Sunday, February 2, 2003 by Dave Winer.
Here are some points of view you won't get from television coverage of the Columbia disaster.
1. People die every day. Lots of people. Death is common, it's not unusual.
2. When people die it creates room for growth. In other words, nature abhors a vaccuum. Life goes on. And dozens of other homilies you won't hear on TV because they have a conflict of interest. They want to keep you glued to the set. They will never tell you "It's okay to resume your life now."
3. Space travel is more important than the seven people who died and the billions of dollars that were lost. Every time we've gone to space there were benefits that we didn't know about before, that we reaped later. The computer you're using right now is a product of lots of space missions. This is where the moon mission style of development came from. I'm a big believer in it because it produces results. Declare an impossible mission and then achieve it. Then take stock. There's a pretty good chance you invented something important along the way. But you were too busy to notice.
4. When a big galvanizing news event happens and I'm near a computer, I jump on it, with no holds barred. Why? Because that's the art I practice. The astronauts practiced a different art. My goal is to learn how to organize and distribute information in ever-more-efficient ways. With a speciality in timeliness. I welcomed Sept 11, we learned a lot from it. All that was in motion yesterday. And we learned even more. I sent Glenn Reynolds, editor of InstaPundit, a note yesterday asking him to remember where the glitches were in his editorial system, so in the coming weeks and months we could build more useful authoring tools that help him when he's shoveling bits from his inbox onto his weblog. And to make it all work better for users of news aggregators. Remember, if you can, amidst the tears, of ways you'd like the Web to work better in time of crisis. That's important stuff. That's a way you can make the world a better place, and it's a totally valid way to honor the memory of those who died.
5. Back to death being common. If television wanted to do us a real service they'd take the cameras into a nursing home or the pulmonary unit of a major hospital, right here in the US, and show people what dying is like in the world we live in. Some people don't know. I didn't until last year. The Shuttle astronauts were so lucky! They had amazing lives. They went to space. They were scientists so they knew it was risky. And they were lucky because they died quickly without much time for pain and long goodbyes. Yes it's sad they died. Yes. But it's also great that they lived.