Wake Up to SpaceUp January 25, 2011Posted by craftlass in space, SpaceTweeps.
Ahhhh… it’s that time again! SpaceUp rears it’s lovely head and gets the space geeks all amped up. This time there are two happening the same weekend, February 12th-13th, the second take on the original one in San Diego and the inaugural one for Houston. I’ll be at the latter myself but know lots of cool people who will be at one or the other, making this one of the major weekends I could really use a clone.
What is SpaceUp? Well, I wrote a post about it before my first one, just my own interpretation of the explanations I’d heard for the people who were asking that question. Having been to one now I have a lot more to say, but my basic advice is: If you are interested in any aspect of space, from Old Space to New Space, from astronomy to planetary sciences, from propulsion to robotics, and far beyond, this is the place to be. It doesn’t matter if you don’t understand how it works, you will when the time comes. Nor does it matter if you have no expertise or if you have multiple PhDs, all ages are welcome, and you can wear what you want and even host a session or give a talk if you’re so inclined.
What could be more democratic?
It’s so rare in life to attend an event where everyone is on equal footing even though they represent all spectrums of the community. One of the most special moments at SpaceUp DC was when a 9 year-old boy got involved in a discussion on reaching out to his generation, actually having a child’s input was even more valuable than that from education experts because it didn’t come from a book or school, it was from his heart as well as his mind. His mother told us she knew little of space or science until her son got interested in them and she brought him to try and support his interest as well as she could but was learning a lot herself. To me, this pair symbolized everything SpaceUp is about: Community, open lines of communication, and keeping an open mind about who can have good ideas and what subject might suck you in.
One day in DC I wound up in a session about thermonuclear rockets. Now, I had heard the term before but couldn’t have even vaguely answered what they were if asked. Okay, I could break it down by the name, but it wouldn’t have been a serious answer! It turned out to be one of the best sessions I attended, I learned a lot and want to learn more on the topic. Our big conclusion that day was that they have a PR problem and need a new name, which makes a lot of sense, but requires getting some engineers, PR people, and wordsmiths into the same room, which is a rare combination indeed in almost any other circumstance.
Modern society is very disjointed. We like to divvy everyone up into little groups and then slice those groups up even smaller, building walls between each time. Companies keep the left-brainers away from the right-brainers who are kept away from the executives and the underlings. This is bad, very bad. The best ideas happen when people who seem to have little in common work together as a real team, even if there are serious disagreements along the way. Actually, especially if there are disagreements – those are needed to kill the inevitable bad ideas that crop up and spark a new direction of thinking. Compartmentalization is bad for everyone and everything, at least, in my opinion, and it’s time to break free of this modus operandi.
This is why SpaceUp is my favorite event. It’s living, breathing proof that people CAN communicate across all the artificial boundaries we put up and find ourselves subject to. Even better, the way a lot of that happens is through actual fun! We have fun debating serious topics, we have fun sharing stories and getting to know each other, and then there’s the actual Fun Time built into the schedule. I don’t know much about the plans for San Diego but I am absolutely thrilled to be able to say I will be providing entertainment a few times during the Houston event.
The peak of it all will be on Saturday evening when there will be a party with a great combo of information and entertainment to cap it all off. For more information check out the official SpaceUp Houston blog, in the meantime I’ll just share another chorus of, “I’m sharing a bill with an astronaut!” Yep, that’s right, folks… Clay Anderson, NASA astronaut and superstar twitternaut will be opening up the night with a presentation, I will be closing it with music. Pretty cool, eh? I’m honored that they asked me to play and am working hard to ensure it will be my best performance to date, including polishing up some very new songs to debut for this special audience.
Sorry about the shameless self-promotion here, as it’s not generally why I keep this blog, but I am genuinely excited to both attend and perform to the point where I want to shout about it from rooftops. It’s probably far safer and more effective that I do that here, virtually, rather than in my NJ town… Right? To top it all off, I’m hard at work on a new single to release at the event and a few new songs to debut as well, so I’m extra-hyped up!
I hope to see you there, follow your stories from SpaceUp San Diego, or at least that you’ll log in to the live feeds if you can’t travel to one (thanks to the fabulous efforts of the Spacevidcast crew).
[Update: This post has been crossed posted at SpaceUp Houston’s website, thanks to the kind folks over there for thinking my humble post was worthy of inclusion!]