice day.
----- END OF MY RESPONSE TO U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT -----
(5) Salon Magazine thinks similarly to USN&WR:
----- INCOMING EMAIL FROM SALON MAGAZINE: -----
At 08:19 AM 11/10/99 -0800, Letters <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
UNSUBSCRIBE STOP CASSINI NEWSLETTER
Letters to the Editor
----- END OF INCOMING EMAIL FROM SALON MAGAZINE -----
----- MY RESPONSE: -----
To Whom It May Concern:
Regarding your email shown below, say what?
I don't recall you subscribing and you are not in my subscriber database (Salon Magazine is in my media distribution list.)
Please see my letter to US News and World Report in issue #224 (soon to be released) for a more complete response. (Included, below.)
Attachments: Letter to Abby Beller, US News & World Report, their letter to me, your letter to me, my "sig file"
----- END OF MY RESPONSE TO SALON MAGAZINE -----
(6) Earth when?! Journal -- obviously doesn't think at all!
Some people will do ANYTHING to get their name in this newsletter! -- rdh
----- INCOMING EMAIL FROM EARTH FIRST! OREGON: -----
At 11:21 AM 11/10/99 -0700, Earth First! Journal <email@example.com> wrote:
Please remove us from your mailing list
Earth First! Journal, POB 1415, Eugene, OR 97440-1415 USA
(541) 344-8004, fax 344-7688; firstname.lastname@example.org -
Subscriptions are $25/year(USA), $35 1st class (US, Canada, Mexico),
$35 Surface Mail International, $45 Air Mail International
An international EF! web address is: http://www.k2net.co.uk/ef
"May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to
the most amazing view." -- Edward Abbey
----- END OF INCOMING EMAIL FROM EARTH FIRST! OREGON -----
----- MY RESPONSE: -----
To: Earth First! Journal <email@example.com>
From: Russell D. Hoffman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Re: Your "unsubscribe" email of yesterday (shown below)
Date: November 11th, 1999
To Whom It May! Concern,
Earth First! Journal in Oregon is not a subscriber, actually. I've never received any email from you that I can recall, don't know who you are personally, and nor have you used anything I've written in any way, as far as I know. Rather, EF Oregon is an environmental organization who, one would think, wanted to have a world left to save after Y2K, despite mad space nuclear policies. One would think.
So naturally I'm surprised that, 52 days before Y2K, the organization decides to ask to be dropped off my newsletter list. Got more urgent matters, eh? Me too, but hey, we all do what we can when we have to, don't we? But here's the big question: Why unsubscribe now, as opposed to some other time? What's your stand on Y2K? Quick -- while people are still listening! Since you are not a real subscriber, I'm sure you are aware that I'll publish this correspondence -- who knows? you might find some new members! You are a non-profit organization which (judging by the name, anyway) is concerned about Earth, and you are based in Oregon. You've received probably over 50 STOP CASSINI newsletters prior to "unsubscribing" -- possibly many more (I don't keep perfect records -- it's hard enough work just sending the things each time, but I know I haven't added media names in several months). Of course, all that explains nothing about why you
might "unsubscribe", least of all, why now as opposed to, say, a week after you started getting the newsletters, or a week after Y2K goes well all around the Earth. I'm really curious as to what your stand is on the Y2K-nuclear issues, for instance. Are you for dismantling the nuclear weapons? How about the nuclear power plants -- what do you hope we do with them? What do you personally think those nuclear plants can do to us, if we don't do something about them for the Earth, first?
(By the way there has been no comparable flurry or rash of "unsubscribes" among "real" subscribers, as seems to be happening with the media contacts. And even the "rash" is only a couple of percent of what actually goes out to media. Disappointing indeed, but not crushing to my movement, since I have no movement, only a will to express the truth about the dangers we need to eliminate. You can run all you want, but the truth will always find you. And others will take your place if you depart from the fight for truth, because most people demand it, pray for it, and seek it in everything they do. And the only truth I ask from you, is why "unsubscribe" now? Why at all? Every one of my 223 issues, I've written for you to know the truth, and 52 days before Y2K, you choose now not to listen. What will happen if I ask for an explanation? We shall see.)
I have attached a letter to U.S. News and World Report I wrote yesterday, which sums up pretty much my attitude towards the press's recent flurry of "unsubscribes". Right now, America is heading for a granite wall called Y2K. We are being told there is a tunnel through that wall, with billions of dollars having been spent to protect us. But there is no tunnel. There is just a picture of a tunnel, painted by skilled spin doctors like John Koskinen and others. Where is EF!? on this? Busy "unsubscribing" from the STOP CASSINI newsletter!
There ain't no tunnel, and if you care about this Earth, I think you'll change the world more by attacking the cause of the problem than the messenger.
However, since you obviously want the publicity for unsubscribing, you'll get it. I hope that your attitude does not represent that of most EF! groups around the world, or even that of most of your own members. You didn't vote on this matter, did you?
Have a nice day.
Founder and Editor
Stop Cassini newsletter
[Attachments as noted]
----- END OF MY RESPONSE TO EARTH FIRST! JOURNAL, OREGON -----
(7) Y2K is coming (#2) -- A short poem by Russell Hoffman
Y2K is coming.
Like a freight train
headed for a tunnel
painted on a granite mountain.
At the very least I'm afraid that later
It will be asked
why I didn't do more.
Walk naked down the streets.
Tear my heart out on a stage.
I know I can't do enough.
None of us can do enough.
MCO proved Cassini was a mistake.
MCO = Mars Climate Orbiter
for those who've forgotten
(how quickly we forget the lessons of history).
News events not covered by the media
might as well not have happened.
For all the good it will do
Those who survived.
-- Written November 10th, 1999 by Russell D. Hoffman
(8) Tell Clinton how you feel -- Official government contact points
To contact the top government officials:
President Bill Clinton
White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.,
Washington, D.C. 20500
Phone -- (202) 456-1111
Fax -- (202) 456-2461
e-mail -- email@example.com
Vice President Albert Gore
White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.,
N.W.,Washington, D.C. 20500
Phone -- (202) 456-1414
Fax -- (202) 456-2461
e-mail -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Secretary William Cohen
Washington D.C. 20301
Phone -- (703) 695-6352
Fax -- (703) 695-1149
Secretary Bill Richardson
Department of Energy (DoE)
1000 Independence Avenue SW
Washington D.C. 20585
Phone -- (202) 586-6210
fax -- (202) 586-4403
Always include your full name and postal address in all correspondence to any Government official of any country, because otherwise they will throw it out unread, or hand it directly to their police force to try to identify the author. (Thus, nothing good will come of it.) Also, ALWAYS include a personal message of some sort, indicating YOUR OWN VIEWS, even if you include a lot of material written by other people (me, for instance).
NASA needs to be told in no uncertain terms they have lied too often to the public and we want a SEA CHANGE away from their nuclear policies!
To learn about the absurd excuses NASA used to launch Cassini and its 72.3 pounds of plutonium in 1997, ask them for the 1995 Environmental Impact Statement for the Cassini mission, and all subsequent documentation. At the same time, be sure to ask them for ANY and ALL documentation available on future uses of plutonium in space, including MILITARY, CIVILIAN, or "OTHER" (just in case they make a new category somehow!). To get this information, contact:
Cassini Public Information
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena CA 91109
(818) 354-5011 or
Here's NASA's "comments" email address:
Daniel Goldin is the head of NASA. Here's his email address:
Here's the NASA URL to find additional addresses to submit written questions to:
YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW WHAT NASA IS DOING TO YOUR HEALTH.
NASA should never have been allowed to launch monstrosities like Cassini and Galileo, but the next breed -- such as Europa Orbiter and Pluto-Kuiper Express are not much better and the policy is being set for greatly increased rates of missions! The danger continues! To complain to NASA about their future nuclear space probes, here are two addresses you can use:
For Europa Orbiter:
Europa Orbiter comments"
For Pluto-Kuiper Express:
"Pluto-Kuiper Express comments"
Be sure to "cc" the president and VP and your senators and congresspeople, too.
(9) Newsletter subscription information:
Thanks for reading! Welcome new subscribers!
Home page of our STOP CASSINI movement:
(Beware of imitations!)
To subscribe, simply email the editor at
email@example.com and state:
SUBSCRIBE STOP CASSINI NEWSLETTER
Please include a personal message of any
length and subject matter. Thank you!
To unsubscribe email me and say
UNSUBSCRIBE STOP CASSINI NEWSLETTER
Published by Russell D. Hoffman electronically.
Written in the United States of America.
This newsletter is free and is not distributed for profit.
The opinions expressed are those of the individual authors.
Please distribute these newsletters EVERYWHERE!
"There can be no democracy without truth, no justice without mercy, and no nuclear dispersals without ill consequences."
(10) Newsletter Authorship notes and additional URLs:
Many of the issues presented by Russell Hoffman in this letter are based on conversations with Dr. John W. Gofman (who isolated the first working quantities of plutonium), the late Dr. Karl Z. Morgan (who was known as the "father of health physics"), Dr. Ernest Sternglass (a noted epidemiologist who has done statistical studies about LLR), Dr. Jay Gould (ditto), Dr. Horst Poehler, Dr. Helen Caldicott, Dr. Ross Wilcock and dozens of activists, as well as many others on both sides of the nuclear debates, including ex military nuke expert Jack Shannon (responsible for the design of the D2G Navy reactor, the most widely used reactor in the U. S. navy), award-winning investigative reporter Karl Grossman, ecologist and human rights advocate Pamela Blockey-O'Brien, etc. Also, I've read a few dozen books on the various subjects. And scads of government documents purporting to explain how something so dangerous can be safe.
Professionally, my pump training software is used throughout the pump industry and even in some nuclear power plants around the world to train their staff about mechanical pumps. Any errors herein are regrettably my own, but I believe it would take an extremely unlikely preponderance of errors to invalidate my basic position on these issues.
Russell D. Hoffman, Carlsbad, California, Peace Activist, Environmentalist, High Tech Guru:
Hoffman's Y2K Preparedness Information:
Learn about The Effects of Nuclear War here:
** THE ANIMATED SOFTWARE COMPANY
** Russell D. Hoffman, Owner and Chief Programmer
** Carlsbad CA
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First placed online November 11th, 1999.
Last modified November 11th, 1999.
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