You may never have heard someone called a “dirtsucker” in anger before, but the news of the death of Jim McDivitt leads me to do just that. (Unfortunately, the archiver didn’t capture the whole show, so it’s less coherent than the actual broadcast was.) Also I spend a little more time talking about immigration, emigration, social policies, and the concept of “vampire states” ; and I make an impassioned plea for curiosity and play, specifically in the natural sciences.
2022–10–25 As a counterpoint to the description from the Leonard book, last week, I read about a rocket launch at White Sands from the perspective of that eminent rocketeer, G Harry Stine : chapter 7, “Missile Away!”, from his 1957 book Rocket Power and Space Flight. Then, to round out the time, I read chapter 11, Space Travel and Our Lives.
2022–10–28 From Analog magazine, 1992 April, a resounding plea for the science fiction illustrator from Frank Kelly Freas (whom we have heard from before, also from Stine and Freas here), entitled The Story Between the Words, and an Alternate View column from G Harry Stine about “Intermittents”. Then, from the 1990 November number, the first part of Forging Planet–Stuff, an article about nucleosynthesis and its implications for planetary formation (and thus the kinds of stories one can credibly write), by Stephen L Gillett, PhD. He mentions another article, from 1983, which we may also want to read here.
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.
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.)