ASFO 2022–10–15

What do Leopold and Loeb have to do with space settlement? Perhaps more than I am at all comfortable with. Most of this show has to do with immigration and emigration, and the concept of space settlements as Petri dishes for testing new ideas in human societies. I also take the opportunity to remind everyone that coal kills, and firms investing in fossil–fuel infrastructure are counting on “renewables” to not interfere with their business. But at least I have a new office chair.

Supplementary Shows

  • 2022–10–18 The central place of biodynamic research in space activities is explored, with an extract from a 1961 paperback entitled Man Into Space, penned by journalist, novelist, and aviator Martin Caidin. In addition to attempting to explain weightlessness and orbital mechanics in simplified terms for the interested layman, our author gives us extended quotations from John Paul Stapp and Joseph Kittinger, two pioneers in the field, who put their own lives at risk for the sake of science.
  • 2022–10–21 I read from another ephemeral journalistic book about space travel, Flight Into Space (1953) by JN Leonard, science editor of Time magazine. There is a vivid description of a rocket launch at White Sands, framed as some kind of sacrificial ritual conducted by witch–doctors or barbaric priests masquerading as scientists and technicians, and a chapter in which Milton Rosen of the Naval Research Laboratory (head of the closest thing America had at the time to a civilian space program, Project Viking, which became Project Vanguard) explains how any attempt to realize proposals of the sort put forward by Wernher von Braun would lead, not only to inevitable failure, but also to the collapse of the US economy, and Soviet victory in the Cold War. Unfortunately, the archive bot glitched, and only recorded parts of it, which you can get here and here. (Ultimately, I re–read it.)