Astronauts and Viruses

Summer of Love

China completed its first manned space flight last week after astronauts Fei Junlong and Nie Haisheng landed after five days in space. The astronauts are pictured before their flight (left) and in front of their Shenzhou space vehicle after landing (right). The Shenzhou capsule landed on target, in China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

How can the country that makes every part inside my computer have a space program that looks older then most sewing machines? If I were to see that picture with no caption, I would assume it’s an eBay auction for set pieces from “Planet of the Apes”, not a modern spaceship- let alone, one that went into space last week. China: are you seriously using a ‘capsule’? I haven’t seen a ‘capsule’ since some actor in a robot suit leapt out and told us to live in peace. Plus, in a country were even pencils can probably take pictures, this occasion likely calls for a color camera. I’m convinced, China, by using a rubber capsule, flimsy suits and black and white photography, wants every one to think they perfected space travel well-before America. Why else would you land a capsule in a place called Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region? “Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region” sounds like a dangerous shortcut in medieval spice routes, not a landing facility for spacecrafts. Years from now, when people see those photographs and hear the capsule landed in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, they’ll assume that China invented space flight in the twelfth century and America only launched a man to see if that gigantic, waving cowboy in Vegas was viewable from space.
Upgrade your anti-Virus Software

A report in the scientific journal Acta Astronautica worries that personal computes might be vulnerable to attacks from aliens. The report, authored by physicist Richard Carrigan (left), argues that aliens could launch a computer virus that infects all machines running the Seti software. The Seti foundation searches for alien life by using the computing power of five million home users who have installed a screen saver that helps compute data for the foundation.

I’m not sure if we will ever be attacked by aliens, but –if there is a group intelligent enough to strike Earth from a separate universe– they will probably come at us with some thing that we haven’t seen in a Will Smith movie. You don’t declare interstellar war by following Jeff Goldblum’s attack plan. Moreover, what type of “security software” does this guy expect us to develop? We can’t even build a program that blocks Nigerian banks scams. Any race that travels at light speed can probably also ‘get past’ the spam filter on Microsoft Outlook. Does this guy really believe that war-mongering aliens use Windows XP? I can’t open spreadsheets that were saved in last year’s version of Excel, let alone some thing developed in a different galaxy by a being that spits acid. My computer goes into “safe mode” if I attach a webcam to it- there’s no way it can run any thing from an advanced, uncharted planet. Plus, even if this scenario is possible, who cares if our computers are protected or not? I –personally– don’t need to check my email once an alien invasion has begun. If hear that Earth is being attacked, I’m going to make peace with God and eat the largest chocolate pie I can find- not play a game of ‘Mine Sweeper’. I’ll at least have a full stomach and relaxed conscience before the planet explodes- Carrigan, on the other hand, will know if eBay accepted his bid for an old He-Man lunchbox.