Archive for January, 2006

Lost in translation*

January 13th, 2006 No comments

Although I haven’t seen the movie (yeah, shame on me), the title has something cool about it. Anyway, we have started the spanish translation of the web page. In reality, we started it a week ago, but I lost everything. The reason, I never had used CMS.

At first was Chinese but in reality it is kind of simple. Unfortunately, the learning process included an “oops” and all the text was lost. Oh well, no pain no gain.

We hope to have the web completely translated by the end of the month. The only thing I am not very sure about is if we are going to be able to put it online without causing some disaster.

I foresee trouble with IT…

*This entry was originally posted in Liftport’s blog.

Categories: Space Elevator Tags:

New year’s day*

January 9th, 2006 No comments

It is kind of usual that in the new year festivities, strange things happen. For example, a friend of you dissappears and his girlfriend wants you to find him (weeee, quite boring stuff to do in new year). You can also find an old acquaintance who wants to, ehem, remember good ol’ times. Or you may wake up 4am and find that you lost new year because by 9pm, you were absolutely drunk.

So, it’s quite interesting to see what God has prepared for you. Anyway, here I am, at a 1000+ party on the beach, returning from buying a beer when suddenly *poof*, no lights.

If you have lived in Peru in the 80′s and 90′s, then you don’t find it strange. At that time we were suffering the terrorist attacks of Sendero Luminoso and the Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (you may find more info in Wikipedia). In those decades it was quite common to find yourself with no electricity, looking for candles & matches. In other words, we are used to blackouts.

Although this time was no terrorist attack. It was a simple failure and we only had to wait. Of course, the first thing that people do is to whistle and scream some “enlighted words”, but after some minutes they usually continue with what they were doing (except dancing)

Suddenly, I noticed that everyone was looking up. For the sky was as clear as it can be, and the whole branch of the Milky Way extended itself across the horizon. As I walked around in a slow-time bubble I saw couples smiling, friends explaining the constellations and drunks simply staring at the infinity of space.

It only lasted 10 or 15 minutes, but I can say from that experience that people do like space. The problem is that they don’t see it on their day by day.

We have to bring it down to Earth.

* This entry was originally posted in Liftport’s blog.

Categories: Space Elevator Tags:

Common question: Why don’t you do something more useful?*

January 6th, 2006 No comments

Well, after many days of sun and sand, I am back; but even in vacations, work manages to get around.

One of the most common question I have been asked about the SE is “Why don’t you make something good here on Earth, like the cure for cancer. Space is so distant and far away”. For some time I must admit I didn’t give a good answer. I adopted a defensive stand point like “That’s what I want to do” and felt like I had lost the argument.

I hated to be placed in that position, specially when asked by people who weren’t doing anything good for Earth. What kind of right did they had to question the project in which I worked if their were slackers themselves? It pissed me off.

Time has passed and as I gained experience I found the answer which I know and feel is right. When asked why we don’t do something more “useful” like helping the poor, I say “Well, we are a private company. Our goal is to make a profit and our debt with society is to generate wealth. We are in it for the money”

Ok, not everyone likes the answer. When mentioned the word “money”, some of them shudder, like if it was some type of disease. They look at you in horror, wondering what kind of monster are you for wanting to make a fortune instead of helping the sick & poor.

But they simply have no further argument. They fall themselves in the same idea since they can’t argue that profit is what private industry does. Oh, they will still question the project with other reasons, like distance (space is 100km from the surface, where is the distance?), weaponization (we are private, not goverment. And BTW, there still are thousands of nuclear warheads around), radiation (we won’t use radioactive material), the cable falling down (7.5kg per kilometer), contamination of the orbit (actually, we will clean it), conspiracy theories (lots of recommended reading), economy (US$100 billion industry, and growing), usefulness (do you like your cable TV, cel phone, debit card and those cheap long distance calls? Better make a shrine to satellites) and some more lesser ideas.

At the end they still feel that they have “higher reasons” and “better values” than us. I don’t care. Although I like a lot to teach about that whole world (space industry) that exists beyond the common knowledge, I know that we will always find people who opposes us. Be it a Space Elevator, or a gold mine in Peru’s Andes, you will always find someone who questions you. And the effort to change their opinion ain’t worth the time (ergo, money). Better use it doing something useful for the world like creating jobs through the private sector.

To me, it is the best way to increase humanity’s standard of living.

*This entry was originally posted in Liftport’s blog.

Categories: Space Elevator Tags: