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The Overview Effect – William Shatner's Words After Returning from Space (cosmicperspective.com)
268 points by _Microft 6 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 302 comments





I expect that it meant a lot to Shatner. That man has spent a significant portion of his life imitating a spacefaring version of humanity. For him to finally see reality intersecting with the fiction of his lifes-work must be very satisfying. I completely understand that it was a profound moment for him.

The contrast between him and Jeff spraying champagne and squealing with his marketroids was very apparent.


Overall I'm glad Shatner got to see space, and that Bezos didn't kill Shatner with this publicity stunt.

> that Bezos didn't kill Shatner with this publicity stunt.

Makes my point that if things go well, Bezos doesn't deserve any credit. If things go badly, Bezos gets all the blame.

Personally, I'm pleased Shatner got to make this flight. It's a great capstone for his career. Thanks, Bezos & Blue Origin, for making this happen!


> Makes my point that if things go well, Bezos doesn't deserve any credit. If things go badly, Bezos gets all the blame.

Bezos just paid for the entire thing. If it failed, he didn't pay enough. Therefore, I don't see how he deserves any credit, but I do see how he could be blamed.


> If it failed, he didn't pay enough.

Then you should credit him for providing enough pay.


In the same way I should be credited for buying an expensive couch

And aren't we all? People praise us for our taste in furniture, clothes, music, cars, books, houses - all stuff we didn't actually create, just consumed.

I believe Bezos was a little more involved though.


Compliments are pleasantries, nothing more, don't stake your reputation on them.

Yes; very good point. Although Blue Origin has done an excellent job so far, it's important to remember that space travel is very dangerous and eventually there will be an accident and people will likely die. It's not an 'if' but a 'when'.

My favorite what-if version of this is that Big Bird was almost on the Challenger. https://www.history.com/news/big-bird-challenger-disaster-na...

Quite frankly, I don't know if NASA would still exist if they managed to off one of the most popular children's show characters around.


s/space travel/cars/

Space travel is magnitudes of magnitudes deadlier than cars. A large chunk of astronaut training is basically "you're dead in 5 seconds, your actions".

Read "An Astronaut's Guide to Living on Earth"


According to

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_spaceflight-related_ac...

The current statistical fatality rate for astronauts and cosmonauts is 3.2 percent. Lets give Blue Origin the benefit of newer tech and learning from previous mistakes and say they're twice as safe as any other spacecraft. That's still a 1.6% chance you'll die taking a flight in it.


Except blue origin isnt in the same order of magnitude as Gemini, Soyuz, Dragon, etc.

How many people have died in suborbital rockets with low apogees and barely any down range movements?

Numbers just aren’t there to reasonably draw any conclusions


> How many people have died in suborbital rockets with low apogees and barely any down range movements?

The three astronauts of Apollo 1.


That was a ground fire of an orbital vehicle

The rocket itself was clearly suborbital at the time.

Does that rate also hold for flights using the same model or even the same vehicle as tested in previous flights? Shouldn't testing bring the rate down?

You know that the pandemic has been going on too long when my first thought was "oh, that's about as (un)safe as getting Covid" :(

Then again, NO ONE has died during space travel since 2003.

As any tech matures, it becomes safer. Early flying was a death circus. Now it's the safest way to travel of all.

It's hard to say where on the "getting safer curve" space travel is with so few data points. But it just might be pretty good. Time will tell!


Sure, but the average car trip doesn't span millions of miles and last for months. If you compare deaths per passenger-mile, space travel is safer than cars (but more dangerous than airplanes).

Because Shatt's space trip was relatively short and quick, he's fairly safe if you extrapolate from the statistics. Of course that extrapolation might not be reasonable for various reasons:

* There's only been one deadly space incident in the last 30 years, so we don't have a very good sample size

* Not all passenger-miles are equally dangerous. Leaving and returning Earth are the most dangerous parts of space travel. However by not going to orbit, Shatt didn't have to leave Earth as quickly, nor did he have worry as much about a speedy reentry.

* Most of those passenger-miles were done on vehicles that have a launch heritage than New Shepard


Per mile biases in favor of high speeds though.

It would be interesting to do a comparison of deaths / travel time. Challenger exploded 73 seconds into flight.


> * There's only been one deadly space incident in the last 30 years, so we don't have a very good sample size

The Shuttle program lost 2 out of 135 flights over its 30 year life.


At least Shatner didn't tempt fate by wearing a red shirt.

I heard this a lot. The "whistle blower" did a great job convincing the public it seems.

Interestingly enough, though, in 19 flights that space dildo didn't kill anyone unlike Branson's death bird that was grounded by the FAA due to numerous security issues.

Yes it was a publicity stunt, yes Bezos is a horrible person, but still the track record of the rocket powered phallus symbol doesn't look too bad as of now and at least appears to be somewhat safe and reliable.


> yes Bezos is a horrible person

For the crime of making tens of thousands of people millionaires, providing people with what they want the world over, living the American dream, and hurling Shatner's body into the void?


For the crime of breaking numerous state and city laws to favor what he wants, moving money in such a way his company pays little to no federal taxes, creating horrible working conditions in warehouses, and the list goes on.

Frankly, this isn't a Bezos failing but a government failing.

We shouldn't be beholden to our employers to have good working conditions and we shouldn't be mad at uber wealthy companies for using the taxcode to avoid paying taxes.

There are 100s of individuals and companies doing exactly what Bezos has done. We solve nothing by blaming companies for working withing the confines of law and being shitty.

Blame legislators that have allowed for such a system to exist. Vote in primaries and public for politicians that are looking at making things better for the individual.


I think it's pretty safe so say it's a double failure. A human abusing other humans is a failure of that first human. If there were other humans, a third party, that were supposed to protect the now-abused humans, then that is also a failure.

Just because there was no law that said "do not be an asshole" doesn't mean that an asshole is any less of an asshole.

Doing it at Bezos-scale makes it a Bezos-scale asshole problem.


This is 100% his choice and we should be allowed to get mad if we choose to at his actions and for selfishly stealing from society for personal gain.

I would only blame the government if they forced him to do this. He had free choice.


I do understand why people are mad at bezos. However, the way I see it is that the government gave bezos and others the ability to act like this.

When slavery was legal, were the individual plantation owners terrible? Yes. However, it was the lack of government protections that allowed them to continue operating. Trying to draw the distinction between bezos and other billionaires feels like trying to compare one slave owner to the next and hoping that somehow that condemnation would make them grow a conscience.

Slavery didn't end in the US because abolitionists condemned slave owners. It ended because it was made illegal through the force of law (and in the end, a civil war).

Companies abusing their employees and the tax code won't go away because you dislike them. Those practices will only stop if the law changes.


Companies are buying legislators, that's the problem.

No, just for shaking that champagne everywhere while Shatner was trying to have a conversation

If only the world was so black-and-white that you could look at all the negative impacts of an individual, consider none of the positive impacts, and conclude they are a bad person.

Except, none of those are crimes. Immoral maybe, but not doing these things means you will have your success taken away by someone who does.

The OP accuses Bezos of being a horrible person, not a criminal.

«For the crime of breaking numerous state and city laws»

«Except, none of those are crimes.»

Breaking the law is the textbook definition of a crime, isn't it?


What state laws have they broken?

I don't know. Is speeding a crime?

By that logic, we need to start killing people immediately, because not doing that means we will have our success taken away by someone who does.

Is that perhaps a non sequitur?


He's a horrible person for finally accomplishing something that nobody else has been able to: sparking a surge in compensation among unskilled labor in the US. /s

Amazon instigated the surge in all the major retailers moving toward $15 / hr as the new minimum wage for unskilled, entry labor. Amazon is setting the bar and forcing everyone else to keep up. They're likely to keep moving it higher faster than everyone else as well.

It also (very obviously) doesn't excuse all the mistakes that Amazon has made that everyone here is well acquainted with. I don't think anybody would pretend otherwise. The good goes with the bad. Amazon deserves credit for the things they get right as well as what they get wrong.


I was talking about this with my wife just today. The minimum wage is ticking up, not as a result of legislation, but because there's real competition for workers now. Very positive thing.

Accelerationism to justify fucking poor people over because "now they're paid slightly more though definitely not a living wage" is peak HN culture war.

Amazon didn't set that bar, everyone everywhere else did. Amazon finally caught up after years and years of messing around with monopolistic tactics and is only just now doing PR damage control.


> For the crime of making tens of thousands of people millionaires, providing people with what they want the world over, living the American dream, and hurling Shatner's body into the void?

Among other things, you forgot the part about scheduling people like machines to the point where they feel like their only option is to pee in bottles.

It's pretty easy to make any powerful person look good if you're willing to be shamelessly selective.


Are you by any chance talking about the job they voluntarily applied to and can freely leave at any time?!

The only job left after Amazon put the other local stores out of business makes it an involuntarily choice unless you consider that crime is an acceptable career choice.

Amazon did not put local stores out of business, customers choosing the advantages of shopping on Amazon did.

Are you saying customers should've been denied this choice in order to subsidize those local store jobs?


> Are you by any chance talking about the job they voluntarily applied to and they can freely leave at any time?!

Do you realize that doesn't excuse anything? A rather extreme example to make the point: slave-holding is still wrong even if you can find someone desperate enough to voluntarily sell themselves into it to you.


>> slave-holding is still wrong even if you can find someone desperate enough to voluntarily sell themselves into it to you

You left out the "and they can freely leave at any time" part. Your analogy doesn't make sense once you add it back in.


> You left out the "and they can freely leave at any time" part.

So? That doesn't excuse anything either. If my plane crashes next Jeff Bezos's Antarctic base, and he lets me in on the condition that I submit to daily sadistic beatings for his own pleasure. Does the idea that I could leave at any time (and freeze to death) make his beatings OK? Of course it doesn't.


I don't know that an Antarctic plane crash survivor and a warehouse worker are good comparisons. I'm beginning to think that you're kind of not great at analogies. But let's run with it.

Assuming Base Bezos is the only one around, without it you would have had one choice, death. Now you have an additional choice, survival with daily beatings. He has made you unequivocally better off, despite being a sadistic evil billionaire. Capitalism can be weird that way.

Now - in a scenario closer to the reality of an Amazon warehouse worker - let's assume there are hundreds of other bases around, each with their own terms, with little barriers to entry keeping other bases from being built, and Base Bezos is the one with the best terms. Then again, it's existence makes you better off. If it didn't exist, your choices would be worse.

All the workers at those warehouse jobs (a job far better in every way than the factory jobs I had) are better off because those jobs exist. And people at comparable jobs are better off too, because their employers now have to compete with someone providing what is in reality good pay, benefits, and working conditions for entry level manual labor jobs.


If you had to compare modern-day at will employment - the social construct through we are all earning our living - with slavery - something quite illegal in the entire world - your argument doesn’t hold much water.

> If you had to compare modern-day at will employment - the social construct through we are all earning our living - with slavery - something quite illegal in the entire world - your argument doesn’t hold much water.

You should note that's a straw man, since I did not make a comparison, rather I used a different example to illustrate a concept. To spell it out in the simplest way I can think of: voluntarily agreement to a contract does not make the terms of that contract right. That's true for all wrongs, including slavery and bad working conditions.


> voluntarily agreement to a contract does not make the terms of that contract right

Then why should I bother paying the mortgage to my house or car because that APR sure ain't right in them terms. Dam' bank found me desperate for a new BMW and is slaving my balls off!


> Then why should I bother paying the mortgage to my house or car because that APR sure ain't right in them terms. Dam' bank found me desperate for a new BMW and is slaving my balls off!

You're being obtuse.

And no, I'm not comparing you to an angle.


Can we agree that if Amazon fires these people they will be worse off?

For the crime of the multitude of anticompetitive and shady behaviors that Amazon has engaged in, including using their position as a marketplace to leverage their suppliers out of business[1], supply chain fraud by commingling[2], workers rights abuses[3].

But quite frankly, even though several of those are actual crimes, I don't think you need to have committed a crime to be an awful person. Jeff Bezos qualifies for his smug demeanor while being an asshole, regardless of what crimes his company has committed.

[1] https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/amazon-i... - Literally on the front page today [2] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27177539 [3]https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/feb/05/amazon-wo...


Amazon != Bezos, and Amazon's got obligations to its shareholders.

Bezos did put in the hard work and got results, so he can be smug.

People who will never amount to anything will of course claim it was just luck.


>> For the crime of the multitude of anticompetitive and shady behaviors that Amazon has engaged in, including using their position as a marketplace to leverage their suppliers out of business[1], supply chain fraud by commingling[2], workers rights abuses[3].

> Amazon != Bezos, and Amazon's got obligations to its shareholders.

That's a distinction without a difference. Bezos was the CEO and largest shareholder. The shareholders weren't going to fire him if he'd chosen not to have Amazon pursue "anticompetitive and shady behaviors."


By pushing down the people who will never amount to anything Jeff Bezos is not using luck to get ahead he is using power he obtained through prior luck.

Amazon is still Bezos. Ownership and leadership wise just not day to day.


You mean acting like pretty much any other retailer?!

I do. I think that we, as individual consumers and as free persons in a functional society, need to start drawing lines and pushing back on all retailers, Amazon included but not exclusively. That means picking our buying habits better and that means pushing back with laws and regulations that prevent or penalize abuse.

There are two things that have hindered those efforts: )1the race to the bottom is very fast, so by the time one retailer has had abuses exposed every retailer is doing it. 2) Enforcement efforts have been neutered, to the point where the fines are just cost of doing business - and that has it's own complicated history of abuse.


He filed software patents and enforced them.

Yeah but he was like mean and stuff so off with his head

For the crime of success and money.

Envy is a bitch.


Projection much? I don't envy his success or wealth, I don't care about that part.

Test flights without a crew obviously can’t kill anyone. This is the second crewed flight.

Can’t kill anyone onboard.

Completely apparent, and I appreciate that you saw the same thing and that you've coined the word marketroids for me.

Makes me worry when those in charge appear to have impulse control problems. Why not listen? Or use discretion? It does feel like discretion was more of a 90s-00s thing that's gone. Does that resonate with others or is it just me?


I’m going to stick my neck out here. Not sure where the squealing you talk about come from. Bezos just handled the champagne quickly and got back to Shatner who was clearly having a lot to process.

I swear people here just don’t like Bezos and see the worst in him.


>I completely understand that it was a profound moment for him.

The flight itself may be a stunt, but Shatner's words aren't. He's clearly overwhelmed, and his voice breaks as he thanks Bezos for giving him "this most profound experience". He then says he doesn't want to lose how he is feeling.

>The contrast between him and Jeff spraying champagne and squealing with his marketroids was very apparent.

Bezos isn't paying attention at first, but realizes what Shatner is saying and the feeling behind his words, and stops what he is doing to let Shatner unburden his soul.


If I was a reporter there I would have asked WS if the same flight in his youth would have changed him as a Star Trek actor

Oh my god, when Jeff ignored William to get some champagne and start spraying it was so rude and obnoxious, not to mention the clingers on just wanting Jeff's attention and some camera time. I feel sorry for Shatner that he didn't have someone more genuine to share that moment with.

i thought the 'the clingers on' was his wife?

You both missed an opportunity to say "Klingon".

> Jeff spraying champagne and squealing with his marketroids

Criminy. Let the the man have his moment. He earned it.


He certainly paid for it, but the work was done by others.

I don't understand this inclination to take away credit from anyone that people don't like or find objectionable. What level does it end at? There is no rocket launch without Bezos, he started Amazon, and built it then used those funds to create blue origin. He employed millions of people along the way. You can argue that there are things he should have done better but there is no way that the credit does not belong to him. Its possible to be both super accomplished, responsible for many great things and a flawed human. People are complex.

> He employed millions of people along the way.

Some of the reports of said working conditions at Amazon, from fulfillment centers to AWS, are very appalling. I recall reports on how at Amazon it was normal to see staff crying at their desks, and how the average tenure barely reaches two years. Even life as a coveted software engineer at Amazon sounds far from great, with burnout and threat of firing constantly on the horizon.

I guess getting a paycheck is great, and Maslow's pyramid does keep us looking up, but I'm not convinced that Bezos' job creation process, and the impact that it has on employees suffering, is something that justifies high praises.


Even if Bezos was Practically Perfect In Every Way, people would just invent flaws in him.

By this logic one should not get excited after buying a house, a car, or even a birthday cake since someone else did the work. Obviously, that's crazy thinking.

But besides that, Bezos did a lot more than just buy a rocket from a supplier. He invested billions of dollars and years of work into Blue Origin. By any reasonable definition, he deserves to celebrate its successes.

Humanity as a whole succeeds when things like this are accomplished. The world has many problems, but advancing our ability to travel into space is not one of them.

Only a sad kind of cynic sees these events as an opportunity to spew hate. They reveal much more about themselves than anyone else.


You get excited after buying a cake because you then get to enjoy it. Its not _who_ made the cake that determines your enjoyment of it. That is separate from buying a cake and then taking credit for the cake itself, not just the fact you have cake now.

Honestly I would be much more excited about building a house than buying one!


If the rocket had blown up, all the fingers that denied him credit would be pointing at Bezos.

> If the rocket had blown up, all the fingers that denied him credit would be pointing at Bezos.

Do you believe Bezos should be free from scrutiny, or even criticism, if Shatner was killed due to a launch failure that was organized as a publicity stunt?

There are two perspectives here: the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for someone to go to space, and a corporation's PR stunt. Even if you ignore one of these aspects, they don't just go away.


But some low level guy would go to jail, teams would lose jobs and Bezos would be poked fun at next time he hangs out with Branson

> some low level guy would go to jail, teams would lose jobs

Is that what's happened with past rocketship catastrophes that killed the passengers? (Or airplane catastrophes, for that matter?) I don't think so...


Unless you buy into some of the Soyuz conspiracy theories, no. However in cases of extreme negligence, people have gone to jail for causing airplane catastrophes

So nothing ever can be celebrated, since it leaves out the 5 million layers of others that precipitated any event

This is true, and how we should all live our lives. I cancelled all my kids birthday parties because they did not accomplish getting a year older by themselves and if the father of the 3rd grade teacher that tutored the nurse that delivered my kids could not be there then no one gets to celebrate. After all they did not deliver themselves. /S

> So nothing ever can be celebrated, since it leaves out the 5 million layers of others that precipitated any event

Is it reasonable to ignore 5 million problems and pretend they don't matter if the people responsible for all those problems manage to put together a PR stunt that's praise-worthy?

I guess the concept of bread and circus isn't new, but it tends to be more subtle than this.


Shatner's The Captains [2011] documentary has a bit about him coming to terms with his impact on others. Like inspiring fans to become scientists. I was surprised by Shatner's mea culpa. It's in the segment with Patrick Stewart.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1946421/

https://tubitv.com/movies/560778/the-captains


I remember seeing him interviewed, probably decades before this.

At first he didn't get trekkies (not exactly the "Get a Life!" skit, but something) and then he sort of realized that these were quiet nice warm-hearted people and embraced it all.


Honest question that I'm sure sounds snarky: Why was Bezos in a flight suit if he wasn't flying?

Theater and/or ego. Same reason for the President to fly out to an aircraft carrier just off the US coast and pose for a bunch of photos while wearing a flight suit, before giving the infamous MISSION ACCOMPLISHED speech. Or for a different world leader to ensure that photos of him shirtless on horseback make it to the media from time to time.

Or you know, it could be that he has invested $10 billion into building Blue Origin over 21 years and likes his company and wants to wear the uniform because he's proud of it (even if you think lowly of it). Bezos is very well known to be a space nerd.

So what.


> Or you know, it could be that he has invested $10 billion into building Blue Origin over 21 years and likes his company and wants to wear the uniform because he's proud of it (even if you think lowly of it).

That makes as much sense as a NFL team owner suiting up with helmet and shoulder pads just because his team is playing.

I guess Bezos is free to dress up as an astronaut whenever he feels like it and gets out of bed, but is that something that happens whenever Blue Origin doesn't summon the media to do a press release?


Or another one taking a doomy photo with a bible in a church in the middle of a protest.

Because landed space capsules can be kinda hazardous?

Is this sentence asking a question?

Is a rhetoric question asking a question? Although, I suppose the choice of punctuation was more akin to tonal inflection than rhetoric.

>I expect that it meant a lot to Shatner. That man has spent a significant portion of his life imitating a spacefaring version of humanity.

Also a cool cop, a demented but brilliant republican lawyer, and other things besides. I think he always considered the Star Trek thing a little silly, kind of like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rqb4V9GxaBo


yes, can't believe they squealed and celebrated, they should have solemnly nodded to eachother in respectful silence. Shouldn't have expressed joy, no.

It didn't even feel real though, to me. It felt like contestants on some reality show (Space Race!) play acting at celebrating.

I love to watch bike racing, and have seen plenty of overjoyed people hugging their spouses and friends and everyone after a big win. The joy and other emotions all come pouring out. This didn't feel like that, at least from what I saw. Maybe Bezos and his crew are just that way, but reading through the comments, I'm not the only one who was not really impressed. And for the record, I'm not someone who loathes Bezos or Amazon.


I'm not the type that jumps around hugging everyone, either, but that doesn't mean I don't feel joy.

I once wangled a ride on a P-51, a lifelong wish of mine. It was only 30 minutes, but I had a smile for the next week.


Might just be me, but Shatner is attempting to communicate something profound that has altered him and Bezos just seems to want to party. Might just be different world views, Shatner is much older and has less time.

For Shatner it seemed like he had a profound life-enhancing experience. For everyone else it looked like they were celebrating after some sort of extreme sport, or a roller coaster. It's hard to judge just by outward appearances, and the adrenalin rush must be intense, but no one else, even Bezos, seemed to really appreciate the enormity of the experience.

Towards the end of the clip, Bezos looks like he's calculating how much William Shatner Space Merchandise he could sell with this great video they're getting of a profoundly moved man.

“Man, this will be such good PR”

"Hug me! The cameras are pointed at us!"

Yeah that was pretty jarring. Even Bezos's responses were weirdly hollow. It's sad to see that Bezos's own talking-points-filled spiel after going to space (others have compared his statements before and after to show he kinda already had an angle planned for how he'd "react" to the overview effect) really reflects how pragmatic and matter-of-fact he feels about space. He couldn't even manage to sympathize with one of his childhood heroes speaking so poetically about how the trip affected him, despite being a man who dedicated most of his life to achieving the spacefaring future he saw on TV. Giving him a bit more credit, there could be some benign reason like maybe he's antsy/jealous about wanting to go to space again, or was nervous or relieved the flight didn't go wrong or something. I'm not even trying to make an "OMG Bezos is so evil" post or anything, it's just really sad to see him seem so uninspired, like he's become disillusioned after all the success he's had.

I agree one shouldn't be too hard on Bezos in contrast to Shatner. Shatner is an actor, an artist, clearly in touch with his emotions and open to the experience in ways that an engineer/industrialist is not. If anything, I think Bezos should get extra credit for having the good sense to invite Shatner up there.

It's like what Jodie Foster said in Contact - "they should have sent a poet." And now, they did.


It’s like watching a developer party with the managers.

You'll be a manager one day

While Bezos certainly has a different mindset as an engineer/industrialist, space is obviously a pretty big deal to him.

Reading more about his background (https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/11/what-je... is a really great read IMO) and contrasting that with how he acts around Shatner in the video really shows how uninspired his portrayal today seems by comparison.


I thought that when he interrupted for champagne showers, but after that he seems more present in the conversation and really listening.

I have to say that listening to Shatner's description made me more intrigued than the other stories I've heard from the recent visitors. His emotion, the voice, the particular idea he is trying to express of that change in perspective really captured the intensity of the experience in a way that made me want to know it as well.


He struck me as a man nearing the end of his life that is struggling with mortality and had an experience that upended everything. Really personal, life changing experience that many don't get to see happen to others. Definitely made me want to go to space. Could just be that Shatner was the moment and Bezos interrupted it. I probably should not judge him for it after all he made it happen.

> He struck me as a man nearing the end of his life that is struggling with mortality and had an experience that upended everything.

It could be, but I think it's more general.

> Really personal, life changing experience that many don't get to see happen to others.

That's how I saw it. I'm not nearly as old as Shatner, but I know I would have the exact same reaction he did. In fact, I did just listening to him struggle for the words to describe it because words we ascribe to "the best of things" like "awesome" just doesn't compare on that scale when we also use the same word to describe our favorite ice cream flavor. I think it's more of a major, major smack to your reality and life-long accumulated perspective when you personally witness, and feel, just how small we are, Earth is, compared to the vastness of space and what a special, unique place this is. Not on a 2 dimensional TV/Movie screen of a fixed size, but all encompassing. We haven't found anything like it so far, and there's a lot to choose from out there. If you're a deeply introspective person, that experience is almost akin to seeing God and I'm not sure age really figures in. Just a deep understanding - like I don't think a child would appreciate the experience nearly as much as an adult. In that part, maybe age has something to do with it...or maybe better labeled as "the longer you've been on Earth having your perception of reality programmed bound by the laws and your personal experiences of Earth," and then suddenly, completely and totally step outside of it kind of like waking up from a dream. You were in one reality one second with everything you have ever known, and now you're in a completely foreign place the next where absolutely nothing is like where you came from or have ever known.


>struggle for the words to describe it because words we ascribe to "the best of things" like "awesome" just doesn't compare on that scale when we also use the same word to describe our favorite ice cream flavor.

Mandatory Eddie Izzard bit on exactly this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-tVqN0prMro


>I thought that when he interrupted for champagne showers, but after that he seems more present in the conversation and really listening.

Bezos isn't paying attention at first, but realizes what Shatner is saying and the feeling behind his words, and stops what he is doing to let Shatner unburden his soul.

>I have to say that listening to Shatner's description made me more intrigued than the other stories I've heard from the recent visitors. His emotion, the voice, the particular idea he is trying to express of that change in perspective really captured the intensity of the experience in a way that made me want to know it as well.

Yes. The event may be a stunt, but Shatner's words aren't. He's clearly overwhelmed, and his voice breaks as he thanks Bezos for giving him "this most profound experience". He then says he doesn't want to lose how he is feeling.


It wasn't just you. Shatner was talking to Bezos and Bezos just couldn't have cared less and wasn't paying attention, he was more interested in finding champagne. Eventually when his girlfriend decided she needed some camera time, he finally pretended to care what Shatner had to say.

The woman with the amazing rack that hugs Bill is Bezos' girlfriend?

If you're referring to the accomplished news anchor, yes:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lauren_S%C3%A1nchez


Well, that accomplished news anchor has a nice rack. [1]

And she is 51 years old! Had no idea.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDBT0ZIRxaI


Well yeah, Bezos has been on a Musk-envy mid-life crisis the last few years.

yeah, I came out of that viewing with a reduced opinion of Bezos and it may not be fair to judge him based on just a moment. Musk seems to approach space as a serious thing with deep existential consequences to failing. This is not to excuse Musk who has a litany of personality flaws but it just seems that one is a serious person and the other is not.

Space IS musk's business; Bezos is playing. His business is Amazon, and always will be.

and Tesla is just a toy or what.

Come on.


Elon has said from the start that his end game is Mars colonization. All of his other enterprises are means to achieve that.

He sounded like a loon back then, but not now.


Still feel like Venus is the more serious option

Mars is easier to "practice on", and get some toy colonies going, but once scale starts to matter, Venus is better.

At some point, you rather have too much energy and good self-sufficiency at geological scales, than too little energy and bad self-sufficiency.

Of course this stuff has been debated endlessly, but I do not recall reading the "Mars is the stepping stone, Venus is the real deal" needle thread.

If Musk was serious, I think he would admit this, rather than hype-beasting the stepping stone and the real deal.


I'm not sure what you mean with Venusian colonization. The surface is so utterly hostile that all probes we've managed to land only last for at most a few hours due to the intense atmospheric pressure, corrosive atmosphere, and temperatures hotter than the melting point of lead.

Floating balloons were considered, but it turns out those have a whole host of practical engineering concerns that rule them out. Plus, getting back into orbit is nearly impossible from said cloudtop balloons. You'd basically need a full sized orbital rocket like the Falcon 9 because the gravity is basically the same and the atmosphere is still a major concern.


Musk is ~50. His goal is to get a colony on mars. Mars is probably a lot easier to start with. Venus is a target probably 50 years after all of us have died. Its going to be the goal of someone that has likely not even been born yet. He is serious that's why he is aiming for an achievable goal. Venus is not an achievable goal with our technology level.

If he were to come out and say "Mars is the stepping stone that I can do within my lifetime, and Venus is the real goal we can only think about once we establish the demand on Mars, probably after I'm dead", that would be great and I would have more respect for him.

The SSL cert in the 'employer' link on your profile is broken.

Tesla is how you make everything for Mars. H2, petrol, they need O2.

Mars needs solar power, batteries, motors, and the ability to build vehicles of labour.

Guess what Tesla does? It supports Mars.


I said that many times to my friends, Musk has created an entire tech ecosystem that supports human life on Mars.

The gig with the android is the last piece: there are dangers in space, where humans are not safe. This is where this comes in place.


> This is not to excuse Musk who has a litany of personality flaws

Geez. Who doesn't have personality flaws?


We all do. Although I gotta say I haven't publicly called anyone a pedophile yet. Fans cut Musk a lot of slack, and they give him the benefit of the doubt way beyond what they'd give to just about anyone else.

We all do :) I was comparing two people and trying to make it clear I did not expect anyone to be perfect. I am personally a fan of Musk and think he is making the world a better place.

Came to post this too. Bill Gates has plenty himself (and worse ones so far as I am concerned) but no one seems to mention that with the frequency they do Elon. Perhaps far fewer envy Gates' life compared to Elon's?

> Perhaps far fewer envy Gates' life compared to Elon's?

Well, for starters, unlike Elon Musk, Bill Gates does not have a track record of accusing emergency cave rescuers of being pedophiles.


Pretty shitty of him, totally agree.

Shall we get into what Bill Gates has been accused of? How about the things we know he did? I don't think that's necessary. Bill is a pretty bad guy, I don't care what kind of charity he's been running, just ask his wife.

I don't care about his foundations and charities. Philanthropic acts are the norm for someone who has been the richest human on earth and it probably offers him some relief when he tries to sleep at night. Also they're just stupendous tax shelters and ways to cushy jobs for people who do nice things for you.


Envy? Interesting accusation to throw out there.

It is more believable that Bill Gates isn't really in the news much these days, but Elon is.


Just look at Bill and listen to him speak... that guy ain't talking his way into any romantic adventures if he weren't a gazillionaire.

Elon's hair plugs aside, at least he's got a personality and isn't the ugliest guy in tech.

So yeah, I'm coming from it totally from vanity but we're all human right? You couldn't pay me to be Bill Gates but I'd trade lives with Elon, no doubt.


Heh, I wouldn't take either one's life, for any amount of money. Now, if I could have 0.1% of either of their money and quietly continue to live as I do now, sign me up!

> Just look at Bill and listen to him speak... that guy ain't talking his way into any romantic adventures if he weren't a gazillionaire.

Yeah, Musk is a real charmer, with his stutter, he's worse than Biden and he's 35 years younger than him.

Also behind the scenes Bill Gates has a personality and then some.

More F-bombs were dropped in Microsoft board meetings than Stratton Oakmont's .

You have to read Paul Allen's 2011 book: Idea Man.

Of course an elder statesman can't go on live tv and pull this sort of antics. Very much like Bellichick and Brady didn't go on TV to pull such antics. Doesn't mean that they (like Gates, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods) don't have a personality or don't get laid.

Musk on the other hand loves to wear his WWE Vince McMahon costume and say controversial stuff, while stuttering.


> Musk seems to approach space as a serious thing

Musk sent a car into space as a publicity stunt.

My colleagues liked it, but I found it ... disappointing, that it seemed to signal an end of an era that did see space as a serious thing, like in the film For All Mankind.


> Musk sent a car into space as a publicity stunt.

I'd say maybe 10% of that stunt was for publicity. The rocket had to be tested, it had to include a payload, and sending a suit to space provided extra data as well.

edit: let's also not forget that there always been an element of humor in spaceflight. Apollo 10's callsigns were Snoopy and Charlie Brown. Watch the funny moonwalk videos. Read transcripts of flights. It's okay to have a laugh in space. The astronauts who make it to Mars will sorely need it.


I mean, peoples lives are at stake. When you’re doing something so impossible and so dangerous, a little humor really helps.

> I'd say maybe 10% of that stunt was for publicity.

It was the dominant media image at the time. It was 100% publicity.

There is a difference between convivial behaviour between people on a mission, and a stunt by a private company.

I find the Pioneer Plaque cool and thought provoking. Launching a roadster into space? Not so much.


> I find the Pioneer Plaque cool and thought provoking. Launching a roadster into space? Not so much.

Maybe the inscription on one of its PCBs will stimulate your unprovoked thoughts: https://i.redd.it/7agxu1qjdz071.jpg


let's also not forget that there always been an element of humor in spaceflight

It's like the internet used to be in the old green screen and bang paths days.

I remember everyone from DARPA on down had wonderful senses of humor. Today, even on HN which is supposed to represent the best of the internet, humor is largely frowned upon, or replaced with anger.

Hopefully this slow opening up of space to the masses won't mean making everything sterile and boring, like happened to the 'net.


I've never quite understood why a lot of people found launching the car to be so egregious. The first launch of a rocket routinely carries a "test mass" of some kind, which I understood to usually be a boring hunk of metal, or at least something that wouldn't be a great loss if the rocket failed. Putting a car on there didn't seem like a frivolous waste, as it would be unlikely for a customer to put forth a serious payload for the debut Falcon Heavy launch.

Yes, it was kind of meme-y and marketing-y. But it is a business, and I also don't think being serious about something means you can never make a joke about it.


In Canada, a few years back, disaster preparedness exercises were to be held by a branch of the government.

The point was to test emergency response, processes, etc.

To make it fun, they chose zombies as the cause. Within a week of the media hearing of it, the entire exercise was canceled.

Zombies, plague, natural disaster, nuclear accident, it mattered not, the tests were for existing response mechanisms, but oh no! Can't be fun!

Bah.


He's like Doc Brown. "The way I see it, if you're gonna make a payload out of a car, why not do it with some style?"

> But it is a business

This is why I was disappointed, because it marks a departure from things auspiciously done with consideration "for all mankind".

A publicity stunt I wasn't disappointed in, was the twitter account for the Philae Lander. It also got a lot of media coverage. https://twitter.com/philae2014

The point isn't humour, rather the context. One stunt is for the benefit of a business, with what I find dubious goals for launching a rocket to start with, the other, to promote a project for "all mankind".


I think a lot of people are just grossed out by the symbolism.

Destroying a car that retails for years of many folks' income in a flashy, ostentatious manner is going to look like lighting cigars with $100s to many people.


Except the car wasn't destroyed, it's actually flying out there - and maybe, one day in the future, someone will retrieve it.

(I could understand people complaining about symbolism of sending a sports car, of all things, to be a first private industry artifact in interplanetary space. But this doesn't seem to be a majority complaint.)

Also: even the boring test mass payload would also cost "years of many folks' income". Not even counting the integration. Big things just costs big money - that's life for you. If someone is so sensitive about this, they probably shouldn't watch anything related to rockets at all.


> even the boring test mass payload would also cost

Of course. I'm not talking about considered opinion, just knee-jerk human reactions to headlines.

You can tell people they're wrong if you want. Let me know how that goes for you.


> You can tell people they're wrong if you want. Let me know how that goes for you.

Yes, let's instead all nod and smile to people's inconsiderate knee-jerk reactions. Let me know how that goes for you.


>Musk sent a car into space as a publicity stunt.

This just seems like such a stretch for something to get mad at Elon about.

They needed to test the rocket. They used a couple of flight-proven (used) boosters that their competitors all would have throw into the trash, and instead of flying a hunk of concrete, flew one of Elon's cars.

The car, by the way, is symbolic in that it did usher in the end of ICE vehicles. Other companies tried to do EVs and failed, Tesla made it happen.

Is it really better if the car had sat in a museum instead? What better symbolism could there be than to put it into a sort of museum in orbit around our sun? The day we are able to go and visit that car will be another hugely symbolic turning point for humanity.


Would you rather he'd sent a block of precisely-weighed concrete into space, like other dummy payloads on other booster tests? I disagree that it's worse to send a publicity stunt instead of something more...respectful?...boring and completely useless.

I do agree that there are better things than publicity stunts to do with dummy payloads. You don't need to launch a multi-million-dollar satellite, but it would be low risk to launch a low-cost payload with corner reflectors for laser identification and distance measurement, chirping radio transmitters, or sensors, clocks, or radios for telemetry.

You can construct a Cubesat for on the order of $10k, but it used to cost 10x that to launch and now costs about that much for a SpaceX rideshare to SSO. Surely you could construct something with at least a little utility to use as a dummy payload.


I can't find a source for this info at the moment, but I believe Gwynne Shotwell saying that they'd actually approached NASA (and possibly other customers) and asked if they'd like to fly anything on the Falcon Heavy demo mission. Clearly, nobody took them up on the offer.

Wait until they land their first Mars rover. I wouldn’t be surprised if 25% of the available power gets dedicated to AV gear to send near real time HD 4K video back to earth. ‘Cause cool videos are what gets people excited and paying attention. And I for one can’t wait!

There's always been a large performative aspect to all things space related. Even the original space race was basically an odd performance, similar to a sports performance (hence the "race"). What it showed us is that these types of performances are deeply satisfying to the public, which gives hope to those who refuse to view human beings as purely caring about their own material situation or personal comfort. A lot of national treasure and even some blood was spent on that "race", and still it is quite popular.

I thought launching the car was genius. It captured the attention of so many people that otherwise would not be interested in the launch. Parents saw it as a way to capture their kids imagination (at least I did). Something had to go up, may as well not waste the experience. Wonder how many of Space X's contracts are a result of that moment.

They had to launch a test payload. Might as well make it a fun one too.

Musk offered NASA and the military a free satellite launch on the Falcon Heavy test, with the caveat it might blow up.

They didn't bite.


Serious != humorless

It was a test launch. The alternative would have been a block of metal.

I don't understand this narrative. Does Musk now own the private pursuit of space travel? Was he the one who kickstarted X Prize or SpaceshipOne 20 years ago?

Somehow Musk is a hero for SpaceX but Bezos is a wannabe for Blue Origin? Makes no sense.


Bezos and Blue Origin have been trying longer than Musk and Spacex but BO still hasn't even gotten to orbit. Of course they are wannabe's. What else would you call them? They wannabe as successful as SpaceX but they are nowhere close on any useful metric.

SpaceX doesn't own space, of course not. But BO isn't even a serious player yet despite 21 years of effort. SpaceX got to orbit on the fourth flight attempt, after 7 years of effort. Despite Bezos' protests to the contrary, it isn't even a contest.

Plenty to not like about Musk, but SpaceX is enormously successful.


Wannabe's is pretty harsh for a group of people that started first and achieved their goals second.

Wannabe's never do the thing. They don't seriously try to do it. I have no reason to defend bezos but people made a serious effort there and they would not be wannabes even if they failed

I'm a wannabe for launching weather balloons and model rockets with my kids from the comfort and security of my well paying public sector job


I appreciate your point. Upon reading my post, I should have limited the term wannabe to Bezos in regards to building a space company. I should never have faulted hard working engineers making a serious effort to accomplish something noble. The fault, as always, is most likely with management.

However, I do not agree with your definition of wannabe. You can seriously try to do something and still be a wannabe. Bezos has seriously tried to do this, but I don't think he can cope with the notion that while he is enormously successful (by many metrics) at Amazon, he may not be the right person to lead a space company.

Webster's definition of wannabe 1 : a person who wants or aspires to be someone or something else or who tries to look or act like someone else 2 : something (such as a company, city, or product) intended to rival another of its kind that has been successful


One aspect is that SpaceX actually succeeded in getting to space (orbit is what counts for the purposes of doing something useful in space or going any further in space, suborbital hops for tourists might technically check the box but is a dead-end) and Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin did not, despite starting earlier, making them at least in part actual "wannabe's" who have the desire to do what SpaceX does, but are not able to (at least for now).

> Was he the one who kickstarted X Prize or SpaceshipOne 20 years ago?

SpaceshipOne's design was a stroke of genius for the purpose of winning a narrowly defined contest. It is, however, a deadend when it comes to the pursuit of space travel: it can't even reach the Kármán line, let alone do any space travel (which requires orbital speeds at the very least), because it doesn't scale up.


My take is that both Musk and Bezos are megalomaniacs. However, Musk at least _appears_ to genuinely care about space travel and it's implications for the future of humanity.

For Bezos, it's just a dick measuring contest (and apparently influences his phallic rocket ship designs).


Envy has driven much of mankind's progress. Evolution provides us with these emotions because they work.

That's right. For the competitive people out there, you must know that when you are suppressing envy and being happy for other people's success you might be losing the competition against those other people. They might have the fastest car or the biggest house and that might sting, but you are showing the middle finger to Nature and/or God which is a much bigger achievement.

what else have envy and greed driven? What would the world look like without those inate human emotions? It might be a simpler place but potentially the worst of history could have been avoided.

> What would the world look like without those inate human emotions?

We'd be living nasty, brutish and short lives in caves.


I should make clear that I don't think Musk is good or anything, just that Bezos was jealous of the constant press and fan club.

Once narcissist infects spreads it to another, if anything.


> I should make clear that I don't think Musk is good or anything

Why are you concerned others might think you think Musk is good?

I think Musk is good.


I don't care if Musk is good; I think he does worthwhile, cool stuff. His moral standing is no more interesting to me than yours.

I'm not concerned what other people think I think in this case, I just want to remind other non-worshipers that they are not alone.

I'm very pro-Shatner here, I loved what he had to say. But I think other people were ready to party, and Bezos wanted to split the difference. Can't ignore the guys who spent over a million dollars each to be there, y'know?

I feel the same way.. Don't actually have a super strong opinion on Bezos either way, so reading a lot of the comments here.. They seem painted with loathing for him.

He's just a dude and was caught up for seconds with the party atmosphere while an old man was getting his words together. Yeah it was obvious to everyone watching he left Bill hanging, but he also seemed self conscious about that and came back to him..

Also, I call Bill an "old man" because he is. He's also one of the most present 90 year olds I'm aware of and is incredibly smart and with it. I would feel lucky if I was half as with it at 60-70, much less 90.


like you I hope I'm as present in my senior years! Female friends have entertaining stories about encounters with him from 17 years ago when he was 77!

> Shatner is much older and has less time.

When Shatner was talking about “is this death?”, I was wondering if, as a 90 year old, he has had this subject on his mind.


Very much struck me as a man suddenly confronting his own mortality and his place in the universe.

Okay, wow -- I had no idea Shatner was 90. He looks fantastic for his age

It's insane! Add to that that his mind is still churning. How much work did he do or how lucky did he get to accomplish that amount of health...

Shatner has devoted his life to commanding a stage. Of course he will come out looking best in that setting.

.. has less time. Think so. I'm there also

Shatner was clearly overwhelmed as you can see from the transcript and had trouble to put the experience to words already. The one thing that I noticed was how ironic I thought it was that Shatner described the vast blackness of space as death and Earth as life. Don't get me wrong, it's certainly true but just not what I would expect from Captain Kirk who would call that a great adventure instead, most likely.

It was jarring and a bit ironic* to hear William Shatner call space "black ugliness" and the embodiment of "death", for sure.

That said, I know we all get his meaning. This tiny blue dot, our collective "blue origin" (har), for humanity is life, livelihood... everything. And it's so fragile and insignificant against the immensity of the universe.

I wish all world leaders could have such an epiphany as he clearly had.

* Notably, Shatner is familiar to us as the confidently-space-faring Captain Kirk, a character that brought to the world the idea that space travel is the mundane, normal, expected next step for humanity.


I think realizing space is an embodiment of death is consistent with the "overview effect" - to realize we are lucky to have the earth keeping us all alive, and while we can develop technology to push us outward into the black, there is not necessarily anything there for us. Might be better to "make it work" on this planet rather than run for greener pastures.

In contrast to people super hyped about space I have a far more pessimistic view.

I feel that if the US spends enough money they will get to Mars, leave some instruments, and maybe go back a few more times, then … everyone will forget about it and move on - just like they did with the Moon.

I don’t get the talk of colonising Mars either. Who the heck would want to live there? After the novelty of “I’m on another planet!” wears off, all you got is a hostile environment that doesn’t support life. It’s a dead planet with insufficient oxygen in the atmosphere to support human life, no magnetic field to protect it, and significantly lower gravity than Earth’s (whose gravitational field our bodies have evolved to function in). Living anywhere but earth seem more dangerous and for most part is a less pleasant experience.

Frankly, if it did become economical to migrate to Mars and live there, it would probably be the poor who would end up on Mars due to the potential gentrification of Earth.

Not saying we shouldn’t make “escape plans” from earth - although with several billion of us I wonder how feasible an escape plan will really be and for how many - but some people’s view of the colonisation of space is a tad too positive IMHO.


> I don’t get the talk of colonising Mars either. Who the heck would want to live there?

I think the idea is more about creating some redundancy for humanity. Every day, there's a nonzero chance of some cataclysmic event happening that wipes out all human life on earth. If we had a self-sustaining colony on Mars, we'd be able to continue on.

But I agree with the take that you wouldn't want to live there until they have vineyards, and creating a vineyard on Mars is going to be orders of magnitude more difficult than creating a vineyard on the South Pole, or the top of Everest.


Your definition of fragile is different than mine. It's clearly antifragile as it has survived and thrived for billions of years.

Tell that to the dinosaurs.

Sure, the strongest and most adaptable life forms survived each mass extinction event, but our planet itself is middle aged in its “lifespan” of being able to support higher life forms. We (as in life on earth, not just humanity) don’t have much runway for that many more do-overs.

Space travel would be mundane if we could travel at warp speed to other welcoming dots lightyears away, but current the reality now is closer to what William Shatner described — “black ugliness” surrounding our beautiful blue orb.

I am following you here, but I also took this another way.

I think what this comment was about was a person who recognizes his own mortality but could put that against the backdrop of the bigger picture of our own shared human mortality.

I believe Shatner was recognizing the pure inhospitability of space to human life and the fact that we are propelling ourselves into it. If anything I think this was precisely a commentary on the very nature of the risk and adventure that space represents. Also a recognition of how much we thread the needle even just living on the Earth.

For if it were not that true exploration and adventure came at risk of life and limb, if the very risk of living did not include the risk of death, then what is it really? Thinking of the early explorers of the Earth, many who died doing so, and who risked it all in the name of exploration and adventure.

If I ever heard a more realistic characterization of what it truly means "to boldly go" where no one has gone before... I can't think of it.

I am eager to see further debriefing from Shatner, I think he will have much to say. In so far as they wanted to achieve sending a different kind of personality to space, to learn what human experience would be like, I think this was an incredible success.. putting all the commercial aspects aside.


It reminds me of a line from Flash Gordon when Emperor Ming says

Pathetic earthlings. Hurling your bodies out into the void, without the slightest inkling of who or what is out here. If you had known anything about the true nature of the universe, anything at all, you would've hidden from it in terror.


Scale is very hard for a human to grasp non-experentially.

You can view all the pictures in the world, but when you actually see the Grand Canyon in person, the scale hits you. This thing occupies the entirety of my visual field.

I imagine this is the same thing, but bigger and starker. A deep, dark black that is vast absence in the entirety of your visual field interrupted only by a bright blue globe.


same goes for the great wall of china. you can't really appreciate its dimensions until you have walked on it.

Growing up watching Star Trek, I experienced a shift in thinking. It imparted this idea that humanity's real home was among the stars and one day earth might be only a small part of human civilization. That we are capable of so much more. It was a beautiful, mind expanding idea.

I'm glad that Mr Shatner could have this profound experience. It sounds like he got to experience some of the same wonder and beauty that he portrayed through Star Trek, only aimed back at our home. There's a kind of circular completeness to it.

The earth is so precious and our lives so tenuous, we must strive to do better, to be better. The "ugly blackness" is terribly hostile and the "thin sheet" is all that stands between us and death.


His words are pretty moving, but it's a jarring contrast with the... uh, 'influencer' vibe I get from the people hanging out with them.

Yeah, Bezos struggling to keep his attention on Shatner's apparently-sincere attempt to express his feelings about the experience, because he was distracted by all the celebration crap around and didn't actually seem to be trying that hard to be present with Shatner, was really gross. I believe the kids call it "cringe", and this video had so much of it I had to turn it off.

The clip [1] was kind of gross. Shatner is standing there, trying to make a thoughtful, serious, genuine statement about his feelings, and Bezos is repeatedly turning his head away, looking at everything else, like a kid distracted by an iPad. The champaign popping and the women in the big sunglasses yelling "wooooooo" like they're at a dance club was just icing on the cake. Finally, after all the horseplay was done, he turned back and gave the guy a chance to articulate.

1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSNXBvpLb9o


to me, it seems like bezos did exactly the right thing. he got the champagne out the way, then listened to what shatner had to say. and then, when shatner got overwhelmed by emotions, bezos took off his sunglasses and hugged shatner, which was a really touching moment. it's really hard to listen to someone monologuing and not interrupt or distract them, probably more so if you're like bezos and used to being the centre of attention, but he does it and let's shatner have his say. good for both of them!

wow it sounds bad, but then you watch it and it's even worse lol. Poor Shatner.

How did you feel about the bit after the champagne when Jeff was giving Bill his undivided attention?

Well to be fair, his team is celebrating a successful (and safe) launch and recovery, as their boss it would be weird if he didn’t take a moment to participate in it.

Exactly, 100%. Shatner and what he's trying to convey is the So What of commercial space, and the influencer vibe on display is what so many sense about it as a reality.

there's a certain kind of person who is so hooked on attention and external signals they're almost zombie like.

The exact same reaction I suspect you had to this I had at the Holocaust memorial in Berlin, the big concrete block one that is really jarring in person, yet you have people running around spilling their drinks over it while they take selfies. People who are legit dead behind the eyes, they can't take in where they are any more. Realizing that scared the crap out of me


I never really had an opinion about Jeff Bezos, but after seeing this video and how he's interrupting Shatner to spray some champagne - man, I can't say I like Jeff a single bit.

A novice mistake. Never interrupt your expert employee (an actor) doing what they're good at. Leave it to the experts with lifelong acting experience to effuse on trivialities.

Not only to spray some champagne, after he did he just threw the bottle on the ground.

His people are celebrating a successful and safe launch and recovery. It would be weird as their boss to not partake at least a little wouldn’t you say?

Because it's not in the article:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overview_effect

> The overview effect is a cognitive shift in awareness reported by some astronauts during spaceflight, often while viewing the Earth from outer space


I blew my daughters mind a number of years ago after watching Horton Hears a Who - we're on earth, which is a tiny ball of dust in space - WE ARE THE WHOS.

I wonder if the Overview Effect influenced Shuttleworth to create Ubuntu.

Given the visceral intensity of this effect, it seems like the best hope for world peace or at least the continued survival of the human race is to send as many people into space as possible as soon as possible, starting with world leaders

Or, you know, legalize the hundreds of psychedelic plants that grow like weeds all over the world that have the same effect at an imperceptibly small fraction of the economic and environmental cost...

Anecdote featuring both: https://boingboing.net/2019/04/08/stewart-brand-talks-about-...

(Stewart Brand founded the Long Now Foundation)


Given that Stewart Brand is not himself an astronaut I suppose he has zero experience with overview effect and as such, cannot really vouch for the hypothesis that overview effect is similar to psychedelic experiences.

Sure, why not both

And leave them up there.

Along with the telephone sanitizers.

I have to wonder, given that astronauts in the past have talked about getting the Overview Effect from seeing all of the Earth pass beneath then, and that they'll have had hours to take this in - do people going 100km up over a single spot for 10 minutes really experience it?

Or have they just heard that the Overview Effect is a thing, and are projecting whatever it is they do feel while they're up there, onto it?


What's maybe most fascinating to me about the overview effect is that these sort of influential perspective shifts probably aren't unique to space per se -- it seems interesting and potentially important to understand when they happen and why. what sort of experience causes someone to have a radical change of perspective?

Shatner's comments really saved this as A Moment and should be all over commercial space's (and the overall space program's) marketing as the face of the So What.

The theme of folks self-congratulating themselves on another example of their exceptionalism is all over these events. It's a very long way from test pilots in the Air Force in the 50's, "The Right Stuff," and JFK's mission.

This is a cynical take and rich or poor, going into space is going into space. An intense act, and who knows how I'd respond. But the contrast in this video showed that theme a bit - champaign showering and other "correct" reactions, Bezos rocking an astronaut uniform for some reason, while Shatner is just standing there speechless. Glad The Moment landed with him.


“ They used to say if man could fly, he'd have wings. But he did fly. He discovered he had to. Do you wish that the first Apollo mission hadn't reached the moon, or that we hadn't gone on to Mars and then to the nearest star? That's like saying you wish that you still operated with scalpels and sewed your patients up with catgut like your great-great-great-great-grandfather used to. I'm in command. I could order this. But I'm not because, Doctor McCoy is right in pointing out the enormous danger potential in any contact with life and intelligence as fantastically advanced as this. But I must point out that the possibilities, the potential for knowledge and advancement is equally great. Risk. Risk is our business. That's what the starship is all about. That's why we're aboard her. You may dissent without prejudice. Do I hear a negative vote?” - Captain James T Kirk

Watching this live, my thought process was "Wow, Jeff has no soul, and Shatner just had a good talk with his own."

Very interesting to see an old man's reaction to space, though. I can't imagine topping off a good life with that experience.


I'm never certain whether I'm just imagining this, but you look out the window of an airplane at 30,000+ feet, and the sky isn't as blue as it is at ground level. And even standing on top of the kind of mountain an average person can climb - I made it to the crater plateau, but not the summit of Kilimanjaro (altitude issues) - and realizing that every breath you take has only half as much air in it as you're used to - makes you realize just how thin this atmosphere is.

I think scientists really do a terrible job of explaining that. When you look out the window, it appears the atmosphere goes on forever. Why not burn coal, let cars exhaust, and generally treat the atmosphere like a cheap sewer?

In reality, the more I've thought about this, the more appalled I become.

Many people have issues at 10k feet elevation. The FAA starts having different o2 requirements at 10k feet. 12k elevation gets very challenging to climb.

Yet I'll drive 12k feet to go to the grocery store and never thing twice about it.


"Pathetic earthlings. Hurling your bodies out into the void, without the slightest inkling of who or what is out here. If you had known anything about the true nature of the universe, anything at all, you would have hidden from it in terror."

I haven't seen that in ages...

It even looks like Flash Gordon's rocket!

Zarkov's rocket. Credit where it's due, please! :-)

Musk needs to build war rocket 'Ajax'.

And then launch Brian Blessed, who no doubt will have a few quiet words after his mission.

"That must be one hell of a planet you men come from!"

Shatner: “It’s so THIN! To… to.. To dirty it… I mean, that’s another whole subject… “

Jeff: “And you shoot through… what you were saying about… you’re shooting through it so fast!”

Smooth Jeff, smooth. "so, anyways..."


I was disappointed how Bezos handled that 'interview'. I understand that Shatner wasn't well articulated in that moment and that it took some effort to follow his thoughts as he still seemed to be in awe ("I hope that I can maintain what I feel now…") but Bezos' reaction was really shallow and he did not seem to be genuinely interested.

I'm glad I'm not the only one that noticed Jeff steering the discussion away from environmental concerns. It seemed more blatant than smooth though.

Jeff has talked at length about the need to stop polluting the Earth for very similar reasons. Why would he be trying to steer the convo away when Shatner had the same epiphany?

Totally blatant. My sarcasm didn't come across, I suppose.

This reminds me of a speech by the astronaut Russell Schweikart, which was partially featured (and where I first learned of it) in the video game The Witness.

The audio and transcript can be found here: https://www.organism.earth/library/document/no-frames-no-bou...


Cannot understate how influential the OG Star Trek was for me. Never saw Shatner in anything else (was too busy reading Clark, Heinlein, Dick, et al). So, he is still Captain Kirk, to me. His words are profoundly moving.

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