🚀 Space Race About-Face
The cynical narrative around the private Space Race feels unique to this moment of growing discontent about wealthy technologists and inequality, but it perfectly mirrors cynical (often forgotten) reactions to the early pursuit of air and space travel. Example:
We did a round up of early reactions to pioneering air and space travel:
✈️ Flight of Fancy (1903)
9-weeks before the Wright Brothers made their first flight, The New York Times mocked those trying to achieve the feat, the last line of the article read: “but to the ordinary man it would seem as if effort might be employed more profitably” , a similar notion is being espoused today about the private space race. We’ve shared this before, now we’ve had a voice actor read the whole article.
🎙 HEAR THIS ARTICLE READ ALOUD
🛹 Olympic Skating (1978)
Skateboarding is now an olympic sport, a huge milestone for something not considered a real sport for most of its existence. Through the 80s and 90s local governments waged war on skateboarders, treating them as a nuisance. Now it’s gained approval from ‘the man’, is it still cool?
📷 That’s Photography-Shopped! (1897)
Before TikTok filters and Photoshop™ there were photography shops, this 1897 article explored the various ways photos of people were altered to “suit the vanity of the inordinately vain.” The methods used then are similar to today and includes; smoothing out skin, creating symmetry and evening out lines. It said photographs were now “made to lie with great frequency and facility” and “even the shape of features may be altered.”
🎙 Hear this article read aloud by a voice actor
💉 De Ja Flu (1872)
150 years ago anti-vaxxers made exactly the same arguments as they do today, the below excerpts could have been online comments by an anti-vaxxer. History rhymes because human psychology repeats.
"Small-pox is still laughing at them and their puny efforts… …cannot the medical men see that the system of Jenner is an utter failure, that more disease and death is produced through its adoption than by small-pox in its natural form."
🗓 On this week… (1904)
18 years ago this week the first Ford automobile was sold. A year later The New York Times reported on a debate between brain specialists on how travel speeds would change brains:
❝The brain specialist predicted that motor maniacs will be represented in the insane asylums in the near future❞
⭐️ Top Tweet
A fun cartoon was doing the rounds on Twitter poking fun at cynical reactions to the new space race, it reminded us of a quote about manned flight that called it a useless rich person toy.
👋🏻 Hello World
One of our clippings made it to the homepage of HackerNews, leading to 18,000 visits and a bunch of new subscribers, hello to you! We’d appreciate any shares and upvotes on HackerNews in the future. 🚀
🎙 Pessimists Aloud Podcast
Every week we release an article reading from the archive, performed by a professional voice actor with old digitized records as backing music. We’re 6-episodes in, with number 7 coming soon!