Thursday, January 27, 2011

Link roundup

1. Sale this month at Tenacious Toys.

2. Ann Althouse on Obama's state of the union speech:

This is our generation's Sputnik moment. What is? Are we playing let's pretend? Nothing is scaring us and lighting a fire under us. In fact, it's hard for us now, with our long perspective, even to understand why Sputnik was such a huge motivation. Ask some under-50 Americans today: Why was it so important to beat the Soviets in sending men to the moon? Ask them when/if the Soviets got a man to the moon. I'll bet they can't even give plausible answers. I'll bet even the over-50s are hit-or-miss when it comes to answering the question whether the Soviets got a man to the moon.

So what on earth — or on the moon — does Obama think he will get out of the mere verbal tag "Sputnik"? If you remember how Sputnik felt — and I do — you'll probably say, but there is no equivalent of Sputnik. There are just a lot of countries, full of human beings, trying to get ahead economically, like us — not against us.
3. Relatedly, the first ten years of the 21st century were the best decade, for the world, ever. (Best ten years in my life, too.)

*Buy cosmonaut collectibles at eBay.


  1. Sputnik was a huge deal because it was deemed a threat to national security due to the progression of rockets. The fear was that if the Russians could get a rocket in space, they could also tie an H-bomb to it and wipe out our country in the bat of an eye. It wasn't a space race as much as an arms race and without it I doubt we would have visited (then never visited) the moon until decades later.

    So in part, I can agree on the President's analogy that we are getting left behind by countries like China and North Korea which could pose a threat given the recent attacks they have made via the internet, but that's what happens when you can't sacrifice millions of people or the environment to fuel a giant pissing match like they can. I don't think the solution is shoving billions of dollars into providing wireless internet so people can update their facebook pages and watch porn on Uncle Sam's dime.

  2. But what does getting left behind mean? That we buy cars from China? The soviets wanted to dominate the world with a repressive regime. China just wants an improved future for its people.