Lunar Real-Estate – An Earth Facing View

Ferodo was sitting at a side table in the club lounge of the Hyatt Regency hotel in Delhi.  His local Indian colleague and friend Tanish was sitting there across from him.  Scotch this time, it was late, in the evening, dark and monsoon out, it had not been a good day, after three weeks of bad days, the pair had just about had enough.

The desk clerk Anuga, at the lounge dropped by and since there were few people around, and not so busy, asked how they were doing.

Really not so bad, said Ferodo.  We’ve been out, and now we are back.

“So, what brings you to Delhi then ?” asked Anuga

Ferodo said “actually we are… in real estate”, “there is a united nations sponsored conference on here in Delhi at the moment.”

Anuga said “oh really, I hadn’t heard of that one.”

Putting down his glass, Tanish stepped in and added “yes, it is not that well publicized, but my friend here, Ferodo, is a scientist and is helping with some key questions”.

Ferodo looked over at Anuga more intently and said “You see we’re looking into real estate on the moon.” and took a careful sip of scotch.

Anuga looked between both of them, somewhat incredulous, and assumed they were both pulling her leg.

“Yes that’s right”, said Tanish, “you see Ferodo is an astronomer, and so he knows all about the conditions on the moon and is advising the UN and the real-estate brokers all about the situation of housing on the moon. I myself sell real-estate, so I’m selling land on the moon.  Well, not yet though we are still finalizing the details.”

Tanish an ambitious kind of guy, got up and left saying he would be back shortly.

Anuga looked at Ferodo, Ferodo looked at Anuga.

“You see it is like this”. said Ferodo – “there are several key features about the situation of real-estate on the moon, and many misconceptions.  For a start  The moon has a day, almost like the earth’s.  So day and night is not a problem.  The real problem is that it is constantly facing the earth.”

Anuga said “Yes like the man in the moon right ? It always looks the same.”

“Right”, said Ferodo, “It always looks the same, it is always facing the earth, even though the Earth spins past, it is always facing it. ”

“So why is that a problem ?” asked Anuga

“It’s simply a problem for humans, not for the moon. If you were sitting on the earth facing side, you would see the earth.  Always. You could never stop seeing it.  Even when the moon went round the back of the earth at night, you could still see the lights of Taiwan, Japan, UK, not so much India, but you could still see it.”

Ferodo sipped his scotch and gazed out the window as if drawn by a problem too hard to solve.

Anuga said “Really !, I never looked at it that way. But that would be good woudn’t it ?.”

Tanish had rejoined the pair at the table, but had missed the conversation.  Ferodo asked Tanish to explain why a permanent earth facing view was a problem.

Tanish said “You see the real problem is that the earth is always always in the same spot in the moon’s sky.  So if you put a house on the moon, it can only see the earth in a particular position.  So one of the key features is ?”

“An earth facing window !” said Anuga. “Wow, Let me get you another drink and you can tell me more.  I don’t see that is a problem.”

Anuga went off to organise some more drinks.

Ferodo explained to Tanish, “You better tell her about the earth facing side, and the non earth facing side of the moon.”  “Like you cannot sell land on the non-earth facing side, i.e. the dark side, which is not dark, just can’t see the earth.”

Tanish, the ambitious one, said “Not a problem. There must be many people who really don’t want to look at the earth, reminded of the place they left, where their family and ancestors are, where their old long lost friends are.” “Living on the non earth facing side would be perfect for them.”

Ferodo waited.  Anuga returned.

Anuga, looking excited told Ferodo. “i know what the problem is, I figured it out, but I have a solution.  You want to hear it ?”

“OK go on” said Ferodo

Anuga kept her voice low and said quietly “You just need special blinds, you know special blinds that you can close.. and then just open them whenever you feel like looking at the earth, you know, to remind you of home”

Tanish was thinking as was Ferodo, perhaps it would work.  They might each mention it at the conference in the morning.

A love line in the sandy sky

B72 Snake Nebula

It was getting late in the afternoon at the caravan park.  Tents flung all over the place, with spaces of grass and sand between them.  The beach not far away, flocks of seagulls tearing bits of food apart and squabbling as usual.  For most of the people there too, it was getting time to eat.

Alice was sitting on a rock, overlooking the ocean, and the waves.  Sunburnt a bit, she was munching on an apple, a nice red one and considering her palm, a mystery, but she had been told about love lines, marriage lines, heart lines.  It was mystery to her.  It was cooling down and so she got up and walked back to the tent on the beach, and met up with Ferodo, that infuriating guy boyfriend, whatever.

Alice and Ferodo took off up the track together.  Alice offered Ferodo a bite of her apple, and he took one, but was still thinking of fish and chips after all. He thought of holding hands perhaps.  Who would go first, the woman or the man in the equation ? They often thought about crossing the line, that marks the balance point in a relationship.  When tension increased, the strength and straightness of the line as well.  It appeared impassable sometimes, but other times it relaxed into a kind of curvature not starting or ending, but eminently crossable. Still, her hand was all sticky with apple.  Perhaps he would just kiss her instead.

“Ferodo !. Quick, look, what IS that ? ”

“Can’t see a thing mate !”,…  “where ?” he asked..

“Just there, you idiot !” “Look, It’s a snake!”  she said.

“Na, theres no snakes around here !, it’s the beach, don’t worry” he said.

“OK OK I see it !” he added.

There on the path in the darkening, was a curved black line in the sand,  the line was fixed in the sand but the front extended and the back contracted so that the line seemed to move forward in perfect formation.  It was a Taipan by the way, one of Australia’s most deadly snakes, a bit off track, and who knows where it had come from or why, but too dark to make it out clearly….

Alice screamed, “It is headed for that tent over there”. “quick kill it ! Or something !”

Ferodo, didn’t know too much about snakes.  He figured it was dangerous, and that he should take care, but as the light was fading was pretty sure he didn’t want to jump on it.

“Keep your eye on it, and don’t get too close !.  I’ll be back ” he said.

He quickly ran back to his own tent and looked around for a weapon.  There on the bed, where he had left it, was a hammer, perhaps that would do.  He snatched up the hammer and ran back to where Alice was following the snake up the path slowly but surely without deviation advancing on the lighted tent further on.

Ok, so with hammer in hand Ferodo looked at the snake saw that even though the snake was curved and snaking it’s way up the path, and even though he was kind of shaking all over, vibrating with adrenalin, and not knowing really if this was ok, he got the hammer in his hand.  His right hand. Should he use his left ? Wasn’t real sure, his mind started to optimise the situation, but then he realized he just had to go for  broke, forget the optimization.  If he had had a chance to pre-meditate killing the Taipan he certainly would not have chosen a hammer.

His right hand swung out, with the hammer at the smallish head moving in a dead straight line at constant velocity forward, slightly raised off the ground, and with the little minute tongue flicking the air occasionally.

Whack ! Smash, and then a violent eruption in the sand, of fury of the headless snake, whose head had clean come off all mashed on the end of the hammer.  The snake was thrashing around, and it was not clear it was dead, even though it’s head seemed to have come off.  Ferodo relived the last 200ms of it’s life to assure himself, that that was all he had to do.  He was shaking all over, possibly more than the snake itself.  He felt sick, like , way too much excitement that was unplanned and not part of expectations for this holiday.

Alice was standing there… ” what on earth !” she said, you could have got bitten ” what if you had missed the thing, you can hardly see it even now in this light”

Ferodo got his breath back, and said ” ok, ok but well, it’s dead now and at least it’s not going to get into the other people’s tent, whoever they are. ”

Alice and Ferodo looked at each other with a kind of new understanding.  The line had shifted in the sand between them.  Alice stepped forward to meet Ferodo, and stood with her foot clear on the still thrashing body of the snake.  She was standing there like it didn’t count anymore, with a half eaten apple,  and that there in front of her was another mystery to fathom.

After a while, the stars were coming out, as they turned, with apple and hammer in hand and walked off to get fish and chips.

Attribution : Featuring the Photo of the B2 snake nebula http://www.howardedin.com/wp/ creative commons.

Ferodo and The Michaelangelo Teleporter

Leaf 1 – Kaosiung Taiwan

Ferodo was discussing the architecture of Michaelango with his friend Alynn.  They were actually in Kaosiung Taiwan for a conference on manufacturing.

At the end of the day it was now dark and raining out side, Alynn had wanted to go for a walk, but they caught the subway itself.  They had got off the train at R10, and while still in the subway had came accross the most beautiful stained glass dome.  It was massive and filled the whole station with light.  Alynn wandered off for a bit, and Ferodo was just thinking about the time.  Stained glass, all very well, but he was getting hungry.  He got distracted by one of the panels of blue with things that looked a bit like panels.

Ferodo tried to touch the glass overhead, he looked more and more carefully, and thought he could see the reflection of Alynn in the glass.  He really wasn’t sure why he had started thinking about Michaelangelo.  TS Elliot perhaps, the poet, that was probably it. “In the room the women come and go. Talking of Michelangelo. The yellow fog that rubs its 

He suddenly relaxed, but felt a rush of energy and then all of a sudden, he was inside the glass, all colors of the rainbow, but like a yellow fog of Ferodo, all mixed up in the glass but moving through it, like the eastern current of “Finding Nemo” he thought… hey dudes.. I got to get off !.  As he travelled through it was like he could get off at many stops, there were fast moving tributaries of glass of different colours.  It was hot and his misty body was feeling more like a thought than a reality.

As he travelled, he saw his watch going backward, the digits counting backward at reasonable speed, like about 1 hour per second. and the glass, originally bathed in the light of the subway became dark, and then gradually brighter and brighter, like the sun was just shining through the colored walls of it all.

The character of the glass changed from being like a long transporting tube, to a more flat space with Roman Numerals scattered around like a dial of some kind. He could see more and more through it and sped toward a large yellow disk in the centre of the dial.

He crashed through the glass disk and his misty self suddenly recoalesced into a different place. He was on the floor of a large vestibule where a tour group were.  Mostly women.  He looked up and could make out a large dome, with a disk of stained glass at the top.  It was he felt sure the disk he had just crashed through, but was complete and whole, with a collection of maybe planetary bodies on it’s outer rim.

Well for a start Alynn was not there.  He looked around, calling out.  The noise of the evening railway station was gone, replaced by chattering tourists in the classroom. The people were speaking Italian, and a choir was singing what sounded like hymns to a large organ sound filling the space. Alynn wandered in asking, “would you like to go to a small cafe, not far from here” she said.  “It’s on the via Nazionale, just down the road.”

Leaf 2 – Roma Italy and the fixed Teleporter

Ferodo looked up at the skylight above, all round like a portal, and felt the cold hard floor he was sitting on, with women all around, stopped in their reverie of the amazing paintings and colors all over the walls, who quickly rushed to his help.  Alynn, kind of got pushed back out of the way, and the others helped Ferodo to his feet, speaking Italian, and all concerned.

Alynn pushed through the crowd inside and grabbed Ferodo.  She said “Look you’ll be fine !, same thing happened to me just before you.  Let’s go.” She dragged Ferodo outside, in the sunshine, none of this looked familiar to him, he certainly was not in Taiwan, where he was a few minutes ago.  The bright sun shone down and it appeared to be late morning.  He looked back at the door he had just come through and looked up at what appeared to be a fairly modern facade in an ancient building.

Alynn stopped, “look she said, we’re in Roma, lovely Rome, and we just arrived on the Michaelangelo Teleporter, it’s been there a few years, since the skylight was put in.  The same artist for the Kaohsiung subway light dome, and this Roman church skylight, I think that is the connection, was involved.  Michaelangelo designed the church, but originally it was the Diocletian baths.  Now it is the bassilica, St Mary, Angels and Martyrs.  Come on, lets go”.

This was all happening pretty fast, but then life was like that.  A door opened, a portal opened, what was the difference. Only about 6000 miles.  But it looked like time and date were the same, it was Monday morning instead of Monday evening. Now he was in sunny Rome instead of darkening Kaohsiung.

The new question, should he come, or go.  He had come, but he didn’t choose to come, did he ? Could he go back ?

Innovation 5 – Step out into the Gale of Reality

Ferodo had got a solution, it was crystal clear, his team, a handful of talent, had reached his objective some months back.  There were in fact many innovations that had been proposed to solve a particular problem, which if implemented could make quite a difference to his product and the customers who really wanted it.  His team had been congratulated, along with other teams. So it surprised him that from that glorious day he was congratulated in winter, to now – late spring, nothing had happened.  Nothing at all.  He went back to his day job, and so did all the other team members.

recently heard through the grapevine that his CEO Galarbha had asked, “so how is it going then  ?”

Ferodo said to himself, and his ex team mates : “You got to be kidding me” what is going … theres no budget.. theres no project team.. “, “why ask this, doesn’t he know we all went back to our day jobs ?”

And so a new challenge.. how to get the idea out of his room into everyone else’s room.  He had not budget, but others did.  He had no team, but others did. The innovation was also not in his area of responsibility, actually belonging to another department.

And so Ferodo started on a new journey, one which took him through many parts of the massive company, one where everyone had an opinion, an experience, a reason why they did what they did, and all these seemingly conspired to prevent his idea from becoming a reality.

So having developed an idea, he had thought of the Michaelangelo, and Picasso, and others who had innovated.  Even Miles Davis came to mind.  These people had ideas, but they also had an incredible sense of voice and identity, which allowed them to be able to see an expression of the idea through others. To modify, to adapt, and to be able to express the right idea at the right time, at the leading edge of man’s desire to improve or move on.

Ferodo decided to start to work the idea through the system.  Conference call after conference call, stupid email after stupid email, but gradually as he stepped out of the innovation room, into the world at large, he found that many others had also thought of his idea, others had also come to the same conclusions.  But occasionally ideas have to come at the right time, to fill the right dreams, and the right ordering to make it all work.  Holding onto that idea, but getting out of the innovation room into the real world, really makes a tough test for an idea.  If the idea is good, it can withstand the winds of opinion and experience of the people that have to take it forward.  If it is really good, then those people outside the room will be convinced it was their idea all along, and now is their chance to take part.

It dawned on Ferodo as well, that even though others felt it was their idea, usually only part of it was, actually the only guy with all of it in his head was Ferodo.  Once again thinking of key designers and artists in particular, he realized he just had to keep the threads going and eventually something great would result.  But it’s been a while now, and Ferodo cannot even remember where his innovation room was located.  He never went back to it.  But his customers and his CEO are happy with the result.

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