Friday, July 11, 2014

Follow Friday - The USS Alcedo SP-166 Was the First American Vessel Lost in World War I

It's Friday again, and this means it's time for Follow Friday. There has been a slight change to the format, as now there are two Follow Friday hosts blogs and two Follow Friday Features Bloggers each week. To join the fun and make now book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:
  1. Follow both of the Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosts (Parajunkee and Alison Can Read) and any one else you want to follow on the list.
  2. Follow the two Featured Bloggers of the week - Whimsical Mama and Casual Readers.
  3. Put your Blog name and URL in the Linky thing.
  4. Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say hi in your comments.
  5. Follow, follow, follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don't just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don't say "Hi".
  6. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the love . . . and the followers.
  7. If you want to show the link list, just follow the link below the entries and copy and paste it within your post!
  8. If you're new to the Follow Friday Hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!
And now for the Follow Friday Question: If you had a time machine (i.e. a TARDIS), where would you go?

I have two alternative answers to this question. My first choice would be to go to my own past and find myself, and tell me to make some different decisions. I think most people have made decisions that they look back upon and regret. I know that I certainly have. If given the opportunity, I would go back to the window of time between when I was about 16 and when I was about 24 and get my younger, stupider self to make some different decisions. Obviously, changing one's own history is fraught with hazards, the most obvious being that a different decision does not necessarily mean a better decision, so there's always the risk that I'd make things worse for myself, but I'd like to think that the wisdom gained over the past several years would help minimize that possibility.

However, since we are talking about a TARDIS, and the Doctor is always talking about how the laws of time prevent a time traveler from interfering in his own time line, going back to tell myself to do things differently might be an option that is prohibited. So, my alternative choice would be to travel to the future. How far? Far enough forward that humans have colonized the Moon and Mars. By the time I was four there had been six Lunar landings. Since then, humans haven't left low-Earth orbit. For a time when I was younger, our retraction to doodling about in low-Earth orbit with things like the Apollo-Soyuz missions and Skylab while we sent robotic missions to Mars, Venus, and the outer planets seemed like a temporary situation - possibly even a way to test out technologies that would lead to manned deep space exploration in the future. Even the Space Shuttle was originally billed in part as a way to get material into space near Earth to support long-range manned missions or attempts to place a permanent presence on the Moon.

But that's all gone now. The U.S. doesn't even have the ability to put humans into orbit any more. The Russians have converted their space program to a mercenary operation, launching space tourists as often as they send working astronauts into orbit. And this situation doesn't look like it will get better any time soon. Sure, NASA says they are working on a new orbital booster system, but every political cycle politicians compete to see who can most quickly toss science funding, and specifically space exploration funding, over the side. I have no doubt that most of the employees at NASA are toiling in good faith to put humans back into space and would like more than anyone for us to send a manned mission to Mars, but the depressing reality is that our space exploration capabilities have been steadily eroding over the last couple of decades, and there doesn't seem to be the political will to reverse this trend. So I would go far enough into the future that humanity had overcome this malaise and once again had the will to reach for other worlds.

Go to previous Follow Friday: The Blériot-165 Was a Biplane Airliner

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  1. *Huge applause*

    Wow, such elaborate answer. I'm not educated with what's going on about space exploration in the US. Thanks for the heads up!

    Old GFC and bloglovin follower. New linky follower. My FF

    1. @Liezl Ruiz: Bascially, NASA is underfunded and directionless these days. It is very sad. We could have put a permanent base on the Moon and sent humans to Mars already. We just haven't.