Final Thoughts on Felix…

Alright, so today I’ll be sharing my final thoughts on this dummy up here – Felix Baumgartner – and his recent, idiotic thoughts on Mars, NASA, and planetary exploration in general – which you can find in The Telegraph – right here: http://soc.li/AYodv5R

As a warning – things will possibly get ranty, and unresearched, and maybe I’ll shake my fist like an old man. I don’t know

Click through to read more…

The following is from the Telegraph article by , 26 Oct 2012

“A lot of guys they are talking about landing on Mars,” he said. “Because [they say] it is so important to land on Mars because we would learn a lot more about our planet here, our Earth, by going to Mars which actually makes no sense to me because we know a lot about Earth and we still treat our planet, which is very fragile, in a really bad way.

So I think we should perhaps spend all the money [which is] going to Mars to learn about Earth. I mean, you cannot send people there because it is just too far away. That little knowledge we get from Mars I don’t think it does make sense.”

Those are the words of one Felix Baumgartner, a grown man who has, most recently, become famous for setting the record for the world’s highest skydive and also for breaking the sound barrier with his stupid head. He is a daredevil, a person who for the last 10 years has been paid by Red Bull to jump off and out of things for no other reason than to promote an energy drink.

That is his contribution to the world. He’s a marketing tool. And I use the word ‘tool’ quite rightly.

Now, because of his status as a corporate whore with no abilities beyond obeying the law of gravity and jumping out of things in spite of all evolutionary impulses to the contrary, it would and should be easy to ignore his rantings about space travel and science as the fatuous insanity of a man who lacks the common sense to stay in an airplane – but Felix is a special case.

Felix here has made himself a hero – not just of ordinary thrill-seekers or people who like to not watch others die a horrible death – he made himself a hero of the scientific community, or aerospace professionals, of nerds, of geeks, of nerdy geeks and of their asthmatic children.

He has made himself a person of influence among a great many groups – and now he has decided to stab a great many of them in the back, and he has done it under a Deathly-Hallowsesque invisible cloak of environmentalism and accompanied by the cry of TAXES!

And that shit cannot stand.

To begin with, Baumgartner says that… “A lot of guys they are talking about landing on Mars… because we would learn a lot more about our planet here, our Earth, by going to Mars.”

Yes, and those “guys” who are saying that – they’re called f–king scientists and NASA researchers and engineers and climatologists and geologists and chemists. They are people who know WTF they’re talking about.

Unlike Felix, who goes on to say… “[this] actually makes no sense to me because we know a lot about Earth and we still treat our planet, which is very fragile, in a really bad way.”

I’ve read that last bit a hundred times, and I still can’t see how that makes any sense. As far as I can tell – those are the words of a child trying to win a beauty pageant, not of a scientist and not of a man who should be talking about Mars.

Felix goes on to talk about how Mars is a waste of money because we can’t send people there, and because it’s paid for by tax money, and because the knowledge we get from Mars doesn’t “make sense” somehow, and lastly because of the environment.

Screw this idiot.

NASA funding has been slashed and cut to shreds over the past 12 years, reduced to a fraction of what it once was – and all under the guise of saving taxpayers money. That is nonsense. It’s shortsighted, and purely and completely wrong.

The money that the US Government pays into NASA is an investment in the future and in the present. That money didn’t just get shot out of a cannon – it went to buy things, it went into the economy, into goods and services and manufacturing and research and into jobs – which are very much needed.

NASA employs over 18,000 people – plus contractors and others who depend on NASA operations for their livelihood. The Mars Curiosity mission alone accounts for 7,000 jobs over the last 8 years. That’s not wasted money – it’s money spent on people and on society and on a strong economy.

NASA missions also result in technological advances like satellites, GPS, improved breast cancer screening, weather forecasting, parachutes for Airforce pilots, clean lithium batteries and advances in Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Furthermore, NASA funding pays for actual science, for research and data collection – and this is science that cannot be done anywhere else or by anyone else.

What Felix and others always fail to grasp is that money spent like this is an investment in our future – it’s the infrastructure that we will build tomorrows society on, and to short change our investment in that tomorrow now will leave us with nothing. It’s ridiculous.

There is so much to be learned from Mars. So much. From what the beginnings of life might have looked like, to how different atmospheres affect survivability. Mars can teach us about the formation of planets and magnetic fields, what solar radiation does to a world and how to mitigate its effects. Mars can teach us about geology under unique circumstances, the history of the solar system and where we fit in it.

And the most important thing we will learn from Mars is probably something we’re not even looking for. Because that’s how science works. You go because you want to know something, and while you’re there, you try to learn everything.

Planetary exploration is the search for questions we aren’t smart enough to ask yet.

I’m going to wrap up soon – but I do want to make one point when it comes to Felix’s mad passionate sexy love for the environment.

Baumgartner works for Red Bull, an Austrian “drink” company. Red Bull spends $300,000,000 every year on sports marketing. That’s three hundred million on sponsoring sports and daredevil bullshit. And yet I don’t hear Felix bitching one iota about Red Bull not spending that huge amount of money on the environment… except for one instance – when they were forced to:

In 2009 Red Bull was fined $448,400 for failing to recover and recycle packaging waste over eight years between 1999 and 2006, and for failing to register with the Environment Agency in London as a producer of packaging waste. That was a record fine, by the way – half a million dollars.

So maybe Felix should check with the people that have owned him – lock, stock, and barrel – for the past 10 years about how much he’s allowed to care for the environment before he starts complaining that good people doing important work are somehow less helpful to the future sustainability of the planet than a jackass falling from a balloon.

I’m nearly done.

The people at NASA that I’ve talked to – they are all remarkable and inspiring individuals. They have devoted their education and lives to finding the answers to big important questions, to exploring and asking and learning and doing – and they are doing it FOR US. So we can get on with making money and watching movies and being dummies most of the time. NASA is advancing humanity by leaps and bounds and they’re doing it, seemingly in spite of us. They’re doing it because they love it, because it drives them. They do it because it is what they were born to do.

And for someone like Felix – a man who has built his fame on the technological and scientific barriers torn down by NASA over the last 50 years – for that man of all people to turn around and question the value of these amazing people and their scientific contribution, to question the necessity of their jobs and their life’s work – when he himself has done nothing but  fall and temporarily not die… is disgusting.

He is a joke. Worse than that, he’s a joke badly told by a bitter man who doesn’t even like the sound of laughter.

And I wish him well in all his future endeavours.

End of rant.

Now let’s all go do a science to clean out our mouths.

-JF.

29 thoughts on “Final Thoughts on Felix…

  1. fireandair says:

    As I said on Twitter, this is not quality DNA talking here. Felix Baumf*cker is descended from apes that were not smart enough to hold onto the damn tree. Astronauts are descended from apes that climbed higher and knew enough to HOLD ON. They go to space, accomplish shit, and know better than to OPEN THE WINDOW AND JUMP OUT.

    These words are the words of a guy whose greatest achievement is to repeatedly impersonate a rock. I don’t wish him well. I hope that next time he jumps off something, he invents and builds his own parachute and spacesuit, without the help of decades of NASA research, and I hope he digs a deep hole as a result.

    BTW — the space shuttle? What some people are calling a “failure” after the program got shut down? Involved a ton of research into aerodynamics that have been public knowledge since the 1970s all over the world and that has been applied to make takeoffs and landings of EVERY CIVILIAN FLIGHT SINCE THEN safer. Low-ball-assuming 100,000,000 flights since then, that’s a hundred bucks per flight to help make humans all over the world much, much safer when we’re zipping around the planet in pressurized tin cans with wings on them.

    That single fact ALONE can be bounced off the thick skulls of every jackass who thinks the space program is worthless. You don’t think they should have spent any money on the space program or the shuttle? Flap your flabby arms and try to fly home yourself for the holidays this winter, chucklehead.

    • mope says:

      he DOES think that they should spend money on the space program. That’s what the whole article is about. I honestly don’t get how you can misunderstand this article…

      • I’ll give you the benefit and allow that he only specifically states that going to Mars is a waste and that we should spend that money on learning more about Earth (he absolutely does NOT speak in defence of the space program)

        But where do we draw the line on valid exploration and science? How do we judge what we can learn from Mars, or Titan, or Io… and who makes that call? Felix? Based on what?

        He’s not in favour of science – he’s in favour of science with a tangible goal that he can agree with. He thinks the environment is worth trading Mars for… fine – there’s a debate to be had – is it also worth the space station? How about military funding?

        This is a man who, apropos of nothing, just told 7,000 people that the past 8 years of their lives was “a waste” – and that is unacceptable.

      • fireandair says:

        The point is, you don’t know what the benefits are going to be until you do something. I can guarantee you that the stuff we learned dropping a robot onto the surface of Mars WILL be integrated into the technology we use in our daily lives. It’s not a matter of maybe. It WILL. It always is.

        This argument of “some but just the stuff I agree with” always winds up landing on “nothing.” It’s disingenuous to pretend otherwise. People always want government spending to Create Jobs You Can Raise A Family On. That’s what this did, PLUS tons of research that — once again — WILL be showing up in all our pockets at some point. Period.

      • mope says:

        In my reply “he” should refer to you, sarcastic rover, not to felix and “you” meant fireandair! Sorry, that I was being so unclear.
        I completely agree that spending money on science is and has always been worth it. And I also love this article!

  2. Bratfink says:

    I linked to this blog on mine.

    Well said, S. Rover!

  3. Reblogged this on Possibly Nonsense and commented:
    Was writing my own post about this, but now I don’t have to! I can just point you here. Read this article!

  4. sajeffe says:

    Your tweets about this and your rant above have inspired me to purchase a @SarcasticRover tee. That’s quite a leap for me (pardon the pun) because I am a poor person on a fixed income and have to make my choices wisely.

    But it’s important for me to support your rant. I’m a lay person who simply appreciates from afar the amazing accomplishments of @NASA and now the private space industry (built on NASA history). It’s a damn shame that somebody who used NASA’s inventions to do his “heroic” jump is so ignorant and, yes, stupid, he would spout such nonsense about exploration.

    Keep up the excellent work of entertaining as well as ranting when necessary.

  5. poiju says:

    He’s an idiot, but he’s harmless. I’d say the majority of people probably realize that he’s just a glorified meat projectile.

    What blows my mind every day is that seemingly the majority of my country loves and reveres NASA and the hardworking men and women employed there, but our politicians on both sides of the aisle continue to reduce or freeze their budget. It really saddens me that we no longer have a vehicle to carry humans into space.

  6. auroness says:

    The very fact that people are talking about this is good. Even if some of them don’t know what they are talking about, it does inspire others to speak up and speak out. Yes, I watched the jump, half wondering if they would edit out the failed landing in time. I also watched the moon landings, wondering if those men would ever make it back. Those men were real heros. Felix is just a shill.

  7. Katie says:

    Fantastic post, it actually made me a little teary.

  8. Jeremy says:

    Well said…

    And, look at it this way: Felix isn’t running for President of the United States!

  9. sajeffe says:

    Reblogged this on BrainFog Blog and commented:
    @SarcasticRover is spot on. Felix is an idiot.

  10. enigma says:

    When folks with no formal training, (other than being a sports athlete, commentator, News Anal-yst, or Radio “personality”) decide to take their soap-box and speak of things that they know nothing about… it can land anywhere from “laughable” to “really really really Bad”.

    With the changes in corporate “personhood” of the last 2 years, that line shifted largely away from “laughable”. There is usually (always?) an agenda behind what they are doing, or have to say. The fact that Red Bull funded his operations, which were largely (if not directly descended) from NASA/USAF technology is kind of scary.

    I would have suggested, “Don’t trash talk the people that made your parachute, before you open it… “… but he didn’t. He waited until after the NASA/USAF technology completed the task of saving his ass (from making a crater…) before trash talking and yapping about things he does not know….

    I was not one of the people that watched his flight. Not out of vendetta, not out of spite, not out of anger. Simply because I was bored with the hype. Yep, bored.

    There were a bunch of folks hyping his “jump” and trying to make it up to be something more than a publicity stunt… largely they failed. The nature of this stunt, when viewed with the eye on “science” vs “stunt” was clearly obvious. How much telemetry was realtime? How many instruments measured the changes his body went through during compression, decompression, and the actual flight? Any blood tests completed afterwards? Any medical exam *at all* after? If there was, and it was felt to be worthwhile research material, surely it would also be published, right?

    Instead, near as I can tell, There were sixteen *real time* cameras monitoring his every move, facial structure, features, and expressions, but nothing gathering data on the changes to his body…. no research data compiled, nothing to be published, just prepping for the next “stunt”.

    Note: It would also be nice if the sponsors had perhaps made a donation to a science academy, or paid a scholarship to a STEM related degree, or shown responsible corporate citizenship (see previous comments) in their past, but instead we all got a stunt, advertising a product that appears to cause cardiac damage to the people that use it. (Clock is ticking to see how long before their attorneys cry foul at the previous sentence).

  11. […] că după o asemenea declaraţie, acest individ nu mai merită nici măcar o urmă de respect. Un articol frumos scris pe un blog spunea “Felix ăsta a devenit un erou – nu tipul de erou al […]

  12. Gary says:

    SR – Don’t get too emotional on Felix. Frankly, if you’d not tweeted about it, I wouldn’t have known he said it. Other than The Telegraph’s article, there have been very few people talking about it. It’s like “Who is this guy? Oh, he’s the guy who fell out of a balloon? Oh. Okay. Whatever.” Whereas I’ve seen every tweet and blog post from NASA and NASA/JPL/Cal Tech. I’m not just following the tweets of Sarcastic Rover, but all of JPL. I’m also following the New Horizons Interplanetary Explorer (I’ll bet our resident genius Felix didn’t even know about that one…) as it works its way to Pluto for a 2015 rendezvous.
    My point is this. He’s had his moment, but he’s done now. I believe you’re right in that he built up a huge amount of good will with the geek / nerd / STEM community, but he just shot it all down with this one interview. I wonder if he was wearing one of his flame retardant suits when he said it, because the stupid, it burns. This was a simple case of:
    Step #1: Open mouth.
    Step #2: Insert foot.
    But he went for the optional:
    Step #3: Bite down hard!
    Oh, and what @enigma said: +1.

  13. SinceUasked says:

    “Space: the final frontier.” was a popular sentiment of my childhood. Space exploration imbued our lives from the popular movies and shows, graphical design and even our food. We were excited about the possibilities of what lay beyond what we already knew.

    I believe that people today are much less curious about places and things, preferring to glom on to the minutiae of celebrities and their antics. I don’t think we give much thought to the effort, and time, it took to create technologies like wireless networks or touch screens, or, to put Curiosity on Mars. We are uninterested in possibilities and unthinkingly accept what is put before us.

    I am saddened that the US government has slashed NASA’s budget and question how we can retain our technological edge if we’re unwilling to fund research which could take us “to where no man (or woman) has gone before”.

    Your tweets are what make me search out news on this expedition. Thank you for your effort to make Mars, and science, fun.

  14. Stardust9906 says:

    Well said @SarcasticRover

  15. gda says:

    Well to tell the true, I would like to visit mars or the moon myself, I would love to try space exploration, and that there be colonies, hotels or even entire cities on space one day, but actually, he got a point, I don’t think that it be a bad thing to continue space exploration, but we should care a little more about the planet that we already have, there are lots of people dying or suffering because of diseases, violence and many other social problems, as well not only humans are the ones who suffer the consequenses, many species of animals and plants have become extinct because of humanity, our activities are destorying the plannet, there is pollution over land, in the hidrosphere and in the atmosphere, and people isn’t giving enought importance to those problems, the research for earth care isn’t been taken as serius as it should be, as well, our economic habits aren’t helping

    • Stardust9906 says:

      I don’t have a problem with looking after our planet a little better but I don’t see any reason to cancel planetary exploration in order to do that. The article is suggesting taking funding from one to do the other which is what people are getting upset about.

  16. NASA isn’t an “investment”. You’re abusing the word like a politician.

    Felix wants to rob people to pay for environmentalism. You want to rob people to pay for space probes.

    You’re both wannabe thieves.

    • Firstly – I’m not a thief, I’m just a comedy writer – and secondly, NASA is absolutely an investment.

      Every technology derived from our exploration and knowledge of space is a return on the money, time, and infrastructure the people INVEST in NASA. From GPS tracking to satellite communications to advanced weather forecasting that saves lives – it all either began, or was fully realized by NASA.

      There is no “ROBBING” of the people. The money paid into NASA and into fire departments and police and the military and road crews… in other words, everything taxes pay for. That’s not money stolen and hoarded away like a flipping dragon in a cave – it’s money that is turned right around and pumped into the economy, to pay wages and for materials – which keep companies afloat and keep people in their homes, which in turn keeps banks and corporations solvent and profitable, which keeps people employed, which allows them to pay taxes… you see where this goes?

      The only crime here is maybe intellectual dishonesty – it’s the false assumption that the only thing NASA does is put money in a box and fire it into space. NASA drives innovation, challenges engineers and researchers in ways that they would never have otherwise been challenged, which makes them invent new things, develop new technologies – which are then adopted by private enterprise and turned into something like… a better MRI machine for hospitals or more advanced breast-cancer screening, or better parachutes for the military, or the navigation technology in your phone. That’s the economy of science and technology – and it begins with government funding because private enterprise would never get there on its own. They just wouldn’t.

      NASA drags us forward by asking the questions that we don’t think we even need to answer, and when we get there we just assume we have done it eventually on our own. But it’s a lie. And to call them thieves, when they have built and given and defined the trajectory and tenor of the past 60 years is… is foolish.

      • “the false assumption that the only thing NASA does is put money in a box and fire it into space”

        No-one said that, you’re just arguing against a strawman.

        The simple fact is that people would rather spend their money on something other than NASA and you don’t like that. Similarly, Felix doesn’t like that they want to spend their money on something other than the environment.

        You both think you know better than the rest of us how to spend our money, and you’re willing to use the force of taxation to compel us if we disagree.

        Accept your moral responsibility.

      • My moral responsibility?

        First off – you’re Australian and I’m Canadian – we don’t have dogs in this fight. Secondly, forced taxation is precisely how you get civilization. It’s how society’s afford to do things and explore things and venture beyond the edge of their imagination.

        People always argue with the phrase “the simple fact” when they want to make a complex issue into something small enough to handle – but science and the use of taxation by a government is not a simple fact, it’s an amazingly complex fact, but it’s a fact that EVERY SINGLE SUCCESSFUL SOCIETY has used to build something incredible.

        Extra-planetary science and exploration is, in my opinion and the opinion of many others, a vital and important component of our scientific growth. We don’t know exactly where it will lead – but it is for the betterment of humanity, and the betterment of the United States. And making every citizen INVEST in that growth makes sense, because regardless of their actions – they, or their children, or their descendants will benefit from the technological growth of society. Taxes that are invested in the community are not stolen money, they’re people pooling resources to do something that no one man, no one company could ever do.

        Hell, we’re talking on the internet – which wouldn’t have existed at all without tax dollars. And that’s not theft, it’s a good result.

  17. Ha! I absolutely love the way people assume that because I’m Australian I automatically don’t pay US taxes. Oh how I wish that was true. Don’t worry, you’re not the first person to make this mistake and you won’t be the last person.

    Okay, so you admit that you’re “making” people pay – I love the way you distance yourself from the force you’re using – for “growth that makes sense”. Okay, it makes sense to you, can I disagree with you? If it doesn’t make sense to me, shouldn’t you have to convince me that it makes sense before you go dipping into my pocket?

    If someone thinks solar power makes sense, they should get some of that ill-gotten tax cash, right? How about cold fusion? Maybe one of those nice little wars in an oil rich country? It makes sense to them and they think the “betterment of humanity” is achieved by this “investment”, so why not?

    They don’t have to convince me at all.. they just go convince a politician – the people we trust less than used car salesmen – and he or she brings home the bacon.

    • Are you in favour of planetary exploration and scientific research, or are you against it? That I haven’t quite figured out.

      I gather you’re vehemently against taxes, though seemingly happy to use and have all the things they provide – you just seem to want taxes to only be used for things that you agree with, and you seem to require me (again – just a writer, I’m not making anyone pay, and I’m not using taxes for anything – I’m not an actual robot) seem to require me to convince you that taxes are being used for the right things.

      So if you’re totally against taxes – just say that and accept there’s a difference. You’re welcome to it – but coming in to my house and trying to change my mind about my views is not going to go your way – especially when you start off by calling me a thief.

      Also – I didn’t say anything about “growth that makes sense” – I did say that making citizens invest in growth that leads to the betterment of the society makes sense. The difference may be pedantic, but I wouldn’t want to be taken out of context.

      And finally – if you pay American taxes the same way I do, as a non-citizen – then what you are paying is a tax for your access to the American market. You are paying a fee to do business there – to benefit from the great things that America has to offer. You’re not taxed to help build America, you’re taxed a user fee for what’s already built. Though you may pay for some other much more terrible awful to you reason. Either way, I’m done and going to bed.

      Bonne nuit.

      • Yes I’m against taxes. I’m in favour of planetary exploration and scientific research that is done without tax funding. There’s plenty of the latter, very little of the former, but I don’t see how that is relevant to the principle we’re discussing.

        It doesn’t matter how tax money is used, any more than it matters how the Mafia uses the money they get from shaking down local businesses. Even if they were building orphanages (or whatever “worthy” use you care to name) they’d still be extorting people under the threat of force – just like the IRS does.

        I did say that making citizens invest in growth that leads to the betterment of the society makes sense.

        Sorry if I misquoted you or misconstrued what you said. I didn’t intend to. I still disagree with this statement. There’s simply no way to decide what leads to the betterment of society apriori and even if there was, it wouldn’t be moral to force people to invest in it.

        I can’t imagine you’re trying to argue that immoral actions make sense, so I have to assume you mean to claim that forcing citizens to invest in these things which someone has decided will result in the betterment of society is indeed moral. If so, I can’t understand your line of reasoning. Bad things done to achieve good ends are moral?

  18. Trudy says:

    The money spent on space science is tiny in comparison to so many truly useless things. A former NASA adminstrator pointed out that far more money is spent on corn chips than is spent on space science.
    Felix Baumgartner has merely shown himself here to be a showman and not a thinker. Space science touches on not just science, but philosophy, faith, life even the long-term survival of our species.
    How disappointing that Felix has chosen to align himself with the peasant horde.

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