Astropsychonaut. [Weekly Head Voices #63]

I recently came across this hauntingly beatiful time-lapse view of Earth made from the ISS (the International Space Station! Yes, we have one!):

Watching this, my nostalgia flared up. You see, I’ve been addicted to science fiction ever since I can remember. It started with Buck Rogers, and the original Star Trek, and only got much worse when I discovered Arthur C. Clarke, Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov and Douglas Hill. I find Kubrick’s 2001 and even the sequel movie 2010 beautiful.

For the longest time, I wanted to be an astronaut. I think I still do.

I believe I might have thought that my career plans would be seen as childish when I wrote this short piece for school detailing my life plans when I was 7 or 8 (late eighties, not saying anymore):

My life plans as a 7 or 8 year old. My brother found this somewhere and put it on facebook. I wonder what it would be like to go back in time and explain that concept to myself.

For those of you without the required Afrikaans background, here is a short translation, as true as possible to the original:

When I gow up, I’d like to work with computers, because then I’ll become really smart and I’ll know more about the outdoors and nature. As I grow older, I’ll become a professor, because perhaps I’ll find a cure for leprosy and after that I’m going to study to be a millionaire, because then I’ll go abroad or around the world.

Not a bad plan for a 7 or 8 year old, if you don’t mind me saying so myself. This note has in fact reminded me that there’s still more than enough decisions to be made and work to do, so I’ll have to postpone becoming an astronaut for a little while longer. At least by the end I’m going to end up a rich traveller, which is probably not a bad deal.

In other news this week:

  • It seems like just the other day that I made my 400th connection on LinkedIn. I’m happy to report that I broke the 500 barrier two weeks ago, and now I have that fancy looking “500+” next to my name. I finetuned my headline to celebrate the occasion, after which I promptly got approached by a head hunter.
  • Jonathan Dyer is the guru of facial hair. Check out all the beard types and accompanying facial expressions that he has mastered. Yes, that’s a hint of jealousy that you detect in my writing.
  • More reasons to love the coffee: Giving rats the equivalent of what a human gets after two cups of coffee, the caffeine caused nerve cells in a certain region of the hippocampus to show a significantly bigger burst of activity. These strengthened synapses might have a role in learning and memory. Read this summary on boingboing and the article on Nature Neuroscience.
  • In an exceptionally disappointing move, South African parliament has passed a new secrecy bill that gives members of government the power to declare information a state secret, thus deterring honest-keeping journalists and other whistle-blowers with a 25 year jail sentence. Desmond Tutu sums it up nicely when he says that this makes the State answerable only to the State.

If this new bill manages to make it through the constitutional court as well, the country is going to take a giant step backwards. At least we’ll have facedrink to cheer us up again!