Jeffrey LewisMocking the Mentally Frail

Occasionally, I receive hostile or amusingly uninformed comments—which I promptly delete. I wanted to share the content of one, which I regrettably deleted.

Responding to Physics 101: Boost Phase Missile Defense and the Shortfall Problem, I recall the genius in question made three claims:

  • First, debris falls backward, which he “proved” by noting that debris from the Challenger accident scattered over the Atlantic Ocean.

Of course, the debris from the Challeger that fell over the Atlantic was falling forward as is evident from a ground track of any shuttle launch.

  • Second, that Canada and Europe could be protected from the missile defense shortfall problem by siting interceptors in their countries.

He obviously hadn’t read either report, since it would be physically impossible to conduct a boost phase intercept from the United States. Both studies assumed theater defenses (like Airborne Laser) operating from friendly bases in Northeast Asia and the Middle East.

  • Third—and this is why I wish I had saved the message—he asserted that a crude nuclear device exlploding on a city would kill far more than Forden’s worst case of 37,000.

His casualty estimates were probably inflated. The point was not to weigh stacks of corpses as did our sensitive friend, but rather the opposite: Reducing the number of killed even an order of magnitude from 100 to 10 thousand will be cold comfort indeed, particularly given that the 10 thousand killed will have been living in another country not the object of the attack. If you can’t see the moral and political issues associated with this … well … I can’t imagine this blog is going make much sense to you.

Despite all this, our dear reader chose to call me the “freekin’ idiot” and another commentator a “jerk off.”

So, if you’re out there please resend me your message. My readers deserve the entertainment!