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The Future (1)

By Daniel - Posted on 18 April 2011

I have been thinking a lot lately about the time to come. What will be? How can I influence the outcome? Will it be the best for me? Will I be happy?

I already know that I can't know the answer but people always think about the future.. It doesn't matter if it's about a future job (or an internship for the upcoming semester..), simply trying to survive (looking at Libya and Japan), or about innovations. It's just uncertain. As we gain experience every day we can predict the outcome better, but it's still just a prediction (I hope you still remember what that fortune-teller told you). In the end, we can't change what happened and sometimes we would have never guessed this or that happening. If we're determined enough we can pretty much force our future to happen just like we've always wanted it to (that comes with my thinking that anyone can accomplish anything, if he/she just invests enough and has the determination), but life always has some surprises in store for us that make it simply unpredictable.

But now I'll be only talking about the professional future.

Do I have that determination to steer my future the way I want to? No, maybe I used to, but as time passed I noticed that the reality is more dull than you've imagined as a small kid. The goals for a job I used to have are no longer as desirable. I'm inspired by innovations, the space industry has a lot of ideas but the budgets are small and great innovations from this sector take a long time.

Why am I talking about innovations? A couple of reasons. On April 13. my neighbor sent me a link about a new patent by Boeing trying to innovate the way we fly..


On April 14. my grandfather would have turned 87. Thanks to a reminder by my mother I took the time to think back. We both shared the passion for aviation, except I might be living his dream. He was a man of action, who influenced his environment to a significant degree and got involved in politics and especially environmental protection. 
Then I checked the date of his birth. What else happened on April 14.? Actually quite a lot..

  • The first rider of the Pony-Express reaches Sacramento, California in 1860.
  • World's Fair 1900 opens in Paris, revealing multiple buildings like the Grand Palais.
  • The RMS Titanic hits an iceberg 1912..
  • Sputnik II, with the famous dog Laika (first living space-flight passenger), burns up in the atmosphere after 162 days in orbit (1958).
  • The first Space Shuttle mission STS-1 (by Space Shuttle Colombia) lands successfully in 1981.
  • and much more...

All the events I picked out are rather well-known and were all innovative in their own way. In a different time.

Another reason I was thinking about innovations was because I noticed some tweets from Phil McKinney ( @philmckinney , CTO for HP's Personal Systems Group) who is all about innovations and had a TED-talk just in March. Hmm.. just today he wrote something about priorities..

I was asked last week how I prioritize the craziness ( @HP , blog, @forbes) The 5 F's: Faith, Family, Friends, Fitness ;-) & Finances

I think I'll write about that some other time.

Innovation is happening somewhere else today. I am living in the wrong time for the space sector and I could consider myself a victim of the moon-landing. It's fascinating what can be achieved but what I said above also counts for governments: only if you have the determination. 

Let's just say I'm open to other possibilities.. On earth we have to adapt to the multiple influences in daily politics and environment. In space those influences aren't as strong anymore unless of course our mother earth is involved.

I'm still hoping for a specific concept to become realized, or at least get financing: SKYLON

I learned at university that such a vehicle just isn't possible.. But it's when we attack the "impossible" that innovations must happen. In this case the engine that is supposed to work with and without an atmosphere would be the innovation. Visions...

Nice thoughts I really enjoyed and still share them. There are way to much possibilities we (are taught to) consider as impossible / unlogical from the very beginning. Sometimes I've got the impression the higher educated one is the less creative / innovative he can be. We often think that knowledge of one possible way makes it unneccessary to discover the same results by other methods.

[Here that TSH that I choose, SI01 ( isn't even that bad, by explaining how science went from "doing anything new and waiting what happens to describe it" to a more "proove the reality we'd like to have (that one, we're most payed for)". Is our making science still really that innovation-bringing ? At least a nice thought.]

This is (figurativly) steeling humankinds diversity. A more devellopped culture's always taking its advantages / technologies to the others instead of awaiting them to have their own evolution. (Everybody's going by train and car ther could have been alternatives.) So we're taught one way to go and forbidden to look to the left or the right, this way is the right one and all the other possibilities are the wrong ones : wrong developement ideas, wrong solution approaches - wrong religions and political régimes too. (?) One could include the empathy article here also, but I don't want to, I'd only like to say that constricted ways to think and their exclusion of other ideas are in many areas.

But what do I care ? I'm an always-in-his-little-restricted-square-thinking-casket-resting german ^^

On verra donc où la future (d'aérospatial) nous amènera . . . (I'm looking forward to where the future (of space-science) will be taking us. (?))

You've got some serious thoughts there. i think life is full of surprises. The question is how you deal with them. You can ignore them, you can avoid them, you can accept them as a challenge. There are always things that don't go the way we expect them to do, yet the outcome can be surprisingly positive.

The worst thing that can happen is to give up all dreams. If you can't fulfill them during your lifetime, you can pass them on to others. At some time they will become reality, or people realize that there are better things.

You may call me a nerd, but i still think that Star Trek is a great example of this in many ways. The different series show simply that what people can think of but seems at the time of making the episodes as pure science fiction, later becomes reality (pad, handy, and other things). The story behind the whole thing is the dream of a better future, of course due to commercial requirements heavily covered by the regular good against evil stuff. But it's there. And that's the dream most of us have, I guess.

I'm not (yet) giving up on my dreams, I'm just facing reality (and it's not looking too bright regarding an internship).

In my EI05 class (about EU, held in English) we had a "virtual class" two weeks ago and we had to comment on some texts/get discussions going/ write down our thoughts. I'll copy what I wrote to the argument "Europe is a project for the world":

I totally agree with this phrase. The model of the European Union is - on the long run - the way we should organize ourselves in the future across the globe. No boarders, one currency, the mission of peacekeeping (diplomatically), etc... Imagine all the possibilities opening up, how a union like this can improve the standards of all (like the EU is doing now with the new member states), thus connecting us and bringing us together. Humanity in it's purest form - as I think.
That's why the EU is a great "starter's project" in a relative small scale, which shows how successful such a union can be.

Of course one of the answers to that was that it's beautiful but simply utopic.. But as you can see, I totally agree with you and, in a way, Star Trek. I've always been a nerd.. ;)

Doesn't life contradict itself, though?  Or maybe it's just that we, as silly little humans, change our expectations almost as frequently as we change our clothes.  Life does, perhaps, turn out to be duller than anyone imagined it would be as a child. However, when you realize this, you adjust your expectations accordingly and start imagining a dull life, at which point excitment and adventure pop up like flowers in the springtime as you stroll along life's path and you think to yourself "this is much better than I imagined it would be!"  However, if calculated mathematically and logically, perhaps it's just as amazing as you imagined it as a child... just in a different way.  Just a thought... a series of thoughts, actually.  :)

Sure, life contradicts itself all the time, but in the professional matter I never changed my expectations and probably never will. If I won't be doing innovations then the profession will very probably be dull and won't fulfill me. That's why I'm opening myself to different possibilities that will try to innovate. It was one dream of mine to get into the aviation/space sector but another was to have a fulfilling job.. and latter is more important to me now than where I'll be doing it.

I hope I'll never end up imagining a dull life, since that would be a confession of failure on that part, wouldn't it?

..and I can't stress enough that this is "just" a view of the foreseeable professional future - and yes, that just was one of those predictions that might very well get destroyed one day ;) Here's to hope and visions.

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