Popular Science article

Popular Science has a fairly long article on HPR I thought I would share. http://www.popsci.com/popsci/aviation/article/0,20967,1068619-1,00.html

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I thought it was pretty sickening the way the article emphasized the catos. Over and over it was the screwups and explosions that interested the writer. I can't see how that is a big plus in popularizing the hobby. But then, where did he get the idea that people 'enjoy' seeing catastrophes? Maybe from attending launches and observing people's reactions to them, eh? Still, he could have done a lot better. I don't recall that he spent much time talking about interesting instrumentation or data analysis. He wrote it up like HPR was just an upscale amateur fireworks hootenanny. Not good.
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Aaaack! I agree with Fred! The world is coming to an end.
Even the Discovery Channel shows over a year ago were slanted towards showing the failures and marginal stuff. EVERY time someone talks to me about that show, the first thing they seem to mention is "that idiot with the cigarette in his mouth"...
    Bob Kaplow    NAR # 18L    TRA # "Impeach the TRA BoD"         >>> To reply, remove the TRABoD! <<< Kaplow Klips & Baffle:    http://nira-rocketry.org/LeadingEdge/Phantom4000.pdf www.encompasserve.org/~kaplow_r/ www.nira-rocketry.org www.nar.org
... One nation under surveillance, divisive, with liberty and justice for none.
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FredB wrote:

Why would you think it was PopSci's mandate to "popularize the hobby"? And to the casual spectator, of course the CATOs become the most interesting part of the launch. The successful flights quickly become routine. As my wife says, "They go up, they come down ... they go up, they come down ..."
Most of us who planned and hosted LDRS 23 actually thought, for the most part, that the article was fair and accurate. The general public isn't going to be interested in an HPR, ER or Sport Rocketry type of article, with rocket kit names and motor designations and certification attempts documented ad nauseum.
And as for "popularizing the hobby", the print version of the article includes a link to the LDRS 24 web site, from which people can get to the TRA site. Also, in the print version the author and the photographer are quoted as saying:
"Despite the occasional launchpad burn-up or midair explosion, injuries to bystanders were non-existent..."
and
"The rocketeer culture is one of the coolest I've encountered."
Hmmm. "Occasional mishaps", "no injuries", "cool culture". Doesn't sound like a slamming of the hobby to me, but just an article written from the perspective of a single spectator attending his first rocket launch.
...Rick -- Rick Dunseith BRS 0079 - LDRS 23 Committee TRA 7162 - L3/TAP CAR S376 - L4 President, NAPAS (www.napas.net)
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Rick Dunseith wrote:

Seeing as the magazine is titled "Popular SCIENCE", I personally would have expected an article of a more serious tone; focussing on the educational aspects of the hobby; instead of the "fiery thrills and spills". The magazine may be written for the general population, but they usually treat their subject matter with respect.
--

Greg Heilers
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Greg Heilers wrote:

Serious science? The same issue had an article on a guy who flies around suspended from dozens of large helium filled balloons. :-)
The LDRS 23 article sidebars, in the print version at least, highlight a number of individual flights, listing rocket size and weight, type of motor, time and financial investment, altitude achieved, etc. One sidebar includes cutaway drawings and brief explanations of solid vs. hybrid motors. One directs readers to a web page highlighting interesting dates in rocketry history (www.popsci.com/rocketeers).
In the body of the article is a brief explanation of the evolution from BP to composite motors, and a high-level explanation of how rocket motors work in general. There's mention of our regulatory woes. There's mention and a description of hybrid motors as an alternative to solid-fuel motors. And there's mention of our EX activities and highlights from the EX day flights.
So there is actually some "science" (enough for the layman, at least) mixed in with the sensationalism in that article.

FWIW, not everyone thought it was a disrespectful article. While some on the TRA forum were offended by it, most of the respondents seemed to think it was a pretty reasonable article.
...Rick
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Rick Dunseith wrote:

Yes...but such articles are always outweighed by "serious" (though written for the layman) articles on astronomy, physics, aeronautics, electronics, medical technology, computers, etc.

I, personally, did not find the article too insulting; though I can see where many would. But remember....most of the insulting, embarrassing, or disrespectful quotations...came from the rocketeers themselves.
--

Greg Heilers
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THIS is a serious problem that MUST be addressed by NAR and TRA. We will NEVER win against the BATFE if this is the image we are presenting to others.
Even the Discovery channel stuff did more harm than good IMHO. The only thing I can recall seeing on TV that showed our hobby in a favorable light was the 10 minutes of footage in "Voyage to the Milky Way" that included Ray Halm's Arcon flight.
    Bob Kaplow    NAR # 18L    TRA # "Impeach the TRA BoD"         >>> To reply, remove the TRABoD! <<< Kaplow Klips & Baffle:    http://nira-rocketry.org/LeadingEdge/Phantom4000.pdf www.encompasserve.org/~kaplow_r/ www.nira-rocketry.org www.nar.org
We need to ensure that actions by our government uphold the principles of a democratic society, accountable government and international law, and that all decisions are taken in a manner consistent with the Constitution.
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Do you have any pointers on controlling the press?
On 11 Jul 2005 13:46:13 -0500, kaplow snipped-for-privacy@encompasserve.org.TRABoD (Bob Kaplow) wrote:

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Phil Stein wrote:

Ranger's pitcher Kenny Rogers can give you some tips.
:o)
--

Greg Heilers
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It's a matter of having the right person being the focal point for media for the organization(s). I think one excellent job was the WSJ article that Bunny worked on for at least 6 months.
I intend to go to NARAM and bring this issue up with the NAR BOT. I think it's something that requires as much joint effore between NAR and TRA as our current BATFE struggle.
    Bob Kaplow    NAR # 18L    TRA # "Impeach the TRA BoD"         >>> To reply, remove the TRABoD! <<< Kaplow Klips & Baffle:    http://nira-rocketry.org/LeadingEdge/Phantom4000.pdf www.encompasserve.org/~kaplow_r/ www.nira-rocketry.org www.nar.org
This is a country which stands tallest in troubled times, a country that clings to fundamental principles, cherishes its constitutional heritage, and rejects simple solutions that compromise the values that lie at the roots of our democratic system. -- Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, 1972
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kaplow snipped-for-privacy@encompasserve.org.TRABoD (Bob Kaplow) wrote:

I was that guy at LDRS-Hartsel #1.
--
Jerry Irvine, Box 1242, Claremont, California 91711 USA
Opinion, the whole thing. <mail to: snipped-for-privacy@gte.net>
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Jerry Irvine wrote:

I was there, that's just pure jerry irvine grade BS.
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I don't have a problem with the article. I'll say it could have emphisized CATOs a little less but as the author stated, unless you are an enthusiast, nominal flights get boring.
What do you think Bunny would have done differently and to what outcome?
On 12 Jul 2005 13:45:29 -0500, kaplow snipped-for-privacy@encompasserve.org.TRABoD (Bob Kaplow) wrote:

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Oh, really?
My rocketeer buddies disagree.
--
Jerry Irvine, Box 1242, Claremont, California 91711 USA
Opinion, the whole thing. <mail to: snipped-for-privacy@gte.net>
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wrote:

Point is that it gets old much sooner if your not an enthusiast. I know enthusiasts that only get enthused about 'really cool flights.'
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Jerry Irvine wrote:

I only see you disagreeing.
Where are you "buddies"? Are they real, or just imagined?
Are they felons also?
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Bob Kaplow wrote:

How do you propose they "address" it, Bob? The ONLY way is to either ban members from speaking to the press at these events, or only allow them to "read the script". Neither of those is in any way, shape or form acceptable.
-Kevin
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kevin: I also have problems with a "script".....
But don't you think it would be good if there was at least some form of mutually agreed pros and cons?
I mean ONE clear loud voice would seem to me to be better than 1000 smaller voices...
shockie B)

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shockwaveriderz wrote:

Your pros and cons don't necessarily match mine, and so forth.

The better way is when you know the media will be present, select someone from the host group that's eloquent and stops and thinks before answering questions, and have that person be their initial contact and show them around.
-Kevin
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