On July 20, 1969, moments after mission control in Houston had given the Apollo 11 lunar module, Eagle, the O.K. to begin its descent to the moon, a yellow warning light flashed on the cockpit instrument panel.Could this ever happen again? I fear that men like Armstrong and Garman are going extinct.
“Program alarm,” the commander, Neil Armstrong, radioed. “It’s a 1202.”
The alarm appeared to indicate a computer systems overload, raising the specter of a breakdown. With only a few minutes left before touchdown on the moon, Steve Bales, the guidance officer in mission control, had to make a decision: Let the module continue to descend, or abort the mission and send the module rocketing back to the command ship, Columbia.
By intercom, Mr. Bales quickly consulted Jack Garman, a 24-year-old engineer who was overseeing the software support group from a back-room console.
Mr. Garman had painstakingly prepared himself for just this contingency — the possibility of a false alarm.
“So I said,” he remembered, “on this backup room voice loop that no one can hear, ‘As long as it doesn’t reoccur, it’s fine.’”
At 4:18 p.m., with only 30 seconds of fuel remaining for the descent, Mr. Armstrong radioed: “Houston, Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed.”
Mr. Garman, whose self-assurance and honed judgment effectively saved mankind’s first lunar landing, died on Tuesday outside Houston. He was 72.
So what are today's 24-year-olds doing? The Atlantic mag reports:
He told students that one “staggering” statistic stood above the rest. "In 2015, 22 percent of lower-skilled men [those without a college degree] aged 21 to 30 had not worked at all during the prior twelve months,” he said.Many of these kids are still living with their parents:
"Think about that for a second,” he went on. Twentysomething male high-school grads used to be the most dependable working cohort in America. Today one in five are now essentially idle. ...
So, what are are these young, non-working men doing with their time? Three quarters of their additional leisure time is spent with video games, Hurst’s research has shown. And these young men are happy—or, at least, they self-report higher satisfaction than this age group used to, even when its employment rate was 10 percentage points higher.
Data released recently from the Census Bureau show that 30-year-olds today — as compared to 30-years olds in 1975 — are less likely to have hit many of the milestones that have come to define adulthood. In 1974 three in four 30-year-olds had married, had a child, were not enrolled in school anymore and had lived on their own; in 2015, just one in three could say that....
Millennials are also more likely to be in school in their 30s: 8% were enrolled in school at age 30 in 2015 versus 1% of 30-year-olds in 1975, according to the Census Bureau, which may also delay some of these milestones.