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X Minus One

Mercury Phoenix

Posted on 2008.01.16 at 05:22
Current Mood: impressedimpressed
Current Music: "Moonage Daydream" by David Bowie
Tags: , , , , , ,
Laura Burns is a quiet, unassuming young woman I've had occasion to chill with at several cons. You would never guess from her lovely and affable demeanor that she is actually the Indiana Jones of aerospace engineering. You want proof? Witness the talk she recently gave at the Space Telescope Science Institute about her nine-week adventure in Beijing last year, attending a summer program sponsored by the International Space University. I missed the live streaming feed, but I just finished watching the webcast and I highly recommend it. She talks about her experiences, the culture, the food, the landscape. She rocks a stunning Oriental tunic and the decals on her laptop are much snazzier than mine. It's awesome. A space geek will love it. And even if you're not, I'd recommend familiarizing yourself with this information, as it's entirely possible China will conquer and rule the world in our lifetime. The more you learn what your overlords will expect from you, the higher you'll sit in their counsels.

Laura also talks about The Phoenix Project. Which is not, as I originally assumed, the organization MacGuyver worked for. It's even more badass. It deals with eventualities like asteroid strikes, global nuclear war, the eruption of a supervolcano (i.e. the motherfuckin' apocalypse) and helping to rebuild civilization by creating a repository of Human knowledge and biological archive. ON THE FUCKING MOON. That's right. Here I sit writing my silly ass blood-drenched stories about the big black with their poorly researched science, and Laura is out there hooking it up for real. She may very well help save the world someday. She's pretty much like Carla Gugino on the short-lived series Threshold, only with better character development.

Speaking of celestial amazement, NASA's MESSENGER probe did a flyby on Mercury the other day. It's the first time we've buzzed the planet closest to the sun since the Mariner 10 probe in the mid-seventies, and it's the first time EVER in the history of mankind that we've seen this hemisphere up close and personal. Not bad for a race of savage monkey men (and women). And it bugs me that Dennis Miller would look at that image and say, "What's the big deal? It looks like Death Valley with Asiatic bird flu. Blah-blah-esoteric-reference-my-writers-Googled-this-morning-blah-blah. Why are we spending millions of dollars on this?" Which is one of the reasons I hope he wakes up some night to find wild boars feasting on his shrunken genitals. Grouchy old white Republican fuck.

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