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bear by san

March 2017



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writing genocide

Ave, Mars Phoenix lander.

Okay, totally stupid to get something in my eye over a robot.


Right there with you.
Oh, the poor darling. Thanks for the link; I didn't see it on Science Daily.

But here's something that might cheer you up.

But it could come back when the sun does!
The current estimates are that the weight of snow and whatnot will be enough to harm the solar panels sufficiently that they won't function next polar spring. Though of course Mars rovers have surprised us before; look how long the Twins are still going strong, when they were estimated to work for, what, 6 months or so?
As someone who works with robots in space, I don't think it's stupid at all.
My dad was part of a minyan saying kaddish for the PDP-1. Totally not stupid.
That just made me SMILE.
The first poem i wrote since the hippie days was about Viking lander. Asimov said that nobody wrote poems about Viking landers. So i wrote one and Asimov's mag rejected it... My first rejection slip... Sigh.
I wonder if part of the strength of humankind is this ability to anthropomorphize? Not a bug, but a feature?
Okay, I was pretty ambivalent until I went to read the Phoenix's Twitter feed (which I'd heard about but not read), and now suddenly I'm getting choked up. *sniff*

I think you're right, clarentine, about anthropomorphization. In a sense we have to anthropomorphize even other humans -- we have mirror neurons in our brains picking up on their emotional states so we can better model their behavior, and this capability is ~fundamental to consciousness as we understand it. (Can you tell I've been reading Anathem lately?) Basically we've got to carry around in our heads little models of the people we interact with, and so it's pretty natural, and often useful, for us to extend that to animals or machines.
Okay, now I don't feel like such a complete and total muppet.

Oh little robot, how we loved thee so.
It was a while back, when the docking/charging station for one of the early rovers died (after a past-expectations life), that I got all choked up. Imagining the poor thing trying to plug in and get recharged, and not getting much. All alone on Mars.
But such a charming little bot! I've had something in my eye all week, reading its last few tweets.
a sweet little robot indeed. Yes, it not only can, it did.
Dang it. Same here. No disassemble Number Five! ::dates self::

Edited at 2008-11-10 10:36 pm (UTC)

Sleep tight, little robot.
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
well shit.
I say we go and get him and bring him back. Just because we can.
Yeah. He belongs in a museum!!
My fondest wish that someday we go there, gather the little robot up, and bring it home to earth.
The last couple weeks of twitters from MarsLander have been quite reflective and thoughful.

I agree with other above - we're just going to have to go get it, aren't we?

- yeff
The saddest part is yet to come. Farewell, dear Phoenix.

I am beauty and cloud, and I am sorrow;
I am tears which you will weep tomorrow.

I am the sky and the exhausting gale.
I am the place of ice. I am the debris trail.


I am the one with truly broken heart.
I watched them fall, and freeze, and break apart.

-- Bill Manhire, Erebus Voices
I don't think it's weird, or strange ...

once in a great while, we manage despite our frailties and foibles to make something great, something that exceeds what we hoped we could do.

It is a herald for us, a message to the reaches of space that we're coming, and that some of us just want to learn
A bunch of us watched on the Big TVs at the lobby bar at Baycon as Phoenix landed. We cheered then for the successful landing and raised our glasses!
We now salute the little bot that could and Raise Our Glasses one more time in honor!
Sleep well, you've earned it.
(yeah, I got a bit misty eyed as well)
Damn, I'm going to miss that little guy. I didn't follow the program as closely as I did Pathfinder, but Phoenix's water find definitely caught my attention.

-- Steve's actually now watching a rebroadcast of BBC's Time Team as they do an archeological dig in France... of the crash site of an unrecovered Spitfire. Humans get so emotive over their machines.

PS: sorry, I just failed my saving throw vs. "utmost enthusiasm for the mission."
Hunh, the Globe and Mail gets in on the pathos thing and talks specifically about Phoenix's "Tweets" and the coming demise of the lander.

-- Steve particularly likes the winning choice of epitaph; "Veni, vidi, fodi." (Translation in the link, if you wish.)
Much nobler to mourn a robot than a lot of other things people make a deal over. I say, Mark Phoenix, R.I.P., gentle robot.