As I'm driving in I see the asshole who got thrown out of this year's JPL Open House for shouting abuse at Mark Adler and Nagin Cox. This happened day before yesterday. Mark and Nagin were standing with the testbed rover outside the 303 cafeteria (where most of the Mars stuff was), volunteering their personal time to answer questions asked by visitors who were in the line to get into the building. I watched this for a while (indeed, late in the day, I did it myself for a while) and most of the visitors were polite, friendly, and supportive. Just nice folks, spending the day there with their kids, learning about space and science.
But not this guy. This jackass was shouting at the top of his lungs, personally insulting Mark and Nagin, calling them liars. Some of the visitors, perhaps worried for their kids, called the guards, and although Nagin pleaded with them not to throw the guy out -- she didn't want anyone to think they weren't free to ask any question they wanted -- I saw them talking to him later on, and shortly after that I heard he had been asked to leave. Now he's standing out by the main road into JPL, where he's put up posters directly and specifically accusing Tim Parker -- by name -- of being a liar, of doctoring images.
I ought to be amused by this. I want to run him over. But if aikido has taught me anything, it's that you don't confront anger with anger, attack with attack. You smile, welcome your attacker's momentum as a gift ... and then spin like a Martian dust devil and throw that motherfucker headfirst into a wall.
If he gets up and comes back, you smile and bow a little and do it again.
See you next year, asshole.
The weekend went well for the rovers. Friday's attempt to drive Opportunity made more progress than expected -- we're still talking about only a couple of centimeters, but we'll take it. And Spirit's IDD work went nominally, too.
So thisol we're finishing up the IDD work, then stowing the IDD and driving the remaining 30m or so to Larry's Lookout. It's a complex sol, so we break up the work: Chris does the drive, I do the IDD stuff. The IDD stuff is actually not too hard, although it does have a twist: the MI images we got back over the weekend suggest that our best-focus position on this surface might not be where we thought, so I work with Craig Leff to come up with a custom strategy.
Chris has the hard part, and he turns out to be the tall pole for the day. I think John Grant regrets that thisol is the sol we chose to drive, because he's got tickets for the Washington Nationals game. When we're done, the game's already in the third inning.
But he makes it.