It was an interesting day today. The NASA project “LCROSS” may have been a technical success, but it was visual disappointment to the thousands of people directing their telescopes towards the moon or watching NASA TV at 4:30 AM this morning. Visually, the TV viewers were shown one yellow pixel, and those with telescopes saw nothing. It will take days, weeks, and months to tease out what can be learned from the spectroscopic, infra-red, and other data recorded. A big issue is whether there is enough water from which to make fuel for further space travel. We won’t be getting that answer for a while.
“In other news…”
The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Barack Obama today, which produced predictable reactions from Obama fans and foes. I happen to be an Obama fan.
Before the critics get too carried away, I would recommend that they watch the presentation of the award by the Committee’s Chairman Thorbjorn Jagland, at http://nobelprize.org/mediaplayer/index.php?id=1173, and an 8-minute interview with Geir Lundestad, Secretary of the Nobel Committee, at http://nobelprize.org/mediaplayer/index.php?id=1174. If watching videos is not your thing, check out the following “speed read”: http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/2009/speedread.html.
The point is that the committee felt that Obama’s concrete achievement has been to create a new climate in international politics, emphasizing multilateral diplomacy and negotiation, democracy, human rights, a world free from nuclear weapons, and climatic challenges.
He is the world’s leading spokesman for the values expressed in Alfred Nobel’s will, which for the Peace Prize, are:
1. Fraternity between nations
2. Reduction in standing armies (i.e. freedom from nuclear weapons)
3. Holding of peace congresses (i.e. multilateral negotiations)
President Obama recognized that the Prize was also meant be an affirmation of common values and to create momentum towards these goals, and he accepted it as a call to action by all nations. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7bHkH779qg
So let us be glad that the award was made as a step towards a better world, and let all people of good will see his award in that light and make some progress.