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Disaster means “bad star” Tuesday

Posted by James Dubois in Personal.

I give up.

I really do. Maybe it’s just not in the cards for me.


I really can’t talk now. I just wanted to vent.



1. Nick - Wednesday

Sorry if this is long. I think I needed to vent a little too.

People are always calling me a cynic. I remember that when I read that CHOIRS would cost “trillions of dollars,” I immediately wondered where the sting would be. But that said, hearing it from you, knowing that you’d be involved, no matter what IDG tried to pull, gave me hope.

I think that CHOIRS has the potential to be the most important engineering task humanity has yet engaged in. That was enough to get me nervous, and when I cast around, I found a lot of speculation and rumor, but real insider information was scarce on the ground. I first became a reader because your blog was the only primary source I could find besides the press releases, but along the way, and I’m sorry if this is getting sappy, I found that you were an intelligent and decent human being: Exactly the person I wouldn’t have dared to hope had been allowed to influence the project at all. HE design always seems to come down to cost-effectiveness, and people just interested in watching the bottom line find it real easy to cut things like “humanity” and “goodness.” You didn’t strike me as that sort of person.

It all boils down to this: However bad they want to make it (and your suggestive silence has made my nightmare scenarios quite bad indeed!), if you aren’t there to reign things in towards sanity, I promise, that will make it worse. I can’t tell you what decision to make, but I want to trust you to make the right one.

Again, sorry to give a comment longer than the original post, but I hope that at least my blabbering will get you talkative again. “Inquiring minds want to know…”

2. James Dubois - Thursday

InfraCorp is allowing me to talk about CHOIRS so I don’t want to burn that bridge by saying anything negative. It’s fully within their power to cut me off completely.

That said, I’m in danger of losing the project. I don’t believe that CHOIRS itself is in jeopardy (too much time and money has already been spent and the fees for reneging on contracts alone would bankrupt most small countries). But with my “pre-existing condition,” I’m not going to be able to see it through and I’ll (at best) be on the sidelines back on terra firma. Point of fact is that I can’t make the journey. I can’t be there when it starts. I can’t ever set foot on the thing I’ve worked so hard to create.

It’s like hearing about your child growing up but never seeing him.

Qiong faces a difficult decision now. Does she stay with me or does she go when the time comes? She knows how important this is to me. It’s not just a project, not just a job. It’s my heart that’s out there, a billion miles away. And without my heart, what am I? As dead and joyless as one of my robots, just existing, doing what needs to be done until the power is turned off or the parts break.

And you’re right. To me, CHOIRS isn’t just about the communications relay. That’s so minor! It’s about US going out THERE, farther and further than anyone’s gone before. No assurances that we’ll be okay, nothing on the horizon to tell us “we’ll be fine.” But that’s what life is all about!

Helen Keller said, “Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”

I believe that with all of my heart. And my heart is so very far away…

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