Thursday, April 2, 2015

Settling the Solar System

This week I've been touching on last week's Twitter conversation about the Narrative of Mars Colonization, based on this episode of Star Talk Radio: The Future of Humanity with Elon Musk.

It is interesting that Dr. D.N. Lee picked up on the problems of framing the discussion with phrases like "stuck on Earth", "save humanity", and "Manifest Destiny." The Storify of her discussion is here.

When I listened to the podcast, what I picked up on was the discussion about education of women as a means to reduce population growth. As I table that topic for a later discussion, let me just drop this link describing the concept of Reproductive Justice.

Yesterday I posted links to books and other resources discussing NASA culture. This morning I updated it with a few more items.

The first 7 astronauts were selected from U.S. military test pilots. This automatically excluded women, because even though women had been serving in combat since before 1776,  been pilots since 1908 (not just white women, Bessie Coleman earned her pilots license in 1922), and flown military aircraft since 1942, including as test pilots (if not earlier, since many of the barnstorming aircraft were WWI surplus), the first woman selected for military Test Pilot School happened in 1982.

The questions I see are:

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Resources about NASA culture

This is taking me longer than I wanted.  I have said that NASA's civil servant culture (from the Contractor position) has looked like one of the best places for women to work. That's actually one of the reasons I want to work there. So I'm going to start out with some general comments about organization culture from my management coursework, and then provide links to some of the literature and stories that already exist and/or are coming soon.

The culture of any organization is influenced by the structure, the corporate / institutional culture, the work-group culture, the geographically local surrounding culture, and customer and supplier culture.  All of these, together, create subtle differences in individual experience. Houston is different from Huntsville, Boeing is different from Lockheed Martin.

There is a precedence for former engineers who have become writers, speakers, including Homer Hickam himself. I am considering that path, as I've seen openings and opportunities to write... but I am not ready to give up on my technical career yet.

For today, I'm going to point to existing resources:

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Some History of Exploration and Globalization

Today I'll be discussing the historical globalization, settlement, and colonial history that influences the marginalization of under-represented minorities in STEM. These influences carry over into our narrative of Mars Colonization.

If you missed yesterday's post, here are the two key background articles:
One of the narratives that we have about globalization is described by Thomas Friedman in The World Is Flat : A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century. Friedman describes 3 phases of globalization. Friedman's three phases begin with Columbus in 1492:

  • Globalization 1.0: Rediscovery of the New World, the Americas
  • Globalization 2.0: Multinational companies creating global markets
  • Globalization 3.0: Individuals developing global networks and businesses.
However, in the History of Exploration course that I took, Dr. Keith Parsons discussed how globalization has no beginning. In that course, we used phases more like this:

Monday, March 30, 2015

The week behind, the weeks to come

Last week was Spring Break for the entire county. We went up to Indiana to spend time with the grandparents.

The Children's Museum of Indianapolis is the world's largest children's museum, full of "Please touch" exhibits and hands-on activities, including science. Two of our favorite exhibits this visit were:

We also, as usual, made a stop through the Power of Children exhibit, which I'll write about another time.

That also put us boots-on-the-ground when Indiana passed the so-called "Religious Freedom Restoration Act." There's still considerable activity about it on my Facebook feed, from our Indiana friends and relatives. Today's post would get too long if I started on that subject now.

Also, since I brought it up last Friday, the jury ruled against Ellen Pao on all counts.

For this week, I want to discuss a topic that came up on Twitter, and is near and dear to my heart. Dr. D.N. Lee (@DNLee5) is a Scientific American blogger and person I follow on Twitter, for diversity-in-STEM advocacy. I am working on a series of posts about this. Below the cut, I share links to other posts and some of the discussions that have taken place.