America: The effect of the Sputnik on American society

Door San Daniel gepubliceerd in Verhalen en Poëzie


When the Sputnik was launched by the Russians in 1957, it was a huge blow to the American scientific world. Had they rested on their laurels for too long? After the Second World War they were the super men, the policemen of the world ... how could this have happened to them and what could they do about it. San Daniel in Andalucia, sharing his views with us under his favorite olive tree.

"The Sputnik was the first artificial earth satellite. 
The Soviet Union launched it into an elliptical low orbit on October 4, 1957, the space object orbited for three weeks the earth before the batteries ran out, and then two more months without broadcasts before falling back into the atmosphere. It was a polished metal sphere with a diameter of 58 cm, with four external radio antennas to transmit radio pulses.

The unexpected success of the satellite led to the American Sputnik crisis and led to the Space Race, part of the Cold War. The launch was the start of a new era of political, military, technological and scientific developments. "


The Americans as the modern Romans

The Americans have played a decisive role in a number of episodes of European and  world history. When they participated in the 1st world war after the sinking of the Luistania, it was quickly done with the murderous battles in Europe. Maybe they used the sinking of this mail boat as an excuse to enter the war, the result, however, was the same.

The Americans played at the conclusion of the war an important role in rearranging countries, a war, which the British call "the Great War" because it is seen as a more serious war for the British than World War II.

Pearl Harbor and Stalingrad, the beginning of the end

Operation Barbarossa: The German invasion of Russia

'Hitler invaded Russia on the night of 21 to 22 June 1941. This was his personal crusade against Bolshevism. A crusade that would lead to his downfall, a crusade which would last 4 years, at a cost of 30 million dead, bring Russia into the war, and cost the German army a 168 divisions.

At 3 o'clock in the morning the first troops entered Russia after bombing raids. In the first few weeks they surrounded  Russian division after division and 3,000,000 Russians were killed or taken prisoner of war

When the Germans invaded Russia they had not foreseen poor supply lines and logistics, with a winter that was troubling them due to the enormous cold, which they were not equipped for. Tanks were frozen, rifles no longer functioned, the soldiers were carried away by the dozens with frozen limbs. '


When the American base, Pearl Harbor, was also bombed by the Japanese, the cards were shuffled . The Japanese, together with the Italians, were the allies of Hitler and his German empire and now Hitler suddenly had two great powers as an opponent: the Russians and the Americans.

The Americans entered the second world war as ally of Europe. The outcome is known. The US government supplied many weapons and planes to England, which they had to pay back after the war, to fight against Nazi Germany. After the  D day landing in Normandy and much misery and many deaths, the case was settled, Europe was liberated again but the war in "the Pacific" continued.

The Americans had a nuclear weapon that ended the war. After throwing 2 atomic bombs on 6 and 9 August 1945, respectively, on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Japanese surrendered. The two bombings killed between 129,000 and 226,000 people, most of whom were civilians. The Americans were the victor and the second world war had come to an end.


The Americans become a superpower

When the war was settled, it went without saying that America profiled itself as the world's policeman. They had succesfully ended the war with Japan. Because of their logistics and materials, and had brought the war in Europe to a successful conclusion.

America becomes it all. The clothes, the music, the pop drinks, their brand of cigarettes, and yes the big American great gas guzzlers of cars. 

The Americans believed that to have colonies was out of date. They had started hemselves as a colony of England and believed that everyone should have their own freedom and influence in their country's politics. Unfortunately, not all countries were ready for that. But they determined that India would become independent of England and that the Netherlands would lose Indonesia and that is what came to pass.


The blow the Russians dealt

While the Americans were busy living the American dream in luxury with even larger American cars with more power and more status, the Russians launched the Sputnik in 1957, a satellite that went around in a low orbit. The disillusion was great. How was it possible that the Russians were the first to be able to practice space travel?

It would take years before the American counterpart "Telstar" could be launched. The image of the US was enormously damaged. All kinds of experts were being consulted to make up the "backlog" with the Russians. Their conclusion was: better education and an earlier selection of people who were gifted.


Sesame street is born and IQ tests are being developed

Every major city has disadvantaged areas. Parents do not work or use drugs, or do work and an older brother or sister takes care of the little ones or the children are simply put in front of the TV.

A number of educationalists devised a program (Sesame street) to teach children to count playfully, to teach the alphabet and the colors before they'd go to school. The Program was called Sesame street. A lot of repetition, because repetitions filters in and songs that have to do with math skills.

Also tests were developed to measure the intelligence of children, the so-called IQ tests. Intelligent Quotient. These tests were all taken in schools at the age of 14. It turned out that children from Negro families did not score well in language. They would speak grammatically incorrect. It also appeared that Eskimos and Indians had no spatial insight and saw no depth.

Mind you, according to the tests made by whites for whites. Bernstein, a linguist, came up with a theory: "the giant words theory". He claimed that black people parroted, in other words: repeated sentences and parts of sentences  stuck together incorrectly. This would result in double negations in the sense of: I ain´t not going. Something like our South African: I won't go not.

Well, it took some time before people realized that folk in neighborhoods develop their own way of speaking. Since every person has a LAD: language acquistion device that starts functioning immediately at birth and thereby copies sounds and words of surrounding people  making them their own, that becomes rather independent of giant word theories.

Educationalists who made IQ tests for non-whites and presented them to white children saw that immediately the "whites" scored way below their previously tested white IQ test. An Eskimo child can distinguish between 7 different colors of white in the snow, each synonymous with a coldness degree. Where a "white" child sees no difference and simply says: it is white ".


Environment shapes people

We could have guessed it, the tests as developed were self-fulfilling prophecies, the results are what you expect. That has little to do with intelligence. Who makes the test determines the standard. Can that person see beyond his own limits?

Well what remains is a nice program with a bit of counting, but which has little educational value, with many colors, weird animals, cookie monsters and that is stuffing for the child who is just "put down" in front of the telly.

We could say input is output. A parent really needs to be busy with his or her child, I mean intensive quality attention (his or her input) if he or she wants to increase the output. No sweet Sesame street helps.

The American education system was turned over and I think we can assume that the US is now a leader in scientific affairs. This is also due to the "brain drain", where talent was "bought away" from outside of America. We may be grateful to the Russians, they have given us, the free West, a huge boost.

San Daniel 2019


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31/10/2019 18:54

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