...and I get back in, and four hours ago the shuttle Columbia didn't make re-entry. Awful. Terrible. News hubs: Scripting News; ext|circ. Already there's quite-frankly mind-blowing radar footage, photos of debris, first-hand accounts of what it looked like, the noise; a mailing list post from an expert, a comment from someone who's seen the telemetry data... all filtered and amplified, so I get back in, sit down, check my mail, RSS feeds, and find out: four hours ago the shuttle Columbia didn't make re-entry.
There was a kid in my class at primary school who spent a year in America with his family and during that time, in 1986, two weeks after Challenger, we listened to an audio tape he sent us of what it was like in his school, at that time. Actually I don't remember what he said, the words, but I do remember the disaster feeling a whole lot more real than it had merely seeing it on the news. Like this. And. The space program is a metaphor, so tightly bound with how [America/the West] thinks of itself, so modern and representative and obvious - tangible, graspable in a way that biotech or dotcom just isn't - that what happened today means so much more than just what happened. A hook. A shared phenomenon. A mutually understood and common exhilaration becoming-- something else. And so on. And so on. Sigh.