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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Science Friction

As usual, the gross injustices rampant in this world are chapping my ass. There was once a golden age of Science Fiction that happened to coincide with my teenaged years. It was glorious. The magazine racks were loaded with SF magazines from "Analog" to "Weird Tales". The first "Dune" novel was serialized, as were dozens of classic books that nobody who considers them selves a fanboi should be without in their library. There is nothing like sitting in a cafe reading one of these works on a Kindle and feeling like the future had arrived, if a somewhat late and low budget future. The works of the great writers from Asimov to Zelazny have been turned into some of the most profitable motion pictures of all time. Truth be told most of those writers lived and died in poverty, or something pretty close. The creator of Conan the Barbarian, Robert E. Howard, blew his brains out forty years before The Governator was blowing his millions made off the character on expensive call girls and illegal cuban cigars. If we are serious about protecting intellectual property the estates of the original authors should get a serious taste of the action. J. R. R. Tolkien had to hold down a day job at the University of Leeds while he wrote the tales that made billions. At some point George Lucas said he couldn't have done the Star Wars movies without the Golden Age SF novels, to which one writer noted that it would be nice if he threw some of them a buck or two for the material.

Today is July 20th, Moon Landing Day. Rockets to the Moon and real spaceships in orbit overhead (if ,abet the last one). Medical miracles abound, even if the inner workings of life are a lot more complicated than we ever imagined. Cosmology is turning out to be one of those barber shop mirror experiences where reflections and Grand Theories recede into infinity. This may disappoint some who wanted simple answer, but I love it.

I never dreamed that I would see the last rocket ship, but there it is. Sure the Eastern Tigers will send up capsules and small payloads, but no genuine rocket ships are not in anyone's CAD file folder. (Drawing Board to old folks) The mini shuttle, poorly hidden by the NSA and CIA, doesn't count because it won't carry people, but is dandy for carrying spy satellites into orbit.

Remember; The gate is down.

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