Shout-Out to ‘Unknowable’

Crazy Robot stock vector. Illustration of angry, dictator ...

I wanted to thank you for your comment on the Werner von Braun post, but WordPress is subverting me again.

The stupid robot didn’t recognize you because you spelled “Unknowable” wrong. This simple typo made the damned thing go crazy.

Your comment does appear attached to the “Werner von Braun” post–but no opportunity for me to reply.

I can’t very well demand that readers not make typos! Who doesn’t hit the wrong key now and then? It would be nice of the robot didn’t have fits every time it saw one.

4 comments on “Shout-Out to ‘Unknowable’

  1. Ah, the brilliance and flexibility of technology. And this is what the WEF and Bill Gates want us to attach our brains to. 🙄

  2. Thanks Lee,

    I recently switched browsers on my iPad, and WordPress was displeased. I now have to manually enter my account information, so I’m not surprised that there are errors. I’m on my MacBook, at the moment, so I’ll see if I can duplicate my comment, under my usual name. (OK, Ive done that, feel free to delete the post with the misspelled username.)

    Now, I’ll respond to your post, more directly.

    There have been two times in my life when I feared that I would be physically assaulted, and in both cases, it was because I refused to go along with some preposterous belief. In one case, I was in my early 40s, and speaking to a middle aged woman who was very enthused about a self-appointed “investigative reporter” on a local TV station, who had made a name for herself by filming Department of Public Works employees taking extended breaks and these episodes always seemed to air during “sweeps week”. when certain ratings were determined and it was essential to make a good showing. I asked a simple question which was: do you suppose she does this out of a sense of community, or if she was trying to bolster her ratings. This woman, nearly old enough to have been my mother, became enraged and I thought that she was going to strike me. I found it all a bit laughable, because I could have deflected her actions, very easily.

    The second such situation was when a person of my acquaintance began to spout flat-earth theories and became very hostile, when I refused to agree. His chief argument was that if the earth were round, airplanes would have to continually point their noses downward, to avoid flying off into space. Having direct experience in this matter, I tried to explain to him that airplane fly in the atmosphere, which conforms to the surface of the earth and that an airplane, likewise, conforms to the surface of the earth, even though it might be miles above it. He became outraged, and was obviously thinking of striking me, but sudden withdrew, insisting that he would no longer tolerate my insults.

    This same individual could wax on endlessly about the “fake” space program, and most of his arguments were laughable, at best. I’ve been interested in aviation and aerospace since I was a child. I’ve studied it, hold licenses in the field, and have worked in the field. Few people understand aviation, and misapprehensions are not uncommon. Most people realize that they have limited understanding of the subject, and do not try to defend positions which crumble in the face of the simple principles of aviation, such as the application of Bernoulli’s Theorem, which is hit hard, and hit repeatedly, in aviation. Understanding of air pressure, pressure differentials, physiology of flight, electrical theory and meteorology are entry level skills for anyone desiring to enter the field. It’s not a better course, than any other, but it is one that could seem opaque to the uninitiated I’ve long said that aviation is a way of life.

    Personally, I believe that it is a profession, unto itself, and that it does not mix well with unrelated professions. In order to be in currency, requires that one be immersed in aviation, pretty much all the time. It’s not a field that one can pop in or out of, at will. When the astronauts of the ’60s were working in the space program, every day, they still had to fly, just to keep their skills honed. These were brilliant engineers, chosen for their skill and experience, but they still had to stay on top of their game.

    When people claim that the space program was faked, the arguments tend to rely upon misconceptions about flight, about orbital mechanics and about how spacecraft have to operate. Without a knowledge of Classical Mechanics, it’s impossible to even comprehend. If I were to walk into a physician’s lounge in a big hospital, I would not be able to keep up, because even the entry level concepts of biology are not part of my education. I would make a fool of myself if I tried to criticize physicians, with regard to anything in the medical field. Walk into the physcian’s lounge, and it is assumed that you have baseline knowledge of the field.

    The same is true in aerospace. Even the humblest of private pilots has to have some baseline information, just to be licensed. As one progresses, that baseline becomes higher, and an airline pilot has to understand some things that are required to operate in the stratosphere, and at higher speeds. Once space flight is considered, the baseline goes much. much higher and far beyond the realm of most pilots. I would be just as far out of my depth trying to keep up with an astronaut as I would be trying to hold court among a group of physicians.

    Can we fly to the moon? Yes, but it was not easy, and certainly not simple. We might be able to keep a crew alive on a trip to Mars, but I wouldn’t count on it. Mars is at least an order of magnitude more difficult to visit with human explorers than the moon. I know this much, I wouldn’t want to risk a trip to Mars. My own opinion is that the odds of success are no better than 50/50. and probably somewhat worse. Interstellar and intergalactic space travel are practical impossibilities, with any technology known to mankind.

    And that’s part of the problem. the line between Science and Science Fiction has become indistinct. I enjoyed the first Star Wars movie, but in spite of all the technical bric-a-brak, it is at least as much as fantasy as Snow White. People’s understanding is shaped by such works of fiction, and as good as these works are as fiction, they are misleading.

    Just launching a rocket is an incredible feat. Amateur rocket enthusiasts have been badly injured, just trying to get a small rocket off the ground. We should appreciate the efforts which brought us to the moon, but also accept that we are a long ways from having conquered space. The efforts which brought us this far do not deserve to be denigrated.

    1. Very well said!
      My experiences with rocketry begin and end with filling up an empty CO2 cartridge with match-heads and launching it out of a pipe. Blam! A wonderfully satisfying noise! And I never did recover any of those cartridges. I wonder how far they flew.

Leave a Reply