It’s interesting to take another look at the “one small step for [a] man” controversy. Obviously, Armstrong meant to say “for a man” to contrast with “one giant leap for Mankind.” But most people heard no “a” and despite Armstrong’s claim that he did say the “a,” many continue to believe he didn’t say it.
An article from 2006 in the Houston Chronicle, reprinted on Chron.com, states:
The missing word was found this month [October 2006] in a software analysis of Armstrong’s famous phrase by Peter Shann Ford, a Sydney, Australia-based computer programmer. Ford’s company, Control Bionics, specializes in helping physically handicapped people use their nerve impulses to communicate through computers.
On Thursday, Ford and Auburn University historian James R. Hansen, Armstrong’s authorized biographer, presented the findings to Armstrong and others in a meeting at the Smithsonian Institution’s Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. They repeated the presentation at NASA’s Washington headquarters, which has long backed Armstrong’s version of the phrasing.
“I have reviewed the data and Peter Ford’s analysis of it, and I find the technology interesting and useful,” Armstrong said in a statement. “I also find his conclusion persuasive. Persuasive is the appropriate word.”
According to Ford, Armstrong spoke, “One small step for a man … ” with the “a” lasting a total of 35 milliseconds, 10 times too quickly to be heard.”
The “a” was transmitted, though, and can be verified in an analysis using Canadian sound-editing software called GoldWave, Ford said.
If you think about it, it’s easy to slur the “a” and lose it in the low-fidelity radio transmission. Not only that, Armstrong’s diction might have been slightly compromised by his actually being the first man on the moon….
I have spent many an amusing lunch explaining over and over why the “four cellphones and a kernel of popcorn” video is bogus. It’s hard to understand how anyone could think seriously about that video without suddenly slapping his forehead and bursting into laughter. There isn’t even any need for science.
I’ve had even more fun discussing the mysterious super-expensive “infra-red” or “ceramic” space heaters that miraculously transform electricity into heat so much more efficiently than, um, well, uh, er, um, resistors. Folks have a hard time grasping that the only difference in output between one of these heaters and a kilowatt of ordinary light bulbs is that the light bulbs are microscopically less efficient as heaters—they sacrifice what? 1%? of their heat output in the form of visible light. But for $379 you can get this new money-saving “ceramic” heater… The rational mind reels…
I am, in effect, politely, with an auspicious and a dropping eye, with mirth in funeral and with dirge in marriage, to coin a phrase, dropping my Difficult Client. Long story, but the dropping itself is not related to economy. Not dropping was directly related to absence of remunerative alternatives, but I decided I’d rather lose my house than continue exposure to that particular toxicity. Some day we shall all gather round a flagon and laugh about our respective Difficult Clients. Nevertheless, in some small measure, despicable though it be, a solidly DC can speed the blood and rouse us from the lethargy of regular income.
She is the Angel of Hope, the Harbinger of Happy Endings, and the Bringer of Closure. She wears a red cape and flies to the aid of all in the throes of woe.
A friend of mine created a beautiful custom paint job on a pair of cabinets, and wanted a photo of her work. Unfortunately, the cabinets are in a narrow hallway and can’t be moved. Here’s how I obtained about 12 feet of depth of field in Photoshop.
Do not for a minute, for a red second, consider the in-crept flourish of incipient interpretation as evidence of dialectic, symbology, metaphor, or sullied necromancer abdomens billowing by the deckle sidelines.
I was reviewing a thick semi-monthly called Poets & Writers, which, among a few other things, catalogs all the writer resources, workshops, programs, seminars, retreats, and contests it can find during the next few months. It’s also chock full of ads for same.
(To put things in perspective, if the associated application forms, brochures, ads, and resources were all placed a 300-gallon Vita-Mix blender with a hogshead of mulled wine and fifteen gallons of Elmer’s Glue-All, and blended for at least five minutes on High, the resulting mulch could make an imposing papier mâché statue of Mark Twain. The rest is unclear.)
What sprang to my notice was that virtually everything in this vast compendium of writer stuff was aimed at either obtaining credentials (largely MFA degrees) or practicing (or just sitting and listening) in the proximity of successful authors. The obvious consensus is that ‘successful’ means commercially successful, although in fairness, successful poets are merely published—nobody actually buys poetry. But there are prizes! Innumerable cash prizes. So even though you can’t sell a poem, you can win with a poem, and if you win often enough, you could probably afford to buy books by successful writers in other genres (fiction or non-fiction).
Studies confirm existence of dangerous infra-red electromagnetic radiation emanating from living warm-blooded creatures.
Keep at least three feet away from living warm-blooded creatures.
NOTE: This includes humans. Do your part. Keep your distance.
This is not a joke.
The Management (#3015 in a series)
Magic gets into the cosmic very fast, at least for us. What does “magic” even mean? What is real? Is anything real? Should we not take into account the inherently magical or illusionary qualities of the most basic sense perception? The image we see in the mind’s eye is only vaguely related to the stimulus on the retina, with or without a prestidigitator being involved. The senses are the ultimate conjurors. Or that layer in the nervous system between the senses (the physical sensors, that is) and the movie screen of experience. That’s where all the folderol takes place.
Gak! There’s no end to it!
[This post is dedicated to all my friends who are magicians. Wait a sec—we’re all magicians. Holy hat-rabbit, Batman!]
The combustion of logs, branches, and kindling in open fireplaces or enclosed cast-iron stoves generates dangerous infra-red electromagnetic radiation. The same is true of barbecue devices, or open pits containing glowing coals, whether charcoal or actual coal.
This is not a joke.
The Management (#3013 in a series)