We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Oh, by the way… it worked

What with islamic snipers, bombers and hostage takers, I never did get around to this story while it was current.

It seems the recent ground based anti-ballistic missile test was quite successful. Keep in mind this test series is an engineering effort and not testing of a product to be deployed. I point this out because most journalists I read don’t know the difference nor understand that bugs, glitches, failures, mistakes and blowing things up spectacularly are all part of everyday engineering R&D.

I must admit my own most spectacular glitch was not in the same league as these lads can accomplish. My “best effort” caused a dump of a fifty thousand gallon water deluge into a helicopter hanger outside Denver late one night in 1976. Well… it probably does rate well up the engineering test bug Richter scale. Fortunately for my career and possibility of future procreation, no helo’s were in at the time.

But that’s life in the world of engineering. “The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat”, along with a good healthy dose of the totally unexpected.

7 comments to Oh, by the way… it worked

  • FeloniousPunk

    Read this for interesting news in a related vein.

  • Brian Micklethwait

    What we need now is a succession of “competitive catastrophe” stories from engineers, each claiming to have caused more havoc than each other, along the lines of the Monty Python sketch where ghastly Northern English men boast competitively about how horrible their childhood’s were.

    I’ve heard several such conversations (“That’s nothing, when we were helping out with the Russian Concorde at the Paris Air Show …” – “Peanuts, I was at SAC testing targetting software, and we came within twelve seconds of starting WW3 …” – “Hah!! When I was in Berlin we STARTED WW3 and the President himself had to intervene to stop it …” , etc. etc.) and would love to add another to the collection.

    May the worst man win.

  • Food for thought: it’s entirely possible that those with some of the best (worst) stories cannot talk about them. For example, one might suspect there’s someone out there who said,
    “NO, NO, Fifty-four-dot-NINE, I said… jeez, if you thought I’d said Fifty-four-dot-FIVE, you’d've hit, um… the Chinese Embassy! Wouldn’t that be an international faux pas!”
    “uhhhh…”
    but is probably encouraged not to discuss it further.

  • Here in Los Angeles we can tell the outcome of those missile tests by how the Los Angeles Times reports them. In this case, there was no mention at all in the paper, which means the test was a success. If the test had failed, there would have been an article about how much money it cost and how much Russia and China object.

  • MishOfSydenham

    May I congratulate you on having the strategic nous of a French nobleman on the night before Agincourt.

    I guess if you choose your enemies *carefully* you might just get one who honours the rules of cricket and allows your ABM bat a decent spell at the crease!!!!!

  • Dale Amon

    Ah, yet another person who doesn’t know what an engineering test is.

  • David Perron

    Fortunately, Dale, that species is easily identified.

    “No test is valid unless it’s a full-scale test against a target whose decoys are far better than what we can currently imagine or deploy ourselves.”

    I believe these are frequently the same critters that question why we have so little in the way of missile defense after having spent so much on programs they themselves thought should be shut down. You don’t even want to get me started on this. I posted something lengthy on Jane Galt’s blog about this, and again recently here.

    I don’t even take the Union of Concerned Scientists to task. Mostly because I can scarcely do more damage to their credibility than they have done themselves.