Well, Groundhog Day is as good a day as any to start a blog, and hope that inspiration will recur as persistently as in the film. Shadows are particularly unreliable here in Seattle, so I won’t be relying on that evanescent bellwether as a guide. I’ll just feel my way, and if I happen to grope you in the process, it’s an accident. Probably.
Everyone is ‘dealing with’ or ‘processing’ the Columbia disaster today, it seems. One question that has arisen is ’How is the death of 7 astronauts somehow more worthy of grief, attention and angst than the 7 skiers killed in an avalanche in British Columbia, or the 40 train passengers in Zimbabwe the same day?’ Each individual’s response will be different, but the most obvious answer for the popular fixation is that space travel is so highly symbolic of the American endeavor. It combines our talent for technological achievement, industrial process and frontier exploration into an iconic experience. I also think that there’s a bit of collective guilt involved due to the fact that, as Patrick Smith pointed out in Salon, so few folks even knew that there was a shuttle mission in progress. The accident will no doubt refocus attention on NASA and the shuttle program. One heretical question that should be addressed is whether we should continue to pursue manned space flight. Unmanned missions are undoubtedly cheaper - can they be made more productive as well?
I promise this won’t continue to be a dreary rehash of the day’s news. I hope to use it as a vehicle for humorous and oddball rants and ramblings. But that’s for another day.