globalization

NASA Down

i09 posted an image of a downed NASA Shuttle Carrier Aircraft circa 1980 with the prompt of "create your own short story."  So the call to create a short story in a dystopia of Science Fiction overcame the inertia of creating my own i09 account, and I did just that.

The result is below:

It had taken them decades for anyone from The Ark to return to the planet's surface after the event, and they'd barely made it this time. It was grave circumstances that forced Commander Shepherd's to allow her crew to raid Southern California for supplies; their target: The Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

"Major, come take a look at this," shouted Gunther from his seat near the window, spotting the downed NASA shuttle carrier aircraft. "It looks like the poor bastards at JPL were so desperate to get out of dodge when the looters came they took to the air with anything that could fly."

"Doesn't look like they got far in that relic," she replied, the boredom evident in her voice. She tried to be patient, after all the kid grew up on the Ark and his excitement at seeing the planet was to be expected, but it was tedious.

Abruptly she stopped, looking closer out of the window before calling out to the cockpit, "Captain Winn, take us in for a closer look, I think there might be people down there."

"Yeah, I don't think that's a good idea, ma'am. We're here for supplies; even if there are survivors - which isn't likely - they ain't gonna have shit we need. We've barely got power enough to support the Ark for another week, we can't take on any more charity cases."

"We've got time, Cap'n. They might have information that will keep us from walking into a trap - who knows if one of those rover bands took control of JPL once we left," the major said before adding, "We need the intel."

"And if they're hostile?"

"We kill them."




Historical Context: Investing in Education, In Spite of Economic Woes

We have seen the importance of education time and time again: from preventing polarization in politics and combating the over reliance on authority figures whom we deem infallible through the Halo Effect, to improving political engagement and increasing the lifespan of the educated.  However, in today's world with soaring tuition costs it can be difficult for many people to accept the insurmountable burden that obtaining a college degree can place on a family; especially when it's no golden ticket to employment after graduation.

Add to this the fact that we exist, in a world where congressmen believe that wind is a finite resource, homeopathic remedies are touted on a daily basis in lieu of medicine, and junk science has become an international export - can we really afford to have a polarized political environment that's too busy fighting over the existence of evolution (in the House Committee of Science no less) to enact meaningful change? If increasing education reduces the number of believers in an absurd theory (e.g. astrology), even without specifically addressing that theory - then an increased number of educated members in our society leads to a healthier, more engaged, and less susceptible to junk science populace.

So when graduating seniors are faced with the inability to go to college without taking on an unsustainable amount of debt, it affects the country in far more ways than just the job market. In fact, as the former Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich, points out it may start a self-fulfilling prophecy where an underemployed workforce hurts the economy, which affects tax revenue, which drives down government programs.  A lack of government programs drives up tuition in schools and drives down political engagement, polarizes the political spectrum, and causes future generations to be underemployed as well.