Re: Contributing to Society.

From: Kai Becker (
Date: Mon Jan 07 2002 - 17:37:03 MST

Am Montag, 7. Januar 2002 22:34 schrieb Brian D Williams:
> >From my POV, the "race to the moon" [...] the practical use of it
> was almost zero.
> Without much effort one could make a case that the race for the
> moon led to the development of the microchip. Hardly an item with
> zero practical use.

... and the fluor chemistry and the satellites, and ... Yes, but these are
all by-products, not the primary goal. The primary goal was to land on the
moon. Instead of shooting two men on the moon, a disproportionate waste of
money and resources to breed a microchip and a teflon pan, we could have
gone straight for the chip (and the pan). The possible uses were
predictable at that time.

Now imagine, Kennedy would have said "I believe that this nation should
commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of
developing a microchip, capable to calculate the income tax of all citizens
of this country in less then five minutes." Hm. Well, nice idea... See, you
can't motivate millions of people with the promise of a smart toaster or a
speaking VCR.

Kennedy knew this: "No single space project in this period will be more
impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of
space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish."


== Kai M. Becker == == Bremen, Germany ==
"Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced"

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