Space Brother

Switching between Big Brother Live (this has to be the best ever, right?) and NASA TV is entertaining. NASA’s 24/7 output is mind-blowing – a sort of hyper-purposeful parody of reality confinement shows like BB.

I can’t wait for week 10’s Big Brother Task, which is called ‘Crew Swap’. For 48 hours, Anthony, Craig, Makosi, Derek, Eugene and Kinga have to run the space shuttle (Makosi is captain) and the shuttle crew have to hang around picking their toes in the BB House. Naturally, during the 48 hours they have to do each other’s chores, so the shuttle crew will have to learn to ride a unicycle and make cheese on toast while the BB crew will have to repair the heat shield and replace a gyroscope on the ISS. Seriously, though, run NASA TV in the background and, every now and then, it’ll chirrup into life and tell you something you never knew. In the meantime, while you’re waiting for something to happen, you can see Earth’s best views in real time from a high orbit.

My kids, of course, are unimpressed. “These images are coming from 400km up there in space to dishes all over the planet, where they’re packaged up and sent to a studio in Florida (probably via space again) and then they’re edited and sent out to a web server somewhere and then across the Internet to us here. And all this happens in half a second”. “yes Dad. Can you find the Cartoon Network web site for me?” I suppose that’s what happens: the only people impressed by new technology are the ones who know what it’s actually doing – the old-timers. We exist in a permanent glow of awe and amazement. Everyone else sort of vaguely assumes that’s what computers have been doing since about 1970…

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