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Today's Featured Article - Project Gemini

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Project Gemini was NASA’s second space program, between the Mercury and Apollo missions. With the Apollo program behind schedule, NASA needed something to do between 1961 and 1966, after which everyone would be watching the soccer World Cup. The Gemini spacecraft carried two astronauts to different parts of the solar system and one crew into an alternative universe. The program put the United States ahead of the Soviet Union in the Cold War Space Race.

Gemini’s mission was to iron out various space-travel and personnel issues, in preparation for the goal set by President Kennedy to land people on the moon and return them safely to Earth. Project Gemini managed to complete the first part of that goal, just leaving Apollo to figure out how to return the astronauts safely to Earth. Other minor objectives were medical experiments, navigation, rendezvous, explosive yield, docking, EVA and orbital maneuvering techniques.

The Gemini capsule was launched on top of a Titan II inter-continental ballistic missile, the first to be fired from Cape Canaveral. The first four manned launches expanded the envelope from sub orbital ICBM to orbital spacecraft. Project Gemini was also the first to use mission control in Houston. (more...)

Yesterday's Featured Article - I'm not a racist, but...

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I'm not a racist, but... has long been considered one of the most powerful clichés in the English language. It has the power to define people, cultures, and determine some of the most powerful philosophies that the world has ever seen.

It is generally used in an argumentative situation, to make a point that could potentially be otherwise taken in a negative concept. Similar examples are "I'm not a sexist, but I don't feel women deserve equal pay when they are only truly useful 26 out of 29 days." The statement is often a precursor to "petitio principi" (Latin for "It is because I said so").

In modern society there is an aversion to making a statement that may be considered as politically incorrect. This disarming preface has become a cliche due to it's usefulness in stating what may be unpleasant or not politically correct. This statement is referred to by linguists as a "but-head" statement.

To truly understand the strength of this statement the individual words must be taken into consideration:

  • "I'm" or "I am" is the first part of the phrase. It defines the speaker as an individual. Often used in philosophy to show the existence of things. Descartes said "I think, therefore I am". Here Descartes both defines himself as a thinking individual, and as an individual. In the phrase in question though the speaker defines themselves as a non-thinking individual, and therefore negates his own existence even as he asserts it.
  • "Not" immediately after the definition of self and the subsequent denial of existence, the speaker uses a negative. In Boolean Algebra, and all mathematical logic, the term "not" immediately reverses the meaning of everything going into it. So by defining themselves as a thinking/non-thinking existent/non-existant individual, they immediately negate it in total, and thereby make themselves into a non-individual. This can be viewed similarly to a member of a mob, who becomes no longer an individual within their own right, but simply a part of a greater whole. And in much the same way as a mob's intelligence as a whole is that of its least intelligent member, the speaker again shows the lowest possible calculation of intelligence. (more...)

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David Gerard. What needs to be said about this extraordinary person? He lived life to the fullest. He scaled Everest and swam the Marianas. He piloted a kayak through the rivers of the Yukon with naught but a broken compass to guide him. Now he sits in a nursing home: Alzheimer's has rotted his brain to such an extent that he no longer recognizes himself as the WotM-winning author of Voice Chat, Fountainhead Earth and X Window System.


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