Rest in peace Neil. You were and always will be the beacon of achievement for all of us!
Speak for yourself.
Does it look like I'm speaking for the whole population? I've clearly stated "me" and "my friends and [some] people close my age". Sincere congratulations if you've managed to become the next Alan Turing but next time leave the snarky comments for yourself buddy. Thanks!
OP is saying the school system is shit. You're saying a gifted person can do well regardless of the school system they're in. I'm saying the gifted need well educated people to help them realize their vision.
Everyone losses, even the self educated, with a poor school system.
In response to your point, I think that the problem is much more one of opportunity than drive. For example, I went to a private high school that costs slightly more that the poverty line for a family of 4 (as did my 2 siblings). My mom was able to leave her job, and stay home with me, where she taught me the fun parts of math (knowledge which made school math classes bearable). Later, when I was in high school, my mom started volunteering, where she met the wife of a fairly well known computer science professor at a local university. She arranged with him for me to get a summer internship there, after which point I had a brief phone interview, where I answered almost nothing about my abilities. A few days later, I got an e-mail saying that the robotics lab (where I would have prefered working) couldn't take me, so I had to settle to work in his lab, at 10$/hour - after I offered several times to work for free. While at his lab, I did a reasonable amount of work, but nothing that impressive. One of the things I did was help one of the graduate students with their research project, which involved a web crawler to collect data, and a machine learning algorithm to analyze it. I did some incremental improvents to the crawler, but nothing that impressive. I also wrote the machine learning "algorithm" which was a 250 line program that took data from an sql database, and fed it into a machine learning library, then printed out the results. For all of my being driven, I ended up being a co-author on a published research paper before I even applied to colleges.
Of course, I am just one person, so we cannot generalize from my example to say that it is the parents that do the work. What we can say is that the children of poor parents are disproportional likely to end up poor. This means that you can, with a high degree of accuracy, predict a childs future success before they are born. If this is the case, they we cannot blame the child for his failures, because we knew that he incredibly likely to fail before he even had a chance to influence his own life. This leads us to the conclusion that there is something going on outside of the control of the poor that is making it difficult for them to improve their lot in life. Looking at it this way, we might notice that the rich tend to spend large sums of money sending children to schools that the poor cannot afford. The rich tend to be more available to their young children, either by leaving their job, or only having 1 job. The rich know other succesfull people, who are an automatic network to get their children jobs and such.
In fact, looking back on my own life, and the lives of many of my rich classmates, It seems like we also tend to fall into the same patterns as our parents; those patterns just happen to be successful. This is almost the definition of a rigid class system, and it is something we should be working on moving away from. In an ideal world, even if you knew everything about the parents of two different children, you should have no way of guessing (with better accuracy than a coin toss) which of the children will be more successful.
There is nothing wrong with a class system if it still allows for mobility of exceptional individuals, and ours does.
--- Neil Armstrong.
An inspiring man. RIP.
My favorite Neil Armstrong quote. Has some relevance to how we think as entrepreneurs.
That, more than one small step, made him a hero worthy of being remembered for the phrase "for all mankind." He made me want to be a better man myself, and to build things of more lasting importance.
I wish we had more Armstrongs. Truly inspiring man indeed...
Do I think we take our information-rich world for granted? Yes. Does that make us lazy or in any way bad? No.
To me, "the number of people doing nothing but indulging themselves is proportionally larger" sounds like a good thing, a clear indicator that we've come a long way - we're so well off now that you don't actually have to do anything useful in order to survive. That's awesome, to the extent that it's true.
Our goal should be a day when nobody has to work, and everything that we want done happens anyways. We're still pretty far from that, but I think motion in that direction is a positive indicator, not a negative one.
On a related note, the book "Childhood's End" covers this topic quite well from my point of view. In the end, no one had to move a finger for anything. And it was damn boring and counter-evolutionary...
That interest in space, fostered by the examples of Neil and other early space explorers, translated to a lifelong passion for pushing science and technology forward. I'm sure many people here can say the same.
Neil's accomplishment, which he of course shares with the countless others who (literally) lifted him up and made his mission such a success, is one of the most inspirational achievements in the history of this planet. May it continue to inspire many more!
"Pilots take no special joy in walking," Armstrong once told a group of well-wishers at an air show who wanted to hear what it had been like to walk on the moon. "Pilots like flying."
And there weren't 13 moon walks after Apollo11, there were 26 in total. There were13 periods of EVA, each with two astronauts.
Curiosity is a great mission, but I'm still more impressed with the Viking missions.
The soviets were also the first to land on Luna in 1966  and on Venus in 1975
It is rather sad, that one of the latest and more detailed interviews filled with personal insights, thoughts and comments came from an Australian CPA organization. I know why the connection is there, the disappointment is in the news organizations here locally. NBC even screwed the name as Neil Young when they announced the death.
How his death is handled, as a society, shows how we treasure what he stands for and what the priorities are.
He made a good comment in the last part how probably the best thing NASA did was inspire young people to do the best they can do, to dream of becoming engineers and scientists. What is there today to inspire that? Writing video games? Is flying larger probes with bigger cameras to Mars?
One can argue we need a good global threat so we have a competitor. Maybe that's true. If we don't have one, we surely invented some. Goat herders in Pakistan or cocoa growers in Colombia. Maybe our children will be inspired by building stealthier drones to more efficiently eradicate goat herders in a country half way across the world.
"The universe is probably littered with the one-planet graves of cultures which made the sensible economic decision that there's no good reason to go into space--each discovered, studied, and remembered by the ones who made the irrational decision."
Personally, I'm optimistic that there'll be boots on the moon sometime around 2020 (although I suspect they won't have NASA logos on them). Looks like there will be 2-6 moonwalkers left to see that, with a 90% confidence interval...
I hope we will return to the Moon or better go to Mars before the last Apollo astronaut has died.
Edit: it was his CBS 60 minutes interview that can be seen here:
see 12:20 mark. (you have to go through 2 commercials, unfortunately)
Edit2: more direct link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbIcqTEuxvw near end (only 1 commercial!, but only less complete excerpt)
The article currently is just a stub. I imagine this is related to the heart bypass surgery he underwent a couple of weeks ago:
corford 1 hour ago | link
It looks like it's true :( More informative article here: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/neil-armstrong-man-moon-dea....
3E - Are you sure?
It stuck in my mind, as humanising people who otherwise outstrip us who in all ways look up to them.
He will be sadly missed.
It might have been http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/When_We_Left_Earth:_The_NASA_Mi...
(I certainly remember Charlie Duke talking a lot !)
Back to the moon for good - or a lot of good people wasted their time.
What an achievement. May he rest in peace.
RIP Neil Armstrong