Tuesday, September 14, 2010


This weekend was the big airshow here in Sacramento. The Real Doctor's workplace happens to be attached to the former Air Force base that hosted the event, and she needed to see a patient that day, so we rode our bikes there to avoid the traffic. While she looked after the patient, I looked at the airplanes for a bit--not long enough to justify paying entrance, but long enough to see one aerobatic pilot going through her paces.

We left, but as we finished our ride, the next few acts were in the air. We got to see a couple of venerable P-38's motoring around, and they were joined by a stupendously loud F-22. I prefer the P-38 on several grounds: aesthetic, with a design based on elipses rather than harsh angles and radar stealth; auditory, as it is not deafening; and something like moral--it was designed for an immediate and honorable need, acquitted itself well, then retired to be hoarded by a few collectors. The F-22, on the other hand, seems to have been mainly built just in case and for the benefit of a bloated military-industrial complex, and hasn't really distinguished itself except in service except in its ability to overshoot budgets.

Later, there was another flyover by what some view as a massive government make-work project. I was walking the dog after dinner, about 8:30 PM, and I saw a phenomenally bright satellite flying overhead, going from west to east instead of the more typical south-north track. It seemed as bright as Venus, but winked out as it orbited westward into the Earth's shadow. A quick check on the web confirmed that I'd seen the International Space Station. Stunning to think of a group of humans in that bright dot.

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