January 13, 2016

"Oh, we're going to the moon again?"

I perked up from my crossword puzzle midway through the State of the Union Address.

"What? Biden is going to get us to the moon?"

But I knew I'd have to wait for the transcript. Here it is. Let's see:
Sixty years ago, when the Russians beat us into space, we didn’t deny Sputnik was up there.
Oh. Ugh. He's insulting the deniers. Mocking people. I'm used to being bored by the SOTU, but last night I was irritated by the tone — teachy-preachy.
We didn’t argue about the science....
Well, why not? If we didn't argue about science, it was not because we were scientific, but because we were over-emotional — scared of Communism and nuclear war — and thus manipulable.
We built a space program almost overnight, and twelve years later, we were walking on the moon. Now, that spirit of discovery is in our DNA... That’s who we are...

You know, last year, Vice President Biden said that, with a new moon-shot, America can cure cancer. Last month, he worked with this Congress to give scientists at the National Institutes of Health the strongest resources that they’ve had in over a decade. Well, so — so tonight, I’m announcing a new national effort to get it done. And because he’s gone to the mat for all of us on so many issues over the past 40 years, I’m putting Joe in charge of mission control.
Ground control to Major Joe.... You sang at that point, didn't you? We did. Of course, you did. That's who we are. It's in our DNA. I went to bed thinking we might be going back to the moon. But now I see. We're curing cancer. Joe, going to the mat again, Joe's in charge. Get it done.

I see that my son John is watching the video of SOTU and simulblogging the experience on Facebook. Excellent — "'Equal pay for equal work' — he 'won't let up until it gets done.' What's the 'it' he's talking about? Gender-based pay discrimination is already against the law."/"Paul Ryan has perfected his almost-neutral-but-slightly-skeptical facial expression."

When John gets to the Sputnik part, he says: "Why is Obama so fixated on 'Sputnik'? My mom, Ann Althouse, called this out when Obama brought it up in his 2011 SOTU." Let's see
Is it possible to declare a "Sputnik moment"?/The President tried last night:
Half a century ago, when the Soviets beat us into space with the launch of a satellite called Sputnik, we had no idea how we'd beat them to the moon. The science wasn't there yet. NASA didn't even exist. But after investing in better research and education, we didn't just surpass the Soviets; we unleashed a wave of innovation that created new industries and millions of new jobs. This is our generation's Sputnik moment.
But how do you have Sputnik without Sputnik? The Soviets launching their satellite shocked Americans into a period of intense activity and achievement. It's nice to want to do that again, but there's not an equivalent incentivizing advance by an imposing and feared foreign competitor.

This is our generation's Sputnik moment.
What is? Are we playing let's pretend? Nothing is scaring us and lighting a fire under us. In fact, it's hard for us now, with our long perspective, even to understand why Sputnik was such a huge motivation. Ask some under-50 Americans today: Why was it so important to beat the Soviets in sending men to the moon? Ask them when/if the Soviets got a man to the moon. I'll bet they can't even give plausible answers. I'll bet even the over-50s are hit-or-miss when it comes to answering the question whether the Soviets got a man to the moon.

So what on earth — or on the moon — does Obama think he will get out of the mere verbal tag "Sputnik"? If you remember how Sputnik felt — and I do — you'll probably say, but there is  no equivalent of Sputnik. There are just a lot of countries, full of human beings, trying to get ahead economically, like us — not against us. There's no race with dramatic consequences for the winners and losers, and there's no impressive physical object that signifies that bad guys are winning the race. If you don't remember Sputnik, you're like: Sputnik?
Ha. Funny that ends with some Bob Dylan lyrics — I ask you how things could get much worse
If the Russians happen to get up there first
.... It's who we are. It's in our DNA.

102 comments:

traditionalguy said...

To the moon Alice... to the moon. It's in Jackie Gleason's DNA.

prairie wind said...

last night I was irritated by the tone — teachy-preachy.

That is his ONLY tone.

In other news: green cheese cures cancer!

Skeptical Voter said...

Ol Slow Joe is up to the job of being in charge of curing cancer. His first executive action will be to take that shotgun out on the balcony and put a load of buckshot in the air. The shot will fall to the ground Joe knows not where---but what the heck! Joe is leading the charge against cancer! With Biden as our man we can not fail!

Ah the fever dreams of the deluded.

David Begley said...

Curing cancer is happening right now and it's not happening at the NIH.

If Obama knew a thing about the private sector, he would know the private sector is on the verge. I could name the companies. Just call the GS biotech analyst.

This is a set-up for Joe to replace Hillary.

Remember this post.

PB said...

Our president is the biggest know-nothing, maleducated individual I've come across in a long time. Some might call hime deluded. The space program wasn't this massive, smooth project that was perfect from beginning to end with no problems. There were MANY arguments about design AND science. There were many risks taken and several deaths along the way.

Oh, and we owe it's early beginning to Nazis.

Tom said...

Well, we also stole Nazi rocket scientists, like Werner Von Braun. So there's that.

Original Mike said...

"Oh. Ugh. He's insulting the deniers. Mocking people."

It's who he is. It's in his DNA.

Original Mike said...

Can there be a more pathetic image than Joe Biden in charge of curing cancer? I am so screwed.

rehajm said...

The thing standing between a progressive and anything he wants is always lack of funds.

Static Ping said...

It is illuminating that our President has selected a somewhat odd challenge, especially since the cure for cancer been in the works for decades without any need for prodding, while at the same time more or less ignoring real threats to the country (or in the case of Iran, actively supporting the enemy for reasons that are approaching insanity.)

At this point I would much prefer Jimmy Carter.

averagejoe said...

LMFAO! I wouldn't let Joe Biden mow my fucking lawn, but he's the elder statesman/voice of reason for the democrat party- What a pathetic shitty organization. What a piece of stupid shit Obama is! What fucking unscrupulous scumbags and immoral assholes democrat party members are!

Big Mike said...

... but last night I was irritated by the tone — teachy-preachy.

Took you long enough. Wife and I got irritated with the finger-wagging, teachy-preachy tone years ago. Particularly when that Ivy-educated ignoramus is spewing out made-up "facts" and cherry-picked statistics, meanwhile mocking people who understand the issues vastly better than he does.

Seems to me that there's been a war on cancer since 1971 (meaning you can tag this post with "Obama is like Nixon"), with some successes but many varieties of cancer for which we're no better off today than we were 44 years ago before Nixon signed the National Cancer Act of 1971. Ol' Slow Joe isn't going to do any better, and even dumb things called Democrats must be well aware of that.

PB said...

Does our president not know that Biden is a national joke? Doesn't he remember that Biden was chosen because it was a magical security field for him? No one would try and harm the president knowing Biden was next in line.

This more than anything proves he is dangerously deluded.

PB said...

I turned it off after he claimed it was his 8th state of the union speech. It was his 7th.

Barack "57 state strategy" Obama.

Original Mike said...

This country can no longer even build a bridge in ten years. I'd stay away from the Moon-shot metaphors.

Levi Starks said...

I can't help thinking that the democratic party is suffering from Bernianoia.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Tom said...
Well, we also stole Nazi rocket scientists, like Werner Von Braun. So there's that.


Yeah, that though occurred to me, too, I thought the Left was fond of bringing that up when pro-America people talk about NASA's successes/glory. I mean, if JFK's getting credited then NASA's cool, but if it's America generally (esp buttoned-down conservative 1950's ear America) then it's all "waste of money, tech for ICBMs, Nazi scientists" and what not.

Matthew Sablan said...

Actually, there was a lot of arguing about the science and determining what the best way to get to the moon was.

Big Mike said...

@Original Mike, can you imagine the Apollo program if every new gantry at Cape Canaveral required an environmental impact statement? Meanwhile there's sure to be someone who claims that sea turtle nesting would be disturbed by late-evening rocket launches and the program gets placed on hold for two or three years while folks investigate.

Hagar said...

There was excitement about Sputnik. For one thing, if the Soviets could put that bleeping ball up there, it would not be long before they could put an H-bomb up there, so we had better beat them to it.

Michael K said...

Speaking of science, I wonder if Obama has any idea of how complex the whole matter of what we call "cancer" is ? I doubt he ever took a since course or even a math course more complicated than algebra. Just for one small indication, here is one article from current literature.

Here, we systematically examined mutations from recently published melanoma NGS data involving 241 paired tumor-normal samples to identify potentially clinically relevant mutations. Melanomas were characterized according to an in-house clinical assay that identifies well-known specific recurrent mutations in five driver genes: BRAF (affecting V600), NRAS (G12, G13, and Q61), KIT (W557, V559, L576, K642, and D816), GNAQ (Q209), and GNA11 (Q209). Tumors with none of these mutations are termed "pan negative." We then mined the driver mutation-positive and pan-negative melanoma NGS data for mutations in 632 cancer genes that could influence existing or emerging targeted therapies. First, we uncovered several genes whose mutations were more likely associated with BRAF- or NRAS-driven melanomas, including TP53 and COL1A1 with BRAF, and PPP6C, KALRN, PIK3R4, TRPM6, GUCY2C, and PRKAA2 with NRAS. Second, we found that the 69 "pan-negative" melanoma genomes harbored alternate infrequent mutations in the five known driver genes along with many mutations in genes encoding guanine nucleotide binding protein ╬▒-subunits. Third, we identified 12 significantly mutated genes in "pan-negative" samples (ALK, STK31, DGKI, RAC1, EPHA4, ADAMTS18, EPHA7, ERBB4, TAF1L, NF1, SYK, and KDR), including five genes (RAC1, ADAMTS18, EPHA7, TAF1L, and NF1) with a recurrent mutation in at least two "pan-negative" tumor samples. This meta-analysis provides a road map for the study of additional potentially actionable genes in both driver mutation-positive and pan-negative melanomas.

That's one paper on one form of cancer. Obama is so ignorant that he doesn't even know it.

Matthew Sablan said...

Hah. I didn't even notice that "cure cancer" is incredibly vague when there's, what, almost a dozen major types that most people can name off the type of their heads? Prostate, breast, colon, throat, lung, stomach, melanoma, leukemia [or is that not technically a cancer? I always thought it was.]

Original Mike said...

"Actually, there was a lot of arguing about the science and determining what the best way to get to the moon was."

Of course there was; science is arguing. And all that arguing resulted in success.

Rick said...

we're already spending a ton of money on cancer research. As usual Obama's only idea is Moar Cowbell!

Jon said...

@averagejoe:

Hey, dude, tell us what you REALLY think. Don't hold back now.

damikesc said...

Oh. Ugh. He's insulting the deniers. Mocking people.

...in the same speech he decried the tone of rhetoric, mind you.

Our president is the biggest know-nothing, maleducated individual I've come across in a long time. Some might call hime deluded. The space program wasn't this massive, smooth project that was perfect from beginning to end with no problems. There were MANY arguments about design AND science. There were many risks taken and several deaths along the way.

Like most of the new government elite, he is highly credentialed but terribly educated. The space program for the US was dangerous and a massive expense. It was markedly worse in the USSR. This whole nostalgia for NASA is baffling.

Can there be a more pathetic image than Joe Biden in charge of curing cancer? I am so screwed.

Well, Biden today said Iran didn't seize our boat. They helped a boat of ours in distress (our navy, apparently, cannot do it). And the Iranians aren't acting like it was a rescue operation.

Oh, and we owe it's early beginning to Nazis.

If these people were sane, this might harm their talking point about the Kochs father doing something with Hitler in 1933.

Does our president not know that Biden is a national joke? Doesn't he remember that Biden was chosen because it was a magical security field for him? No one would try and harm the president knowing Biden was next in line.

Remember, he was also the Dem's secret weapon and hopeful choice to run against Hillary this year. Their bench is so barren that JOE BIDEN looks good, in spite of his issues of groping women and young girls inappropriately.

I turned it off after he claimed it was his 8th state of the union speech. It was his 7th.

God willing, he'll spare us one of these next year.

Trump should scare Dems for the reasons people like me have been saying for years --- the power you don't mind giving up to Obama is going to be wielded by folks you DON'T like eventually.

Original Mike said...

"Speaking of science, I wonder if Obama has any idea of how complex the whole matter of what we call "cancer" is ?"

Sure he does. That's why he put Joe on it.

damikesc said...

When John gets to the Sputnik part, he says: "Why is Obama so fixated on 'Sputnik'?

Like him, it made some noise but didn't do anything meaningful or useful.

Birches said...

We're going to cure cancer! It's like his speechwriters were just sitting around trying to find something inspirational to talk about.

Sal said...

Can there be a more pathetic image than Joe Biden in charge of curing cancer?

Is his wife, "Doctor Biden", going to help out also?

AllenS said...

It's a wonderful idea. Send Biden to the Moon so he can work on a cancer cure.

PB said...

Jill's a doctor of education. I'm sure she'll prescribe that the scientists need more education. In diversity.

Birches said...

I liked this comment from Jaltcoh's fb post: "That's what frustrated me about this speech and so many political speeches: railing against things that are already illegal, as if they weren't, or against things nobody favors, as if it were daring. We all agree nobody should kick puppies; nobody (including your political opponents) promotes puppy kicking."

Matthew Sablan said...

Honestly, this whole cancer thing? A nice nod would've been to make a bi-partisan committee of the actual doctor-doctors in Congress. At least then people at least familiar with the topic would have a handle on things.

Susan said...

What struck me last night was his affect. I have listened to many of his speeches and all of the SOTU speeches and I don't remember hearing his voice get so painfully shrill. He is always mocking the anti-science rubes. However, when he started in last night about science deniers his voice got so high I half expected dogs to start howling. He seemed weirdly animated and chipper in random spots. But maybe it's just me since I haven't seen any mention of this anywhere.

Lem said...

Sputnik is Obama's Inception wakeup object.

Original Mike said...

"When they said, "Let's go to the moon" --- Hell, everybody didn't stand around saying, "What am I supposed to do?" or "Send me a directive," or "What's the procedure for going to the moon." - An Apollo engineer. From Charles Murray and Catherine Cox's Apollo - The Race To The Moon

We are no longer those people.

tim maguire said...

I'm used to being bored by the SOTU, but last night I was irritated by the tone — teachy-preachy.

After 7 years of Obama, you should be used to that too.

Classic Obama that he uses "we can put a man on the moon" to argue that we can cure cancer when our inability to cure cancer is the standard example given to show how inappropriate it is to use "If we can put a man on the moon..." as the reason we should be able to do whatever it is the speaker is arguing for at the moment.

The reality is, curing cancer is far harder than putting a man on the moon. Many things we haven't yet done are harder than putting a man on the moon.

Original Mike said...

"The reality is, curing cancer is far harder than putting a man on the moon."

True.

Smilin' Jack said...

...last night I was irritated by the tone — teachy-preachy.

Well, he was a Con Law prof....

I’m putting Joe in charge of mission control.

If Joe had been in charge of mission control during Apollo 13, I suspect the movie would have had a different ending.

George Grady said...

Getting to the moon was not primarily a science problem, it was primarily an engineering problem. We understood the basic issues just fine, but there were technological hurdles to overcome, and decisions about the best ways to go about things to be made, balancing cost, safety, efficiency, etc.

Cancer and climate are completely different. For these, there are basic science issues that we don't know the answers to. We don't really know what is going on in the many different kinds of cancer cells. We don't really know what is going on in the atmosphere and oceans. These are truly basic science issues, and we simply don't yet know the answers.

Comparing the moon landing to cancer or climate is just ignorance.

madAsHell said...

Wait!!.....Did Obama fail to mention climate change??

Paul Zrimsek said...

"[A]fter the rocket quits our air and really starts on its longer journey, its flight would be neither accelerated nor maintained by the explosion of the charges it then might have left. To claim that it would be is to deny a fundamental law of dynamics, and only Dr. Einstein and his chosen dozen, so few and fit, are licensed to do that... That Professor Goddard, with his 'chair' in Clark College and the countenancing of the Smithsonian Institution, does not know the relation of action and reaction, and of the need to have something better than a vacuum against which to react—to say that would be absurd. Of course he only seems to lack the knowledge ladled out daily in high schools." -- NYT editorial, Jan. 13, 1920

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ann Althouse said...but last night I was irritated by the tone — teachy-preachy.

One of the most celebrated speeches Candidate Obama gave was his "race speech" wherein he told me what I had to do better in order to be a better, more racially sensitive person. He did this in the context of having to answer for HIS pastor's racist, Anti-American statements/beliefs.
He was in trouble due to his association with a pastor who made racist, Anti-American statements (and apparently had for years) and he uses that as an occasion to lecture me on how I need to shape up and have the important conversations that'll heal the nation. He lectured me in a teachy-preachy tone as a way to get out of his problem with his racist pastor. And he was almost universally praised for doing so!
So yeah, the tone isn't anything new.

Sebastian said...

"last night I was irritated by the tone — tetchy-preachy" Piling on: wasn't this his tone for the past, oh, 8 years?

Original Mike said...

"Getting to the moon was not primarily a science problem, it was primarily an engineering problem. We understood the basic issues just fine, but there were technological hurdles to overcome, and decisions about the best ways to go about things to be made, balancing cost, safety, efficiency, etc."

Yes, the pieces were there to be put together, but I have nothing but admiration for the people who got it done in the time frame they did it.

"We don't really know what is going on in the atmosphere and oceans."

DENIER!

Char Char Binks said...

A teachable-preachable moment.

jr565 said...

One of these days Alice...

Quayle said...

I may regret it later, but I'm going to go out on a limb and make a prediction that after Obama and Biden cure cancer, all the people who thereafter get cured of cancer and who, but for Obama/Biden, would have died of the cancer - all these people are going to mysteriously end up dying of all kinds of other things.

jr565 said...

(traditional guy beat me to it)

CWJ said...

Obama will have Biden view old Monty Python episodes.

"Alan: Well, last week we showed you how to become a gynaecologist. And this week on 'How to do it' we're going to show you how to play the flute, how to split an atom, how to construct a box girder bridge, how to irrigate the Sahara Desert and make vast new areas of land cultivatable, but first, here's Jackie to tell you all how to rid the world of all known diseases.

Jackie: Hello, Alan.

Alan: Hello, Jackie.

Jackie: Well, first of all become a doctor and discover a marvelous cure for something, and then, when the medical profession really starts to take notice of you, you can jolly well tell them what to do and make sure they get everything right so there'll never be any diseases ever again."

Throw in "shovel ready" jobs, "apology tour" etc. and you pretty well have Obama's understanding of what's required to solve just about anything.

Peter said...

"with a new moon-shot, America can cure cancer."

The assumption here seems to be that if you want something badly enough and are willing to spend plenty to get it why, then, surely you can have it.

But if that's true, he's thinking small. Like wishing you could teleport to the bus stop in time to catch the bus, instead of just teleporting to wherever you want to to.

Because if will and money are sufficient then why not just cure aging?

Of course, no one knows how to do that and no one knows if it's even possible, but then, no one has any idea of what a general cure for cancer might look like either, or if such a thing is even possible. Whereas the physics of rocketry and spaceflight had been known for centuries by 1957, and the technology of rocketry was well on its way also as more than a few large, guided rockets had already been built. The moon-shot equivalent to this proposal would have been a crash program to develop anti-gravity.


Believing you can have something just because you want it and are willing to spend plenty to get it is, simply, a form of magical thinking.

Sammy Finkelman said...

Re: 8th State of the Union address:

http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/sou.php

The five most recent presidents (Reagan, Bush, Clinton, G.W. Bush, and Obama) addressed a joint session of Congress shortly after their inaugurations but these messages are technically not considered to be "State of the Union" addresses. Reagan's 1981 address is called, "Address Before a Joint Session of the Congress on the Program for Economic Recovery." Bush's 1989 and Clinton's 1993 messages are called "Administration Goals" speeches.

G.W. Bush's 2001 speech was actually his "Budget Message," and President Obama delivered a similar non-State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on February 24, 2009. For research purposes, it is probably harmless to categorize these as State of the Union messages. The impact of such a speech on public, media, and congressional perceptions of presidential leadership and power should be the same as if the address was an official State of the Union. These speeches are included in the table below with an asterisk.



Paul Snively said...

It sounds preachy because it is preaching, from the cult of scientism, where all the answers are known, consist of absolute truths, and require nothing more than massive amounts of taxation to bring to fruition. There was more dissent and debate in the Politburo than in the cult of scientism.

It's good to recapitulate that farewell address of Dwight Eisenhower's the left is so enamored of:

"Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific/technological elite.

It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system -- ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society."

Oh, no, wait: that's the part they always leave out, that comes after his warning about the "military-industrial complex." Because it warns us against exactly the faux-scientific social engineering that is the left's entire program (remember, the Soviet Union was "scientific socialism").

Eisenhower envisioned an America neither constantly on a war footing nor managing its citizens like so many heads of cattle. What a concept.

Sammy Finkelman said...

Both LBJ and Ford deleivered State of the Union messages right before their terms ended, and their successors did not deliver one that year. That changed with the Carter/Reagan transition in 1981.

But before hat, JFK delivered one in 1961 that was billed as State of the Union message (Eisenhower's last was in 1960) and the sme pattern was true in 1953. Truman's last was in 1952, and Eisenhower's first in 1953.

Before that the president's term (through 1933) started on March 4, and Congress assembled in December, and the first State of the Union message from a president would have been 9 montsh into his term.

Coolidge had resumed the pre-Wilson practice of only written addresses in 1924 (n ece,ber 1923 he gave a speech) and this was continued by Herbert Hoover. There was nothing oral or written in 1933 - but remember that was when Congress asssembled in December, so Hoover's 1932 message was to the lame duck Congress.

FDR gave a spoken address in 1934.

Sammy Finkelman said...

Peter said... 1/13/16, 12:46 PM

Because if will and money are sufficient then why not just cure aging?

That's what Peter Thiel wants to do.

But so far the best thing that can be recommended to extend life is to skip lunch.

And in general have longer gaps between meals. Something like 500 calories one day and eat what you want then next, then repeat. No need to stick to a rigid formula, though - it the average lengh of the gaps maybe. Net calorie reducton is not really necessary, and may be harmful.

Of course, no one knows how to do that and no one knows if it's even possible, but then, no one has any idea of what a general cure for cancer might look like either, or if such a thing is even possible. Whereas the physics of rocketry and spaceflight had been known for centuries by 1957, and the technology of rocketry was well on its way also as more than a few large, guided rockets had already been built. The moon-shot equivalent to this proposal would have been a crash program to develop anti-gravity.


Believing you can have something just because you want it and are willing to spend plenty to get it is, simply, a form of magical thinking.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

Althouse said: ...but last night I was irritated by the tone — teachy-preachy.

Same tone the man's been using all along. Only tone he knows.

Sammy Finkelman said...

Sorry for the overquoting. Yes, there is this thing "progressives" have, or pretend to have about spending money.

They seem to believe that markets are inefficient, except when the government is spending the money

Obama talks that way, anyway.

William said...

I'm apparently the only person left alive in the world who remembers when progressive liberals preached against all that money that was being wasted on the space program. We had more important domestic needs. Think how much greater we would be as a nation if, instead of wasting all that money on useless rocket technology, we had built more housing projects in Chicago. That was the message of the liberals back then.......I'm glad to hear that Obama is against cancer, but he should have explained that only a tiny fraction of mutated cells are, in fact, cancerous.......We're not anywhere near a cure for cancer, but a realistic, viable form of sexbot technology is within our grasp. I'd like to see a crash program in this field. There are perhaps other Democrats better suited to lead this effort, but Biden would be a suitable choice.

grimson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sammy Finkelman said...

Obama also said, someone earlier before he said he was putting Joe Biden in charge of cuing cancer (or at least distributing the money, or obtaining more money, to cure cancer) :

Now right now, we are on track to end the scourge of HIV/AIDS, that’s within our grasp, and we have the chance to accomplish the same thing with malaria, something I’ll be pushing this Congress to fund this year.

Gahrie said...

I'm willing to bet that a commercial effort will send humans to the moon again before a government does.

Sam P said...

From 1983 to 2003, the compounded growth rate in the NIH budget was about 9.6%/year. The first half of Bush II's presidency, it was over 12%/year, including two years where it was over 15%. From 2005 to present, its budget has been basically flat. So Biden is picking his time frame carefully.

I can't think of why the NIH budget flattened out in the second half of Bush II's Presidency, nor why Obama continued that throughout his Presidency.

Sigivald said...

You know, last year, Vice President Biden said that, with a new moon-shot, America can cure cancer

Biden's a blithering idiot, yet again.

The entire pharmaceutical industry wants to cure every cancer they possibly can, because it's a license to print money during the patent period, and they've been throwing giant piles of money at it for decades, with the incentive of losing every cent of that on every failure as a stick to the carrot of immense wealth on success.

The idea that all we need is Big Daddy Government pouring a few hundred billion (because we have all this spare cash, you know) into the field to "cure cancer" is ludicrous if you know anything about either cancer, pharmaceutical research, or how Government doesn't get things done.

So, naturally, Biden and Obama think it's a brilliant idea.

(For the uninitiated, drug development is almost impossibly difficult, and "cancer" is not one disease, but hundreds or thousands - each with different targets to attack. This is why progress in treating or curing it is so uneven and difficult.

If it was that easy - "just throw money at it" - the existing trillions thrown at it would have already done it.

"Going to the moon" was a comparatively simple engineering and materials issue, in a way "curing cancer" - even one cancer - simply is not.

In 1960 we already knew how to get to the moon, for the most part - it was simply a matter of doing some very tricky engineering and testing to implement the physics, and some problem solving on practical matters.

I do not mean to minimize the difficulties, dangers, and innovation of the Golden Age Space Program - the work was hard, often dangerous, and required great intelligence and creativity - but it's a fundamentally different shaped problem space than "curing cancer".

And the Cult of Apollo needs some cutting down to size, anyway...)

Fabi said...

We owe the early beginnings to the Nazis? Perhaps you should learn whose efforts inspired von Braun and his fellow scientists. Here's a hint: there's a NASA Center in Maryland named in his honor.

The ABMA had the capability to launch a satellite before Sputnik. It's an interesting history and well worth the read.

Daniel Richwine said...

Can someone help me out here, didn't he use the moon shot metaphor to promise all cars would be electric in 10 years about 7 years ago?

David said...

"I can't think of why the NIH budget flattened out in the second half of Bush II's Presidency, nor why Obama continued that throughout his Presidency."

Because we had a big deficit and had to cut something, and because the private sector can do much of what NIH does as well or better?

TreeJoe said...

I think the Sputnik moment is actually a very good thing to bring up and I think our nation is at the brink of another sputnik moment. But the sputnik moment was the real concern that a nation state would aim nuclear capabilities against us in a way we couldn't protect ourselves against adequately.

cubanbob said...

The Krauts got the basics for their rocketry program from Dr. Goddard. They simply amped up Goddard's work and developed workable missiles. Let's keep things in perspective.

Once again Obama has demonstrated his invincible and arrogant idiocy. And putting Joe Biden in charge, why that is a colossal piece of negative intelligence; he picked the only man dumb enough to be his life insurance and has now put him in 'charge' of one of the most demanding basic science problems. Heck of a job Barry. Heck of a job.

Brando said...

I have been hearing about how we're close to a cancer breakthrough, and advanced technologies are constantly and rapidly changing the world. But this weird need for Obama to have his "moon shot moment" is just a sign of his cluelessness. The space race was prompted by our cold war competition, both for a propaganda coup but also to ensure we wouldn't lose a security edge against the Russians. By contrast, he seems to want something like that today just so we'd have something to feel good about, like manufactured happiness. And of course he wants government to lead the way.

If he weren't so blindered, he might consider that government should today be focused on how not to hamper businesses and private citizens that will bring about these future breakthroughs, and instead focus on the areas where government has a proper role and doing that competently. But then, that philosophy runs counter to his "government must act!" instinct.

Quaestor said...

The whole 1960's manned space program -- Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo -- was an engineering project. The seminal science behind it was done almost three hundred years before Sputnik, 270 years to be precise. In Apollo 13 Tom Hanks as astronaut Jim Lovell, says to his wife Marilyn on the occasion of Apollo 11's lunar landing, "From now on we live in a world where Man has walked on the Moon. It's not a miracle; we just decided to go."

The cancer thing is just more Obama masturbatory jive, only more self-serving and mendacious than usual, which for this President borders on the satanic.

Original Mike said...

"The entire pharmaceutical industry wants to cure every cancer they possibly can, because it's a license to print money during the patent period, and they've been throwing giant piles of money at it for decades, with the incentive of losing every cent of that on every failure as a stick to the carrot of immense wealth on success."

If Obama wants to cure cancer the best thing he could do is reform the FDA.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Knew a guy who worked at Huntsville Rocket Center when Von Braun was in charge of rocket design. He said whenever there was a disagreement regarding the design of a rocket the Germans would all go into a conference room and close the door. Then there would be 30 minutes of screaming argument in German that was so loud you could hear it from outside the conference room.

Brando said...

"If Obama wants to cure cancer the best thing he could do is reform the FDA."

That, and make it easier to give waivers to try out experimental procedures and drugs, and allow people to sell their organs (particularly after death, with the proceeds going to their estate) so there is a lot more available for testing. There are a number of reforms that could hasten scientific advancement, and a president with actual vision would push for those. Instead, this one seems to think just tossing a few billion (which no one will appropriate, considering our budget situation) at the problem will get him in the history books.

Sam P said...

David:

"I can't think of why the NIH budget flattened out in the second half of Bush II's Presidency, nor why Obama continued that throughout his Presidency."

Because we had a big deficit and had to cut something, and because the private sector can do much of what NIH does as well or better?


The sequester is a partial explanation of why the NIH budget didn't increase during most of the Obama administration, but I don't think that provides much of an explanation of the second half of the Bush II administration.

Michael said...

Sigivald

Correct! I am reminded of poor John McCain thinking that the award of $200 million would entice the development of a battery capable of fueling a car for two hundred fifty miles. As if no one had thought of making money on such a thing! As though no one knew that a battery that could do that would be worth another three zeros on that "reward." These DC people are so very bad at how the real world works.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Also, visited Huntsville Rocket Center a couple of years ago. It happened to be the 100th anniversary of Von Braun's birth and they had a huge display set up about him and operation paper clip and how he and his fellow scientist escaped to the Allies at the end of WWII.

Man did they work hard on obscuring the fact that he was a Nazi.

Roger Sweeny said...

Overly clever theory: Obama thinks Hillary has a good shot of losing in the early primaries--and he's not real fond of her, either. He thinks Sanders would lose in November. This is a way of telling Democratic voters, "I approve of this person."

Fernandinande said...

Sending Joe Biden to the moon to cure cancer makes perfect sense because there is no cancer on the moon, at least until Biden gets there.

"First, we've learned that cancer is not simply a single disease that affects many parts of the body. It is not, for example, a "war on cancer" as a single enemy. It is many different diseases with common themes that can cause different kinds of disorders in many of our organs. These include mutations in many different genes, changes in essen-tial cell functions, and unusual interactions with the cellular environment in which tumors grow. We need to study each of these areas separately."

Thorley Winston said...

The sequester is a partial explanation of why the NIH budget didn't increase during most of the Obama administration, but I don't think that provides much of an explanation of the second half of the Bush II administration.

If the NIH budget received double-digit increases during the first half of the Bush administration (going from $17.8 billion in FY 2000 to over $28 billion in FY 2004), it kind of makes sense that eventually it’s going to plateau. It's not reasonable or sustainable to keep increasing funding at that level forever.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

@Michael

Math! Goody!

Bing tells me a gallon of gas is equivalent to 33.7 Kilowatt hours. Also, the Internet tells me that the average home consumed 936 Kilowatt hours per month in 2007.

So, if you had a car getting 20 miles to the gallon, it is using the equivalent of 421.25 Kilowatt hours of electricity to go 250 miles. (33.7 * 12.5)

So a battery would need to store almost half as much energy as needed to power a house for a month to take a care 250 miles.

According to the Internet there are some electric cars that claim to be in that range. The Chevy Bolt (2017) claims 200+ range. A 2015 Tesla claims to have a 270 mile range.

Peter said...

"We owe the early beginnings to the Nazis? Perhaps you should learn whose efforts inspired von Braun and his fellow scientists. Here's a hint: there's a NASA Center in Maryland named in his honor."

If you're going to share credit, you really need to include Konstantin Tsiolkovsky.

Tsiolkovsky deduced the most important formula in rocketry, the "rocket equation" that predicts the final velocity of a single-stage rocket based on its mass ratio and effective exhaust velocity:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsiolkovsky_rocket_equation

Tsiolkovsky certainly realized that rockets could be used for space exploration, and that multi-stage rockets would be necessary to achieve the necessary velocities. Although he lacked the means to build rockets, he did deduce that liquid oxygen and hydrogen, and liquid oxygen with a hydrocarbon fuel, would be the likely propellants when they were built.

Which is not to say Goddard is undeserving of credit, but, Tsiolkovsky was there first and produced much of the theoretical foundation. Goddard also discovered that big rockets cost big money, and that no one was much interested in funding his work on them.

Which was not a problem for von Braun, whose fuhrer happened to be seeking a weapon of annihilating power. Von Braun did not deliver that, as his V-2s killed more of the slave workers who built them than were killed by their use as weapons. Nonetheless, the V-2 became the foundation of post-WWII rocketry, as it was not only far larger than any prior rocket but it included an inertial guidance-and-control system.

Quaestor said...

Peter wrote: Tsiolkovsky was there first and produced much of the theoretical foundation.

Tsiolkovski or William Moore?

Harold Montgomery said...

When Obama was first elected he put Joe in charge of going through the budget line by line to cut out all the waste. I wonder if Joe is finished?

Quaestor said...

I am reminded of poor John McCain thinking that the award of $200 million would entice the development of a battery capable of fueling a car for two hundred fifty miles.

I am reminded of John Harrison, the inventor of the marine chronometer. He and his son labored for the better part of 40 years to perfect a time keeper able to solve the longitude problem. Parliament paid him £23,065 (about $7.5 million USD). Chicken feed in comparison to the invention's real value. Had Harrison worked without the supervision of the Longitude Board he could have patented his chronometer and earned many times the value of the so-called Longitude Prize over the life of his rights.

Apollo was a fitting endeavor for the government because there were no profits to be made by moon-voyaging. However, everybody is vulnerable to disease, thus everyone is willing to pay for treatment. (Well, anyone with any sense of honor. Unfortunately the Democratic Party is mostly comprised of ignominious people who feel no dregs of shame as they demand that others be forced to pay for their worthless longevity and idiotic pleasures.) A cancer cure would therefore be supremely profitable, and thus sufficiently attractive to private capital to make any "cancer moonshot" both impractical and counter-productive.

Quaestor said...

When Obama was first elected he put Joe in charge of going through the budget line by line to cut out all the waste. I wonder if Joe is finished?

I wonder how deep the dust is on Slow Joe's waste-cutting desk.

Quaestor said...

Also, the Internet tells me that the average home consumed 936 Kilowatt hours per month in 2007.

Is that figure just electricity, or is it a cumulative figure covering natural gas, fuel oil, etc?

John Constantius said...

So I've heard/read multiple times the Gettysburg Address, the I Have A Dream speech, the Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You speech, the Tear Down This Wall speech. Why do I have a feeling that the much-heralded Obama Race speech is going to fade into whimpering obscurity (maybe it already has - I haven't heard anything about it following its original delivery, though I was assured by the media that evening it was One For The Ages).

Fabi said...

I appreciate that addendum, Peter. Guidance was the long pole in the tent for the V-2. I doubt that they lacked much more than months to gain an order of magnitude in circular error accuracy. Taken to its end: it's bizarre that the future of the free world could have hinged on a gyroscope.

I am not an accelerometer.

Crimso said...

"leukemia [or is that not technically a cancer? I always thought it was.]"

Very much so. Studies of leukemias and lymphomas have led to a great deal of the progress made so far in both understanding the genesis of and the treatments for various forms of cancers. It is generally considered to be treatments for lymphomas and leukemias that were the first forms of chemotherapy.

"Because if will and money are sufficient then why not just cure aging?"

Because you can't "cure" the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Sooner or later, it will have its due and your low entropy body will be converted to high entropy waste products.

Original Mike said...

"leukemia [or is that not technically a cancer? I always thought it was.]"

My oncologist is certainly of the opinion that it's a cancer.

Col. Milquetoast said...

Obama on the space program, 2016 "Sixty years ago, when the Russians beat us into space, we didn’t deny Sputnik was up there."

Obama on the USA losing its AAA credit rating, 2011 : "No Matter What Some Agency May Say, We've Always Been And Always Will Be A 'Triple-A' Country"

wildswan said...

Von Braun's team (formerly Nazis) had the technology to launch satellites developed before the Russians launched Sputnik but his team was an Army team. All rockets intended to go more than a hundred miles high had to be Air Force rockets so Von Braun's "Army" rockets could not be used and instead the USA fooled about with bad Air Force rocket science till the Russians beat us and even after the Russian launch several "Vanguard" Air Force rockets blew up on the launching pad. Embarrasing. Then we launched a Von Braun "Army" rocket; it worked; we had a satellite also. Then the government set up NASA so they could use Von Braun's rockets without Air Force objections and Kennedy tasked NASA to go to the moon.

The moral is that if someone has a cancer cure which government policy is holding back because the cure isn't PC and if Joe Biden knows this then mission control can do something. But in fact what Biden will do is say that if the government can collect all our data, medical and behavioral, then cancer treatments can be targeted to match gen-ex - genetic-experiential differences. Then it will be suggested that crime also can be cured by Big Data since crime is a genetic issue also - gen-ex, that is. Then race will be shown to have a connection to crime. And refusal to change behavior will be crime - Big Data shows.

And so personalized genetic medicine, a promising line when one among many, will turn into a monster, neo-social biology-the new eugenics, greater and more terrible than before. Slow Joe is just the Muppet puppet in the front.

Terry said...

"What's the 'it' he's talking about? Gender-based pay discrimination is already against the law."
The realm of reparations is just beginning to be explored. Get the people with the most money -- white men -- to pay past discrimination which resulted in their getting an outsize share of society's resources. "He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past."
Fixing past discrimination with discrimination in the present is going to be a growth area in civil rights lawyering. To make your cut, you have to transfer wealth from one group of people to another.

Terry said...

wildswan --
I think that there are a few problems with your timeline. Vanguard was Navy Research Labs. The prohibition against Army launches to orbit occurred in the mid-sixties (it killed Gerry Bull's American-backed super gun research).
But you're mostly right. compare an image of a redstone with an image of a V2. The similarities are chilling.

Jupiter said...

"Last month, he worked with this Congress to give scientists at the National Institutes of Health the strongest resources that they’ve had in over a decade."

And last night, *my very close friends* who run the Islamic Terror State of Iran kidnapped 10 of *your soldiers*, paraded them as hostages before video cameras, and forced a US sailor to wear a headscarf. Allahu akbar!

There isn't a lamppost in DC high enough for that traitor. Nor a pit in Hell deep enough.

SukieTawdry said...

From insiders at the time: We were pretty sure we could get a man on the moon. The trick was getting him back. That we were never sure of.

jaydub said...

I can't watch Obama, partly because I find his mannerisms and sense of selfworth to be so annoying and partly because he is so consistently disingenuous. Like with Hillary, you really have to get the transcript and dig out the lies, obfuscations, exaggerations and strawmen and see if there is anything left. But, I had a three thoughts on the "let's cure cancer" part after parsing it:

First, he knows Hillary is going to have to be indicted and Slow Joe is the only one, save Warren, with the name recognition and potential backing to mount a campaign at this late date. So, he's trying to keep Joe's name in the press and to make him appear relevant to the public until he gets into the race. Also interesting that Joe, himself, just this week expressed his regret "every day" over deciding not to run and then proceeded to dis Hillary on income equality.

Second, there are some big Democrat donors out there that want to do for cancer research what they did for green energy, i.e., roll the taxpayers. He's just doing the battle space prep for them.

Third, creating a massive new government entity with sponsorship and management at the very top of the Executive could facilitate the state's capture of the drug industry begun under the ACA. Does anyone believe Big Pharma would be adverse to completing the journey to corporatism if it guaranteed a direct pipeline for endless research money and sifted the risk to the taxpayer?

Or, maybe I'm too cynical. Maybe Joe, having solved the government waste problem is just looking for something to occupy his time, and Obama is really trying to cure cancer. Yeah, I know.

Quaestor said...

Terry wrote: But you're mostly right. compare an image of a redstone with an image of a V2. The similarities are chilling.

The original Redstone was for all intents and purposes an improved A4 (It was Joseph Goebbels who proclaimed it the Vergeltungswaffen Zwei, a name the Peenem├╝nde rocket group never used.) The A1 was an unguided miniature research rocket. The A2 was a half-scale V-2 used to test the inertial guidance system and the graphite steering vanes. The A3 was a never-built alternative missile fueled with LOX and gasoline. The A5 was to be a V-2 with swept wings which would allow it to glide for longer range. The A6 was to be a two-stage follow-on to the V-2 capable of launching a satellite.

The A4 was comprised mainly of an engine, an alcohol fuel tank, a liquid oxygen oxidizer tank, a guidance package and a warhead enclosed in a metal frame covered by an aluminum skin pop-revetted to the frame. The Redstone used virtually the same engine and guidance package as the A4 (i.e. V-2) but the skin and fuel/oxidizer tanks were integrated into a single structure. By 1945 the Americans had mastered a number of metallurgical technologies the Germans never figured out, which permitted Von Braun to eliminate about 40% of the weight of the V-2, thus vastly increasing the capability of the rocket.

Goddard was the first to use gasoline/LOX which he proved to be superior to most alternatives. The Germans however concluded that such a fuel was beyond their immediately available technology. It is interesting that American technology allowed the practical use of gasoline/LOX quite quickly after the inception of the USAF missile program with the adoption of the Atlas, the launcher that powered the Mercury orbital flights.

Jeff Teal said...

I spent part of my last vacation in a several hours tour of the Saturn-V at the Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville ,Alabama.Walking and talking with me was a docent who had worked for NASA for 40 years as an engineer and engineering manager.The only reason we could talk at all was my early years in college as a nuke engineering major.Cancer is even more complicated thanks to God's complexity in designing protoplasmic life.Biden's wife might have a clue but not Biden.Obama has not managed to create anything and thinks that all you have to do is proclaim it.Obama should have known about King Canute.But that is an English story and we know how Obama feels about the English.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Also, the Internet tells me that the average home consumed 936 Kilowatt hours per month in 2007.

I believe that is electricity only.

Michael K said...

"Throw in "shovel ready" jobs, "apology tour" etc. and you pretty well have Obama's understanding of what's required to solve just about anything."

Years ago, when I was a surgery resident, we had this hippie type medical student who called himself "Doctor Mickie." A friend of mine came up on the ward after having just taken his oral board exam in internal medicine. (They don't give those anymore because they were racist.) I asked him how it was and he said it was the toughest ever. The examiner asked him what he had for lunch. He thought he was just being casual but then the examiner said. "OK. For your oral exam, tell me the complete digestion and assimilation of that meal." Earl said, "Wow ! That was really something !" Doctor Mickie piped up and said, "What's so hard about that ? You just chew it up and swallow !"

No doubt, Doctor Mickie is now an Obama voter and that is Obama's understanding of cancer.

Doctor Mickie is also the student who we assigned to "work up" a patient coming in for an aortic valve replacement. After he did the history and physical, he came out and said he wanted to do the surgery. When we told him medical students didn't do open heart surgery, he went back and told the patient not to have the surgery.

Those were the early 70s and the hippies were passing through medical school like a pig through a boa constrictor.