In Sputnik’s Orbit
A few thoughts to tide you over…
Once and for all folks, that gray stuff is ducK tape, not ducT tape.
Duck tape was developed by Johnson & Johnson’s Permacel division during WWII, in direct response to a military requirement for waterproof tape to seal ammunition cases during storage and transit into the tropical Pacific theater.
Harlan Ellison told the story of how once he, L Ron Hubbard, and a gaggle of other “Golden Age” writers were sitting around drinking and complaining (as writers do) about how impossible it was to survive on the going wage of a penny a word. As Harlan told it, Hubbard joked that the only way a writer could survive would be to start his own religion. The others laughed and spent the rest of their inebriation inventing ever more outlandish ideas with which this hypothetical scheme could squeeze blood from the stones of the gullible. Some time later, Ellison told us, they were all horrified when Hubbard actually went out and did it–complete with all the outlandish blood squeezing.
This would have been some time around 1950, so a penny in those times would be worth almost eleven cents today. Friends, I can tell you with authority that genre writers today do not make almost eleven cents a word. The pro rate today is six cents a word, and the pulp market no longer exists, so it’s no longer possible to do what Hubbard did at his peak and sell 25 pro-rate stores a year.
In eight short Cold War years, the USA went from second fiddle in space to The Nation That Put Man On The Moon. How?
The Americans were smart, loved their country, and had good German rocket scientists. The Soviets were smart, loved their country, and had good German rocket scientists. So what happened?
I will never get a change to tell D.C. Fontana what she meant to me as a little boy growing up in turbulent times, or as a grown man tempted by the writing bug. Dorothy, who wrote under the byline “D.C.” because the world isn’t what it ought to be, has died at the age of 80.
Last week, NASA announced the new spacesuit for it’s Artemis program. The suit, which actually has been in the works in various forms for many years, is called the xEMU, or “Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit.”
The suit is an evolution beyond the current Enhanced EMU used on the ISS in much the same way the EMU was an evolution beyond the A7L used during Apollo.
Much about the suit is familiar, and much falls short of what NASA would like, but as it often the case with NASA hardware, it’s not bad and it will definitely work.
Like the EMU, the xEMU used a rigid upper torso unit and comes in sized components to fit many astronauts. Unlike the EMU, the limbs are also rigid and move using angles bearings, like the joints in HVAC ducts, only much smoother.
Moon hoax conspiracultists are an odd bunch. They invest endless energies making and parroting Internet claims about complex topics they don’t understand, but none at all investigating the actual world they live in.
A case in point is the fairly recent claim that images like this “prove the hoax” by showing “film crew credits for those filming the Apollo missions”:
In Houston, we have a saying that every citizen is expected to know: “real chili has no beans.” But we have another saying that’s more germane to the topic at hand, “Turn Around, Don’t Drown.” We see it on the traffic signs all around town, and every time there’s a major storm, we see the results when our fellow citizens fail to heed this simple wisdom: don’t try to drive through high water. Every time, vehicles are totaled by the hundreds, motorists are stranded or have to be rescued, and all to often, people die–tragically yes, but as we are all quick to add, also needlessly, foolishly, presentably.
Except that isn’t always true. Not at all, in fact.