No, as far as I know, Sarah Palin isn’t advocating mirrors on the moon; astronomers are. But an interesting response to Sarah Palin came across my desk today, and so did a piece about, you know, mirrors on the moon. So, two birds with one stone.
In the recent VP candidate debate, because it was clear that with Sarah Palin’s looks and folksy charm, Joe Biden was in a match with both hands tied behind his back, and maybe his feet, too. I thought he did just fine. Probably the best commentary on the debate was Saturday Night Live’s dead-on impersonation of Palin by Tina Fey. If you missed it, you can catch it on NBC’s web site.
Today, though, I saw a particularly incisive written commentary from England, by Michelle Goldberg of The Guardian, who said in part:
At least three times last night, Sarah Palin, the adorable, preposterous vice-presidential candidate, winked at the audience. Had a male candidate with a similar reputation for attractive vapidity made such a brazen attempt to flirt his way into the good graces of the voting public, it would have universally noted, discussed and mocked. Palin, however, has single-handedly so lowered the standards both for female candidates and American political discourse that, with her newfound ability to speak in more-or-less full sentences, she is now deemed to have performed acceptably last night.
By any normal standard, including the ones applied to male presidential candidates of either party, she did not. Early on, she made the astonishing announcement that she had no intentions of actually answering the queries put to her. “I may not answer the questions that either the moderator or you want to hear, but I’m going to talk straight to the American people and let them know my track record also,” she said.
And so she preceded, with an almost surreal disregard for the subjects she was supposed to be discussing, to unleash fusillades of scripted attack lines, platitudes, lies, gibberish and grating references to her own pseudo-folksy authenticity….
Read the whole column. It’s so, so true.
On a far cheerier note, NASA’s science newsletter today reports on proposed plans to place giant, liquid-metal telescope mirrors on the surface of the Moon. The reason? Huge mirrors outside Earth’s atmosphere could do astronomy that would make the Hubble seem like a school science project. And liquid mirrors could do that for far less money. Basically, you put the liquid in a stable basin, and you spin it at a very moderate speed. The result: a nearly perfect parabolic mirror surface. At Science@NASA.
“No amount of skillful invention can replace the essential element of imagination.” —Edward Hopper