Monday, December 15, 2008

Wallace as a Young Philosopher and the Moon as Ad Space

In yesterday's New York Times Magazine, my friend JR wrote about David Foster Wallace's undergraduate thesis in philosophy, a document seen by very few. Wallace, the son of a notable philosopher, started, briefly, on the path to a more academic career, leaving Harvard's graduate program after a short time. Jay Garfield, who advised Wallace on his thesis at Amherst, said, "I knew him as a philosopher with a fiction hobby. I didn’t realize he was one of the great fiction writers of his generation with a philosophy hobby."

The magazine also featured its annual Year in Ideas feature yesterday. One of my favorite entries was "moonvertising." Sometime this year, Rolling Rock beer claimed that it would be using lasers to project its logo onto the moon. This was a joke, but a Coca-Cola marketing exec earnestly pursued the idea not too long ago, and -- shockingly -- ran into some logistical problems:
According to Jim Garvin, the chief scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, moonvertising is possible, if impractical for a number of reasons. While scientists have bounced lasers off the moon, they illuminated an area only about the size of a tennis court. “In order for an advertisement to be seen by people on earth,” Garvin says, “the laser light would need to cover an area about half the land size of Africa,” a challenge because the moon’s surface is dark and fairly nonreflective.



Post a Comment

<< Home