Perchance to Dream – a blast from the past post February 2011

Perchance to Dream – a blast from the past post February 2011

In the last day, I noticed a lot of postings on Facebook about the shuttle. And this made me realize something about space, and what space means.

I haven’t been exactly paying attention. Whenever a novel is done – let alone a novel that was delayed due to my stupid body, once more, reminding me that these things come without warranty – there’s a lot of things I’ve been putting off that have to be dealt with. Particularly when I’m plunging straight into another couple of books that need to be finished, both of which are ready to enter ‘final phase’ (the phase when things are coming together and I work in a sort of white-hot haze.)

So, in the last couple of days I verified that my kitchen does, indeed, still have a floor by removing all the fur and grime that had accumulated over it; reduced the waiting Everest of laundry to a mere Pikes Peak; did grocery shopping; made sure the kids are still alive (you never know, and zombie children are such pains); cleaned the cats water fountain; removed approximately three Haveys from every surface in the house, including the floor (a Havey is a measurement of fuzziness. It equals about an inch of fuzz on everything.)

As has been obvious from this blog, I’ve logged on to the net maybe twice/three times a day, if that, and I haven’t exactly been thinking about the internet.

Even so, I couldn’t avoid postings on the shuttle.

. Perhaps it is a function of the type of friends I have, but for a day, posts on the shuttle seemed to overshadow even the endless political postings by people who should know better about what they put on their professional Facebook pages (Hint, if you feel free to put it up in a place where your potential bosses will read it, you’re not talking truth to power. You ARE the power.)

It reminded me a lot of the moon landing. For a moment, for a blessed few hours, we looked up from the ball of mud as all eyes turned to space and to what we all knew in our hearts was the next movement for our species. Remember, I wasn’t an American then, but I felt it too. And it wasn’t just me. Within a week our elementary school teacher, in this tiny one-room school house, started talking about how lucky we were to be living in a time when we might grow up and go to space. At various get togethers arranged for kids, the various, insanely-cheerful songs of the row your boat variety suddenly included references to the lunar age, to man of the space age. (Oh, I’m sure some Soviet scientists were furious that day. Bureaucrats even more so. But doubtless even they were in awe.)

The difference of course, is that the moon landing was a first and everyone pays attention to a first. So you might think it means nothing. It doesn’t explain the attention paid to the shuttle, because we’ve been expecting the end there – we know it’s an expensive program and it’s being shuttered.

And yet. And yet there’s something that calls us to space. In Space Engineers, Simak posited that we always longed for the stars, because we’d known we come from there. Of course if I wrote anything suggesting that, it would get buried under screams of outrage – even if I wrote it metaphorically, so I won’t. Beautiful and chest-expanding as that idea is, the explanation is much simpler.

As some of you know when I’m sick I read biology and anthropology manuals and sites. (Unless I’m REALLY sick, in which case I read about dinosaurs. It’s like comfort food.)

Our species – all species – have two modes: expand range or die. As my friend Dave Freer put it, we’re a species of colonists. It’s what we do. Every human race, every human culture longs to expand and most of them have, with varying degrees of success. Expansion is healthy both for the new culture and the one left at home. Innovations are bought back; inventions are sparked; restless young men are given productive outlets.

Are expansions within Earth and into someone else’s territory different? To an extent. It could be argued, though, that from the very long term perspective those expansions have, ultimately, been for the benefit of humanity in general. (Yes, I could expand on this, but not at six in the morning on a day when my to-do writing list is overflowing the page. Also, I suspect to explain it in detail would take a book. However, take the fact that as a whole humanity is now – at the end of expansionary movements and wars of conquest that started in the paleolithic – not only more numerous but more long-lived and healthier than ever. Then connect the dots.)

Whether our expansion is a good thing for anyone else, frankly, is a matter of total lack of concern to me. I know it’s chauvinistic and irredeemable of me, but when it comes to choosing between my own species and hypothetical blue aliens with linked in pony tails, I’m going to choose my own species. And no, I don’t care how ecologically sound these hypothetical aliens are, or how loving-kind or how perfect. Heck, I wouldn’t care even if they stopped being hypothetical.

Yes, I know, you’re looking at me in horror. But there are things that are so basic, so simple, so fundamentally gut-right that it takes years and years of education and an exquisite attention to moral formation to make people ignore them or think otherwise. Arguably our system does just that to people, just now.

And that’s insane, because even herbivores fight for their herd. You never see cornered antelope go “Oh, look, it’s much better for our herd if we let the lions eat the weak and the old. I mean, it’s not like they can live forever. And what right do we antelopes have to take over the area? Everyone knows we overgraze and destroy bio diversity.” The reason antelopes don’t do this is that they haven’t spent twelve plus years listening to how the species they belong to is harmful and useless and should go extinct for the sake of higher values of a nebulous kind. Lucky antelopes.

I did spend sixteen plus years listening to what horrible creatures humans are. I’ve also read countless books to the effect. But, aw, shucks, as my parents found out from the moment I could move around and say “no” I’ve never taken suggestion well. Also, I’m a mother, (no, not in the sense you guys call me that) and I’m selfish. I’d like to see my line of descendence stretch all the way into the future and if possible to the stars.

Those posts yesterday proved that despite schooling, despite instruction, despite the fact that the rest of you aren’t as tri-plated irascible, stubborn b*tches as I am, (which is a good thing. A world full of me would be terrifying, not to mention boring) most people at a gut level feel the same yearning to push our species past the ball of mud and on to new and bright frontiers.

Oh, we know it won’t all be blanket trees and candy fields. If anything we know the dangers far too well. We know in this wave of expansion as in many others, men and women will die, and we’ll lose some of our true best and brightest. Doesn’t matter. In reaching beyond one simple planet, they will bring a better life to the vast majority of us. A life so rich, so free, so full of security and abundance that we can’t imagine it, and our ancestors would have called it heaven.

And that is why I’m talking about it in the future, despite the last decade or so of our being assured this expansion would never happen; despite the last two decades of our being hectored on how this was a pipe dream and we had to learn to be good stewards of this one, tiny corner of the galaxy.

Look my friends, here is wax. Block your ears against the siren song of the nay sayers, the guilt-trippers and the scared sisters who always, always prefer their fireside to the discovery of new lands. Their ilk has always existed and always will. Someday our descendants will come back from their distant space colonies, conquer their descendants and bring them the innovations we discovered meanwhile. And then some of their descendants will join in the expansion to another galaxy and – if it’s possible we’ll find a way – another universe.

Oh, things look nasty right now, but the way we’ve been doing space is expensive and not very efficient. If there’s one thing we’ve learned in recent decades (since we went to the moon) is that not only isn’t big government necessary for big projects, big government is usually an hindrance to big projects, (it tends to be staffed by all those fireside sisters.)

So, government is broke and won’t be doing much for us. That’s fine. Not a problem. Le us do for ourselves. Let us try many ways to get into space. the best will succeed, and after that we’ll continue trying.

Look up into the skies at night see all those stars? Your descendants (direct or collateral) and mine will walk in planets circling them. They’ll be born and die, war and marry in worlds we can only imagine. They’ll change, they’ll grow, they’ll understand more than we can know.

And they’ll dream of bigger things.

84 responses to “Perchance to Dream – a blast from the past post February 2011

  1. c4c

  2. Whether our expansion is a good thing for anyone else, frankly, is a matter of total lack of concern to me. I know it’s chauvinistic and irredeemable of me, but when it comes to choosing between my own species and hypothetical blue aliens with linked in pony tails, I’m going to choose my own species. And no, I don’t care how ecologically sound these hypothetical aliens are, or how loving-kind or how perfect. Heck, I wouldn’t care even if they stopped being hypothetical.

    Really! I suspect that you and most of the rest of us would be excited as all get out if a ship load of blue aliens landed. Also relieved as all get out that they were not some ravenous reptilian aliens or readers of To Serve Man.

  3. Space is expensive because we’ve been going about it expensively. This is common with all new technology, but once prototyping is worked through and designs answering the basic challenges developed, costs go down.

    Space is expensive because we’ve been employing artisinal technique to its conquest. Once we’ve moved into the mass production of accessing technology costs will go down and we’ll start to realize the financial rewards.

    If we don’t simply quit.

    • Given what people have been willing to pay to be ‘space tourists’ I don’t think we’ll quit. We may slow down (which is frustrating) but I don’t think we’ll quit, and sooner or later, something’ll catch on to get people going again in a bigger way. It may be three steps forward and two back, but we’ll be making that net gain of one.

  4. >So, government is broke and won’t be doing much for us. That’s fine. Not a problem. Le us do for ourselves.

    …and the government will tell you “no” until you pay them for the privilege of doing something they have no right to regulate.

  5. The shuttle’s passing didn’t disturb me over much, simply because it was never good technology. It was a compromise with Congressional demands that never really had a mission — a functional illustration of the adage about a camel being a horse designed by committee.

    More disturbing is this report on what, not fifty years ago, was one of the nation’s finest, most productive school systems:

    ‘Three Little Pigs’ — a fairy-tale nightmare for NYC schools
    By Post Editorial Board

    August 5, 2015 | 8:21pm

    It’s worse than we thought: Auditors found kids reading “The Three Little Pigs” in an 11th-grade class at a city school.

    Forget “To Kill a Mockingbird” or other high-school classics. These high-school juniors at Manhattan’s Landmark HS were reading the 1st-grade fable as class work.

    The school’s principal says it was just a five-minute “exercise” for “a discussion on bias and point of view.” Bias against the wolf?

    In fact, the State Education Department team saw otherwise. The group “observed a variety of text and materials” in classrooms, said the report. “Some [texts] were low-level . . . For example, ‘The Three Little Pigs’ story was read round-robin style,” suggesting “limited student access in this class to grade-level text.”

    “Limited student access” means the 11th-graders were having trouble with the text. No wonder city schools fudge grades and test scores to graduate more kids, as The Post has been reporting. The students haven’t mastered real high-school material because schools aren’t teaching it in the first place.

    Which is why their diplomas are worthless.

    RTWT — and weep.

    • Additionally:

      The city thinks ‘The Three Little Pigs’ is a book for high schoolers
      By Yoav Gonen and Bruce Golding

      August 6, 2015 | 2:15am

      State officials uncovered astonishing evidence that city high school diplomas are worthless — a Manhattan classroom of 11th-graders reading “The Three Little Pigs,” The Post has learned.

      The report from the state Education Department says the classic children’s fairy tale was just one of several ridiculously easy reading assignments uncovered at Landmark High School this year.


      A two-day review of the Chelsea school — which has been flagged for poor performance — found some obviously “low-level” texts in other classes as well.

      But some students at Landmark struggled to deal with age-appropriate books.

      “In classes where students were observed reading challenging text, when asked to answer simple questions about the text, most either reread the words in the text or said they did not know,” the report says.

      “The Three Little Pigs,” a mostly illustrated text, is, in fact, recommended at the city’s public schools — but for pupils who have just finished kindergarten.


      At Brooklyn’s Boys and Girls High School, more than one-third of all classes were being disrupted by students’ chatter a month after Mayor Bill de Blasio touted supposed improvements there in March.

      The city DOE said the use of “The Three Little Pigs” at Landmark was a five-minute “Do Now” activity at the start of class to get the juniors settled down and ready to work.

      It was also intended to help the kids consider whether telling the tale from the wolf’s point of view would change the moral of the story, officials said.

      “The purpose was to use a simple, well-known story to support understanding of bias in a college-level text,” Principal Caron Pinkus said in an email. “After this introduction exercise, students held a discussion about bias and point of view in the college-level texts they were reading.”

      But Robert Pondiscio, a senior fellow at the Fordham Institute, said, “’The Three Little Pigs’ . . . is simply not a grade-level text, at least no version I’m aware of. Color me skeptical.”

      • This gets to the folly of considering all education spending as “investment.” Just because you’re doing something doesn’t mean you’re doing something productive.

        • It’s a great investment – it stifles creativity, punishes questioning, ridicules critical thinking, and promotes unquestioning belief in the official story. For an oppressive government the ROI is wonderful.

      • I can easily see handing the kids a book of classic fairy tales for remedial cultural literacy reasons. Much as I deplore the Top 20 Pop fairy tales being the only ones known, you really do need to know them.

        Mind you, their having difficulty reading them lends another level of remedial issues.

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      Notions of ROI of ‘investment’ in education seem wholly divorced from any reasonable expectation of what productivity students might actually have in their life. Furthermore, execution is so incompetent that the simple opportunity cost in student’s time makes eliminating child labor laws and mandatory schooling look more effective.

      • Only if you run the ROI calculations on “Students Educated.” Instead run those same calculations for “Union Contributions To Politicians” and you will see the ROI is indeed very positive.

    • I always opposed the Shuttle. As a spacecraft, the USAF’s old Dyna-Soar, itself a descendant of some of von Braun’s Peenemunde sketches, would have been much more useful.

      There have been claims that the Shuttle was originally designed as an adjunct to a spy satellite program, and that the program had been canceled before the Shuttle became operational. That kinda-sorta makes some sense, satellites were still dropping high-resolution film packs just before the shuttle program got funding. But the Dyna-Soar could have handled that at a fraction of the cost.

      NASA’s main problem is that too much of their money and effort go to “internal overhead” instead of hardware. Though there have been generations of administrators cycled through there, the organization has never recovered from the “cost no object” spending spree of the Space Race.

      NASA doesn’t have any pressing reason to exist any more. Move their official duties over to USAF Space Command and let the free market have the rest.

      • Forget Hitler, if I ever get a time machine I’m gong back and shooting McNamara when he’s in college. I figure he’ll already be an irritating twit by then, so there aren’t any ethical issues and it’ll still be before he does any major damage to the country.

        • Easier – just pull Lee Harvey back to 1958 and either he shoots senator JFK pre-stolen-election, or he shoots Eisenhower and Nixon wins in a sympathy landslide in 1960. Either way, McNamara stays at GM.

          • I thought McN was at Ford. According to Wiki, I am correct. Wacky Wiki.

            • As I recall it, he was widely heralded as “The man who brought us the Edsel.”

              So, yes, that would have been the Fix Or Repair Daily motor company. Clearly, as demonstrated by their refusal to bow to pressure to accept a government takeover, they have made important changes in their management development program.

              • Sure, whip out the wiki to embarrass me. Hey, I remembered he was from one of the big three in Detroit – and I posit there was not a whole lot of difference between GM and Ford in those days. Now if he was from Dodge…

                And To quote the Dowager Empress: At this point, what difference does it make?

              • So, yes, that would have been the Fix Or Repair Daily motor company.


          • Oddly, it’s August 1960 over at Galactic Journeys, and the DNC and RNC have just wrapped up. As usual I’ve been taking the opposing viewpoint, which means I’ve read far more about the 1960 RNC than I ever really wanted to know in order to explain there was no possible way Nixon could win the nomination. (at the time, Lodge seemed to have it in the bag) A few weeks ago I lectured on the superiority of wire recorders over magnetic tape, and this morning I noted that the SF magazines were in bad shape and probably going to be extinct in a few years (ie, 1963-ish…)

            I’ve been having a lot of fun over there…

      • I second that.

      • The main driver for the size of the cargo bay (and thus a lot of the size, weight, and thermal protection requirements) was the Air Force requirement to carry something conveiently the size of a KH-whatever spy satellite up and potentially back down for servicing. There were also Pentagon viewgraphs (this is pre-powerpoint, remember) that had the shuttle capturing Soviet spy sats and bringing them back down for study.

        You can find the initial public contractor proposals for STS online and all of them featured a much smaller cargo bay, but once the USAF secret requirements came in it became simply hugely larger than what NASA originally wanted.

        The fact that the Hubble was basically a rejiggered KH spysat chassis made hauling it up on the shuttle convenient, but it, like the KH birds, could just have easily been launched on a Titan, and then the HST servicing or refits could have been done from a smaller NASA-specific shuttle.

        There’s really no excuse for what happened, and the way it happened has really soured NASA on any reusability aspects. That combined with NASA also becoming soured on orbital assembly is why we’re back to NASA pitching frigging capsules for long duration flights.

        • Frank: “My advice to you is to capture the satellite and bring it home.”

          Ethan: “It’s too big.”

          Frank: “For the Space Shuttle? What kind of bird is it?”

          Ethan: “It’s a Russian communications satellite.”

          — “Space Cowboys”

      • The shuttle bay was the size it was to fit the Centaur upper stage. The idea was to have a one truck that could do everything to replace the Titan, Atlas and Deltas as well as conduct it’s own missions. It didn’t work out that way. When the shuttle became operational, somebody realized, I think after Challenger, but it may have been before that, that putting liquid fueled upper stages into the shuttle’s bay was contraindicated.

    • Plainly the bourgeois working class pigs playing in their houses (“They didn’t build that!”) were discriminating against the po’ wolf, whose violence and predatory ways must be acknowledged and respected as arising from his cultural matrix…

      • It is plain in the story that the pigs are symbolic of invasive imperialist species, intruding into the natural environment of the wolf and attempting, through their construction efforts, to despoil the habitat on which the wolf depends.

        Note also that his initial approach to each pig domicile is peaceful, mere asking to be let in, presumably in order to welcome the pig to the neighborhood and open diplomatic negotiations about how to manage a peaceful co-existence, a comity between coequal interests rather than the swine sought suppression and domination of the environment.

        In every instance the pigs respond to his non-hostile approach by expressing lupuphobia, unreasoning fear, and refusal to meet on an equal basis with this representative of the indigenous community. This naturally increases the wolf’s eagerness to peacefully meet with his new neighbors. in order restore environmental harmony and meet with the pigs on equal ground the wolf is forced to “huff and puff and blow the house in.”

        Naturally, such exertion (exertion forced, let us note, by piggy refusal to recognize lupine rights) leaves the wolf suffering from temporary hypoxia and temporarily impaired ability to express his peaceful intentions, while the lupuphobic pig flees in an effort to deny the wolf any opportunity to explain his peaceful desire for diplomatic resolution of their issues.

        By the time we reach the house of bricks (note the symbolism of a house constructed of pig-made artifacts — bricks — rather than comparable natural building material such as stone) it is no wonder that the pigs refusal to open diplomatic discussions drive him to desperate acts, acts misinterpreted by the lupophobic pigs and used as reasons to attack and ultimately destroy this representative of the indigenous community upon which the pigs have intruded.

        Clearly the moral of this story is that it is impossible to negotiate with invasive, imperialist pigs and international bodies are required to deter such aggressions (as well as require all cats be belled.)

        The Disney cartoon was clearly an effort to misrepresent this struggle for the rights and dignity of indigenous entities and to justify intrusion and occupation of environmentally destructive capitalist pigs.

        • Dude, smooth, clean PINK pigs, scruffy tattered BLACK wolf! Blatant microagression and propaganda!

          • Aw, man, that symbolism was so blatant, heavy-handed and obvious I thought it would be insulting to take note of it.

            Far more interesting topics might be whether the Disney presentation of the pigs as musicians & dancers in sailor uniforms was an effort to justify their invasion and wolf-assault on the grounds they were prototypical hipsters (did the pigs brew craft beer? I forget.) or anticipation of such as Putin’s “little green men” incursions into Crimea and Georgia.

            We might consider whether the pigs failure to call in law enforcement civil mediation agencies constitutes a veiled argument for the Second Amendment.

    • The shuttle was an incredible kluge – the most amazing thing about it was that it worked at all, ever!

      • From what I heard, eBay actually kept it in service longer. They were getting electronics and computer parts for it that way (like Intel 8088 procs).

        • Don’t think it was just the shuttle. The FAA was ecstatic when the Wall fell because they now had a second source of supply for vacuum tubes to fix the ATC computers.

          • and audiophiles everywhere. My buddy in N.O. bought a nice refurbed ’65 Fisher tube amp with Soviet tubes in all but one or two positions., and the factories now pump out new models.

      • As it often happened, the USSR didn’t want to lose face by seeing the Americans have something they didn’t, so they announced their own shuttle project, concidentally very similar to the NASA one… even with all of the publicly-available information from NASA, the intelligence from the KGB, and some excellent engineers of their own, they decided the design was nuts and canceled their shuttle program.

        Pick any Soviet design bureau, give them a bottle of vodka, a couple of used napkins, and a blunt crayon, and their engineers could have whipped up a better design than NASA’s. But the Soviet leaders never quite trusted their own designers; given a choice they’d copy something from the West that they knew worked rather than build their own better system from scratch. That’s probably more an artefect of the Communist system than anything else.

        • Soyuz was cheaper to operate and they were out of money, having spent it all trying to keep up with Reagan’s defense build-up.

        • They did get a HUGE airplane from the project, though only the one. The AN 225 is a neat bit of work, with the typical soviet quirks. Got 500,000 pounds of something you need moved in one flight?

          • That airline has made a fortune off the fact that the airforce never let them commercialize the C5. They also seem to do good work shifting big stuff around fast.

            • The 225 was here in the US after the Fukishima accident to transport a pump. it was the only thing that could move it by air. Heavy Lift used to bring in 124s a few times when I worked in N.O. once bringing in a rudder for a ship stranded down river. Another time it had some type of pumping equipment or something … lots of pipes and whatnot. The company I worked for at the time fueled it. 49,000 and 50,000 gallons of Jet A to get from MSY (New Orleans International/Louis Armstrong International) to London Heathrow, non-stop. Now the 124 is being contracted by NATO countries until the C5 replacement is in service ( and not crashing software and, well, the whole effin plane … Airbus sucks)

    • I won’t say that all the problems with modern education in this country would be solved if we lined U.S. Route 1 with the crucified bodies of Teacher’s Union officers. But it would be a start.

      One of the thinks we have to thank the Liberal Intellectual Radical Progressives for the the Professionalization of nearly everything. The notion that to be a Teacher you had to get a degree in being a Teacher, or to be a Reporter you had to get a degree in Journalism. They claimed that this would raise the levels of these professions, but there has been no noticeable improvement. And, of course, it gave them a choke point at which to control who did or did not do these things.

  6. I’m pretty sure that I’ve mentioned Ninhursag’s comments on the mutineers’ base in Mutineers Moon before, and I almost posted something similar to this yesterday, but… To stagnate is to die. Change prevents stagnation. Children, expansion, exploration, growth, these things force change. If we don’t expand to the stars, if we don’t colonize other planets…how long until we stop growing? How long until we die?

    • Eh, the sharks and the cockroaches have done pretty well without much change for a LONG time. Let us not overstate the case for our side.

      • Species of sharks and cockroaches have come and gone over the millennia, the groups themselves have remained for a while.

  7. I did spend sixteen plus years listening to what horrible creatures humans are.


    If anything we know the dangers far too well.

    I think these go hand in hand. We have been under the sway of various depressed negative nabobs who weave tales of ‘nothing about humans as they generally are has been good.’ If offered something other than their proposals to change human nature by force (as if it could work) they prefer to dwell on how dangerous it might be. They appear to actually enjoy hopelessness.

  8. The shuttle, or more appropriately the National Space Transportation System, was a magnificent engineering achievement. The concept behind it was fundamentally flawed. Forget that it was designed in partnership with the Air Force, who levied numbers of requirements that greatly impacted the final design. And then before first launch the Air Force backs out. Forget that for purely political purposes the NSTS was built piecemeal, not in the best locations for efficiency, but in locations designed to solicit maximum political support. Those are just details.
    We travel to space on chemical rockets, liquid hydrogen and oxygen rockets which are about as efficient as are theoretically possible. It still takes roughly 90% of launch mass to place any usable payload in low Earth orbit. Except of course with shuttle half that mass to orbit is not usable payload, but a huge brick glider who’s sole purpose is to return crew and incidentals back to Earth. Eliminate the ability to sort of fly the vehicle back, which was an Air Force requirement by the way, and you can cut way back on return mass giving a vastly better useful payload to orbit. Still terribly inefficient, that 90% thing you know, but the more mass left in orbit the more efficient the system.
    And that is simply a fact of nature until we devise some other mechanism to place mass in orbit.
    Don’t get me wrong, I loved those ungainly hanger queens. Was terribly saddened to see them put out to pasture. I spent most of my 24 year career sitting ground console support to on orbit experiment operations for Spacelab missions and later on the ISS. And we accomplished some truly great things. But NSTS was still a flawed concept and would never have given us regular and affordable access to space.

  9. I don’t know.

    I just don’t know.

  10. You know, technically speaking, we don’t need to stuff wax in our ears to block the harpy singing. There are hearing protection units that block out loud noises but pass quiet noises through (and even amplify the very quiet ones).

    All we need to do is adjust these things, so that they also block out the high-frequency shrieking that the harpies produce. Say, anything 5MHz and above, should do it. (I have no idea how we could hear such high shrieking, but we do. The good news is that as the harpies get more desperate, the frequency gets higher, rather than lower.)

  11. did grocery shopping; made sure the kids are still alive (you never know, and zombie children are such pains)

    On the other hand, with zombie children you wouldn’t have to go grocery shopping as often.

    • Depends. If the zombie kids got into the state capitol or some of the state office buildings, they’d starve to death. ESPECIALLY if they wander into the State Teachers’ Union headquarters. (Nothing against most teachers, but education union leaders . . . grrrr)

      • Yeah, I suppose “food deserts” and empty calories would be a risk when looking for braaaaaiiiinnnss.

  12. (Waggles hand) I’d prefer to take other sentient and sapient species’ interests into account, because I really, really would rather be Ransom than Weston.

    • +1 for coming out of the silent planet.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Yep, but we have to remember that Ransom was taking the interests of non-Falllen species’ interests into account.

        Of course, Weston was being very stupid about Mankind’s interests (even before he was taken over by the Fallen One).

  13. i have always supported the space program, not because “expand or die” which is being argued here. (valid points all) but for reasons of safety. all it would take would be one rock (large, 1 ea.) and humanity becomes extinct. spread out, expand, divistify, whatever you wish to call it. it will only take one accident, manmade or nature, before it becomes GAME OVER. comets, ring of fire, nuclear/biological. expand from one planet to two. two to three. expand far and wide so it takes more than one aw shit to wipe out all of the attaboys the humans have made. grow not just because of social reasons. not because our genes say to. grow for the same reasons that mothers have children. for the love of the human race.