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Sliding Doors - a new World

Had John Fitzgerald Kennedy not won the 1960 US Presidential election then the 1960's would not have been as we remember them. 

If there had been no escalation of the Vietnam War: 'to make US power seem credible', then there would have been no conscription in Australia; no American or Australian 'Draft Dodgers'; no calls to 'give peace a chance'; no protest folksingers. No 'swinging sixties'? No hippies?    

On the other hand it's probable that racial tensions in the United States would have been handled less sympathetically and it was Kennedy who founded the Peace Corps.

Kennedy's nuclear standoff with the Russians evolved into the MAD (mutual assured destruction) doctrine. Soon sufficient weapons of mass destruction were, and still are, held by both the US and Russia to assure the complete annihilation of both the attacker and the defender should it ever come to nuclear war.

Kennedy's 'robust' confrontation with the Russians continued under Johnson and eventually a nuclear test ban treaty was signed. Successive administrations have been more conciliatory.  President Regan proposed talks leading to START I (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) signed by President Bush (Senior) and President Obama more recently signed New START with the Russian Federation.  Meanwhile Marxist economics failed in every country that tried it and the world (including the those countries that are still nominally Communist) has largely returned to a market based economic model.  Nevertheless US confrontation with Russia (and vice versa) has become a habit and the MAD doctrine still hangs over the World like the Sword of Damocles.

Kennedy's other competition with the Russians was the 'Space Race'.   Kennedy was famously opposed to the rather ragged US space program until April 12, 1961, when Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became 'the first man in space'.  The evident Russian lead in rocketry obviously had defence implications.  It meant that the Russians could potentially deliver a nuclear bomb to any point on earth.  It was Kennedy's epiphany.  With this flash of Russian light in the sky he became a convert to space technology.

On May 25 1961 he announced to congress:  "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."  It was to be enormously costly and needed to be sold.  In September the following year he told a public audience in a televised speech:

No nation which expects to be the leader of other nations can expect to stay behind in this race for space. ...
We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.

Rice University, September 12, 1962


The impact of this program on the future is difficult to overstate.  It gave us the technology of the 21century:  everything from silicone chips to non-stick frypans. The ability to cheaply travel the world and to communicate electronically even faster rely on technologies developed for that programme.  A myriad of spin-off  technologies flowed from the Space Program, like all those that depend on small powerful computing devices; as well as new understandings and abilities in medicine and genetics.

But more than all these changes in the fabric of time, the sixties was when those of my generation met and wed (or not) and bred.  We met at sixties parties and produced a generation of children who would not be here if the times had been different.  Perhaps their siblings would be here but many pairings simply wouldn't have happened at all.   Those children are now producing children of their own.

So we now have a world of people who simply wouldn't have been had Francis Gary Powers done as he was told.






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The United States of America – East Coast



In the late seventies I lived and worked in New York.  My job took me all around the United States and Canada.  So I like to go back occasionally; the last time being a couple of years ago with my soon to be wife Wendy.  She had never been to New York so I worked up an itinerary to show her the highlights in just a few days.  We also decided to drive to Washington DC and Boston. 


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Fiction, Recollections & News

Stace and Hall family histories


The following family history relates to my daughter Emily and her mother Brenda.  It was compiled by my niece Sara Stace, Emily’s first cousin, from family records that were principally collected by Corinne Stace, their Grandmother, but with many contributions from family members.  I have posted it here to ensure that all this work is not lost in some bottom draw.  This has been vindicated by a large number of interested readers worldwide.

The copyright for this article, including images, resides with Sara Stace. 

Thus in respect of this article only, the copyright statement on this website should be read substituting the words 'Sarah Stace' for the words 'website owner'.

Sara made the original document as a PDF and due to the conversion process some formatting differs from the original.  Further, some of the originally posted content has been withdrawn,  modified or corrected following requests and comments by family members.  






Stace and Hall family histories

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Opinions and Philosophy

Carbon Capture and Storage (original)

(Carbon Sequestration)




Carbon Sequestration Source: Wikimedia Commons


At the present state of technological development in NSW we have few (perhaps no) alternatives to burning coal.  But there is a fundamental issue with the proposed underground sequestration of carbon dioxide (CO2) as a means of reducing the impact of coal burning on the atmosphere. This is the same issue that plagues the whole current energy debate.  It is the issue of scale. 

Disposal of liquid CO2: underground; below the seabed; in depleted oil or gas reservoirs; or in deep saline aquifers is technically possible and is already practiced in some oil fields to improve oil extraction.  But the scale required for meaningful sequestration of coal sourced carbon dioxide is an enormous engineering and environmental challenge of quite a different magnitude. 

It is one thing to land a man on the Moon; it is another to relocate the Great Pyramid (of Cheops) there.

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