* Posts by Frank van Wensveen

2 posts • joined 24 Oct 2007

BOFH: Friday madness

Frank van Wensveen

Too true!

If there was ever any doubt that the BOFH has his grubby roots in hard everyday reality, this is it! I've got pricelists on a website to update (except it's not a price list, it's a puzzle) and I need to sort out some damn alignment problem in a style sheet that should have been taken out and burned three years ago. Oh, and with two hours to go until the weekend starts I'm expected to code up the framework for another website that has been in the works for three weeks now but for some strange reason only started to move this Friday afternoon and apparently has to be delivered by Monday morning. I wonder by whom, but it won't be me, mate.

Sigh. Even Windows' Solitaire is beginning to look good. It's time I got out of here!!!!

Chinese lunar orbiter on its way

Frank van Wensveen
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China can't help being part of the space race

Without the Cold War there never would have been a space program, let alone a Lunar exploration program. What spurred the early efforts of the US and USSR in the late 1950's were the possibilities for espionage and the launching of thermonuclear weapons from orbit. Alan Shepard and John Glen eventually got off the launch pad when they did simply because the US had been upstaged by the USSR time and again.

The first launches on both sides were unqualified disasters. Still the program went on, and eventually resulted in men on the moon, probes landing on Venus, robots on Mars, and interstellar probes that are now way past the borders of our solar system. But had the space program started right now, surely it would have been abandoned after the third or so subsequent launch failure.

We need competition in order to make progress, it seems. Unfortunately the Russians are no longer our favorite enemies, but fortunately this role has been taken over by China, the last Communist super power in the world. Let's hope their space program is very succesful, and that it will serve as an incentive for everyone else to make serious work of Lunar and space exploration.

Heinlein said it years ago: we will conquer space, but it remains to be seen what will become the Lingua Franca of space. Chances are it won't be English, but Russian or Chinese instead.

And that's fine with me. If others are too shortsighted to invest in space exploration, let evolution do its thing. Home Galactica will be naturally selected for brains and guts. If the Chinese get there ahead of the rest of the pack, that's obviously where they are supposed to be.


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