Sometimes I feel we complicate our lives to excess, giving us little time or opportunity to enjoy simple pleasures. This is particularly true with technology, which has made our lives easier in many ways, but more complicated and stressful in others. Without doubt, computers and mobile phones have speeded up our daily lives as well as becoming addictive for many. It seems that being hyped up because you have left your mobile at home has reached epidemic proportions without even asking themselves why they feel that way.
Here is a true story which might encourage you to question some of your current habits.
During the early days of the Space Race, the US and The Soviet Union were desperate to gain the critical edge that would see them first to land a spacecraft on the moon. Prestige, acclamation, and national honour depended on it.
The key, as it so often is, was the gathering of quality information. The technology had to be refined, and the effects of weightlessness and other non-terrestrial factors on the astronauts explored and understood. Naturally, the astronauts were in the front line of research. They were there, they were living it, so it was essential they kept accurate, experiential, and up-to-the-minute records. This was the ultimate action research project.
However, there was a big problem. When there is no gravity, the ink in pens does not flow. Whichever bloc could solve this challenge, it seemed, would win the Space Race. Never before in the history of the world had penmanship been so critical, so essential.
The US government put millions of dollars into funding a project with a well known pen company which developed the pen with a heart, a mini-pump action that allowed a generation of school-children to write rude messages on classroom ceilings, and US astronauts to make and take critical notes in space.
The Soviets, meanwhile, solved the problem by giving their astronauts pencils.
Happy English learning!!