The Senate Committee on Commerce willing, that is
Follow-up on last weekend: Yesterday morning, I was leaving my morphology class with a few people when talk turned to what everyone did since last Thursday's class. I started talking about how I was in Orlando having a fantastic time at SpaceVision 2006--that is, until one of the people in our group made a comment along the lines of "huh-huh, geek." I brought up the [well, I think] very salient point that it was sort of hard for a fellow linguistics major to comment on my geekiness, but the sentiment still stood.
However, in retrospect I'm actually sort of pleased about having been insulted as such. One of the things I learned last weekend is that space exploration is never going to be smaller than it is now. Never. If Bush cuts the budget for NASA by 90%, the media (and research companies) will just focus on private industry. If Scaled Composites craps out, Armadillo Aerospace or Blue Origin or Bigelow Aerospace or literally a dozen other companies will take its place. If Congress comes up with the brilliant idea to regulate suborbital flight to the point that, say, regular airlines are restricted, people will just pull up their stakes and move to China or Australia. We're not going away, folks.
And these groups aren't lacking in public opinion, from the public that matters right here, right now: the people with money. You can make jokes about Dennis Tito all that you want, but when Jeff Bezos, Paul Allen, John Carmack, et al. are on your side, you're probably on a pretty darn well-off side. If the average Joe on the street, though, still looks at space and thinks "huh-huh, geek", then it clearly hasn't quite caught on yet. Which means that anyone looking to hop on the space wagon now is probably going to be getting on pretty close to the ground floor. And it's only up from here. (Aren't mixed metaphors fun?)
To paraphrase a paraphrase, I suppose: the meek may inherit the earth, but the geeks are aiming a bit higher.
Now for some quick links.
help.unc.edu: 'What do I do if...'
Sometimes I wonder why the heck I still have help.unc.edu on my RSS reader. Then articles like this one pop up and it's all worthwhile again.
Just watch it. Now.