Archive for the ‘Hall of Fame’ category

Apollo 11 Moon Landing – 50th Anniversary

July 17, 2019

 

London, UK - November 15th 2018: The badge of the historic Apollo 11 moon landing, pictured over the flag of the United States of America.

I was twelve and a half years old when Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon. I was captivated by NASA’s (and our countries) quest to land a man on the moon. For a kid it was everything you dreamed of. It was an adventure to the edge of the unknown. There were great risks. And the astronauts were larger than life.

I don’t remember much about Project Mercury. But I remember getting interested in the space program during Project Gemini. I put together a model of the the Gemini space capsule. I watched and read as much as I could about all the Gemini missions.

Logo for the 50th anniversary of the moon landing

My interest was at it’s highest during the Apollo program. I put together models of the Saturn V rocket, the command module, and the lunar module. My brother and I went to the nearby park to get sand and used it to make a topographic moonscape of Apollo 11’s landing area on the ping pong table in our basement. (The local news paper printed a topographic map of the landing area on the front page). We did this for all the Apollo moon missions.

When Apollo 8 telecast live video (click here) of the Earth as they circled the moon on Christmas eve 1968, it revealed to me the reality of a moon landing that the men of NASA were attempting. It was amazing to see.

 

Every time I look at some of the videos of the space program it takes me back to that time. I feel the same emotions as I did when I saw it happen the first time.

Here are a few videos about Apollo 11 and NASA. The difficulty and the risk of attempting a moon landing is very clear in these videos. Today we in America are so risk averse, I doubt if we would ever try something this daring again.

 

FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION (click here) is a video about the whole space program from Project Mercury through the Apollo Program. This might be the best documentary about NASA that I have seen.

 

THE JOURNEYS OF APOLLO (click here)  is about the Apollo project. This is outstanding.

 

LAUNCH OF APOLLO 11 (CBS COVERAGE) (click here). Watch how slowly the Saturn V lifts off the launching pad. How does it not tip over?

 

APOLLO 11 LANDING FROM PDI TO TOUCHDOWN (click here). This is a great video. It explains the Power Decent Initiative in the first 1:30 of the video. It then shows the Apollo 11 lunar landing (with explanations) from the window of the Lunar Module. It also has the audio of Armstrong, Aldrin and mission control. This is awesome!

 

APOLLO 11 FIRST STEPS ON THE MOON (click here). This is a video of Armstrong’s first steps on the moon. This video is taken from the window of the LM.

 

APOLLO 11 LUNAR LIFTOFF (click here). This video shows the LM lifting off from the moon. It is a video (plus audio) taken from the window of the LM.

 

If you want to see what the liftoff from the moon looks like from the ground, watch this video (click here) of Apollo 17 (the last moon landing in 1972) taking off from the moon. The video is taken from a camera mounted on the Lunar Rover. (This is not Apollo 11. This is Apollo 17 taking off from the lunar surface)

 

THE SATURN V ROCKET STORY (click here): One of the most incredible achievements of the Apollo project was the Saturn V rocket. If the Saturn V had not worked, the rest didn’t matter. There was no moon landing without this marvel of engineering.

 

These videos, and others that I’ve watched, take me back to a great period in my life. If you are old enough to remember when this happened I hope you enjoy these videos. If you are young, you probably won’t know what a slide rule is. But ask yourself; How did they do this without modern day technology? Amazing!

 

D-Day 75th Anniversary

June 5, 2019

This was my D-Day post from 2014 which was the 70th anniversary of the invasion.

I saw a show on the History Channel this past weekend and it got me thinking about the men who were involved in the Normandy invasion code-named Operation Overlord, especially my uncle Bill. Staff Sergeant William Sackenheim, was a paratrooper in Company E  508th Parachute Infantry Regiment 82nd Airborne Division. He jumped into Normandy approximately 1:30 am on June 6 1944 with the mission to take the town of Ste.-Mere-Eglise.

Image result for map of d-day invasion of normandy

 

When I was growing up I knew my Uncle Bill as a man who seemed larger than life, was really funny, and lit up the room he was in. I was always laughing within seconds of seeing him. My mom told me he was a paratrooper in WWII and was awarded a purple heart, but I didn’t know much more than that until I was much older. About the time of  the 50th anniversary of D-Day in 94, my brother and I were talking to my uncle at a funeral, and a man named Earl came up and they started talking. My uncle said ” Earl remember where the hell we were 50 years ago.” And Earl smiled and said “yes”. So I asked if he was a paratrooper like my uncle, and he said “no”. My uncle said “Earl was in one of those ships he flew over crossing the channel to make his jump.” I said you landed on one of the beaches on D-Day and he said “yes, Omaha”. My uncle said Earl was captured by the Germans, and I asked “what happened”, thinking he had maybe been a prisoner the whole war, and Earl said “oh, I escaped, I had to get the hell out of there”. I’m thinking you just don’t leave, there has to be a great story here. But I didn’t get to ask any more questions because Earl had already started talking to other people.

So my brother and I talked to my uncle a little more about D-Day and then asked if we could come over to his house in a couple of days, and he could tell us about D-Day and the war. Two days later we talked with my Uncle Bill for four hours about the war. One theme that always came up was how soldiers next to him got killed. He would always say “why was it him and not me”. I finally understood why my uncle seemed larger than life, it’s because he actually was larger than life.

Not only did my Uncle Bill jump on D-Day, he jumped in Operation Market Garden in Holland, and was in the Battle of the Bulge in The Ardennes in Belgium. He also saw the atrocities at Buchenwald. My uncle Bill passed away a few years ago. Soon these living monuments who are the WWII generation will all be gone. We will only be able to read their stories. My brother and I were lucky that we got to listen and see our Uncle Bill tell us about  his experiences.

TIME LAPSE MAP OF WWII IN EUROPE

AIRBORNE ASSAULT D-DAY

When I see historical footage like this I always think, my uncle did this.

 

CBS REPORTS (1964): “D-DAY PLUS 20 YEARS – EISENHOWER RETURNS TO NORMANDY” (view here).

This is real history as told by Eisenhower.

 

PHOTOS: SCENES FROM D-DAY. (click here) From The Roanoke Times.

 

Thomas Sowell: Discrimination and Disparities

May 31, 2018

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is my favorite author. It was my great fortune to have stumbled upon his books in the mid 90’s. Dr Sowell has the ability to make complex concepts understandable to regular people like you and me. He digs into statistics from various studies and figures out what they reveal and what they do not reveal. He is an economist by trade. This background allows him to see discernible patterns that are hidden to most of us.

His writings have equipped me with a series of questions that I ask myself when confronted with any issue or anyone speaking about an issue. Here are the questions.

– Compared to what?

– At what cost?

-Is what is being compared, comparable?

– And then what?

– Numbers? In what context?

– Can someone be ethical while being political and can someone be unbiased while being an advocate?

– What is important is not what decision should be made? The real question is who is to make the decision? Through what process? Under what incentives and constraints? With what feedback mechanism?

If you remember these questions the chances of being fooled decreases exponentially.

DISCRIMINATION AND DISPARITIES

Although Dr. Sowell does not write his weekly column anymore, fortunately for us he is still writing books.

Dr. Sowell has written a new book titled “Discrimination and Disparities“. Dr. Sowell is being interviewed by Peter Robinson in this interview on Uncommon Knowledge. It will be a great investment of your time to listen to Dr. Sowell in this interview.

Here are some excerpts from the video:

“The fact that economic and other outcomes often differ greatly among individuals, groups, institutions and nations poses questions to which many people give very different answers. At one end of the spectrum…..The belief that those who have been less fortunate…..are genetically less capable. At the other end….. the belief that those less fortunate are victims of other people…..”

“Disparities can also reflect the plain fact that success in many kinds of endeavors depends on prerequisites peculiar to each endeavor and a relatively small differences in meeting those prerequisites can mean a very large difference in outcomes.”

“Professor Turman of Stanford did an empirical study where he picked something like 1500 people who had IQ’s in the top one percent. And he followed them for 50 years to see how they turned out…..The disparaties within that narrow range……the top third had more than ten times as many post grad degrees as the bottom third among people who were all in the top one percent. So there is obviously many other things that had to come together…..The other thing was that two people who failed to make the 140 IQ cut off ended up getting Nobel Prizes in physics, and nobody among the 1500 ever did. So obviously there has to be a lot of things that come together…..”

“The biggest differentiating factor in this study was family backgrounds. The ones who were in the top third came from families who were more educated. The ones who were in the bottom third had a parent who had dropped out of school before the eighth grade. So it doesn’t matter how much brain power you may have, if you are not raised in a home where people are thinking, where they’re doing intellectual things, you are not in the same position as someone with the same IQ who is in a family that has that kind of background. This blows the genetic argument is ruled out-of-bounds in terms of smarts. But so is the argument that anybody victimized them. The principle factors that accounted for success as opposed to failure was family background. That’s not really victimization, that’s a question of almost cosmic luck…. Too many observers….reason as if Intentions automatically translate directly into outcomes.”

The only times over which we have any degree of influence at all are the present and the future. Both of which can be made worse by attempts at symbolic restitution among the living for what happened among the dead who are far beyond our power to help or punish or avenge. Any serious consideration of the world as it is around us today must tell us that maintaining any common decency, much less peace and harmony among living contemporaries, is a major challenge both among nations and within nations. To admit that we can do nothing about what happened among the dead is not to give up the struggle for a better world, but to concentrate our efforts where they have at least some hope of making things better for the living.

 

Related Posts

Thomas Sowell: Wealth, Poverty and Politics, at austianaddict.com.

Thomas Sowell: “Economic Problems Don’t Have Political Solutions”, at austrianaddict.com.

Thomas Sowell: Vision Of The Anointed, at austrianaddict.com.

Thomas Sowell: The Economics And Politics Of Race, at austrianaddict.com.

Michelle Obama vs. Thomas Sowell On The Politics Of Race, at austrianaddict.com.

The ‘Disparate Impact’ Racket By Thomas Sowell, at austrianaddict.com.

Thomas Sowell: Human Capital More Important Than Physical Capital, at austrianaddict.com.

If you type Thomas Sowell in the search box you, will be treated to more of his writings.

Take A Break And Enjoy Old Movie Stars Dancing To Uptown Funk

December 7, 2017

I came across this video which edits Old Movie Stars Dancing To Uptown Funk. This is great editing by Nerd Fest UK.

Enjoy!

I bet you replay this.

Our Lives! Our Fortunes! Our Sacred Honor!

July 4, 2017

What does the 4th of July mean to us? Paul Harvey tells us what it meant to the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

 

America the Beautiful by Ray Charles

This gets me every time.

 

Related ArticleWhat Does Independence Day Mean? at austrianaddict.com.

Related ArticleJuly 4th – Our Choice: Liberty Or Tyranny! at austrianaddict.com.

Related ArticleJuly 4th, Declaring Independence From Tyranny, at austrianaddict.com.

Final Random Thoughts From Thomas Sowell

January 11, 2017

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell retired from writing his weekly column two weeks ago. Some of my favorite columns he writes are his ‘random thoughts’ columns. His last random thoughts column was titled “Random Thoughts, Looking Back” (Click here).

Here are some excerpts.

Any honest man, looking back on a very long life, must admit – even if only to himself – being a relic of a bygone era. Having lived long enough to have seen both “the greatest generation” that fought World War II and the gratingest generation that we see all around us today, makes being a relic of the past more of a boast than an admission.”

-“The old are not really smarter than the young, in terms of sheer brainpower. It is just that we have already made the kinds of mistakes that the young are about to make, and we have already suffered the consequences that the young are going to suffer, if they disregard the record of the past.

“Black adults, during the years when I was growing up in Harlem, had far less education than black adults today – but far more common sense. In an age of artificial intelligence, to many of our schools and colleges are producing artificial stupidity, among both blacks and whites.”

“The first time I traveled across the Atlantic Ocean, as the plane flew into the skies over London I was struck by the thought that, in these skies, a thousand British fighter pilots fought off Hitler’s air force and saved both Britian and Western civilization. But how many students today will have any idea of such things, with history being neglected in favor of politically correct rhetoric?

“You cannot live a long life without having been forced to change your mind many times about people and things – including in some cases, your whole view of the world. Those who glorify the young today do them a great disservice, when this sends inexperienced young people out into the world cocksure about things on which they have barely scratched the surface.

“Back when I taught at UCLA, I was constantly amazed at how little so many students knew. Finally, I could no longer restrain myself from asking a student the question that had long puzzled me: “What were you doing for the last 12 years before you got here?”

“The first column I ever wrote, 39 years ago, was titled “The Profits of Doom.” This was long before Al Gore made millions of dollars promoting global warming hysteria. Back in 1970, the prevailing hysteria was the threat of a new ice age – promoted by some of the same environmentalists who are promoting global warming hysteria today.

“Reading about the decline and fall of the Roman Empire, and the widespread retrogressions of Western civilization that followed, was an experience that was sobering, if not crushing. Ancient history in general lets us know how long human beings have been the way they are, and dampens giddy zeal for the latest panaceas, despite how politically correct those panaceas may be.

 

More ‘Random Thoughts Columns’

Random Thoughts: Thomas Sowell.

Thomas Sowell, “The Point Of No Return

Thomas Sowell: Random Thoughts

Thomas Sowell” Random Thoughts On The Passing Scene

Thomas Sowell: Random Thoughts,

Random Thoughts By Thomas Sowell

Random Thoughts By Thomas Sowell

Random Thoughts And Other Thoughts by Thomas Sowell

 

The Quotable Thomas Sowell

January 5, 2017

Thomas Sowell retired last week from writing his weekly column for Creators Syndicate. I wrote about this earlier in the week in this post ( The Great Tomas Sowell Says Farewell To His Weekly Column ).  Dr. Sowell is my favorite author. I try to read all his stuff, which is difficult because of the staggering amount of material he has written.

Dr. Sowell does two things that are difficult when you write. 1) He makes complex and abstract concepts understandable to regular people like me. 2) He economizes on words while revealing this high degree of insight.

I heard someone say this about a particular writer he admired (I can’t recall who it was). This applies to Dr. Sowell. “I know the same words that he knows, but I can’t put them in the same order that he does“. I am so happy that Dr. Sowell’s mind sees things the way it does. His writing has brought much enjoyment to me over the years.

I have compiled some of my favorite quotes from what he has written. Here are a few.

QUESTIONS?

Here are some questions that Dr. Sowell says should be asked when analyzing a topic or discussing a particular topic with another person.

At What Cost?

Compared To What?

Is What Is Being Compared Comparable?

What Is The Real Question?

And Then What?

Who Is To Make The Decision? Through What Process? Under What Incentives And Constraints? With What Feedback Mechanisms?

PHRASES

Here are some short phrases from Dr. Sowell.

-Economic Problems Don’t Have Political Solutions.

-Perfect Justice Means Perfect Tyranny.

-Virtually Everything Is Foreseeable In Retrospect.

-Every False Diagnosis Of A condition Is An Obstacle to Improvement.

-Feedback Serves To Limit The Impact Of Errors.

-Sober Analysis Seldom Has The Appeal Of Ringing Rhetoric.

-History Is By Definition Tardy.

-Don’t Confuse Causation With Morality.

-It Takes A High I.Q. To Evade The Obvious.

-Many People Have Credentialed Ignorance.

-We Can Only Make Our Choices From Alternatives That Are Actually Available.

-Moderation Is Great, Unless It Is Taken To Extremes.

-What Is True Is Not Always Popular And What Is Popular Is Not Always True.

-Liberalism: Let My Conscience Be Your Guide.

-Everything Is The Same Except For Its Differences; and Everything Is Different Except For Its Similarities.

-The Question Is Not Whether The Glass Is Half Full Or Half Empty. The Question Is, Was The Glass Full Of Empty When You Started?

QUOTES

Here are some longer quotes about economics, freedom and politics.

-The abstract existence of knowledge means nothing unless it is applied at the point of decision or action.

-Knowledge is one of the scarcest of all resources in any economy, and the insight distilled from knowledge is scarcer still.

-Decisions differ because of the internal preferences and the external incentives facing those who make the decisions.

-Results observed at a given point in time may be part of a process that stretches far back in time.

-Envy used to be one of the seven deadly sins before it became one of the most admired virtues under its new name, “Social Justice”.

-The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.

-History is not a record of people’s articulated intentions being realized so much as it is a record of entirely different things happening as a net result of mutual innumerable strivings toward mutually incompatible goals.

-The God like approach to social policy ignores both the diversity of values and the cost of agreement among human beings.

-Just as a poetic discussion of the weather is not meteorology, so an issuance of moral pronouncements or political creeds about the economy is not economics.

-People who are very aware that they have more knowledge than the average person are often very unaware that they do not have one tenth of the knowledge of all of the average persons put together. In this situation, for the intelligentsia to impose their notions on ordinary people is essentially to impose ignorance on knowledge.

-Any attempt to have rational discourse requires that those with different views have a common language in which to discuss their differences.

-The anointed are on their tiny island of knowledge, surrounded by their sea of ignorance.

-The anointed are insulated from the feedback of uncooperative reality.

-The anointed are often wrong, but never in doubt.

-Intellectuals are masters of the world of unverified plausibilities.

-It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance.

-When you want to help people you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.

-Wherever we want to go, we can only get there from where we are, not where we think we are. Not where we think we are, or wish we are, or where we want others to think we are, but where we are in fact right now. If we don’t have truth we don’t have anything to start with, and build on. Political spin and pious euphemisms don’t tell us where we are.

-If you have a right to someone else’s approval, than they do not have a right to their own opinions and values.

-The fatal misstep of intellectuals is assuming that superior ability within a particular realm can be generalized as superior wisdom or morality over all.

-The intelligentsia and others always fight phony wars against straw men. Why create a false issue, except to evade the real issue?

-In political competition what is being sold is not an end result, but a plausible belief about a complex process. Ergo accurate knowledge has no such decisive competitive advantage.

-The free market may work vest when there is a level playing field. But politicians win more votes by tilting the playing field to favor particular groups.

-Tests are not unfair. Life is unfair and the test measures the result.

-The test conveys a difference that already exists. It doesn’t create a difference that would not exist otherwise.

-People have to be aware of the dangers in letting economic decisions be made through political processes.

-The argument for Socialism, it sounds great; the argument against it, it doesn’t work.

-Anyone can be wrong about the future. But being wrong about the past is something else.

-If an informed citizenry is the foundation of democratic government, than an uninformed citizenry is a danger.

-Systemically evolved freedom in Colonial America later became intentionally preserved freedom in the Constitution of the United States.

-Constitutional guarantees encumber the state precisely so that the state may not encumber the people.

-More severe penalties that are not enforced are not as good as less sever penalties that are enforced.

-Lowering standards for those unable to meet them only endangers the very benefits those standards produce. Standards do not exist for no reason.

-Freedom has always been embattled where it has not been wholly crushed.

-A border dispute between Ohio and Indiana does not keep us from knowing that Columbus is in Ohio and Indianapolis is in Indiana.

-Each ethnic group tends to trail the long shadow of its own cultural history, as well as reflecting the consequences of external influences.

-Wealth in the U.S. is not distributed at all. People create it, earn it, save it, and spend it.

-Survival in the market often requires recognizing mistakes and changing course, while survival in politics often requires denying mistakes, continuing the current policies and blaming the bad consequences on others.

-Free markets efficiently allocate scarce resources which have alternative uses. This results in higher standards of living for society as a whole, along with unequal rewards to individuals, industries and regions.

-The effectiveness of the market does not depend on Government officials or intellectuals understanding it.

-The biggest difference between economic decisions in the market, and political decisions in Government is that costs are an inescapable factor in economic decisions, while political decisions can ignore costs.

-Voluntary decision-making processes have many advantages which are lost when courts attempt to prescribe results, rather than define decision-making boundaries.

-Nothing is easier than to confuse broader powers with deeper insight. But almost by definition, those with the broadest powers are the most remote from the specific knowledge needed for either deciding or for knowing the actual consequences of their decisions.

-Sometimes the ascribed status to a particular group is preferential, so that sorting and labeling that is biased in the proscribed direction is legal but any bias in a different direction is not.

-The word “crisis” has virtually become a political synonym for “situation” and indicates little more than something that someone wants to change.

-Social crusaders are not forced to confront the consequences of their choices, even in their own minds, or consciences, much less pay a tangible price for he havoc they leave in their wake while feeling noble.

-Many complaints that some basically good Government policy has been applied stupidly may fail to address the Underlying problem of catagorical laws in an incremental world.

-Nothing human has ever achieved perfection. So the fact that intellectuals can always imagine something better than the vest that exists in reality is hardly surprising.

-Justice of any sort, criminal justice as well as so-called “social justice”, implies the imposition of a given standard on people with different standards.

-What is politically defined as economic planning is the forcible superseding of other people’s plans by Government officials.

-The claim that costs are “prohibitive” is to miss the whole point of costs, which is precisely to be prohibitive. Costs transmit inherent limitations of resources compared to the desires for them, but do not create this fundamental disproportionately.

-All costs are prohibitive to some degree, and virtually no costs are prohibitively absolutely.

-Where prices are set by Government fiat, they convey no information as to ever-changing economic trade-offs…. Price changes are virtually instantaneous, while statistics available to planners necessarily lag behind.

-If prosperity could come only from the united efforts of upright and noble-minded people, all of mankind would still be sunk in poverty.

-Everyone must live in the world of reality. To the extent that reality has been filtered to fit a vision, this filtered information is a misleading guide to making decisions in an unforgiving reality, to which we must all adjust because it is not going to adjust to us.

-The same man is not equal to himself on different days, much less at different periods of life.

 

If this seems like a lot, this is just the tip of the iceberg. If you can remember some of these statements by Dr Sowell, especially the questions that should constantly be asked, you will start seeing the world through a different lens.