James W. Meng

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The "Rogozin Drill": A Meta-Discussion Of Technological Product Launches Circa 1920-2020

rather than ask why the peasants occasionally drill holes in spacecraft I thought I'd offer an history lesson

"In April 1978 the Voyager 2 redundant receiver and the loop capacitor in the prime spacecraft receiver failed, leaving the Voyager Project with a major problem: how to communicate with the spacecraft and get the data back." Someone in the Evangelical Contingent of Houston's Mission Control had created a problem. How does one Get Communication Back when:

The multi-billion-dollar space probe is just chilling out around Jupiter.

Every command you send takes several days to arrive.

Every error code you receive likely requires you to switch over to a binary redundancy system: one device fails, switch to the extra one. Not component by component; just - modem fails, use the other one of two modems. Yeah. That sort of thing.

"Ok, so we of The Church People 'forgot' to send the latest command updates once or twice and the thing switched back and forth a bunch of times when it, well, maybe, you know, shouldn't really have."

"Oh great, thanks a whole lot, is your pastor that good that he made you have a full-on hallucinatory experience all by yourself or did you require FBI pharmaceutical assistance?"


"Crap. Some shitpiece of discrete logic switched over to the alternate transmitter when you Loyal Christian Wiggers decided to burn a few billion dollars to the ground in orbit around Jupiter and when it got our command to come back to...oh never mind, we're back on the original transmitter but the capacitor regulating transmissions is dead."

*dead silence* "Really?"

"Yes. You're a fucking imbecile."

*dead silence*

*dead silence*

"Can...can we figure out how to deal with this?"

The rest is history. We get transmissions back from Voyager-2, but they're now being run through all kinds of filters meaning there are lots of levels of redundancy over what the rank and file Mission Control even get to see. As a result, it no longer even matters who works there. Any telecommunications billionaire able to accumulate enough money may as well be running the Voyager-2 programme. We don't know what actually caused the MASSIVE human error at Mission Control that resulted in Voyager-2 switching over to its alternate transmitter and allegedly blowing a capacitor on return, giving full plausible deniability to anyone who wants to argue with anything it reports to Earth or anyone who interferes with its transmissions.

"Did God want the capacitor to blow out?"

Look, I'm not here for theological questions. The thing is this. Somebody in Houston in the summer of 1978 went insane, probably as the result of psych-ops provocations. It created enough problems at Mission Control that two or more absolutely critical transmission sequences were missed. As a result, Voyager-2 totally lost the ability to send accurate data to Earth. A combination supercomputer, atomic energy generator, network switch and satellite transmitter that was then already in orbit around Jupiter was almost totally lost because of someone going criminally insane for stupidity and/or religious reasons.

So today we ask why someone at Roscosmos recently drilled an hole in a new capsule for the International Space Station. I suggest that the reason is similar. And I believe Dmitry Rogozin should immediately be fired over it. He totally failed to profile his employees accurately on the basis of a lesson that should have been learned 40 years ago. It's done. A clean break is the only correct solution, unless they absolutely have no one else. I would gladly offer to take his place. I would never have made that mistake.

Today we have, as it happens, reached a point where any serious project that achieves any sort of serious commercial, societal, or religious resistance encounters serious problems. I made a concert-quality viola to prove that point but it is an ongoing problem that involves anything - not just historical imagery of the Devil himself sawing away on a bowed instrument.

The next step, for anyone serious, is total abandonment of religion. Anyone working in any real field must give up all superstitious beliefs, no matter how strange that may be. Give them up. Fine, psychoanalyse yourself and others if you want; ask scientists and psychologists questions. But never give in to superstition. That's the shortcut. I am not going to tell you if God or ghosts or whatever exist. I am telling you that people who believe in them are inherently not capable of anything productive or constructive.