Distance is Relative…..

Scene from Soviet film-Aelieta Queen of Mars-1924

By: Mike

In recent news we were treated to pictures transmitted from Mars of the vehicle on the surface which will search the planet for all sorts of things. Those pictures came from 200 million kilometres distance in next to no time.

The truth is that not many people will be surprised at such a remarkable feat but it seems like only yesterday that I saw my first television. It was about 1952 at a show in Dublin. It was a tiny set and was merely relaying pictures from one room to another a mere twenty feet apart. As a twelve year old child I marveled at the idea.

Up until then we had nothing more than a radio at home and most evenings we would sit around it listening to anything that was being transmitted.

I think it was about 1956 when my father bought our first TV which required an extremely high aerial that stood about sixty feet above our rooftop. We were then treated to a nightly couple of hour’s transmissions from the BBC – Ireland had no station of her own in those days.

Things gradually improved slightly as did the quantity, but not necessarily the quality, of programmes being transmitted. When the first Sputnik satellite arrived on the scene there were rumours that soon we would be able to have transmissions from America across the Atlantic. That was too much to even imagine for the signals from the Irish Television Centre that had been transmitting since December 1961, let alone those from the BBC in Wales were still behaving like snow-storms on the screen.

However, one evening I watched a programme on the BBC entitled ‘Tomorrow’s World’ that was trying to receive a signal from America via a satellite called ‘Telstar’. The picture eventually flickered, and then disappeared. Flickered again and once again disappeared. This continued for some time until eventually they abandoned the attempt with promises that it was guaranteed to work ‘in a day or two’. Sure enough, eventually it was a wonderful success and very quickly we were watching live boxing via the satellite with no need to get out of bed at four in the morning to listen to fights from an earlier era.

And what have we now? Hand-held TV’s and numerous other methods of receiving signals; cable, satellite, internet, mobile phones etc. As a matter of fact, on the ‘Red Button’ at the moment in the UK one can watch about twenty different Olympic sports.

Absolutely marvelous! What a change in sixty years…from 20 feet to almost 125 million miles…

6 Comments on “Distance is Relative…..”

  1. It was a low blow for NASA to lose its shuttle program, but this accomplishment might revive more interest in its developing technology. The only thing that makes me feel bad is that tax dollars help to reach these enormous heights, but the projects are eventually turned over to private enterprise, who become the ultimate beneficiaries instead of the public, which so faithfully followed the advancements of the space program. Just once, i’d like to see the public benefit from the research their tax dollars were funneled into, such as bio-domes for feeding the populations or low environmental impact public transportation. It’s not a lot to ask, and the construction of advanced technology clean air, clean water and clean food projects would put so many of the unemployed back to work. I love space. I love technology, but i don’t love the idea that once new technology is developed off tax payer’s money, corporate industry rakes in the rewards.

  2. Well Karlsie, that what taxes are for – subsidizing the special projects of the social elite. Any benefit they have for regular people is secondary to their real purpose.

  3. Thank you Karlsie and Azazel: I totally agree with you both but when you get to my age ‘tax’ is something that you learn to live with. I have been working for the past fifty odd years and (if I were a US citizen) I could proudly say that I owned one of the smallest screws on the Rover now moving about Mars. It is an appropriate word ‘screws’ as every Government screws it population for all it is worth. I still have a little job working – as a hobby – two days a week. Every fourth day I work for the Government through taxes. As the man said ‘There are only two certainties in this life – one that you will die, the other that you will pay taxes’………………………Mike..

  4. @ Mike,

    You might have well just said “at my age extortion and theft are things I’ve just learned to live with” – because, in effect, that’s what you are saying: that you have just learned to live with the fact that an armed gang that calls itself government robs you of what’s yours to enrich the ruling classes.

    And I’m familiar with the whole “death and taxes” saying – all I can say is that there’s no way around death, but taxation is wholly artificial and only exists as long as there’s a monopoly on force to collect them. Kill the power monopoly and taxes die with it…

  5. Azazel: I cannot speak for the US but over here I get: free medical treatment including hospital treatment: free prescriptions for medicine: free transport within the Greater London Area: A livable pension: numerous other benefits: That is why I have always paid my taxes. I still pay tax but I do not begrudge it. I think it is fair and just that if I can afford it I should help out those who cannot do so such as those who are unable to take care of themselves. I do not agree with all the UK governments foreign policy but in a democracy I agree to accept it. I have seen the antics of those who do not. Generally speaking ‘they’ have taken advantage of free education including University Degrees; ‘they’ claim Social Security never having paid a penny towards it. ‘They’ live off those who pay their taxes whether they like it or not.
    I am sick and tired of ‘them’ and wish that they would get up off their arses and do some work……(I have worked since I was aged 15 and still have a job two days a week which I still enjoy – and that is at the tender age of 71)……………Mike..

  6. Mike, what I hear you telling me is that you are happy being ripped off so long as a few kickbacks come your way – and to be honest with you, I once thought along the same lines (not in those words, of course, but similar concept): once I figured that if my taxes pay for such things as schools and such I would be a beneficiary of society – then I actually went to a state-financed university and wound up with thousands of dollars in debt and had no job that didn’t involve physical labor in a filthy work environment waiting for me. I had no future ahead of me but living in a cramped apartment and struggling to pay off the bill for an overpriced piece of goddamn paper; for a while, I seriously considered killing myself because of this situation – turning to a lifestyle that this corrupt social order calls “crime” out of desperation, but found this new life liberating as it freed me from my old obligations once and for all.

    In short, I got fucked by the very system that promised me the world if only I played by its rules – and I’m not alone in this. The way I see it, I owe this diseased society run by a bunch of thieves in fancy suits absolutely nothing but my contempt and a bullet for any of its agents that try to enforce its will on me…

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