I know most of the avid readers of my blog don’t watch GMA so I had to share this story since it touched my heart so. As you know, one of the things in life I hate most is the feared and dreaded â€œHome Owners Associationâ€. So it was of great interest to me to watch someone take revenge on a group in Dunwoody Ga. This guy owns a home on about 1.5 acres in a development of mostly 1/4 to 1/2 acre lots and homes. For whatever reason, missed the why, he wanted to build another house on his land – maybe for a relative, maybe for income, who knows. The HMA disallowed it saying the property was zoned agricultural and therefore only one home was permitted on a lot – regardless of the fact that all other homes in the development were on substantially smaller properties. This ruling pissed him off so he decided to take the agricultural designation to heart and brought in pigs, goats, chickens and other farm animals. Being an avid Gator fan, he painted his house bright orange with blue trim and hung a big flag saying Dunwoody Swamp. I liked that part. He has a chicken named Spurrier. I really liked that. The neighbors are now complaining of the smells but he says he’s glad it all happened since now he can appreciate the joys of being a farmer. He plans to start a corn field to grow his own feed corn and maybe add a few more pigs and goats.
Did I nail the shuttle situation in my July 13 Blog. It’s going exactly as I predicted down to the outside repair. Whatever the outcome now, I think the shuttle program is nominally dead. There is way too much public spotlight on fairly normal engineering/R&D problems and decisions. It has and will continue to generate lots of â€œscientificâ€ criticism on any decision made so that no matter the outcome, there will be â€œI told you so’sâ€ galore. This will come from the press, from pseudo engineers, and probably a Congressman or two calling for redirecting all the NASA spending to programs to aid the poor in Africa. The situation is that there is some filler material protruding between tiles. They have noted this upon return of other flights so it’s not unusual. But now, they know it before it lands which calls for a decision to either go with it or try to fix it. I would probably have a tendency to go with it rather than risk screwing something up worse. That decison based on every small plumbing job I’ve ever undertaken that ends up in a disaster of ever increasing dimension until I finally pay $500 to a plumber to fix something I just should have left alone to start with. But that decision really isn’t available- they would be cremated if there was a problem on landing. So they try a fix. Whichever approach they choose will be considered the wrong choice by somebody and that somebody will appear on all the talk shows and evening news broadcasts. If it lands safely that guy is forgotten but if there’s a problem, he’s the new star. My contention is this: they now have too much in-flight information that is public information and anything short of 100% perfection will bring too much pressure on the top, political appointees. And since it’s too much to expect such a complex undertaking ever to be risk free, the safest path is to leave the shuttle on the ground; Start development of a whole new spacecraft which will take 7-10 years, create plenty of jobs, spend lots of money and have zero risk – until they have to fly it. By then the key decision makers are retired and won’t have to face the music. So my prediction is that this problem is not all that bad, they’ll â€œfixâ€ something to make the press happy and hopefully land successfully. Beyond that, don’t expect more launches any time soon. I trace this all back to seat belts and bike helmets but I know you all think that is way over the top!!!!!!!!