Friday, June 28, 2013

The History of the Future

Before we could go to the moon, we had to imagine that we could go to the moon.

This 'work of the imagination' was essential to finding the will, the funds, the talent and the tenacity to accomplish this task. And while the moon mission was accomplished with state-of-the-art technology, the fundamental thrust that led to the moon launch was one of collective imagination.

In this blog-article I will use the moon mission as an example of how ideas move from fiction to reality, how the future can be shaped by human beings -- and how this might apply to ideas that we are coping with today, such as global warming.

In 1865 Jules Verne wrote the novel From the Earth to the Moon followed by a sequel. Using available data, Verne made a number of calculations so that his story would be as realistic as possible. Surprisingly many of his predictions were quite accurate.
In the following illustrations you will see remarkable similarities between the imaginary ideas of sci-fi visionaries and the actual space travel equipment used and space environment encountered many years later.
During the return trip to Earth on July 23, 1969 after the first landing on the moon, astronaut Neil Armstrong said, "A hundred years ago, Jules Verne wrote a book about a voyage to the Moon. His spaceship...took off from Florida and landed in the Pacific Ocean after completing a trip to the Moon." Which was exactly what Armstrong's first moon mission, Apollo 11, had done and was about to do.

TOP: Still from the Méliès 1902 sci-fi film: A Trip to the Moon. Based on Jules Verne's story, the space command module landed in the ocean and then was tugged to shore by a paddle wheel steam ship.  ( BOTTOM: Helicopter from the ship the USS Hornet picks up the astronauts from the Apollo 12 mission. The splashdown of the astronauts was in the Pacific Ocean as Verne had predicted a 100 years earlier. (NASA)
There was a bit more that 100 years between Jules Verne's novel and the actual moon landing (1865-1969). It took this long for the collective imagination to accept that such a venture was possible and then to commit to a long term program. Even then it took the cold war between the United States and the Soviet Union to force the issue, as the race to the moon became a competition between the two countries.

But I am getting ahead of the full story -- during those 100 years, there were a number of steps both forward and back. Yet in the end the public's imagination had been captured.

In 1902 Georges Méliès produced the first science fiction movie, A Trip to the Moon. It was based on Verne's novel and also H.G. Wells novel The First Men in the Moon. It employed special effects and animation -- and sent the public's imagination into outer space.

TOP: Still from the Méliès 1902 sci-fi film: A Trip to the Moon. The command module that holds the astronauts was inserted into a super-gun to send it to the moon. ( BOTTOM: A 1964 NASA drawing of the command module that would take astronauts to the moon. The similarity in the shape between the 1902 film fantasy and the actual NASA design is remarkable. (NASA)
Apollo 17 command module floating above the moon in 1972. Notice the similarity in shape and even the similarity in construction between the module in the Méliès 1902 sci-fi film: A Trip to the Moon (above) and the actual module that went to the moon. (NASA)
LEFT: Still from the Méliès 1902 sci-fi film: A Trip to the Moon. The Earth people (left) who have landed on the moon watch the Earth floating up in the sky. ( RIGHT: Known as 'Earthrise' this shot by an Apollo astronaut shows the Earth floating above the moon's surface. (NASA)
In 1898, at the age of 16, Robert Goddard read H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds which inspired him to think about space flight. He began to experiment with rocketry and by 1914 had registered two of the key patents for successful rocket flights -- a multi-stage rocket design and a liquid fuel method of propulsion. 

In 1924 Robert Goddard illustrated how a rocket could reach the moon from the Earth. ( 
But soon he hit a brick wall known as the media. When he suggested that a rocket could go to to the moon, the New York Times printed the following unsigned editorial, ridiculing his ideas. 
That Professor Goddard, with his "chair" in Clark College and the countenancing of the Smithsonian Institution, does not know the relation of action and reaction, and of the need to have something better than a vacuum against which to react -- to say that would be absurd. Of course he only seems to lack the knowledge ladled out daily in high schools. 
Unsigned editorial, New York Times, January 13, 1920
This condescending yet ignorant opinion from the prestigious New York Times dealt the idea of a moon mission a severe blow as others in the American press took the cue and also mocked his efforts. (In 1915 Goddard had tested his rockets in a vacuum and had proven that they worked.) As a result Dr. Goddard's work lost credibility in the US and was virtually ignored.
Don't you know about your own rocket pioneer? Dr. Goddard was ahead of us all.
Wernher von Braun, the key German and later US rocket scientist who designed the Apollo Saturn rockets that sent men to the moon
Nevertheless, the public's fascination only continued to grow as it began to envision a world in space. Science fiction stories about rocket and space travel continued in movies, magazines, comics, books and on radio and television from the 1920s through the 1950s -- although without much attention or respect from the authorities. 

A number of movie serials (shorts shown every week before the main feature) were quite popular such as the Flash Gordon and the Buck Rogers film series. During the radio era, there were shows such as Dimension X and X Minus One, devoted to thoughtful adult science fiction plots. The popular Twilight Zone TV series in the early sixties often featured well crafted stories about space travel. Even the notorious tail-fins on 1950s American automobiles were based on rocket fins.
This pop phenomenon [ED: of Buck Rogers] paralleled the development of space technology in the 20th century and introduced Americans to outer space as a familiar environment...

LEFT: In a 1929 story, Buck Rogers in a future world watches a TV-like screen while operating controls. ( RIGHT: A NASA lead space flight officer keeps track of information coming from a space mission in 2009. (NASA)
The dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow.
Robert Goddard

Cover from Amazing Stories magazine in 1947. (
In the early 1950s German-turned-US rocket expert Wernher von Braun wrote a series of articles for Collier's magazine called  Man Will Conquer Space Soon! and collaborated with Walt Disney Studios on TV films about space exploration which drew large audiences. 

1953 cast photo for the popular ABC TV sci-fi space adventure series: Space Patrol.  (
On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the first man made satellite. The successful launch of the rocket and then the deployment of Sputnik meant the Soviets were far ahead of the United States in rocketry.

A replica of of Sputnik in the National Air and Space Museum. (NASA)
This prompted President Eisenhower to create NASA (The National Aeronautics And Space Agency) in 1958. As a former general and the Supreme Allied Commander of Allied Forces in World War II, he deliberately created an agency that was independent and separate from the military and that would have a peaceful and scientific orientation. Three years later President Kennedy committed NASA to a moon landing.
I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth. No single space project...will be more exciting, or more impressive to mankind, or more important...and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish...
President John F. Kennedy, 1961
Kennedy announcing his plans to fund a moon mission in a speech to the US Congress in 1961.
While couched in peaceful terms, the space race was in effect an arms race between the two most powerful countries -- which was a key reason why the public supported the cost of this program. 

LEFT: Robert Goddard in 1926 with an early rocket. The rocket was held in the middle of a frame until it was fired. RIGHT: The Apollo 11 rocket that took astronauts to the moon in 1969. (NASA)
When Neil Armstrong stepped down onto the moon's surface on live TV in 1969, it was a moment that most people will never forget. I certainly never have. And although the Apollo program ended 40 years ago, the International Space Station (ISS) is now part of everyday life. Among young people, the hunger for further exploration has only begun -- with a Mars mission in the foreseeable future along with planned landings on asteroids. Now that we know space travel is possible, the thirst to explore will only keep growing.

Live TV shot of Neil Armstrong taking his first step onto the moon on July 20, 1969. (NASA)
Neil Armstrong took this photograph of his fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin during the first lunar landing. Armstrong is reflected in Aldrin's face mask. (NASA)
In hindsight, the creation and success of the moon mission was a century long effort which took imagination, technology and a cold war threat to become a reality. And once the goal of landing on the moon had been achieved, there was little public support for more expensive manned space exploration projects.
Fast forward to today and our future: While global warming poses a great risk, it does not have the same hold on our imaginations. But we have been through this before. 

During the energy crisis in 1977, President Carter said that curtailing our energy imports and reducing our energy use, was the "moral equivalent of war." This phrase was borrowed from  William James in 1906. "James considered one of the classic problems of politics: how to sustain political unity and civic virtue in the absence of war or a credible threat..." ( As we know, Carter was not successful in convincing people of the seriousness of the threat and as a result lost the presidency and the effort to make the US less dependent on foreign oil. 

If we are to deal with global warming, we must give it the same urgency as war.

As I wrote over ten years ago in my essay entitled The World Environmental Crisis Today (which is/was ranked in the top ten search results from Google for most of those ten years):
As Hans Blix, the United Nations weapons inspector before the second American-Iraq war, has pointed out, these environmental questions are much more dangerous than weapons of mass destruction.
Rick Doble
In hindsight, the moon mission, gave us something few of us had imagined:  It showed dramatically that Earth was our home -- for all of us together. Seeing it alone in empty space evoked a sense of awe and a global perspective -- that could only have been achieved by viewing the Earth from tens of thousands of miles in outer space.

This photograph of the Earth, known as Blue Marble, was taken during the last manned lunar mission in 1972 from a distance of about 20,000 miles (about 32,000 km) from Earth. (NASA)
We went to explore the Moon, and in fact discovered the Earth.
Eugene Cernan (Apollo Astronaut)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Global Warming & The Future: Part 2

I've got good news and bad news.


While humans used to be at the mercy of disease and weather, today's technology can cope with these threats quite well. The Black Plague that killed between 30–60% of Europe's population in the 14th Century, for example, could now be curred with antibiotics. The Irish Potato Famine around 1850, that killed over a million people, could today be prevented with chemical treatments and resistent strains of potatoes.

And while hurricanes will always do considerable harm, modern weather warning systems now give people plenty of notice and as a result have minimized the death toll and damage to property.

This is a US government NOAA map showing the projected path for Tropical Storm Danny in 2009. Sophisticated satellite monitoring and aircraft reconnaissance in combination with computer programs can now predict the path, speed and strength of hurricanes. Unthinkable only a few years ago, this system provides accurate warnings and gives people time to prepare and get out of harm's way. (NOAA)
In the last 100 years according to the US CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) , infant mortality rate in the US has dropped 90% and the maternal mortality rate (mothers who died in childbirth) has declined 99%. During the same time period life expectancy has doubled.

TOP: The DeWitt Clinton, 1831, (one of the first railroads in the US) traveled at 24 miles per hour (39 km/h) on 16 miles (26 km) of track from Albany to Schenectady, New York. BOTTOM: The Japanese Shinkansen AKA 'Bullet Train' (photo taken in 2012) can travel at speeds of 149–199 mph (240–320 km/h) on 1,483.6 miles (2,387.7 km) of high speed track.

After riding the DeWitt Clinton train in 1832, a passenger wrote "Among the astonishing inventions of man, surely that of the locomotive steam engine hath no secondary rank. By this matchless exercise of skill, we fly with a smooth and even course along once impassible barriers, the valleys are filled, the mountains laid low, and distance seems if by some invisible agency flown the distance of 16 miles in 40 minutes..."
(Quotation from

In the last two hundred years the pace of industrial and technological  development has surpassed our understanding of the effect that this development has had on the Earth's environment.

In 1900 there were about 8,000 cars in the United States. In 1950 there were 25 million cars.  In 2009, according to the US Bureau of Transportation Statistics, there were  over 254 million cars in the US. Today worldwide there are over one billion cars. And automobiles are just one example.

TOP:  Ad for the 1905 automobile Knox. It sold for $1350 with a leather top, equivalent to $33,968 in today's money, the cost of the Cadillac SRX in the photo below. As you can read in the ad above, this 1905 car had a single cylinder 8 horse power engine and could go 27 miles per hour (43 km/h). BOTTOM: 2010 Cadillac SRX with a 6 cylinder, 308 horsepower engine with a top speed of 130 miles per hour (209 km/h). Over the last 100 years cars have become much cheaper, faster, more comfortable, safer and more reliable. ( 

TOP: In 1900 there were 144 miles (232 km) of paved roads in the US. Unpaved roads were often impassable in bad weather or certain times of the year as in the photo above. BOTTOM: Today there are 2,615,870 miles (4,209,835 km) of all weather highways in the US.
In another example, a scientist has suggested that humans now move more earth  than is moved by the natural forces of the Earth.

TOP: Famous photograph of the Wright Brothers' first flight in 1903 at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, USA. The plane, known as the Wright Flyer, flew 120 feet (37 m) at a speed of 6.8 mph (11 km/h) carrying one person. BOTTOM: State-of-the-art Boeing Dreamliner today. It can hold over 200 passengers, travel at about 650 mph (about 1000 km/h), with a range of about 7,650 nautical miles (about 14,150 kilometers). In 1900 there were no such aircraft; today there are about 40,000 commercial planes and about 34 million scheduled flights per year. (
Quantity has a quality all its own.
(This quotation cannot be definitively attributed to anyone.)

The problem is not the technology itself, but rather the rapid expansion of that technology and its environmental impact.


In Part 1 of this blog: Global Warming & The Future of Civilization, I made the case that this threat to civilization is quite real. And our future, especially the future for our grandchildren and generations to come, depends on our actions now.

For example, while oil companies have continually doubted whether humans are contributing to a warming trend on the Earth, they are also looking into using new shipping lanes through the Artctic Ocean, once this ocean melts sufficiently to allow tankers through -- probably by mid-century according to estimates.

Sea levels are rising -- that is just a fact. How much of this rise comes from human activity is still being debated, yet it is clear, we are affecting the Earth's natural cycles to some degree.
Sea level rise is expected to continue for centuries...On the timescale of centuries to millennia, the melting of ice sheets could result in even higher sea level rise.
The irony is that while technology has caused these problems, technology can provide the solution by helping us design with the environment in mind. Eventually we will create accurate computer modeling systems for the environment, world weather and sea current patterns that will guide us. As I wrote in a published Letter to the Editor at the Raleigh News & Observer, Raleigh, NC  about 20 years ago, the future could be the "age of design" when all aspects of a product are considered in its design -- the manufacturing, usage, disposal -- all of which could have a minimal impact on the environment.

While global warming may be caused in part by our advanced technology, technology will also provide us with the tools to understand the effects of global warming and how to design for the least environmental impact. This photo shows the wide array of US government NASA satellites that monitor conditions on the planet -- something which was unthinkable about 50 years ago. (NASA)
So the good news is that unlike past history, today we do have the power to solve these problems. 

With great power, comes great responsibility.

And since we do have the power, the central question now becomes one of will. Do we have the political will to insist on efficient automobiles that do not pollute, for example?

The following experimental cars, concept cars and futuristic designs show how we can design for minimum environmental impact. They also document that the quest for such designs has been ongoing for 80 years.

Visionary inventor Buckminster Fuller designed and built this experimental auto, the Dymaxion car in 1933. It was one of the first aerodynamic passenger automobiles. Roomy, it could hold 11 people, get 30 mpg (very good mileage for the time) with a top speed of 90 miles per hour (140 km/h).

Patent drawing filed in 1933 for the Dymaxion Car by Buckminster Fuller. (US Patent Office)

Called, L'Oeuf (The Egg), this compact concept car design was built in 1942 by French designer Paul Arzens. It could go 80 km/h (50 mph) and was electric. Also called L'Oeuf Electrique (The Electric Egg) it was constructed of Plexiglas mounted on an aluminum chassis. (

Honda 3R-C concept car, shown at the Geneva International Motor Show in 2010. This single passenger electric vehicle allows amble storage and is designed for safety and 'zero emission commuting'. (

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Global Warming & The Future: Part 1

When I was growing up, my parents would say that while the world had changed, "there is nothing new under the sun," quoting the ancient saying -- meaning that the truisms of life were still the same and would always be the same. For a long time I agreed with them, but now at the age of 68 I don't. 

An 'Earthrise' photograph taken by an Apollo astronaut, showing the Earth from the surface of the moon. For the first time, humans saw an actual photograph of the Earth from a distance, our planet floating in empty space. (NASA)
I believe technology has fundamentally changed our lives both for good and for ill. And we must come to terms with this change or suffer the consequences.

As a painter, my Dad emphasized that artists should get their inspiration from nature, a point of view held by most painters and eloquently expressed by Paul Klee in this following quote.
For the artist communication with nature remains the most essential condition. The artist is human; himself nature; part of nature...
 Paul Klee, Paths of the Study of Nature, 1923
Yet for hundreds of years, going back to the Rennaissance, the goal of humans was  to conquer nature so that we were not subject to the natural forces of weather and disease, for example. And with the industrial revolution and now the hi-tech revolution, civilization has accomplished just that.
The great pivot point...of human thinking was the conquering through science...of the forces of nature. Isaac Newton['s] ... ideas on forces defined through mathematics gave the basic template for all inventors to consider the taming of natural phenomena...
Isaac Newton's mathematical insights unlocked the secrets of gravity, planetary and lunar orbits plus the laws of motion -- which led directly to the industrial revolution. (NASA)
In the 21st Century it is clear that technology has altered our lives in basic ways: parents can now choose how many children to have. Travel is almost effortless. Communication via cell phone is instant and cheap. Food is plentiful. Many people live in comfortable, climate controlled homes with cable television and an Internet connection that allows them to keep in touch with others around the world.

TOP: A wood cook stove. About 100 years ago there were no refrigerators, running water, or washing machines for a majority of households. Stoves required tending with fire wood. This meant that household chores consumed most of people's free time. BOTTOM: A modern kitchen that today we take for granted. (
Nevertheless, we still live on the Earth and our advanced technology has begun to seriously affect the Earth's environment and its cycles. Speaking from an artistic point of view, I wrote the following about 10 years ago.
The old bond between humans and nature has been permanently altered by technology. The task of the 21st century artist is to forge a new relationship between humans and the world, since our fate is inseparable from that of the Earth.
Rick Doble, 2002
We have taken many of the powers of natural forces and put them into our own hands. So it is now up to us control these powers that we hold.

This composite photograph, by a NASA satellite in 2012, recorded  light at night from human activity across the surface of the Earth. (NASA)
As I pointed out in my blog, A Revolution In Time, time also has changed radically over that last two hundred years. And the net affect has been to disconnect us from the cycles of the sun, moon, and stars -- which means we are much less sensitive to and less in tune with the natural forces of the Earth. Yet, as we all know, Mother Nature will win in the end .

TOP: The fire was the center of the home, before electricity, central heat and television. Before radio and music recordings, people played instruments to entertain themselves. BOTTOM: A modern living room, with the heat and air conditioning unseen, an electric lamp on a table and a TV at the center. (
Why worry about global warming when you live and work in air conditioned buildings and travel in an air conditioned car? Technology has insulated us from the world that is our home but in the long run we cannot live independently, apart from the Earth. 

NOAA map from the US government, predicting the changes in precipitation about 100 years from now. (NOAA)
In the future we must come to terms with the changes that technology has created along with an understanding of how to create a technology that does not disturb the balance of the Earth. 

And the basic difficulty has to do with time. For example, the rise of sea levels is a problem but most important is how quickly they will rise. A rapid rise could be catastrophic as people will not have time to adjust; a slow rise will allow gradual changes that people can accommodate. Right now conservative sea level rise estimates range from a 1/2 foot (15cm) rise in the next 100 years to a 6 foot (2 meters) rise.

This US government NOAA map shows the June, July, August (JJA) predicted surface air temperature changes and the December, January, February (DJF) predicted temperature changes in about 40 years. (NOAA)
A second time related problem is that humans are not long term oriented. In a sense our average 75 year life span is out of sync with the hundreds of years it will take to deal with global warming. It might take several lifetimes before we begin to see results. It is not in our nature to spend money and effort for goals that are so far in the future.
Sea level rise is expected to continue for centuries...On the timescale of centuries to millennia, the melting of ice sheets could result in even higher sea level rise.
If there is significant melting of the Greenland glaciers or Antarctic ice, sea levels could rise much higher than predicted. (
Plus it will take visionary leadership to commit resources for an outcome hundreds of years from now.

Yet this is exactly what we must do: Our survival depends on it.

So ironically having separated ourselves from Mother Nature -- having conquered nature as Isaac Newton and others intended -- we find that it is our human nature that we must come to terms with. 

It is now our own nature that we must conquer and tame.

A US government EPA chart showing the recorded sea level rise for a number of US cities from about 1900 to today. If there is significant melting of the Greenland glaciers or Antarctic ice sheets, sea levels could rise much higher than current projections. (
According to polls in the Washington Post and the Gallop organization:

  • 60% of people do not think Global Warming will affect them in their lifetime. 
  • While 84% of scientists agree that global warming is due to human activity less than half of the public believes this. 
  • 70% of scientists believe that global warming is a serious problem, again less than half of the public thinks so.

Monday, June 10, 2013

New Terminology About Time

Time is the most used noun in the English language according to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary

Yet although there are numerous phrases involving the word time such as: 
no time, good time, find time, out of time, and in time
there is not much clarity or distinction in the usage. 

Therefore a major problem when discussing time, is that the we do not have the necessary vocabulary to talk about it. Words are like tools and without the right tools, we can't get the job done. It's like needing a wrench when what you have is a hammer. When we consider the subject of time, we simply don't have the right wrenches and pliers in our toolbox.

Don't give me a wrench when I need a hammer. 

Don't give me a hammer when I need a wrench.

For example, the words time or past or future or now can each have very different meanings depending on the context. Some meanings are even contradictory.  

Take the word *now*:
  •  it can mean this exact moment (such as: What is the time now?)
  •  or a bit before this moment (I did what you asked just now.)
  •  or a bit after this moment (Lets do this now.)
  •  or today (I'll get this done now.)
  •  of this year (Now the politics are getting ugly.)
  •  or this decade (Now we do things differently than they did in the 1980s.)
  •  or the near future (Will we be able to build a high speed rail network now?)
If we want to talk about time and understand time in a more nuanced manner, we must have more words, more phrases, more concepts. 
In the arctic climate the "language of the Sami people [ED: also known as Laplanders] actually includes around 180 snow and ice related words..." (
We must learn from the Sami people and construct at least as many different words and phrases for different aspects of time as they have for kinds of snow. Because for both us and them, our lives depend on it.
The six-tense language Kalaw Lagaw Ya of Australia has the remote past, the recent past, the today past, the present, the today/near future and the remote future. (
A major effort of this blog will be to suggest new terms and new terminology. Naturally these are only suggestions and readers may have better ideas. I invite  feedback. And to get started here is a suggestion for two new terms.

Fluid Time & Hardened Time

Time has two different almost opposite natures: one is quite flexible, the other  is hard and unforgiving. 

While many of us believe that "what's done is done and what's past cannot be undone," this is simply not true. For most of our waking hours, we live in what I call 'fluid time'. This means that you have flexibility to, for example, go back and fix something if it did not get fixed the first time -- to change your schedule around; to rework things that did not work properly.

With fluid time, if you miss a train, you can always catch the next one. 
Time can be corrected and is not irreversible.

In this case time has not 'hardened' because what you are doing can still be molded, modified, altered, changed or corrected. Most days you deal with this kind of time.

Yet like a beloved dog or cat who suddenly decides to bite, time can rear its other nature and cause no end of grief.

Perhaps the most agonizing and mysterious aspect of time is when it becomes irreversible and suddenly sets like hardened concrete; this is hardened time. Or we could call this 'irreversible time'. It can happen in minor ways and in major life events. When a cup falls off a table and breaks into a hundred pieces, it is only annoying yet irreversible. 

'Irreversible time' can happen gradually. A man who can never get around to asking his girlfriend to marry him may find, without his realizing it, that she has slipped away and the moment to marry her has passed. 

'Irreversible time' can happen suddenly.  When out of the blue a car swerves into your lane and causes an accident in which a person is killed, it is too late to go back and change things. It is this kind of time that people are speaking about, when they say there's no use worrying about the past and there is no going back. There's no use crying over spilled milk.

With hardened time, there is no going back. 
While you might recover from an injury, the injury is a fact and 
its consequences will be with you for the rest of your life.

There are points when fluid time slips into irreversible time, as when I leave home and drive to work forgetting an essential notebook. For the first few minutes, if I remember, I can go back and get it, but later in my commute, I do not have that option as it will make me late for work. The 'window of opportunity' will have closed.

So the two phrases I would suggest 
adding to the terminology about time are:

  • fluid time -- this could also be called flexible time, but that might confuse it with the work related term flextime
  • hardened time  -- this could also be called irreversible time
NOTE: A major effort of civilization has been to gain more power to correct things that were once considered part of hardened time. As we humans obtain more knowledge, we have been able to do this. For example, I just had two hip replacements. Thirty years ago I would have been confined to a wheel chair for the rest of my life, but today I can walk around like a much younger man. So what was once considered hardened or irreversible, is now a bit more fluid -- as I still had to go through two operations and 6 months of rehab.