Fortnight Philosophy: January 30, 2017

Fortnight Philosophy
January 30, 2017

 

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Ad Astra Per Aspera: Fifty Years

 

Ad Astra Per Aspera: Fifty Years

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The crew of Apollo 1: Virgil “Gus” Grissom (Lt Col, USAF), Edward White II (Lt Col, USAF), and Roger B. Chaffee (LCDR, USN)

 

Fifty years ago today, tragedy struck the Apollo manned lunar landing program and claimed the lives of three brave explorers. Their memory lives on, but their spirit carries us higher.

Rest in peace, gentlemen.

 

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Go at Throttle Up: Thirty Years

 

Go at Throttle Up: Thirty Years

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It’s been thirty years.

On January 28, 1986, I was a happy little five-year old watching the Space Shuttle Challenger launch into orbit. It was a special occasion because the first teacher was going into space, and it was inspiring. I don’t remember a whole lot from that day except cheering when the shuttle launched, being shocked when it disintegrated, and seeing my mother cry. That in itself was heartbreaking.

It was a confusing day, but it was that confusion that sparked my desire to study science because I wanted answers. That quest introduced me to Richard Feynman and made me realize that Morton-Thiokol and their rumbling rocket motor tests were essentially in my backyard.

That day also gave me dreams of being an astronaut. I never made it anywhere near being an astronaut, but I did get that physics degree.

Revisiting that day still hurts. To this day, I cannot hear the words “go at throttle up” without getting a lump in my throat.

 

Footage of the incident from CNN:

 

President Reagan’s address to the nation:

 

Godspeed, heroes of the Challenger. You’re still deeply missed.

 

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The Glory of Being a Nerd

Last week, podcaster and Chicago radio producer Jimmy Mac covered the topic of being called a nerd on The ForceCast. His position was that the term nerd is derogatory and shouldn’t be used to describe fans of Star Wars. I couldn’t disagree more.

The crowd at Wikipedia have defined “nerd” as “a term that refers to a social perception of a person who avidly pursues intellectual activities, technical or scientific endeavors, esoteric knowledge, or other obscure interests, rather than engaging in more social or conventional activities.” That got me thinking. Based on that, why shouldn’t we embrace the term nerd?

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