Y'herd thisun? 

“It is my understanding that NASA Headquarters recently lost hundreds of positions, and after those halls were emptied no one could remember what in the world all those people did.”

from Getting to Space by Dr. Jerry Pournelle

Armstrong, soul weak

TaggedSpace, CaliforniaMusings

Yeah, I know.  Just got back from a quick in and out thing.  Before that it was already a load of 'Ughh.' 

I was on Catalina when I got the word about Mr. Armstrong, what with seeing the Buzzman all over the place still full of power and energy enough to kick anyone's ass, the passing of Mr. Neil was a fast shock... followed by a major big picture downer.  Those who went are getting few and soon it really will be like the man said 'The flat-earth people swear we never went, but even though we did they may win the war of minds because unless humans can go back again there is no proof and little real value in the truth." 

The night of the news I was walking down the Avalon main street by the beach and hundreds were out drinking and stumbling and laughing (and some stupid chick in a very expensive design was puking on the sand)... and Armstrong was dead.

This was a moment and no one seemed to care all that much. 

It reminded me of being on the School of Design roof in Pasadena with a bunch of guys waiting to see the ISS pass overhead.  Clear night, about 8 o'clock.  All you had to do was look up and there it was... the largest project since the pyramids making its way through the upper atmosphere.  The *meaning* of it hit me, it was profound... similar to the big difference between seeing pictures all your life of the Saturn V and then actually standing next to one.  Until you do that you do *NOT* have the right to pooh-pooh any Space program.   Anyway, I looked down from the roof and on the street there was a drunk young couple fighting and laughing at the same time about losing their car keys under their Lotus.  Up I looked, down I looked, up ... down.   Two different universes. I wanted to jump down and grab their heads and point them up at the sky and make them see that something important was actually in existance. 

I was on Catalina.  Neil was gone, his family was in mourning, the moon just got farther away and the bars just kept playing the same old Beatles songs over and over to people who think that's important.

One thing though... I did start to think that there was a reason that Space News (or anyone else) didn't publish the letter to Armstrong that Michael Lopez-Alegria read to us at the Los Angeles Spacecraft Technology Expo a few months ago.  I still think that that letter was absolutely perfect... respect for what Armstrong did does not change the point of what that letter was about.  I have a recording of it... hmmm, let me think about that.

And then, when life started coming back into my soul, there were the "protests" and "demonstrations."  More "Ughh."  More air out of the tires. 

Hey, do you remember the old Carlin joke "If Crimefighters fight crime and Firefighters fight fires, what do Freedomfighters fight?" ;-)  'Protesters', 'Demonstrators'... yeah, whatever.  Both sides used to pay a bit of the rent but I got weary of it all quite a while ago so I'm out of it now... for real this time.  And I'm out of twitter and facebook, gone, I don't exist on those grids any more... and I'm even finding that I can feel my head warming up when I stop myself from clicking to Google for every single question that I have in a day. 

Zombies eat brains because theirs rotted away and if they can't have brains then no one should.  Faith in Gods and Angels and Steve Jobs and NUGET and on and on... zombies, they are taking over after all.  But it's our own fault for not protecting our brains, for not keeping them in fighting strength by exercising them enough.

We all know that simplism that says that the average cell phone has more processing power than all of the computers that got NASA to the moon.  Like the flat-earth thing, though, what's it matter if you have all that computing power ... no one is using their phone or even their I'm-so-cool-at-Starbucks Retina Display MacBookPro to get past the gravity well and away from the reach of the zombies.  We did all that big stuff back then mostly with Slide Rules (N600s were the slipsticks of choice at NASA) and ponder this: The Trick for using a Slide Rule is that getting the right answer *requires* that you know *how* to do the Math to begin with.  Ponder that.  Those quaint horn-rimmed pocket protectored guys KNEW what the math was, and they came up with solutions that actually worked.  They did things that we can't do today... seen a human being on the moon lately?  Machines can go cool places and see wild things, but humans? We have to see pictures.  Ponder that. The 60+ years of the 99.99% flawless nuclear navy, airplanes and jets and television and computers and networks and rockets and all the rest all came out of humans sliding three pieces of wood with a bunch of little numbers on them.  Now the phones do the math, and NASA is starting to send phones to space, but most of us living things don't know how math works and we're soo danged busy doing so many important things and telling "social" media about how we feel about everything we partially read that there's no time to take a breath to figure out what something as anitiquated as Math even is. 

So we have more power in our hands ... so what?  

"So what? So...  Let's dance!" says Rodney Dangerfield.  Dancing With The Stars captivates millions of living beings on their family guy couches... and only machines are out there dancing among the stars.

All that kind of thinking lead me to talking and that lead me to a weird guy with a weird project... and I discovered something a bit more electronic than a slide rule but, at first and second glance, just as "obsolete"; And after toying with it for a few weeks I had an epiphany.  So I decided not to tear down, not to smash my servers, not to burn my books and not to just start eating cake and joining the ranks of Morbidly Obese America.

But it will take some more time of mulling to get it into a form that will make sense on a page, so I'll ask you to give me a while for that, come back for it, if you like. Until I've got it all fleshed out, there may be some related things being posted on the sitelett.



>> update >>

Wow, that didn't take long - someone actually still reads this site, even now that I'm off the programming blind faith? 

The email question came fast about my becoming a typical adult who seems to have forgotten that "bong-hits for breakfast" was oft said in highschool.  That was highschool, I was a boy and highschool boys are idiots, it's a rule only broken by people who become idiots later in life and look far dumber.  But along with the bongwater and acid and vodka-cut-whiskey and whatever else could be smoked or swallowed there was also a load of books.  I didn't like school, but find anyone who knew me and you'll not find a single one who could say that I wasn't always trying desperately to learn something.  And once it was legal for me to work, nothing ever got in the way of trying to learn how to be better than anyone at a gig.  Not saying that I am "smart", but I hate to not know something and my mother taught me to be persistant.  Weren't you taught that too?

"I don't recommend drugs or liquor or guns or weirdness to anyone.  But in my case, it worked" - Hunter S. Thompson

Whatever it takes, to get to the bottom of something truly important and come back to the top more knowledgeable, is hard work but it's better than being a remote controlled zombie. 

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