I just removed the link to the Space Cynics site from my link roll.  I’ve tried over the past year or so that they’ve been around to link to and comment on posts of theirs that have been insightful and useful.  They are a talented bunch, with lots of experience.  If they were more grown-up, they could probably do a lot more good for the industry.  I still like Shubber’s posts, and I still have some respect for the hard work Tom Olsen has been doing trying to improve the funding situation for the industry.  I also appreciate the hard work that David Livingston has been doing for the industry by putting on the Space Show.

It’s just a pity that they’ve wasted the potential of their website by behaving like a bunch of arrogant, narcicistic, immature teenagers.

I remember back at Space Access 2005, this same group was decrying the disunity of the industry.   I recall the phrase Shubber used was that we had a “circle the wagons and fire inward” mentality.  Unity is important, and I was glad at the time that they made the point.  That said, it’s a real pity to see that they don’t practice what they preach.

I’m not sure exactly what happened, but several months back I think I corrected oldspacecadet (who if I’m not mistaken is Dr John Jurist) in a comments section.  The guy is more intelligent than he is mature, and couldn’t accept the fact that someone else may have had a point.  He’s been publicly insulting my company ever since, as you’ll notice that our company has been the only thing he’s posted about on that site in over six months.  Now, this isn’t to say that he hasn’t made some legitimate points.  I’ve tried to take his comments as constructive criticism even if it wasn’t intended or delivered in a constructive manner.  I fully appreciate the importance of accuracy and properly shaping peoples expectations.  I know that what we’re trying to accomplish has proven a lot harder than we had initially thought.  The self-righteous, self-congratulatory manner in which John and his fellow bloggers have allowed themselves to descend into is uncalled for and counter-productive.  But, just because someone insists on acting below his age, doesn’t mean that he can’t be at least partially right.

So for now, I bid my friends at Space Cynics adieu.  I know this post is more or less a blatant case of feeding the troll, and I’m sure they’ll want to make a big deal out of this, but as far as I’m concerned I have no intention of wasting any more time on them until they grow up and start being constructive.

If they have something useful to say, I may post about it in the future.  But until that point I’ve got more valuable things to be doing than arguing with trolls.

If someone wants to drop me a line if they write something useful again, that would be nice.

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Jonathan Goff

Jonathan Goff

President/CEO at Altius Space Machines
Jonathan Goff is a space technologist, inventor, and serial space entrepreneur who created the Selenian Boondocks blog. Jon was a co-founder of Masten Space Systems, and is the founder and CEO of Altius Space Machines, a space robotics startup in Broomfield, CO. His family includes his wife, Tiffany, and five boys: Jarom (deceased), Jonathan, James, Peter, and Andrew. Jon has a BS in Manufacturing Engineering (1999) and an MS in Mechanical Engineering (2007) from Brigham Young University, and served an LDS proselytizing mission in Olongapo, Philippines from 2000-2002.
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9 Responses to De-Linking

  1. A long time ago, when I was an inexperienced intern working at a non-profit (IT support) I remember whining and complaining to my department head because the one of the Exec’s wanted us to do something beyond our budget and resources (or so I thought at the time).

    He quickly threw me out, and said “Darnell, I don’t want to hear your problems. I want to hear your solutions.”

    That quote has stuck with me ever since. Getting to space is hard, but if all you are doing is whining about the difficulties, then you need to join a talk radio program.

    I’m glad that there are people actually doing something in the industry–instead of mocking at those who dare to enter “the arena.”


  2. Dave Salt says:

    Jon, you’ve probably done the right thing.

    Yes, the idea of their site is to question people and stir up debate, but the way they go about it is rather sad. I once commented that ‘Space Cynics’ was like a cross between a Monty Python sketch (Is this the right room for an argument?) and a section in ‘Private Eye’ (Pseuds Corner) but Shubber got very upset.

    That’s the sad thing about some very clever people… sometimes their pomposity blinds them to how others really see them.

  3. Shubber Ali says:

    They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.
    – Carl Sagan

    Try not to confuse those who peddle kool-aid with those who are actually trying. I have tremendous respect for the latter, and nothing but disdain for the former. And if you really believe Alt.Space is only comprised of the latter, then I would place you in the category of the former.

  4. Brad says:

    Why is it that such a seemingly dry topic, spaceflight and engineering, can generate such heat? I have been astonished at the amount of ego many people seem to invest. Can’t we all just get along?

  5. Jonathan Goff Jonathan Goff says:

    I agree with you that is a mix of those peddling koolaid/BS and those who are actually bending metal and trying to make things work. There are plenty of examples of companies that are mostly hype and BS with little bent metal or controlled hot flamey stuff to show for it. I guess I just got torqued in that you guys seem to think that one of the companies that has been bending metal, that has been brutally open and public about its failures as well as its successes, is one of the koolaid drinkers just because of a little verbiage on the front page (which has now been fixed).

    I guess I could see how someone could be confused if they read just that and nothing in our blog, nothing in our business plan, or nothing else on our site. But seriously, if someone wanted to invest in us based on one sentence on the front page of our site without looking at the rest, I wouldn’t want their money!

    All that said, I do still appreciate some of your commentary, especially on the impact of the current financial situation on space stuff.


  6. Dave Salt says:

    Shubber said [my addition]: “…if you really believe Alt.Space is only comprised of the latter [those who are actually trying], then I would place you in the category of the former [i.e. a kool-aid peddler]”.

    Shubber, this is exactly the problem I have with Space Cynics: you seem to think that ordinary folk are incapable of doing their homework and that only you guys have the “god’s eye view” of what’s right and what’s wrong. To me, this comes across as arrogance, which is unfortunate because, having met you, I know this is definitely NOT the case!

    Yes, I know you’ve met people who have been naive enough to be taken in by the BS — I’m guessing one of your co-bloggers may fall into this group — but, to be brutally frank, anyone who invests serious money in an venture without checking the veracity of the business case, either because they’re too stupid or too lazy, deserves to be fleeced. To put it another way, as the great philosopher W.C.Fields once said, “never give a sucker an even break”.

    Having said that, I honestly believe that most people who’ve made money are sufficiently street-wise in regard to “due diligence” that you really should not worry about them. Moreover, if they are so naive as to require your guidance to steer them away from, I fully expect them to be taken by someone else down the road selling stuff like… (insert the name of your favorite investment scam here).

    Nevertheless, I think you’ve really gone too far by naming Dave Masten as a “Walking Eagle” (i.e. a scam artist). Does the fact that Virgin Galactic has taken a huge amount of money — several orders of magnitude more than Masten Space — from customers but has not yet delivered a working system make Sir Richard Branson a “Walking Eagle” too?

  7. Habitat Hermit says:

    Brad the dream is the biggest dream in the universe except for what might pertain to God and the divine, that’s why ^_^

    On topic I’ve read the post over at Space Cynics and I’m surprised. MSS is close to the level of Armadillo Aerospace and Unreasonable Rocket when it comes to public information about hardware developments and it just doesn’t make any kind of sense at all to skewer them over such petty stuff as use of present tense to describe what could be done.

    Has Space Cynics run out of fresh and prominent Kool-aid-drinking examples, is that the reason? Maybe there’s less of it around than they would like to think. Maybe too many of those who are going for the extremely long shots (like the N-Prize) are too up front and crystal clear about the challenges? Maybe everybody else is actually doing too much or otherwise not promising enough?

    That’s would be good news.

  8. Jonathan Goff Jonathan Goff says:

    I don’t think anyone who’s honestly followed us over the years would have looked at the sentence that Dr Jurist nitpicked and thought for even a second that we were trying to intentionally mislead people about our progress. Because we weren’t, and it was pretty obvious that we weren’t. I mean, if we’re intentionally trying to hype our stuff and mislead people, it’s a pretty crappy job when we state only a few inches down that we are in fact not flying XA-1.0 yet, and show on a blog directly and prominently linked to on that same page that we’re still in early development.

    But I guess if the Space Cynics really want to say that MSS is the most egregiously Kool-aid drinking company out there, and the most deserving of a Walking Eagle Award, it says less about MSS than it does about their (poor) judgment on such matters.


  9. Habitat Hermit says:

    Yeah I absolutely agree, I read the page in question when looking at the new site design after it was announced not that long ago and at least to me it was completely obvious that the point made was that of the possibilities of space.

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