Re: Contributing to Society.

From: Brian D Williams (
Date: Tue Jan 08 2002 - 07:51:04 MST

>From: Kai Becker <>

>.... 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

I completely dispute that the possible uses were predictable at
that time.

The president set an almost unbelievable goal. Virtually none of
the technology that was used to achieve this goal existed at the
time. (from the engineers who created it.)

Yes he fired their immaginations and as a result we received many
beneficial technologies as a bonus. Technologies who's return has
been many times what we spent on the project, so nothing IMHO was

>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.

But he didn't have that idea, no one did at the time. The head of
IBM thought the whole country needed only a couple of

>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."

The expense has been recouped by orders of magnitude.

He may have been wrong about other things, but he was damn right
about that.


Extropy Institute,
National Rifle Association,, 1.800.672.3888
SBC/Ameritech Data Center Chicago, IL, Local 134 I.B.E.W

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