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Location: Newark, Delaware, United States

My name is David P. Bellamy. The only significant thing not mentioned elsewhere here is, I think, that I almost always prefer to read a book instead of watching a movie.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Apollo 11

Forty two years ago today, July 20, 1969, two men walked on the moon for the first time. No one has been there at all since the early 1970,s. My students this morning had no idea of the significance of the date.

It is a tragedy that space explorations have been abandoned except for near earth orbit and robotic probes for scientific purposes. A defining part of the American character has been the need for a frontier, for most of the history of this country. Space, beyond Earth, is our frontier these days. It is a profound tragedy that very few people seem to care that we are not pursuing it nowadays. The retirement of the shuttle fleet is just the most recent of the lack of vision, the malaise, that seems to pervade our psyche. Some optimists have argued to me that for example, it was a century and a quarter between the first European contact with the American continent and the establishment of the first permanent [English] settlement. This is not a valid comparison, really, since there were already people here who were conquered by the English and other Europeans. There are no such people on the moon, for example. The land is there for the taking. But, I hope their optimism is justified, nontheless.


Blogger Clarissa said...

Does this happen because of the lack of money? Or it's simply deemed unimportant?

I agree that it's extremely sad that such a crucial breakthrough isn't receiving any follow through.

12:22 PM  
Blogger Pagan Topologist said...

I think it is deemed unimportant, which means it is easy, politically speaking, to defund.

1:21 PM  
Blogger janmyr said...

Dear P.T.

I am so happy to see your current posts. I used to read your comments/discussion on Steven Barnes' blog (Dar Kush), and enjoyed those discussions immensely -- you, the "Infidel" fellow ( I can't recall the rest of his name--maybe it was Ethiopian) and a few others. Dar Kush has changed a lot and is not as interesting to me as it was.

I think the last post of yours I read, until now, was the one about ballet.

I too regret there is no longer much interest in space exploration and settlement, where possible. Not only does the sheer adventure excite me, but I don't like to think of the human race leaving all its eggs in one basket.

I have thought for a long time that the path to adulthood in our society is fraught with ambiguity and has few meaningful milestones. My voluminous reading in SF, Fantasy, anthropology, etc. over a span of 40-50 years has sometimes explored how important such milestones/rituals can be.

I did not read your post in this regard carefully, but I intend to do so.

Actually, the reason why I visit your blog today is because I remembered that you were a topologist (don't meet many of those) AND liked science fiction. I have been reading a collection of stories by Kim Stanley Robinson called "The Best of ...." The stories are wonderful and explored many ideas. The one that made me think of you was one called "The Blind Geometer." I think you would like it. I have read his Mars Trilogy, a couple of his California books, and assorted stories, but I have never been so in awe of his writing as I am after reading this collection of stories.

Again, I'm glad to see you back. I think your picture is delightful. My own declarition of of spirituality would be, using the terms very loosely, that my heart is Pagan and my mind seeks the way by "just sitting."


8:05 PM  
Blogger Pagan Topologist said...

Thank you for the kind words, janmyr! I have several posts gestating which will appear when I get my head above water, workwise!

1:42 PM  

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