A while back I bought something I'd spent years wishing I could have.
It's a 1981 VW Rabbit Caddy, lowered way down with a diesel transmission, meaning that it drives very much like a go-kart. I love it.
I recently had a bunch of work done on it, making it finally legal -- and a bit more comfortable -- to drive, meaning I've been driving it quite a bit. I personally love these vehicles, but they're not what I would call "common." Most people I run into didn't even know Volkswagen <i>made</i> a pickup until they asked me what it is, let alone ever having seen one.
But then there's the folk that do know what it is... While it was at the Volkswagen shop, the guy who runs the place told me that on a Saturday 5 different people stopped in to look at it after seeing it from the street. I figured he was exaggerating. However, I am simply amazed at the number of strangers that have gone out of their way to tell me how much they like my truck, despite the fact that it's still pretty rough -- the body needs some attention, the paintjob is horrible, and, due to the fact that the wheels are too big, it makes a funny scraping noise when I turn. None of those things seem to matter though.
Yesterday over the course of three or four hours of running around, 4 different people told me how cool they thought it was, that they used to know someone who had one, and how they don't see them very often.
I love my truck, but I had no idea how many other people there are who agree with me.
Perhaps you've heard about the big debate among NASA scientists over whether we should continue spending money on sending humans to space or just focus entirely on robotic exploration instead. Opponents of mannedwomanned astronauted space flight say that sending humans into space costs too much and that we can't learn enough in the process, while proponents say that simply putting humans in space guarantees future interest in continued funding of space exploration. In short, both arguments are "all about the Benjamins."
I don't know about any of that, but I am very much opposed to sending robots into space at all. I'm sure that part of my opposition comes from the fact that I'm terrified of robots, but I don't see how anyone could not be, what with those huge teeth and powerful legs. I don't want to share too many details, but my fear of robots seems to stem from an incident at a holiday sporting event when I was four years old... sorry, I don't really like talking about that day.
In addition to being scary as hell, I feel that robots would serve as terrible ambassadors for humans to the extra-terrestrials they'll encounter during their explorations. Sure, like humans, robots reproduce at startling rates, destroy any new environment they decide to inhabit, and take carrots from other people's gardens with no apparentcguilt whatsoever, but do we really want the extra-terrestrials knowing we're like that? Sure -- if our long-term space exploration goals include being made into a nice stew with those ill-gotten carrots.
Then there's the fact that robots are smug, selfish creatures bent on world domination. If we continue sending robots off to explore space, what we'll get are huge colonies of them scattered all over the galaxy, reaping the rewards of whatever zero-gravity carrot farming knowledge they've gained without ever reporting back to us about it. They'd soon be floppy-eared masters of the galaxy on our dime, and I think we can all agree that that's no good.
No, it's clear to me that those puffy-tailed little fuckers need to stay here on Earth, if only to ensure our continued reign over the Final Frontier.