Experiences with the Dusty Government

The Eighties

The years passed. We called this decade „The Eighties“. Plenty of important things has happened in these years
Margaret Thatcher was elected in the UK as well as Ronald Reagan in the USA.
The personal Computer was invented (I have seen the PC jr. on the Comdex in Las Vegas)
The Internet spread out and plenty of people are calling this decade the time when our western society makes its change from the industrial to the Digital Age.
Reagan started the “Star Wars” a new threat against the Soviet Union.
In the Soviet Union Michael Gorbachev introduces Glasnost and Perestroika, with which the Cold War finally ended.
But at the end of any war the defeated party will get desperate. So there have been fears that somebody in East Europe or Russia will do something crazy to avoid the loss of power.

For me personally the most important was the Fall of the Berlin Wall in East Germany in 1989, preparing the way to German reunification. On November 9, 1989 I was in Berlin for a meeting with a customer. Because it was a short meeting, we met each other at the airport and after I returned home I saw in the TV news, what important part of history I have just missed in Berlin.

“What a pity” I thought at that evening.

But not in my wildest dreams I have thought that others have made decisions in the weeks before regarding my life.

This evening I only sat on the balcony, watching the sun set and its reflections in the tile field of my garden. It was cold and I coughed a bit. So I sipped a soda and crawled under a woollen blanket and enjoyed the fresh air in the twilight of this day in November 1989.

Next: Experiences with the Dusty Government: The Kitchen

Prolog 4

It snowed long and intensive during this winter and we had really other things to think about. So we forgot the "picture".
Christmas and New Year passed and then on one day in spring the sun won the battle against the cold. All the snow melted and we could see again our huge graphic.
At that time, we look at the lawn only as a slippery, muddy area. I did not realize in these days, that the melting water which was on the grass disappeared in the ground while the water on the tiles have no chance to go somewhere. So we saw only the water blinking tiles and the dark green ground. It was a normal view, when you watch over a stoney ground after a heavy rain and we didn't realize what this effect might be for others.

Next: Experiences with the Dusty Government: The Eighties

Prolog 3

It was a big project to put all the tiles on the ground. We copied a picture of 3,000 times 3,000 picture dots (pixels). Every black dot on the original was replaced by a white tile so that there is a good contrast to the darker parts of the grass. Using tiles with 10 cm x 10 cm, we needed a square of 300 meters for each dimension. It is good that the original picture has only "few" black dots, but the result was about 100,000 tiles.

End of 1978 we have finished the project. It was so big, that from the ground you can hardly see anything. And then it started to snow and there was no more contrast. White tiles in snowy grass. All the project was covered by one of the biggest snow disasters which hit Northern Germany.

Next: Experiences with the Dusty Government: Prolog 4

Prolog 2

I am feeling lucky!
If you look over the last two centuries, there have been too many wars in Europe. But I was born after the last Big War called "World War II". I grew up in a quiet village. My parents have been members of the middle class and I have enjoyed the comfort and suffered the duties of a medium rich family.

I got a good education, first the basics by my mother and grandparents, later school and university until I became a computer engineer.
During that time I also married my first school love, built a house surrounded a big garden and lived happy there in a city of Northern Germany.

The garden was a big meadow and in summer I have to mow the lawn every other week. I hated it. So I got the idea to put some tiles on the lawn to reduce the cutting work.

But just tiles? Somewhere? Randomly?

No, it must be something nice and maybe the base for a talk during a garden party.
I cannot remember anymore, who really has the final idea but the family meeting decided (under my influence) to put the tiles like the Pioneer plaque.

Next: Experiences with the Dusty Government: Prolog 3


Two things were launched on March 2, 1972. One was Pioneer 10 and the second was the change in my life.
Pioneer 10 was the first spacecraft to leave the solar system. One special thing with this spacecraft was a plaque which shows anyone (or anything?) outside the known world, where and who we are.
Maybe, for the NASA it was more a gag, or a fantasy starting PR action to raise more funds for their next mission. But for me it was the beginning of my new life.

But for several years, I didn't realized that.

Next: Experiences with the Dusty Government: Prolog 2