Thursday, September 19, 2002

Lunar Objectives/Objections

Dennis Laurie, CEO of San Diego-based TransOrbital and Dr. Jim Arnold, Professor emeritus of Chemistry at USCD and a Co-Founder of the California Space Institute were guests on KPBS's These Days this morning [09.19.2002]

I only caught the latter half of the program, which means I missed all the juicy fact-filled setup at the top of the hour, and had to settle for the idiotic questions of a call-in talk show instead. I hate call-in talk shows. (No one ever calls in and asks questions. There were two questions the half-hour I listened. There were more than two callers.) I only forced myself to listen because I'm obsessed with the idea of commercial space exploration.

One final query from host Tom Fudge resulted in Laurie discussing TransOrbitals "seconday objectives", business objectives that are actually going to make them money in the long-term. His response was the most practical thing I've ever heard. Data storage, backups and archiving.

The lunar environment as physical host for failover and backup servers is an excellent idea. There are only two threats to something mechanical on the moon: temperature, and impact damage. The moon is dead: there's no earthquake-inducing tectonic movement, volcanoes, mudslides, lightning strikes, tornadoes -- any of those irritating little things that make seamless data management so touch-and-go for extremely large organizations, like, say, telecommunications providers.

Practical, practical, practical. I love it.

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

Don't Tell Me What You Know, Tell Me What You Know I Want To Hear

Caught this at Medley yesterday, of course:

HHS Seeks Science Advice to Match Bush Views

The Bush administration has begun a broad restructuring of the scientific advisory committees that guide federal policy in areas such as patients' rights and public health, eliminating some committees that were coming to conclusions at odds with the president's views and in other cases replacing members with handpicked choices.

One of the things an HHS spokesman remarked on in the article linked above is that this degree of change is not necessarily out of the ordinary, saying they, "don't think there is anything going on here that has not gone on with each and every administration since George Washington."

You know what? I don't care if every leader throughout history does it, has done and wants to keep on doing it. That's bad science, for one, and bad management for another. You're responsible for a nation? You surround yourself with the best people you can find. And then pray they give you a piece of their mind. It's what they're for.

"Hey, boss, this dam idea is a no-go."
"But I like the dam."
"Well, I know you like it, boss, but look at these numbers."
"I don't want numbers, I want my dam."
"Boss, the only way for the numbers to work is if the specific gravity of water changes."
"Can't we change it?"
"No, and we'd all die if we did, so that's a good thing."
(thinking about re-election) "Well, okay, no dam, I guess."
"Sure, Boss. Now, about this highway infrastructure..."

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Resounding Silence

I have nothing to say. Oddly enough. Wait! Wait! I've got something...did you notice that in the mid-to-late '90's there was a plethora of adaptations of classic plays or novels targeting the youth market? (Well, maybe not plethora...)

Cruel Intentions, Clueless, 10 Things I Hate About You. None of the marketing I saw played up the facts that these were ultra-hip versions of Les Liaisons dangereuses, Emma, and The Taming of the Shrew. Not that the period adaptations got short shrift in the past decade, I'm happy to report.

Of course, critics noticed.

I just think it's neat, though I have the occasional mind-boggle over the difference in experience between watching these as 'simply' films versus as adaptations of a story I already know.

I have to ask this question: is it assumed that the younger generation, which I am, gladly/sadly, no longer a part of, won't be interested in quote, period films, endquote? Or was it just a fad? Is it the costumes? The scary History(tm)?

Show *me* an ad with someone in pre-revolutionary France costume and I'm going to say to myself Ooooo! sex, subtly worked revenge, dire plots, honor, duty, duels, manipulation, and great hats. I am so there. But what about "these kids today", huh? Is the assumption that they won't have that burst of recognition, and thus won't want to see something like Dangerous Liaisons or Valmont, unless it gets remade in their image? (Not that I'm panning Cruel Intentions, I loved it, although I could've cut the very very very end.)

Hell, either way, who's up for Wuthering Heights, 2002?