Jason Torchinsky is a guest blogger on Boing Boing. Jason has a book out now, Ad Nauseam: A Survivor's Guide to American Consumer Culture. He lives in Los Angeles, where he is a tinkerer and artist, started a webcasting company, and writes for the Onion News Network. He lives with a common-law wife, five animals, too many old cars, and a shed full of crap.
I'm still all hopped-up on moonwalk sauce today, so I thought it would be worthwhile to take a moment to consider the other end of the Space Race-- the Soviets. After all, without a competitor, it's not really a race, now is it?
At the beginning of the 1960s, a betting man would have likely put his cash down on a hammer and sickle getting planted into the lunar regolith before Old Glory. It makes sense-- the Soviets had a hell of a space program, which, by certain metrics (endurance, space station systems) can still be considered the best in the world.
But they didn't get to the moon
. They came close-- closer than most people realize-- and for years they denied they were even trying. They were close to scooping the US's Apollo 8 trans-lunar flight (they did get some turtles to fly around the moon)
, they had a massive moon rocket
, a one-man lander
, and an impressive mother ship
-- but they didn't have the money, time, or, really, leadership to get it all together.
In the end, they had too many technical problems with the N-1 moon rocket (it had many engines that had to all work together-- a technical nightmare), and just not enough money or time to fix it. They did eventually get lunar samples returned robotically, and sent some delightfully jalopy-like lunar rovers
to the moon. These rovers were long suspected to have had human (midget or child) drivers
, so, who knows, maybe they did get some comrades up there after all.
Anyway, as we happily remember Buzz and Neil, spare a thought for our lovable loser pals. Things would have been lots more exciting if they made it up there, too, and I bet we'd still be there now if there was a Moskvaluna next door to Moon-Newark.
Facebook gets a bad rap, but where I live, it has brought neighbors together, and it started because of the things I didn’t want to share.
When the Congressional Science committee wants to talk about the cold weather, and when NASA has to defend their budget by explaining why NASA is important, it can make people who believe in facts… a bit tense.
Acting is a crappy business, but the world needs actors, and since we live in a time when digital production and distribution has democratized filmmaking, anyone can be a casting director. Exhibit A is a new tumblr, Casting Call Woes, which has netted a foul-smelling collection of ripe ones from the sea of DIY casting […]
Almost everyone has their smartphone in a case of one kind or another. Beyond simple protection, finding a case that can charge your phone on its own, but doesn’t feel like it’s also adding a couple pounds to the phone’s weight is the tricky part. Billed as the world’s thinnest battery case, the ThinCharge iPhone […]
You never know when new projects, ideas or opportunities can drop into your lap at a moment’s notice. That may require you to learn a new programming language like Python. Or maybe you need a primer on 3D game development. Or you might realize you could use a serious brush-up on iOS mobile creation.Point is, […]
Isn’t it about time to stretch what your Mac can do? I mean, you’ve got plenty of great programs now…but don’t you think you could use some new tools to get your creative, analytical and organizational juices really flowing? It’s spring, so we cleaned up a whole bunch of super-cool apps lying around and packaged […]