The meaning of space travel
The different ways people respond to the concept of space travel are key to understanding the furor surrounding Titos flight. Tito sees trips to space both as political tools and deeper, more symbolic ventures.
Both the U.S. and Russia have flown nationals from other countries, and of course the U.S. has flown a lot of astronauts from its allies. Obviously Syrian people can better identify with seeing a fellow Syrian fly, and see space through that persons eyes. Its of national importance. These people have become national heroes in their own countries.
Tito is also keenly aware of the symbolic importance of his flight. Not many human beings have been in space. Theres a lot of national pride associated with space travel. My flight has affected a lot of private citizens. They can live vicariously to some degree through someone they can identify with as being like themselves.
Titos space suit is still in Russia, though he says the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum has asked to exhibit it.
Supercollider for cash
While starting a large and extremely successful investment advisory company is not the conventional career path for an astronaut, Tito cites his business background as a key element that made his trip achievable.
His business background, as an entrepreneur and a businessman, taught him how to make deals and to develop the patience to get a deal closed, essential skills in dealing with the Russians.
In addition to providing consulting, money management services, and analytic software, Wilshire is also renowned as the creator of Alan Greenspans favorite market indicator, the broad and inclusive Wilshire 5000. Called a Total Market Index, Tito created the Wilshire 5000 in 1974, taking advantage of new technology that allowed him to efficiently collect stock prices and calculate returns for a large number of equities. Today the Wilshire 5000 includes more than 6,500 different stocks.
Wilshires portfolio management and analysis software derives most directly from Titos engineering background. Like a supercollider for cash, Wilshires Quantum software tests portfolios under highly specific conditions, and gives money managers a chance to bring their risk profiles in line with client goals. In a sense its a highly analytical, controlled window into the future.
Though analyst to astronaut seems like an unlikely trajectory, there are fundamental similarities.
You want to basically fill out your risk envelope. You want to take as much risk as you can comfortably tolerate to maximize your return. We call it a stress testYou can stress-test a portfolio under different market scenarios, and you can see if that outcome is tolerable or intolerable. Just like when they put me in a centrifuge and spun me up to 8 Gs to see if I could take that kind of stress.
If you cant evaluate a function analytically, you can simulate it over a wide array of variables, and get some kind of a three- or four-dimensional surface and figure out whats out there. Its based on understanding the concepts and not being intimidated by what analytical approach you use to figure out the solution. Thats basically what being an engineer is all about.
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