Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Space people discuss Newt Gingrich

Here is what I posted in response to a discussion of Newt Gingrich
by space people, some of whom were very excited by the prospect of someone like them being nominated and some of whom were aghast:

Certainly the advent of Newt Gingrich here is an interesting event. I
couldn't help
posting a few off-topic humorous thoughts about it in a personal blog
I use only for the craziest and most uncensored, unscientific


I have been in the same room with Newt Gingrich only three times in my life:

1. When he was pushing for the "Gore-Gingrich bill" years ago, a bill
to create some kind of global foresight capability funded by the US
government. At the time, my main job was energy forecasting, so I was
deeply involved in some of that. Jerry Glenn, who runs
www.stateofthefuture.org and is a friend to space (head in ancient
times of the Federation of Americans for Space, Science and Technology
FASST, present in meetings called by Barbara Hubbard), may be
interested in that aspect.

2. Alone in an elevator in 2009. Lots of people say: "You need to have
an elevator speech, the kind of thing you would say if you had just 30
seconds in an elevator with the President." In my case, I asked if he
still had an intense interest in space, the way he used to.
Unfortunately, my memory of his reply is not reliable or verbatim. I
got an impression that it was like an old school he liked, in the
past... so much has happened in the meantime, but it was a nice place,
and we should do something with it, but we have so many other

3. Just a few months ago, 'way out in the Virginia suburbs, when I
went to have lunch with my wife and with a scientific collaborator
from Memphis, from Hungary, from Boston and from WPAFB. (One guy.)
They sat me next to Newt Gingrich, who was eating shabu-shabu and
discussing Mitt Romney with his wife. I was strongly tempted to get up
and say hello, but...
by the manners I was taught in childhood, it didn't seem right to
interrupt a guy's private lunch with his wife. (Still, it was a really
serious emotional conflict for me.)

At this moment, I probably will vote for Obama, but as an independent,
I am strongly committed to staying open-minded until the last minute.
If he picks Trump as a running mate, that would
probably crush the open mind real fast. If he reconciles with
Huffington and picks her,
and sounds more like Teddy Roosevelt after the nomination, the open
mind will become a whole lot more open. (Maybe I just like the title
of her book, Pigs at the Trough.)
In any case, the world economy is at a very delicate stage (as are the
demographics of the US),
and I wouldn't consider voting for someone capable of being a bull in
the China shop enough to crash the whole thing. That's what I'll be
looking for more than anything else as the choices become more
defined. A collapsed world economy would not exactly be good for our
future in space.

Of course, in the partisan war between the left and the right... the
COTS rebels versus
the emperor's death star SLS project... I go for the middle, for the
Boeing-focused RLV plan of Ramon Chase, who happens to be an
incredibly honest, unduly humble Eastern (old school Mormon). No
connections to Romney that I know of... but it's too bad that there
are no connections, because there may be more hope in the middle than
in either of the extremes.


Actually, the Romney/Chase resonance reminds me a lot of the curious but stronger resonance between two other people who don't know each other, President Obama and Lonnie Johnson, of Atlanta. Lonnie (www.excellatron.com and www.johnsonrd.com)
is an incredibly creative an important inventor. Many times in public I have said: "I sometimes think he might really be the reincarnation of George Washington Carver -- only this time it is not peanuts." How two key energy inventions, a rechargeable lithium-air battery and "JTEC," could radically change the world energy system,
and make us all a whole lot safer. But despite everything... the Obama Administration has done virtually nothing to provide the crucial support that Lonnie needs (unless you count me as part of the Administration, as I help people elsewhere appreciate his work, work which has received only a small amount of support from NSF).

But... every year, a new chapter...

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