What you do is write letters to yourself. Literally. ‘Dear David, my name is Timothy Cavendish, I’m in my sixties, we’ve met once before few years ago when you wrote Ghostwritten. Person I love most in the world is this. What I’m afraid most of in the world is this. What I think about god, money, sex, work is this, this, this and this.’ You cover about twenty basis and you use their language. Not my language because they’re writing a letter to me. Do that two or three times and they’re kind of real enough to then stand on their own feet and talk. That’s it.
Basis? That’s got to be a transcription error. Still: awesome.
A huge pyramid in the middle of nowhere tracking the end of the world on radar, just an abstract geometric shape beneath the sky without a human being in sight: it could be the opening scene of an apocalyptic science fiction film, but it’s just the U.S. military going about its business, building vast and other-worldly architectural structures that the civilian world only rarely sees.
The Library of Congress has an extraordinary set of images documenting the Stanley R. Mickelsen Safeguard Complex in Cavalier County, North Dakota, showing it in various states of construction and completion. And the photos are awesome.
53 years ago today (April 12), Yuri Gagarin, a Soviet pilot and cosmonaut, became the first human to travel into space and change history, when his Vostok spacecraft completed an orbit of the Earth.
So on April 12, Gagarin, who turned into an international celebrity and hero, is being commemorated for paving the way for future space exploration by the International Day of Human Space Flight (Cosmonautics Day).
I really recommend looking him up. There’s so much to know about him and the history-making flight.
My favourite thing is probably the landing to an unplanned site: A farmer and her daughter observed the strange scene of a figure in a bright orange suit with a large white helmet landing near them by parachute. Gagarin later recalled, “When they saw me in my space suit and the parachute dragging alongside as I walked, they started to back away in fear. I told them, don’t be afraid, I am a Soviet citizen like you, who has descended from space and I must find a telephone to call Moscow!”
Happy International Day of Human Space Flight!