October 16, 2012
READ’EM AND WEEP! SEN. TOM COBURN’S 2012 WASTEBOOK IS OUT: Nobody knows the lunacy of federal spending better than this Oklahoma senator. Here’s the 100 worst examples he and his investigators have found this year, like Martian pizza!
UPDATE (FROM GLENN): A reader emails: “I don’t know your policy of commenting on your helpers’ posts, but in my opinion, the Mars Pizza (Mark Tapscott at 7:09 today) thing is a misplaced criticism in Senator Coburn’s report. I’m only now (in light of some recent emergency preparation work) coming to realize some of the food challenges related to Mars travel, or any travel beyond Low Earth Orbit. The military has only been interested in storing food for on the order of a couple years. The Meals Ready-to-Eat packs have about a three year shelf life, and are only meant as short-term rations for on the order of a week. In a Mars Direct scenario, it’s possible that the crew would need to eat food on the return to Earth which was sent to Mars over four years before departure (2 launch windows previously, or 52 months) which has its own set of challenges. I’m not sure that there’s a good response to this, though the pithiest would be ‘If Tom Coburn is worried about spending $947,000 a year on space food research, he must be really concerned about spending $3,000,000,000 or more a year on the Space Launch System, which NASA’s own research shows that the SLS makes exploration more expensive.’”
ANOTHER UPDATE (FROM GLENN): If you read this, it’s clear that Coburn’s complaint is largely based on the research being premature, since no human missions are in the offing any time soon.