Key Information to Scan and Store–You’ll Regret Not Doing It

Outer Limits

This is one of the basics of preparation, yet many of us fail to do this.

Scan and securely store in cloud and on thumb drive the following documents.

Then put the documents in a mobile, fireproof secure box. Make sure you scan BOTH sides of all cards

StoredScannedCloudDocuments
   Birth Certificates
   Passports/Visas
   Home insurance documents
   Car insurance documents and registration
   Health insurance documents/Medical Cards/ Medical Records/glass prescriptions
   Employment records
   Tax returns
   Drivers licenses
   Social Security Card
   Back-up ID (student ID, military, DD214,VA, etc.)
   Credit Cards
   Medical history
   Power of attorney
   Wills
   Concealed carry license
   Important phone numbers
   Titles/Deeds/etc
   Marriage License
   At least one statement from all financial accounts with account #, phone number, address, etc.
   All military and VA records
   Thumb drive with video of house and all contents
   Video of everything in house, all rooms, all drawers open, all closet contents, basement, garage, attic, including art work
   Vet records for your pets, including rabies and other information; would be needed for boarding
Documents

The Green Beret Preparation and Survival Guide

Spencer: Well written, well-acted. A Fantasy Based in Reality

Spencer

I’m not in the royals and that whole kaboodle other than watching lots of documentaries about The War of the Roses and other historical documentaries, mainly because my wife controls the remote.

We watched Spencer, a snippet of three days of imagined life for Diana Spencer based on the reality of her life. It shows both the external and internal craziness of her situation. No one who lives the life she did, is coming from a stable place, and then the extreme external pressures certainly don’t help. The few fantasy scenes of Anne Boleyn might seem a bit much, but they actually fit in quite well.

The fact that Kristen Stewart only vaguely resembles the real subject wasn’t a factor. That’s the reason they’re called actors. They’re supposed to do the job of making you feel something for the characters they inhabit and she did an excellent job at that.

One intriguing aspect was that it suggested the Queen was aware of the problems and even, to an extent, empathized with Diana. More likely, she realized she had a big problem on her hand and would be happy to be rid of it. The tragic situation her sons are in, with the eldest having to be the determiner of how crazy she is acting, at her own request, is sad.

She lived in an invented world, thus an invented three-day fantasy captures the conundrum quite well. The ending is somewhat upbeat, but, of course, tainted by the reality we know comes later.

Worth watching

American Rust: Realistic, Gritty and Leaves You Hanging

tAmerican Rus

I’ve been enjoying American Rust week after week as it came out. It’s not exactly a murder mystery because you learn who the killer is pretty early on. It’s more interesting in that it’s a group of character studies.

Jeff Daniels anchors it as the sheriff in a western PA town; the kind of place Deer Hunter made famous, or rather, infamous. Drugs are rampant and, naturally, someone is killed indirectly because of that.

Maura Tierney is a woman who works sewing dresses and she’s trying to organize a union her shop. Her son, Billy Poe, is arrested as the prime suspect in the murder. His character I found somewhat troublesome. He’s a lost soul who mistakes loyalty for smarts. I’m intrigued and disturbed by Tierney’s character. While she gains some sympathy she is also manipulative and you how much of her son’s problems come from her.

The English family is also featured with a handicapped aging father, whose wife committed suicide years ago. A daughter who escaped to law school, only to get drawn back. And the son who splits town right after the murder and has his own adventures on the road.

Overall it’s not as good as the terribly titled Mare of Easttown. The stories meander without a single thing holding it together other than the shared miseries of the characters.

It’s worth watching but when I went looking for Episode 10, because 9 ended with Jeff Daniels having a really, really bad morning after a really, really, really bad night there was nothing. I know we often end a season on a cliffhanger, but since there is no single plot line, this ended on a lot of loose ends. Too many in my opinion. I’ve got no idea when the next season will be, but the reality is, as Jenny Crusie taught me, that the ending is the most important part: it’s what you leave readers/viewers with. And this abrupt stop without an ending left me with a bad taste in my mouth. I doubt I’ll remember all the threads by the time season 2 comes around.

Publication Day: Shane and the Hitwoman

Shane and the Hitwoman

Today is the day. This was a labor of love for the characters from Agnes and the Hitman. It also helps resolve the relationship between Shane and Agnes. And introduce new possibilities. And it brings in a new character, Phoebe, the hitwoman, who has her own set of skills and quirks.

Amazon

Apple

Nook

Kobo

Phoebe will the star of the next book, coming out next year: Phoebe and the Traitor.

Also, in the pipeline? A new Area 51 book and Shelter from the Storm, the next Will Kane book. I’ve also been working on an Area Study workbook to go with the survival guide. This will be a step way to evaluate your Area of Operations and determine what you need to do to prepare.

Today, through Thursday, The Jefferson Allegiance is free.

Nothing but good times ahead!

Hope you enjoy!

Bob

Condor—Season 1. Well done thriller series, reasonably accurate

Condor

We have to remember that Six Days of the Condor, the novel, became Three Days in the movie version.

Now the concept has become a TV series and I watched the first season. The idea is updated, of course, with computers being key. A firm working for the CIA, technically part of the CIA, uncovers a pattern of stock options that exposes something much deeper going on. An apparent terrorist plot is stopped using an algorithm developed by the protagonist and all is well, except there is that nagging problem of someone trying to make money if the plot has succeeded. Thus, greed foils the plan. But who is it?

The story then moves fast with the protagonist, Joe Turner (really should have used the actor’s name, Max Irons), is a computer geek who survives the massacre at his office and then tries to uncover the real plot.

I found the storyline believable in today’s current political and ideological atmosphere. The female assassin was quite fascinating; even William Hurt, who has had great face work done since Goliath, is impressed with her in a bizarre way.

Brendan Fraser has an interesting role as a “cut out”.

The series is pretty brutal in that characters are dispatched with regularity and little mercy; again, rather realistic. Not many “I got shot in the shoulder and I’m okay” moments. Dead is dead.

Fast-paced an in tune to the times, I recommend the series. Now that the second season is out, I’ll check it out, although the storyline of Season 1 was closed out rather effectively.

BTW—a few people have commented that they were bothered by me being down on Foundation. I’ve continued to watch it and it has gotten better. It’s good, but not great. I just have the feeling something more could have been done, but the writers have done a really good job with difficult material and many storylines.

The Hillsborough Soccer Crush

Hillsborough Soccer Crush

This is excerpted from The Green Beret Guide to Seven Great Disasters

There was no organised response there at all… There was nobody in charge, no plan, no organisation at all… There was no resuscitation equipment there… The scene was just absolute chaos.” BBC Commentator Des Lynam

The Facts

On 15 April 1989 at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, England, a crowd crush killed 96 people and injured 766 more.

1981: A crush occurred on the same end of the stadium, resulting in 38 injuries.

October 1988: Chief Superintendent Mole is ordered to be transferred on 27 March 1989.

22 March 1989: Planning for the FA Cup semi-final match was attended by Chief Superintendent Duckenfield, who was replacing Mole.

15 April 1989.

10:00 am: Chief Superintendent Duckenfield briefs his officers at the stadium. There are no records of what was briefed.

10:00 am to 2:00 pm: Fans begin arriving. There are 24,000 Liverpool fans and 29,800 Nottingham Forest fans.

2:15: Fans at the Leppings Lane gate increase beyond capacity to process. Entry is slowed down.

2:30: Duckenfield asks a fellow officer if the fans will be in place on time or if the kick-off can be delayed. He’s told all fans will be inside by the 3:00 pm kickoff.

2:37: The turnstiles are overwhelmed and some fans get stuck in them by the press of the crowd behind them.

2:47: Superintendent Marshall asks control if he can open exit gates to prevent injuries among those pressing the turnstiles. One gate is opened to throw out one fan, but one-hundred-and-fifty pour through.

2:50: Teams come on the field and the crowd responds. Those outside, trying to get in, can hear the crowd.

2:52: At the third request, CS Duckenfield order Gate C to be opened.

2:54: 2,000 more fans press in through.

2:54: PC Buxton radios control asking for the kickoff to be delayed, but is told it’s “too late”.

3:04: A ‘crush barrier’ in pen three breaks from the crowd pressing on it.

3:06: Injured and dead start to be carried away on advertising boards.

3:15: Duckenfield says the crowd got in through the gates, not that he had authorized the openings.

3:30-3:35: An appeal is made for doctors and nurses over the stadium speakers. The match is declared abandoned.

The Cascading Events

Cascade One

The venue was not up to safety standards.

To prevent problems between fans and players, many soccer stadiums were equipped with high steel fences between the stands and the fans. The terrace was a sloped place where there were no seats. Fans stood, packed together, to watch matches. The very nature of this invited trouble. 

In 1981 there was a ‘crush’ in the terrace. The after-action-report (AAR) said that there would have been fatalities if not for a swift reaction. It recommended that capacity be reduced to prevent a reoccurrence. The Sheffield Wednesday chairman responded: “Bollocks—no one would have been killed.” This, despite the fact that its safety certificate had lapsed in 1979.

Action was taken, but it was for the wrong reasons and was the wrong action. The terrace was divided into three sections, laterally. This, and later, changes, such as going from three to five sections, negated the stadium’s safety certificate, which was never renewed.

Several times over the years more fans than could be safely accommodated packed into the terrace. Several complaints were filed. Nothing was done.

Lesson

Safety standards must be enforced and updated.

This was a case where in response to a serious incident, changes were made that actually made the potential for disaster worse; in addition to invalidating safety certification. It’s obvious concern for safety wasn’t considered a priority.

Cascade Two

A minor prank led to a loss of key expertise.

A probationary police officer in the local division was handcuffed, stripped naked, and photographed by fellow officers as part of a hazing prank. When news leaks, four officers resign and seven more are disciplined. Chief Superintendent Mole, the man who was experienced in dealing with crowd control at the stadium is ordered to be transferred on 27 March 1989.

There is no substitute for experience for a complex task such as crowd control. His replacement had no experience with the stadium and crowds. A focus on a small incident led to dire consequences.

This is an example where an unrelated, minor event had unforeseen consequences.

When the game was awarded to this venue, during the planning on 22 March 1989 it was attended by Chief Superintendent Duckenfield, who was replacing Mole.

Lesson

Unintended consequences is often a factor in disasters.

The officers who pulled that prank could not have known that it would contribute greatly to the tragedy that would happen the following year. Also involved though, were the superiors who replaced the experienced Mole with the inexperienced Duckenfield. What’s intriguing, though, is that institutional knowledge about game day management for the police should have still existed on the force. Did Duckenfield avail himself of that expertise? From actions on that day, it does not appear so.

Cascade Three

Inadequate and inexpert planning, focused on the wrong problem.

With fans pouring in, a focus was on keeping the fans from the two teams separated not only in the stadium, but entering the stadium. The major concern was not overcrowding, but ‘hooliganism’ by rowdy fans. Even though Liverpool had more fans, the other team was allocated the larger seating area because there was a desire to keep the fans from crossing paths on their way to and into the stadium.

Entrances that the Liverpool fans would normally have used were blocked off to them. Because of this, fans began to pile up trying to enter the stadium. This led to pressure from behind which would be a direct cause of the disaster.

This was only exacerbated when the fans not yet in the stadium heard the roar of the crowd inside the stadium as the two teams took the field, aka pitch, to warm up. Fearing they were missing out, the entering fans pressed forward.

Worse, fans presenting tickets at the wrong turnstiles, due to the confusion, and those trying to get in without tickets, couldn’t turn away because of the crowd pressing up behind them.

The initial plan was to split up many of the incoming fans left and right around the West Stand to Pens 1, 2, 6 and 7.

Desiring to relieve the pressure, the police first opened up exit gate C. Then they opened Gates A and B. As you can see, this funneled fans toward the center tunnel under the West Stand, not toward the sides.

Police and stadium officials who normally monitored the tunnel and Pens 3 and 4 to avoid overcrowding were not present. Thus, people poured in through the tunnel.

Because of the lateral fences that had been installed, those already in 3 and 4 couldn’t move sideways into the adjacent pens.

Lesson

The primary concerns were about the behavior of fans, not crowd safety.

Any time a large group of people are gathered, there is a potential for disaster. Crowds act differently than individuals. It is incumbent on those responsible for a venue and crowd to design the venue and take steps to prevent disaster.

Excerpted from the Green Beret Preparation and Survival Guide:

Crowds act differently than individuals. What was a peaceful protest or event can quickly escalate. No matter what your role, even as an innocent bystander, it pays to be prepared. Also, you can unexpectedly become caught up in an incident while in transit from work, school or traveling.

This also applies to any crowded environment where things can get out of control: Sports events. Concerts. Movie theaters. Any time there is a crowd, there is a possibility for an incident that will get out of control. People have been killed and hurt at these events.

11 people were killed at a Who concert because of the crush for festival seating. 39 people were killed at a soccer match in Belgium while trying to escape a fight between fans. 96 people were killed at a soccer match in England when fans were channeled into too tight a space with no exit. Crowded night clubs have often been the scene of disasters. The Station fire in Rhode Island killed 100 people when pyrotechnics started a fire. Many died rushing for the same door and getting caught in the stampede.

Think about what would happen if a fire broke out or an active shooter occurred at any large event. Always know where the exits are. Have a plan to get out. Remember: people will instinctively go toward the way they came in. Find the emergency or other exits as soon as you enter any venue. Make sure you can find them in the dark and in a panicked crowd. If going with a group, make sure you have a rally point outside the venue to meet at, even if just in case someone loses their cell phone.

What was terrible for the victims of this disaster was that once they went into that tunnel, there was no way to back out.

Cascade Four

Bad Decision making.

Before things got out of control, an officer on the ground radioed a request that the start of the match be delayed twenty minutes as had been done years previously. This request was denied.

The speed of this disaster is rather amazing when you consider that in just a few minutes it went from rowdy to deadly. The funnel of fans entering the tunnel had no idea what lay ahead. Those already in Pens 3 and 4 were pressed forward by the weight of the humanity behind them. They were pushed against the fencing and each other.

Police inside the stadium ignored cries of distress from the increasingly packed crowd. The match started on time at 3:00 pm. This increased the desire of the fans in the tunnel and outside to get inside. This increased the pressure on those inside.

The goalie on that end of the field heard fans pleading for help, but there was no police response.

At 3:04, a section of the fence gave way.

The ground commander, ran to the referee and got the match halted at 3:05:30. But it was too late. Fans were mostly fending for themselves, being pulled to safety by those in the stands above or over the fence. A gate in the fence was forced open. Nevertheless, many died standing up, asphyxiated by the pressure of those around them.

The crowd spilled out onto the field, those that were alive, and some that were badly hurt or dying.

Even now, though, there was no coordinated or rushed response.

Lesson

Any crowd situation needs one individual in charge who is experienced both with the venue and crowd control.

Positive control must always be maintained.

The decision to open the exit gates alleviated one problem while causing a much worse one. One suspects that a person unfamiliar with crowds and the stadium design made the decision, since it channeled the crowd into the disaster.

That was undoubtedly a major contributor to the disaster. However, backtracking, a number of decisions got to that point: removing the former police commander without insuring that institutional knowledge was passed on. Was there an SOP how to handle crowds at the stadium? My research couldn’t uncover one. As you’ll see at the end, SOPs are critical in all organizations. They allow continuity in the face of changing personnel.

Cascade Five

Inadequate ambulance and emergency response.

Contingency planning is a staple of all organizations and events. Any large venue should have an SOP for mass casualty events.

There was a casualty reception point (CRP) designated at the entrance to a gymnasium, but this was outside of the stadium. Anyone injured was to be brought there. Getting them there fell to fellow fans.

There was a contingency for medical personnel and ambulances to actually enter the stadium, but it required an official declaration to be made by ‘those in charge’. Which never happened.

Lesson

Terrible planning, combined with a lack of initiative in the face of tragedy.

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve heard about acting in a disaster came from a bulldozer operator who saved a bunch of people in the Paradise, CA wildfire. He had no comms, was in a dire situation, and thought to himself “What would my boss order me to do?” Apparently, he had a good boss because the driver used the bulldozer to plow open an alternate route, allowing a number of people who would have perished to escape. He used his initiative in the face of disaster.

In a way, it was easier for him to do this since he was alone. Those medical personnel in the ambulances, outside, which eventually numbered 42, were in a quandary. Should they go in? Would the injured be brought to them?

Two made it onto the field. Some medical personnel left the holding area and moved to the field, but not all of them brought the necessary gear. Lives were lost in the critical moments after the tragedy when proper care and equipment might have made a difference.

Cascade Six

The police and authorities sought to blame the victims without assuming responsibility.

In terms of timeline, this happened as the Final Event was ongoing. I’m putting it here because it shows a continuation of a mindset that abdicated responsibility throughout.

The third ambulance that made it onto the field was sent there by an official as a PR attempt to sooth fears and reassure people. It was far too late.

The spin began immediately with the focus being to blame the fans as being drunken hooligans who had rioted and caused their own disaster.

Lesson

A blame game not only helps no one, it also indicates abdication of responsibility.

I put this one before the final event, even though it happened afterward because it shows the mindset of those in charge. To start blaming victims show those in charge didn’t take their responsibility seriously. They’re trying to shift responsibility.

It also means they weren’t willing to conduct an effective After-Action-Review which is one of the keys to preventing future disasters. It took twenty years and adamant refusal of acceptance of the official story of blaming the victims, before an accurate report on what happened came out.

Final Event

The fatal crush.

Fans entered the stadium through not only the turnstiles but the three open exit gates at what was described as ‘steadily at a fast walk’. Funneling into the tunnel, where they could not see what lay ahead, they formed a human wave of pressure. Those already in Pens 3 and 4 had nowhere to go  to relieve the pressure from behind.

During previous matches, police had monitored the entrance to the tunnel and redirected fans to the sides to avoid over-crowding. For some reason, on this day, there was no one monitoring the tunnel. Fans kept entering, well beyond capacity.

Adding to the pressure, the match started on time at 3:00, despite the requests by officers who were concerned to postpone the start. Those fans who could not yet see the pitch could hear the crowd reacting to the game and this increased their desire to get inside. It was a deadly match lit on a conflagration that was already pressured to deadly levels.

It took just a few minutes for people in Pens 3 and 4 to realized their predicament. They could not turn and go back out as the wave of people was still coming in

Some police at that end of the stadium became aware of fans trying to climb the barrier, but mistakenly thought they were trying to rush the pitch instead of save their lives. The slow response contributed greatly to the disaster. The goal keeper on that end heard fans begin to plead for help. At 3:04, only four minutes after the match began, a shot hit the goal bar. At that moment, one of the barriers in Pen 3 gave way, spilling fans out onto the field. It took a minute and a half before the ground commander realized what was really happening and had the referee stop the game. But there was no plan in place to release the pressure inside the Pens. Fans in the terrace above tried to help pull people up to them. More barriers gave way, but consider the force of people required to break through a barrier designed specifically to stop that very action?

By the time the pressure on those inside was reduced by those escaping it was too late for most victims. Many died standing up of compressive asphyxia from what is termed ‘crowd crush’.

Crowd crush can occur when the density of a crowd becomes greater than four people per square meter. At that point physics takes over as it gets progressively more crowded. When the crowd reached six to seven per square meter, people are so tightly packed together that they are no longer individuals. A shockwave can travel through these people like a wave through fluid.

If a single person falls, or more people push into the edge of the crowd, such as those still coming through the tunnel, it precipitates further crushing. People become unable to draw a breath.

It is often referred to as a ‘stampede’ but that is not only inaccurate but also insulting. Stampede implies people caught in it have a choice. They do not. And those on the periphery often have no idea what’s going on.

Situations we need to be aware with the potential for crowd crush are venues and areas where large crowds are trying to move in a certain direction to either reach a destination or to get away from a threat. Those at the rear push forward, not aware that those in the front have no place to go and are being crushed. It is estimated that a crush pressing against a fence can bend one designed to withstand 1,000 pounds of force.

One key to this is lack of visibility. In this case it was the entrance tunnel, where the entering crowd could not see ahead. Consider all venues in these terms.

Lesson

Responsibility rests with individuals, not crowds.

In retrospect, the prism of disaster experience, we can see that this catastrophe was inevitable. A confined space with one entrance where those coming in couldn’t see where they were going was ripe for disaster without strong, positive control.

From the lack of certification, the building of the pens, the fencing that stopped lateral movement, the lack of supervision on match day, poor decision-making, inadequate response and lack of accountability, this was almost an inevitable disaster except, as you can see with the rule of seven, at any point along the way it could have been prevented.

Individuals can’t be blamed once they’re in a crowd that is placed in an impossible situation.

It took until 2012 for an independent panel to determine that crowd safety was “compromised at every level.” It also, sadly, noted that perhaps 41 of the 96 who died might have been saved by a proper, swift emergency response.

Some lessons were learned and implemented. Standing pens were replaced with all-seating.

Blaming victims is never useful. Especially in a crowd environment.

The Forgotten Battle—Not Forgotten and Worth Watching

Forgotten Bttle

This new film from on Netflix might be billed as a Dutch version of Saving Private Ryan, but it’s more random than that. It’s billed as the story of three people who tragically interact, yet the reality is only two really interact, but that doesn’t matter. It’s more the story of how random war is and how life and death is capricious. Luck, impulse, and the cheapness of life is displayed in all its gory reality.

It follows a British glider pilot, a German soldier and a Dutch girl on an offshoot battle of Operation Market Garden, which was a failure and I cover in The Green Beret Guide to Seven Great Disaster III, which came out last month.

I followed the main path of Market Garden years ago, but was unaware of the specifics of the Battle of the Schedlt which occurred to the north, along the shipping channel to the key port the Allies needed access to for resupply.

It’s a bit like Saving Private Ryan in that one of the battle scenes approaches epic scale, but it’s mostly about the details of the daily lives of the three characters in the build up to and the actual battle.

An act as simple as throwing a rock can lead to multiple deaths and a forced betrayal. People face horrific choices, but interestingly, as in reality, often the choices are taken from them or they have to act spontaneously.

Recommended.

Crowd Crush is not a Stampede—Understand the Danger

Hillsborough Disaster

A recent tragic event at a concern in Houston bring home the danger of being in a crowd. People want to blame those who were there, but I reality, crowd crush kills people who no longer have control over their situation.

I researched a terrible example of crowd crush at a soccer match in Hillsborough, England where 96 people died and many others were injured as part of one of my books on disasters.

Excerpted from The Green Beret Guide to Seven Great Disasters (III)

Crowd crush can occur when the density of a crowd becomes greater than four people per square meter. At that point physics takes over as it gets progressively more crowded. When the crowd reached six to seven per square meter, people are so tightly packed together that they are no longer individuals. A shockwave can travel through these people like a wave through fluid.

If a single person falls, or more people push into the edge of the crowd, such as those still coming through the tunnel, it precipitates further crushing. People become unable to draw a breath.

It is often referred to as a ‘stampede’ but that is not only inaccurate but also insulting. Stampede implies people caught in it have a choice. They do not. And those on the periphery often have no idea what’s going on.

Situations we need to be aware with the potential for crowd crush are venues and areas where large crowds are trying to move in a certain direction to either reach a destination or to get away from a threat. Those at the rear push forward, not aware that those in the front have no place to go and are being crushed. It is estimated that a crush pressing against a fence can bend one designed to withstand 1,000 pounds of force.

One key to this is lack of visibility. In this case it was the entrance tunnel, where the entering crowd could not see ahead. Consider all venues in these terms.

As I explain in the book, crowd crush is most often the fault of those in charge of the venue. For many years, authorities blamed the victims, but the reality is much different.

The Boys: Brutal, Profane, But Realistically Portrays the “Superhero” Genre

The Boys

Exploding heads? Overt misogyny including a forced blowjob? The C word as part of normal dialogue for one character? A whale gutted? Any of those turn you off, then forget about The Boys which turns the superhero concept on its head.

The Supes are the bad guys here. Although they are billed as the good guys. But corporate America knows a good deal when it sees it. This is satire at its best as we see how the handlers of The Seven, the most elite of the Supes, control their merchandizing and publicity, damn the collateral damage, which is what starts the protagonist down his path against them as his girlfriend is wiped out by the blur of Supe “A-Train” flashing by.

We quickly see how the ordinary person doesn’t matter at all.

The Boys is the bloodiest, dirtiest thing I’ve seen on television. It’s on Amazon Prime.  But it’s worth the ride as it touches on so much of what’s wrong with us. Being up front, I’m not a fan of the superhero franchises. They present problems as solvable if someone is bulletproof, possessing extraordinary powers, can fly and unlike the rest of us mortals. And the rules of physics don’t exist. But if power corrupts, doesn’t extraordinary power corrupt the most? That’s what The Boys points out.

For All Mankind: Alternate History Done Well

For All Mankind

I binged For All Mankind not long ago and found it intriguing and interesting. It’s an alternate history of the moon race where the Russians get to the moon first and the US plays catch-up.

The alternate history is interesting but not spectacular. Given that in this version it spurs both countries to put bases on the moon, one almost wishes this had been true.

One thing that kind of bugged me was two of the actresses cast—one was very much a version of Julia Roberts. That’s not her fault, she just reminds you of her. She’s also cast in The Boys, so. The female NASA scientist kind of felt like she was trying too hard to be Jodie Foster in Contact, but maybe that’s just me.

Some sensitive topics such as homosexuality, race and misogyny were touched on but not too deeply. Perhaps the deepest character trait was the commitment to duty. I believe it echoed what those in that field felt back then and still feel now.

It did make me wonder how we haven’t been back to the moon since Apollo. Pretty amazing how quickly the space race was given up once it wasn’t a race any more.

It has been renewed for a new season, which appears to be about who will get to Mars first.  Meanwhile, in the real world . . . .