September 1, 2009

The worst use of space technology -- ever

I used to say that Open Water was the worst movie every made because, really, who wants to watch two people drift on the ocean for a couple of hours until they die?  It's pointless.   Open Water 2 proved that the sequel is almost always worse than the original... in "Open Water 1" two people were forgotten and left to die of exposure and sharks.  In "Open Water 2" a bunch of people jumped off a yacht to swim but forgot to put the ladder down and couldn't get back into the boat.  Again... the movie is pointless and made worse by the ridiculous manner of deaths chosen for the different characters.  I haven't watched it, but the movie Awake appears to give both the "Open Water" movies a run for the pointless border.  "Awake" deals with "anesthetic awareness" during an operation... the hero is awake and aware to feel every bit of his own open heart surgery.  I suppose you could say that all three movies focus on the horror of being unable to stop the horror.

I wouldn't think that space technology could ever be put to use in a way that was even more pointless than those movies, but then along came Moonbell.  If you go to the link and click on "open" you see that Moonbell plays notes based on the topography of a path you choose to take across the surface of the moon.  As The Telegraph puts it,

Like a record player, Moonbell translates the bumps and ridges it detects into musical notes.

The resulting compositions can be interpreted by any combination of more than 138 instruments, but explorers hoping to produce an orchestral masterpiece may be disappointed.

All of the Telegraph's attempts on the software sounded dispiritingly similar

I'll say... it sounds like what it is... random notes based on random data.  Japan's Kaguya satellite orbited the moon for over a year, generating detailed maps using a laser altimeter.  Moonbell gets the award for the most pointless use of scientific data -- ever.  Stop the horror!

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