MH370 – Who Stuffed The Search?

Along with much of the world, I have been fascinated by the disappearance of and search for Malaysian Flight MF370.

Along with that fascination have come a growing number of questions. Some of them quite disturbing.

A large, commercial passenger aircraft turns off its onboard ID and tracking equipment and it becomes nearly invisible.

The only clues about its fate rely on deep scientific analysis of a few scattered quiet pings.

So I, a simple blogger with no expertise but “full of ‘satiable curtiosity“, shall ask some of the questions for which I have not been able to find answers.



We live in a world surrounded by satellites. In a world where intelligence agencies can read number plates on cars from orbit. Where people can be identified from space with such certainty that drones are used to bomb them.

Yet MH370 was able to effectively disappear by using onboard actions or onboard misadventures.

All the billions of dollars of space-based investment by Intelligence agencies around the world are unable to track an object which is unable to spot a 210ft long (and 200ft wide) object, or to even find it in the photographs we all suspect are being taken all the time.

So just how was MH370 able to disappear from everyone’s view?



If MF370 did make it to the Southern Indian Ocean then it traversed the airspace and radar footprints of several nations. All with heightened defence levels.

We are being asked to accept that it is possible, in this day and age of extreme surveillance, that an aircraft is able to fly across Malaysia, Indonesia and into Australia’s radar zone with not a single sighting or alert.

I don’t want to get involved in conspiracy theories but BOY! These countries are trying hard to push me there!

Could I fly a much smaller Lear Jet the same route, without permits and without challenge?



Over the past couple of decades Australia jornhas spent many millions of its defence budget in developing an “over the horizon” radar system. “Jindalee” is supposed to spot threats up to 3,000 Km out in the Indian Ocean.

Yes, I have just grabbed this information from Wikipedia, as anyone can, yet how an aircraft can travel through that “Blue Zone” without detection is hard to understand.

This is a radar system which is supposed to alert Defence to unexpected threats and jorn2dangers.

Including incoming missiles.

The original suspected flight path to a point 2,500nm SW of Perth may have been outside the range of Jindalee but with the new end point of the flight path the aircraft must have spent some time within the “Blue Zone”.

Surely an unidentified flying object the size of a Boeing 777-200ER should be spotted.

  • Obviously it wasn’t because the system failed.
  • Obviously it was but Defence kept it secret.

Which is the correct answer?



Once it was decided that MH370 had headed south into the remote Indian Ocean, a search area was set up and “objects” were found by satellite. A few large objects and several hundred small objects. These were found in widely separated areas hundreds of kilometres apart.

It is obvious that there is a drift factor but any debris would be travelling in the same current and wind and so should not separate that much in a thirteen days.

Now, after around 22 days, we have been told the flight ended sooner and closrer to Western Australia. Soon afterwards, more debris was found, now in the new area.

I am prepared to accept that we have been looking in the wrong place and I hope that soon the correct site will be found and the “black box” recovered.

Could it be possible that what we WERE looking at was some evidence of the up to 250 vessels which disappear at sea each year? The rust-buckets no one notices and which are paid out on by Lloyds of London, mainly to Middle Eastern, Greek and Chinese owners?

If so, then should some money be spent on solving this possibly criminal mystery which has possibly cost thousands of lives?

Just what were we seeing in the satellite images?

Cyber Reporting

What is truth? What is a fact?

Once upon a time it was what was written in the morning newspaper, unless that newspaper was named “The TRUTH”. Then it was known that its “facts” were often less than real.

New reporters learnt their trade at the feet of old editors and experienced reporters.

Then TV arrived and the best, and most photogenic, reporters moved across to the small screen.

Editors still ran things, increasingly on behalf of the owners. Even the “old-time” News was messed with. There was a famous circulation war between William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal  and Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World. Using “Yellow Journalism” which was was the sensationalizing of stories of dubious veracity, it pushed public opinion and lead the United States into a war with Spain in 1898..

It has been an imperfect system for over a century

Yet generations grew up accepting everything that was written in the Press or said on Radio  or TV.

Reporters are now “Edjumacated” in institutions and end up with a piece of paper saying that they are Journalists.

In the ‘Good Old Days” all information beyond that which we saw ourselves, came through the gateway of the commercial media. The Fourth Estate.

Now we have a self-proclaimed  “Fifth Estate” based, not in the real world but in the cyber-world.

So we finally move to the purpose of this rumination. Not the differentiation between Fact and Opinion but the differentiation between Real fact and Cyber fact. Between Real lies and Cyber lies.


In the “Real World” there is face-to-face contact with informants. There is ear to ear contact with informants. There is written contact with informants. Each form of contact has its own level of veracity.

Here in Cyberspace, I get an email, a blog comment, a tweet or a Facebook comment. How am I to judge its truthfulness? Do I use an inbuilt bias and accept information which fits my beliefs? Of course not. I need more than that. I need some connection with the informant. Some knowledge of the character of the person I am dealing with.

Of course, it could be that the information is coming to me via a third party. Can I trust the third party’s assessment of the original informant? Of course information like this is usually “anonymous” due to reasons of personal danger.

OK, I won’t go on trying to sound as though I know what I am talking about.

Because I don’t.

I just want to know what are the factors which can lead me to accept or reject a cyber-sourced tip? Especially when there is no “professional” journalist backing the report? And no Government release confirming or denying facts?

Who wants to jump in and make a suggestion?

The 2013 Latikas; Award Special

Unlike the Walkelys which are self-nominated by members of the Fourth Estate and chosen by members of the Fourth Estate, the Latikas are for Fourth Estate denizens, nominated by members of the Fifth Estate and voted for by members of the Fifth Estate.

Outsiders having a say!

Grateful thanks are given to those nearly 200 voters who took the time to vote. Without you, there would be no Latikas.

And so with , not a drum roll but a piccolo tweet, to the results.

 Worst Journalist in 2013


 The Latika journalistlatikasjournovote

Worst Commentator in 2013?


The Latika commentator


Worst Radio “Shock Jock” in 2013

latikasshockjockvoteThe Latika shockjock

Worst TV Political Show Host


latikashostvoteThe Latika host

Worst Publication


The Latika publatikaspublicationvote

Oil Is Best!





Shale mining under Great Barrier Reef

‘likely to be banned’

Only “Likely to be banned”????

Surely that would have to be an absolute given and not even thought about.


Climate research nearly unanimous on human causes, survey finds

Yet we prefer to walk around with our eyes closed.

We will use the medicine, computers and GPS’s that Science has provided us yet we ignore the warnings of Science with respect to the sewer the Earth is becoming.


Vital coastal carbon capture systems under threat

We really don’t deserve this planet!

And it is the only one with chocolate!


Church abuse victim required to repay compo

Now that is a real settlement contract.

With an automatic reverse bribe thown in for good measure.


Saudi religious police boss condemns Twitter users

Oh dear, I’m going to Hell.

This is the classic “despot using religion for power” situation.

Not that Christians have anything to be proud of – - -


Aleppo soap: War threatens an ancient tradition

It is good that we have war.

Getting rid of these old-fashioned things must be a good thing for humanity

Mustn’t it?bar8

KFC smuggled through Gaza tunnels

Is there any need to comment on this one?






America’s First Climate Refugees

Oh, Messrs Koch, you will be held in contempt by your Grandchildren.


Monsanto Wins Case Of Seed Patents; Planting Your Own Legally Purchased & Grown Seeds Can Be Infringing

The grasping tentacles of this monstrous corporation could do more damage to the human species than any natural disaster.

Looking closely at comment #12


Bulldozers destroy Mayan pyramid in Belize

The historian in me is dismayed and outraged!


Spaceman Hadfield touches down after ISS mission

A good bit of news at last.

Although I wonder if mankind will walk on the moon during my children’s lifetime.

Commander Chris Hadfield can sing a bit as well. Even David Bowie thinks it is a good cover.


New procedure prolongs lives of heart attack victims

This is a really good one. Lifesaving and wonderful.

Tho’ I do wonder what this will do to transplant protocols.


Japanese politician defends use of sex slaves

This one makes me see red. It is so wrong on so many levels!


Oxford Uni honours Thatcher with scholarship

I do hope they are holding her up as a horrible example!


UN urges people to eat insects to fight world hunger

I don’t mind being Green




Everything Old is New Again #3

When President Obama announced his intention to remain a player in the Asian Hemisphere in May 2012, I wrote of how politicians do not run the world.

How the world is run by secretive backroom bureaucrats in departments similar to our “Foreign Affairs”.

How they have become the One World Government all the Conspiracy Theorists warn us of.

Every now and then accidents happen and they briefly appear in the light, as has happened this week with “Prisoner X”.

Using “Trove” I was looking through old editions of “The Argus“, a now defunct Melbourne Daily.

In the issue of Saturday 10 February 1940, before Japan entered WW2, this cartoon appeared.


Because of my position in time I immediately thought of a USA vs China problem but then I realised it is actually Japan on the other end of the rope of “Good Relations”. Just as today, America and China are on opposite ends of a similar rope of Trading Relations. Each country needs the other to survive economically.

My perspective suddenly began to jump backwards and forwards as I read this John Garnaut article in The Age of 16th Feb 2013.

In part it reads, “WITHIN two decades the United States will be forced out of the western Pacific, says a senior Chinese military officer, amid concerns that increasingly militarised great-power rivalry could lead to war.

Senior Colonel Liu Mingfu’s. . . . . .   interpretation of one facet of what the new Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, calls ”a new type of great-power relationship” adds to the uncertainty and anxiety surrounding China’s strategic ambitions.

Concern about China’s strategic ambitions has grown since last year’s Chinese occupation of islands administered by the Philippines in the South China Sea and, particularly, China’s continuing brinkmanship with Japan and its security guarantor, the US, in the East China Sea.Japanese leaders have accused China of locking weapons-guiding radars on Japanese targets – which China denies – while Western military sources say Chinese planes, ships and submarines have challenged Japanese-controlled waters and airspace around the Senkaku Islands.

Some security analysts say Australian political leaders are in public denial about the stakes involved and invidious choices the nation may have to face.

”It’s the most dangerous strategic crisis that the US has faced – that the world has faced – since the end of the Cold War,” said Hugh White, former deputy secretary of the Department of Defence.

China and Japan, he said, were drifting closer to a war that could draw in the US. ”This makes rather a nonsense of the mantra we hear both from Gillard and Abbott that ‘we don’t have to choose between the US and China’,” he said.

The cartoon above was published just 21 months before Pearl Harbour. It is looking as though Australia will need to make a choice between China and America rather soon.


We are taught from birth that we should be polite and thoughtful of other’s feelings.

But there comes a time.

When being polite is cowardice

When being thoughtful of other’s feelings is acquiescence to wrong-doing.

With reports of another boatload of Asylum Seekers sinking that time has come for me.





















The Book of Mvrdoch

Chapter 1

  1. And in all the days of our forefathers the Rulers did not care for the thoughts of the serfs and the slaves and the villeins for they didst not read nor didst they write.
  2. Then didst Lord Gutenberg, blessed be his name, invent and cause to be manufactured his Press.
  3. And the News Sheet was invented and sold and passed around containing sedition and thoughts of democracy.
  4. Until the French revolted in their new wisdom and removed the heads of their Rulers and their Priests and their Bankers.
  5. So it came to pass that the Three Estates were brought under the subjugation of the Fourth Estate

Chapter 2

  1. Then the people chose their own leaders and found those leaders to be deceitful and wanting the power of those who hadst been usurped.
  2. So mightst democracy have died before being truly born except that the news sheets didst continue their claim to speak for the Fourth Estate.
  3. And to increase the power of the Fourth Estate literacy was invented and spread like unto a virus.
  4. Thus didst a new Power begin to gain control in the land and that power was the Press.
  5. Which same took unto itself the name of those it claimed to be.
  6. The Fourth Estate was promoted as the voice of the people.
  7. Yet it was just the voice of those who owned the presses and the news sheets.

Chapter 3

  1. The Bankers and the Money-Lenders regrouped and financed the world again as they had since time immemorial
  2. Now they began to finance the Fourth Estate and those who owned and edited the Presses and the News Sheets were devoured with ambition.
  3. Feeling their power they began to influence Governments and Governments became subservient unto the Press.
  4. Which the Press spun as a Good Thing for were they not the Fourth Estate which was the People as a whole and a force for democracy.
  5. And the Editors became cannibals and ate the smaller editors and their News Sheets and so became known as The Press.
  6. And St. Heast and St. Pulitzer became the largest of the Daily Press Cannibals whilst St. DeWitt Wallace didst create the Magazine.
  7. And plagiarism and condensing became one of the ways of the Fourth Estate in their control of the Masses.
  8. The Daily News Sheets took the brightest and the best scribes and taught them how to mimic their Editor and so the caste of reporters was created.
  9. They were like unto the Vestal Virgins or the Temple Prostitutes of the past as they sold their talent for the glory of the Editors.

Chapter 4

  1. It came to pass that the Lord Marconi invented wireless transmissions and the radio came to pass.
  2. It further came to pass that the Lord Logie-Baird invented the TV.
  3. In their greed the devotees of Gutenburg’s gift thought to add the new to the old
  4. And so it came to pass that the Press became the Media and Advertising became the Holy Grail
  5. The people were no longer the Fourth Estate but were the consumers.
  6. The Fourth Estate were now but a small group controlling their scribes and controlling Governments.

Chapter 5

  1. Then did the heirs and successors of St Hearst and St. Pulitzer grow fat and lazy upon the wealth of their possessions.
  2. Others grew avaricious and swallowed up the old media empires as all old empires must be swallowed.
  3. St Black gained much power and sought to control many Governments yet forgot that the Money-Lenders have power as well.
  4. His fall from power was shattering and his successors sought to include the Money-Lenders in their plans.
  5. It came to pass that St Mvrdoch acquired so much of the media that any scribe who wanted work wrote what St Mvrdoch wanted to hear.
  6. Without that approval there was no hope of advancement from the lesser media into the Mvrdock Media Temple where the Fourth Estate dwelled in its Glory.
  7. From where Governments were made and broken.
  8. For St Mvrdoch covenanted with his scribes that he would be immortal and would protect them whatever they wrote.
  9. So long as he approved it.

Chapter 6

  1. It further came to pass that the Gods of Civilisation couldst not allow such hubris to last unto the end of the world.
  2. So they gave unto the Arch-Angel Watson the power to open the doors of the Mvrdoch Media Temple and his control of the Fourth Estate was revealed.
  3. The stench which emanated from that opening sent many of the scribes to Hell
  4. Even unto the Son of Mvrdoch
  5. As it was revealed that something rotten inhabited the Temple

Chapter 7

  1. It was then that the invention of the blessed Berners-Lee came to its fullness
  2. And the descendants of the disenfranchised Fourth Estate flocked to the portals of the Blogs and the Facebook and the Twitter
  3. And they entered there-in.
  4. And so was born the true democracy of the Fifth Estate
  5. Which gained the undying enmity of the Fourth Estate and its scribes and its lackeys the First Estate and the Second Estate and the Third Estate
  6. For they all feared irrelevancy.
  7. For they all needed the consumers who had fled to the Halls of Social Media.

Chapter 8

  1. So the truth was finally disseminated unto the common man by the common man
  2. And the name of the Common Man was Legion
  3. Yet it included the Arch-Bishops Assange and Manning and the ubiquitous Anonymous
  4. With every Blogger and every Twitterer and every FaceBooker adding their voice.
  5. Blessed be the Blog Post and the Tweet and the FaceBook Update and the Wikileak.
  6. All saving Democracy and the world which became noisier yet finally amenable to reason.
  7. Blessed be the Fifth Estate and the power which devolved to the common man.
  8. And so the Lords Gutenburg and Marconi and Logie-Baird and Berners-Lee were able to rest from their labours.

Climate Change; Perception vs Media vs Facts

Thank goodness for Emails  :)

China Vs United States – Why Australia Will Lose!

Before I go any further, let me explain my position. I am on the “Left” side of politics. An anti-war greenie ex-ALP member. Yet it matters little where I fit on the internal political landscape. What matters is where Australia fits on the international landscape. This post is not about party political differences. It is about our hidden Government. And no! I am not a diplomat. Just an amateur student of world affairs informed by the past and reading the omens.

Every nation in the world has one.

Secretive and mostly working in the shadows. A Government body making commitments and friendships with people we never hear about.

Only ever showing the results of its machinations and activities in the occasional public announcements of its head.

It is the most important department any nation can have.

No, it is not Treasury, the department we are always worried about. The one that determines how we shall live. No. This department is even more important.

It determines whether we SHALL live!

And by what rules.

In Australia it is known as the Department of Foreign Affairs. In the USA it is the State Department. China has its Ministry of Foreign Affairs!

All the secretive connivings and agreements are basically about trade. About how one nation can either enrich itself or at the very least, not be disadvantaged by a change in trading conditions. Those spy novels we were brought up on were not about a clash of cultures but about a clash of economic theories. Capitalism versus Communism.

The current test of strength between the US and China is still about trade. Determining which form of Capitalism will prevail.

We never see the back room battles. We are distracted by the Fleming and le Carré stories of human daredevilry and pathos.

In the back rooms, at the highest levels schemes and plans are put into place which will mature in a decade or a generation or, in extreme cases, in a century. Plans laid and executed by people we never see, never vote for. The truly faceless government.

We often hear of the threat of a One World Government.

The favourite of the conspiracy theorists. The bad news is that we have had one for centuries. While our individual national Treasuries are handled by relatively well known financial wizards and publicly elected treasurers under accepted Governmental oversight of one form or another, Foreign Affairs operates outside of and above the political hurly-burly. It is party-less and almost unaccountable.

The information it deals with puts our current Australian fixation with Thomson, Mirabella, Slipper and Pyne to shame. Diplomats need to know everything about everyone yet cannot admit to knowing anything. Which is why the Wikileaks’ dumping of huge numbers of confidential diplomatic emails was such a sin.

It is why Julian Assange will get no support from any Government in the world. Daniel Ellsberg only lifted the lid on his own country’s dealings. Assange has embarrassed the entire World Government. Which is why Gillard is so obdurate about not intervening and  helping him. Foreign Affairs has spoken! He must be turned into a horrible example. No one must be allowed to play with the levers of power, opening “Realpolitik“, as Henry Kissinger described it, to the public view.

We only see stuff-ups when they lead to a war. For, although they are a One World Government, there are still factions and alliances and the ultimate threat is not an election but armed conflict. Diplomats handle the day to day matters within a framework set by the real rulers of the world. To be the Foreign Minister of Australia or Britain, to be the Secretary of State of the USA, to be the equivalent in Russia or China is to be close to and beholden to the true holders of power. In recent times, Kevin Rudd has shown that he knows where the biggest game in the world is taking place.

Dictators and madmen sometimes come to power.

Not everything always goes to plan. Luckily, regardless of the self-perceived immortality of these international irritants, they are as mortal as the rest of us. Yet they can create disturbances in international relations. I first saw a fictional account of this in the incident of the “Mule” in Isaac Azimov’s Foundation Series. Six hundred years into a thousand year galactic history which had been planned and predicted by a social engineer, a rogue element appeared. He appeared to totally derail the pre-laid plans yet, after his death, everything settled back into its predicted course.

Foreign Affairs is similar. Madmen and dictators may create ripples which appear to be overwhelming and miscalculations may cause huge wars with incalculable human tragedies yet somehow civilisation continues on. Hitler, Pol Pot and Kim Il Sung will be as irrelevant as the Ayatollahs when our descendants look at the sweep of history. The long range plans of the World Government will continue.

The Great War was begun almost by accident.

We saw a miscalculation early last century which resulted in two major wars and we may be seeing similar miscalculation now.

An Arch Duke was assassinated in a remote European State and, through a complicated network of treaties, the long-established British Empire and the newly-growing Germany went to war. In a lot of ways the so-called Second World War was simply a continuation of the Great War.

Over the past weeks there have been oil-field difficulties between China and long-term US ally, the Phillipines. In fact, China claims sovereignty over a large U-shaped area of the South China Sea, bringing it into dispute with several neighbouring countries. In recent months it has grown more assertive over the issue. Through a century-old treaty, the USA must come to the aid of the Phillipines.

There is a potential conflict ahead.

Between Australia’s long-term ally and its new-found giant trading partner.

With hundreds of ships plying the seas between Chinese ports and Australian mining ports and with a newly negotiated US Marine base in Darwin, along with other US bases within this island nation, the potential for spill-over of any conflict, verbal or actual, between the fading old and the growing new Superpowers must involve Australia.

We are too small to ignore the demands of the US. Yet we are too important a supplier of raw materials to China for them to allow us to become simply a US base in a potentially “hot” conflict.

Put into this context announcements by President Obama last year have an ominous import for Australia.

In the game of chess there is a situation known as Zugzwang. A player whose turn it is to move who has no move that does not worsen his position is said to be in zugzwang.

Australia’s foreign Affairs Department has successfully negotiated us into Zugzwang. We must make a move and whatever move we make, we must lose!

Forget about changing the situation by changing the Minister. He is always helpless, regardless of era, party or desires! He is a prisoner of the true rulers of Australia.

All we can do is sit and wait.

And worry about our children.

Bushfires – Again!

The smoke from the wildfires near the wine-producing area of Margaret River in Western Australia’s South West.

20 houses have been destroyed and more damaged.

Right now homes are on fire in the out of control bushfire that has been declared a Natural Disaster. Winds of up to 60Kts are fanning the blaze.

There was another fire today on the Eastern outskirts of Perth which has now been brought under control.

And Summer is almost here!

From iCNN

Streaker Granny Rescues Man From Creek

From New Zealand comes the headline of the week.

Streaker Granny Rescues Man From Creek

A 78-year-old woman famous for streaking on an airline information video has rescued a man who fell into a creek he was trying to urinate in.

Betty Messent of Henderson, in Auckland, is known to some Kiwis for her cheeky acting roles, including her cameo as the streaker in Air New Zealand’s Rugby World Cup-themed in-flight safety video.

Ms Messent and her partner, Russell Officer, were walking home along Henderson Creek after grocery shopping last Thursday afternoon when they heard a man’s cries for help coming from under a bridge.streaker Granny

“We got to him as fast as we could and he was half in the water, clinging on to the bushes for his life. He was very incoherent but you could see he was distressed and cold. He looked like he couldn’t hold on much longer,” Ms Messent said. Mr Officer said they weren’t able to pull the man out of the water so they used their cellphone to call emergency services.

The pair initially thought the man had fallen off his bike into the creek but Mr Maclean said the man’s unzipped fly told a different story. “Judging by the number of empty beer cans surrounding the park bench his bike was parked at it appears that he may have been enjoying a few brews and then nature called.”

Oh yes, Here is that Air New Zealand in-flight safety video. Check around 3.09 for a nukked Grunny.

Journalists, Pollsters and the Focus Groups

Fill the pages with paragraphs, fill the screen with images.

Do it now and do it again tomorrow. Say and show the same thing if you must but do it with different words, do it with different pictures.

Create a story from Press Releases, create a scandal from whispered rumours. No time to reflect, no time to look for balance.

Just do your job and frenetically do it again tomorrow and tomorrow and the day after.

One sentence paragraphs decrease the number of words needed for a column. Use only the froth because the substance may bore.

Thank goodness for the polls every fortnight. Easy stories and a lot of interpretation which can be stretched out for a whole week.


The Polls which are conducted by the true faceless men of our society. Using questions skewed to produce the answers which are needed. Using theoretical demographics but never a person. An individual.

Forcing individuals into predetermined paths when people are never that simple.

This is what you think because I asked a question. The question was carefully chosen so that others can turn what you want and think into the answer they want you to want and think.


While in the hidden back rooms of the major political parties burnt out journalists and ambitious interns are focussing their thoughts not on the next election but on the next poll.

They have forgotten, or never knew, the long road between elections and have been infected with the virus of NOW!

The Other Party has a new policy which has gained a couple of polling points. It is successful so let’s copy it. NOW

So it doesn’t gel with the philosophy of our members. So what? We have to gain a couple points in the next poll. What do you mean? The good of the WHAT?

Look! A tree. And another tree. And yet another. So many trees.


All the while the individuals who made up the Parties are voting with their feet.

Unable to see a difference between the two coalitions. Beginning to believe a poll has a genuine meaning and effect.

Forgetting, in the overflowing sewer-pipe of “News”, that there is only one true and effective poll.

Not being allowed the time to think of the forest between now and 2013.


Whew, that’s another column finished. I wonder if the boss will let it through with all those very short paras. And the little pics. And I did cut out the bit about talented writers prostituting their talent. ABBA in the background doesn’t help. I had to take out “They are Rich Man’s whores” THREE times! I should be OK with the Lawyers.

Still all of that is done now. Off to the pub! Gotta listen out for what everyone else is writing tomorrow.

Oh wait! I’m not a journalist. I’m a blogger.

That’s right. I only have to write when I have something to say.

Shuttle Thoughts

Back in 2003 when the Columbia Space Shuttle was destroyed on re-entry with the tragic loss of seven lives, I wrote of the loss and the achievement.

With the ending of the Shuttle program, an unnamed and unackowledged victim of President Bush’s two wars, I am reprinting the thoughts I had at that time.

The human species has always been an explorer.

Without exploration and innovation, we would still be sitting around fires in front of caves. Every exploration into the unknown has had its casualties. Those brave people who first ventured across deserts, across lakes and oceans all faced, and often found, death. The first hot-air balloonists, the first aeronauts all took risks. Not for the advancement of mankind, but because of their own curiosity.

Our newest frontier is space. Possibly the hardest frontier of all. Those who brave it are chosen for their skills and training. Yet in all cases, it is the attitude of those who are chosen which gets them into space. It is the same attitude which drew people across continents and across oceans. It is wanting to know what is beyond the hill, beyond the river, beyond the sea, beyond gravity. Space will claim its casualties as have all the other great explorations we have undertaken.

In fifty or a hundred years, our children or grandchildren will be able to follow in their footsteps as our grandparents were able to follow the trails blazed by the wagon trains across the American continent and our more distant ancestors followed the silk route joining east and west. We do not remember the names of all those who died creating those trails and history may forget the names of these explorers. What wont be forgotten is the trail they have blazed.

These seven people have added another step on the stairway to space, to our future. Their true memorial will be the next step, and the one after that. It is up to all of us who remain and have a sense of exploration to learn from this tragedy and then to take that next step.


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