I read a fascinating article recently entitled Why We Need Big, Bold Science Fiction by Glenn Harlan Reynolds. The premise is that we need science fiction that inspires people to dream big. We used to have that, Reynolds says, but it's gone. For whatever reasons, we seem to have lost the ability to do big things. Or we no longer have the will.

I agree.

Being someone who grew up in the 60's where we were launching people to the moon, I find this pretty depressing. I remember watching the Apollo 11 landing and my parents telling me how lucky I was to be young, that they couldn't imagine the wonderful things we would be doing when I was their age.

Turns out I wouldn't have wanted to.

I was recently at Cape Kennedy, had a tour of the old launch sites (Mercury, Gemini, Apollo--the works). Two things stood out: how archaic the equipment was (reel-to-reel tape recorders, mechanical relays) and what a shambles these old sites were in (broken concrete, decaying buildings). It reminded me of the scene at the end of the movie Planet of the Apes. Charlton Heston is walking along the shore and comes upon the ruins of the Statue of Liberty half-buried in the sand. That's about the size of it.

(Nor is this relegated to manned space missions. It wasn't long ago when we ceded advanced particle physics to the Europeans with the cancellation of the Superconducting Super Collider. The Waxahachie, Texas site is now slated to become a tier IV data center.)

If we could embark on such endeavors with the "computers" we had back then, imagine what we could do with today's technology. Sadly, we don't even seem to be having that conversation.