Saturday, July 17, 2021

This Wasn't The Future We Were Promised

This week brought a stark reminder of how the promised future was hijacked by people who hate the us. 

Billionaire Richard Branson took a test flight into space as part of the planned rollout of "space tourism". He even sported a rainbow ribbon on his flight suit, taking degeneracy where no deviancy had gone before.


Not to be outdone, Amazon founder and billionaire Jeff Bezos is also taking a space flight on the 20th and his promo photo might be the most cringe thing ever.


Someone convinced Jeff that he looks super cool in this photo, I bet they even told him to pop his collar up so he looks like Top Gun-era Tom Cruise. He is probably humming Danger Zone in his head while posing.

It reminded me of a post from January of 2020: The Dumbing Down Of America, where I looked at how kids like me in the 1970s just assumed, understandably, that the future would include commonplace space travel.

When I was born in 1971, we were just two years removed from the first manned moon landing. There would be a total of six manned landings, all by Americans, from July of 1969 to a a few weeks before my first birthday. I was born at the peak of the age of space exploration. As a kid I remember watching the shuttle launches and I recall pretty vividly the Challenger disaster in 1986 while I was at school. Growing up we watched Star Trek on TV and saw Star WarsE.T. and Close Encounters of the Third Time in the theater. It seemed to us that we were on the cusp of exploring space, a new age of discovery where humankind would escape the bonds of earth, conquer the stars and perhaps even make contact with aliens! The future was bright.

As a child in the 1970s and 80s, 2020 seemed like a long way into the distant future and while we couldn't predict what that would bring, it was assumed it would bring a progressively better society and that space exploration and great technological achievement would make life immeasurably better. Colonies on the moon and even Mars were just assumed to be the natural near-future next steps.

Instead we get billionaire vanity projects.

Space is no longer the final frontier, at least not for the bulk of humanity. It will become the playground for the ultra-wealthy. According to Space.com, seats on Branson's Virgin Galactic will run around $250,000 each. There are lots of people who can afford that but the vast majority of humanity will not. As chaos descends on the world, can we be far from seeing space colonies where the wealthy can flee from the devastation? The proles will be ordered to drive tiny electric cars to "save the environment" while the ultra-rich blast off on huge rockets to take selfies in space, just like we will be told to eat the bugs to reduce our climate footprint while the rich eat steak. 

That starry eyed kid I used to be in the 1970s is facing the ugly reality of life in the 2020s. It isn't a bright future for humanity but a slow war of attrition that a small cabal of elites are winning. 

I don't dream about space travel anymore, I just dream of a future where my family will be left alone. Even something that simple seems as fantastical as exploring the stars.  

24 comments:

  1. That blue origin logo looks like a penis.

    Exile1981

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    1. I wondered if I was the only one who thought that. Seems appropriate since Jeff's pecker cost him like a hundred billion in the divorce.

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    2. Evidently its supposed to be a feather.

      Exile1981

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    3. Still think it looks like a wang.

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    4. Bezos' head looks like a penis.

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    5. That is the best comment yet

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    6. Well, BO's spacecraft itself looks like a dildo, and the regular Amazon logo has a banana phallus, so it shouldn't come as a surprise...

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  2. You want to see the potential end result of "Billionaires in Space"? Check out "Gods & Legionnaires (Galaxy's Edge: Savage Wars Book 2)" The Galaxy's Edge series is great, but the Savage Wars is pretty much based on long-haul starships that were built by billionaires, for billionaires to escape "the die back" as Earth collapses much in the way it is now. By the book's reckoning, we'd be at the very beginning...

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    1. I haven't read those yet but I sort of "know" Jason Anspach, we were connected on social media before his books really took off.

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    2. Thanks for the suggestion.

      Exile1981

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  3. Didn't know you had a blog! Terrific writing, and the comments had me laughing. Thank you; I needed that this morning.

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  4. I had just turned 18 when Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon. I too thought the future of manned space exploration looked bright. In fact, I remember the original selling point of the space shuttle was for the purpose of getting us into permanent low Earth orbiting space stations, which in turn was supposedly the intermediate step needed for establishing permanent bases on the moon. And then.....nothing. Oh yes, there were lots of shuttle launches, but somehow the moon was quietly forgotten and rarely ever mentioned again. Supposedly Armstrong confided to a close acquaintance that we were warned...by ET's...not to go back to the moon.

    As for the much ballyhooed launches into space by Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin, I don't see what the big deal is. They are not doing anything more than a brief sub-orbital flight, similar to Alan Shepherd's first manned launch some fifty years ago. Big whoop. Yes, it is mildly encouraging that for the first time private entrepreneurs rather than government agencies are doing it, but to what end ? How many more tens of billions of dollars are they willing and able to spend to achieve low Earth orbit, commercial space stations, and then trips to the moon?

    NASA spent tens of billions over the last fifty years pursuing manned space flight and has essentially nothing to show for it. There is exactly ONE jointly owned space station that costs an arm and a leg to support and is failing anyway. And NASA no longer even has a spacecraft of any kind that can reach the ISS. Granted, government agencies are hugely wasteful and inefficient compared to commercial enterprises, and NASA is no exception. Even so, I don't think these flamboyant billionaires have a full realization of the long term commitment and cost that will be required to go beyond these sub-orbital flights they are currently showcasing.

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    1. When you compare the investment and the promise of the space program with the results, it is pretty disappointing.

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  5. nasa was good for the country, really. a lot of good stuff came from the space program that we use
    everyday. that said, the asshole club of showing how big my dick is , rather stupid.
    if the so called better really want to help people they could instead of jerking each other off with
    bullshit like this. ever notice that the people calling for us to help the "poor" never seem to spend any of their OWN MONEY TO HELP THEM ? I often wonder about that shit. like the "betters" in
    congress that are rich but demand that we give up our stuff for the greater good.
    in the end it all comes down to the "people" you have running the show, if they fucked up, nothing good will ever come out of it. ethics is something not taught here for a long time now.

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  6. I don't think the subject is even worth talking about with someone unless they've read "Waggin' the Moon Doggie" by Dave McGowan.

    Note to Billionaires:

    Low Earth Orbit is not Space Flight.

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  7. We may not have space travel but at least we have racial harmony here on Earth. From 1970, the black people's answer to the American space program. "Whitey on the Moon" by Gil Scott Heron

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuqU5XSo-1U

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  8. Space colonies for the wealthy probably aren't going to happen for long - you lose bone and muscle mass in microgravity, between 1.5% per month for bone, a little bit more, say 2%, for muscle. So if you're up there for say two years, 24 months, that's like about 40% of bone mass, and about 50% for muscle mass. Any more time up there, and you're not coming back alive, and you probably won't last more than two more years up there. Same case for going to Mars - if the trip takes over two years, forget it. https://www.esa.int/Enabling_Support/Preparing_for_the_Future/Space_for_Earth/Space_for_health/Musculo-skeletal_system_Bone_and_Muscle_loss

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  9. I've never hoped for a rocket to explode on the pad. Until now.

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  10. I'm a touch older than you so I remember the moon landings, and the Ralph Abernathy People's Crusade picketing the launch and support sites, eventually succeeding in inculcating enough White guilt to put an end to space exploration for decades. So yeah, our obsolete ag implements cost us our future. And the money diverted from space to be poured down the endless shithole of 'urban renewal', SNAP, and attempting to educate the uneducable has yielded abso-fucking-lutely NOTHING but more race grift and ingratitude from the recipients.
    -> @ streamfortyseven : check out "O'Neill Cylinders" for workable solutions to microgravity.
    As for the wealthy being the ones to do this, see Ben Bova's fictional treatment: "Colony"

    Ellfive, signing out.

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    1. We could have had the stars, instead we chose diversity.

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    2. Let the stars throw down their spears upon the guilty ones
      Grandpa

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