Postcards from the Bleeding Edge
Tuesday, August 19, 2003

  Our global fixation on visiting planets, rather than asteroids

Chipper comments on my blog entry on why, why, why? do we have a global fixation on visiting planets??

He's got a unique theory as to how we got to the moon in the first place. Seabiscuit got us there. Read on...

"If we had a global fixation, we would already be living on Mars. We haven't set foot on anything in a long time. Hubble Schmubble. In my twisted sick opinion, the only reason we even got a Hubble was so that the NSA could have another Keyhole.

12 years from Sputnik to the moon. And Not A Damned Thing Since.

How did we ever get the moon in the first place?

Seabiscuit got us to the moon. The propaganda machine couldn't have invented a better symbol of reconstruction than that horse. The myth of Seabiscuit tracks the reality pretty closely. An entire nation pulling for that underdog to succeed was crucial for a nation getting ready to go out and absolutely hammer the forces of evil on nearly as many war fronts as there were shores to land troops on. From having wiped the eyes of the best armies of the world, we came home and built the greatest nation on earth, and within 25 years, went from the shores of Tripoli, to the sea of Tranquility.

Apollo 11 was the final dying ember of the fires of reconstruction.

We have descended again into a moral morass of ethical bankruptcy.

I listened to Melinda Gates address some members of Congress on education on CSPAN last weekend. While I felt she said some good things, her overarching condescending attitude I felt was pretty telling. I paraphrase; 'we would no more ask children to look things up in a paper encyclopedia than do math with a slide rule'

Hey (expletive deleted)! We went to the Moon with slide rule math. To use a slide rule to do math is to use logrithms to solve multiplication problems. It is to understand the direct correlation between your long discarded multiplication tables and square and cube roots. Solving for volumetrics of regular solids becomes pretty simple, leading to an elementary understanding of 3 dimensional geometry. And that's in the first week! Calculators side step the whole process of understanding and turn the student into a rote numbering machine. Another serf.

Some of us, dear Mike, long for our species to lay a footprint on some other alien soil. Just to know we are still alive.

Okay, your asteriods make good sense. Better sense. I'm convinced of everything you say, mostly because you say it, secondly because I read what you have to say. I learned that from paper encyclopedias.

Give me, give you, give any of hundreds of thousands of people the chance to make a foot print on another world, even if we are sure to die there, just as long as we can make a simple, true statement via voiceband RF, 'Mankind has left a footprint here'.
"

 
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David Täht writes about politics, space, copyright, the internet, audio software, operating systems and surfing.


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