Tag Archive for nasa

Dreaming in the Digital Age

The Wife and I took the Rugrats to the Peoria Riverfront Museum yesterday, and we checked out their Dome Planetarium for the first time. They’ve got a great setup, and one of their features was the short film Back to the Moon for Good, featuring the Google Lunar XPrize.

When people ask why our students need to be studying in the STEM fields, this is just a part of what it’s all about. We need to have goals again, to have big dreams to follow. To reach for the stars and beyond. To solve human problems like cancer, or a loss of drinkable water.

If we told the NASA engineers who sent us to the Moon in the ’60s and ’70s what the space program would look like today, they’d be beyond disappointed. People can blame the government, and politics, and money, but it really comes down to the people themselves. The people who ask, “Yeah, but what has the space program done for us?”

If they were to be honest, they would ask, “What has the space program done for me?

I have two responses. First, here’s a list. Second, get your head out of your ass.

The school district I work for held a parent meeting for our technology program, and inevitably the anti-technology set had to put their two cents in. One complained we were only making our kids dependent upon technology, implying technology makes kids dumb and lazy. Another was from the “back in my day” camp, proudly proclaiming he wouldn’t touch a computer if we bought it for him.

Both speak from a position of ignorance. They honestly have no idea what technology has done and can do for them and their children, so they breed contempt and complacency rather than inspiring dreams.

Saying “I’m not good with technology” in 2015 is the same as saying “I don’t know how to read” in 1915. If you think it’s funny that you can’t operate the smartphone in your hand, then congratulations, the world has officially left you behind.

If you have trouble with technology and you just don’t get it, I’m sure you’ll get by. But don’t let your headaches get in your kid’s way. Let your kids start dreaming again, and aspire for bigger and better things, because the rest of us have no desire to return to Bronze Age savagery.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

NASA Still Has Balls

Check out how the NASA/JPL propellerheads plan to drop the Curiosity rover on the surface of Mars safely:

“Seven minutes of terror,” they say. That’s balls.

It’s like something a bunch of elementary school kids would come up with. “It’s gonna have a parachute! And rocket boosters! Oh! Oh! And a sky crane!

You know the real reason they don’t want to fly the Space Shuttles anymore? Because they get to work with awesome projects like this.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

I Want to Be a Scientist

A mad scientist, of course, but these days it may not be far off.

The tardigrades that NASA fired into space have now returned, having survived exposure to both the extremes of the stellar vacuum and exposure to cosmic rays. I think that would be a fun job, blasting random critters into space. I can think of several candidates right off the top of my head, unintended consequences be damned.

Does this tardigrade look different to you?

Does this tardigrade look different to you?

I’d also like to be the guy who gets to push the button on the Large Hadron Collider. They’ve already beamed a few test protons through it, and tomorrow they’re set for the big experiment. Of course, there are several people who think that the experiment will be the end of the world.

Pfft. I say fire it up. These are the same kind of people who thought the Manhattan Project would ignite the atmosphere and kill us all. Or that every electronic device on the planet would shut down on Y2K. They just don’t understand the science behind what they’re talking about.

To that, I say educate yourself:

Now, let’s talk about testing my Large Hardon Collider…

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.