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Notes from a Medium-Sized Island [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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- [Mar. 12th, 2001|02:41 pm]
Saw James Burke talk at the Carnegie Music Hall.
It was pretty cool.
He finished the talk with an anecdote about
the Apollo program that he said gave him hope
that Americans might be successful in restructuring
their political system to better live with
the ubiquitous changes in technology;
it seems that astronauts were given little
flip-book like things that were memory aids
describing various debugging protocols to
use when on the moon. It's not as if they
would -probably- forget what to do if everything
went more or less smoothly, but if things went
wrong in obscure ways and/or the astronauts
panicked, everything was spelled out in detail.
If gizmo number twenty three failed in manner B,
then you did such and such to it to make it
(hopefully!) work better. If option one fails
to help, you try option two. Then option three,
etc. However, the last item on every list
was --- and this is the thing that Burke claimed
could never happen in the European, Russian,
Chinese, or Japanese space programs --
"if all other options fail,
kick with lunar boot."