About the STOP CASSINI web site.

A note from the publisher

Russell D. Hoffman

Owner and Chief Programmer

The Animated Software Company

Over the last 15 years I have been spending the majority of my life writing a software tool for creating animated educational programs, and then using that tool (known as RUSSELL'S "P11" ANIMATION MACHINE) to create educational software products. I have worked for other writers as a programmer and animator (as with our human heart tutorial known as THE HEART: THE ENGINE OF LIFE). I have also researched and written (and animated and programmed) entire tutorials by myself (ALL ABOUT PUMPS, for example, and countless smaller endeavors). My work has been used in hospitals by thousands of doctors, by lawyers for court presentations, and it has even been exhibited at the NIS (National Institutes of Health) museum.

In the course of my work on the ALL ABOUT PUMPS tutorial I have visited many fascinating industrial sites and science-oriented museums. Some of the most exciting places were, for example, the engine room of the (non-nuclear) Aircraft Carrier Constellation (CV-64), as well as the shop floors of dozens of pump manufacturers large and small. Whenever I visit a new place I seek out first its pumps and pump museums, and then its other science, technology, war and maritime museums. I'm fascinated by technology and love learning about it. And I'm fascinated and saddened by how hard humankind has had to fight for basic human rights over the years.

The Hoover Dam's turbines are probably the greatest single industrial thing I have ever seen. (And that's a tour anyone can get; you don't need to be a journalist or tutorial author or even a big-wig, you just have to pay an extra $25.00 for the "hard hat" tour, which is what we did.) Made by GE and Westinghouse, as I recall, these massive turbines spin constantly, providing the cleanest energy man has ever devised, using just the falling of water through a canyon. My heart was a-flutter with the beauty of it all...

In the course of hosting a radio show I interviewed several score of the world's top scientists on dozens of different topics. Our interviews filled the entire half hour, so each one was for me -- the host -- like a one-on-one lesson from a master.

I have had the pleasure of meeting many people, of learning many things, and of being many places in my life. And I have tried to teach others about what I have learned, by writing the tutorials, writing letters to elected officials and to the papers, by speaking, and by animating things. By transcribing the interviews. Some of the transcriptions have become classic downloads at our web site.

Reviewers of my software and customers as well seem to be nearly unanimous in their opinions -- they say I'm pretty good at what I do. The software is used by millions. So please forgive me, but a bunch of false humility would be silly: I'm proud of what I've accomplished and I'm sure I actually am pretty good at what I do.

And what's it all got me?

For this, I have been listed in a number of "Who's Who?" volumes, and I have lectured at many computer clubs and schools across the United States and in two foreign countries. My programs, whether written in whole or only in part by me, have received glowing reviews for years. And my shareware has been distributed worldwide for over a decade. It's a good life.

My software is designed to teach complex educational material to the lay person. That's what it does, and that's what it's been praised for doing. Perhaps one reason I might be particularly good at this is that in many respects, I'm more like one of the "lay people" than one of the "educated" ones. Although I come from a college-bred family, I myself had very little college and spent a number of years in semi-skilled tasks, having had around 40 different jobs before I was 23. Then I discovered computer programming and became, over a 17 year period, a professional in the field of educational software. So this has given me, I think, a fairly unique combination of spending an important part of my life talking to "lay people" yet being able to "run with" the pros and the 'intelligencia'. And I have used this position, to the best of my ability, to teach about many dozens of things.

So why is it, I ask, that when I write about CASSINI, NASA's proposed nuclear space probe, am I suddenly accused of "relying on 'scare tactics'"? I am told that I am not writing responsibly. But what is irresponsible in what I've done? I did not create the scenarios, I only report what NASA has made possible. The fact that these events are actually a whole lot more likely, not to mention more scary, than anything that happens in movies about aliens or in TV shows about asteriods, should be no cause for consideration of whether it should be reported or not. While we fool ourselves with these movies, the truth should also be allowed to seep out.

I do not believe the lay person will be unduly scared.

Quite the contrary. I believe the lay person is perfectly capable of understanding the logic behind our conclusions when they are presented with the facts. For if I have learned one thing in my life, it is that lay people are not stupid, they are merely less educated than others. So at this Cassini web site, we don't talk down to them, we just present the real, cold, hard facts. And the alternatives.

That some of these facts are scary and even nauseating is hardly our fault. Plutonium causes leukemia, one of the nastiest cancers around, and it also causes many other cancers and other diseases. And Plutonium 238, which they use in the RTGs is a particularly virulent form of Plutonium. To report these truths is to use 'scare tactics'? What is scary is that someone would actually decide to use these awful things.


And that's fair, because it is an amazing, but true story. But in the end, you should not be unduly alarmed. You should be DULY ALARMED!!! It is an alarming story, and it is fair that you should become alarmed and agitated when you read it. It is also fair because it can still be stopped. But to stop Cassini requires knowing about it. And even then, only with your voice added will Cassini not fly. Cassini will not be stopped just because I and a few others who have researched what is happening want it stopped. It will only be stopped by the voices of many thousands, united -- or scattered across the Internet...

Read it and weep.

These stories are scary, but it is not 'scare tactics' to tell about them. We are not out to unduly alarm the peasantry. We are out to duly alarm them, that 'they' might then go out and make the necessary protestations and take the necessary legal actions that might stop this monstrosity. The lay person, whom I have been accused of alarming and scaring, was at the same time accused (by NASA's supporters) of being too uneducated to understand what is happening. I'll lay you ten to one the lay person is perfectly capable of understanding what is happening, and furthermore, I'll lay you ten to one that's just what NASA really fears. Not that the lay person is unduly alarmed, but that the lay person learns the truth and becomes duly alarmed!

By Russell D. Hoffman


This article has been presented on the World Wide Web by:

The Animated Software Company

Mail to: rhoffman@animatedsoftware.com
First placed online March 31st, 1997.
Last modified March 31st, 1997.
Webwiz: Russell D. Hoffman
Copyright (c) Russell D. Hoffman