Published by the Center for the Study of The Great Ideas (founded in 1990 by Mortimer J. Adler and Max Weismann)
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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Let’s all go to Mars

John Lanchester reviews The Wright Brothers by David McCullough and Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Is Shaping Our Future by Ashlee Vance at the London Review of Books.
"'It isn’t true,' Wilbur later wrote, 'to say we had no special advantages … the greatest thing in our favour was growing up in a family where there was always much encouragement to intellectual curiosity.' Wilbur’s interest in flight began in childhood; it turned into an obsession and then into a practical plan. Other pioneers of flight were focused on the question of power. The Wrights were fascinated by birds, and learned a lot from their study of them. One of Wilbur’s crucial insights was that flying, like cycling, was a question of balance. He saw that bird flight was all about equilibrium: about the bird’s keeping itself in the air with the maximum efficiency and minimum effort."

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