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Monday, December 19, 2011

A tale of rocket ships and space radiation

People ask me about what 4.5 years at Google was like. How about this?

Let's say you put 30,000 people on a rocket ship. This rocket ship has a mission to roam around the galaxy and visit various places: planets, nebulae, stars, that sort of thing. Suppose most of the occupants of this rocket ship do not like certain kinds of radiation. The ship will probably avoid it, given that it's in the best interests of its occupants.

This ship goes places and does things. The people on the ship are pretty happy with the way things are going. They aren't being "nuked" by the various radiation sources of the universe. The ship stays far away from them, and life is good.

Now imagine the ship makes several stops and takes some more people on board. These people really like certain kinds of radiation. Some of them manage to get the ship to fly really close to various stars and other radiation-emitting things so they can get their rad-tan. For them, it's bliss.

Meanwhile, the low-rad people are freaking out, slathering on the space equivalent of Coppertone and screaming for a course change, perhaps to no avail. Maybe some of them get off at the next stop and leave their friends behind.

Neither the high-rad nor the low-rad people are necessarily correct, but only one set of them can be really happy on the same ship. The question is: where does it fly next?

As it turns out, I didn't want to find out what came next. I bailed.