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Tuesday
Sep232008

Very Deep Thoughts

On the Emmys

On the Derby

On things that take two years to go seven miles

On beginning education training at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum:  In order to work with the space hardware, I have to be all Julie Andrews about it and start at the very beginning.  Well, fine.  I can make friends with Wilbur and Orville.  Only... first, please make sure I can speak to them in comprehensible sentences, and then maybe we'll talk about a date, complete with drag, lift, and thrust and whatever else goes on in a cockpit.

I was the possessor of two out of eight breasts, total, in a classroom of forty people.  And it was nine hours of 1) security procedures 2) Why The Smithsonian Ain't Got No Money and 3) A Doctoral Dissertation on   the Practice and Theory of Aeronautics, As Applies to Thermo-Viscoelastic Behavior and the Lyapunov Stability Theorem.

There were many, many Power Point slides about ramjets and propellers and the innards of reciprocating engines and something called a Wankel that wasn't at all what I hoped it would be, and what to do if we saw a guest chewing gum (Answer:  Taze), and then somebody said something about pistons, and in Hour Seven I finally raised my hand and pointed out that I was a blonde English major with a NASA history background, and before we discussed which reciprocating engines were on display and how many Vs of Hp each turbined, could we maybe clear up what a reciprocating engine was, please?  (Answer:  Pistons.)

On the financial markets bailout:  Everybody shut up and give all your money to me.  FIXED.

loquacious when pissed at:  mbe@drinktothelasses.com

tip the bartender

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Reader Comments (6)

OH MY LORD!
My question would have been, "What the he....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz."

September 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKris

Oh, that sounds like wonderful experience. The Smithsonian! I don't care much for money, but I would love to have enough to visit such a place.

I think you should focus on the human side of the educational experience. Like for instance, just WHO exactly were these Wilbur & Orville fellows, and why did they —who had a bike repair shop but not PhD in Physics and Engineering— think they could accomplish one of the most ambitious dream man has ever had since the dawn of time?

I think that would be much more rewarding than discussing things that would only arouse gear-heads; not that I have anything against them, good for them for showing so much love to their machines, but the machine is just a means to a purpose, and the dream is always behind the purpose.

Spirit of St Louis, Air Ship One, you name it: they all started with a dream :0)

September 24, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterred pill junkie

RPJ, that was exactly my frustration. Here were people who were absolutely tops in the field, and I had a chance to learn from them. And except for a couple speakers, the opportunity was pretty much wasted. Now, I can't fault anybody for having a passion, but the presentations weren't helping me get ready to do my job. When I worked at Kennedy Space Center I tried really hard to bring in the human side. Even during the interviewing process at the Smithsonian, it was stressed that we connect to the visitors in this way, but that was totally missing during this training session. Even if I'd understood a word, only ONE presenter emphasized how to bring this information to the general public. Everything was assumed; nothing was explained.

But I'm looking forward to learning enough to communicate this information in an inspiring way. I've been searching out books about the Wright Brothers and the STORY of how they integrated all this information and knowledge--structure to function-- and I will enjoy telling it. :)

September 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMB

I'm sure if you manage to tell your audience about the fights between Wilbur and Orville to be first on that contraption of theirs, with one tenth of the wit and humor you use here on a daily basis, you will be the museum's main attraction :-)

September 24, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterred pill junkie

[...] and the Holograms Posted on Wednesday, October 22, 2008 by MB I officially heard something intelligible during my Smithsonian training last week:  One of the curators referred to one of the museum [...]

[...] Smithsonian and the Holograms Posted on Tuesday, October 21, 2008 by MB I officially heard something intelligible during my Smithsonian training last week:  One of the curators referred to one of the museum [...]

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