History Is Written By The Winners


The Blogfather, this time wearing his MSNBC hat, reports that Burt Rutan has given official notice that they'll be gunning for the X Prize starting September 29:

Aerospace engineer, Burt Rutan, leader of Scaled Composites of Mojave, California, has formally announced a timetable for back-to-back flights of the firm’s SpaceShipOne rocket plane.

Rutan and his team have given its official 60-day notice, with the first X Prize attempt set for September 29 from the inland Mojave Spaceport in California. To win the $10 million, SpaceShipOne will need to make a second flight within two weeks, by October 13.

Rutan is not alone in being near his 'ship date,' so to speak:

Hot on Rutan’s heels is Brian Feeney, leader of the Canadian da Vinci Project. Feeney also reported today that his team is rolling out on August 5 their completed X Prize vehicle -- the balloon-lofted Wild Fire rocket. The public unveiling will take place at the team’s Dowsview Airport hanger in Toronto.

The da Vinci Project Team, widely heralded as a contender for the $10 million purse, will pursue its own Ansari X Prize space flight attempts this fall.

Glenn then asks:

Think I exaggerate the importance of this [the X-Prize] race? Then ask yourself this -- what do we remember more about now, the 1928 Presidential race, or Charles Lindbergh's trans-Atlantic flight?
It's a fair question, but I don't have the same answer he did. Certainly, Lindbergh's flight was a catalyst as far as commercial aviation was concerned, and I damn sure want a rocket car before I die. But had Lindbergh not won the Orteig Prize in 1927, he would have won it the next year, or somebody else would have. It was a technological inevitability.

And nobody remembers the 1928 Presidential election, but everybody knows what happened in 1929. I'm not saying that we wouldn't have had the Great Depression had Al Smith won instead of Hoover, but it's pretty clear that President Hoover's responses to the stock market crash exacerbated the Depression.

Now consider this: everybody always talks about Presidential elections being about The Direction This Country Is Headed, and I think this one really is. With Clinton, we got eight years of appeasement with the occasional interestingly-timed missile strike. Under President Bush, who understands that appeasement at best gets you killed last, we are actually now fighting the war we've been in for some time prior to September 11. Although I don't agree with all his methods, I am confident that he will keep fighting until we either destroy or marginalize the terrorist threat (and by 'terrorist,' I mean 'Islamofascist,' because let's face it, except for Oklahoma City, it's not like anybody else is doing this to us).

I have no faith whatsoever that John Kerry even believes what he's saying about fighting the WoT, or that he'll take any serious steps in that arena, or that he won't just give up the first time it gets difficult (and by 'gets difficult,' I mean 'the first time Old Europe complains about something we're doing'). Unless he commits an impeachable offense, he'll have four years to roll over for the splodeydopes before we can replace him. That's four years we can't afford to lose.

In 2054, how will this year be remembered? Will it be 'the year SpaceShipOne won the X-Prize' or 'the beginning of the end of our victorious jihad against the infidels?'

Update: See the comments.


It is interesting to note the dichotomy between the title and your last statement. If we lose the WoT, will it not be the terrorists who then get to write the histories? If that is the case, then in 2054, this will be remembered as 'the year the decadent Western Empire fell to the righteous warriors of Islam,' or some such. The Depression is remembered because it was a hardship on the American culture, but it did not end it. If the Terrorists win, they will want to completely destroy the American culture, leaving no dissenting point of view to remember this as 'the year "we" lost the WoT.'

Terrorists probably could not care less about aerospace, except as it can be used as a weapon against those who invented, developed, improved and commercialized it. They would probably see the X-Prize as some evil bribery scheme to entice people to do something that deos not need to be done, or at worst, directly challenges the supremecy of Allah as master of the heavens (in a 'tower of Babel' sort of way).

As a completely geekish aside, I just noticed the similarity between the acronyms WoT (War on Terror) and WotC (Wizards of the Coast). Connection?

Dammit! I wrote the whole thing, with the original ending you refer to:

"In 2054, how will this year be remembered? Will it be 'the year SpaceShipOne won the X-Prize' or 'the year we lost the WoT?'"

before I had a title.

Then I thought: 'Gee, how this year is remembered depends entirely on who wins!' Which gave me the title and the new ending, except I forgot to put in the new ending.

Connection between WotC and WoT? Well, we know WotC are murderers - after all, they killed GenCon! (note to everybody else - that's pretty much an inside joke between Grimblefig and me)

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This page contains a single entry by Chris published on July 28, 2004 7:57 PM.

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