Who"s davidlian?

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davidlian is an ultra-geeky chinese dude that works for a technology PR agency. He loves fiddling with techno-toys, plays Warhammer 40K, and shoots pictures wherever he goes. Here, he rants about PR, Technology and anything else. Don't expect balance and un-biased, he ain't no journalist. Anything said on this blog are solely davidlian's personal views. Don't confuse them with company mantra, client's views or views of any organisation he may be part of.


Monday, October 8, 2007

50 years of Sputnik!

If I could go back and change my name, I'd name myself... Sputnik! Cool name, yeah? Well, there's actually a story behind the name, and little did anyone guess that a simple metal ball that could beep would hurtle man towards the space age.

Sputnik was the crowning glory of the Soviet Union (the then USSR) and shocked the US into the realisation that perhaps, just perhaps, there was a civilization outside their own that was ahead of them in the technology race. On October 4th 1957.

As the story goes (the one I'm making up right about now), one morning some staff at the United States Space Research Centre woke up early that morning, made his cup of coffee, trained his telescope towards space as he had always done and then... "CRASH!" spilt coffee. "What is that Metal Ball up there?"

Bemused, Sputnik beeped.


Of course, as history would tell us, this then resulted in a fevered rush for advancement that meant science became the most important subject in class.

But what I'm trying to say is, if not for Russian innovation and Sputnik, we probably wouldn't have a lot of the technology, research and innovation we all have today. Imagine if the internet was invented 30 years later, I'd be 50 before I could get on ICQ. So, those of us young whippersnappers who care nary a thought for dear old Sputnik, remember this: this interesting world of Tech-overdose you live in, of wirelessly transmitted voice and blinking screens in your face, wouldn't have been yours if it wasn't for a simple, nondescript metal ball in space that beeped.

This world would've been your grandchildren's.


Kelvin said...

You do realise, my dear David, the irony of your observation. I refer specifically to your statement on how the US suddenly finds itself shocked at the realisation that someone else has beaten itself to it at the technology race game.

I wonder if anyone really realises the irony in that all of our wondrous cultural reformations and connectivity that is known as the space race (and by that extension, the Web) is in fact a by-product of humanity's chequered past and appetite for war. Sputnik was Russia's answer to America's Star Wars initiative. Had it not been for World War 2 and the Cold War, America would not have been as driven to send satellites up into the sky. Obviously, I need not remind anyone that the Web was in fact created to firstly and foremost facilitate for the US military's communications needs.

Fast forward that by 50 years. The origins of the Web as we know it is far forgotten, and as we feverously log onto Facebook and send packets away on Messenger, I like to people to stop every now and then and realise that the comforts of their connected world stemmed from a far sinister origin. War, for better or worse, gave us Google. And YouTube. And Friendster. And Amazon.

Unfortunately for us, it also gave us TMNet.

davidlian said...

Hi Kel,

Precisely. But I think metal balls beeping in space are so much cuter than morbid war storeis. :)

Anyway, come'on, this is Sputnik. It's got way more character than that Neil Armstrong guy. :) :)