[FPSPACE] How cultural differences turn lemons into lemonade

Brett Harrison routier at tig.com.au
Mon Oct 18 18:50:57 EDT 2004

DwayneDay wrote:

> I wonder if, when the Chinese guy was asked how he felt having his place destroyed by a government spacecraft, if there was a cop standing next to him?  That might have affected his comments to the press.

That wouldn't be necessary.  He almost certainly realised the inevitability of
the outcome of the situation & the futility (and consequences) of making a
fuss.  Ever tried to fight the Chinese Govt. from within China?  No doubt he'll
be compensated for his house, more likely given a new one & some bonus goods
besides.  As for good luck, the status & notoriety he has gained from this would
not be insignificant.  Space is a big deal in China at the moment.  Provided
that the Chinese Govt. puts a good spin on it (as they probably will), he'll be
made practically a hero & hailed as a contributor to the mighty Chinese Space

> Actually, this raises an interesting question: if a US spacecraft fell on an American house, what liability does the US government have?  I believe that the US government will only pay for direct damage costs, not any punitive damages because of negligence or something like that.  So if a government employee in a government vehicle on government business swerves off the road and kills someone, that person's family cannot sue.*  This is based upon the old legal principle that "the king can do no wrong" (there is some latin term for this).  I presume this extends to spacecraft as well.

Interesting point.  The Latin is "Rex non potest peccare ".

Brett Harrison

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