more serendipity

When exercising my range of interests it never fails to surprise when coincidences occur.

When my brother was visiting recently in the course of our chatting he mentioned Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy. Oh shit, I thought, I’m not sure if I read it or if I read it and I don’t remember it. Later I decided to add it to my list of things to read and pulled it out of my library.

I’m about a third of the way into the second volume. The writing is not great but it’s not bad for 1952. I read the first one and wasn’t excited to read more until my experience with Catling’s Vorrh Trilogy. Fuck it. Asimov at least has ideas and coherence.

It is in the Heinlein tradition of space operas which to me means more adventure than ideas and definitely omission of women or in Heinlein’s case full blown misogyny.

This morning while unloading the dishwasher and making coffee, I listened to the 538 podcast and got bored with it. Switched to Now and Then, Heather Cox Richardson’s podcast. Then I decided I need some upbeat music for my more strenuous exercise and switched to Vampire Weekend.

Finally I did my usual twenty minutes of “old man” running in place (or Bill Clinton running in place if you prefer to acknowledge my inspiration). For that I switched to Into the Zone, my current favorite podcast.

The Episode I was listening to was entitled Dead or Alive. I had listened to some of it and remember thinking this wasn’t that interesting an episode. Then when describing Nova Spivak’s crazy notions about preserving all human knowledge and burying it on the moon, it suddenly got my attention. I’ll let Wikipedia describe it.

“In 2015, Spivack co-founded The Arch Mission Foundation, a non-profit organization created to spread knowledge across the solar system. Through the Arch Mission Foundation, Spivack curated the first permanent space library, which contained Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy contained on a quartz disk aboard the Tesla Roadster that was sent to space aboard the SpaceX Heavy Falcon rocket in 2018”

The “arch” in “arch mission” is supposed to be pronounced “ark” I think. So it’s like “archives” but also Noah’s ark with Kunzru did not mention. Goofy, sure. Elon Musk sends a car to Mars. Spivak talks him into including a small quartz disk which contains the Foundation trilogy. But startling to me since I’m on page 64 of 224 of the second volume of Asimov’s trilogy.. .

The rocket was supposed to crash on Mars but according to Hari Kunzru’s podcast it missed and is on an incredibly large orbit in our solar system.

Kunzru admitted reading the Foundation trilogy as a kid and being happy that the main character’s name was Hari. That would be Hari Seldon whose name Mark had remembered in our chat.

Goofy stuffy first thing in the morning.

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