Saturday, February 01, 2003

Don't Stop Reaching

With the terrible loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia I've started to think about the many times I've heard people comment about how the government is spending too much money on NASA. I hope those people are swallowing a bit of guilt today.

Columbia went up in its first flight back in April of 1981. Nearly 23 years ago! The Shuttle was designed in the 70's.

Do you realize that private individuals are reaching to the stars because the governments of the world are stuck in bureaucratic BS and cannot see the immediate benefits of space programs? In case you haven't heard about it, these individuals are going for the X Prize .

The real point is that both the governments of the world and the X Price participants are doing this all for what? The almighty dollar.

No one can see the reasons for investing in space because they cannot see how it'll benefit 'them'. Politicians don't want to support controversial and long term space programs because, first, they'll risk their political careers and second, they won't reap any benefits because the rewards will be too far in the future.

Hopefully the stock market crash will have proven the point that long term investments are still better than any short term gains.

We have a large moon full of resources that will help us further our reaches. We have an entire other planet with Mars. We have a whole belt of heavy ore asteroids. We have a VERY rich solar system. Do you think our planet is going to be able to sustain us at our present growth much longer?

Third world countries are waking up and wanting to grow. Well guess what they'll use to grow. Fossil fuels! And they are already highly limited. Sure they are renewable, over millions of years! Our energy needs as a world are increasing faster than oil can support it. But oil is cheap. We've learned well over the last 100 years how to harvest it cheaply.

Other fuels, solar, wind, hydrogen, etc. are better, stronger and more available. Hell hydrogen is the most abundant fuel on the planet. Of course it's volatile, but it is the fuel of tomorrow. We will burn this planet out of oil some day and if it's not developed then what? We go back to horse and buggy? Yea right.

Agencies like NASA have been instrumental in helping develop tomorrow but because people don't believe in what they are doing, they are loosing money. Sounds like the place is a bureaucratic nightmare already.

To be patriotic for a second (or anti, depending on how you want to look at it), why is the U.S. so focused on oil? What happened to our super clean and fuel efficient cars? The big automakers have fought tooth and nail against non-internal combustion engines. The few electric or hybrid cars on the road are considered a joke. And here we are driving gigantic gas guzzling SUVs??? Am I the only one standing here saying, WTF??!?!

Did you know Europe has been working strongly on hydrogen vehicles? Mercedes has been working on Hydrogen fuel cells since 1994! And only NOW is Bush pushing funding for them? Since when did the U.S. ride the coat tails of the rest of the world? I thought we were a world leader. Nope, we are just really good sales and marketing people.

It's been those sales and marketing people here in the U.S. still pushing the SUV. Notice how many SUV commercials you see on TV. When was the last time you heard one that said anything about fuel efficient? Notice how we gave up complaining about fuel prices. Kinda hard to bitch about how much you pay for fuel when you're vehicle costs $50+ to fill up, on standard unleaded.

That's why SUVs have become status symbols. They say, “Look at me, I can afford to waste money on fuel.” What a friggin joke!

Alright off the SUV soap box, you've all heard me bitch about that before.

The world MUST move beyond selfish goals and immediate reward or we, as a human race, are doomed.

This isn't about the United States vs. any one else. This is about the survival of the human race. But everyone wants. Everyone is so selfish they cannot see beyond their own goals. You know I recycle aluminum cans. I have actually been asked why I dump them in the basic bin instead of going to the pay recycling machine. It's not about me making money. It's about me doing my little part.

The world has to come together. Did you know countries are a relatively new invention. Sure there were loose empires through the history of civilized man, but not like what we have today. And they will fall too.

The European Union has possibilities, but even those member countries can't act for the good of the group. Imagine if California wanted to pull away from the rest of the U.S because they felt like they were supporting too many of the other poorer states. Their next door neighbor Nevada doesn't have anything but gambling. If you were a rich software engineer would you want a drunk womanizing gambler living next door to you?

But that's not how it works here in the US. The states are not independent. Will the EU become like the US. It's very possible. The US could even merge with Canada and Mexico. Well except for Quebec, they want to be part of France. ;)

If you look beyond today and even tomorrow, into the not so distant future it's plain to see that things will have to change. If they do not, we will spiral down into a hell on Earth.

Some groups, I won't point fingers, want to go back to old ways. Want to forget technology and money. Well there are two problems with that. One, money has always been around and will probably always be (more on that in a second). The second problem is that technology is a Pandoas Box. Once opened you cannot put back what has been released. Like cloning. It was discovered then suddenly we thought, “Humm maybe we shouldn't have released this into the world.” Too late. We will have cloned humans. No way getting around it.

The future will keep rolling on like a steam roller. Only if we are prepared with research and knowledge will we be able to survive and keep from getting flattened.

Those who served aboard Columbia and all the other Shuttles and all the NASA scientists and researchers deserve more respect than they get. My those we lost rest in peace. The died not for the United States or NASA but for every human on this planet. What they did was to better humanity. For that they will always be heroes in my book.

Finally, Acidman AKA Gut-Dude, wrote some strong words as well on his blog. We don't always agree and frankly I thought I might disagree with him on this issue, but I was happily surprised he and I are on the same side on this issue. Well I can't speak for him, but I agreed with him in any case.

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