Space Junk

January 28, 2010

According to the U.S. Space Surveillance Network there are over 13,000 human-made objects larger than ten centimetres in diameter orbiting the Earth: “These include both operational spacecraft and debris such as derelict rocket bodies”¹. As I was reading this I started to wonder how many sites and half-completed projects are floating “out there” in cyber-space – and what happens over time? Will there be a similar point of environmental awareness about the need for a cyber-space clean up? Do our creative and less creative efforts stay suspended in their own orbit? Is there a dimension littered with spam and joke emails? Will they come crashing down upon us? One minute you’re drinking your coffee – next thing you know, every ill-worded email and badly spelled document you’ve ever sent comes flooding through your screen. This is my idea of hell: to be buried in one’s own appalling writing…

All of this makes me wonder how one rounds up one’s own cyber space junk? If we end up with Blog sites and websites and Facebook accounts and various email addresses and a Wiki or two and the odd tweet – then how do we pull it all together? My impulse is to want to control the uncontrollable and not abandon it to chaos.

Complexity is the state between order and chaos. There is randomness at the micro level, but patterns emerge at the macro view. So how do we enable all our work to be complex – but not chaotic?I can’t control how others respond to what I write, where my links go, what gets picked up and what gets ignored. So how do we create some semblance of order whilst still embracing the ambiguity? 

“I saw two shooting stars last night
I wished on them but they were only satellites
Is it wrong to wish on space hardware?”²

 ¹Lovgren, S. (2006). Space junk cleanup needed, NASA experts warn. National Geographic News, January 19. Retrieved from http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/01/0119_060119_space_junk.html .Image from same source.

² Lyrics from Billy Bragg’s New England

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