Is it just me, or is it just so Saskatchewan to see that the starkest criticism for Brian Feeney's da Vinci Project The da Vinci Project was a privately funded, volunteer-staffed attempt to launch a reusable manned suborbital spacecraft. It was a contender for the Ansari X PRIZE for the first non-governmental reusable manned spacecraft. has come from the Wheat Province. The da Vinci Project is Canada's entry into the X-Prize contest, which is the new millennium's version of the space race, albeit of a privatized nature. The first team to send a rocket ship rocket ship
A spacecraft powered and propelled by rockets. to space twice within a two-week period will win a $10-million first prize.
There's a Saskatchewan connection to this story, of course, because the da Vinci Project is being launched from Kindersley on October 2. And now there's an even greater Saskatchewan element thanks to some negativity surrounding the event.
Instead of heralding the foresight (graphics, tool) Foresight - A software product from Nu Thena providing graphical modelling tools for high level system design and simulation. , vision, and dare I say it, dream, of Feeney and his crew, Saskatchewan-based experts in the field are dismissing the event, saying that it's going to be difficult to get the rocket, apparently comparable in size and mass to a Greyhound greyhound, breed of tall, swift, sight hound developed nearly 5,000 years ago in Egypt. It stands about 26 in. (66 cm) high at the shoulder and weighs about 65 lb (29.5 kg). bus, off the ground with its balloon apparatus. They're even suggesting a misguided attempt could see the rocket become a missile that could reach Saskatoon Saskatoon (săskətn`), city (1991 pop. 186,058), S central Sask., Canada, on the South Saskatchewan River. .
Am I the only one who sees the parallels here? How much more appropriate could it get? I mean, here we have a highly capable and talented project team that has spent years and millions of dollars in an attempt to literally, reach for the stars, and here we are telling him that he can't do it. Only in Saskatchewan, eh?
Now don't get me wrong, I'm no rocket scientist Rocket Scientist
In the world of finance, these are people with science and math degrees who work in the finance field building highly advanced quantitative finance models. These models help banking, insurance and investment firms to price financial instruments. . And I certainly am not about to point fingers at those who are and hold views that contradict con·tra·dict
v. con·tra·dict·ed, con·tra·dict·ing, con·tra·dicts
1. To assert or express the opposite of (a statement).
2. To deny the statement of. See Synonyms at deny. the da Vinci da Vinci Surgery A surgical robot for performing certain surgeries–eg, mitral valve repair and laparoscopic procedures–eg, cholecystectomy and gastric ulcer repair. See Laparoscopic surgery, Robotics, Surgical robot. Project's scientists. But are we better off having this type of negativity, fearmongering and propeganda reported upon? I mean, what's the point? Will it make the project's engineers realize that they overlooked some important facet in their calculations? Will it give Saskatchewanians within a 200-km radius of Kindersley on Oct. 2 enough of a warning to cower cow·er
intr.v. cow·ered, cow·er·ing, cow·ers
To cringe in fear.
[Middle English couren, of Scandinavian origin. in their basements--or better yet, bomb shelters--for that two-hour window 'just in case?'
I don't think so. But what it does show is that Saskatchewan, far and away, is the capital of 'No, you can't do that here.' Instead of being the Wheat Province, we should be known as the What? Province.
And I know it seems like I'm being a typical Saskatchewanian here, coming across as a whiner and a know-it-all by voicing my opinion without recognizing the validity of the other side of the debate. But all I'm simply saying is this: if these da Vinci experts think they can do it, why do we almost inherently doubt their ability to do so? Instead of asking 'Why', we should be posing the question, 'Why not?'
I'll be the first to admit I've always been a bit of a dreamer and a big-picture kind of thinker; the details will work themselves out later, kind of thing. Admittedly, this may not be the most pragmatic view of the world. But at least I'm not raining on everybody's parade telling them they can't do this and they can't do that, simply because they live in Saskatchewan. Quite the contrary in fact, our potential in this province is untapped. Our future could truly be wide open, but only if we allow it to be.
Keith Moen, Editor