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Moriarty Stands IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON And Meets Buzz F@#kin’ Aldrin!

Hey, everyone. “Moriarty” here. Writing about movies leads to the strangest opportunities sometimes, and the other night was one of those moments for me. As long as I can remember, I have considered the US space program to be one of the greatest accomplishments of mankind on any level. There’s something about the idea that we looked up at the night sky, pointed at the moon, and said, “We are going there” that moves me. The notion that we can do something as monumental as leaving our planet is an indication of just what we are capable of as a species, and when I find myself discouraged or cynical about the state of things, I just think of the best of what we can do, and it restores my faith. I spent much of my childhood and teenage years in Florida, and one of the best things about growing up in the Tampa area was being close to Cape Canaveral. As a result of that, I was fortunate enough to see many, many launches of various types over the years. I went to a few launches, even skipping school for some of them so I could see them up close. Sorry about that, Mom and Dad... but it was worth it. Even cooler in a way were those nights when they would put up a launch, and my family could just sit on the back porch of our house in Tampa and watch the launch from there. Seeing that flame tear across the night sky is one of the most amazing memories I have. So when I was asked if I wanted to attend a screening the new documentary IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON and then attend a reception where I’d be able to meet the director as well as presenter Ron Howard and Buzz Aldrin, my answer was, “How soon do I need to be there?” The event got me there... but the great news is that the film is fantastic in its own right. I find it somewhat hilarious that one of the most unabashedly pro-American films I’ve seen in recent memory was created by a largely British crew, headed by director David Sington. This is a movie about the space program, yes, but in a larger sense, it’s a movie about a time when America was a world leader for all the right reasons, when we lived up to the promise of our nation, and when we managed to do something great simply because we could. What makes this film impressive, even if you’re a space junkie who has seen all the major documentaries and who has seen as much of the archival footage as has been out there, is that somehow they’ve actually come up with brand-new footage from the entire series of Apollo missions. And not a few shots here and there, either, but reams of new material, and some of it is downright revelatory. Sington’s pulled off some clever technical tricks, too, like taking radio transmissions from Mission Control and synching them up to previously silent footage to create the definitive record of certain events. What makes the film great, though, is the amazing access that Sington and his crew had to the remaining members of the Apollo missions. The interviews they got with these guys make up the meat of the movie, and this is where IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON really distinguishes itself. As Ron Howard said when we spoke after the film, “When I was researching APOLLO 13, I talked to so many of these guys, and what I noticed is that one-on-one, they’re all so funny and amazing and human, and the stories they tell are remarkable, but in most of the official NASA footage, you get the feeling that they’re on-message... that they’re protecting their image.” Many of these guys are in their 70s now, though, and what happened as Sington started to gather these interviews is that they finally loosened up. Here, finally, I think all the caution that they’ve understandably had to exercise over the years as public figures has been set aside. It’s strange... these are guys whose names are in history books. They aren’t just famous. They go way beyond famous. There’s famous, and then there’s legendary, and these men have all been part of something so large that we’re still processing it as a culture. And as a result of how enormous their accomplishments were, it’s easy to forget that they are human, first and foremost. Or it would be, except Sington has created a remarkable record here, and in the future, any serious study of what these men did will have to include this film. That’s amazing. It’s one thing to create a movie that tells the story of the Apollo missions, but it’s another thing entirely to craft a document that adds to our cultural understanding of something that affects each and every one of us. The way the Apollo missions are laid out in this film won’t really be a surprise to anyone already familiar with the events, and I assume if you’re even contemplating going to see a documentary about the Apollo missions, you’ve probably seen FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON, which is, of course, fucking great. And you’ve most likely seen APOLLO 13, as well, so it’s not like you’re going to be surprised by the narrative. What will surprise you is the intimacy and the warmth of hearing the stories directly from the astronauts. Buzz Aldrin’s been a very public spokesperson for the space program for years, and in a way, he’s sort of become fossilized in the way he tells them. And I only mean that in the way that anyone who speaks about something thousands of times must become a little... rehearsed. Sington must be an amazing interviewer, though... and since he’s not part of the documentary, I have no idea how he steered the conversation, how he got Aldrin to open up and suddenly speak about his experiences in a fresh way again. But it’s not just Aldrin... it’s Alan Bean and Eugene Ceman and Michael Collins and Jim Lovell and Dave Scott and pretty much everyone... ... with one very notable exception. The one guy you won’t see in this film, aside from the Apollo astronauts who are no longer alive, is Neil Armstrong. “The First Man On The Moon.” And according to the press notes, Armstrong simply declined to be involved. That choice becomes important to the way Sington’s film works, though. Armstrong is larger than any of the others in terms of mythology because of that phrase, and Armstrong’s been acutely aware of it for the last thirty-something years. He’s always been press-shy, so the portrait of him that emerges in the film is entirely from archival footage or the interviews... the way the men around him describe him. And in offering up the other Apollo astronauts as the ones to speak for him, Sington seems to make them all equal. Suddenly, “The First Man On The Moon” is just one of the Apollo astronauts again... no different than them, no greater than them. He’s just one of them, a guy who did this amazing job as part of a giant program. He had a particular role to fill, and he filled it, just like they all did. Of course, their job was going to THE MOON. As much as the going there makes these men exceptional, so does the idea that they’ve lived with it ever since. Can you imagine what that must do to you psychologically... or spiritually? You shake off the shackles of this planet and gain a vantage point on it that only a handful of other people will ever share. You can describe it. You can show pictures to people. But they can’t really understand what you went through, and they can’t share that experience with you ever. This film gets into that, and you get some sense of the overall cumulative impact it’s had on them, which is one of the most interesting things about it to me. And no matter what, I get the feeling from this film that not one of them would trade the experience for anything. After the screening, I made my way out to the lobby, where a small reception was underway. The publicists from 42West made sure to walk me over to Ron Howard first so we could talk for a few minutes, and one of the things that struck me is that Howard and Tom Hanks are both from a generation that grew up absolutely crazy about astronauts. They dreamed about space and idolized these guys, and it’s no wonder they’ve dealt with these stories in their work. I hope that a film like this might serve in some small way to pass that dream down to a younger generation of kids. Something’s got to spur them to believe in exploration and the thrill of discovery and the promise of space, because right now, shuttle launches hold all the romance of a city bus schedule for kids. After I talked to Howard for a few, I was led over to the other side of the lobby where I got a chance to spend about ten minutes talking to Buzz Aldrin. Like I said... he’s been one of the most visible faces of the space program for the last 40 years, and talking to him, part of me was aware that he was in full-on salesman mode, talking to me about his children’s book or his other publishing efforts. But part of me was simply humbled to know that in a town where I regularly deal with people who pretend for a living, this was a man who did something real, something that made us better as a species. I was humbled to shake his hand, and driving home to Northridge, I found myself looking up, hoping for a glimpse of the stars overhead.

Drew McWeeny, Los Angeles

Readers Talkback
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  • Aug. 27, 2007, 3:29 a.m. CST


    by Fortunesfool

    Yay. On a serious note though isnt this just a filmed version of the book, Moon Dust? Gotta piss off the writer of that, surely?

  • Aug. 27, 2007, 3:31 a.m. CST


    by OtisSpofford

    I met Neil Armstrong when I was a Boy Scout - most other things pale...

  • Aug. 27, 2007, 3:35 a.m. CST


    by OtisSpofford

    I know I have a few years on you - saw the moon landing when I was 14... I was at Scout camp and they showed us footage on a large screen - I couldn't stop staring at the moon, thinking that there were PEOPLE up there at that very minute, so far away... I hoped to see a manned landing on Mars within in my lifetime, but part of me fears the people heading into space for the wrong reasons will trash other planets like they've done this one... But I still like to dream, and hope... Thanks for reminding me of all that, Mori.

  • Aug. 27, 2007, 4:05 a.m. CST


    by palimpsest

    That's a great book. Go read it, kids.

  • Aug. 27, 2007, 4:13 a.m. CST

    countdown until...

    by DocPazuzu

    ...conspiratards descend on TB to claim the moon landings were faked in T-minus 10... 9... 8... 7... 6...

  • Aug. 27, 2007, 4:16 a.m. CST

    Greatest thing ever:

    by DocPazuzu

    Buzz Aldrin punching tinfoil-hatter fuckstick who accused him of never going to the Moon: <p>

  • Aug. 27, 2007, 4:39 a.m. CST

    How cool.

    by Trancer

    Pretty well sums it up.

  • Aug. 27, 2007, 4:51 a.m. CST

    Fucking great review, Perfesser

    by ErnieAnderson

    Now more than ever, I must see this movie.<p> Thanks.

  • Aug. 27, 2007, 5:33 a.m. CST


    by kwisatzhaderach

    Hilarious clip. I guess if I had gone to the moon and some idiot came up to me and said I hadn't i'd punch him in the face too.

  • Aug. 27, 2007, 5:36 a.m. CST

    Err - Best piece of...

    by BobWalnut

    ...writing I think I've come across on this site. Didn't even have to get my mental red pen out. More please.

  • Aug. 27, 2007, 6:35 a.m. CST

    That's Eugene Cernan

    by Dave Bowman

    Not "Ceman".

  • Aug. 27, 2007, 7:08 a.m. CST

    I kept a scrapbook

    by BDT

    of all the Apollo flights from 8 to 13. My mom was cleaning the house one day and threw it out. The space program was a big part of my early teens. About 5 years ago, I had an opportunity to visit NASA in Houston. It both made me very happy and very sad. It hadn't seemed to change much from the 70s and it really took me back to that time in my life. But for the same reason it made me sad, because it seemed to be stuck in an era and hadn't really kept up with the times. The hopes of America's future seemed like a pipedream of the past and the whole facility seemed more of a museum to preserve that special time in our history rather than to be sitting on the cutting edge of "the final frontier".

  • Aug. 27, 2007, 7:31 a.m. CST

    Hey Moriarty!

    by saintaugust

    How does this stack up against Al Reinert's For All Mankind?

  • Aug. 27, 2007, 8:15 a.m. CST

    Note to Moon-landing deniers...

    by judderman

    Don't cross The Buzzer. Seriously, just ask Bart Sibrel, Moon-hoax advocate and cocksucker extraordinaire, who called Aldrin "a coward, a liar and a thief" for refusing to place his hand on the Bible and swear that the moon landing was real, whereupon Buzz punched him in the face.

  • Aug. 27, 2007, 8:22 a.m. CST

    not denying the moon landing, but here's a question

    by Holodigm

    i thought of this while reading mori's review - if neil armstrong was the first man on the did the camera get there? not trying to challenge anyone, i just genuinely want to know.

  • Aug. 27, 2007, 8:34 a.m. CST

    Faked moon landings

    by BendersShinyAss

    There's really nothing more to be said of moon landing conspiracies. Some say we went, some say we didn't. There's a ton of movies on youtube that are much more interesting to watch - rather than the shit storm thats about to start in here -- <p> Personally though, I don't give a rats arse whether we went or not, I just want to know IF we're going there in the future. <p> You want to know somethign really interesting? When they left the surface and released the main engine body of the craft it fell back to the moon and when it hit the surface the earth'moon'quack that resulted set of a ring that lasted an hour - leading many scientists at NASA pondering the moon is hollow. <p> they also deduce the Earth may be hollow, and thats the reason why on a smaller Earth, like a deflated baloon, ALL the continents fit perfectly together.

  • Aug. 27, 2007, 8:50 a.m. CST


    by DocPazuzu

    I knew you'd show up, but I was expecting GingerTwit to get here first. You've gone on record in TBs as having an "open mind" about whether they actually took place or not. Don't try to make it sound like those who doubt it are as credible as the ones who believe the overwhelming evidence and documentation that they actually did.

  • Aug. 27, 2007, 9:21 a.m. CST

    interesting article

    by Bloo

    I'm not going to get into the whole "moon landing is fake" argument mainly because it's 9am and I have better things to do with my time at work...ok not really I don't I'm just baffled at how anyone can think the moon landing was faked<P>nonetheless Mori I agree with you that htis generation has lost it's sense of wonder when it comes to space exploration. I remember my dad getting me up early in the morning or late at night to watch shuttle launches. The same man who introduced me to Star Wars and Star Trek, and Close Encounters, and Logan's run, who loved all things sci-fi, also loved the real deal, telling me about Sputnik and looking up at the stars with me through my cheap JC Penny telescope and laying out by the lake and watching the sattilittes fly by. I remember seeing the challenger explosion and the first shuttle launch after that and then the Columbia(?) one that happened several years ago. I don't know if it's a growing "ADD" complex among our youth where verything must be presented to them in quick flashes and sound bites, if it's the readily available information at their fingertips, if it's the CNN instant news updates of everythg and anything, or even if it's NASA for scheduling more day launches and landings and more launches period, but there lacks among the younger generation a sense of wonder and excitement about when a shuttle is launched and when it comes to space exploration in general.

  • Aug. 27, 2007, 9:30 a.m. CST

    Nice review :)

    by Col. Tigh-Fighter

    And you stated very elequently how I feel about life. "and when I find myself discouraged or cynical about the state of things, I just think of the best of what we can do, and it restores my faith" <p> This is what keeps my sunny demeanor. :)

  • Aug. 27, 2007, 9:31 a.m. CST


    by BendersShinyAss

    ...and i knew you'd be onto me faster than a fly on a fresh turd. Should I consider this a warning to 'say no more'? ... Everyone can have their say - regardless of how outlandish it may seem. I enjoy reading talkback. I enjoy watching you police it.

  • Aug. 27, 2007, 9:35 a.m. CST


    by DocPazuzu

    As usual, you feel it's everyone's right to say what they please, but as soon as someone disagrees with you or calls you a tool you start weeping like a little girl sitting in a sandbox full of broken glass and cat shit. <p> Man up or fuck off.

  • Aug. 27, 2007, 10:01 a.m. CST


    by Mr. Nice Gaius

    Ed Bradley (RIP) from 60 MINUTES did a rather fascinating interview with Neil Armstrong sometime back in 2005. The "wow factor" of this was rather two-fold = not only was it a shock to see Neil's face onscreen, but it was a pleasant surprise to finally hear some of his insight into all-things-space (which, sadly, seems to have been missing from the public forum).<P>

  • Aug. 27, 2007, 10:10 a.m. CST

    Holodigm & Gus Van Rant

    by Mr. Nice Gaius

    You guys are kidding, right?<br>It was a mounted camera...

  • Aug. 27, 2007, 10:11 a.m. CST

    Beautifully done!

    by CaptainWalker

    You're review was as well written, and as deserving of praise as the the movie you described. Well done, and thank you for providing proof, if not for now, but forever, that there are still people who know the value, and the weight of the written word, still residing in the land of make-believe.

  • Aug. 27, 2007, 10:13 a.m. CST


    by BendersShinyAss

    I think you may be projecting a little there my friend. could you give me some examples of me 'weeping' - I'm straining my brain trying to recall ever being offended by anyone here, least of all by your last message.

  • Aug. 27, 2007, 11:14 a.m. CST

    It's quite simple, Bender.

    by DocPazuzu

    You feel free to question and deny any type of established wisdom, but as soon as someone questions YOUR peabrained opinions, you accuse them of "policing" or in other ways denying you your freedom of speech, which is absurd. The truth is that you're extremely thin-skinned about this whole thing and would rather fall back on conspiracy theories than actually debate something of substance. <p> I still remember the time you thought you had "fallen victim" to the "AICN conspiracy" and been banned (which you - oops - apparently hadn't). The first thing you did was run off to fucking zfisk/homewrecker's blog to commiserate. If that's not the definition of a whiny bitch, then I don't know what is.

  • Aug. 27, 2007, 11:23 a.m. CST

    Simmer Down

    by manzoniman

    Da both a yuze.

  • Aug. 27, 2007, 12:26 p.m. CST

    Can't wait for this!

    by codymr

    Great article. I was born just before the last moon landing so I was far to young to really remember anything about Apollo. that said, I have always been fascinated by the story of NASAs space missions and have met Aldrin twice in my life. Once as a child and once as a journalist - he seemed like a giant both times. Being from Canada we yawn a bit when Americans get patriotic about this or that... but if you ask just about anyone outside the US if Apollo was one of the high points in human history you will get a misty eyed "yes." In this case Americans should be rightfully proud of this accomplishment. There are countless docs about the space program and landing on the moon (there seems to be one on Discovery at least once a week), but the reason In the Shadow of the Moon is so important to me is that most of the Apollo astronauts are getting to an age where they will not be around much longer. Some are already gone. So it's great to get these guys on record before it's too late.

  • Aug. 27, 2007, 1:27 p.m. CST

    Have you learned nothing from South Park?

    by MrD

    25% of the population are fucking retards who believe we never went to the moon, Elvis walks among us, and 9.11 was a JewJob. You won't ever convince them otherwise, and all the evidence in the world is just seen as a further proof that there's a cover up. Leave the retards be and go teach the truth to a kid who's still able to learn it.

  • Aug. 27, 2007, 1:48 p.m. CST

    Thanks, Dave Bowman

    by Dopenose19

    Depending on the pronunciation, if you called Gene Cernan "Eugene Ceman" their might be another public astronaut face-punching incident.

  • Aug. 27, 2007, 2:34 p.m. CST

    No problem, Dopenose...

    by Dave Bowman

    Cernan was one of the heroes of my boyhood, and made me determined to become the first man to explore Jupiter (or Saturn). I wound up getting transformed into this effulgent being, of course, but at least I can still access AICN.

  • Aug. 27, 2007, 2:41 p.m. CST

    Buzz's facelift

    by Blue Meanie 1138

    Gives new meaning to "we have takeoff"

  • Aug. 27, 2007, 2:59 p.m. CST

    Mori, if my kid skipped school to watch launches...

    by Avenger534

    ...I'd congratulate him. Honestly, I hope I'd have the presence of mind to skip work and join him. Rock on!

  • Aug. 27, 2007, 3:19 p.m. CST

    For All Mankind

    by Samuel Vimes

    Sounds like the interviews in this one will be a perfect compliment to the ones in the FOR ALL MANKIND docu... can't wait to see it.

  • Aug. 27, 2007, 3:36 p.m. CST

    Bender, that thing about the 'hollow Earth'...

    by raw_bean

    was some funny shit man. You do realise that there is land underneath the sea, right? It's just lower down than the visible part of the continents. The tectonic plates of the Earth already all 'fit together'. The fact that some of the shorelines of distant landmasses seem to fit against each other is because once they *were* joined together, but now are not due to the perfectly measurable and fairly well understood processes of continental drift - where tectonic plates shift against each other, get pushed under each other and melt, or slide apart from each other and have molten magma spill out and create new land - again under the water. There are many cool videos of this happening, it's called pillow lava and in itself provides one immediate piece of evidence (alongside practically everything else we've discovered about the Earth in the past few hundred years) that the Earth is anything but hollow.

  • Aug. 27, 2007, 3:57 p.m. CST

    So Well Written!

    by Kragmose

    Thank you so much.

  • Aug. 27, 2007, 4:44 p.m. CST

    Buzz LIghtyear

    by BadMrWonka

    unfortunately, all I can think of now when I hear Aldrin's name is Ali G calling him Buzz LIghtyear...<p>that's just great comedy...

  • Aug. 27, 2007, 5:04 p.m. CST

    Holy crap....

    by buffywrestling

    Did that review just get me - as The Fonz would say - "a little misty here"?! That was great article and very in touch with the awe and humility of the subject matter. Get on with your bad self, Mori!!V

  • Aug. 27, 2007, 5:43 p.m. CST

    Go directly to Mars

    by Rindain

    Why waste two decades and tens of billions of dollars to return to the moon? The Mars mission would be so different logistically and technologically from a moon mission that going back to the moon wouldn't really help at all. It's really just a waste of time and money. I really hoope Nasa moves its focus to Mars right away. Mars is the ultimate "near term (25 year or so) goal, right?

  • Aug. 27, 2007, 6:27 p.m. CST

    crap on the moon?

    by Dazzler69

    Is there still stuff from the moon landing that is visible from Earth? Like the flag and takeoff mod, the buggy thingie...can't all that be spotted still if we went to the moon?

  • Aug. 27, 2007, 7:15 p.m. CST

    nice job, Mori...

    by Grendy

    ...Reading this made me tear up a bit. And on a night where we won't be able to see the moon, (lunar eclipse tonight at 1:51 AM EST) it's a bit ironic. I own the dvd set of From The Earth To The Moon, and the books, Failure Is Not An Option, The Right Stuff and one I can't think of from '60 about the original 7. I am space-tarded at times. I would love to meet one of these astronauts and shake hands with them. I too, grew up in Florida and loved watching launches. In '98 when John Glen went up again, I ran out of the building I worked in to see the trail of the shuttle, only to be disappointed to realize that since I'd moved 500 miles north and west to Atlanta since then, I could only watch it on TV. I felt dumb, but I was also full of a joyful elan in the effort, and skill and love it takes to put men into space. I thank everyone ever involved with NASA, and the USSR's space programs. You have made this place smaller with your efforts, but bigger with your dreams.

  • Aug. 27, 2007, 8:20 p.m. CST

    OK Holodigm, you deserve an answer.

    by CaptainWalker

    But I'll only do this once. I've been pulled into far too many conspiracy theory psychotics delusions to be willing to erode an entire diatribe. There are two pieces of footage attributed with the first footsteps on the moon. Both of which are perfectly legitimate, but only one of which is Neil Armstrong. The other is of our MAN Buzz Aldrin stepping off the LEM and being filmed by Neil, and which looks Cinematically soo much better than the actual footage of Neils' first steps. The actual footage of Neil Armstrongs first steps on the lunar surface is some badly exposed overly contrasty black and white video taken from an automated camera mounted to the sided of the LEM and looking down onto Neil. This footage looks awful and is pretty boring if it weren't for the context of the fact that THIS IS A HUMAN BEING STEPPING ONTO ANOTHER WORLD! so it's understandable that some early documentarians would switch the footage in the early days when they wanted to portray that moment.

  • Aug. 27, 2007, 8:29 p.m. CST

    Hurray for CaptainWalker...

    by Homer Goes DOH

    Just to add that only about one or two still pictures of the first astronauts on the Moon are Neil's pictures of Buzz Aldrin, not Buzz's pictures of Neil.

  • Aug. 27, 2007, 8:57 p.m. CST

    Be part of the solution

    by Darwyn

    I also agree Mori, Bloo, and BDT that this generation has lost part of the wonder and promise of space; that this isn't a generation with a Final Frontier.</p> <p>Incidentally, I’m involved with a space visionary and multi-disciplinary scientist, Howard bloom, who has been working with Buzz Aldrin to organize conferences working to bring space back to the collective forefront. Bloom is among the great minds around the globe right now that are, and among other things, interested in unifying the sciences and ways of knowing to create a meaningful culture for the global family, and their ideas need to be spread and actions supported. They see the loss of the space ideal as emblematic not just of the sadness of lacking purpose, vision and imagination, but also a keystone to the much larger picture of interconnected global problems. Thus, having the final frontier once again seize the imagination of a new generation is one of the weapons in the arsenal against global stagnation.</p> <p>For instance, Bloom argues persuasively that we should consider the lessons of an evolutionary imperative: the combined will and power of a social unit is stronger than the abilities of lone-gunners, a principle which drove single-celled organisms to network over time into the organism and drove people to organize in culture’s and societies and now toward globalization, but it is the social goals in both groups that provide the motivation and benchmark for collectively organized behavior and thus is the life blood of communal harmony. The same reasons parents who lose children or don't have them at all are statistically likelier to have relationship-problems and split apart is the same reason we need a global imagination for the future - social goals are the key to social problems. We need something the world can collectively support working toward so we can all feel the benefits of the collective. We need a utopian world-model to envision what the solution to global problems should look like, a model based on a meaningful scientific framework that comprehends how all human systems interact to anticipate what the pinnacle of systems design should look like, the spirit of the goal of politics.</p> <p>Read the books of Howard Bloom (The Lucifer Principle or Global Brain are both amazing) or just get into system’s theory as a good start to a new way of thinking globally. Bloom is working on making this happen and he could use support. If you are already into this way of thinking and want to help, e-mail me ( to get involved with what Howard is doing. And, oh yeah, I know this is often a place for cynics who could give two shits, I was one once too you know, but Howard Bloom is definitely a writer for cynics who want to believe in something. Anyway, I was just talking with Howard about Buzz Aldrin and I couldn’t resist posting this.

  • Aug. 27, 2007, 9 p.m. CST

    For CaptainWalker (you're about 90% right.. :)

    by Purple Fury

    The problem with the grainy footage of Armstrong was due to problems in the transmission from the antenna where the signal was received to the broadcast networks. The source signal was much more clear, and it was recorded. That's the good news. The bad news is: NASA has lost the tape. Ya rly.

  • Aug. 27, 2007, 9:07 p.m. CST


    by buffywrestling

    Dude, you just blew my mind.

  • Aug. 27, 2007, 9:53 p.m. CST


    by Mr. Nice Gaius

    Fascinating post. You and Howard Bloom should look into the BANZAI INSTITUTE: "Helping him help us."<P>

  • Aug. 27, 2007, 10:23 p.m. CST

    GAAAAH I'm so jealous

    by Sir Loin

    Great review, wish I could've been there as well. Got to talk to Buzz a few years ago via radio show call-in, I asked him about what the stars looked like while standing on the Moon. Those guys were my childhood heroes and continue to be, it's too bad we've waited so long to think about returning to the lunar surface :(

  • Aug. 27, 2007, 10:38 p.m. CST


    by Sir Loin

    "We need a utopian world-model to envision what the solution to global problems should look like, a model based on a meaningful scientific framework that comprehends how all human systems interact to anticipate what the pinnacle of systems design should look like, the spirit of the goal of politics." Wow. Very New-Agey, was that at all related to that book "The Secret" or previously posted in 80's issues of OMNI magazine? Science will solve ALL the world's problems! Smells fishy to me.

  • Aug. 27, 2007, 11:35 p.m. CST

    My son is home from Iraq!

    by Ommadawn1959

    There is actually duct tape on the moon, extending the fenders of the Lunar Rover with taped-on maps. Since dust doesn't "billow" in a vacuum, it was being slung into the rover's cockpit, all over the riders.

  • Aug. 28, 2007, 12:55 a.m. CST

    For Purple Fury

    by CaptainWalker

    Good point, and yes, I had heard of the screw up involving the loss of the video recording. But I'll stand by my point...the camera was being held by point of necessity in an awkward and un interesting angle to catch the moment well. Also, the Sun angle was not the best, and if I were planning that moment out, I would have moved the camera about fifty feet away and to the other side of the LEM. but this is of course nitpicking. Amongst Neil Armstrongs' achievements that we must remember of that day, should be Documentary Cinematography.

  • Aug. 28, 2007, 2:15 a.m. CST

    NASA's 2007 budget: $13 billion

    by BrandLoyalist

    Welcome home, Son of Ommadawn1959. Would that you were home from the moon. Current Iraq war spending: $12 billion/mo. or $144 billion/year. Projected total US defense spending in 2007 across all departments: $1.028 trillion*. <br><br> Didn't some of these defense contractors used to build rockets and spaceships? Hey Halliburton, any good handling Helium-3? KBR, think you can make green cheese interesting 3 meals a day? What do you say? <br><br> [*]

  • Aug. 28, 2007, 11:19 a.m. CST

    Sir Loin

    by Darwyn

    Oh, don't you lump me in with the "Secret." I'm glad it helps people, but its lousy science. As for Omni magazine, which I had to look up, that’s funny, but this is not science-fiction. The people working toward this are the Stephen Hawkings and Buckminster Fullers of the world, the multiple-PHD crowd; it is the social science equivalent of the theory of everything hunt in the physics world, although the two have more in common that is commonly thought. I'd also recommend the Principia Cybernetica. </p> <p>But I understand your criticism; there are many reasons to have that criticism, so I'm hard pressed to know which one exactly your talking about.</p> <p>If you are talking about the attempts to compromise science and religion by combining both into science cults, like Scientology or Intelligent Design, than I can tell you it's not about that. Looking for "meaning" is a scientific exercise on its own; every culture around the world generates meaning, and despite our limited capacity for reason, we've always needed to replace gaps that science tears in our meaning structures by creating pseudo-sciences. On the flip side, a science that exposed underlying realities would necessarily interface with the functions of meaning creation and quantify that as well. For instance, the evolutionary imperative I mentioned above that living systems will tend toward social networking because groups are stronger than we are as individuals, validates love, friendship, purpose and even a spiritual connection to the whole as hugely important, because they are the glue that hold us together and keeps our big engine running.</p> <p>Or maybe you are referring to the subjectivity built into science, the battle of egos looking for their own niche and battling down ideas based on their challenges to their own investment. Or the fact that even scientists identify strongest with the theories that most validate their own brand of experience. Because if there is one golden rule, it's that all people's experiences color which cultural or intellectual frameworks they will identify with, which will then organize their experiences so that they don't see counter-indicative problems with that ideology. But one of the cores here is that with that principle in mind, you can use every scientific and even non-scientific method to get outside the box and extrapolate patterns outside of experience, higher patterns that are only validated if they fit into a structure with all the other scientific methods and theories. That was used to make the system the primary unit of analysis, because then you can [epistemologically and ontologically] draw from every field, ala, psychology, anthropology, sociology, biology, physics, etc., and use every method in all of these to get outside our individual experience while understanding the permutations of every person’s experience, which draws on the traditions of more than just science, but also art, literature, film, philosophy and more.</p> <p>Or maybe you are talking about the seeming limitations of scientific explanation. After all, humanism, theology and philosophy and regular ole' culture have had insights that science hasn't reflected. But I'd submit that's because science hasn't organized into larger patterns of greater explanatory patterns, inclusive patterns across disciplines that would provide a three-dimensional quality to the scope of science like humanism was good at even if it lacked quantification and progress. For instance, the latest switch is that we are going back to a directional evolution, and back to a superorganism metaphor of evolutionary trajectory. That even superficially makes sense (wiki it) of biology, psychology, anthropology and sociology in light of one another, and what's more, creates ways to account for more meaning than the more narrow sciences that are primarily interested with deconstruction of cultural meanings. A superorganism metaphor creates a natural trajectory in the universe that humans support by virtue of being nature incarnate. Thus, human globalization efforts are something that we naturally work toward because there is the promise of a system in harmonic equilibrium, just as the cells in the body struck before, and molecules in cells before that, atoms in molecules before that. That also has the effect of creating a universal human purpose toward something greater than ourselves, which is a theme common to all cultures, by creating the scientific foundation for working toward bettering our collective lot by working toward a global goal. The social structure of the cells in the human body is a parallel for the kind of stable system the world is trying to reach, which albeit has controlled competition, battles of ideas if you will. It is a sobering, but optimistic view of the future.

  • Aug. 28, 2007, 11:39 a.m. CST

    BTW, Mr. Nice Gaius...

    by Darwyn

    Thanks man; yeah I showed it to Howard but apparently he already tried to get in. Said he lost out to a Jeff Goldbloom lookalike.

  • Aug. 28, 2007, 11:53 a.m. CST

    "Holy Mother of Fuck, Houston..."

    by TheRealArtWorker

    Too long a thread to read it all, but in hopes that this HASN'T been posted yet... Here's how *I* would have reacted to being he first guy to walk on the moon...

  • Aug. 28, 2007, 11:58 a.m. CST


    by Mr. Nice Gaius

    No problem, I'm glad you got a kick out of that. It's not easy getting into the Institute. I'm just lucky enough to be a Blue Blaze Irregular...

  • Aug. 28, 2007, noon CST

    And Memories-Of-Murder...

    by Mr. Nice Gaius are one ignorant, obnoxious asshole.

  • Aug. 28, 2007, 12:03 p.m. CST

    First of all, Memories -

    by Darwyn

    Science is my chosen way of understanding; I have no interest in casting off all those things that I love just as much as you do. I'm not sure if you read my post above or the one I was responding to, but you've got me all wrong. I love science, I've studied all the sciences and the scientific methods are the way to truth, but I love truth more, and science often loses a greater perspective because people get caught in their chosen theory or method, and there is no truth in partial truths. Psychologists discount anthropology and vice-versa, both saying the other is not a good way of understanding human behavior or the mind. Biology often claims we are here to selfishly adapt, which conflicts with our understanding of culture. I'm saying, if you look at psychology and anthropology as complimentary, consider that we adapt through our cultural networks, and generally are able to challenge conventional wisdom as long as the data can support it, we can get outside of the politics of science, the egos and tenures, and capture the spirit of science, the pursuit of truth. Just because sociobiology or gene-centric psychopathology might be the rage, doesn't mean they are right; we also once believed in eugenics and phrenology in this country. Look at all the sciences deeply for greater perspective, look closely at the data, which a lot of really world-class scientists have done. Otherwise, you are just having faith that scientists are objective, which they are not, and falling for the trap of believing that experts know everything, which they don't. Figure it out for yourself, is all I'm saying.</p> <p>By the way, I say scientology is a "mix of science and religion" in the sense that when Catholicism started being questioned by scientific findings, people's void of meaning turned them to religions with a faccade of science to appease both at the same time. That's all; your right, there is no science in scientology.</p> <p>And theory can't be proven, that's why it's always called theory, and never fact. Science never tries, and can't try, to prove something, it can only disprove until there is nothing left to disprove but the truth. It's a basic tenet of science, but nice try.</p> <p>And finally, what I said about meaning is that it is a challenge in the information age to combine truth and meaning which results in both science and personal and cultural meaning suffering as a result. I mean, you would know this if you were at all a deep thinker. No one benefits when science pretends like it can replace our way of knowing without appealing to our emotional realities, something many scientists understand well. William James became depressed because of the percieved lack of free will; all I'm saying is that I find it exciting when I find a framework for all the sciences, a structure with a scientific integrity, that also validates the basic elements of our needs for meaning, because it has the promise of actually striking a blow for truth if people will accept it as a meaningful contribution to their lives. Otherwise, people will just plug their ears and not listen, because people don't value truth if it does more damage than good. I've always been committed to truth at any cost, I'm just excited to find in the end that the truth wasn't as hard to take as previous scientific theories have made it out to be.

  • Aug. 28, 2007, 3:06 p.m. CST

    Flag poles

    by Calimist

    My astronomy professor told me the other day that all the flags we planted on the moon fell over because of the force created by takeoff. Crazy eh?

  • Aug. 28, 2007, 5:08 p.m. CST

    For those who think the moon landings were faked:

    by vertigo93

    <p>Are you total idiots? Seriously, if you genuinely believe that, then you know nothing about science, and you nothing about history, which basically means you know nothing at all. </p> <p>Of all the crackpot conspiracies, yours is the most derided, but the worst of it all is that you are primarily ungrateful bastards. Ungrateful because decades ago, men braver and better than you volunteered to strap themselves onto the top of what was basically a massive high explosive, to propel themselves into the most hostile environment man has ever visited.</p> <p>And why did they do it? Money? Fame? Self aggrandisement? No. They did it so that we could find out a little bit more of our place in the universe. A little bit more about how the universe came to exist. They did it for science, and they did it for what was then non-applicable science: there was no financial outcome to what they did with a patent in mind, they did it because we wanted to know what was out there.</p> <p>And decades on, when there should be statues to these people in every fucking city, what do they get? Pricks on the internet whining about ridiculous conspiracy theories that they didn't actually go. You ungrateful shits. How dare you impugn what people better than you did FOR you. You should look in the mirror and be utterly ashamed of yourselves, members of a nation which pioneered the moon landings now denying it. Jesus wept, how pushing back the frontier of science - a pure unfettered science - has devolved to irrational doubt which ignores actual scientific principle astonishes me. </p> <p>And by the way Darwyn - this:</p> <p>"And theory can't be proven, that's why it's always called theory, and never fact. Science never tries, and can't try, to prove something, it can only disprove until there is nothing left to disprove but the truth. It's a basic tenet of science, but nice try."</p> <p>is batshit bonkers, another fierce misreading of hypothesis/theory bent to your own end. A theory is a theory when scientific method ellicits the same result from replicated experiment. A scientist is open minded enough to continue calling it a theory because new horizons always open, but it's brainless fools like you who turn that into "the science isn't in yet" when it is. Gravity is part of theoretical principle, are you going to say we're not sure it exists, or are you going to be a rational human being and accept its existence? </p> <p>Bender: your hollow earth theory is just about the funniest thing I've heard all day. Did you even take any kind of remedial science class at school?</p>

  • Aug. 28, 2007, 5:11 p.m. CST

    Gus Van Rant

    by vertigo93

    The flag ISN'T waving, the astronauts deliberately put a fold in it because they thought it looked plain weird just hanging flat out in zero gravity. So they made it look like it was flapping, even though it wasn't. This is pretty well documented ferchrissakes.

  • Aug. 28, 2007, 5:54 p.m. CST

    I knew it!

    by DocPazuzu

    M.O.M. is indeed BladeRunnerUnit! And he's Portugese in case anyone had gotten tired of his refusal to disclose where he's from.

  • Aug. 28, 2007, 7:30 p.m. CST


    by Darwyn

    I think you are missed the part where I said "it's a basic tenet of science." I am merely saying how science works, and why it is the best method around. Stop being overzealous.</p> <p>I can't even argue with you because you made my point right in your counter-point! That is, we haven't taken calling gravity, electricity or evolution facts, even though any intelligent person would consider them so, because there is always room to tweak them. We call them theory because in science, theory isn't a hunch, but an esteemed category that is very difficult to attain, and one that is not necessarily at odds with the word fact. But if you have a dogged commitment to the scientific method, you would know that unlike mathematics where you submit "proofs," science is based on falsifiability, a principle outlined by philosopher of science Karl Popper, who said that it is not science's goal to prove what is, but to try to disprove what isn't. This is done through falsifiable experiments and the process of deduction, through which science as a whole over many generations, comes to find out what “is.” While we do always try to formulate new theories based on a greater understanding of what has been disproved, we never try to assert what has been proven. That is what makes science great, because even scientists are subjective and what can appear obvious to them, like anybody, can be purely a facet of their own experience and perception. By disproving instead of proving, we get around subjectivity as a whole, which is why it's not the scientist that is the paragon of truth, but the scientific method. Any basic college-level science course would tell you the same thing, just as they told me in any number of classes. Besides, read my other posts - I clearly use and believe the scientific method, so obviously I'm not trying to poke holes in it.

  • Aug. 29, 2007, 3:16 a.m. CST


    by vertigo93

    <p>Apologies, I totally misread your post. Oops. </p> <p>I read it as I read a lot of ID nonsense about how evolution is 'only a theory' with the emphasis that it is de facto wrong, which is a particular bugbear for me!</p> <p> Still, regarding gravity, it proves something can be theory, fact and law at the same time, and highlights the difference between theory and fact: fact denotes something is real and present in the scientific world, theory denotes the mechanics of that fact. Thus evolution is, scientifically, a fact, and the theory - and any valid scientific disagreement therein - is about the mechanics of evolution, not about its actual existence or not.</p> <p>Last thing about the moon landings (fact, by the way) and the poor quality video of Armstrong stepping onto the surface: A lot of people have talked about the mounted poor quality camera on the leg of the module, but I don't think anyone's mentioned that it deployed upside-down. The footage of Armstrong therefore was upside down, and NASA actually filmed a TV screen at Mission Control of the upside-down footage with *another* upside-down camera so it would be broadcast right way up: giving another take on why the footage was so bad.</p>

  • Aug. 29, 2007, 6:46 a.m. CST

    Oh Gus, you so funny!

    by Col. Tigh-Fighter

    Lol. YOu actually write like you belive it, lol! Poor you :)

  • Aug. 29, 2007, 6:59 a.m. CST

    lol, you guys are all looking to argue with someone

    by losder

    but there's nobody to argue with cause Buzz Aldrin punched them all in the face already. <BR> <BR> I pity the first whack job that sticks his nose in here.

  • Aug. 29, 2007, 7:08 a.m. CST


    by vertigo93

    <p>What's the weather like in Stupidville?</p> <p>Seriously, pony up with some actual proof rather than inane bleating, and we'll watch actual science beat the snot out of your ridiculous conspiracy theory. Like I said before, people like you are ungrateful bastards. You should be in awe of these pioneers, instead of sniping from the back row because you grew up dumb.</p>

  • Aug. 29, 2007, 8:20 a.m. CST

    The earth is flat, and the

    by Dingbatty

    The earth is flat, and the moon is made out of green cheese.

  • Aug. 29, 2007, 10:13 a.m. CST

    memory... lost in the moonlight...

    by Grendy

    So, Last week I was at work showing off a new ring. The stone in it is made of petrified Dinosaur bone and it's really tres' cool. I know the guy who made it. This guy who I work with (ex-marine, 43 years old, kids, smart, self-educated empowered, black man) says to me "I don't believe in dinosaurs." You could have knocked me over with a feather. He then goes on to say he didn't believe in the first moon landing either. To me, that's as primitive as going... 'Oh yeah...well the world is flat!' I said that, and his rejoinder was, "Oh yeah, how do you know it isn't?" To which, I cleverly answered, "Google Earth, m-f!" I was stunned. I respect this guy. I don't always agree with him on things, but I know he's got a brain in his head, generally. Now, I feel I have to think of him as an idiot. He went on to remark about how the media has been lying to everyone for years, etc... I mean, does this mean he doesn't believe in the ENTIRE branch of science called Paleontology? Like those guys are just faking it on a colossal scale? Not believing in the first moon landing, but subsequent ones?!? W.T. EF? Seriously. I wanted to smack him with something shiny made of moon rocks and dinosaur bones. All I had was my ring however, and I guess since he doesn't believe, then it doesn't exist, right? I bet if I punch him in the kisser he'd never see it coming, no? No belief, no ring, right? He's like our office's version of The Ravening Bugblatter Beast of Traal. If he doesn't see you, you don't exist. Thanks Douglass Adams, for giving his silliness a name... Bugblatter Syndrome.

  • Aug. 29, 2007, 10:16 a.m. CST

    I hereby vote...

    by Grendy

    That we call people who don't believe in the moon landings, or dinosaurs to be afflicted with Bugblatter Syndrome. Do I have a second on this vote?

  • Aug. 29, 2007, 10:20 a.m. CST

    BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT teaser trailer online at yahoo!

    by The Biomind 1809271891/video/3870382/ No mention on this site???

  • Aug. 29, 2007, 10:41 a.m. CST

    The biomind

    by Calimist

    you're just a weee bit late

  • Aug. 29, 2007, 12:05 p.m. CST


    by Darwyn

    I agree, and well-said.

  • Aug. 29, 2007, 12:12 p.m. CST

    Oh, and Grendy...

    by Darwyn

    I sympathize with you.</p> <p>It must be tough to try to compartmentalize the ways your friend is intelligent, like, smart in this way, but not that one; 53% smart but not in a mentally challenged way; half great IQ, half abysmal; left brain hemisphere good, but right hemisphere bad.</p> <p>That's a tough one.

  • Aug. 29, 2007, 2:27 p.m. CST

    I've met Buzz Aldrin...

    by dragon-lord

    ...and he's a certified ASSHOLE with a chip the size of the Moon on his shoulder about being #2 to Armstrong's #1. Moriarty, you were lucky he was in salesman mode. That's the best mood you will ever see him, re: neutral.

  • Aug. 29, 2007, 5:24 p.m. CST

    Rob Zombie Should Remake the Fake Moon Landing!

    by Drunken Busboy

    Rob Zombie Should Remake the Fake Moon Landing! With Bill Moseley and Sid Haig in the Neil Armstrong & Buzz Aldrin roles! Before you laugh just think about it! That's All! Just think about it!

  • Aug. 29, 2007, 8:09 p.m. CST


    by MrD

    My thanks to you and your son.

  • Aug. 29, 2007, 8:12 p.m. CST

    Robert Klein said it best...

    by MrD

    If the moon landing first happened today, the astronaut would likely plant his foot on luna firma and say "Coca-Cola!" These were great guys and it's a shame they're being forgotten (though I do what I can w/ my students).

  • Aug. 29, 2007, 8:13 p.m. CST

    Here we go. conspiracy guys come out of the woodwork

    by Orionsangels

    Yeah yeah and 911 was fake. JFK was a robot. actually we're all living in the matrix right now. nothing is real. everything is fake.

  • Aug. 29, 2007, 8:50 p.m. CST

    Back to Subject

    by CaptainWalker

    Buzz Aldrin is a GOD! So is Michael "Fucking" Collins! and Long Live Neil Armstrong! Every man who rode a Saturn EARNED not just a statue, but THOUSANDS OF STATUES! Why are there no folksongs sung about their exploits? Why are there no epic poems written to their feats? Quake in your boots ye mere mortals. name your children thus, that they may share the power of the GOds with the names they take! Forget naming your kid "Kal El" What a load of Horse shit! The truly prized monicker is, and shall forever be "Apollo!"

  • Aug. 30, 2007, 12:04 a.m. CST

    Ask that fucker about the saucers on the moon!!!

    by Doctor_Sin

    He saw 'em. Fucking shill.

  • Aug. 30, 2007, 2:45 a.m. CST

    Actually MrD

    by Orionsangels

    If an Astronaut landed on the moon today. He'd say, peace homies!

  • Aug. 30, 2007, 2:47 a.m. CST

    The Biomind, isn't it the teaser with just the logo?

    by Orionsangels

    you hear the joker too. everyones seen it.