Three Definitions

DRM

Joined
Sep 4, 2002
Messages
479
1- Zero Gravity

When NASA first started sending up astronauts, they quickly discovered that ball-point pens would not work in zero gravity. To combat this problem, NASA scientists spent a decade and $12 billion developing a pen that writes in zero gravity, upside-down, on almost any surface including glass and at temperatures ranging from below freezing to over 300 C. The Russians used a pencil. Your taxes are due again -- enjoy paying them.

2 - Our Constitution

They keep talking about drafting a Constitution for Iraq. Why don't we just give them ours? It was written by a lot of really smart guys, it's worked for over 200 years and we're not using it anymore.

3 - Ten Commandments

The real reason that we can't have the Ten Commandments in a Courthouse is that you cannot post "Thou Shalt Not Steal", Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery" and "Thou Shalt Not Lie" in a building full of lawyers, judges and politicians. It creates a hostile work environment.
 

Esav Benyamin

MidniteSuperMod
Joined
Apr 6, 2000
Messages
90,915
1- Zero Gravity

Great story. Not true. Courtesy of Urban Legends Reference Pages (Snopes.com):

Claim: NASA spent millions of dollars developing an "astronaut pen" which would work in outer space while the Soviets solved the same problem by simply using pencils.

Status: False.

The lesson of this anecdote is a valid one, that we sometimes expend a great deal of time, effort, and money to create a "high-tech" solution to a problem, when a perfectly good, cheap, and simple solution is right before our eyes. The anecdote offered above isn't a real example of this syndrome, however. Fisher did ultimately develop a pressurized pen for use by NASA astronauts (now known as the famous "Fisher Space Pen"), but both American and Soviet space missions initially used pencils, NASA did not seek out Fisher and ask them to develop a "space pen," Fisher did not charge NASA for the cost of developing the pen, and the Fisher pen was eventually used by both American and Soviet astronauts.
 

Esav Benyamin

MidniteSuperMod
Joined
Apr 6, 2000
Messages
90,915
On two occasions I have been asked, 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.

-- Charles Babbage
 
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