On witnessing history It really struck me as I walked in to the hangar housing Discovery--her home of less than 24 hours--that this really was a historic moment in the truest sense of the word. We go to museums, in part, to bear personal witness to history. There we can learn about from whence we came, and from that ponder difficult questions about where we are and where we are going.
Yesterday when Discovery was signed over to the safekeeping of the Smithsonian, a spacecraft that has been an active part of the space program for most of my life became an artifact in a museum. Consider an artifact of over 100 years ago--the 1903 Wright Flyer. In 1948 that aircraft became part of the Smithsonian's collection [the delay from its last flight owing to bitter disputes between the Wrights and previous museum administrators]. You can see it on display today.
It is conceivable--actually quite likely--that Discovery will be viewed by curious museum-goers in 2112. The difference, though, will be that for those viewers it will be one of those exhibits that have "always been there." For us today, I feel like it is significant, important, meaningful to contemplate Discovery: blazing one last time to space and gliding to a final wheels stop a little over a year ago; out on the tarmac yesterday morning; this morning a museum exhibit.
As moving as this was for me a space enthusiast, first inspired by the Space Shuttle as a ten-year-old, what is this transition from machine to artifact like for the men and women that commanded and piloted Discovery? That flew in her as crew members? That supported design, development, launch, missions on orbit, landing, and then preparation to launch again. How hard was it to prepare her for her last flight up the coastline to Virginia, knowing that Discovery would not be launching again?
“There's a part of me that really sympathies with the G party protesters(?) downtown who were crying out. Tighten or shut it. Although they been taken as extreme. I've been saying for years I did want to discuss this with but I got them into 2 games. He's trying to do too much. Professionally better on Milo. I believe that we need to look at both sides of equation and delay opposed taxes in general. ___ maybe the only way to pay for what we've already spent. So I think we need to balance actually our deficit with revenue and this time. Tyler needs to be extremely and we're not doing that so far. So let's see what happens in the next day or so. ___ it's going to be very interesting to watch.”
I depend on NPR and my local public radio station, WAMU for news and entertainment. I recognize, though, that there are many people who consider NPR anathema. Now, I think they're misinformed--and for those willing to listen, I'll take the time to explain why. That said, I cannot reconcile myself to a moral position that says that I have a right to enjoy NPR programming at their expense.
I often tell people that the way out of our budget troubles is not by taking potshots at programs we oppose, but rather to look at programs that we support--and propose cutting them anyway.
For my part, I'll double my total giving to public broadcasting for 2011.