Before i Forget : Simon Jones's blog

February 2003

Meanwhile articleMonday, February 17th, 2003, (9:34 pm)

Meanwhile : Articles written by Simon Jones

Some people have accused me of being socially irresponsible because at times I prefer not to watch the news on TV or catch it on the radio.

I’m not big on watching the news on TV. At times I steer clear of news websites. And I don’t get a newspaper, not even the one where some random wannabe sex symbol bares her breasts for all to see on page three.

In short, there are simply times where I try to avoid knowing what’s going on in the world. It’s not that I don’t want to know what’s happening, it’s just that the more I know, the less I want to know.

Right now if I turn on the TV and the news is dominated by talk of war. Thousands of United States and British troupes are already in strategic positions around the Gulf ready, or so it would seem, to simply sweep into action against Saddam Hussein.

It looks like everyone is getting ready for ‘Desert Storm II’ sequel to the popular TV show that was war with the nasty bits taken out so as not to offend TV viewers and upset advertisers.

Over the weekend one and a half million people poured onto the street on London to tell our government here in the UK that they didn’t want to go to war with Iraq. A whole host of celebrities, sport stars and even some world leaders share that sentiment too, but so far none of this has altered the seemingly unstoppable course of affairs… [Click here to continue reading this article at ‘Meanwhile’]

Meanwhile articleSaturday, February 1st, 2003, (2:36 am)

Meanwhile : Articles written by Simon Jones

My day is drawing to an end. For most people it’s been over already for hours. It’s three thirty in the morning and I suppose strictly speaking my today has already become tomorrow. But that’s not important. I want to write something quickly. For no other reason other than to record an event from my perspective.

This afternoon at just after two o’clock, my friend Will called me at a friends house just outside of London to tell me that NASA mission control in Houston, Texas, had just lost contact with the Space Shuttle Columbia as it was re-entering the Earths atmosphere, coming home after a successful sixteen day mission.

The moment we heard the news we turned on the TV. Pictures were already coming in from Texas where the Shuttle could clearly be seen breaking apart as it streaked across the blue morning sky. Something clearly had gone catastrophically wrong and as with so many major news events today, the world sat and watched events unravel right there in front of them, live on TV.

My first impression was horror. Clearly the seven astronauts would not survive this. Whatever happened, whatever went wrong, had just cost these seven people their lives.

I won’t pretend to be a close follower of the space program. I won’t claim to have any idea what this latest sixteen day space shuttle mission accomplished or even sought to accomplish. I suppose, like most people, space shuttle missions were no longer news to me. They space shuttle goes up, they do some stuff, then they return to earth. As much as I’d be interested in seeing the shuttle take off an land, the media aren’t as interested in those events as they once were.

Oddly enough just a few weeks ago I was actually at the Johnson Space Center in Houston with my friend Erin. While there we chatted about how routine space shuttle missions had become. So much so in fact, that their many launches and landings no longer seem to make the news, that is until something goes wrong, as it clearly did today.

I remember clearly the first Shuttle launch. April 12th 1981, and the Space Shuttle Columbia lifted off from its pad at the Kennedy Space Center on mission STS-1. I was just ten years old and…. [Click here to continue reading this article at ‘Meanwhile’]