Saturday, January 02, 2010

Odyssey Two

2010. It's finally here.

Big fucking deal, really.

When I was a kid, science fact and science fiction both drove my imagination, as well as my hopes and dreams for the future. Up until the Challenger disaster in 1986, my mind was always making my eyes look skyward. Star Wars, Classic Trek (TNG would appear in '87), The Jetsons, books by folks like Arthur C. Clarke and Issac Asimov...

The possibilities were endless.

And then reality stepped in. Ruined by religious interference and conservative thought at the absolute wrong time, we're nowhere near where we dream we'd be by now. This auspicious date - made legendary by the Clarke story and Peter Hyams film - has finally arrived, and we're nowhere near where we should be.

I know it's almost silly, but I really have to get it out of the way first. Look: We sent people to the fucking MOON 40 years ago, so WHERE THE FUCK IS MY FLYING CAR? Why did we reach that lofty goal so long ago, before my lifetime, and then just... stall out? Why have we not been back to the moon since the mid 70's? Why do we NOT LIVE THERE? Why the hell did these massive human achievements just die off? Why do we limit ourselves to our own orbit, just sending probes out to other stellar bodies? Why don't we have a lunar launch facility to travel beyond our own galactic back yard? Why?

Here's something to think about: For Christmas, I got myself an HTC Droid Eris. This little device fits nicely in my hand. And it has far, far, FAR more computing power inside of it than the entire Apollo Lunar Program's fleet of vehicles had inside of them. And those ancient machines TOOK PEOPLE TO THE FUCKING MOON. Sure, my phone can let me get my email, take pictures and let me post them to Facebook, and even take control of my computer to post blog entries, but it won't let me leave the trappings of planet Earth.

Here's something else to think about: The Space Shuttle fleet will be retired soon. Know what's replacing them? Nothing. There's nothing ready to fill in the gap. Everything is going to be handled by Russia and China now. Once the Shuttle fleet goes, America has nothing.

We went to the motherfucking MOON in motherfucking 1969. And you mean to tell me that, in 2010, I have to watch the once proud American Space program roll over and play second fucking banana to the Ruskies and the Chinese?


Look, I don't have a problem with the Russians, or the Chinese. It's not the Chinese's fault that their government are a bunch of greedy dicksplashes. It's not the Russians' fault that they had the same problem for damn near 90 years. I have full faith in their space programs, as well as that which is developing in - of all fucking places - India. But for half a century, America was either gunning for the lead, or in the lead. And now here we are, in what, at least third place?

Same goes with Science in general, which brings me back to the flying car thing. Why has science stagnated so damned much? The promises of technology have pretty much been limited to computers and hand-held devices. Our cars get a little smarter, yes. But they're still designed to be gas hogs compared to the rest of the world. Our phones get a lot smarter, yes. But they still can't really hold a phone call anywhere yet, and commercialism makes them expensive and a pain in the ass to deal with.

Computers are a kind of barometer for this whole thing. My computers should tell you something: My first was a Pentium at 166MHz in 1996. My second, a Pentium III at 550MHz in 1999. I saw my first 1GHz system in 2000. We peaked at 4GHz sometime in the mid 2000's. And... That's where we are now, in 2001. After a decade of chip speeds going insane, we seem to have leveled off around the 3 to 4GHz mark: My current system is clocked at 3.32GHz. What gives?

I can only venture guesses as to why this is happening, and since you're reading this on this particular blog, you know exactly where I'm going to go with it. Faith in sky men makes us Stupid. And Stupid makes us make bad decisions. Religion made us stupid at several points in history, declaring true science as heresy and suppressing scientific thought and knowledge for centuries. Then it made us sheep, made us blindly follow idiocy in the name of God: Hence the election of top officials who's priorities don't include meaningful scientific development. Our nation stagnated for a long time under administrations like Reagan/Bush I/Bush II. That's 20 long years.

What were their focuses? Wars (Iraq twice, Afghanistan, Nicaragua, and let's not forget the massive FAIL of the 'War on Drugs'), Deregulation (which led to bad loans, bank failures, and your bills being sky high for pretty much any reason the company billing you can think of), and pretty much ruining this country. And they did it on the backs of silly, ignorant religious Americans who simply don't know any better and follow blindly as if they really were sheep.

Proud to be an American my ass. How can I be proud of not fulfilling the promises and dreams of 2010, and deliberately taking this nation from first in the world in so many aspects, to mediocrity?

Where we are and where we should be are two very different realities.

Still, though, I do have hope - and yes, even faith - for the future. I'm hopeful that we can get this monkey off our backs and get back to the business of bringing the future back up to speed. The dreams of Asimov, Clarke, Roddenberry, and so many others can finally be realized - and we're dropping the ball. We have to fix this, and soon. Stop singing silly songs and being complacent.

Live. Dream. Reach. Realize. We can do this. All we have to do is get started again...

No comments:

Post a Comment