Were you alive back when President Kennedy ensured that the U.S.A. reached the moon before the U.S.S.R.? I remember being in grade school and seeing news reports of a renewed emphasis on Science and Math in U.S. schools, and how the entire nation was gripped with excitement, breathlessly following the reports of trial and error so inherent to scientific exploration of the space beyond our own tiny ball of mud and water in space. I remember thinking that if we could have astronauts walking on the moon and I was just a kid in elementary school, imagine where astronauts would be walking once I was an adult!
So now, almost 50 years later, where are we walking? Not on the moon anymore. Not on any other planets. And if you ask most people what's going on with NASA and the space exploration programs, you will get blank stares or heated lectures on how we need to stop funding such "nonsense" and instead put tax money to work solving the problems we've created for ourselves here on our home planet. "After all," the speaker will opine piously, "What benefits have we ever gotten from wasting all of that money on the space program?"
Indeed. Just thinking off the top of my head, I can name things we take for granted like Velcro, thin fabrics that hold heat in without bulk, disposable diapers, dehydrated foods, microwaves, and technology so small that the computers that used to fill entire rooms with punch-cards and moving dials, are now held in the palm of a hand while toddlers play endless on-line games to keep themselves amused while Mom and Dad ignore each other to text other people or surf the web while they wait for their fast food in the restaurant.
In his book, The Demon-Haunted World, http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17349.The_Demon_Haunted_World, Carl Sagan talks about being a passenger in taxis all over the country, and invariably if the driver recognized him, he would be asked his opinion of the various "scientific" ideas the driver was interested in...things like, "Did aliens really land here in the 40s and their bodies and technology are being kept secret from us?", and "How can you say there's no such thing as magic and ESP? I just read in (name any national tabloid) about someone who can..."
And Carl Sagan would sigh heavily, sometimes attempting to explain that these things are all the work of charlatans, and that if the person really is interested in science, they should try reading about what NASA is doing these days, about the exciting things being discovered through our participation on the International Space Station, or the miracles of modern medicine discoveries, etc. At that point the driver would invariably get angry or quiet, upset that the famous Carl Sagan really didn't know anything about "science" after all...at least not about the stuff he was interested in.
The statistics these days tell us that the U.S. is 14th in the world in student achievement in Science, and 18th in Math. This, from a country that used to lead the world! But I'll bet today's students can all identify "Honey Boo-Boo", and navigate quickly on their smart phones to the Twitter feed from the Kardashians, which they follow religiously. Sigh.
Years ago Eleanor Roosevelt said, "Simple minds talk about other people. Average minds talk about events. Great minds talk about ideas." Yet here we are, in the western world, many of us taking for granted the knowledge of the whole of humanity available on the internet, and what is the primary use for this access? Downloading extreme porn and chatting on social networks about other people.
All of my observations here are to introduce the second of my Mayan Vampire novels, Mayan Prophecy Fulfilled. What? How can a fiction novel, an erotic vampire romance at that, have anything to do with such lofty ideas? In my fictional world of these two novels, I present a reason that curiosity has faded in humanity, and why despite our inherent desire to learn, instead we wallow in the ordinary, celebrate the sub-human (hello, reality TV), and more people vote for American Idol than vote for the U.S. President. In my books, the aliens that visited our planet before brought vampirism with them, along with directions: encourage humanity to propagate, but don't let it evolve so far that independent space travel is achieved. Keep the masses well-fed but dumbed-down, so they won't present any problem when the aliens return in 5,000 years to take more humans back to their planet with them.
The first book, Prophecy of the Undead, introduced my ideas. The second book, Mayan Prophecy Fulfilled, ends with the aliens returning to find a world changed in ways they didn't expect.
To learn more, please visit my website, www.fionamcgier.com.
Both books are available at the usual places, like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, All Romances Ebooks.com., and Coffeetime Romance.com. But the best price is usually at the publisher, and if you go to: www.eternalpress.biz, log-in to prove you are over 18, and use the code 289snake when you check out, you will save 28% off your purchase of my two eBooks.
And to answer my question about Curiosity, that's the name of the space exploration vehicle currently sending back spectacular data from Mars. Go to this site to watch some interesting short videos explaining various issues about space travel. The one I've linked to is the one from NASA telling us why the planet didn't end on December 21, 2012, at the end of the Mayan long-count calendar's 13th Baktun.