Well, time flies. Now I’m writing, just now, on Thursday, December 15. I have no idea how I did it, but I’m currently listening to an on-demand lecture on the AGU on-demand channel from my computer. Unfortunately, I’ve heard it before. They are talking about the latest rage in satellite technology, cube sats. It sounds like these may revolutionize the space knowledge arena. First of all, the problem of lifting weight to orbit seems to be being addressed by miniaturization. To be classified as a cube satellite, you have to be about the size of a shoebox. A conglomerate of about 12 shoeboxes also apparently qualifies. Like I said, this appears to be all the rage. There are over 300 of these in orbit now, I think, and they (cube sats) have only been flying for three or four years.
They do not seem to be worried by the possibility of a space debris complication, but they are aware of it. For now, though, let me digress into a general discussion of technological solutions.
As most of you probably know, I am not a big fan. I think our current problems are dominated by problems which derive directly from prior technological solutions to some problem of an earlier technology.
Take the automobile, which was a solution to the many problems associated with the reliance on horses and other draft animals for transportation. The bigger problem was how much had to be moved. In other words, the problem lay in population, not in transportation. Therein lies my biggest complaint about technological solutions. More often than not, the solutions fail to address the true problems. The problems introduced by he solution,, which every solution bares, then become the new, usually worse, problems.
Sometimes finding the real problem behind the immediate one is not easy. In fact, sometimes the best you can do is try to solve problems associated with obviously big problems. My favorite “obviously big problem” is population.
I am often disappointed by my fellow scientists when they concentrate on immediate problems rather than the real problems behind them.
Take the aforementioned cube sat. The problem of space debris ought not be winked at. What is the problem cube sats are attempting to address? Perhaps it is mostly the high cost of lifting something of weight x to orbit. This has long been a heavy burden on anything having to do with space. If it is the real problem, we should not take the cube sat as a solution, for it is not. It is, at best, a stopgap. Until a space elevator is designed, I doubt the solution to that particular problem will be found.
In the meantime the problem of space debris continues to grow. If we are not already Earth-bound, we soon enough will be. In combination with population, these are the two biggest problems I see us facing. The flurry of interest the cube sats have attracted gives me no re-assurance
As I write now, it is Saturday, December 17. The AGU conference is over. I understand they had about 26,000 attendees. I still am unhappy with my mastery of the on-demand webpage. If I do stumble on a good talk I will try to let you know.
I’ve had some good feedback from several blog readers, including one new one. Part of why I try to keep the blog up is the vague hope that more people will discover it and value it enough to recommend it to their friends. CAP public radio had a recent fund drive in which they repeated, over and over, that they were talking to “,you”. or was it “me.” Anyway, I’m talking to you. Mention me to your friends, if you think I’m worth it. Otherwise, as my friend, Pann, used to say, “fuck you if you can’t take a joke.”
Sorry, I don’t know where that came from.
Maybe it’s part and parcel of the season. Christmas has long since lost its appeal for me. Even Thanksgiving no longer shines as it once did. Maybe it’s just that, by now I’ve gotten jaundiced. The election of the Donald is not likely to lift my spirits.
Or maybe it’s just the election? What lies ahead? The most striking thing seems to be that no one has the foggiest idea. Neither left nor right. The thing that seems to always become clear is that everyone wants the Trump they hope for, but no one seems to know who Trump will be.
The Donald is, apparently, unique. He seems to be exactly who he said he was, as unbelievable as that might be.
This week he referred to the next eight years as if he’d already been reelected. God, I hope that never comes true.
I do wonder what Wait, wait, don’t tell me, one of my favorite weekend radio programs, was thinking when they quoted him correctly but still made no comment on it. Maybe they, too, with me, fear most that Trump plans on leaving the white house only when he is carried out in a box.
Its already Sunday, now, so I think I’ll stop.