A Giant Leap into the Undiscovered Country.

Nob Akimoto

Nob Akimoto is a policy analyst and part-time dungeon master. When not talking endlessly about matters of public policy, he is a dungeon master on the NWN World of Avlis

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19 Responses

  1. greginak says:

    RIP. I hope the sky is clear tonight. The moon is waxing towards full in just a few days.Report

  2. Michael Drew says:

    I think it’s appropriate to say that if we don’t continue to press to strike out further, his achievement, indeed a great leap for mankind, will nevertheless stand as something of an isolated monument (in some senses already surpassed) that, while something to admire and be proud of, would ultimately remain somewhat self-regarding and inward-looking. We went to our moon. If, on the other hand, we continue intrepidly (I am being intentionally rich here) to seek to go where no human has gone before, in search of life and intelligence beyond our own world, then (even if we never find it) Neil Armstrong’s achievement will stand as a signal moment in a quest by our species to explore the universe out beyond the protective blanket of our natal biosphere.

    And yes, this is a pitch for the value of governments setting high goals and trying to achieve them.Report

  3. Brandon Berg says:

    I’d say that the real tragedy is that 40 years after we put a man on the moon, people are still dying of old age. Those are some screwed-up priorities.Report

    • North in reply to Brandon Berg says:

      I dunno, if we’re gonna cure old age then breaking out of the Terran confines of our habit would be, I submit, an indispensable prerequisite. Otherwise we’d be looking at the world degrading into an unimaginable hell within a few generations.Report

    • …is this a serious argument?Report

      • Michael Drew in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

        No, it’s a parody.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

        Not so much an argument as a statement, but yeah, of course I’m serious. Aging contributes far more to human misery than the fact that we’re confined to one planet.Report

        • Mike Schilling in reply to Brandon Berg says:

          I’d say that the money that went to the space program didn’t disappear — it went into the economics to provide jobs, and that the resulting breakthroughs, like the microelectronics revolution, have paid for themselves many times over. But that sounds like someone else’s line.Report

        • What connection is there between “40 years after landing on the moon” and the fact that people still age?

          Genetics and biochemistry hadn’t really seen as big of an impact from the likes of Apollo and it’s really in the last 20 years that those fields have picked up.Report

          • I should let him speak for himself, but I think his claim is that the resources spent on space travel could have been put to better use, say, in improving medical care.

            I have some sympathy with where his claim seems to be coming from, and I tend to reject the Neil de Grasse Tyson “well, what we really need to do is give tax money to scientists with PHD’s.” At the same time, I realize, or believe, that my sympathy is more of a bias, informed more by several questionable leaps of logic and my own prejudices about the pretensions of (some) scientists than by anything actually justifiable.Report

            • Just to clarify:

              1. I wasn’t trying to be facetious.

              2. I don’t intend any offense to scientists. But I do tend to see NASA as just another interest group, maybe better and more worthy than some, but still an interest group that wants its piece of the pie.

              3. I don’t mean to deny any of the benefits that may have come from space travel or that may come in the future from space travel. (I am actually pretty uninformed on this subject.) But I think the benefits need to be balanced against the costs and possible perverse effects, as we need to do with any government spending.

              4. I don’t buy into the romance of exploring new worlds in outer space. That’s a value judgment on my part, and that informs much of my skepticism toward space-travel funding and reinforces my views from points 2 and 3.Report

        • North in reply to Brandon Berg says:

          Um, if we defeated aging but remained confined to one planet you’d see misery come about that’d make what occurred before seem like a dream. We’d overrun the resources of Earth faster than you could say Malthus.Report

  4. mike shupp says:

    There’s a certain irony in aclaiming the greatness of a man who accomplished something
    long ago that 98% of modern Americans hope will never happen again.Report