#328: Space Geeking

We talk specifically about how the US space program affected us during our formative years, and we speculate on how it might play into the development of today’s young geeks. And we run down the week in geek, including new Spider-Man and Total Recall trailers, awesome Robocop casting news (on two fronts!), the current popularity of nerdtastic glasses (read: BCGs), and the scariest upcoming clothing trends. Also: Sean tells us about his new puppy and Chuck and Audra rant about the sizing system for womens’ jeans.Direct Download
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In related news, Shenzhou 9 successfully launched over the weekend ( linkage ) with China’s first female astronaut ( Liu Yang ).



GWC is the friendliest people in Sci-Fi, but if you will allow me for one moment… I absolutely hate those thick hideous, fake nerd glasses. Material scientists have worked for decades to make glasses frames that were smaller, lightweight, inexpensive and strong enough to work, and these ironic hipster assholes throw that away for a look that is a throwback to something everybody hates. Wearing something ugly and out of date does not making you interesting or special. When Bennet from Heroes wore them it was supposed to look odd and a throwback, now it looks like he is trying to blend in at some ironic dance club.

Ok, I’m done. Just ordered new glasses btw.

I remember eggs-acT-ly where I was when Challenger exploded because I shouted something I deeply regret to this day. Lemme 'splain. It was mid-term finals and my class was hanging in the auditorium during a break between tests. An announcement came over the loud speaker: “This morning the Space Shuttle Challenger launched…” at which point I shouted, “AND BLEW UP!!” The announcement continued, “…and exploded over the Atlantic Ocean.”

My jar dropped and my stunned classmates just stared at me. I didn’t hear the rest of the announcement because my blood was pounding in my ears. Prior to this incident, I was a fool and known to cross the line at every possible chance. Everyone knew that. However, now the line was crossed and I felt regret. That had never happened before. Of all the stupid things I’ve done (and those events fill many terabytes of storage in the records data center), this is the one I regret the most.

Anyway, much like what happened at Sean’s school, we were ushered back to class with no offer of counselling or anything really. We continued mid-term testing.

When I got home, I found my dad already there. He was home from work early and forlorn. My dad worked for Grumman as a technician in the Aerospace division. He had worked on the wings and some of the flight control systems for the Space Shuttle Challenger. He told me about his day. How he watched the launch with several of his co-workers and how the hanger went silent. They all stared in disbelief and shock. Each of the workers had touched that vehicle. It was very personal to them all. As I listened to my dad talk and watched the tears well in his eyes, I felt even more horrible because of what I had blustered earlier that day. I didn’t have the courage to admit what I had done to him. However, I went to my room and cried for over an hour. While I blubbered incoherently, I remember thinking that two years earlier, my seventh grade teacher told us that she mailed her application for the Teacher in Space program. Her face floated in my thots while I pleaded for forgiveness of my foolish action.

So yeah. Not my proudest moment. Mea culpa.

For a very similar reason, I will never ever ask anybody who walks into a room wearing a suit (when they don’t normally do so), “Who died?”

Because that is ONE sadly angry stare I never want to see again.

To follow up … Chinese astronauts parachute land after mission.

Prophetic statement from the article … “For any country, for any people, a space program is indispensable,” Wang Zhaoyao, director of China’s manned space program