Author Topic: What Sputnik launched, by Charles Krauthammer  (Read 5486 times)

Offline daver

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What Sputnik launched, by Charles Krauthammer
« on: 11/02/2007 03:44 PM »
This article is about a month old but thought it would be worth some discussion. I sure wish that there were more journalist like Krauthammer.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/04/AR2007100401922.html

||snip||
| "We had no idea how lucky we were with Sputnik. The subsequent panic turned out to be an enormous boon. The fear of falling behind the Communists induced the federal government to |pour a river of money into science and math education. The result was a vast cohort of scientists who gave us not only Apollo and the moon, but the sinews of the information age -- for example, ARPA (established just months after Sputnik) created ARPANET, which became |the Internet -- that have ensured American technological dominance to this day."|||||


Fear seems to be a very powerful motivator. Hope we are as lucky in the future.
Dave R.

Offline brihath

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Re: What Sputnik launched, by Charles Krauthammer
« Reply #1 on: 11/02/2007 04:09 PM »
I just wish we had the same level of national will now as we did then.  Having lived through that period as a teenager, I remember it well.

If we had it now, we could be SERIOUSLY setting our sights on Mars and put some humans on that planet.  Imagine what we might find....

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Re: What Sputnik launched, by Charles Krauthammer
« Reply #2 on: 11/03/2007 02:43 AM »
Law of unintended consequences works both ways. You can't control it by definition. It's a variation on "be careful what you wish for ...".

Historically, America only gets its act together when it fears its ass is going to be waxed. Since we're "number 1", we don't have to be smart, we can indulge in the most stupid, venial, petty, vain things ... let someone else do the work - we can always swoop in at the end and win the prize anytime we like. Why bother the expense/risk of real vision?

You get what you aim/pay for. What leadership is all about.

Offline CFE

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Re: What Sputnik launched, by Charles Krauthammer
« Reply #3 on: 11/03/2007 04:52 AM »
Krauthammer happens to be one of my favorite pundits, and he happens to make a lot of insightful observations in this piece.  My eyes were opened by the paragraph about Ike's acceptance of the overflight by Sputnik.  He set a lasting precedent about the freedom of navigating outer space.

Charles Krauthammer's support for the space program should be well-known.  Back in 1999 (I believe it was on the anniversary of Apollo 11,) he called for a manned mission to Mars.  The Weekly Standard republished the piece in the aftermath of the Columbia Disaster, and it boosted my spirits at the time when I saw it.
"Black Zones" never stopped NASA from flying the shuttle.

Offline daver

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Re: What Sputnik launched, by Charles Krauthammer
« Reply #4 on: 11/04/2007 12:52 AM »

|nobodyofconsequence said|

"Law of unintended consequences works both ways. You can't control it by definition. It's a variation on "be careful what you wish for ...".
"Historically, America only gets its act together when it fears its ass is going to be waxed. Since we're "number 1", we don't have to be smart, we can indulge in the most stupid, venial, petty, vain things ... let someone else do the work -"

 

I am a CNC machinist in the plastic mold trade.  Over the past 5 years I've watch 5 companies go out of business.  All of them were well established for years. The Chinese can build a plastic mold for about the same price we can buy a mold base.  The owner of the company I work for decided that if he couldn't compete that he would go there and find a source to build molds and we could service them.  When he visited China he toured several factories.  He found that they used the exact same equipment and software that we used, 'Makino high speed mills and Delcam's PowerMill and PowerShape.  My boss was told that if he agreed to run the production parts in China that they would build the mold for half price. 

I wonder what the unintended consequences of our current trade deficit and exporting our skilled manufacturing jobs is going to be.  My guess is we will become more and more depended on them and one day we will pay a huge price for all their cheap goods.


Offline meiza

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Re: What Sputnik launched, by Charles Krauthammer
« Reply #5 on: 11/04/2007 01:58 PM »
And the logical question is, if the Chinese use the same equipment and materials, why does it cost so much to make the mold in the west then, and what needs to be changed?
If unions want some change, they should work in China to have the Chinese people's salaries raised.

Offline rumble

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Re: What Sputnik launched, by Charles Krauthammer
« Reply #6 on: 11/04/2007 03:38 PM »
Quote
meiza - 4/11/2007  8:58 AM

And the logical question is, if the Chinese use the same equipment and materials, why does it cost so much to make the mold in the west then, and what needs to be changed?
If unions want some change, they should work in China to have the Chinese people's salaries raised.
Try to put a union in a communist country and see how well that's received...

Offline rumble

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Re: What Sputnik launched, by Charles Krauthammer
« Reply #7 on: 11/04/2007 03:44 PM »
Quote
nobodyofconsequence - 2/11/2007  10:43 PM

{snip}
Historically, America only gets its act together when it fears its ass is going to be waxed. Since we're "number 1", we don't have to be smart, ...
{snip}
I believe the worst thing that happened for manned interplanetary travel is that the Soviets gave up.  If they had followed us with some successful N1 flights, and had proceeded to race us all the way to Mars, I'm quite sure the picture of spaceflight would be entirely different today.

More to your point, I think we viewed this as, "Our goal is to be #1."  Contrast that to achieving the best we can.  Once we were on top, there was nothing to fight for, so put our feet up and became apathetic.

Apathy is among the most dangerous things that can happen in this country.  When we have a real challenge we must rise to, Americans CAN do it, and do it often to the surprise (and immense frustration) of others.  

When we set our minds to doing something, don't get in our way!  Our biggest problem is mustering the "want-to."

--Matt

Offline daver

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Re: What Sputnik launched, by Charles Krauthammer
« Reply #8 on: 11/05/2007 12:25 AM »
Quote
meiza - 4/11/2007  8:58 AM

And the logical question is, if the Chinese use the same equipment and materials, why does it cost so much to make the mold in the west then, and what needs to be changed?
If unions want some change, they should work in China to have the Chinese people's salaries raised.

My boss also had pictures of the shacks where the workers lived.  Non had electricity. In one picture there were several dogs tied up in front.  My boss said that they were not pets.  Leaving me the impression that they were dinner.  

  My point was that we may be buying cheap products now but when we no longer produce the products here in the USA the price will go up.   I'm also pretty sure that there isn't any OSHA, EPA, Social Security, Medicare, IRS, or any other barriers to profitablility in China.

Offline pippin

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Re: What Sputnik launched, by Charles Krauthammer
« Reply #9 on: 11/05/2007 01:55 AM »
Quote
daver - 5/11/2007  2:25 AM

Quote
meiza - 4/11/2007  8:58 AM

And the logical question is, if the Chinese use the same equipment and materials, why does it cost so much to make the mold in the west then, and what needs to be changed?
If unions want some change, they should work in China to have the Chinese people's salaries raised.

My boss also had pictures of the shacks where the workers lived.  Non had electricity. In one picture there were several dogs tied up in front.  My boss said that they were not pets.  Leaving me the impression that they were dinner.  

  My point was that we may be buying cheap products now but when we no longer produce the products here in the USA the price will go up.   I'm also pretty sure that there isn't any OSHA, EPA, Social Security, Medicare, IRS, or any other barriers to profitablility in China.
Giv'em the chance to develop first. That's the old "I don't buy anything from the poor before they are rich" argument, quite cynical and definitely selfish.
If they do, salaries will rise quite fast, you can see that in Eastern Europe today.
Anybody remember the "cheap labor from Japan is gonna kill us" from the 80s? Everybody too young out here? Was BS then, is BS now.

Offline pippin

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RE: What Sputnik launched, by Charles Krauthammer
« Reply #10 on: 11/05/2007 02:01 AM »
Quote
daver - 2/11/2007  6:44 PM

 -- for example, ARPA (established just months after Sputnik) created ARPANET, which became |the Internet -- that have ensured American technological dominance to this day."|||||

Fear seems to be a very powerful motivator. Hope we are as lucky in the future.
Dave R.

Nice story. Just that ARPANET had to lie around for 25 years before some guy from CERN developed HTML/HTTP to unleash it... Even developed in Europe!
Face it: American dominance is not technological, it's economic dominance stemming from simply having the most effective economic system around, especially regarding innovation. And that includes China!!
Oh, and a military dominance due to heavy spending from the economic output, of course...

Offline daver

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Re: What Sputnik launched, by Charles Krauthammer
« Reply #11 on: 11/05/2007 10:53 AM »
Quote
Pippin - 4/11/2007  8:58 AM

QUOTE]
Giv'em the chance to develop first. That's the old "I don't buy anything from the poor before they are rich" argument, quite cynical and definitely selfish.
If they do, salaries will rise quite fast, you can see that in Eastern Europe today.
Anybody remember the "cheap labor from Japan is gonna kill us" from the 80s? Everybody too young out here? Was BS then, is BS now.

When was the last time you bought an American made TV, stereo, computer, or anything else electronic?   Now I see the same thing happening to the automotive industry.   You can drive around Michigan right now and in any industrial park every third building is empty.

Offline kevin-rf

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Re: What Sputnik launched, by Charles Krauthammer
« Reply #12 on: 11/05/2007 12:04 PM »
Yeah china is building stuff like crazy to export for money, All that labor that could be captured to improved chinese lives is instead being used to improve american lives. Who is the winner here? Also, once chinese labor rates rise (and they are rising now) who will be the next china? Vietnam? Thailand? Pakistan? India? Africa?

America's strongest economic strength is we have the land and resources to produce more food than we can and do consume. Face it economies always shift, In the 1800's the textile needs of europe switched to the textile mills of New England, now we import textiles from where? I now sit in a small 20 person biotech startup owned by chinese imigrants located in an old new england mill building that is growth and profit positive (Yes I just switched jobs).
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Offline pippin

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Re: What Sputnik launched, by Charles Krauthammer
« Reply #13 on: 11/05/2007 01:34 PM »
Quote
daver - 5/11/2007  12:53 PM


Quote
meiza - 4/11/2007  8:58 AM

QUOTE]
Giv'em the chance to develop first. That's the old "I don't buy anything from the poor before they are rich" argument, quite cynical and definitely selfish.
If they do, salaries will rise quite fast, you can see that in Eastern Europe today.
Anybody remember the "cheap labor from Japan is gonna kill us" from the 80s? Everybody too young out here? Was BS then, is BS now.

When was the last time you bought an American made TV, stereo, computer, or anything else electronic?   Now I see the same thing happening to the automotive industry.   You can drive around Michigan right now and in any industrial park every third building is empty.

Yep. And How many Chinese cars did you see?
Problem with cars is simple: American cars are expensive crap, nothing to do with cheap labor. German, Japanese and Korean cars are built at similar labor rates, most of 'em even in the US! (that is: most of the ones sold in the US). GM, Ford and to a degree Chrysler only were looking for cheap while all the others invested in engineering.
And you don't have to make everything by yourself. US is world class in technology application, especially in services. You can by a lot of TV sets from China from that asset.
BTW, the old economic principle still holds: when a country exports in excess to another one, it is the people in the IMPORTING country who profit (they get all the goods).

Offline meiza

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Re: What Sputnik launched, by Charles Krauthammer
« Reply #14 on: 11/05/2007 02:50 PM »
Daver, I didn't write that quote, it was pippin, quote right please.

The west will have to keep inventing new stuff to stay ahead of China. Just sitting on the capital probably is not enough in the long run.

Offline kevin-rf

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Re: What Sputnik launched, by Charles Krauthammer
« Reply #15 on: 11/05/2007 04:02 PM »
It all comes down who has the "Best" educated population. The better a population is educate, the more it invents. If china keeps investing in education, adventually they will come out on top ...

An interesting counterpoints and background to the article this thread is about can be found in last weeks spacereview : http://www.thespacereview.com/article/989/1 and http://www.thespacereview.com/article/995/1
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Offline pippin

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Re: What Sputnik launched, by Charles Krauthammer
« Reply #16 on: 11/05/2007 05:32 PM »
Quote
meiza - 5/11/2007  4:50 PM

Daver, I didn't write that quote, it was pippin, quote right please.

The west will have to keep inventing new stuff to stay ahead of China. Just sitting on the capital probably is not enough in the long run.
Copy that ;-)

Offline daver

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Re: What Sputnik launched, by Charles Krauthammer
« Reply #17 on: 11/05/2007 08:51 PM »
Quote
meiza - 5/11/2007  9:50 AM

Daver, I didn't write that quote, it was pippin, quote right please.

The west will have to keep inventing new stuff to stay ahead of China. Just sitting on the capital probably is not enough in the long run.


Sorry, I hit the quote button and removed the wrong name.  I edited the original post to fix
the error.  Will be more careful in the future.
                   David R.

Offline meiza

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Re: What Sputnik launched, by Charles Krauthammer
« Reply #18 on: 11/05/2007 09:00 PM »
No problem. :)

Offline vt_hokie

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Re: What Sputnik launched, by Charles Krauthammer
« Reply #19 on: 11/06/2007 02:11 PM »
Quote
kevin-rf - 5/11/2007  12:02 PM

It all comes down who has the "Best" educated population. The better a population is educate, the more it invents. If china keeps investing in education, adventually they will come out on top ...

On the other hand, what good would it do if the United States graduated more scientists and engineers, only to have them be unemployed because the business people with the real power feel that using cheaper overseas labor is a better way to go?

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