Space Museum

The other day I ran across this cartoon: [Link]

that brought back my own childhood growing up in Huntsville. In the early days the closest we had to a space museum were missiles on display downtown on the square during celebratory parade events, and a solitary rocket and a blocky above-ground fallout shelter just outside the airport. Since my father often was off on TDY I saw the latter a lot more than the former which were avoided as too unpleasant and crowded. 

As I entered adolescence, the NASA folks had a building on the boundary between NASA and Army on Redstone Arsenal where they showed off all manner of hardware and had a field full of rockets and missiles in front. It was a block or so from the Redstone Scientific Information Center, easily the best library in Amerika.

There was little education at the museum. You had to get information on your own or suffer the maskarovka of the schule system. Once you had strolled and twisted your neck among the rockets and missiles they were forever etched in your visual memory. There was some turn-over inside especially with stuff that NASA had finished doing development of. I recall that for several years the most popular thing in the museum was a steel plate with welded guard rails and four air bearings underneath. The thing was kept in a walled box about twice its area and it had a momentary ON switch to power the bearings. You stood on the plate, closed the switch and vibrated around the box on a cushion of air. Very noisy, mostly because of the compressor but always with a line of kids waiting (and arguing) to use the device.

It didn’t survive the transition to Space and Rocket Center. Too dangerous. Another example of how we lie to our children, I suppose?

I also used to live near the Space and Rocket Museum. It was supposed to open as a storm shelter during foul weather, but never did. They just put a guy out front who yelled “Full Up” though the rain. I would take out-of-town relatives there but it was so boring and dull that it was not a place for one who really did rocket science.


Human Irrelevancy

Two day and off to a bad start. Overslept. Too much stress, I suppose. And I don’t just mean heat.

Noted this morning in eMail that both the EU and the UN have upheld the nuke deal with Iran. Neat. One stroke and the Yankee Congress has become irrelevant. At least for this matter. Look for all sorts of childish nastiness from the Congress Critters at being reduced to the slime mold parasites that they have become. All, I fear, due to Partisan Overweening.

I also note a study out of U Michigan that indicates most folks don’t want driverless motorcars. At least for them. This is not surprising. It’s about the only expression of control most of them have. Amazes me we don;t have more kamikaze drivers. 

I am not sure this really matters. First of all, so far as I can tell there are only two stable solutions for intermixing of driven and driverless motorcars: the end points. All one or the other. And given that most transit companies will go to driverless lorries as a cost saving necessity, the rest will follow. After all, this is now a nation where corporations come first, second, and always. 

The coming robot masters will be motorcars.

Paper and Flags

Ice Cream day. And the park was darker and stiller than yesterday. Not a fun walk. And the park cats were occupying the car park. Maybe because the macadam is lower temperature than the grass? Not aggressive but definitely defiant. 

Finished the podcast episode of the Pen Addict [Link] on constitutional and have to rate it a D- to F+. Diversion value only, I fear. Too much blather about things I find uninteresting to distressing, especially those little Field Notes “notebooks”. For the blissfully ignorant these are pocket (maybe) sized stapled notebooks with cardboard covers and mediocre paper. Of course almost all paper is mediocre at best these days, and mostly reprocessed toilet paper. And the notebook geeks puddle their underwear over these notebooks. Sexual experience. 

I don’t get it. It’s a rather inconvenient notebook in a not very useful format with not quite good enough paper. I suppose it’s passable if one uses a mediocre pen to go with because any decent fountain pen is orthogonal to these notebooks. I admit that I do use them but only to keep a log of my purchases. They are definitely not for any form of serious writing/ Too small. One can’t do much more than scrawl in them and equations are a non-starter.

Which is not to say that small notebooks don’t serve a purpose but not in a side binding format. Top bound and preferably spiral. And then only for to-do note sort of thing. 

Not that I begrudge other people doing their thing, but their evangelism hurts. It violate the “so long as they don’t harm me” rule. 

Which brings us to the noisome matter of the Confederate States of America battle flag. Is it harmful? Back in the early part of the last century when Afro-Americans were getting lynched by sheet wearers on a regular basis (and not documented, much less prosecuted by the legal authorities,) the answer would be a resounding “YES”. But now? I am not sure. 

I commented earlier on the matter of “the more diversity, the less tolerance”. Is this simply a case of inadequate tolerance? And of what? One of the covenants of civilization is that we don’t harass the sleeping dogs. If we do, we not only get bitten but find out the dog has hydrophobia. So is the sight of an occasional flag worth getting bitten? 

You can’t make something go away until everyone ignores it.