Monday, July 27, 2009

Tom Wolfe on NASA

Author Tom Wolfe writes:
“Why not send robots?” is a common refrain. And once more it is the late Wernher von Braun who comes up with the rejoinder. One of the things he most enjoyed saying was that there is no computerized explorer in the world with more than a tiny fraction of the power of a chemical analog computer known as the human brain, which is easily reproduced by unskilled labor.
What a silly thing to say! Von Braun died 32 years ago, and robot technology has advanced a lot since then.

Wolfe goes on:
What NASA needs now is the power of the Word. On Darwin’s tongue, the Word created a revolutionary and now well-nigh universal conception of the nature of human beings, or, rather, human beasts. On Freud’s tongue, the Word means that at this very moment there are probably several million orgasms occurring that would not have occurred had Freud never lived. Even the fact that he is proved to be a quack has not diminished the power of his Word.
Now I am really lost. NASA needs to mimic a quack who somehow inspired female orgasms? Tell me that this article is some sort of joke.

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