Whitey Very Slightly Closer To The Moon
That scene in The Crown where Philip, in a fit of ennui following the moon landing, flies his plane a bit higher than is safe for conventional aircraft, takes on a new poignancy in the era of the Whacky Space Race.
I'm honestly glad there are so many Whitey on the Moon references today because there's also a lot of people talking about how "everybody" used to rally around space flight, which I get what they mean but, like absolutely all absolutes, it does erase nuance.
I've long been somewhat cynically bearish on "space exploration" and when I mention this I get people telling me all the wonderful advances that came out of the space race, in material sciences and engineering and computers and so on.

But none of that stuff was on the moon?
And I think that if the moon landing is emblematic of anything about humanity, it's not necessarily all good. We "came together" and invented all of those marvels in order to stand on the impossible vantage point. That was the accomplishment.
Landing on the moon didn't give us computers. We created computers so that we could stand on the moon. The laws of physics didn't change when we decided to go to the moon; the computers were always possible.
The thing that fills me with a sense of awe and wonder about the moon landing and space flight in general, the way in which I see it as a pinnacle of human achievement, is that we figured out how to keep a human being alive in impossibly inhospitable and dangerous situations.
But we didn't have an actual reason to put human beings in those situations. The space race in 1969 was every bit as much of a pointless, wasteful dick-measuring contest between oligarchs with the power to destroy the world as today's pinewood derby version is.
And again I'll say that we didn't go to the moon to get computers; we got computers to get to the moon. And we did that to say we were there, to say we could, but also to say we did it before THE COMMUNISTS did.
The space race proved that technological knowhow can keep human beings alive in unthinkably dangerous situations, but the amount of work it takes to keep someone alive in space could be spent keeping people alive on earth.
And the amount of work and engineering and resources it would take to make a small compound on Mars habitable for human life... we could be bending that will towards keeping Earth habitable. We should be.

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More from @AlexandraErin

20 Jul
So the thing we do now when we have contractors in is we put the cats in Jack's office, which they're not *not* allowed in but which they have only irregular access to... and after a second time I think they've figured out what's going on, but are chill with it.
I think they're like, "Oh, we got uninterrupted access to the Secret Room of Secrets? With special convenient on-site refreshments and litter? No humans allowed? Sign me up!"
Which is convenient, for as long as they don't change their minds about it.
Read 5 tweets
20 Jul
Weird how the same business guys who say that laws and regulations shouldn't apply in outer space also want to move businesses into outer space
And the thing is, while the memes about "pollute space instead" are funny... that's not even getting at half of what's wrong here. He says it himself: HEAVY industry. We'd wreck the planet faster lifting it into orbit, if we could.

(Blocking people who say "space elevator".)
Like, let's say just for the sake of Jeff's argument that water is a gimme. Let's assume that we can get enough ice in space that all the water needed for industrial processes is just there.
Read 6 tweets
20 Jul
Oof. So sounds like we're going to have to have our sewer line dug out and replaced, and in the process get rid of my favorite tree (which has betrayed me by sending roots into the sewer line, among other issues with the pipe).
Oh, I definitely can't, both in the sense that it's not that type of tree and in that I definitely don't have the means... someone could perhaps weave a basket out of it, but I don't need a basket.

To be very clear, and I'm sure that was kindly meant, but me being wistful about a tree isn't a problem that I need strange men on the internet to solve for me.
Read 9 tweets
20 Jul
So, Skyward Sword on Switch... anyone know what they did with all the motion controls? Because they prevented me from being able to play the game when it first came out.
Okay, but I can't actually play with motion control and I've played a lot of Zelda games without any camera control so I'm not seeing the downside.

Read 7 tweets
20 Jul

Oh no, my artisanal collection of inefficiently solved math problems is now worthless! Why did I think trading away real money for fake money was a good idea?

Wait, I never did that. Never mind. I'm good!
Something legally recognized as tender for all debts public and private.

Now, I could buy a hamburger with a chicken if I could convince someone to take it in trade, and I could pay my debt with Pokemon cards if the lender agreed, but that's barter.

Check again, friend. The robust and reliable US dollar will get you a LOT more bitcoins today than it would yesterday, if those are your favorite flavor of beanie baby.

Read 26 tweets
20 Jul
So, I read the most ridiculously prescriptivist tweet about how to use Twitter, telling people that they need to have so many original tweets for every one that they retweet.

The dude apparently works in social media software development? Big deal. I work in actual social media.
And when I say I work in actual social media, I mean that my job for, like... five years... now has been to be on Twitter. That's been my biggest and most consistent source of income, which is weird. I'm nobody's social media employee. I just make my living being here.
And I say that to emphasize that if anyone is in a position to give "Twitter ProTips", it is me, the professional Twitter user, not some social media app "idea guy" who is trying to wrangle himself a guru rep.
Read 14 tweets

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