July 10, 2005

Upstate NY

Did you know that there are over 150 planets in our solar system galaxy? Did you know that almost all of those were discovered in the last 20 years? I had the opportunity to learn these and many more fascinating facts spending the weekend with the brightest minds I've hung out with in a long time. My fiend Kelly, the rocket scientist, asked me to serve on the board of a new project she and her friend George conceived some time ago. Without giving too much away about it at this point I can say that it seeks to convey the scale, awe and wonder of space to help us move past the ***pedestrian view of space kids are taught today by the poster up on the wall. The current two dimensional view might spawn the question just build a faster rocket and we can get to edge of our solar system. This type of question is fine based on a poster whose scale treats two inches as a light year. But how do we convey to people the vastness of space?

This is the question that a group of us huddled together to answer. It was an impressive group to be associated with and I wanted to take a moment to show off by telling you who i was hobnobbing with this weekend (FYI the wife and kids were out of town anyway so I wasn't ditching them--I know some of you would wonder):

Paul Butler, Astronomer, Carnegie Institution
Carter Emmart, Director of Astrovisualization for Rose Center Production and Education
Tim Hankins, Computer Scientist, Sony
moby – Musician, Space Enthusiast
Kelly Snook, Planetary Scientist and Music Producer
George Whitesides, Executive Director, National Space Society
Andrew Currie, Entrepreneur and Computer Scientist, Conservation Havens
Carl Fravel, Computer Scientist and Computer music specialist
Loretta Hidalgo, Space Outreach and Education Specialist
Bert Ulrich, Curator NASA Art Program, NASA HQ
Matthew Wright, Computer Music Ph.D. student, Stanford Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics

Impressive right? I told you! When the turn came for me to introduce me there was a lot of “and you are?????” and “this is regarding????”. No, actually I made what might be a considered a couple of intelligible comments. I have been working in this here Interweb thing for a while and it turns out I've learned a thing or two. make no mistake, however, I was bringing the average IQ in the room down no doubt.

The location of the meeting made it even more special. Moby, the rock star, graciously opened his home in upstate New York to us. Kelly knows Moby from some work they did together at the Johnson Space Center some years ago and they stayed in touch since. The house is incredibly beautiful with sweeping landscape views from all around. A few of us went swimming with Moby and then spent some good sweat time in the sauna. A night spent back in SoHo at a killer indian restaurant Carter recommended capped off a great day. Though I'd taken a red-eye and hadn't slept in 20-something hours I was doing fine. i was infused with energy at the thought of exciting projects to come. I'll post pictures and the like as they come my way (my camera's still busted).

Written while groovin' to No Roots from the album “No Roots” by Faithless

Posted by Pedraum at July 10, 2005 01:38 PM |