Rob Gauntlett – He drank milk.

There are a wide range of things I still want to do with my life.  I’d like to see Europe, and Africa.  I’d like to learn how to sail and how to build machines.  I think trying hang gliding once might be fun, even though I’m afraid of heights.  I wouldn’t mind to spend some time as a hermit.  I’d like to learn more traditional folk dances, especially the ones they do with swords.

Some people dedicate their entire lives to just such interests.  Some people pursue mountain climbing, or athletics, or scientific discovery, or invention, or learning, or service as their whole selves.  I have great respect for such people.  Though I am more of a dabbler myself and will never excel in any of my interests, I dream for those who can devote all the bundled energy of life in some singular striving.  There is a sort of beauty that comes from really living, and I think those with such a force exhibit it.  I think the rest of us can exhibit the same, but those with that intensity of purpose show this type of beauty most clearly to the world.

Rob Gauntlett was that type of person.  His life’s story is littered with firsts, with accomplishments, with explorations and challenges the like of which I will never experience.  He seems, from all accounts, to have been that half-mad, lovable sort that can’t help but push themselves, loving ever bone-tingling moment of experience.  He seems to truly have lived in beauty, despite the shortness of that life and the potential curse of his name.


Finally, on a less than serious note, we know he had strong bones.  Even on year-long treks, across land, sea, and basically halfway around the world, he had time for the calcium.  And who doesn’t love a milk drinker?  Yum.

(Yes, I know this is frost on the upper lip.  Geez, give me at least a little license…)



There’s been quite a bit of NASA press recently , both good and bad – new discoveries on other planets, funding shortfalls and avoidable accidents.  What hasn’t been thought about in a constructive way is just why we think we still need to be in space at all.  Sure, there are space installations like satellites that influence our daily lives that should and will continue to be maintained.  But why do humans need to be out there, floating amongst the debris?  Does it really enrich our lives that much more to have a human, rather than a machine, out in the void, especially considering the risks (and the cost)?

MIT says yes.  A recently published white paper analyzes the history of our space program, evaluates cooperative international efforts, and looks at the possibilities of involving the private sphere.  There’s been quite a bit of arguing going on recently in these areas.  While I may not agree that exploration itself makes the national space program worth the risk and investment, the ideas presented are generally well thought out and interesting to consider.  And the idea of that vast outer frontier – what can I say?  It still inspires wonder.