atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#7093: WOW

To my surprise, I sat down here and started writing, and finished the big space war. Mission accomplished exactly how I had expected it to come out, with a few minor variations that just made it better, including one truly epic scene that I didn't know was coming until the words appeared on the screen. But it made perfect sense and fit in place as if precision-machined, so I went with it.

At this point the good guys are in a bind because they don't know what the bad guys can do, and their resources on-site are tapped out. What happens now? I just had an idea--an awful, wonderful idea--that fits with everything that's come before this, so I think I'll do it.

Maybe the big space war ain't quite finished yet....

* * *

I can't argue the point here. Dead Beat is indeed an excellent book. But they're all really, really good books.

* * *


In case you need evidence, how often is the line to pick up the ashes of the cremated some two hundred meters long?

* * *

There is a reason they don't really use ramming in naval warfare any longer. *sigh*

* * *

So the URL of this Arse Technica post is, in part, "nasa-wants-to-spend-35-billion-returning-to-the-moon-is-it-worth-it".

You know what? I want to apply that question to other government spending. "HUD wants to spend $1,000 billion giving money to people who won't work. Is it worth it?" "The 'Great Society' has spent twenty thousand billion dollars on eliminating poverty since 1965 and we still have it--is it worth it?"

Our government spends four million dollars a minute on welfare and social security. It takes our government six days to spend NASA's total Moon budget on welfare. NASA's Moon budget is $35 billion over and above their current budget, but it's split across five years, which comes to an extra seven billion per year. Do you know how long it takes America's welfare apparatus to spend seven billion dollars?

TWENTY-NINE HOURS. Twenty-nine hours and ten minutes, to be exact, not even one and a quarter days to spend what NASA expects to spend over the course of a year.

They list ten alternate ways NASA could spend that money. To my surprise, they wait until number seven for this one: "Understand Earth, address climate change". The others are actually space-related and not the old leftist shibboleth of "we should be spending that money on Earth instead of sending it into space!", as if NASA were loading pallets of $100 bills onto rockets and firing them into the Sun or something. Instead of what they're really doing, which is buying equipment and financing research and employing people to build things, spending money on Earth. (The money is being spent on a constituency which doesn't vote for communists, you see. As far as they're concerned, that's sending it into space.)

Going back to the Moon is important--so important that I'm not sure I could explain it to these dickheads, not even with simplified diagrams and limiting myself to words of less than three syllables. It's a fundamental aspect of human nature, something that we need to do, something that we haven't been able to do for a good century and half.

The American left has always detested our space program, particularly after we beat the USSR to the Moon. They hated that capitalists succeeded where communists failed. But more than that, they hate the idea that there might be a new frontier opening up. If everyone is stuck on Earth, it's a closed system and sooner or later they can finally take over, "a boot stomping a human face, forever", because there's nothing outside to challenge the total control that the commisars will have.

But if there's a frontier? People will leave Earth and go there, in search of freedom, economic opportunity, or just to satisfy an itch to move around where there isn't a government regulator behind every rock. That's what people do: they move into frontiers. And yes, a lot of it is far less than noble. Plenty will go because "this is the future!" but others will go because they can set up casinos and brothels, and vacuum-distill their own vodka, and sell rotgut and "companionship" at outrageous prices to asteroid miners and planetary geologists and Space Marines.

You can't control a frontier. They know it. And sooner or later the people out on that frontier wonder why the hell they have to bow their heads and tug their forelocks in the general direction of Earth, when the only thing Earth does for them is to swamp them in bureaucracy, keep them from getting anything useful done, and take the lion's share of their annual income in taxes.

It's been done to death already but I could see a nice SF setting where Earth is a totalitarian shithole and out in space it's freedom and prosperity as far as the eye can see...and not to put too fine a point on it, but you can see an awful long way away in space.

* * *

The Lord indeed works in mysterious ways. I have seen these kinds of things, and undertand implicitly what he's saying here.

* * *

I really did have a good time last night, writing that big climactic battle scene, and as usual after such a session I had to "cool down" afterwards. I read what I wrote, then sat in the dark with my eyes closed until I started to feel sleepy.

By that point it was 4 AM, FFS. *sigh*

Well, I found a quote the other day, from Homer, which fits: "There is a time for many words, and there is also a time for sleep."

This is the guy who wrote The Iliad and The Odyssey. The man knew what writing is like.


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