A recent discussion in the comments section led to this entry in the Space Cynics blog. Specifically, a guest appeared to take pity on me for my lack of, um, vision, I guess, because I don’t subscribe to the kool-aid vision of STS, ISS, VSE, you name it as just being around the corner and the best use of anyone’s (read: my) time.
Well, let’s see if I can clarify this:
The development of manned space has been stuck in 1st gear, engaging in endless do-overs of the same essential function it’s been doing since the days of Gagarin – sending very small payloads for limited periods into low Earth orbit while patting ourselves on the back for (usually) not killing any astronauts or blowing up overpriced long in the tooth Space Shuttles, and occasionally improvising a MacGyver like solution to a stuck solar panel on ISS. Meanwhile, the masses on Earth could not be any less interested in the goings on in the government manned space world, and even the antics of paying space tourists – who shell out (contrary to the claims of the early days of space tourism boosterism) ever higher prices to spend a few weeks in the massively subsidized space hotel known as ISS – hold less interest for them each time a new one goes up.
Remind me, again, for those of you who were so bent out of shape when I Cynically commented on the long-term impact of Anousheh’s trip to space (besides making me jealous, personally, because it IS something I’d love to do) – just what WAS that long term impact..? How many of her “inspired” blog commenters have since moved on to other things like Kid Nation to capture their ever shortening attention spans…?
So in the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday (for Cynic readers from overseas, this is the week in the US when we engage in massive overconsumption of food and drink, watch many sport programs on television, engage in a ridiculous shopping blaze in the “black friday” rush, and if we remember, give thanks for all the good things in our lives…) I would like to provide this little bit of my own Thanksgiving:
I am thankful for many things – my family, my soon to be spouse, my friends, the many amazing experiences I’ve had in my life (both good, and bad), the opportunities I’ve had (even the ones I’ve squandered), and many more things which are too numerous to write here (and you probably don’t really want to read the list any more than I like to listen to Actors with their thank yous at the Oscars..!).
I am also thankful, though, for all of you – the readers, commentors, critics, and supporters, of this blog. And of course for my occasional co-authors, Tom, Dave, and last but NOT least, John. You have all helped to provide me with a forum to present the Cynical point of view, giving me a way to both inject contrarian commentary into the alt.space and general space arenas, but also to have a bit of fun (and snark) doing it. So Thank You all.
Your time is truly the only thing of value that you own – money can always be made, lost, and made again. But time is the one thing you will NEVER get back. This is, at the core, perhaps one of the most important reasons I started this blog – if I can, through critique, mockery, or just straight numerical analysis, help someone to avoid going down a path that will waste their lives because it is paved with kool-aid, then I feel I’ve done my bit to help.
If not, don’t say you weren’t warned…. 🙂
They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers.
But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.
-Carl Sagan (R.I.P.)