Random (but not really)

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Traveling: Washington DC

Friends were in DC for work on an overlapping weekend, so I went down so I could see them while they were closer than several days drive away.

Saturday, it was supposed to storm all afternoon, so we went to the Air & Space Museum Annex, to which I had never been.

One of the things I especially wanted to see was the shuttle.

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The heat tiles were more amazing that I had ever thought!

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Seeing the amount of wear on the tiles was both amazing and also made me a little sad, thinking that the loss of a tile caused the death of astronauts.

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One of the things I especially wanted to see was the restoration area. Since it was a Saturday, no one was working, but you could see what they were working on.

The restoration of a wood frame plane next to a WWII plane being restored.

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To give you an idea of how complex these various restorations can be:

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I was tickled (green, rather than pink) by this control panel.

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Michael figured out what the black rectangles below the phones were. That amused me even more.

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An odd looking piece of technology….

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With a name that amused me highly.

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I also looked at the WWI and WWII planes, because it astounds me that men were willing to go up into the air in those flimsy things and fight each other. I mean, the WWI planes had synchronizes for their machine guns so they could shoot *through* their spinning propeller without shooting themselves out of the sky.

One thing that surprised me was that the space section actually depressed me quite a bit–so many of the items in that are were for warfare. It seems so wrong that the achievement of leaving the planet was a small thing compared to the amount of time and money spent planning ways to destroy other humans.

But after further thought, it was more than that. The WWI and WWII planes didn’t bother me, because I could see the skill and bravery required to go up in one of those machines and engage in a duel with the enemy. (I have tremendous respect for all soldiers who place their own lives on the line to protect people they’ve never even met.)

Guided missiles, however, are ways to kill people from a great distance, requiring nothing more of the the person firing the weapon than to push a button.

Remember: I’m a pacifist. I believe that I personally cannot lash out at someone–even in self-defense. (It’s far more complicated than that, but that’s a decent summary.)

From that perspective, the idea of being able to kill without putting yourself in danger is mortifying. I understand the need for self-defense, even if I feel it is not an option I can take. But to kill without being in personal danger or to protect someone in your presence–that gives me cold chills.

So to see how much effort has gone into killing with missiles left me feeling shaken.

But besides that, I really enjoyed the museum–and even more enjoyed spending time with my friends: neurondoc, Jeri, and especially MWT, who I’d never met in person before.

I’m so glad I was able to spend all day Saturday with them.

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