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The violence of space exploration
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icarus502
kung-pwn master


Joined: 01 Jul 2002
Posts: 11289
Location: ann arbor
The violence of space exploration  Reply with quote  

greetings board, long time no see.

my friend sphinx wrote this about the "national tragedy" of the other day. thoughts appreciated.
~robert
------


That the bourgeois of our current epic hue and cry over the loss of the space shuttle Columbia and notably, secondarily, the loss of seven astronauts is of no great surprise to me. That my fellow employees at work; numerous students and fellows mirror this behaviour is somewhat disturbing.

It's unarguable; space exploration is a boastful assertion of patriotism, you can get that far with standard leftism.

What's next however is a more intense analysis. The space shuttle, as constituted, represents the whole of disembodied civilization, the cradle of the comfortable classes pioneered by the "brave pilot". Massively complex divisions of labor permeate the construction of space shuttles, requiring extraction of silicon, titanium alloys and rare metals. These divisions of labor entail the federation of thousands of specialists, from industrialists to engineers to scientists to mission control to launchpad technicians, every single one of them possessing a distinct and unique set of knowledge that enables the construction of the space shuttle.

If one person fucks up the whole jetliner comes crashing down.

It should be obvious that the seven astronauts probably understood about 30% of their aircraft at most; the rest of the machinations bound to an earthly hodgepodge of scientists and engineers.

So there they go, launched into space with a capsule they barely understand, a leap of faith from earthly construction. Indiana Jones crosses the unseen path in "The Last Crusade," the path is invisible to him until he trusts in god to carry him forth across the chasm. The ideology of the present state of the means of production is not dissimilar.

Once the corpses had fallen to earth, we are visited by the ghost of NASA past who implores "We will find what is wrong, and we will fix it," even as he holds back tears. NOT FOR ONE MOMENT can this man see past the blinders of his cog position; that of repairman. Not for a damn moment can he realize that perhaps the appliance doesn't need fixing, that it's the SET OF IDEOLOGIES and absence of self-determination that creates the NEED FOR THE APPLIANCE. Out of my house, maytag man!!

We are entreated to trust those who have constructed our reality, a bounded rationality ensures that because we are initially bereft, deprived of creative capacity as humans; that the experts, hierarchs, capitalists and most importantly, roadwork of technology will crowd out that absence. Our cavities widen, fillings are drilled to ensure that we can keep chewing. Perhaps we should stop eating sugar?
Post Mon Feb 03, 2003 1:35 pm
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futuristxen



Joined: 01 Jul 2002
Posts: 19373
Location: Tighten Your Bible Belt
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Your friend needs to move his prose out of the way of his point.
And really his point doesn't have a whole lot to do with the shuttle accident. this was one of those things that was written a long time ago but he could convienently make "about the shuttle and the space program".

And I'm fairly certain there's nothing wrong with the NASA ideology that a lot of money won't fix.

And I wouldnt go so far as to call the NASA people uncreative. People are practically building satillites out of toothpicks and trashcans.

I think it's a money problem, but maybe I would be more receptive towards this viewpoint if it weren't so annoying to get at.

peace.
Post Mon Feb 03, 2003 2:12 pm
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DM



Joined: 05 Jul 2002
Posts: 6371
Location: www.NERDTORIOUS.com
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futuristxen wrote:
Your friend needs to move his prose out of the way of his point.
And really his point doesn't have a whole lot to do with the shuttle accident. this was one of those things that was written a long time ago but he could convienently make "about the shuttle and the space program".

And I'm fairly certain there's nothing wrong with the NASA ideology that a lot of money won't fix.

And I wouldnt go so far as to call the NASA people uncreative. People are practically building satillites out of toothpicks and trashcans.

I think it's a money problem, but maybe I would be more receptive towards this viewpoint if it weren't so annoying to get at.

peace.


I agree.

abacus
Post Mon Feb 03, 2003 4:16 pm
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icarus502
kung-pwn master


Joined: 01 Jul 2002
Posts: 11289
Location: ann arbor
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i know that he wrote this piece in the past few days. as for the idea that there's "nothing wrong with the nasa ideology that a lot of money won't fix" well, that's no response to this piece at all.

anybody got anything intelligent to say?
Post Mon Feb 03, 2003 6:29 pm
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vintge
is vintge vince? vince vintge vincge?


Joined: 17 Jul 2002
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Location: LA
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icarus502 wrote:


anybody got anything intelligent to say?



your friend writes like an idiot trying to sound smart
Post Mon Feb 03, 2003 6:41 pm
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PoeticTerror



Joined: 02 Oct 2002
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PoeticTerror  Reply with quote  

i had a long post, but it crashed. i will repost.. i like this paper.
Post Mon Feb 03, 2003 6:49 pm
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futuristxen



Joined: 01 Jul 2002
Posts: 19373
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damn man. I'm sorry but I can't respond to this. I've read it like 10 times now. And I can conclude that this is terribly written. Is it supposed to be serious writing? I can't divine meaning from his mishmash of metaphors and overly dramatic wording. at least not to the point that I could tell you whether he was right or wrong or even if it mattered.

I'm sure someone out here is blessed with the intelligent stick enough to figure this all out and respond to it--but I am not. And that's a problem of the writer as much as it is a problem of mine(I would say , in fact, moreso). Some of it is so awkwardly pulled together that it's almost impossible to figure out what the sentences were supposed to be.

"We are entreated to trust those who have constructed our reality, a bounded rationality ensures that because we are initially bereft, deprived of creative capacity as humans; that the experts, hierarchs, capitalists and most importantly, roadwork of technology will crowd out that absence."

I think that needs some reworking for sure. Maybe make a clearer thesis statement as well.

I think the present ideaology is a tad more calculated than a leap of faith--especially in relation to space travel. But if you want to think like that, just stepping outside everday is a leap of faith. Hell, standing in the same spot is a leap of faith, moving to that spot as opposed to this one is a leap of faith. Trying to respond to message board stuff even involves an intellectual leap of faith. It's the natural bi-product of living. And so of course the present means of production isn't going to be dissimiliar. I just don't understand the point of this whole thing after that--what is he trying to say?
Post Mon Feb 03, 2003 8:42 pm
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Wakeaholic



Joined: 16 Sep 2002
Posts: 40
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As to the statements that this prosaic shiny object is completely deprived of logical and intelligent reason, I concur. To use the so well liked method of comparison known as a metaphor, it's a gold plated piece of dog shit. If you take the NASA program from a inhumanistically detatched point of view, it kind of makes sense. However, we must realize that the people making this thing known as the space program work are not exactly your money-grubbing, two-faced, depraved aristocrats that the wonderful thinker makes them out to be. These are people with more of an understanding of how our natural world works than Newton could ever imagine. These people are actually trying to help cover up our fuck ups with the environment, health, and other issues. I know I sound like a fourth grade hippie teacher when I say that, but it's true. These people are some of the world's greatest intellects. My father worked on the NASA site in Cape Canaveral for a few years and found out that the majority of the people their hate the government as much as we do. These are the people who get in front congress and tell them that their all a bunch of jackasses for giving them only 2 billion dollars for their next project and that they need 4 more. There's not alot of people in the United States that would stand up to the Legislative body of the most threatening country in the world and call them out on their budget plan. So to whoever wrote that rather verbose piece of dog shit, think about who you're writing about before you take 300 words to say "I think that the NASA program and society is bullshit".
Post Mon Feb 03, 2003 9:18 pm
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DM



Joined: 05 Jul 2002
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[quote="vintge"]
icarus502 wrote:


anybody got anything intelligent to say?




Intelligent? You mean like your friend? He's an idiot. So are you for crying about the responses his little "piece" is getting.

Look, he raises good points, but I disagree with most of them. Beyond that, his prose is garbage. HAppier?

abacus
Post Mon Feb 03, 2003 10:33 pm
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vintge
is vintge vince? vince vintge vincge?


Joined: 17 Jul 2002
Posts: 4334
Location: LA
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Wakeaholic wrote:
As to the statements that this prosaic shiny object is completely deprived of logical and intelligent reason, I concur. To use the so well liked method of comparison known as a metaphor, it's a gold plated piece of dog shit. If you take the NASA program from a inhumanistically detatched point of view, it kind of makes sense. However, we must realize that the people making this thing known as the space program work are not exactly your money-grubbing, two-faced, depraved aristocrats that the wonderful thinker makes them out to be. These are people with more of an understanding of how our natural world works than Newton could ever imagine. These people are actually trying to help cover up our fuck ups with the environment, health, and other issues. I know I sound like a fourth grade hippie teacher when I say that, but it's true. These people are some of the world's greatest intellects. My father worked on the NASA site in Cape Canaveral for a few years and found out that the majority of the people their hate the government as much as we do. These are the people who get in front congress and tell them that their all a bunch of jackasses for giving them only 2 billion dollars for their next project and that they need 4 more. There's not alot of people in the United States that would stand up to the Legislative body of the most threatening country in the world and call them out on their budget plan. So to whoever wrote that rather verbose piece of dog shit, think about who you're writing about before you take 300 words to say "I think that the NASA program and society is bullshit".


so well put, i couldn't be with you more.

icarus, would you rather have the space program in the hands of the military. cause they are next in line. and they will very willingly accept
Post Mon Feb 03, 2003 11:37 pm
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ChiefColdHands



Joined: 23 Jul 2002
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why are we sending huge chunks of metal into space in the first place? BILLIONS of dollars exploding as it exits the atmosphere......why?

there are so many problems here on earth that need fixing, why don't we focus on them?

and you want me to care about whether or not mars had oceans a trillion years ago? get the fuck outta here.
Post Tue Feb 04, 2003 12:25 am
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vintge
is vintge vince? vince vintge vincge?


Joined: 17 Jul 2002
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im sorry but its worthless to even argue with you if you really think the space program is just shooting metal into space, or finding out if there is oceans blah blah blah.

that is just a really weak and unintelligent point, chief
Post Tue Feb 04, 2003 1:32 am
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PoeticTerror



Joined: 02 Oct 2002
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PoeticTerror  Reply with quote  

OKay i am reposting again, lets see:

First, I agree with you that space exploration as it is now is only another site for patriotism to engulf. As long as other “weaker” countries must come to the “strong” United States and use their space shuttles to access space, as long as other countries are not allowed to explore space because *gasp* the shuttles might carry weapons of mass destruction to us (ex. North Korea’s space program), patriotic allusions will be flaunted.

Second, I think your observation of the problem which serves as your internal link into your critique of consumerism has a serious misconception. You say that “If one person fucks up the whole jetliner comes crashing down”, however this is inaccurate and ignores the bio-political mechanisms that obscure our agency. If your statement was true, then all it would take is one cite of resistance, one person saying viva la anti-capitalism to bring the system down, or atleast the NASA part of it. But by linking NASA as part of (and representational of) the entire system of Capital, the reader can not help but thinking that the entirety of relations surrounding NASA are identical to the rest of the system. Therefore, this observation dilutes the reader in thinking that they can refuse to play the game, and that that refusal will bring down the system in its entirety. However, this is not true; one employee does not have complete control over an integral circuit, it is completed by a web of employees that correct each other, manage and correct their errors. Each project has worker ontop of worker ontop of worker re-evaluating the data, interpreting it, and applying it into their work. And on top of this, computers re-crunch the data, and projects are first simulated to correct humyn errors before they are even built (many times by even more computers). This validates the famous adage: Resistance is futile. And even in the normal consumerist workplace (outside of NASA) where individuals do have controlm and resistance is met through both the process of exclusion and inclusion. Inclusion means that when the worker seeks to protest problems in the consumerist system (worker conditions, etc) that can be manageable, those problems are then fixed, making the system more tolerable and efficient. Exclusion means that when the worker seeks to protest unmanageable problems (say the deeper problems relating to consumerism), then the protest is fired and thus excluded from speaking, and h/er ideas are ridiculed. The ideas are sometimes called too utopian, unfeasible, etc because they are exactly far enough left to be at a point where they are unmanageable. Other times elite academics (with their PHD’s in kissing ass) speak out from their ivory tower and hammer down about their expertise, and about research they have performed, research that was concluded with their assumed outcome even before it was ever performed. These problems maybe be a handful to chew, but they represent an obstacle regardless.

Third, in a flashback to Nietzschean cries that the commune always crushes individual creativity, this paper mis-represents creativity. The author claims that “We are entreated to trust those who have constructed our reality, a bounded rationality ensures that because we are initially bereft, deprived of creative capacity as humans; that the experts, hierarchs, capitalists and most importantly, roadwork of technology will crowd out that absence.” This is essentially saying that because the specialists act instead of our creative wills. This creative will is located in the individual, assuming that only the individual process creativity. However, as illustrated above, projects are not completed by the individual, they are completed by groups. Creativity is not only located on the level of the individual, it is also located in groups of people. An illustration of this can be seen when we smoke pot as a group. Other people help lead the conversation to places the individual mind would have never be able to reach. The impact to this statement is twofold. One, if groups can act creatively, and we accept as true the proposition that “everyone has there own set of unique knowledge bases”, perhaps projects created by groups of people can work, that perhaps the building of a shuttle by a group of people can work. (I know for sure groups of people were far easier to build shuttles faster than any single individual would have been able to do it). This hold true in other areas of society , such as treatment for the AIDs virus. Should we abandon group research in favor of individual solutions to AIDs? This might through us back 100 yrs to where we would get Uncle Jebs Famous Potion to cure “all our ails”; this might be dangerous. And as illustrated above, group work can be more efficient and completely faster than individual efforts. The second impact to this statement is that if that society and its productions are not made by individuals but by groups, it may be hard to diametrically place ourselves antithetical to these groups. It is not longer one person (THE all so fearful specialist!) versus me, its is the group of academics versus me. The problem with this lies in the lack of distinction between me and the group, for I may very well be part of that group. Now I may not be part of the group of “people who made the left wing of the Colombia”, but I may be part of the larger group of Western academia whose knowledge production led to this production (after all didn’t I go to college? Well actually I haven’t Im still in high school, but many readers have). So if I am also responsible in a way for the production and ultimately, the destruction of the Colombia, can I as easily separate myself from the “specialist” and declare “war”?


Third, is this work verbose. I don’t think so, it may lack warrants in many areas, assuming the reader knows what the reader is saying, but some of us can only write verbosely. I am one of those people if you can’t already tell, so I enjoy it.

Finally, a quick note of mine. This quote catches me “Once the corpses had fallen to earth, we are visited by the ghost of NASA past who implores "We will find what is wrong, and we will fix it," even as he holds back tears. NOT FOR ONE MOMENT can this man see past the blinders of his cog position; that of repairman” The reason behind it is behind the signified (meaning) of the prose, but in the signifiers (diction, word choice) used. The ghost of NASA is assumed to be a “man” (he hold, this man). This unconscious or even conscious act assumes that men are the only ones capable of acting as the ghost, that men have a unique connection to the hierchs of NASA. This is far from true, both (is their only 2?) sexes are responsible for much of the consumerist mess we are in, and we are all at blame as a collective humynity.

There’s always more, and less.

Pace

Chris
Post Tue Feb 04, 2003 1:33 am
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Dregs



Joined: 20 Aug 2002
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I knew not a single soul aboard the Columbia; as such I will not grieve. In all honesty, I think it’s ridiculous for anyone other than the families and friends of the seven astronauts to exhibit sadness over their loss. It’s silly. People die everyday. Who among you grieve for them? Because seven perished in a multibillion-dollar paper-airplane, it’s a global tragedy? No, I’m sorry, but I can’t fool myself into feeling sorry for this lot. They knew the risks. I don’t think them anymore courageous than those living with AIDS.
Post Tue Feb 04, 2003 3:50 am
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DM



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...  Reply with quote  

Yes indeed people die everyday. But the people who died were the best and most qualified our country has to offer. They're all scientists who risked their lives for the greater good of humanity. They didn't pay a token, and got on a fucking rollercoaster ride. Saying that people die every day is stating the obvious. People die, and sometimes the circumstances are simply more tragic than others.

Abacus7
Post Tue Feb 04, 2003 4:08 am
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