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Neil Armstrong: 1930-2012



Neil Armstrong, an unusually modest professional who considered moonwalk to be a job just like any other job, took this New World Symphony by Antonín Dvořák to his trip to Earth's only large natural satellite.




Exactly 40 later, in 2009, I combined the music (the final, fourth part "Allegro con fuoco" of the symphony, listen to the full piece) with the moving pictures above. Apologies that it wasn't optimized for similar sad moments. While I don't consider manned space flights a top priority, I do share the feeling that it's painful that the people have left the Moon – the mankind could soon find out that there is no living person who has walked on a celestial body – and I do think that someone should send people to Mars to make some progress in this obvious benchmark of the human power...

RIP Neil Armstrong.

(Because of the name, I can't avoid mentioning Lance Armstrong. The decision to strip him of all the titles and ban him for life seems cruel to me. I am no expert in these stories but it's my perception that his guilt has never really been proven – at least not an unusual type of substance – and the presumption of innocence was violated by the anti-doping authorities. So he remains the world's #1 cyclist in my eyes.)

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reader Shannon said...

Lance Armstrong has cheated, but they all do. He managed to cover up for a long time. When will some substance multiply our IQ ?


As for Neil RIP and on Earth.


reader Luboš Motl said...

It would be fun if we could just increase our mental powers! Some physicists have tried various... also drugs :-)... and in some cases, it was successful. ;-)


reader Shannon said...

I would volunteer to try one of those just for a day. In your case you wouldn't even feel the difference right ? ;-)


reader Luboš Motl said...

But it would be because you already *are* smart! ;-)


reader Shannon said...

Hem... yyyep :^)


reader Dilaton said...

I like these videos and the music :-).

To remember some glorious moments in the life of Neil Armstrong the soundtrack nicely fits its purpose.

I did not know that Dvorak (sorry for omitting the decoration of some letters, I'm not used to produce them :-P...) wrote such cool film music :-D


reader Honza said...

Henry David Thoreau: "Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk."


With Lence Armstrong it is pretty clear. I do not think there is any real doubt. Of course nobody can get anywhere near winning major cycling competitions without taking some doping these days. The problematic thing could be that he got kind of singled out.
It is a big business (cycling in this case) and they have to pretend that something is being done, so once in a while somebody gets busted. Of course, if it was done right, most of the top competitors would get busted and the whole sport branches would collapse. And nobody wants that to happen.
Why would you think that cyclists are any more honest than, let say, climatologists. ;-)


reader Luboš Motl said...

Hi Honzo, an interesting comparison. It's still my feeling that science depends on absolute standards of integrity while sports always depend on relative standards and habits - because without integrity in science, one simply doesn't get valid results sufficiently reliably. With reduced integrity and avoidance of drugs etc., one may still complete Tour de France and one may still have meaningful races if almost everyone takes comparable substances etc.


reader Honza said...

I am afraid it is not the case. If you are clean, you do not stand much chance.You can tell for sure that at times majority of athletes was taking something. (Look at THG, EPO... There were no good testing methods, and once they appeared, old samples were full of it.) I think that if you look at world records, which are at times reached using illegal substances and methods, you should see a drop in performance at the point where the particular sport branch gets cleaned. And you do not see much of it. Performance is steadily improving. The drop which can be associated whit withdrawing of the illegal substances is just not there. That makes it very plausible, that instead of not using anything, top athletes are just using something else, what is not being detected yet. And is is not that difficult to make something undetectable, specially something what is active in really tiny concentrations, like for example steroids (once again see THG).


reader chuck said...

I suppose the best evidence that Lance cheated was that he never tested positive. That is so unusual that it immediately raises suspicions.


reader Luke Lea said...

I agree with Lubos. I would like to see some hard evidence. Is there any? Why don't the authorities site it?


reader Honza said...

What exactly would you like to see? Chromatograms, raw analytical data? I do not know how much of this is publicly available, but I hope that USADA has all the necessary data handy. You do not publish accusations like this without any support: "The anti-doping agency found Armstrong used EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone, cortisone and HGH during his career, and that "scientific data" showed he manipulated his blood with EPO or blood transfusions during his comeback to cycling in the 2009 Tour." So I would say that hard evidence of him taking something is on the scoreboard and details are in the UDASA files. Interestingly enough, it looks like he was never taking THG. Who would guessed that?
Looking for evidence - start here and keep digging.

http://www.usada.orghttp://www.usada.org/media/sanction-armstrong8242012http://www.usada.org/media/statement6132012


reader Stephen KIng said...

Hear Hear!


reader papertiger0 said...

Of course, if it was done right, most of the top competitors would get busted and the whole sport branches would collapse. done right, most of the top competitors would get busted and the whole sport branches would collapse.




The only bicyclist anybody can name is Lance Armstrong - And I'm thinking some portion of his fame is a coincidence of reflected glory from the more famous owner of the name Neal Rip.


They could fire the whole lot of the also rans without pause or notice.


reader Honza said...

Well, they did. TdeF 1998 (
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Festina_affair) was a pretty big bust. TdeF 2008 had 6 people busted (I believe that was the first year they could actually test for EPO-CERA), 2006 TdeF Floyd Lendis was stripped of the victory for steroid use, another >10 riders expelled for doping. The only way you can claim that cycling is clean is if you really do not pay attention to that sport at all.


reader Jason said...

Luboš, you mentioned Neil Armstrong and Lance Armstrong, but you omitted to mention singer-songwriter Neil Young, who, according to NBC News, also walked on the moon.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_Young

http://www.examiner.com/article/the-secret-history-of-neil-young-astronaut


reader papertiger0 said...

Really!?! They already did it? Dropped the bomb on the whole kit-n-caboodle? Put some people in jail. Whole teams of cheaters dropping out, who would have never been found out except for the oddity of the Tour Of France starting in Ireland, coupled with a competent border guard.


And yet people still race bikes?

I rest my case.


reader Mike said...

Lance Armstrong was deprived of the medals he was awarded in the French competitions. I believe he cheated in the races. I remember he was highly praised in one article of Reader's Digest that I read in Hong Kong for overcoming the greatest barrier in his life, which was cancer he developed, recovering from the illness, joining the French cycling races again and winning 7 champions in the races. His story teaches me that the people who have succeeded in their careers may not be using the morally right tactics/ways to achieve the successful results.


reader papertiger0 said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hKSYgOGtos


reader Honza said...

Talking about Armstrongs - will nobody mention the Louis Armstrong?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2VCwBzGdPM


reader papertiger0 said...

Inappropriate thread jack.


He had his parade a long time ago... Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Pearl Bailey, Count Basie, Harry James, Frank Sinatra, Ed Sullivan, Earl Wilson, Alan King, Johnny Carson and David Frost. - all pall bearers at the funeral and all dead.
Long time dead.


And I must add that I resent the fetishism heaped on marginal characters by liberal historians. "Ambassador Satchmo" my lily white ass!
What "Ambassador Satchmo" really meant is that he was the Democrats state approved house negro, a political prop used to paper over the Democrats hundred years of antebellum racism. So they celebrate him in excess of his merit to this day just to prop up their lie..


reader Pops said...

It's all about ME! ME! ME!

http://www.soopermexican.com/2012/08/26/obama-remembers-neil-armstrong-with-a-big-picture-of-himself/


reader D_Johnson said...

For those of us of a certain age, another influential "Armstrong" was Jack Armstrong the All-American Boy, who was a daily radio listening habit.
Neil replaced him as a real hero. I had the pleasure of working on the Gemini and Apollo programs as a NASA contractor, and lived less than a block from Neil and his family at the time of the Moon landing. Also had the same aero engineering degree from Purdue, but he did so much more with his!


reader Gene said...

What a tirade!


You seem to be a very bitter man. I respectfully suggest that you honor those who are now gone but who struggled to make your world a better place.


reader Ann said...

Nice post, Lubos. It is sad to think soon there will not be any people alive who have walked on an extraterrestrial body. I hope we send people to Mars -- I know some willing subjects, too! :-) Sad about Lance Armstrong, people in Austin say he's a good guy and his Live Strong org has done some good.


reader papertiger0 said...

How was quieting the wagging finger of world disapproval at the Democrat led State policy of apartheid in America, making the world a better place for me?


reader vit said...

I think they should legalize doping in the professional sports. Of course, then they should make some kind of Chemists' Championship for the chemists who make substances for their team, just like Constructors' Championship in the Formula One. They also should add a bunch of "pit stops" during a race where athletes would "fuel" themselves. That would add another dimension in sport and make it more interesting, perhaps even inspire progress in pharmaceutical industry ;-).


reader papertiger0 said...

I prefer to think of it as lost the belly for sham.