Arecibo Collapse

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26 Responses:

  1. apm74 says:

    Future Arecibo truthers going to love that close up drone footage.

  2. tfb says:

    It seems appropriate that the national science foundation of a nation that, 51 years ago, put two humans on the Moon, is now proudly attaching its logo to footage of parts of the scientific infrastructure of the nation collapsing as a result of long-term neglect. What could be done at Arecibo can not be done anywhere now. If, in due course, another installation is built which can do what Arecibo could do, it will almost certainly be at FAST, in China. And Americans will stare at their phones, lost in a dream world where they live in a country which is not rotting from within.

    • SeanC says:

      It looks like FAST is fully operational. Wiki sez that the cost of FAST was $180m. We can't pull our thumb out of our backside for that little. And meanwhile, Chang-e 5 has lifted off the moon and is on its way home.

      • George Dorn says:

        FAST can't do active radar. That's what made Arecibo special. It could see things in parts of the sky other telescopes are blind to, and illuminate the objects it was looking at.

        Goldstone is the only remaining active radar scope, and it's comparatively tiny.

      • tfb says:

        FAST can't yet do what Arecibo could do, as another person said. It may be able to do so one day.

        $180 million is about the cost of a pair of F35s. Elon Musk could afford to build nearly 400 FASTs (Jeff Bezos could afford to build nearly a thousand). But of course he won't, because that would be useful for someone other than him, and wouldn't involve giant rockets and the stupid dream of colonizing Mars.

        • Jim says:

          How many can Biden build if he starts minting platinum coins because Mnuchin gave $455 billion back to Congress?

    • dcapacitor says:

      Seems so symbolic... 60 years ago humans were building things like giant radiotelescopes to look at the sky, counted how old they would be in the year 2000, and imagined a future full of flying cars, thinking computers and solutions to a possible energy crisis.

      Fast forward to present day...

    • thielges says:

      Oh don’t be such a pessimist. It wasn’t that long ago that we converted a brutal secular dictatorship into a brutal fundamentalist theocracy. And it only cost a trillion dollars and a few hundred thousand lives.

      See, America can still accomplish big things.

      • tfb says:

        I always wonder: what was the last war that America won? I think it may have been the 2nd world war. I used to think the cold war, but they're clearly losing that.

        • Paul Guertin says:

          The war on education. Education lost.

        • Dude says:

          The US didn't actually "win" World War II because it wasn't the US on its own. The US just likes to claim superiority, which is expected when you're the only country to drop not-one-but-two nukes on a civilian population.

          The US fights culture wars, or rather "wars" of the few on top against the many below:

          • MattyJ says:

            When the Lakers won their championship this year, I'm pretty sure LeBron and everyone else on the team were considered champions, too.

            You can be part of a winning team and an individual winner yourself, you know.

            Historians and those with cursory knowledge thereof might posit that WWII would not have been 'won' without US involvement.

          • tfb says:

            I'm British, and I'm pretty sure without the US I'd be speaking German today. It's certainly possible that without the UK winning the battle of Britain in 1940, which would have deprived the US of somewhere to invade continental Europe from that the outcome in Europe would have been very different (would the Germans have gone into Russia? could the Soviet Union have held them off without the US aid they had?). But, seriously, the US won the second war.

            Perhaps more significantly, they won the peace: they saw what happened after the end of the great war and where it led, and they chose not to let it happen again, and reassembled Europe and Japan from the wreckage to stop that.

            Note I'm not excusing everything they did, least of all the use of nuclear weapons (do a demonstration first, for fuck's sake: nuking a city without demonstrating what you could do was, well ...), and I'm certainly not saying they did anything like an optimal job: but they did not do a pessimal job, which is what the allies did after the great war.

            And then they forgot how to do it and started to believe they could win by vast firepower alone, which has not worked out so well.

            • Dude says:

              If you guys want to celebrate the benefits living in a post-WWII world, I won't stop you, but I'm not gonna celebrate the same military-industrial complex that's had us in the Middle East for nearly 20 years now.

              As a lifelong "dumb yank", I have no problem acknowledging the military benefits to which the US contributed, but I refuse to say "the US won WWII" because it's a half-truth and oversimplification that specifically negates the efforts of the other Allied Nations (including England) that fought the Nazis whilst the US sat back and said "Aw, c'mon. This Hitler fella ain't so bad."

              And it doesn't excuse the fact that the US jumped out of WWII just get into a 50-year dick-measuring contest with Russia that came this close to blanketing the world in nuclear winter (and again, the US is still the only nation to use nukes in combat... on a civilian population).

              Saying "The US is great because we won WWII" is right up there with "Remember 9/11" in terms of being the go-to phrase to try and excuse for horrible shit done by the US military. It's like when Facebook and Twitter saying they're "guardians of free speech". Yes, social media was crucial in hearing the oppressed voices crying out during Arab Spring and the Chinese Uprising, but that's no excuse to let anti-vaxxers, climate change-deniers, and all the goddamn white supremacists ramble on unchecked.

              So yeah, it's great that the US (belatedly) help stop Hitler, but I won't say "the US won WWII" for the same reason I won't say "the first Thanksgiving was a peaceful dinner between pilgrims and Native Americans": I'm too old believe in faerie tales.

              • dcapacitor says:

                I'm from former Soviet country, and I would also say that the US won WWII (despite that it was generally implied in my schoolbooks that the Soviets won it). Not only was it on the side that defeated Germany, played a major part in ensuring that victory, but also ended up better off economically and suffered less losses than other Allies. If that's not winning a war, I don't know what is.

                Whether that's good or something to be proud of is a different question altogether.

                • Dude says:

                  Yeah... I already mentioned that the US was on "the side" that won.

                  The reason they "ended up better economically and suffered less" is because they held off joining until the very end, whereas all the other Allies had been bleeding themselves against the Axis for years at that point.

                  I have no interest in contributing to a myth long-since proven untrue, nor have I any interest in repeating that over and over.

                  • jwz says:

                    Ok folks, I'm bored with this pointless hair-splitting over the definition of the word "won". Take it somewhere else.

  3. margaret says:

    holy crap - that was a 900 ton ooops. it's hard for me to imagine 900 tons dangling from wires in hurricane country ending any other way than this, but yet they pulled it off for 57 years.

  4. Steve Allen says:

    I will remember the way those cables snapped every time I drive over the Golden Gate and the Bay Bridge.

  5. Ok so we've got:
    - Arecibo Dish on percussion
    - Verrazzano Narrows Bridge on bass
    - Golden Gate Bridge on vocals
    - the "DROP! DROP! DROP!" girders on lead guitar
    I guess touring will be a problem though.

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