northanger (northanger) wrote,

imagineering tomorrow

 • 1939 New York World's Fair • 
 • The 1939 New York World's Fair • 
 • Year 1939 Saw Birth of Copier, Computer, TV • 

"There was some kind of consciousness, some kind of special love in the air that hasn't been seen since." —John Hench [+][+][+][+]

noticed beautiful perigee moon saturday wondering, why moon? ok, seems kinda obvious, but my question was about space policy. Eisenhower presented with Man-in-Space Program [+] in 1960 [SaturnProject MercuryThe Apollo Spacecraft: A Chronology ~ The Key Events]. google also popped Guest Blog: The End of the Apollo Era – Finally? by John M. Logsdon (more about him later) & also looked for Space Race Timeline that reminded me of Dickson's A Blow to the Nation and the influence of the 1939 New York World's Fair:

Prior to Sputnik, popular interest in science and technology had been on the rise since as early as the 1939 "World of Tomorrow" World's Fair in Flushing Meadows, New York… It was as if this orderly march into the future was a part of America's destiny. As it turned out, the real "world of tomorrow" was delayed because of World War II, but its vision was carried intact into the late 1940s and early 1950s, when it began to be realized. Americans who had struggled through the Great Depression and the war embraced the promise of a burgeoning middle class having goods, services, and comforts that formerly had been the province of European royalty. The average family's car had more pure horsepower than existed in all the stables of Buckingham Palace a generation earlier.

Logsdon's important because of how JFK's role in the Space Race is currently mythologized, pointing to the various interpretations of the Space Race. Logsdon's The Decision To Go To The Moon: Project Apollo And The National Interest considered by some to be the "Quintessential Space Policy Analysis of the Apollo Decision". Logsdon editor for Reconsidering Sputnik: Forty Years Since the Soviet Satellite (2000) & his John F. Kennedy and the Race to the Moon came out December 15, 2010 and reviewed here (Jeff Foust) and here (Stephen Smith).

Why Moon? search came from my realization that UFO/Alien issues might play a dynamic in New Space. btw, that particular hodology: UFO Disinformation: Whose Truthiness Can We Trust? » A missing Pentacle » The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects (Revised). Ruppelt also led me to Cohen's response [see: sighting reports came in from Moonwatch team personnel] to Oberg's In Search of Gordon Cooper's UFOs (Reply to Cohen critique, pdf) [+], which i've seen before, but reviewing it again see that it could serve as Exhibit A (no criticism intended) for my New Space Greets the Aliens hypothesis. lastly, Oberg's The Black Box Approach To UFO Perceptions could be useful.

from Foust/Smith some elements of Logsdon POV: JFK concerned more with prestige as primary benefit (not science, "Because, by God, we keep, we've been telling everybody we're preeminent in space for five years and nobody believes it because they have the booster and the satellite. We know all about the number of satellites we put up, two or three times the number of the Soviet Union… we're ahead scientifically") [LIFE Apr 21, 1961: Soviet traveler returns from out of this world: the story of Yuri Gagarin and his remarkable achievement • How the news hit Washington], since he was "not that interested in space" but beating the Soviets (otherwise, "these fantastic expenditures which wreck our budget and all these other domestic programs" doesn't make sense); Logsdon: "John Kennedy was clear in purpose and consistent in explaining his reasons for going to the Moon"; however, because of the expense, JFK did seek collaboration / cooperation with Soviets in space, not competition ("Khrushchev wrote in his memoirs he was unwilling to collaborate because it would expose the true weakness of Soviet ICBMs"); during presidential campaign, JFK stated Eisenhower-Nixon administration created, what would prove to be, a non-existent "missile gap" (Dickson: "Politically, Sputnik created a perception of American weakness, complacency, and a 'missile gap'"), JFK stressed urgency in contrast to Eisenhower's passivity (he was more concerned with surveillance satellites).

three points:

{1} Logsdon notes: "NASA chose a set of hardware systems and an architecture optimized for getting to the Moon as soon as possible; these choices had unfortunate consequences". JFK possibly understood the US to the Moon first was a one-shot deal going, essentially, nowhere. Foust notes here that our inability to appreciate the nature of this particular mission creates the incorrect template (Apollo, by its nature, requires "fantastic expenditures") for future space exploration. in other words, THE UNITED STATES HAS NEVER CREATED A SPACE PROGRAM OPTIMIZED AS A SCIENTIFIC ENTERPRISE, which may require international collaboration. however, ISS is a collaborative international framwork with the capability of expanding its current footprint.

{2} Foust notes: Logsdon, four decades later, now believes that Apollo was perhaps something unique, a case where a set of factors “almost coincidentally converged to create a national commitment and enough momentum to support that commitment through to its fulfillment.” If that’s true, then “there is little to learn from the decision to go to the Moon relevant to twenty-first century choices.” Apollo, then, should be treated not as a model for future space efforts, but instead as an amazing achievement particular to the circumstances of its era, including the leadership provided by President Kennedy.

{3} Smith quoting Foust on NASA's primary focus: NASA "is and should remain a multi-mission agency with a balanced and robust set of core missions in science, aeronautics, and human space flight and exploration".

#3 gets me to how much Science was actually at the 1939 World's Fair [+], Wikipedia, leading to a necessary exploration about the current non-science of UFOs & Aliens:

Grover Whalen, a public relations innovator, saw the Fair as an opportunity for corporations to present consumer products, rather than as an exercise in presenting science and the scientific way of thinking in its own right, as Harold Urey, Albert Einstein and other scientists wished to see the project.[Losing the World of Tomorrow] "As events transpired," reported Carl Sagan,[The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark] whose own interest in science was nevertheless sparked by the Fair's gadgetry, "almost no real science was tacked on to the Fair's exhibits, despite the scientists' protests and their appeals to high principles."


The Demon-Haunted World, p403-4

The 1939 New York World's Fair — that so transfixed me as a small visitor from darkest Brooklyn — was about "The World of Tomorrow." Merely by adopting such a motif, it promised that there would be a world of tomorrow, and the most casual glance affirmed that it would be better than the world of 1939. Although the nuance wholly passed me by, many people longed for such a reassurance on the eve of the most brutal and calamitous war in human history. I knew at least that I would be growing up in the future. The sleek and clean "tomorrow" portrayed by the Fair was appealing and hopeful. And something called science was plainly the means by which that future would be realized.

But if things had gone a little differently, the Fair could have given me enormously more. A fierce struggle had gone on behind the scenes. The vision that prevailed was that of the Fair's president and chief spokeman, Grover Whalen — former corporate executive, New York City police chief in a time of unprecedented police brutality, and public relations innovator. It was he who had envisioned the exhibit buildings as chiefly commercial, industrial, oriented to consumer products, and he who had convinced Stalin and Mussolini to build lavish national pavilions. (He later complained about how often he had been obliged to give the fascist salute.) The level of the exhibits, as one designer described it, was pitched to the mentality of a twelve-year-old.

However, as recounted by the historian Peter Kuznick of American University, a group of prominent scientists — including Harold Urey and Albert Einstein — advocated presenting science for its own sake, not just as the route to gadgets for sale; concentrating on the way of thinking and not just the products of science. They were convinced that broad popular understanding of science was the antidote to superstition and bigotry; that, as science popularizer Watson Davis put it, "the scientific way is the democratic way." One scientist even suggested that widespread public appreciation of the methods of science might work "a final conquest of stupidity" — a worthy, but probably unrealizable goal.

As events transpired, almost no real science was tacked on to the Fair's exhibits, despite the scientists' protests and their appeals to high principles. And yet, some of the little that was added trickled down to me and helped to transform my childhood. The corporate and consumer focus remained central, though, and essentially nothing appeared about science as a way of thinking, much less as a bulwark of a free society.

New Space is a commercial enterprise. in this case, the paradigm shifts to Free Enterprise as an apparent justification to not only continue to pay for a space program, but also not pay "fantastic expenditures".

With Shuttle Program, an Intricate and Integral Partnership for NASA
By LESLIE WAYNE, Published: August 3, 2005

"NASA doesn't run the shuttle, U.S.A. does," said Howard McCurdy, a public affairs professor at American University in Washington who has written extensively on NASA management. "Because much of this is invisible, the general public doesn't understand the depth of involvement of U.S.A. NASA wants to let private companies get people into low Earth orbit."

Making Space Travel Seem Real

Space and the American Imagination
 • pdf outline • book • 2nd edition • 

Space and the American Imagination (outline)
Howard E. McCurdy

The introduction will set out the principal theme of the book: that the rise of the U.S. space program was due to a concerted effort by science writers, engineers, industrialists, and civic and political leaders to create a popular culture of space exploration based on important elements of American social life (such as frontier mythology, fears about the cold war, and the rise of the consumer culture). Much of the disillusionment with the NASA space program which set in during the third decade of space flight can be traced to a widening gap between popular expectations and the reality of space exploration.


The final chapter will summarize the principle thesis of the book and examine what sort of space program is likely to emerge in the future give the need to reconcile expectations and reality.

1. Imagination and the U.S. space program: a summary of findings.

2. Reconciling expectations and reality: the loss of public interest; space realism gives way to space fantasy; Disney replaces "Mission to Mars" with "Alien Encounter;" the sour view (in which space expectations are viewed as a cult-like religion that can never come true); the sober view (the abandonment of barnstorming for a more utilitarian space program); the "swashbuckling" view (some technological breakthrough will make original expectations possible).

3. Space exploration compared to other endeavors where initial expectations gave way to reality: exploration and the search for wealth in America; the development of aviation.

4. How popular culture affects public policy: creating expectations and setting limits to governmental activity; comments on the relationship between culture and technology; where will the space program go from here?

…draft following…

what do i really think about ufology (and associated CTs & new age beliefs and practices)? some keywords: infrastructure, gatekeeper, saltation, scaffolding. watching history channel wednesday about crumbling infrastructure: i can't say there is no infrastructure or that there is not a recognized infrastructure, but maybe this is better: there is no reliable infrastructure to support the reality of UFOs (Sagan: "The reliable cases are uninteresting and the interesting cases are unreliable. Unfortunately there are no cases that are both reliable and interesting.") what i like about hyperstition, btw, is the abilty to deal with dual cognitive duties about a thing being both real and unreal, true and untrue. (Cooper: "The fundamental problem is not methodological, however. The basic problem is that a fundamental assumption on which their research is based — that aliens frequently come to earth — is highly unlikely to be true.")

but here's the thing: many people think there's sufficient evidence that aliens are visiting earth. and that's where the gatekeepers come in: they are keeping the truth of this fact from humans to avoid, among other things, panic. imho, iphone & playstation gatekeepers are good examples. i've read numerous comments on different forums about NASA and other government organizations who are, it's said, the lying gatekeepers of alien contact. NASA gets it both ways: New Space supporters point to its rocket science deficiencies & wastefulness as a block to space exploration. both groups seem interested in removing (or, at the least, disabling) NASA's gatekeeper function.

New Space Greets the Aliens: a speculative hypothesis about identifying Sagan's "reliable and interesting" by disabling the space gatekeeper to get to the truth that is out there. however, Cooper points to an assumption here that must be true for this to work.

so… there's another paradigm shift from cold war to cyber war [re: privacy, see Poole's comments on anonymity § re: 10,000 applications &c, see In Rogues We Trust: Webroot® Survey Reveals Internet Users of All Skill Levels Fall for Cybercriminals’ Tricky Tactics & New Webroot Survey Shows Web 2.0 Is Top Security Threat to SMBs in 2010]. probably most relevant statement in Hayden's The Future of Things “Cyber” (pdf; Strategic Studies Quarterly, Vol 5, No 1, Spring 2011): we need to recalibrate what is truly secret; and also notes: cyber as a domain. It is now enshrined in doctrine: land, sea, air, space, cyber. It trips off the tongue. Shaud/Lowther's An Air Force Strategic Vision for 2020-2030 (pdf): No longer is it possible to think or act principally in a single domain. Actors — friend or foe — who are most effective in operating across domains will achieve their objectives with greater frequency than those who remain stuck in a paradigm that is focused on a single domain

two things about SSQ 2011's cyber, one of them ironic. first, it's possible New Space's final configuration could maintain enough perceptual Apollo to make it a hybrid. second, ironically, many cold war artefacts [+][+][+] remain in the system (the cold war was anything but transparent). Exhibit B is somewhat symbolic of New Space's capacity (because of the Internet) to quickly connect launch activity with something first identified as UFO. however, Exhibit C (Progress M-03M, 15-Oct-2009 Launch to supply ISS/Expedition 21) [+][+][+] — & because it displays similar launch phenomena, Glonass-K1, 26-Feb-2011 Launch [+][+] — illustrates spectacular launch phenomena that seems to work so well with in context (launch) or out of context (UFO) narratives. [11:13 PM 1/30/2012] video on the right deleted, see: [+][+][+].

…{how do you build a narrative?}…

A Certain Future: Sputnik, American Higher Education, and the Survival of a Nation
by John A. Douglass, from Reconsidering Sputnik

Nicholas DeWitt had warned of the Soviet Union's massive investment in education for Cold War purposes, and his study of their education system became the source of popular sentiment: reduced to its fundamentals, he explained, the Soviets had realized that the "Advancement of science and technology is best promoted through central planning of education and research… that scientific and educational efforts are primarily a means for the advancement of the social, economic, political and military interests of the nation."17 "What the Russians have done is nothing very mysterious," claimed educator Thomas Bonner, "they simply prized brains… opened [the educational system] to all who could profit from it, and provided mammoth incentives to excel. America had simply produced a curriculum made for the norm, and our society lacked respect for learning and the teaching profession."18 The Russians made their "tremendous leap forward in science and technology," explained Clarence Hilsberry, president of Wayne State University, by making almost everything subservient to this end within the education system: "they have given student-in-training and teachers of science and technology the prestige of both position and salary."19

While there were indeed lessons to be learned from the Soviets, noted one congressional advisory committee under its "Proposed Program of Federal Action to Strengthen Higher Education in the Service of the Nation," an "unwise imitation of Russian education could be as disastrous for the United States as imitation of our educational system would certainly be for the ruling clique in the Kremlin." Composed of professional educators and administrators, this special committee openly noted its fear of wholesale reform and federal intervention in higher education. The committee contended that federal and state government needed to bolster the existing system and encourage curriculum development in the sciences. "The fundamental problem facing the American people is how to improve and strengthen our educational structure, not how to remake it in blind admiration of the Russian model."

Others warned against the demand for vocational and professional instruction at the cost of a liberal education, particularly at the post-secondary level. The political reaction to Sputnik, it appeared, promised to convert much of higher education "toward training people to make bombs and carriers and television sets and automobiles," according to Alex Bedrosian and Bruce Jackson. Such a reorientation, already begun in the post-World War II era, would not give students "the maturity to determine the place and relative importance of these devices in society… Too little accent is being put on the position of the sciences in relation to other disciplines."21 C.P. Snow wrote about the growing cultural and resource divide between humanists and scientists, and argued for mitigation. Yet the saliency of this concern seemed rather remote to lawmakers caught in the frenzy of bolstering the science and technology abilities of the nation. The two general nonscience areas that did seem to deserve greater financial support again related directly to national defense needs: political scientists and others studying the nature and predilections of the Soviet bloc and vulnerable countries, and the study of foreign languages necessary for such understanding.

Federal and corporate grants reterritorialized the academy: "Thorsten Veblen thought the corporate influence a scourge on higher education. It made college and university presidents merely hirelings of the industrialist, it created litmus tests for professors and made them essentially hired hands, and ultimately corrupted a profession dependent on free inquiry" [331][+]; "The invention of the Cold War altered the production of knowledge in the academy" [332]; "The motivation was not only the welfare of veterans… Training in post-secondary institutions, from vocational schools to research universities, promised to reduce unemployment rolls, and train a new army of laborers suited to an increasingly technologically driven economy" [334]; "On October 15, Eisenhower met with his Science Advisory Committee on Defense Mobilization. Two major recommendations came out of that meeting that inextricably linked winning the Cold War with the educational establishment" [338].

…The Heavens and the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age [+][+]
Walter A. McDougall

Call it instead a saltation, an evolutionary leap in the relationship of the state to the creation of new knowledge. Not only did the Soviets rethink and reaccelerate their R&D machinery in these years, but Western governments came to embrace the model of state-supported, perpetual technological revolution, create national infrastructures for such a program, and quintuple their funding for R&D in support of national goals. What had intervened to spark this saltation was Sputnik and the space technological revolution.

looking up the source of Walter A. McDougall's saltation, googled 2007 article on Sputnik 50th anniversary where McDougall mentioned Bainbridge, McCurdy, Siddiqi & Murray. checking McCurdy's "generational thinking" first led me to his outline for Space and the American Imagination.

Unless and until, that is, I am proven wrong by some technical breakthrough that permits private corporations, civil societies, and individuals to explore, exploit, and colonize nearby space, or by some supranational movement among young people inspired by gospels of spaceflight and anxious to make virtual reality real. Sociologist Bainbridge thinks such a “great awakening” of utopian fervor quite possible. Space historian Howard McCurdy warns us not to be trapped by generational thinking. Youthful space scholar Asif Siddiqi asks that we cease to fear our imaginations. Apollo chronicler and social analyst Charles Murray says in so many words that the way to launch a true Space Age is to “get a grand mission, believe in it, give it to a new generation, and get the hell out of the way.”

2007 is interesting because, seems to me, geohot {charts} seemed to go off like a rocket that year. at fourteen, in 2004 his Mapping Robot wins IEEE Regional Award of Merit & IEEE Computer Society Third Award; 2005 his Googler wins American Association for Artificial Intelligence award & Eastman Kodak Company Honorable Mention; can't find anything for 2006; May 2007 (pdfs), at 17 his I Want a Holodeck * wins Seaborg SIYSS Award (expense-paid trip awarded to three senior finalists to attend the Stockholm International Youth Science Seminar during the Nobel Prize Ceremonies in December), Intel ISEF Best of Category Award of $5,000 for Top First Place Winner and First Award of $3,000, IEEE Foundation Presidents' Scholarship Award of $10,000, and United Technologies Corporation award for excellence in science and engineering.

* MIT Lincoln Laboratory :: The Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Lincoln Laboratory has partnered with Science Service to promote science education through a program called the Ceres Connection. This program seeks to name minor planets after students through Science Service competitions, including the Intel ISEF. First and second place category award winner names will be sent to the International Astronomical Union (IAU) for naming rights of a near earth asteroid. Notification will be sent to the finalists when the name has been accepted and confirmed. All Intel ISEF first place and second place category winners will receive a minor planet. All minor planets named in the Ceres Connection program have been discovered by the Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) program, operated by Lincoln Laboratory. [[(23151) Georgehotz]]

2007 Timeline: 09-Jan, iPhone announced; 13-19 May, 2007 Intel ISEF; 29-Jun, iPhone released in US; July, begins iPhone hack; 21-Aug, iPhone hacked; 23-Aug, iPhone hack posted on blog; 24-Aug, CNBC exclusive interview; 28-Aug Total Lunar Eclipse; September, started college; 04-Oct, Sputnik 50th anniversary; December, attended SIYSS

• Georgehotz ☌ Helvetia & Valborg @ Leo 4°
• Georgehotz ☍ Irene @ Aqu 4°

Helvetia, another name for Switzerland; Valborg named for heroine of Axel og Valborg by Adam Oehlenschläger & in Swedish means Walpurgis.

Dictionary of Minor Planet Names, Volume 1

(14) Irene : Main-belt Asteroid Discovered 1851 May 19 by J. R. Hind at London. Named for one of the Hours, personification of peace, daughter of Jupiter and Themis {see planet (24)}. The others are Eunomia and Dike {see planets (15) and (99)}. They were represented as opening the gates of heaven and of Olympus. The discoverer states in AN 32, 277 (1851): ”You will readily discover that this name, properly Eirene (peace), has some relation to this event (the Great Industrial Exhibition) which is now filling our Metropolis with the talent of art and science, in which all mankind must feel an interest.” (H 3) Named by J. Herschel. The symbol used for Irene in ancient times was a dove carrying an olive branch and having a star on its head. Sometimes an alternative sign, representing an olive branch, a flag of truce and a star, was in use.

It became customary to assign a special symbol to the name and number of a minor planet, following the custom of the traditional symbols associated with the major planets. This procedure, however, soon failed. On the one hand, it was difficult to print these symbols; on the other hand, it soon became impossible to remember all the different symbols assigned. It seems that Luther (1855) was the last astronomer who assigned a special symbol to a minor planet, namely to (37) Fides.

The minor planet symbols are adopted from Webster's "A Dictionary of the English Language", G.&C. Merriam & Co., Springfield, MA, USA, p. 1780 (1884).


Toward a More Perfect Union
Writings of Herbert J. Storing

No form of the word slave appears in the Constitution, and one would not know from the text alone that it was concerned with slavery at all. Today's beginning law students, I am told, are generally not aware that there are three provisions of the Constitution relating to slavery. This is testimony to the skill with which the framers wrote. Some concessions to slavery were thought to be necessary in order to secure the Union, with its promise of a broad and long-lasting foundation for freedom; the problem was to make the minimum concessions consistent with that end, to express them in language that would not sanction slavery, and so far as possible to avoid blotting a free Constitution with the stain of slavery. Frederick Douglass described it this way:
I hold that the Federal Government was never, in its essence, anything but an anti-slavery government. Abolish slavery tomorrow, and not a sentence or syllable of the Constitution need be altered. It was purposely so framed as to give no claim, no sanction to the claim of property in man. If in its origin slavery had any relation to the government, it was only as the scaffolding to the magnificent structure, to be removed as soon as the building was completed.
"Scaffolding" catches the intention exactly: support of slavery strong enough to allow the structure to be built, but unobtrusive enough to fade from view when the job was done.


We choose… We choose… and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.


Introduction: Was Sputnik Really a Saltation?, from Reconsidering Sputnik
Walter A. McDougall

So the answer to your question, John, is, no, I no longer think that saltation was the right label for the chain of events kicked off by Sputnik. Indeed, far from being too pessimistic about technocracy, it seems that in the short run I was not pessimistic enough. But that is hardly the keynote I wish to strike for this conference. So let me suggest instead that in the larger story and longer time frame the metaphor may yet prove apt.

If you've read my book you may recall that I was inspired to use the word saltation — indeed, I learned the word — when by chance I passed by an exhibit at the Smithsonian's Natural History Museum. It depicted the beast Eusthenopteron, believed to be the first amphibian, crawling out of a stream bed rendered muddy and viscous by climatic change, in hopes that the embryonic lungs his ancestors had mutated would allow him to survive on the land. In the year 1961 humanity repeated the amphibian's feat when Yuri Gagarin left the earth and lived, for 108 minutes, in outer space.

Now, we certainly hope that human beings will never need to go into space because the earth has been rendered uninhabitable. But whatever the mix of our motives, and whatever long periods of inertia may slow our advance, human beings will no more abandon their final frontier anymore than amphibians turned back into fishes when the next geological era turned wet. We should, in fact, be careful not to extrapolate the future from today's present gloom anymore than I should have extrapolated on the basis of the mood of the 1960s. For you who keep the flame burning, and work for years and even careers on reduced life support, trying to push the envelope of science and engineering, will someday be rewarded. For some year, somewhere, some human brain will take all we have learned from our triumphs and failures and transcend them in a burst of true creativity. It will not be the sort of pedestrian creativity that characterizes the normal science most of us do, whereby we take a good idea from one branch of learning and apply it by analogy to another. Nor will it be the sort of dialectical creativity that combines existing ideas in some novel way. Rather, it will be that stroke of true genius that uncovers some unknown and perhaps unsuspected principle of physics, something that makes possible an entirely new launch technology that is truly cheap, reliable, and safe: that liberates humanity not only from the clumsy chemical rocket, but from Konstantin Tsiolkovsky's "prison of terrestrial gravity." It may not happen in the labs of government agencies or big aerospace firms. It may not even happen in some science nerd's garage in L.A., as I used to joke. And the spark of genius may not occur in the United States at all, but in Kazakhstan, Japan, or Sri Lanka. But when that day comes, and some of you may live to see it, then space flight will indeed deserve the analogy Bruce Mazlish drew between the rocket and the railroad of the nineteenth century, human beings will quickly become a race of romping cosmic amphibians, and space flight will indeed merit the label saltation.


Tags: 1939, apollo, gagarin, logsdon, new space, saltation, sputnik, ufos, world's fair

  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened