April 19th, 2006

krazy koati

Afraid of undertow and great tidal wave

Well, that shows me wrong. A query about that Deep Rescue movie over on sci.space.history has proven wildly successful, with something like 72 posts on the question of whether a shuttle will float or not when I last looked, and no signs of stopping yet. Space history master Henry Spencer thinks a shuttle would not be very likely to float, for a reason so obvious on hindsight that it feels ridiculous to need it pointed out: very little of the Shuttle is airtight. That seems somehow like the sort of detail a character in an Arthur C Clarke novel trips over. Meanwhile another guy remembers a detailed study saying there are enough airtight volumes that a ditched orbiter would float, tail down and nose out of the water; if Spacelab were in the cargo bay it'd even float high enough to get out the main hatch. I'm just glad Usenet's usefulness as an information resource is even yet undiminished.

And I thought bunny_hugger might like to hear of a conference this week about increasing the teaching of philosophy in Singapore primary and secondary schools. Education Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said teaching philosophy is a way to encourage students' ability to reason while learning to appreciate other opinions. Some principals and teachers at schools which add philosophy courses credit it with improving students' critical thinking and social skills (as they can better understand views that differ from their own). I hadn't thought of philosophy as a way of teaching those sorts of skills before, but it does seem like a reasonable conclusion. It's also refreshing to read of schools increasing the time given to something that isn't on a standardized exam.

Oh, and happy birthday, spaceroo.

Trivia: The United States War Department estimated that 95 percent of the chimneys in San Francisco collapsed during the Great Earthquake of 1906. Source: A Crack in the Side of the World, Simon Winchester. I'm sorry; I meant to use a trivia from this book yesterday, but forgot. Based on the time zones I'm closer to the centennial by posting it this time today anyway.

Currently Reading: The Last Battle, Cornelius Ryan.