Apollo 11 after 45 years

Apollo 11 after 45 years

I still remember in wonderment watching the Apollo 11 moon landing on TV 45 years ago this week. Here’s what we saw, as Neil Armstrong stepped foot on the lunar surface:

A great deal of the Apollo 11 program was made right here in California. The second stage of the giant Saturn V rocket was made by North American Aviation in Seal Beach.

But the most important contribution was the mini-computers using Silicon Valley-made circuits. It’s often said that the Apollo program “drove” technological innovation in micro-computers, an argument used to justify other government industrial policies and spending. In fact, the opposite is the truth.

In his essay, “Two Young Men Who Went West,” included in the “Hooking Up” book, Tom Wolfe wrote, “People were beginning to talk about all that the space program was doing for the computer sciences. [Fairchild Semiconductor’s Robert] Noyce knew it was the other way around.”

Moore’s Law, which has been backdated to the 19th century, also refutes the contention that government spending promotes innovation. No matter whether government spending has gone up or down, computing power (or pre-computer electromechanical and vacuum tube calculation power) has doubled every 12 to 18 months:

Moore's law

Given my current views, if I had been in Congress in the 1960s, I would have voted against the funding for the Apollo program, which totaled $24 billion over a decade — about $500 billion in today’s money.

At the time, Amercians thought we were so rich we could “have it all”: the Vietnam War, the Great Society welfare programs funding the War on Poverty, the Apollo program. Things broke down financially in the 1970s with “stagflation”: stagnation plus inflation.

But landing on the moon: What an adventure!

A surprising number of Americans believe the Apollo missions were faked in back lots in Hollywood.

And these people get to vote.

Explains a lot.


Write a comment
  1. Algore
    Algore 22 July, 2014, 18:19

    A surprising number of Americans believe the Apollo missions were faked in back lots in Hollywood.
    And these people get to vote.

    These are the same people who do not believe in anthropomorphic global warming.

    Reply this comment
    • Ted Steele, CEO
      Ted Steele, CEO 23 July, 2014, 05:44

      Well said Al–

      Usually these are the same dopes who think building 7 at the WTC was an inside job, Aliens at Roswell, a shooter on the grassy knoll, etc etc etc……They, to a person listen, to El Rushbo ™ and sit slack jawed every night in front of Faux News. They vote Republican but often self identify as “conservative, like there’s a difference.

      Reply this comment
  2. Skippingdog
    Skippingdog 22 July, 2014, 18:43

    And people like you, who actually witnessed and often profited from both the expenditures of federal funds – not only at North American, but also firms such as Lockheed, Douglas, Hughes, Rocketdyne, and many others – now feel sufficiently self-satisfied and self-centered to openly admit they would have opposed such expenditures. That’s the real problem with what passes these days for “conservative” or even “libertarian” thought. That’s what’s wrong with our nation now.

    Reply this comment
    • Donkey
      Donkey 23 July, 2014, 07:49

      You are so wrong Skdog, the people running these space program were actually building things that were used in a process to attain a goal, as opposed to the RAGWUS agenda of just stealing money for the enrichment of your cabal of crooks and getting nothing in return but over-pensioned narcissists. 🙂

      Reply this comment
  3. cyrano
    cyrano 22 July, 2014, 19:12

    Dog taking dump, you are a moron, ignorant,and a self centered, entitled dolt.

    Reply this comment
    • Ted Steele, CEO
      Ted Steele, CEO 23 July, 2014, 05:47

      No Cyrano– Skip is correct. Buzz and Neil would be considered RAGWES trough feeders out here, Nixon would be a Dem and Russia would have been first, all to the delight of the libertarian tea baggers.

      This is just obvious.

      Reply this comment
      • Donkey
        Donkey 23 July, 2014, 07:50

        The king of fools, a typical RAGWUS feeding leach. 🙂

        Reply this comment
        • Ted Steele, CEO
          Ted Steele, CEO 23 July, 2014, 20:50

          Duncey– Is your entire family feeding at the trough? Seems like since you yell the loudest you may want to clear that up….lmao

          Reply this comment
          • Donkey
            Donkey 24 July, 2014, 16:47

            TCS, you are a RAGWUs feeding leach, with a small s. 🙂

      • NTHEOC
        NTHEOC 23 July, 2014, 08:01

        Skipdog is 100% correct as usual!!!!

        Reply this comment
      • John Seiler
        John Seiler Author 23 July, 2014, 19:24

        Soviets never could have been first on them moon because their socialist microprocessor industry was all ripped off from the capitalist US and not efficient enough. There was no Soviet Intel, Fairchild, IBM, Texas Instruments, etc.

        Reply this comment
  4. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 22 July, 2014, 22:38

    The breakdown of the family, moving from farms to urban cesspools, the credit card, the idolization of the flawed hero all have ruined our way of life in many ways.

    And it’s Bush’s fault-

    And Monica Lewinski-

    Reply this comment
  5. Donkey
    Donkey 23 July, 2014, 07:53

    Ahaul, the RAGWUS is the problem, it is stealing from every private sector citizen, it is the feeders fault!! 🙂

    Reply this comment
  6. Queeg
    Queeg 23 July, 2014, 08:28

    Wow…this Cyrano newbie is constipated or something…Geesh…Skippy is only pointing out crony capitalism cuts both ways.

    Those were the days. Steak houses affordable….. Gin on the rocks. Frank Sinatra crooning on every radio. Decadently stuffed baked potatoes with locally grown chives and real butter. People actually went to Palm Springs. Gritty coffee shops on most corners….along with cheap gas stations with English speakers in sleeveless t-shirts fixing four barrel carburetors . The populace could read a newspaper.

    Yes Cyrano…..you missed out….enjoy your dirty run down, expensive cities, corporate restaurant chains serving faux food, shopping like a mindless twit in Made Somewhere Else big box stores and, regretfully, your career is/was over before it began due to your unfortunate uneducation at public schools due to your long haired, fungus toe nailed hippie parents having drug flawed judgement.

    Reply this comment
  7. cyrano
    cyrano 23 July, 2014, 12:25

    Hey Bounty Captain, If it is so bad, do the world a favor and have a Kevorkian disciple make a house call. Good bye pessimist.

    Reply this comment
  8. Queeg
    Queeg 23 July, 2014, 19:02


    This Cyrano guy can we convert him two weeks?

    He appears sponge-like…….

    Reply this comment

Write a Comment

Leave a Reply

Tags assigned to this article:
Apollo 11John SeilerNeil Armstrongspace program

Related Articles

The perils of following the money

Okay, that’s a bit extreme, but not as much as you may think. Money in politics stories are always big

State is owed millions in allegedly unpaid fees from Verizon

Verizon owes $11 million to a state fund to help the poor, the hearing-impaired and people in rural areas access telecommunications

Legislature could vote soon on major housing bills

The first major votes on a raft of bills meant to address California’s housing crisis could come up for a