HB V

is older than it's ever been and now it's even older

2/24/2003

Easy to forget


A fellow law student mentioned to me the other day that he had just started a blog and that he had found my page. Great, I thought. He's checking out what USED to be a model blog, Minnesota's Third Best Blog, as one of my past titles proclaimed this site (for the record: a few bloggers in the past wrote me asking what I thought the top two Minnesota blogs were. I would always answer, diplomatically, theirs and Pop Culture Junk Mail, but in truth the answer was PCJM and Dack's blog. Now that Dack no longer publishes and PCJM has relocated to Seattle, I don't know who to canonize as being Minnesota's top blogs. Lord knows it ain't mine). On the other hand, HBII is a long-lasting blog, by blog standards, and the content is always something to be proud of, I think. It's a testament to quality control that I don't post more in law school. I refuse to blog when I don't have some cool links to share, and won't do it just to get some sort of lame update about my stupid personal life. So, that means I have good links today, right? O mais oui.

SHUTTLE!

The fiery end of the space shuttle Columbia a few weeks back was a terrible climax to the U.S.'s silly post-Apollo space program. The best things we have done have gotten so little coverage; Galileo, NEAR, Cassini, and SOHO to name a few. These unmanned probes all tend to get a flash of exposure when a cool picture is released, but then the glamour of the astronauts outshines the science. It’s a problem I figured out when I was very young-- our generation was ROBBED. I mean, when I first saw the Shuttle fly, I was six years old and very impressed by the launch of such a big spaceship; but where did it go? I knew then and I know now that the previous generation got to watch people going to the MOON. Now that’s some cool astronaut-ing, if you ask me. The shuttle at its best just went up to orbit, like Mercury and Gemini, and then came back. If we don’t do something interesting with the astronauts, then we’re risking their lives for nothing. We need to go back to the moon, establish a base, then go to Mars. If we don’t get off the rock and on to another one, what’s the point of a manned (someone please coin a term for ‘manned’ without the sex-exclusive aspect, thanks…) space program without someplace neat to go?

The fact that the shuttle is an enormous cash cow for defense contractors and is such a bloated, expensive enterprise with little to show for it really says a lot about our current space program. The worst part about it is that at least one writer has been predicting the problems with the shuttle since, oh, 1980: Gregg Easterbrook. Easterbrook is supposedly a liberal (fourth item), although he wrote a weird anti-environmentalist screed a few years back that was used for a lot of generic anti-environmentalism evidence on the debate circuit (thanks, Jeff, for adding that tripe to our files). Easterbrook now writes a very flip and very pompous weekly column about the NFL on ESPN’s page 2, in which he talks about what a great strategist he is and what fools the coaches are. Oh, and how much he likes NFL cheerleaders. He’s a dirty, bad man who just happened to write a very compelling Shuttle article about 23 years ago.

I was thinking about the Shuttle while coaching my mock trial people. They are high schoolers, and I was thinking about how THEY didn’t remember the first flight of the Columbia, like I did; woken up at 6 in the A.M. by my dad to see the new space ship. Then it occurred to me that they didn’t even remember the Challenger blowing up. Folks, our generation is old now. I could run for Congress now, I’m so old. Ha!

Other links

Who’s looking forward to two new Matrix films? Me! Everyone’s favorite movie to deconstruct ought to get deeper with two new sequels this year. Consider this critique of the original, for food for thought.

Finally, consider the case against the war. It’s Jonathan Schell, it’s good, it’s what you want to read to get some actual meat onto the sloganeering known as the anti-war movement. It also uses this quote, from someone not generally known as a bleeding heart liberal:

"Our position is that whatever grievances a nation may have, however objectionable it finds the status quo, aggressive warfare is an illegal means for settling those grievances or for altering those conditions."
--Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson,
the American prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials,
in his opening statement to the tribunal

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