The Daily Dose/January 9, 2017
By Gaylon Kent
America’s Funniest Guy
Notes from around the Human Experience…
UP, UP AND AWAY: John Young, an American astronaut who was one of three people to have flown to the Moon twice, died last week. He was 87. Young went into space six times, twice each with the Gemini, Apollo and space shuttle programs and was the ninth human to walk on the lunar surface, commanding Apollo 16 in 1972.
Fly In The Ointment: Young’s death leaves mankind with five men who can tell us what it’s like to walk on the moon, not that anybody particularly cares anymore. The youngest of these are Charles Duke and Harrison Schmitt, both of whom are 82 and within a few years our species will have no one left to tell us firsthand of man’s greatest adventure.
Our loss. Our nation’s loss. Our planet’s loss.
Numbers Game: The roughly 164.2 million people born after December 1972, when we left the Moon for the last time, are the ones who are really missing out. A bit more than half our country has no memory of going to the Moon or of the great national effort it took to get there. Their only memories, frankly, are of a country perpetually at war and mired in internal division and mass shootings.
Dry, Technical Matter: Today’s kids should be getting acquainted with an entirely new generation of explorer, those who have been to Mars and back. Some of them should be preparing for space exploration careers themselves. Instead of setting the pace for the future of manned space exploration, however, they are flocking to other fields. Our loss there, too, because not only are we denied the achievements themselves, but we have also been denied the technological and other innovations these endeavors would have provided.
Get Your Official Daily Dose Policy Right Here: Veteran readers of this crap know we feel we could’ve made Mars in the 1980’s if we had wanted to. We didn’t want to, though and America and the world missed out on the accomplishment a manned Martian landing would have brought. Sure, we send unmanned spacecrafts to Mars, and they’re pretty useful, frankly, able to everything a human can do except one thing:
Tell us what it’s like to be there!
The Bottom Line: Which is why we go. Which is why explorers have been going places no one has gone before since time immemorial. We are worse off for having stopped.
ON THIS DATE! ON THIS DATE!: Mankind’s irrational persecution of the Jews continues when 600 Jews in Basel, Switzerland – then part of the Holy Roman Empire – are burned herded into a barn, shackled and the burned to death on this date in 1349. Europe and Eurasia at the time were mired in the Black Plague and some Basel citizens blamed the Jews because they appeared to have had a lower mortality rate from the disease than Gentiles.
Jews were banished from Basel for 200 years, an edict which lasted until an earthquake in 1356, when Basel need Jewish money to help rebuild the city.
Not So FunFact: The plague is estimated to have killed between 30 and 60 percent of Europe’s population, which did not recover to pre-plague levels until the 17th century. The plague is believed to have been carried by fleas that rode on the back of the rats that were regular passengers on merchant ships that sailed the Mediterranean.
Can We Get A Selfie Here?: Ernest Shackleton and his Nimrod Expedition reach 88 degrees, 23 minutes south latitude on this date in 1909, then the farthest south any humans had gone. They were a mere 112 miles from the South Pole, but would get no further, forced to turn back when food and other supplies ran low.
It’s All Over: The Los Angeles Lakers lose a basketball game for the first time in two months on this date in 1972, losing to the Milwaukee Bucks 120-104. The loss ends their 33-game winning streak, the longest in the history of American major league sports. The streak had started with a 110-106 victory over the Baltimore Bullets on November 5, 1971.
The Postgame Show Is Brought To You By Brew 102: The Lakers broke the record of 20 games, held by both the Washington Capitols (1947-48, five games, 1948-49, 15 games) and Milwaukee (1970-71).
Is This The Party To Whom I Am Speaking?: The iPhone makes its debut at a gathering of Mac geeks in San Francisco on this date in 2007. It had been developed in secret over the past 30 months at a cost of $150 million. The iPhone would go on sale the following June 29th.
Quotebook: But in truth, success doesn’t demand a price. Every step forward pays a dividend. – Dr. David J. Schwartz
Answer To The Last Trivia Question: The longest State of the Union message by a president of the United States was 33,667 words delivered in writing by President Jimmy Carter in 1981.
Today’s Stumper: How many astronauts who flew in the Apollo program are still living? – Answer next time!