Sunday, October 14, 2007

breaking the sound barrier

the Bell X-1 flew faster than mach 1 for the first time on 14 October 1947-- 60 years ago today. In my usually cursory looking about for info about the day's topic, I found out that X-1 pilot Chuck Yeager is A. still alive(and married to a woman 36 yrs his junior of whom his kids apparently disapprove) and
B. Has recently endorsed Duncan Hunter for president.(!?)

Milestones like this one, and their assorted peripheral data make me think again of a topic I often return to, of how I used to be able to appreciate things like Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier and how cool-looking the X-1 is without the disagreeable tangential reflections about all sorts of other stuff that kinda spoiled it-- how the US changed since 1947, from the New Deal and the country that mostly still manufactured our own stuff and cared about domestic job creation, to the present shaky state of things.

Yes, I recognize it wasn't all peachy in '47; desegregation was still waiting in the future and we did intern thousands of Japanese-Americans during the war years, just because people were scared and it was politically useful, to name just two things.

Still, the Bell X-1 did look pretty cool.

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