Correspondence between Tonia Venters and Russell Hoffman) -- December, 2000

Dear Tonia Venters,

Thank you for your email, shown below. Unfortunately, if you really think about it, something I don't see any reason to think you will do, but if you do, you'll find that your points are pointless. You obviously have never heard of the "bottom line". It's a way of looking at things such that you ignore unimportant details and concentrate on all the relevant facts, not just those that suit you.

The bottom line about Cassini is that the vast majority of thinking citizens who have considered the problem are against it for very plain and simple reasons. There is no reasonable way to make Cassini safe. If you refer to NASA's own damning documentation, you'll see that even today, Cassini could become disabled and return eventually to Earth. How likely is that to happen? Well, I don't know exactly, but then neither do you. However we both know that if alternative energy sources had been used, perhaps on two missions (such as eminent Dr. Michio Kaku has suggested) the question of how risky is the mission would not come up. There was no good reason -- no compelling reason -- to use RTGs. That's the point you just can't argue with.

If you can't follow all the logic, then I strongly suggest you actually read (instead of denounce without reading) those 253 Stop Cassini newsletters (which are all posted online) AND the various issues of my Nukes, Kooks and Spooks newsletter which followed it (and which your lame correspondence might appear in, as well).

I've answered letters similar to yours for years. You have added nothing new to the debate, called me a lot of silly names which don't fit, and your points have all already been refuted time and again. Go look up the answers in NASA's own documentation, in the literature of eminent scientists who (like myself) oppose Cassini, and in other scientific and engineering documentation -- or (perhaps easier), you can find those same answers within my 253 SC newsletters.

Good day.

Russell Hoffman
Independent Observer
Concerned Citizen

A few additional comments are interspersed:

At 11:53 AM 12/15/00 -0600, you wrote:
If you want to talk about pride, you ought to look at yourself. The only reason people who are on my side don't argue with you is because you can't argue with ignorance.

[[[ Actually, since hundreds of them have TRIED to "argue" with me, I'd say they don't expect to find ignorance at this end of the debate. And you certainly can't prove that you have found ignorance here. You can claim it, but you can't prove it. May I suggest you try to disprove any single fact anywhere at my web site, for starters. That would be constructive, at least. Your ignorant insults serve no purpose. -- rdh ]]]

Yes, one successful flyby does not get answer all of the questions. But I remind you that Cassini had performed 2 successful flybys before that. It's well on its way to Mars by now. This brings me to my next point. You still haven't answered anything I've said about stopping the probe. You want to talk about fools. I say you're a fool. Believe me when I say that you don't want to stop that probe! All of the fears that you and many others have will ONLY be magnified!

[[[ NASA has already described what can happen to Cassini today or tomorrow, and I concur with them on what can happen (as mentioned above). It can impact Earth and spread it's poison throughout our biosphere. So the last thing I'm about to do is believe you. You are evidently rather illiterate, clearly not having even read NASA's EIS on the mission you support. -- rdh ]]]

I have actually done research on the Mars missions. The causes of the faults of the Mars missions were not due to the scientists themselves!

[[[ This point is totally irrelevant! What matters is not WHY they failed, but simply THAT they failed. -- rdh ]]]

The fault of the first was the fault of the technicians (and really, it isn't entirely their fault, either). They were the ones using the English system whereas the scientists were using the Metric system. The technicians were using the English system because that is what they were trained in. We wouldn't have such problems if America would switch to the Metric system.

[[[ Oh wow! Saved by the power of 10! And I suppose the lack of using the metric system is to blame for Windscale's various accidents in England, and for Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania, and for everything else that ever goes wrong that wasn't done in metric! -- rdh ]]]

The second probe was not NASA's fault at all.

[[[ How do you figure? Design errors are NASA's fault. Improper landing zones are too. -- rdh ]]]

In fact, if you want to blame someone for that, you ought to blame your government and yourselves. NASA had run out of money for that particular project and so was unable to perform the proper tests that it felt that it needed. It's because NASA's funding has been continuously cut over the years that that project failed.

[[[ Oh, so if it's not the failure to use the metric system, it's a lack of money. No one ever actually makes a mistake at NASA in your eyes. You sound like a defense industry supporter, frankly. Same kind of tired arguments that deflect from the real problems. -- rdh ]]]

And why has NASA's funding been cut? Because of ignorant people like you who don't realize what NASA has done for our country and our world.

[[[ Gee, funny thing: I'm on record as suggesting NASA's funding be INCREASED. Shows how little you've read of my stuff. -- rdh ]]]

Do you realize that we might all be communist if it weren't for the space race? No, I bet you didn't. Just like I bet you don't know about the things that our society has gotten from NASA. You want to talk about bad science. If it weren't for the space program, we wouldn't know most of the astronomy that we know. We wouldn't be able to test the affects of gravity on crystal formation and all sorts of other things. You people don't get it at all! You call it bad science, but it's only because you are afraid as I said before. No, it's worse than that. You just don't want us to know what's out there. Do you even know what science is? I think you better review your definition. And you want to talk about homework? Don't attack others if you haven't done your own. These so called facts that you present are nothing but deceit. I see what your operation is. It's just a cover up. You want to boast that you want to stop Cassini, but you're out to stop the entire space program. You are no scientist whatsoever. If you want to look for fools, look in your camp! I have never seen anyone with any intelligence who was against the space program. And you are certainly not the first ignorant person I have come across who just wants to spout nonsense about the space program. You don't have any good reasons to be against the space program. You're only against it to be against it, or you're selfish. What, you want to save tax money? You don't get it at all. Citizens don't spend that much on the space program. Cut the funding? It saves you a buck. I'll pay you a buck if you care that much about it! And as for 250 stop Cassini letters?

[[[ I said there were 253 issues, not 253 subscribers. It's who subscribes, not how many, anyway, that's important. And who reads them online, and who the influence. And who dares to refute the points I make. I'll note that you don't. You just have lame old lines to throw at me. -- rdh ]]]

That just means that 250 ignorant people who probably didn't care at first somehow happened to see your site and took your stupidity as fact. That doesn't anything except that those people are stupid. You're not fooling anyone with any intelligence.

[[[ You're right about that. I'm not fooling anyone, except maybe you, who've mistaken me for a dunce. To tell you the truth, most people in your camp haven't looked at the facts. It's obvious, you're in good company there. -- rdh ]]]

To tell you the truth, I wouldn't have even found out about your site if I hadn't heard about it from one of my astronomy friends. Most people in my camp don't bother with you because they know you're stupid. I was under the false impression that you may have had real concerns, but I see now what you really are.

[[[ Your comments have been noted. Please indicate for publication purposes your technical background and place of employment. A resume would be nice so readers can see what kind of person writes the trashy insults you've fed me. You obviously have a number of axes to grind. I wonder why. -- rdh ]]]

----- Original Message -----
From: Russell D. Hoffman
To: Tonia Venters
Sent: Monday, December 11, 2000 1:16 PM
Subject: Re: Cassini space probe

Dear Tonia Venters,

Thank you for your followup letter (shown below). To answer your question, I'm just someone who's willing to bet (based on your original comments) that I've studied the relevant facts about Cassini a lot more than you have. If you care to try to prove otherwise, go ahead and try -- but so far, you're still at square one. Thinking one successful flyby proves anything is your first mistake, failing to see the loss of the Mars probes as significant might be called your second mistake. It clearly goes on from there.

But anyway, if you want lots of facts to dispute, why expect them all to appear in an answer to your original vendetta? There's 253 Stop Cassini newsletters you could try to disprove something in. SImply telling me I'm wrong because Cassini's flyby was successful carries no truck with anyone. It's not statistically very signifcant, especially in light of the Mars probe's flyby failure a month later.

And yeah, I think I have a right not to want to bother with your trivial pursuit of prideful (but poor) science, such pride as often comes before a fall.

I've questioned scores of scientists in pursuit of truth on the relevant issues, and read hundreds of articles by everyone on both sides of the debate, and thousands of emails pro- and con. And I've opened myself up for riducule, but it seems (not surprisingly, to me) that so far only fools have tried. The wise, it appears, are either on my side or at least have the good sense not to enter into a debate they strongly suspect they mightl lose, which would be detrimental to their industry.

But besides that, what exactly have you done?


Russell Hoffman
Carlsbad, CA
Visit the world's most eclectic web site:
-----Original Message-----
From: Tonia Venters
To: Russell D. Hoffman
Date: Sunday, December 10, 2000 9:13 AM
Subject: Re: Cassini space probe

Just who the Hell do you think you are treating people like that? If you want to talk about arrogance, you ought to talk about yourself. I will tell you the truth. I see no evidence in your arguments. You've wasted enough of my time already. You know nothing about space exploration or NASA. And you think you are informed, but all you do is twist facts or make them up.


What's the matter? Are you afraid to find out what's out there? If you ask me, you are the type of people who would do anything to stop science in its tracks. You are afraid and you are weak and anyone with any common sense wouldn't listen to this rubish that you call "fact."


Yeah, go on. I've heard this broken-record speech before. It's bizarre considering my background (very high-tech, for more than twenty years -- what's yours?) to hear such ill-informed attempts a libel. You're really grasping at imaginary straws here, Tonia Venters. And it's always interesting how one becomes a "type of people" instead of a unique individual when someone is attempting to pretend your postion is valueless, but has nothing to go on. So they attack the individual, and they dehumanize them in order to ignore the value of their arguments. It's no wonder you're so sure of yourself -- you are incapable of hearing the other side. -- rdh

----- Original Message -----
From: Russell D. Hoffman
To: Tonia Venters
Sent: Tuesday, December 05, 2000 5:09 AM
Subject: Re: Cassini space probe

Thank you for your silly letter (shown below).

It's hard to believe anyone could be both so ill-informed and yet so arrogant even after the mistakes that have happened regarding both a) flybys and b) Titan launches since Cassini. I wonder what your medical background is, let alone your engineering skill level. Some screw is not just loose but clearly missing somewhere.

But thanks for writing anyway. What is your technical affilation, for publication purposes?

Russell Hoffman
Carlsbad, CA6
Visit the world's most eclectic web site:

-----Original Message-----
From: Tonia Venters
Date: Thursday, November 30, 2000 8:10 AM
Subject: Cassini space probe


You do realize that the Cassini Earth flyby has already been performed. Exactly, what do you hope to accomplish? Do you want it to be stopped dead in space? That just increases the number of problems we will have with it. Or worse, would you like NASA to bring it back? Considering that reentry and landing has to be some of the most dangerous (if not the most) dangerous parts of a space mission, this would increase the chances of causing the disasters that you fear.

Also, 2 out of 25 is not 10%, it is 8%. And have you researched the causes behind those 2 failures of the Titan IV? There could be a number of factors that caused a problem and it may not have anything to do with the rocket itself.

You people also seem to forget the number of trained scientists and engineers that NASA has in its midst. Spaceflight and nuclear power are not new to the human race anymore. If NASA felt that the mission was too dangerous, they wouldn't have done it. And NASA also puts a lot of stock into being precise. Besides, you people remind me of the people I used to argue with in school. Those kids didn't like the space program at all and knew nothing about what the space program has done for our society and for the rest of the world. This is the same type of criticism and your reasoning is just as unfounded. You spout off all of these facts, but you seem to forget that the space probe is gone and it's not coming back. I mean, what would you have us do? Not explore? Not send out space probes? Stay on our little planet and not wonder what's out there?

Kaitlinn Yar



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First posted April, 2001.

Last modified April, 2001.

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