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The pen is not always mightier…….

December 10, 2008

NASA, knowing that astronauts would need to write in space, spent millions of dollars inventing a pen that would write in zero gravity. And invent it they did.pencil-fat-with-squiggle

Russia – well, they used a pencil.

I have not verified this story because I am not even sure how I could. I know NASA does not have a blog marked “Oops” or a top ten list of things they learned not to do while spending tax payer money. It ain’t gonna happen.

But, I also have not even tried to verify it because I want it to be true. It is a great story of lessons learned – and forget Aesop’s fables – we can learn so many lessons right in the here and now – and all without even trying to convince ourselves that a fox would actually want grapes in the first place – with all due respect Mr. Aesop – that one was a stretch.

I can even imagine the planning sessions where the scientists were all taking notes in pencil and writing on the chalk board. I am quite sure someone even suggested that the answer must be right there in front of them. It can’t be that hard. Really, I can hear them saying it. Scratching their head with the end of the pencils. Sharpening them while thinking of new ideas. Erasing the ideas that did not work so well. They might have even said – well, that didn’t work, back to the drawing board. I wonder if they drew and colored space ships with their kids at the end of the day – with crayons. Hmmmmm. Maybe little Johnny is on to something.

And I do not see this at all as a criticism of Americans – I think it highlights our strengths. We are a smart, determined, well-resourced group that can solve just about anything. But I think sometimes we need to remember we don’t have to invent a new pen when a pencil will do.

Note: It turns out that regular pencils proved to be dangerous in space because they could catch on fire (details) and that the space pens (after the initial investment of a lot of money to invent them) were actually cheaper to purchase than the mechanical pencils NASA was using instead of regular pencils. Whatever – that is not the point. (get it – not the point?? I crack myself up – really – that was a good one.)

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. February 24, 2009 12:20 am

    Can I – yes that is true! Dough makes life easier for sure!

  2. CanIRemainUnknownPl permalink
    February 23, 2009 8:14 pm

    Areasontowrite, I think that’s why men invented Golf!!!
    Ohh I miss the ‘help’ sooo much, but then my perspective is you can get ‘help’ anywhere all you need to do is make enough dough.

  3. February 21, 2009 7:33 am

    YesYouCanRemain – Thanks for stopping by – we wives have that habit of wanting our husbands to do work on the weekends – I have been guilty of that fault myself. 8-) If you move back to India, you could get a little help with that.

  4. CanIRemainUnknownPl permalink
    February 20, 2009 10:23 pm

    You have an excellent writing style, I really loved reading your posts.
    I don’t have much time today as its weekend and my wife wants me to do some real work, but I do plan to read all your posts on monday from work.

    As far as the pencil is concerned:

    http://www.truthorfiction.com/rumors/s/spacepen.htm

    I grew up in Delhi and now live in Southern California it is absolutely fascinating to read your perspective of all things Indian!!

  5. December 13, 2008 8:28 pm

    Lola – alas – that was not the point – hee hee – it was a big fat waste of money – but it gave me some blog material – all is right with the universe. Sometimes I worry that I won’t be able to continue to come up with new things to write about – but then there is the government at the ready to keep me pen deep in material.

  6. December 13, 2008 11:44 am

    What about crayons? Don’t they do everything on computer anyway? I, personally, think it’s just one more example on the looooooong list of idiotic things Americans; namely, the American government have done to bring this country to its knees. What does America do best? Waste money!

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