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Space/travel

Posted on October 28th, 2008 by george.
Categories: travel, history, space, health, epiphany, mathematics.

Hey kids!  Been a while, eh?  I hope you’ve been enjoying the photos from our trip to Bolivia and Peru; I’ve been using my nightly internet allowance to edit and post those shots.  Lorenia put it best this afternoon when she said, “I consider flickr the same as blogging.  You’re simply leaning on images more than words.”  I hope that explains my absence of late.

Huge changes are afoot.  I get married in a matter of weeks (YAY!); my fitness, diet and sleep goals (yes, I have sleep goals) are getting closer to reality; new opportunities are arising at work; and I just got word that one of the references on my astronaut application has been contacted.  You could say things are going well.

There is so much I’ve wanted to blog about.  I have several ideas every day, and it pains me not to have the time to write about them all at length.  Now that I’m on the Zone diet, I spend a little more time each day planning and preparing meals.  Add work, crossfit, and flickr to that, and I do well to get a movie in here and there.  Right now I have over a hundred blog entries started, just waiting to be fleshed out.  At the very least I know I’ll have plenty to do if I ever lose my job or go to the hospital.

What’s broken my silence tonight, first and foremost, is a little something about NASA I’d like to share with the general public.  As you may be aware, most of the infrastructure at the Kennedy Space Center was put in place in the early sixties.  The VAB has recently been re-clad after a series of hurricanes over the past few years, and many other upgrades are underway in advance of the new vehicle.  One of those projects is the removal of the large blast-shield louvers on the front of the Launch Control Center.

LCC Louver Removal

Given the decades that these iconic shields have been in place and the millions of visitors to the Kennedy Space Center every year, there are probably billions of photos of these louvers in existence.  Now, with the fancy new windows going in, they are being dismantled and removed.  Out of curiosity, I called up the project manager today to see if they were being donated to a museum.  He was very excited to tell me about the project, emphasizing the care with which the crane operator removed them and gently placed them on a flatbed truck to be sent to KSC excess.  His mood changed, however, when he recollected that once at the salvage site, the workers stabbed the louvers with a forklift and tossed them into the woods.

My plea to you is this:  if you know anyone who would like to include a large part of U.S. space history in a museum, memorial or large-scale art installation, please contact me, and I’ll get you in touch with the right people.  There are three more firing rooms whose louvers have not yet been removed.  Now is your chance to do something to support the space program.

Ok, next topic!  I was on the crossfit website today looking up WODs when I ran across this little gem of an article.  The TSA is one of my favorite whipping boys, and I consider this piece to be the final word on the futility of their existence.  I hope the next Administration has the good sense to abolish the organization and apply their seven-billion-dollar budget somewhere it might actually do some good.  I mean, seven billion dollars?  Where did that even come from?  That’s more than half NASA’s budget!  Do you realize what we could do with those funds?  At the very least, if you’re worried about terrorists, apply them to intelligence where they might actually do some good.  I’ve always found the hassle of the TSA’s security theater galling.  I’m convinced it’s a) a jobs program and b) a crutch for the airline industry who otherwise wouldn’t make as much money on non-refundable tickets.

I’ll leave you with a few words about an epiphany I had today.  After a near-death crossfit workout at the gym, I walked out into the brisk evening breeze and witnessed the glory of the fading sunset.  The cold blanket of air hovering over the continent had pushed all the clouds out of the Florida sky, so we were gifted with a rare, clear-sky dusk.  I marvelled at the strip of orange resting on the horizon, and how the gradient passed through green before fading into the midnight blue overhead.  Two bright planets pierced the veil of the heavens before the stars spilled out, and in thinking about the tilt of Earth’s axis and its role in the seasons it dawned on me:  someday soon we’ll model all the molecules in the atmosphere, and the secrets of how the giant globs of warm, wet, cold and dry air dance around the globe will be revealed.  With a clarity that only intense exertion can create, I further realized that all of mathematics is but a simplification.  It is true, it is correct, the science that rests upon it can be empirically verified, but it is an approximation.  If our beloved equations fully described reality, we world create worlds when we wrote them down.  Instead, they allow us glimpses into creation; they are useful tools for understanding our place in this universe and how to manipulate this wonderful reality to our ends.

Not bad for a weightlifting session.  Exercise is for nerds.

4 comments.

Wenia

Comment on October 29th, 2008.

ahahaha When you post, you POST. :) I want the shields!!!

george

Comment on October 29th, 2008.

Why thank you! And just what do you propose to do with them?

In other news, perhaps this is what my brain was cottoning onto last night?

http://www.wired.com/science/planetearth/magazine/16-11/st_alphageek

Wenia

Comment on October 29th, 2008.

I want to use them to build a space ship. Or a catamaran. Or a tree house skyscraper.

And… perhaps!

Javad

Comment on October 31st, 2008.

Dude, I’ve fallen off of blog realm over the past few months, and this is the first I have heard that you are getting married. Congratulations!!! Let me tell you, from one with three and a half months of marriage experience, it is soooo awesome!
Also, just to let you know, livejournal is now blocked in China, so I won’t be able to update that blog any longer. I just recently started a new, unblocked one though at http://soulrhythm.blogspot.com

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