Twitter acquired Threader! Learn more

+ Your AuthorsArchive @Foone Hardware / software necromancer, collector of Weird Stuff, maker of Death Generators. (they/them) ko-fi: Oct. 22, 2021 11 min read


at this point the largest problem facing the JWST project going forward is that it's planned to orbit the Earth-Sun L2 point, a point which may not exist by the time it makes it into space

after all, when the sun expands into a red giant some 5 billion years from now, earth will either be flung into deep space or burn up in the expanding sun's outer atmosphere, and you can't have an earth-sun L2 point if there's no earth

hey you know the idea of the scapegoat?
not the modern commonplace usage, the original usage?
it was called Azazel, and the basic idea is that a high priest would symbolically place all the sins of the people onto a goat, which would then be banished into the desert

thus the people would have their sins removed

I think NASA is trying to do this with procrastination and schedule slipping and lateness

they're going to symbolically embed all those properties into the Homophobic Administrator's Ground Gadget and then eventually shoot it into space, the ultimate desert

and then all humankind will be free and all our things will be done on time and without delay or procrastination

we'll live in a glorious utopia of efficiency
and the only cost is that a pointless telescope never gets launched

I say pointless because by the time that overdesigned iMac gets into space, we'll be able to observe distant stars more easily by just hopping in our personal faster-than-light spaceships and just flying over there to observe them in person

It's gonna be so embarassing when NASA finally gets the Dead Administrator Electronic Toy into space and turn it on and try to do some First Light observations of Alpha Centauri...

and just end up photographing the McDonalds parking lot outside of New New York City, near the New New Jersey turnpike

the funny thing with the Name Redacted Origami Mirror is that it might be the first telescope that suffered so much schedule-slip that between when it started being designed until now, the majority of the US population now has more computing power than it IN THEIR POCKETS

It's running a (couple) RAD750 chips. That's a 110-220mhz PowerPC chip.

That's the same CPU as in the iMac G3, that powerhouse of 1998.

fun fact: since the launch (no pun intended) of this chip in 2001, over 150 of them have been deployed in various space craft.

that includes the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (2005), Fermi Gammy-Ray Space Telescope (2008), Kepler Space Telescope (2009), Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (2009), WISE (2009), Juno (2011), Curiosity (2011), Perseverance (2020)

and yet not the JWST because it's still sitting on the ground where it will remain until some administrators learn that some projects come with too big a scope, that some schedules slip too far

it will be a warning to the next ten generations that some projects involve too much hubris.

and I will look up... well, sideways... at it, and wave, like this!

For how much the Not Yet In Space Fucking Paperweight has cost we could have just launched 6 more Hubbles

That's one about every 4 years the JWST has been in active development. Most of those could have gone up on the Shuttle, since we still had one when the JWST was originally supposed to have launched

and you might make the quite reasonable argument that the JWST is (well, will supposedly be) an infrared telescope and the hubble is visible-light, so they're not exact replacements for each other

but if we're launching one every presidential election or so, we can probably afford to retrofit one or two of them to be IR

(this is not, in fact, actually true. the JWST is designed completely differently from a hubble and most of the reason for that is because an IR-hubble wouldn't be great. the JWST will be far from earth and have a big cooling shield, unlike the hubble which is low and warm)

an IR hubble wouldn't be as sensitive as the JWST will be, since it'd be too warm.
It would, however, be in space actually detecting things, unlike the JWST which mainly detects the failures of NASA

at this point I kinda suspect NASA will finally launch it, and some old guy at nasa will be like "ahh, yes. our mission, as humanity, is done. God is pleased."

And overhead, without any fuss, the stars will be going out.

(included on the harddrive of the 6 gigabyte IDE hard drive of the iMac G3 telescope is a file containing all 9 billion names of god)

I don't know how they compressed them that well.
I'd assume that they'd pick a good encoding scheme (UTF-8 for purely hebrew text would be silly) and get each name in, like, 4-16 bytes?
That suggests you'd need around 128 gigabytes to store all nine billion names of god

which, by the way, is how much storage I have in my pants right now

that six gigabyte is for the iMac G3, the 1999 "Fruit Colors" line, not the JWST. I'm not sure how much storage that paperweight has

Ahh. 65 gigabytes. So just like the CPU: less than I have in my pants 

I've joked before one of the existential threats to the JWST is that by the time it finally launches and tries to communicate with NASA, there may no longer be any records left that explain how to talk to it

hopefully there's someone at NASA keeping an old Windows 95 computer running.
And they haven't left it on for more than 49.7 days

(Yes, when design work started on the JWST, the latest OS was Windows 95.
When they first started planning, it was MS-DOS 3.31)

Hopefully they've done a study about how to leave a message for future generations to let them know how to talk to the Lagrange Point Hogger 9000, as we may get into one of those Yucca Mountain situations where we need to leave messages to future civilizations

who may no longer speak any language spoken today and have lost all concept of what radiation is

gonna have to create a series of elaborate pictograms to explain to the Crab People who eventually replace us what stars are, what a computer is, and how to talk to the computer up there in space looking at stars

and also explain to them what an Ariane 5 is, and please build one and finally launch the NASA Guy Cobwebb Accumulator. We're depending on you, CrabPeople.

Just remember to not use the 16-bit code from the Ariane 4 because that results in Sudden Unexpected Not Go To Space Today.

Honestly maybe we should just include instructions on how and where to launch the JWST into the Yucca Mountain messages, because probably by the time the JWST makes it into space, Yucca Mountain will be completely safe to live in, all the radioactive waste long since decayed away

I would, as a programmer, want to make a joke about no one remembering how to program Javascript by the time the JWST makes it to space, but let's face it, at this point JS is the new Cobol. It's going to be here long after anyone remembers what Java or a Browser was

and yes, it's programmed in javascript:

but yeah. nothing could be more JWST than it getting delayed with only 58 days left on the clock.
That's the closest we've come to launching the thing, and it slips through our fingers

anyway it may not surprise you to learn that I have a list of these threads I've done every time I get mad at the JWST. that happens unsurprisingly often 

I brought up Arthur C. Clarke in the last of those threads, too, huh.

anyway in that one I talked about the pope which was funny because I was about to bring him up here, along with the fact that I predicted in the March Thread that there'd be at least 3 more rant threads before the launch date (then in October)

there's been two threads since, so we're right on schedule.

Unlike NASA

anyway in that previous thread I joked about the pope being catholic and the JWST being delayed, you know?

Anyway yesterday I was looking up one of the current Popes on wikipedia (like you do) and got amused by the fact he's listed as being Argentine (with Vatican citizenship), then even more amused by the fact they listed his denomination.


anyway I didn't wake up today and choose violence, NASA chose it for me, so it's time to have some fun.

the fact he has vatican citizenship, though, that opens up a whole new spur of imagination.
What if the pope doesn't have citizenship in the Vatican? Does he have to be a Pope-In-Exile?

and I mean, yeah, The Vatican City is technically a democratic-monarchic theocracy with the Pope as the Ultimate Ruler so presumably if a Pope didn't have citizenship, they could just give it to themselves

but I like the idea of a Pope who gets granted all the powers and duties of the pope but he once visited the Vatican City as a teenager and ended up getting in a drunken scuffle with a border guard so now he's banned from the country.

The Pope may have all the power and the ear of God, but the Border Security Patrol has the keys.

someday I'm gonna make a thread that's just me talking about, like, running doom on weird things, the JWST, popes, gender, Cartrivision, floppy disks, ADHD, and taking apart some odd electronics, and then I'll just be done. That's all my subjects, all in one thread.

and then we, as a society, will have evolved past the need for Foone Threads

ANYWAY as you may have noticed I ramble a lot and switch subjects at the drop of a hat, which is weird because I don't usually wear hats? maybe that's why I switch them so often. Oddly right now I do have a hat in my office but I don't think it would fit me

as it's sized to fit on an 8-foot-tall skeleton

I showed it to the pope and he was like "ahh, Nephilim!" but that's a bible reference I don't get

you may think I talk a lot about the JWST but that's nothing compared to how much the pope brings up his favorite book. he's worse than harry potter fans, I tell you

anyway you know I'm a pope too, right?
everyone's a pope. it's great.

and the rules of the Church of Eris do say that everyone is a Pope, but they don't say that 8-foot-tall plastic skeletons are Popes, except that I, speaking as a Pope, can change the rules of the Erisian church, and I just have done so.
My 8-foot skeleton? now a Pope.

Pope Bones the First

I know calling them "the first" is a bit presumptuous.
Technically most of the Popes are bones now.
but they weren't known as Pope Bones, so it's okay.

it's not even the first time there was a big Skeleton Pope thing.
Look up the Cadaver Synod sometime, it's wacky. A dead pope got dug up and put on trial by a later pope.

it wasn't even the next pope, it was the next-next pope.
He (Pope Formosus) got found guilty and de-poped, and his corpse was then thrown into a river.

anyway when the Accusing Pope (Pope Stephen VI) died later that year, it turned out a monk had rescued the body from the Tiber river, and Ex-Pope Formosus got re-interred at St. Peter's Basilica.

and since then two other Popes have said that the Cadaver Synod didn't really count and Formosus is a pope again.
Although one later pope (who happened to be the co-judge at the trial) overturned those rulings and said he's still not a pope

basically the most we can say is that the Popeness of Formosus is a debated and controversial subject.

But since nothing has been officially decreed about it in eleven centuries, we can probably assume he's NOT a pope? although he's still buried in St. Peter's, in the Pope Section.

anyway next time I run into one of the current popes I'll see if they have an opinion and can make an official ruling on Possibly-Pope Formosus.

Although given that I'm a pope and my church says that all people are popes, that does imply that Formosus was a pope. Because everyone's a pope.

although will I approve of extending Popeness to some inanimate objects, especially those designed in the image of a human (much like we are said to be designed in the image of god), such as 8-feet tall skeletons...

I would like to bring this thread back around and oficially rule (speaking Ex cathedra, as a Pope) that the JWST is not a pope.

sorry. If it gets into space and manages to take a picture of at least one star, we'll talk.

anyway I gotta go get my coffee.
Although starbucks turned down my idea to do a cross promotion and put up ads with the slogan "Mocha Frappuccino: The Breakfast Of Popes!"

also I should stop here because replies are being funnier than I could ever hope to be:

Still angry:

You can follow @Foone.


Tip: mention @threader on a Twitter thread with the keyword “compile” to get a link to it.

Follow Threader